Author Archive

MLB All-Futures Team: The Next Superstar at Every Position

Wondering who the next great MLB star will be? Well navigating through such as question is not just par-for-the-course, but also a very debatable topic that pretty much leaves an open door for several mentions, for several reasons.

I have comprised a list of who I think will be the next set of MLB superstars, and I tried to mix in both players who have begun carving their name into the history books (players with no more than five years of service prior to this season), as well as, players just about to begin making their mark (rookies).

So let’s take a look at who I chose, and be sure to leave your nomination below.

Begin Slideshow

Fantasy Baseball 2011: Gio Gonzalez and 5 Fab Breakout Pitchers to Target

Some of the more savvy fantasy baseball owners out there know that your fantasy baseball team is not necessarily won in the early goings of your draft.

The real success comes in the later rounds.

It’s in this dark, dank region where most daring owners simply hit the “Autopick” button and go on to some other endeavor.

But for owners who always seem to win their league, or at least consistently place in the top three, they know you have to stick it out until the very last pick, lest wind up with an unbalanced roster that can’t always be repaired by the waiver wire.

One of the rewards for lingering around is the overabundance of players most people either ignore, or have no read on.

But there are some players who combine the aforementioned aspects, while wearing the lustrous tag of “breakout” as a plus.

Well, get your notebooks out and your pens ready, because these fab five fellas are definitely players you want to remember come draft day.

Begin Slideshow

Fantasy Baseball 2011: A Deep Look At The St. Louis Cardinals

 The St. Louis Cardinals offer plenty of fantasy baseball value in 2011 from font to back of the draft board. But the Cardinals have also had some issues with consistency over the past few years, and a couple of questions surrounding some key players.

  • Can Skip Schumaker bounce back from a terrible 2010 season?
  • Can Colby Rasmus lower his dangerous strikeout count?
  • Can the starting rotation provide more reliability to fantasy owners than they did in 2010?

All this and more is covered below. Let’s take a look at what the St. Louis Cardinals have to offer in the 2011 fantasy baseball season.

Impact Players (Hitters):

  • 1. Albert Pujols, 1B: There is no guess work involved here as Pujols remains one of the top hitters in the 2011 fantasy draft. With six seasons of 40 plus HRs under his belt, and not a single season in which he did not hit over 100 RBI, it’s safe to say you take the guy with your first selection. And don’t worry about that contract mumbo jumbo, everything will be fine in St. Louis.
  • 2. Matt Holliday, OF: Holliday is an elite hitter who can hit for power, and provide fantasy owners consistent fantasy baseball points all year long. He’s hit over 100 RBI in each of the last four seasons and is good for—at the minimum—25 to 30 HR. Matt Holliday is a Top 10 outfielder (take a look at where we have Holliday ranked) who is sure to go in the early rounds of every draft.
  • 3. Colby Rasmus, OF: Rasmus batted .276 with 23 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 at-bats last season, but struck out an alarming 148 times. Rasmus did say, however, that he figured out what the problem was and that he will adjust this year. Rasmus has the power and speed potential to be a 25-25 player, and makes an excellent No. 3 outfielder in your fantasy baseball draft.

The Pitching Staff: The following is a preliminary look at the projected lineup and what you could expect.

1. Adam Wainwright: The staff’s ace, Wainwright remains one of the best starting pitchers in the National League, and should be considered a Top 10 pitcher on draft day. He is 64-34 with a 2.93 ERA since becoming a full-time starter in 2007 and has become one of the better Fantasy options in baseball for his low ERA and high strikeout totals.

UPDATE – 2/23/2011: Club officials are saying that Waino could need Tommy John surgery, reports Joe Strauss on Twitter. While it is not completely definitive, this suden injury is still very bad news for Cardinals’ fans and fantasy baseball fans. As the news comes in, I’ll keep you guys abreast.

