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MLB: Top 20 Most Disappointing Starts to the 2011 Season

The 2011 MLB season has already shown numerous ups and downs for some of the great players around the league through only the first two months of the year.

High profile commodities who were suppose to be their team’s centerpiece have heavily faltered and seem to be working towards a disappointing 2011 campaign.

The lack of success from these elite players have corrupted not only fantasy teams and their winning ability, but the winning capabilities of previously successful major league squads.

Whether it’s a lack of pitching from a strikeout artist, a speedy outfielder unable to gain his balance on the base paths or an MVP first baseman who’s just starting to come around, the lack of production between the months of April and May is evident.

Wherever you want to start the discussion, hitting or pitching, the conversation of biggest disappointments so far this season will always come to a close with these 20 players.

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Fantasy Baseball: Revealing the Top Buy-Low/Sell-High Candidates

The first month of baseball is coming to an end.

Breakout teams, key injuries and hot hitting has culminated into the exciting product that the MLB has to offer.

However, while we sit back and watch these natural occurrences take place, what does that do for our fantasy teams?

Many owners have been biting their fingernails through the first month of fantasy leagues, anticipating their early round draft picks to breakout and earn their keep.

Fast starts by Ryan Braun, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Matt Kemp and Joey Votto, have allowed owners to sit back, take a deep breath, and be thankful that their elite starters have taken over where they left off in 2010.

With that said, ugly production through the first month from usually elite options like Derek Jeter, Carl Crawford, Mat Latos, Francisco Liriano, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ryan Dempster have done the exact opposite.

These players along with many other fantasy scoundrels have created a dark cloud of regret over the heads of fantasy owners, making them wonder, what should I do?

By looking through the early production, or the lack there of, we are able to figure out who’s for real and who isn’t.

Being patient is key in fantasy baseball, allowing owners to reap the benefits of other managers jumping the gun on trading for a guy or wanting to get rid of a stud.

With that said, here are the top candidates to either buy low or sell high.

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New York Yankees: The 1927 Club and the Top 15 Teams in Franchise History

With 27 World Championships, the New York Yankees have dominated the MLB for nearly 100 years.

By employing some of the best hitters in the history of baseball, New York’s continuing professionalism mixed with the shear ability to consistently win has become the epitome of their championship swagger.

They’ve made their mark through historic achievements such as home run records, perfect games and no-hitters, HOF legends, and by becoming one of the most prominent sports teams in the history of U.S. sports.

The Yankees have posted 20 seasons with at least 100 wins, carrying that regular season success deep into the playoffs and capturing the prized possession of baseball almost three times more than the second most successful team (Cardinals with 10).

It’s hard to breakdown the Yankees’ championship teams of the past.  Decade by decade, players and teams are subject to different times in baseball’s evolution, making it difficult to compare a team from 1923 to a 2009 world series winner.

Every generation of fans has their own reasons in defending the championship seasons of their eras.  Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera, make up the legends of New York championship teams and possess their own achievements that can be called “the best”.

With that said, here are the top 15 teams in New York Yankees franchise history.

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Bonds Case: Will the Home Run King Smack One out of the Court Room?

There’s not much to say about Barry Bonds and the legal situation he’s wrapped up in. The former “best player in baseball” and current home run champ has been under the microscope of Congress since he claimed to never knowingly use steroids during his 22-year career.


This was back in 2003 and Bonds is finally facing four counts of perjury along with other charges some seven and half years later.


Former trainers, former mistresses and former teammates have emerged over the years as major players in the “Bonds Perjury Case.” Whether those key figures pose any threat to Bonds and his future engagements with Congress has yet to be seen.


It’s utterly sad that the career of a man who seemed to be the greatest hitter of all-time has publicly spiraled to the depths of the media. However, at this point, Bonds’ main concern is proving that what Congress is calling “the clear” and “the cream” was not knowingly consumed by the former San Francisco Giant.


The case, which will take place over the next week or so, is more or less a battle of he said, she said. Bonds has been cementing his argument that the anabolic steroids in which Congress strongly believes he voluntarily received, was nothing more than what he thought to be arthritis balm and flax seed oil.


