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MLB & PED’s: How to Prevent and Then Punish Positive Tests Like Ryan Braun

Over the past several years, baseball has proven with multiple reports and documents that it still has further to go in order to rid the sport of performance enhancing drugs. 

First time offenders in baseball currently receive a 50-game suspension, second-time offenders receive a 100-game suspension, and a third-time offender is banished from baseball. 

While this may deter a handful of players, it definitely does not deter all players.  With the different masking agents and assistance of personal physicians, athletes are slipping by the current testing methods.

The risk of being caught currently does not outweigh the benefits that are reaped from performing at the Major League level.  Contracts for everyday players are in the millions, and if you are an all-star you could be looking at anywhere from 10-20 million a season.   

Melky Cabrera gets caught on a one year deal with the Giants where he was arguably the mid-season NL MVP and was looking like he was in line for a mammoth contract extension where he would have seen more than $10 million per season over the next 5 years, and still came away after his drama with a 2-year, $16 million deal from the Blue Jays

Last off-season, Ryan Braun had a positive test, fought the system, and avoided his 50-game suspension.  With the recent Bio-genesis reports that are being released, it appears he is deeper in the PED underground than previously thought. 

I believe MLB could handle this ongoing issue with some of baseball’s best players by trying a few different things.


Blood Testing During Season

The most recent collective bargaining agreement from the Players Union and Major League Baseball will include blood testing for human growth hormone only for spring training and offseason. 

While this helps, HGH is not going to be used during this time frame.  HGH is being used to help players recover from injuries and stay fresh during the long season.  Players during spring training are already fresh from the off season. 

Baseball is not jumping two feet into this new testing to study the effects on the players, however if you aren’t willing to be all in, do not commit yourself to the pot. Baseball will be the first of the four major U.S. sports to incorporate any blood testing into their testing program. 

Why was the Players Union so headstrong as to not allowing it during the season? Because that’s when players will be using the HGH. You do not go to the store unless you know it is open. 

Major League Baseball is taking baby steps in getting their end result which is full testing, but the owners should be pushing this harder in order to protect their investments and know what they are actually investing in.  If you knew a stock was only worth 40 bucks and it is on the market for 50 bucks, you wouldn’t buy it—just like you wouldn’t pay a 40 HR player the same as a 10 HR player.


2.)  Increase Testing

Going hand in hand with the blood testing, the athletes need to be tested more often. 

Athletes in their contract years and rising through the minor leagues especially need additional testing.  The main reason the players are cheating is for a huge pay day, and the athletes that are the closest to that money will break the rules in order to break the bank. 

Players at the AAA level in 2012 earned slightly over $2,000 a month assuming that it was not their first year in AAA and did not receive large signing bonuses. A major league minimum salary in 2012 was $480,000 per year. 

The fact is, the borderline “4A” type players and utility players look to make huge gains just by getting onto the major league roster and sticking there.  If you show promise in the upper levels of the minors they will generally give you a shot, and the longer you stick around the longer you make nearly a half million dollars per year. 

The players in the top levels of the minor league system and especially guys in the final year of their contract should receive additional testing.  Testing is not cheap, but Major League Baseball is a billion business and the way to keep fans in the stands is to protect their brand and catch players. 

The worst thing for the MLB brand is to let superstars like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens get through their careers without a positive test, and then be caught from lab documents and testimonies.


 Terminating Contacts

Through the recent years, baseball has shown that the suspensions are not a big enough deterrent to eliminate PED use.  However, what if these teams were able to completely null and void these massive contracts upon one of their players failing a drug test?   Braun in 2011 signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension that added onto a seven-year deal he signed in May 2008, which resulted in $145.5 million dollars through 2020. 

What if once his positive test was revealed, the Brewers could void his remaining contract, say “see ya,” and waive him without having to eat his “guaranteed contract?”  The owners and general Managers are signing for the “enhanced” player hitting 40 home runs player and not the actual real life player that may only hit 25 home runs.

Teams are taking the risk by signing these players, and the fact of the matter is they are getting burned.  Att the time of his extension, Braun was the face of the Brewers franchise and a media darling. 

Fast forward to today. 

Braun is regarded as one of the least-liked players in all of sports.  He went from being a marketing asset for the Brewers to an alleged cheater using PEDs and then lying about it. 

The point is, these teams will sign these great players to long term deals dump all this money on them, the player will get suspended, and while they are without pay during the suspension, they come back and make their guaranteed salary for the rest of the contract. 

Even if the blood testing and additional testing does not catch all the players in their “contract year” it would still hopefully eliminate their use from then on knowing the players could lose their huge multi-year deals.