2. Chris Carpenter: Carpenter is a solid SP2 out of St. Louis who can throw a ton of strikes and provide fantasy baseball owners with those ever crucial wins. His durability could be a slight worry with his history of injuries, but if he remains healthy, he’s a solid Top 20 SP.
3. Jamie Garcia: Last year was Garcia’s rookie year, and it was a pretty good one as he went 13-8  with 132 strikeouts and an outstanding 2.70 ERA. He missed the last two games of the regular season due to arm fatigue, but that is always expected with rookies. Garcia is a great option in the middle region of your fantasy baseball draft with no limitations to league type.
4. Kyle Lohse: Lohse can pitch and throw strikes, but he’s more of an injury risk than anything. Keep him on your watch list after the season begins and explore other options at the end of your draft.
5. Jake Westbrook: A lot of people still think that Westbrook is a nice option as a late round flyer, but I’m not buying into it. Westbrook has always been a 50-50 pitcher with low strike counts, so he doesn’t come with a lot of value even at a dollar in an auction draft. You can do better.

Potential Sleeper: David Freese, 3B: Freese’s rookie season was a disappointment after only hitting four dingers in 240 AB, but that could be attributed to his ongoing ankle problems that were corrected surgically this off-season. Remember, this was the same kid who knocked 26 moonshots in his first season at Triple-A.

Freese should be rearing to go by April, and you can bet the kid will provide 20-25 HR with an average around .300 making him a worthy candidate for sleeper in nearly every league type.

And ta boot, he’ll more than likely be available in the back end of your fantasy baseball draft making his value extra tasty.

What You Should Know: The Cardinals offer much more in the hitting department outside of the three players mentioned above. Skip Schumaker, Ryan Theriot, Lance Berkman and even Yadier Molina are all worthy candidates for your consideration on draft day.

The only thing is, though, all of these players are best suited for the back end of your draft selection, and aren’t very good selections in deeper leagues—NL only leagues are more fitting.

The bullpen, and the starting rotation’s reliability for an entire season remains the most questionable aspect of the Cardinals, and you can find much better options than the likes of Ryan Franklin or Jason Motte.

Still,the Cardinals have plenty of shelf material for managers to consider when shopping around. Keep this team in the back of your mind on draft day, especially towards the end of your 2011 fantasy baseball draft.

Interested in another team? Check out our other Team Analysis: PhilliesCubsWhite SoxOriolesRedsYankeesRed SoxA’s

This article is also featured on

Read more MLB news on

2011 Fantasy Baseball Profile: Is Vernon Wells Destined To Fail with Angels?

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made a significant move in the offseason by signing to what should be considered to be an overly inflated contract and an incredibly bone-headed move.

What makes this move bone-headed is the simple fact that the Angels not only gave up two wonderful players in Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli, but also the fact that the Halos are hoping Vernon Wells will duplicate his 2010 performance, which isn’t likely.

If THAT’S not enough, Wells is also owed a whopping $86 million over the next four years, and goes to a less hitter-friendly park in Angels Stadium of Anaheim than his old digs at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, making Wells’ season possibly look more arduous than the six-month repair fiasco on the Metrodome.

Enter in the fantasy factor.

Last year playing for the Blue Jays, Wells hit a solid .273/.331/.515 with 31 home runs (two shy of his career total of 33 back in 2003) while knocking in 88 RBI. This came after a three-year lull, mainly due to a broken wrist in 2008, and lingering after-effects in 2009.

But that was 2010.

Wells is 32 and is sure to take a downward turn in overall production, so the real issue is his new digs and age is sure to cause his fantasy value to dip—something you want to remember at draft time

Currently—depending on where you go really—you may find Wells ranked anywhere from 25th to 35th among outfielders which is a bit generous.

Top-50 outfielder, yes. Top-25 outfielder, certainly not!

Come check out more information on fantasy baseball sleepers, and fantasy baseball team analysis.

The moral of the story is this: I understand—as most do—anything is possible in baseball. But just because anything’s possible, doesn’t mean you forget about the improbable.