One of the most prominent figures in the case is Bonds’ former trainer, Greg Anderson, who has strongly decided to stay silent time after time. Anderson’s role in the case, or for that matter his lack there of, has culminated into a battle of will. Having already served 14 months in prison, Anderson is prepared to keep his mouth shout and back Congress into a corner.


Anderson’s refusal to testify has more or less diminished any chance the government has in using steroid test results from the BALCO screenings a few years ago. Only Bonds’ former trainer can testify that the results were in fact from Bonds himself.


Therefore, no Anderson, no BALCO evidence. With no BALCO evidence, Congress has been forced to rely on key witnesses throughout Bonds’ career that have heard or had conversations with the former all-star about his “alleged” steroid use.


For now, it seems as if the government has its work cut out for them. They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bonds lied about knowingly taking steroids and that those lies impeded on their Congressional case against Major League Baseball.


As the defense is concerned, almost everybody involved in testifying against Bonds, could be viewed as “money hungry,” “publicity hunting” and “out to make a name” key witnesses. It will be extremely difficult for the prosecution to prove that Bonds lied. Without the BALCO test results and without Anderson, Congress with be forced to rely on oral accusations, which usually becomes a battle of hearsay.


Regardless of the outcome to this case, the legacy and lifetime achievements of one, Barry Bonds, will forever be tarnished. Will he find a way to be acquitted from all the charges?


Possibly, but Bonds will never be forgiven in the baseball community and in the eyes of the public. The life of Bonds has been publicized over the past 10 years, in and out of hatred, pushing the home run king to the front-line of the MLB‘s steroid scandal.

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MLB’s 10 Most Overrated Players: Joe Mauer, Yovani Gallardo Lead the Way

As fans and followers of sports, we tend to only take into account what players have done for their teams as of late.  Their success from the season before has corresponded with bigger salaries, more media exposure, higher fantasy rankings and a higher level of respect and dependence.

While the trend for good players is to evolve in the game and continue to get better, there are also those who accomplish statistical breakouts that should warrant some sort of speculation. 

Whether pitchers explode for an exceptional strikeout-to-walk ratio, hitters posting huge power numbers that exceed anything they’ve done in the past, or the simple breakout seasons that players provide every April to October, we need to look at the facts and be more realistic with our calculations.

The players on this list are highly respected, highly valuable and significant parts to their team’s success. 

With that said, many of them have over achieved or have produced inflated stats making these 10 names the most overrated players in the MLB.

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MLB 2011 Preview: Who Will Pull a Dennis Rodman and Rebound from 2010?

The 2011 MLB season is right around the corner.

Spring training is upon us and players are looking to standout and build up momentum heading into the upcoming season. 

While many of these players are rookies and young talents trying to land a roster spot in the big leagues, some are veterans and proven players who are trying to rebuild their reputation.

Whether they’ve been traded from the AL to the NL, are finally healthy, or were unable to perform in 2010, these players are looking to prove their worth to the baseball community.

The success of these players could make or break their teams success in the coming year, while the second half of their careers could hang in the balance.

We take a look at those once “prime-time” players who are looking to rebound in 2011 after a disappointing 2010.

The top 10 rebound candidates are…

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Baseball’s Next Big Thing: How Our Obsession With Perfection Has Scarred a Sport

It happens every year.

Minor league players, sometimes as young as 18, are hyped up to be the “next big thing” in baseball. 

As fans and fantasy baseball participants, we either watch these young talents blow up and become stars or unfortunately bear witness to them being thrown into the fire.

Being “Baseball’s No. 1 Prospect” really doesn’t mean as much as it should.  Players who have worn that title have succeeded and failed in the eyes of the big leagues.  We rarely and truly never know how a young talent will fare when called up. 

Can a power hitting catcher from Double-A protect the plate enough to hit Roy Halladay?

How will a young kid from the Midwest handle the big spotlight of a championship-hungry city?

At times it’s disheartening to see players be built up so much, just to fall harder.  Why do we as a society of fans and baseball fanatics, feed on the careers of young-blooded baseball “phenoms”?

Do we really understand how hard it is to travel, leave family, keep in touch with friends, and to forget all of those hardships to step up to the plate at Yankee Stadium?

We don’t, but we still have the nerve to complain when our 13th round draft pick doesn’t hit over .260. 