4.) Increase Suspensions

Currently the first offense for a 50-game suspension does not seem to do justice when that is less than 1/3 of a season. The first test should result in a minimum of being suspended for the year in which you tested positive, but also be a minimum of 100 games.

If you get popped in Spring Training, well, you just missed the entire season to your positive test.  If you get popped in September, you will miss the rest of the season and into the next season totaling 100 games.

A second positive test should just result in being banned. 

These players testing positive have to realize by now the severity of the testing.  As Jose Bautista mentioned in an interview this spring, there are many different resources and outlets to these players to verify if what they are putting in their bodies is allowed or not.

The fact you can get popped at the after the all-star break like Melky Cabrera did last year, and potentially could have come back for the playoffs, is not right.  Any stats or awards that were won in a season which a player tested positive should be forfeited.


While I do believe Major League Baseball is trying to push stricter testing and clean up the sport, I believe it could be accelerated greatly.  If the Players Union is serious about protecting its players—and by players, I mean “clean” players —they should have no issues with anything in this article.  Playing baseball for a living should be an honor and a privilege, not a right.

The fact that greedy players are able to cheat to get ahead of “clean” players should be dealt with an iron fist.

I will leave you with this scenario.

Suppose two men walk into a gas station and each purchase a lottery ticket.  The first man scratches off his lottery ticket and almost won, but missed on his last two numbers.  The second man scratched his off and WON the half million dollar jackpot!  When the first man found out the second man won the jackpot, he stole his ticket, he cashed the ticket in, and he received the grand prize.  Once the first man found out what happened he finally caught up with the second man getting out of his new Ferrari, and asked, “What the hell are you doing with the winnings from my ticket? That was my dream to win the lottery,” the second man replied, “Sorry, man. It happens all the time. It is called baseball.”

The above scenario would actually be illegal and make headlines.

It’s commonplace in baseball. 

Major League Baseball and the Players Union need to do all they can do to protect their clean athletes, and stop caring about the cheaters. Baseball had the blinders on when it came to drug testing over the past 25 years, but hopefully in the next 25 years it will set new standards in protecting the blue collar athlete and lead other sports into the next era.

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Maximizing Your 2012 Fantasy MLB Draft Based on Average Draft Positions

It seems like everyone who plays fantasy sports has their sleepers, busts, keepers, and break-out players lists. 

It is easy to make a list, but much more difficult to put that list to work in an actual fantasy draft. 

If you have read my break-out, sleepers, and busts slide show, you will see how I maximized my Yahoo MLB draft based on the players “Average Draft Position”—meaning what number they went overall. 

I will give you two scenarios:  One, drafting first overall in a 12 team league, and the other drafting 12th overall. 

This will give you a better idea of which players can and will be available at your particular pick in the draft. Team A will have the 1st overall pick and Team B will have the 12th overall pick based on a 12 team league. 

Here are how my two teams would shake out based on players current draft positions.

We will base this draft on the normal 5×5 Rotisserie Leagues. Our starters will be as follows which is standard in a Yahoo league:

C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, (3) OF, (2) Utility/DH, (2) SP, (2) RP, (4) P

The players average draft position is in the parentheses, while the number off to the side represents their actual draft position.


Below is how I would maximize my team from both draft slots on draft day.