Wells is not going to duplicate his 2010 performance, which means (at draft time) you should treat him as a third OF at best—perhaps even a low-end DH player with potential since he won’t hurt you with strikeouts—but wasting a quality draft pick on Wells early would be a huge waste.

2010 Stats 590 31 88 79 50 84 6 .273 .331 .515

2011 Projections

610 22 80 72 52 86 7 .265 .324 .505

Read more MLB news on

Are The St. Louis Cardinals Really Going To Let Albert Pujols Slip Away?

Can the St. Louis Cardinals afford to let Albert Pujols slip through the cracks? Could the St. Louis fanbase even fathom the notion of their beloved team without their adored first baseman?

Well considering that possibility could perhaps become reality, the Gateway City may well be facing a heavy aftershock of seismic proportions.

The ripple-effect of marquee players leaving for greener pastures is a situation that all teams—and their fans—inevitably have to deal with at some point:

Brett Favre to the Jets, and then to the Vikings of all teams; the irony of Mark Teixeira—California’s “Angel”—going to the evil empire known as the New York Yankees; and of course, the coup de grace, LeBron James leaving the deprived Cleveland area for the lavish life in Miami.

Well, move over boys, there’s a new coal burning on the hot stove and the media collective are waiting on bated breath for something—or someone—to give in St. Louis.

The news of Albert Pujols and his ongoing contract saga, shouldn’t be an antique headline. Contract talks, questions of Pujols even attending spring training, and even speculation of the MLBPA being involved have taken a stranglehold on just about every major sports site across the country.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Rumors of rival teams champing at the bit for Pujols’ upcoming free agency—such as the Chicago Cubs, and their “supposed” 10-year, $275 million deal just waiting on the table to be presented—have added just enough fuel to a fire already out of control.

But while the organization and the player, throw down negotiating “fisticuffs,” the St. Louis fanbase is caught in the cross fire.

The Cardinals’ organization and their faithful followers, have already been through the mire and back thanks to their current hitting coach—and previous adored first baseman—Mark McGwire.

As if that whole debacle isn’t enough, this team hasn’t even been to a World Series since 2006.

How possible would it be to get to the Fall Classic without the face of the franchise?

The purpose of this little piece isn’t so much to delve into who’s right and who’s wrong in this chronicle, but rather, what type of long-term effect it will have on this organization and their congruent fanbase—a fanbase that quite frankly has been through enough.

If Albert Pujols wants a long-term deal, then there should be no qualms about inking such a contract. Let us not forget, this is a player who bleeds Cardinal Red, and requests such a deal to ensure that he will be a part of this great city and their supporting cast for years to come—a difficult achievement in this modern day world of sports.

The aforementioned modern day of sports doesn’t always favor what is right, in regard to the player and the fans, but there always seems to be obvious exceptions that just make sense.

For instance: You should entertain signing Pujols to a 10-year deal; you should not entertain signing Colby Rasmus to a 10-year deal.

In the grand scheme of things, it is the opinion of this writer that Albert Pujols stays—no matter what the cost. Is that statement a bit premature, even made in haste? Perhaps.

But, there is little room to argue against this player’s stance, a player that has the right to possibly, one day, become an indelible mark in St. Louis Cardinal history.

Read more MLB news on

2011 Fantasy Baseball: Oakland Athletics Team Analysis

In seems like a millennium since the Oakland Athletics were last seen in postseason play—let alone a contender at all—and while this hasn’t been a team that has had a lot of opportunities to land big name players, the A’s are a team that has quietly been building in a solid unit since 2008.

Now as the 2011 season approaches, the A’s are looking more and more as if they are a contender in the American League.

From a fantasy perspective, the A’s give fantasy baseball managers plenty to consider, as they draw up their fantasy baseball draft plans.

Not known as a particularly power hitting team, the A’s have always been right smack dab in the middle of the pack in just about every MLB category except power.