Regardless of the social and ethical borders we’ve crossed as onlookers of a beautiful sport like baseball, we still have a chance to not only realize how special young talent is, but to remember those once-heralded prospects for the sake of baseball.

With that said, the following players have been “lost at sea.”  2011 could prove the year that some, maybe even all of these players, blow up their life jackets and float their careers to safety.


Matt Wieters, Catcher, Baltimore Orioles

Wieters has had a career that’s hard to swallow.  And because of that, he’s become the distinct example of major league scarring.

Formally “Baseball America’s No. 1 Prospect” as of 2009, he’s been unable to carry his career minor league average of .333 into the big leagues.

Drafted in fantasy leagues among some of the best catchers in the game in 2009, even before he was called up to the majors, Wieters was projected to be a savior of many faces.

He was the future of great hitting catchers.  The future of the struggling Baltimore Orioles franchise and the future fantasy owner’s best friend.

Where did it all go wrong?

In 2009, through 354 at-bats, he hit a very respectable .288 average.  However, after hitting only nine home runs, the lack of power instantly rubbed fantasy owners the wrong way.  Was he a rookie bust?  That’s arguable, but that was just the beginning.

Last year, after Wieters was still being drafted among the best catchers in the game, his production absolutely plummeted.  Batting a unworldly .249 with 11 home runs, he was instantly tossed overboard and cast out to sea.

Still floating, Wieters will have a chance to rebound from last year and reshape his career as a MLB player and personality. 

Currently under the radar, the 24-year old catcher will be able to sit back and take this season in stride.  No “saviors” being thrown his way.  No “Baseball America’s No. 1 Prospect” being thrown his way.  Just the ball.

If Matt Wieters can rebound this year and become a legitimate hitting catcher for seasons to come, he will become a prime example as to why rushing baseball talents from the minors up to the majors, could ruin expectations as well as early careers.


Alex Gordon, 3B, Kansas City Royals

Once projected to be the next David Wright, Gordon is now being considered the Ryan Leaf of baseball.

Where have the years gone?

Gordon stepped into the spotlight that is the mess of Kansas City back in 2007.  The former first-round pick has been unable to swim to safety, let alone keep his head above water. 

Once thought of as a perennial 30-home run hitter, Gordon has only 45 homers through four seasons and 1,442 at-bats.

Now in 2011, Gordon is fighting to not only start at third for the Royals, but he’s fighting from being demoted back down to the minors.

Gordon turns 27 today.  Since 27 is the “prime time” for hitters to produce at their highest potential, this could be the last chance for Gordon to save his career.  If not, he could go down as one of the biggest busts ever in baseball.

Does this come as a surprise?  It might, but considering Gordon was hyped to the brim, as well as being counted on to rescue one of the worst franchises in the MLB over the past 15 years, he might of never had a fair chance to build a career in baseball.

Gordon’s life jacket has slowly been leaking, and the 2011 MLB season could be the patch he’s been looking for.


Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Heading into 2011, Gomez will be playing for his third team in a four-year career.

Once thought of as the next big speedster to grace the majors, Gomez has been unable to hit enough to keep a starting job.  2008 was the only year that Gomez has recorded over 320 at-bats.

Remember, this is a guy who supposedly beat Jose Reyes in foot races on the regular at practices.  His game is speed, his talent is speed, his paychecks are dependent on his speed, and he’s been unable to utilize it.

In 445 career games, the 25-year old has only swiped 77 bases.  Quite a lower number for Gomez, who stole 65 bases between two minor league seasons from 2005-2006.

Still fairly young, Gomez still has a chance to rebound and right the ship.  However, considering that his legs are his sole and sometimes only attribute, the longer he waits to explode, his chances to do so become nonexistent. 

What can we expect from Gomez this year?

Nobody really knows.  Gomez could turn his career around and finally hit for the average that will allow him to steal 50 bases. 

On the other hand, he could continue to be trade bait, vanishing into the pool of MLB players and lose his speed as age starts kicking in.  Let’s hope not.


Honorable Mention: Mark Prior, SP, New York Yankees

Prior needed to be mentioned.  He’s a product of an unlawful and unethical sabotage of a great pitcher’s arm.

After being ran into the ground by manager Dusty Baker from 2002-2003, Prior, who was 22 at the time, pitched over 320 innings in 49 starts.  Four of those starts were complete games.

