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MLB Power Rankings: Identifying the 10 Best Late-Round Fantasy Draft Steals

This article will identify the 10 best late-round fantasy draft steals.

When I identify these players, I will make reference to the draft I participated in with Yahoo! in terms of when these players were drafted.  I will also examine where Yahoo! has ranked said players overall and how that affects where they are taken in the draft.  I will also examine why these players would pay huge dividends for any fantasy team.

However, you should note that I am not trying to find you the next Jose Bautista, I am merely giving you elite players that you can wait until later to grab in the draft and be considered a genius.  So, without further ado…Let us begin!

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Derek Jeter’s Contract and the Top 25 Off-the-Field Stories of the MLB Offseason

The MLB offseason is one of the busiest times of the year in terms of sports.

In baseball, there are so many things that go on during the offseason that create numerous story lines that capture our attention.

The majority of our attention is taken by the big name free agents being signed or the big name guy on the market who gets traded.

Other things that are heavily followed in the offseason are things like arbitration and the negotiations that go on as teams try to avoid hearings. There are also managerial changes as well as front office moves.

There are also many surprises and absolute shockers, as well as controversies that arise during the offseason with things like players being arrested or testing positive for illegal drugs.

Either way, there are several story lines that we devoted baseball fans follow throughout the offseason, and this slideshow highlights the top 25 of this past offseason.

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MLB Power Rankings: Rating the Speed of All 30 Major League Teams

This article will rank the teams based on how much speed each team possesses beginning with the slowest team.  I will take a look at last years overall team ranking in terms of the stolen base and compare it to how I believe they will rank this year.  I will also take a look at who lead the team last year in stolen bases and look at the other base stealers on the team as well.  

Then, I will predict who will lead their respective teams in stolen bases and will also identify the other players who can potentially contribute in terms of speed, in 2011.

So, without further ado, let us start!

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Toronto Blue Jays Predictions: 10 Reasons They Can Make the Playoffs This Year

The Toronto Blue Jays have been going in the right direction ever since Alex Anthopolous took over as General Manager.  Alex Anthopolous has put great emphasis on developing young talent and has invested time and money into ensuring that the future is bright.  At the same time, AA has managed to put a fantastic product on the field that has remained competitive even in the toughest division in baseball.  

The Toronto Blue Jays have had a phenomenal offseason as they have made a ton of wonderful signings and acquisitions that have significantly improved the team.  Players like Rajai Davis and Octavio Dotel come to mind.  

The Blue Jays have a very bright future and the present isn’t too bleak either.  The Jays have a good team and have strong and talented youth ready to make the Jays a contender for years to come. 

In my mind, I believe the Jays can make the playoffs this year.  The following is ten reasons why I believe that to be true.

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2011 MLB Predictions: Identifying the Biggest Strengths of All 30 MLB Teams

The Major League Baseball offseason is coming to a close, as it is not long until players begin reporting to their respective camps.

With the regular season rapidly approaching, it is now time to look ahead at what teams are going to look like and how we think they will do.

Every year, there are the teams that win a ton of games, and then, there are the teams who don’t win many games.  Although these teams are different in many, many ways, there is one thing they do have in common.  

They all have their own strengths, regardless of whether they are winners or losers; they all have strong areas.  It could be pitching, hitting or several other things that separate them from other teams.

This article will analyze the biggest strengths of all 30 MLB teams as we approach the 2011 regular season.  Taking into account several factors including key additions, acquisitions and young players who could improve said team in a certain area.

So, without further ado, let us begin.

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MLB Breaking News: Rafael Soriano Signs with the New York Yankees

Rafael Soriano has reportedly agreed to a three-year deal worth $35 million with the New York Yankees. Sports Illustrated‘s Jon Heyman was the first to report the deal and says that the deal will allow Soriano to opt out after either of the first two years.  

The deal makes little to no sense, as Brian Cashman has been continuously saying that he wouldn’t surrender his first-round pick to sign a Type-A free agent.  As a result of the signing, the pesky Tampa Bay Rays will receive the Yankees’ first-round draft pick in this year’s draft.  

Rafael Soriano will almost certainly be the primary setup man for legendary closer Mariano Rivera.  The role is odd for Soriano considering he was probably one of the best closers in baseball last year.  Soriano posted a robust 1.73 ERA and had a 8.2 K/9 with an extremely low BB/9 as well.

This move by the Yankees is a very nice addition.  New York adds a powerful and reliable pitcher with the potential to close if Mo goes down.  It also gives the Yankees some comfort in regards to their bullpen as the pen is starting to look very solid.  It also means that if Mariano retires at some point in the next few years, they won’t have to look far to find his replacement.

With the move, the Yankees now have a little over $20 million to spend on improving their team.  The Yankees will probably use the remaining cash on a designated hitter and to hopefully bolster their starting rotation.

I believe that this is a good investment for the Yankees and one that provides them with a stable bullpen for the near future.  It also provides them with a backup plan at the closers role if Mo should get injured or retire.  It is a solid move for the Yanks and one that will pay dividends. 

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MLB Trade Rumors: Heath Bell to the White Sox? 10 Trades for Would-Be Contenders

As the offseason winds down, people tend to separate the teams they believe will win from the teams they believe will lose. Basically, the Boston Red Sox are on one side and the Kansas City Royals are on the other side, for example.

But then there are those teams who aren’t losers but aren’t quite winners either. Those are the teams who are close to becoming true contenders.

These teams are usually one or two key pieces (players) away from competing—like when the Milwaukee Brewers acquired both Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.

This list features 10 possible trades that these teams could make to potentially make a run at the playoffs this year. These trades are mostly speculation, and it is extremely likely that none of them will actually happen. But they are trades that I feel—and hope some of you will feel—would make the teams I am going to discuss contenders.