But with a few additions and a bright horizon in front of them, the A’s could afford their fans, and fantasy managers, much more than initially expected.

Let’s take a look.


Impact Players (Hitters):

  • 1. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B: The A’s weren’t known as a power hitting team collectively, but leading the way was Kevin Kouzmanoff, who admittedly says he had a down year in 2010. Kouzmanoff would like to elevate to a power third baseman; something that would sure help his fantasy baseball value in 2011. Kouzmanoff hit .247 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI and will have to improve upon his walk rate significantly from last year, which directly affected his OBP (.283). In the end, you could do far worse at third base in the middle of your draft.
  • 2. Coco Crisp, OF: If you saw this stat line: .279/.342/.438, eight HR, 38 RBI, 51 R, 32 SB, 81 total hits, you would probably say that’s pretty average, but nothing to write home about right? Well, how about that stat line in only 75 games and 290 AB? Coco Crisp didn’t play a ton, but when he did, he made his mark. He can get on base, obviously can steal and will more than likely hit leadoff this year. If he can stay healthy, I would wager to say you could justify taking him in the bottom portion of the middle rounds, but if you can push it and grab him in the later rounds, you definitely walk away with a steal.
  • 3. Daric Barton, 1B: According to Athletics’ GM Billy Beane, Daric Barton is the best first baseman in the league…moving along. OK, look, Barton is very serviceable and can add a bit of power and pilfered bases making him a nice late round DH for your team, but an elite hot corner guy he is not. Expect Barton to hit around .290 with a possible line that could look like this: 15 HR, 75 RBI, 85 R, 10 SB—not too shabby for a late-round flyer, especially in AL only formats.

The Pitching Staff: The following is a preliminary look at the projected lineup and what you could expect. Please keep in mind that this lineup and its order could change by the time Opening Day hits.

Individual performances, injury and the unforseen all have a dramatic affect.

For now, use the information as a template as you keep an eye on these guys in ST. Also be aware that any preliminary listed ADP could also change in the coming months, again based on the individual’s performance, or lack their of.

1. Trevor Cahill: Want a top 50 fantasy baseball SP who has two 10-plus win seasons under his belt and was good enough for AL CY Young consideration last year?
Then you might want to take a look at staff ace Trevor Cahill. Cahill ended the 2010 fantasy baseball season with an 18-8 record alongside a 2.97 ERA and a 1.11WHIP.
The only knock on Cahill is his low career K/9 rate (5.0). But keep in mind two things: 1) Last year, he raised his K/9 rate to 5.4 from a dismal 4.5 in 2009 and 2) Cahill offers more stability and consistency than any other middle of the pack pitcher in the league right now.
He’s worth owning for his value and reliability.

2. Gio Gonzalez: Arguably the best pitcher on the staff last year next to Trevor Cahill—arguably the best staff pitcher in terms of fantasy value—Gio Gonzalez will look to build upon a 2010 campaign that saw him finish 15-9 with a 3.23 ERA and a 7.7 K/9 rate.

That ERA is a bit inflated thanks to an elevated 4.1 BB/9 rate, but that’s really the only issue with the youngster. If you look at the current ADP numbers, you’ll find Gonzalez ranked higher (45 SP, 173.82 ADP) than pitchers such as Josh Beckett and Jorge De La Rosa which is dead on.

In fact, you could make a case that Gonzalez is just as good as, if not better than, the 12 pitchers ranked ahead of him. You can see the full list below, just click on the MockDraftCentral link.

3. Brett Anderson: Couldn’t get your hands on Gonzalez or Cahill? Don’t worry there’s still more pitchers out of Oakland—like Brett Anderson.

If it weren’t for a bout with the injury bug in 2010, Brett Anderson’s ADP (201 according to our friends at would be a bit higher, but that is still an absolute steal. Anderson still ended the season with a 7-6 record alongside a 2.80 ERA and racked up a K/9 rate of 6.0 (7.0 career).