Round 1

Team A – Troy Tulowitzki (4th) Draft Overall 1st

Team B – Evan Longoria (14th) – Draft Overall 12th


Round 2

Team B – Carlos Gonzalez (13th) – Draft Overall 13th

Team A –  Andrew McCutchen (28th) – Draft Overall 24th


Round 3

Team A – Tim Lincecum (27th) – Draft Overall 25th

Team B – Carlos Santana (40th) – Draft Overall 36th


Round 4

Team B – David Price (51st) – Draft Overall 37th

Team A – Brett Lawrie (50th) – Draft Overall 48th


Round 5

Team A – Jay Bruce (56th) – Draft Overall 49th

Team B – Yovani Gallardo (60th) – Draft Overall 60th


Round 6

Team B – Eric Hosmer (71st) – Draft Overall 61st

Team A – Howie Kendrick (80th) – Draft Overall 72nd


Round 7

Team A – Drew Storen (86th) – Draft Overall 73rd

Team B – Jason Heyward (90th) – Draft Overall 84th


Round 8

Team B – Matt Moore (93rd) – Draft Overall 85th

Team A – Brian Wilson (104th) – Draft Overall 96th


Round 9

Team A – Daniel Hudson (101st) – Draft 97th Overall

Team B – Ricky Romero (114th) –  Draft 108th Overall


Round 10

Team B – Joel Hanrahan (118th) – Draft 109th Overall

Team A- Brandon Beachy (121st) –  Draft 120th Overall


Round 11

Team A – Freddie Freeman (137th) – Draft 121st Overall

Team B – Jordan Walden (133rd) – Draft 132nd Overall


Round 12

Team B – Cameron Maybin (141st) – Draft 133rd Overall

Team A – Jesus Montero (155th) – Draft 144th Overall


Round 13

Team A – Huston Street (152nd) – Draft 145th Overall

Team B – Erick Aybar (157th) – Draft 156th Overall


Round 14

Team B – Peter Bourjos (174th) – Draft 157th Overall

Team A – Max Scherzer (169th) – Draft 168th Overall


Round 15

Team A – Jeff Francouer (181st) – Draft 169th Overall

Team B –  Jason Kipnis (200th) – Draft 180th Overall


Round 16

Team B – Wandy Rodriguez (194th) – Draft 181st Overall

Team A – Bud Norris (201st) – Draft 192nd Overall


Round 17

Team A – Wilson Ramos (213th) – Draft 193rd Overall

Team B – Dexter Fowler (206th) – Draft 204th Overall


Round 18

Team B – Lucas Duda (216th) – Draft 205th Overall

Team A – Matt Joyce (229th) – Draft 216th Overall


Round 19

Team A – Austin Jackson (238th) – Draft 217th Overall

Team B – Ryan Raburn (253rd) – Draft 228th Overall


Round 20

Team B – Brandon McCarthy (246th) – Draft 229th Overall

Team A –  Brennan Boesch (260th) – Draft 240th Overall


Round 21

Team A – Devin Mesoraco (265th) – Draft 241st Overall

Team B – Addison Reed (323rd) – Draft 252nd Overall


Round 22

Team B – John Mayberry (310th) – Draft 253rd Overall

Team A – Greg Holland (312th) – Draft 264th Overall


Round 23

Team A – Justin Smoak (347th) – Draft 265th Overall

Team B – Brandon Belt ( 357th) – Draft 276th Overall



Team A

C – Wilson Ramos

1B – Freddie Freeman

2B – Howie Kendrick

SS – Troy Tulowitzki

3B – Brett Lawrie

OF – Andrew McCutchen

OF – Jay Bruce

OF – Jeff Francouer

UT – Jesus Montero

UT – Matt Joyce

SP – Tim Lincecum

SP – Daniel Hudson

RP – Drew Storen

RP – Brian Wilson

P – Brandon Breachy

P – Huston Street

P – Max Scherzer

P – Bud Norris


BENCH: Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch, Devin Mesoraco, Greg Holland, Justin Smoak



Team B

C – Carlos Santana

1B – Eric Hosmer

2B – Jason Kipnis

SS – Erick Aybar

3B – Evan Longoria

OF – Carlos Gonzalez

OF – Jason Heyward

OF – Cameron Maybin

UT – Peter Bourjos

UT – Dexter Fowler

SP – David Price

SP – Yovani Gallardo

RP – Matt Moore

RP – Joel Hanrahan

P – Ricky Romero

P – Jordan Walden

P – Wandy Rodriguez

P – Brandon McCarthy


BENCH: Lucas Duda, Ryan Raburn, Addison Reed, John Mayberry, Brandon Belt


Below is a list of the notable Undrafted Players (players falling out of 277th Overall that I did not draft):

C Miguel Olivo

1B Adam Dunn, Justin Morneau

2B Jose Altuve

SS Alcides Escobar, Stephen Drew, Zack Cosart

3B Nolan Arenado, Danny Valencia, Casey McGehee

OF Chris Heisey, Colby Rasmus, Carlos Quentin, Jason Bay, Mike Trout

SP Trevor Bauer, Ryan Vogelsong, Julio Teheran, Drew Pomeranz, Jake Peavy, Trevor Cahill, Chad Billinglsey, Francisco Liriano

RP Jonathon Broxton, Kevin Gregg


I hope you enjoyed reading this article on maximizing your draft based on the average draft positions. If you are in a deeper or shallower league you can adjust these players draft positions/rankings to maximize your team. Hopefully this can give you a better idea of who to target and when you should pull the trigger on getting them. Now go draft!

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2012 All-MLB Fantasy Break-Out, Sleeper and Bust Players for Each Position

This list will consist of my 2012 All-MLB Fantasy Breakout and Sleeper players by position. 

If you are in a standard five-by-five, 10 team roto or head to head league, this list probably is not for you, but it can help you target key breakout players and backups for your superstar lineups. 

However, if you are in a 12, 14, 16 or even 20 team leagues, you have come to the right place for help. 

Read on and have fun taking home the title this year.

Begin Slideshow

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