While letting a young and talented pitcher get his feet wet doesn’t qualify as a crime, Baker’s over usage of Prior has been highly documented and continuously debated. 

Prior’s short, yet impressive career, has been a building block that has been used by team’s to structure plans for their young pitchers.  Think Joba Chamberlain and Clayton Kershaw.

It’s been four years now since Prior has recorded one out in the majors, and there is no reason to believe that will change.

Every year, Prior tries to rehabilitate and resurface as a pitcher to be signed.  Usually a team will sign him in the miraculous hopes that he’ll be deemed healthy and be able to pitch even an inning in the majors. 

That’s how good of a pitcher he was.  And was is the key word.

Signed by the New York Yankees this off-season, Prior will have yet another opportunity to make a comeback at the age of 30.

If there was ever a team for Prior to get healthy for and display his talents in a major league stadium, it’s the New York Yankees.  The situation seems perfect.

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Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 Hitting Sleepers Heading into the 2011 Season

Every season in fantasy baseball players emerge as go-to, bang for your buck hitters. Whether you drafted them or let them slip through your fingers could be the difference between a winning season and a losing one.

Heading into each year, good fantasy players and most of the time addicted owners know the guys to grab and which prospects have the ability to singlehandedly catapult their team to the next level.

Whether it is Jason Heyward, Carlos Santana and Buster Posey last year, or guys like Gordan Beckham and Starlin Castro who were immediately built up to be roster saviors, players are well known in draft lobbies even before they pick up the whupping stick and step up to the plate for their first at-bat.

However, if you can have an insider’s edge into who to grab before somebody else does in fantasy leagues, who would you take?

Here is a breakdown of the top 10 hitters to look for on draft day. These sleepers are either overlooked fantasy mainstays or potentially big-time hitters looking to rebound from a bad 2010 season.

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Next Generation Closer: Can Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel Join The Best Of The Best?

Who’s Craig Kimbrel?

He’s the next generation of major league closers.

Kimbrel is currently slated to out duel fellow relief pitchers come spring training and capture the closers role for the Atlanta Braves.  The Braves have not had a shut down arm since John Smoltz and Kimbrel could be this decade’s dominant closer.

The soon to be 23-year old had been one of the most dominating closers in the minors before he was brought up with Atlanta in May of last year.  Kimbrel only appeared in eight games between his call up and June before being demoted back to AAA. 

The young kid’s see saw transition to the MLB continued in August when he was brought up once again and compiled 11.2 innings until seasons end.

Even with the push and pull within the Braves organization, Kimbrel was able to compile 23 saves in AAA last year.  Striking out 83 batters in 55 innings and sporting a cool 1.64 ERA.  The rookie does tend to walk batters at times, but has enough control to get out of trouble when runners are on base.

While these minor league stats prove to be very impressive, his carried over success into the majors last year is even more eye opening.  In 20.2 innings with the Braves last year, amidst a late season playoff race, Kimbrel posted a 4-0 record with a 0.44 ERA.  He struck out nearly two batters an inning with a total of 40 and only gave up nine hits with no home runs.

Kimbrel’s ability to keep the ball away from any hitter’s bat was clearly evident from his stat line from 2010.  In his 149.1 innings pitched during his three year minor league career, Kimbrel only surrendered five home runs on 74 hits.  That kind of production is rarely found among strike out closer nowadays.

The outlook for Kimbrel and the Braves in 2011 is fairly good.  With the addition of Dan Uggla, a healthy Chipper Jones and Jair Jurrjens, an immanent explosive season from Tommy Hanson, and the opportunity for rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman to make an impact, the Braves have all the pieces to be serious contenders come October.

Kimbrel is currently being drafted and ranked outside of the top 15 closers in fantasy leagues this year.  Jonathan Papelbon, Jonathan Broxton, and Francisco Rodriguez, who are untrusted veteran arms on the decline are all being taken ahead of Kimbrel. 

Given a full opportunity to close for the Braves for all of 2011, Kimbrel could surpass 40 saves and 100 strikeouts.  We could be witnessing the new era of closers in the MLB.  Neftali Feliz, Brian Wilson, Carlos Marmol, and Craig Kimbrel.

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