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MLB Rumors: 10 Reasons Manny Ramirez and the Toronto Blue Jays Make Sense

Manny Ramirez is without a doubt one of the most powerful and productive hitters to ever play the game of baseball.  Manny has a career average of .313 and has hit 555 home runs in his colorful career.  Manny is a 12-time All-Star and has won the Hank Aaron award twice.  He has won two World Series rings with the Boston Red Sox (2004,2007) and was the World Series MVP in 2004.  

Despite his hitting success, Manny Ramirez has been a serious cancer to any team that has taken him in.  His immature antics, his laziness, and his lack of passion has irritated every team he has ever played for and has resulted in him switching teams on more than a few occasions.  Manny Ramirez has also been plagued by the accusations surrounding his usage of steroids.  

The past couple of years have been a struggle for Manny as he has dealt with a ton injuries and a lot of criticism.  On the occasions that Manny has played, he has hit for a high average but has been dealing with a serious power outage.  Whether it be age, injuries, or the lack of a certain performance-enhancing drug, one thing is certain, Manny is not the same Manny he once was and it appears as though retirement is not far away.

Manny would still like to play and buzz was generated when he spoke to ESPN Deportes about how he liked the Toronto Blue Jays and how he has always wanted to play with them.  Ramirez has had very few suitors this offseason and is hoping that a team will take a chance on him.  I believe that Manny Ramirez and the Toronto Blue Jays would be a perfect match for 10 reasons……

Please note that the slides are not ranked, just numbered.

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Does Manny Ramirez Belong in the Hall of Fame?

One of the all-time great sports debates has always been as to who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and who doesn’t.

The sport that this debate is most interesting in, is baseball.  Baseball is different from the rest as there are so many more things to consider when people vote for the HOF.  One of the biggest problems that has come to fruition in recent years has been the use of steroids in professional baseball. 

Nobody seems to be quite sure whether players who have taken steroids or other performance enhancing drugs should be allowed to be a member of baseballs most prestigious group.

Manny Ramirez has been one of the players who has entered the Hall of Fame debate as he quite obviously nears retirement.  It was discovered in the “Mitchell Report” that Manny used steroids which added even more fuel to the fire.  Some debated whether his attitude and antics should affect his chances of making the Hall of Fame.

The majority claimed that Manny’s numbers more than made up for his bad personality. When the steroid issue came along the argument became a 50/50 one that had baseball split on whether they thought Manny deserved a spot in Cooperstown.

The remainder of this article will discuss the different factors that may or may not get Manny into the Hall of Fame.

Manny Ramirez is without a doubt one of the most powerful and most productive hitters to ever play the game of baseball.  Manny has had absolutely monstrous seasons and has received many awards and honors for his accomplishments at the plate.  Manny is a career .313 which ranks him 74th all time, which some of you make think is really far from number one, and your right. 

But, when you consider that Manny is a power hitter and not exactly a speedster, I would say 74th all-time is pretty darn good.  Manny has 555 career home runs which makes him one of only 25 players in major league history with 500-plus.  Ramirez also ranks 13th all time in home runs on the all-time list.  Ramirez has driven in 1830 runs in his career as well which ranks him 17th all-time.

Manny has also won several awards and honors throughout his very decorated career. Man-Ram won the American League batting crown in 2002 (.349 AVG) and has led the league in home runs (2004) and in RBI (1999).   Manny is a 12-time All-Star and has won the prestigious Hank Aaron award twice.

Manny is also a two-time World Series champion and in 2004 was the World Series MVP. Manny Ramirez has also won a silver slugger nine times and has lead the respective leagues in several different categories for extended periods of time throughout his career.

Manny’s reputation has not always been the best.  Manny hasn’t always had his head in the game, sometimes he would just seem disinterested and other times he just doesn’t seem to care or want to do anything for that matter. 

Most fans either love(d) him or hate(d) him.  There didn’t truly seem to be an in between.  Manny was lazy and just plain odd.  He left almost all the teams he played for on terrible terms and hurt a ton of fans.  Every organization he has been with has wanted Manny gone at some point.

The other factor for Manny is the steroid allegations and the controversy that surrounded it.  Ramirez was one of the big names mentioned in the Mitchell Report that caught the eye of baseball fans everywhere.  Manny did his apologizing and served his 50-game suspension. 

Of course, Manny never really admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs.  He instead made the claim that he was using medication to address his erectile dis function.  Is it the truth?  Probably not.  But hey, maybe that was the case but we will never know.

In my opinion, I truly believe Manny Ramirez belongs in the Hall of Fame.  At the end of the day, this isn’t a “Hall of Good Behavior.”  The Hall is for players who have spectacular career stats and have dominated baseball.

Even though Manny has well, been Manny that doesn’t mean he needs to be shunned from the HOF.  It means that Ramirez needs to take some classes on public appearance and behavior but I digress.  Even with the steroids scandal surrounding him, like Barry Bonds and like Alex Rodriguez, you cannot possibly ignore the numbers they put up (not comparing Manny to them).

Manny deserves some credit.

Manny deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. 

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MLB Predictions: 50 Players Who Will Have Shocking Seasons in 2011

Baseball is one of the most unpredictable sports in the world.   

Before the season starts, predictions are made of who will do this and who will do that.  But, the truth is, that there are so many different things that can and will happen.  Every season, the unexpected happens.

Whether it be in the form of a young player having a monster year.  A mediocre player who suddenly becomes a star.  A veteran having one last kick at the can, or a perennial all-star having an off year.

Either way, these things are hard to predict.  But, I have created a list of players  of whom I believe will fall under one of the four categories mentioned above during the 2011 MLB Regular Season.

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