Anderson doesn’t give up the long ball hardly ever (0.5 HR/9) nor does he walk anyone (1.8 BB/9), making him one of the more delicious SP in just about every format.

4. Dallas Braden: Aside from Dallas Braden’s famed perfect game last May, there’s little to get excited about.

Career wise, the guy doesn’t strikeout many batters (5.5 K/9) and hasn’t had a winning season in four years of play. But if you do dig a bit deeper, Braden has lowered his ERA in each of the past four seasons (6.72 in ’07, 4.14 in ’08, 3.89 in ’09 and 3.50 last year.) He also lowered his hits per nine despite still being a very hittable pitcher.

If you’re looking for a draftable SP in the very back end of your fantasy baseball draft, you could do a lot worse than Dallas Braden.

5. Rich Harden – Brandon McCarthy: This fifth spot is up for grabs between the strike master, but oft injured Rich Harden, and the fly ball prone Brandon McCarthy. Both pitchers should make for great waiver wire fodder, but nothing more.

Potential Sleeper:

Brett Anderson, SP: If we get away from the initial stats on Bret Anderson, we can focus a bit more on just exactly why the 2011 fantasy baseball season could wind up being a true sleeper year for him.

Anderson was a favorite to bust out last year after posting a 2.96 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings over his final 17 starts as a rookie, but the guy just couldn’t stay healthy. In May, he only had one start (strained forearm) and the same happened in June (sore elbow).

But as we saw towards the end of the 2010 season, Anderson began to settle in as an everyday starter, finishing the final 12 games of the season in the fashion many figured in the first place with a 2.59 ERA.

Anderson improved upon nearly every category from his rookie year except for strikes, but you can easily chalk that up to playing in nine fewer games in 2010. He gave up one-third less home runs, cuts his ER count and R total nearly in half and again, despite playing in nine fewer games; one has to imagine that with two full years under his belt and the fact that he is more settled and healthy than ever before, he is worth a consideration for the sleeper tag in 2011.


What You Should Know:

Let’s not forget that the Oakland Athletics are also stacked in the bullpen with Andrew Bailey, Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes and Michael Wuertz if you’re looking for a high value guy at the RP slot.

And with a bullpen comprised of throwers like that, it gives the starting rotation even more intrigue and a bit of extra value.

The Athletics will be far more competitive in the 2011 season, especially with the addition of Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham, but I don’t see any reason why you should draft either of these players.

Josh Willingham has played no more than 133 games in the past three years (no more than 144 in his seven years of service) and Hideki Matsui is doing his best impersonation of the six million dollar man by continuing to play on those bum knees, making both of these players very risky.

Still, Willingham could hold more value than Matsui if you need to grab someone in the very back of your draft.

One final note is to keep a close eye on outfielder and first baseman Chris Carter who will inevitably start in the minors again this year thanks to Billy Beane’s affinity toward Daric Barton.

Carter was known—and touted—for his power in the minors and ended his sixth season with a .284/.380/.540 batting line, a .940 OPS and a whopping 149 home runs.

There is still a chance he could wind up playing again in 2011 as a starter as the season progresses.


Interested in another team? Check out our other Team Analysis: PhilliesCubsWhite SoxOriolesRedsYankeesRed Sox

Read more MLB news on

MLB Trade Rumors: The Latest on Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder and Others

More and more moves continue to happen around the majors, and despite the winter meetings coming to an end, there are still a couple of players in need of either a contract or a new home.

I’d like to take a look at 10 players who are currently still holding their “for rent” signs, and give you the latest news regarding them.

All news is current as of Monday, 7 a.m.

Begin Slideshow

MLB Rumors Fact or Fiction: The Top 50 Offseason Rumors Exposed

With player movement really heating up over the past week or two, the rumor mill has also put a couple of coals on the fire, leaving many fans to ponder just what is fact and what is fiction.

Players such as Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox), Jason Werth (Nationals), and Mark Reynolds (Orioles) have all found new homes, but there are plenty of other players still on the hook rumored to be in cahoots with “interested” teams, or “close” to signing a new deal.

Which reports are fact and which are fiction? Well, that’s what I am going to try and settle for you here today. Please keep in mind that I am reporting the most current news available at the time of this article.

Begin Slideshow

Jayson Werth Could Be Headed To Boston, Is Domonic Brown Even Ready?

Have you ever owned a jack-in-the-box? If so, do you remember that feeling of anticipation that sunk deep within your stomach right before the lid popped open? No matter what you did to prepare yourself, nothing could stop the overflow of surprise when that lid popped open, right?

Well, the same feeling has run through the Philadelphia faithful after news of Jayson Werth declining arbitration Tuesday night. We can all say it was expected, but it does nothing to lessen the blow.

And while a few diehard fans will fall deep into the gasping grip of denial will comment: ‘just because he declined arbitration doesn’t mean he still can’t sign…” the rest of us are beginning to move on, and accept the end of a truly great run from a truly great player.

But there are two significant questions that still linger: Could Jayson Werth Be headed to Boston, and is Domonic Brown even ready?

Across the Boston University Bridge is another fanbase beginning to wonder if perhaps Mr. Werth could be the offensive addition they’ve been so desperately craving. The rumor is that Boston is in fact very interested.

The Red Sox have the second largest payroll in baseball—we all know who is the current champion in that arena—but they also have significant room to move. Outfielders Bill Hall and Ryan Kalish have been serviceable, but not the Type A power bats the Red Sox need.

In addition to all of this, there is news that eight different teams have shown interest in Hall, and Kalish could be used as possible trade bait in the near future. This could open a clear path for the Red Sox to roll out the red carpet for Werth.

But the question always comes down to money doesn’t it?

The Red Sox could toy with the notion of extending a five year deal worth a cool $100 million dollars, but that is left to be seen. The Red Sox also know that there aren’t many teams that are willing to compete in such a high priced arena for one guy—namely Jayson Werth.

The second question is whether or not prospect Domonic Brown is ready to fill some pretty big shoes.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that despite being sent to the Dominican Winter League, Brown has yet to appear in a single game.

And nobody believes Philadelphia sent Brown down there to gauge how comfortable the benches are.

The hot hitting Phillies’ prospect has been a monster in minor league ball since 2007 accumulating a .296/.373/.464 line with 48 home runs, 232 RBI and 89 stolen bases; so the Phillies are eager to get Brown some at bats, and back in shape.

But that’s just it, the Winter League isn’t very long. After the league finishes up, there is a month long layover in holiday happy-land before the advent of Spring Training.

The biggest question is whether or not that will be enough time to get him in shape.

Not being in shape leaves a player vulnerable to injury in Spring Training, and the Phillies can’t afford such a situation with Brown, especially considering the sizable shoes he has to fill in such a short time.

So here we are, the latest scribed chapter in an ever growing book of questions.

Either way, the coming months are going to be quite arduous for Phillies’ fans to say the least, or as George Herbert put it: “Every mile is two in winter.”

But in the same vein winter dies into spring, and with such a death rises a new life (season) filled with promise, hope, and new beginnings.

Ah, such is the way of the diamond.

Read more MLB news on

MLB Free Agency: 10 Players Who Are Better Buys Than Cliff Lee

Free agency is a fickle beast in that money doesn’t always constitute the quality level of any given player. More often than not, teams fork over hefty coin simply based on a player’s prior experience and what the agent “sells” the buying team into thinking.

Take, for example, starting pitcher Cliff Lee. His track record over the past two years arguably suggests he is worth over $100 million—arguably! But what about all those players who are better buys than Lee. Isn’t that where the true value rests?

It may be a trite question to ask but I thought it a great topic to discuss, so let’s take a look at who I have come up with. I will take a look at pitchers as well as some position players to widen the gamut.

So sit back and enjoy and please be sure to leave your nominee below in the comment section.

Begin Slideshow

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress