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Who’s Next… The Year After Trout and Harper Hype

Have you caught up on the latest episode of The Space Jays. If not, you should. And it should also be a requirement for every MLB team to have a cartoon series.

Once you catch up on your Sunday Morning cartoons at work on Monday, make sure you fill out your 2013 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby Entry Form. There is less than a week left before the entry deadline.

Now that we have taken care of the business portion, let’s start pull out the hype machine and set it to hyper drive.

In 2010 there was Stephen Strasburg, in 2011 there was Eric Hosmer and Desmond Jennings, in 2012 there was Bryce Harper and Magical Mike Trout. So who will it be in 2013?

Let me introduce you to Jurickson Profar and Wil Myers.

  • Jurickson Profar – What a great baseball name. Obviously, Jurickson was not playing for the US in the WBC. In fact, his team is still playing and are strong favorites… The Kingdom of the Netherlands. Jurickson doesn’t have the hype that either Harper or Trout came with, but he has 20HR-20SB potential. Possibly even 20HR-30SB potential (he definitely has more speed than power). There is only 1 problem… he plays for the Rangers and is a SS by trade. The Rangers already have a log jammed infield. Beltre at 3rd, Andrus at SS, Kinsler at 2B. At this point, Profar will not be starting in the majors this season. The Rangers will either need to convince Kinsler to move to the OF or find someone to take Kinsler or Andrus in a trade. Regardless how Jurickson gets to the Majors, when he does arrive, he will be a staple in any fantasy baseball lineup thanks to his offense and eligibility at 2 fantasy scarce positions.
  • Wil Myers – At first glance of the photo you might catch yourself saying ‘The Royals have another top prospect?! How do they find all of these studs and not make the playoffs in 20+ seasons?’. But then you would be wrong. Not about the Royals not finding the playoffs, but about Wil Myers being a Royal. During the 2012-2013 offseason, the Royals shipped out the #1 MLB prospect for some pitching staff help from the Tampa Bay Rays (James Shields and Wade Davis). Myers fits into any MLB organization as a top outfielder and has plenty of power. He displayed his power in 2012 minor leagues belting 37 homers in 522 at-bats. He isn’t stagnant either. In 2010, he stole 12 bases, so double digit steals isn’t out of the realm of possibility. He has a problem that is different than Profar’s… he now plays for a money conscious team who will most likely delay his major league debut in 2013 to help delay his arbitration deadline. The Rays can’t keep him hidden forever though, and Wil Myers should see the Majors by June. Myers comes with a lot of hype as the #1 MLB prospect, so some fantasy owners are going to sit on him for those 2 months and not take the chance of needing to claim him off waivers.

Profar and Myers may not make their debut at the beginning of the 2013 season and they definitely will not put up numbers that Trout did in 2012 (no one will). But these are the two names you should at least familiarize yourself with for the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year considerations.

Time to Go “Big Fly” Fishing

Quick, go buy a fishing license with a Trout stamp… it’s time to go fishing!

Everyone in your fantasy league is probably caught up with running out and getting Bryce Harper who the Nationals just called up to replace Ryan Zimmerman who is DL bound. But while they are busy grabbing a kid who won’t spend the rest of the season in the Bigs (let’s get serious people, it’s temporary in Washington until Morse and Zimmerman are back), you can go out and grab the #1 ProspectMike Trout.

Your fishing license will be much cheaper than the Angels’ organization’s. They ate Bobby Abreu’s $9 Million contract which basically means that the Angels will pay any team to sign the 16-year veteran. If only the Brewers had a DH spot…

Rumors are that now that Trout is in the Show, he WILL play EVERY DAY. That rumor comes from a statement given by Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, so it has some legitimacy behind it.

Trout has been tearing up the Triple-A league this season. He’s batting 0.403 with 13 RBI and 6 SB in 20 games. And now he gets to be leading off and batting in a lineup that includes Pujols, Morales, Hunter, and Trumbo. This kid is legit.

If he is still available in your fantasy baseball league (only owned in 5% of ESPN leagues at the time of this post), go get him… NOW!!!

Inside The Acquisitions’ Stadiums: Pineda/Montero

Sure, Target may be able to predict when you have a bun in the oven but can they predict the next hosts of the MLB Fan Cave. Probably not, but you could…

The MLB Fan Cave could be a baseball fan’s perfect dream. The opportunity to sit down and watch all 2430 games. And not only watch, but comment on each of the games. You get one roommate to share the entire experience with but the opportunity to share the experience with as many ball players who stop by (Axford, Nyjer, Big Pappi, etc…). And the lucky two roommates are simply baseball fans. MLB doesn’t choose them though, the fans do. So head on over to the MLB Fan Cave and fote for your favorite entries (don’t miss the guy who has tattoos of all 30 MLB Mascots).

Target may not be able to predict the MLB Fan Cave hosts. But if their software developers had software to emulate Jack Zduriencik’s brain, they could create an algorithm to predict the trade that occurred between the Yankees and Mariners. Did anyone see this coming? Maybe my subconscious did seeing as I dropped Pineda in a keeper league to stream pitchers in the playoffs. I forgot about the keeper option and instead of Pineda costing me a 16th rd pick (he’s currently sitting at an ADP of 89, or the equivalent of a 7th to 8th round pick), he will be on a different fantasy team this year.

So let’s go into the Acquisitions’ Stadiums on the most interesting trade of the 2012 offseason: Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero.

  • Have the Yankees won?

This may be the first acquisition that I actually like for the Yanks in years. Instead of going out and buying everyone’s middle age stars that are past their prime, they went out and got a young stud that should be a staple in their rotation for years to come. It seems the Yankee front office has finally figured out that you can’t win a championship by overpaying a bunch of middle age men. For how pathetic their pitching rotation has been in the previous years, Pineda is a step in the right direction. Pineda is a freakishly tall left hander. At 6foot7 plus 10.5 inches, he towers on the mound. His 95-mph fastball looks more like 110 coming in at a starting height of 8feet. Not to mention he has a wicked slider. But, that’s really all his repertoire has. He has a change-up but it isn’t anything special and he hardly throws it. Still, he managed to strike out 173 batters while only walking 55 in 171 innings. Before his collapse after June, his ERA was a minute 2.75 and a WHIP of 1.05. The first half of the 2011 season, this kid (he’s 23) was Strasburg but without the hype. But will he return to his first half stardom or continue his 5.00+ ERA flop from the second half? The Yankees are hoping they didn’t end up with another AJ Burnett. If they did, at least this one is cheaper.

  • Will Pineda prevail in pinstripes?

As mentioned before, Michael Pineda was unbelievable through mid-June. If the season would have ended June 20th, Pineda would have been the AL MVP instead of finishing 5th in voting last season. And now he’s moving from the pitcher friendly confines of Safeco field to the homer happy Yankee stadium. From his stats last season, you would think that Pineda must have tired and started giving up more gofer balls beginning in July. But nothing is further from the truth. In June, his GroundBall% was an awful 26.5%. Over the rest of the season, it began to climb until his GB% topped out at a whopping 46.8%. This was partially due to him beginning to rely less on his high fastball (53% to 47%) and more on his nasty slider (31% to 35%). However, not only is he changing stadiums, but his opponents in his new division are a tad bit better than the AL Worst West. The Blue Jays and Red Sox were in the top 6 in Runs scored in 2011. And all 4 of the Yankees division opponents were in the top 10 in home runs (3 of the 4 are in the top 5). Even though Pineda was a rookie last season, he did get some experience pitching against the AL East. Boston and Toronto banged him around for 18 runs in 23 innings last season. And Camden Yards also yielded 3 runs in 6 innings. His problems don’t end there. Pineda’s home vs road splits are not very favorable. Safeco, being a pitcher friendly park, was Pineda’s safe haven by yielding a 2.92 overall season ERA. While the road was unkind with a 4.40 ERA. Now apply the home run factor to Yankee stadium and this trade could be a disaster for the Yankees. In my opinion, I believe Pineda has the stuff to be a great pitcher in the big leagues. But I don’t think he will be as good as he could have been if he stayed on the West coast. I will not be drafting Pineda in any fantasy league this season unless his draft position drops considerably. I would project Pineda’s ERA to be above a 4.00 and he will only get double digit wins this season thanks to having one of the best offenses behind him. That just isn’t worth a 7th rd pick.

  • Have the Mariners sold the farm?

Griffey Power Hasn't Been Seen Since 1999 In SeattleThe Yankees have proved that a prolific offense will win you games but it won’t win you a World Series. So what were the Mariners thinking… King Felix and Pineda were one of the best young 1-2 punches in all MLB starting rotations. They would have been equivalent to the hype the 2011 Phillies rotation was suppose to deliver. However, Seattle hasn’t had a true power hitter since the Griffey, Edgar Martinez, and Arod days of ’99. The Mariners get one of the Yankees top prospects in catcher Jesus Montero. The addition of Jesus Montero brings a young bat back into town. He has limited big league at-bats, but in just 61 of them he still swatted 0.325 with 4 long balls. To put that into perspective, extrapolate that out to about 600 at-bats and he would have a line close to 40 homers and 120 rbi. He’s obviously something if the Mariners are willing to trade a pitcher finishing 5th in Rookie of the Year voting. But where will Montero get his playing time?

  • Will Montero recharge the power in the Mariners offense?

Montero WILL hit over 0.300 and WILL hit 20 home runs. Montero is that good of a young hitter. The only obstacle he has to overcome is the fact that Chone Figgens and Ichiro couldn’t get on base in 2011. The good news is that Ichiro will not be as bad as he was last season. I mean it’s Ichiro. Last season was the first year he did have 200+ hits are hit above 0.300. Montero has consistently hit around 18HR, 78RBI, and 0.290 in his last 3 seasons in the minors. And that’s only in about 120 games per year. Team him up in a younger lineup with Dustin Ackley (really, really like this kid) and Justin Smoak (finally out of Texas and getting a chance), Montero will be the powerhouse and RBI producer in the middle of Seattle’s lineup for years to come. There is only one problem in 2012. He most likely won’t qualify anywhere other than DH. Miguel Olivo only missed 32 games last season. Those 32 games could belong to Montero in 2012, but when will he get them to qualify him at catcher. As a DH only player, Montero has little value in fantasy leagues. Sure he will hit 0.300 with 20 home runs and 70+ RBI, but he’s eating up a valuable utility spot on fantasy rosters. Now if he gets catcher eligibility, he would be a top-10 catcher as a rookie. So keep an eye on Seattle’s spring training lineup. If Montero is getting more opportunities behind the plate than at DH, he may just be worth more than a 16th round pick.

Recap:
– Pineda is being over valued. He’s a great young pitcher but the switch to the hitter heavy AL East and smaller ballparks are going to inflate his ERA and Whip. He isn’t worth a 7th-8th round draft pick. Still a good addition to a Yankee team who has been overspending in past years.
– The Mariners are finally dedicated to putting an offense back onto the field in 2012 and Montero will be the next great Seattle hitter. He needs to gain position eligibility to have more fantasy value in fantasy leagues. Unless your league has a DH position or multiple utility spots, hes not more than a late round flier (currently an ADP of 169). Wait for him next year if he goes before round 18. Unless he gets catcher eligibility, then he is going to be a top-10 catcher in 2012. Monitor his status in spring training.

Stay tuned for the next guest of Inside the Acquisition’s Stadiums: Yu Darvish.

Inside The Acquisition’s Stadiums: Jose Reyes

Miami's New Stadium Appeared In A 1986 Film

Reyes went from sponsoring Ghetto Hikes in Queens to Navigator of Miami.

He was only one of the Marlins big acquisitions this offseason. It seems the Marlins are stocking up on plenty of wood to build an amazing fire for their next big fire sale. They have nearly doubled their payroll going from $57Mil to $94Mil. Three of their four big name acquisitions are the highest paid players on the team (Hanley is now number 4). And guess who the highest paid player on the team is… the most feared name in Gatorade cooler history, Carlos Zambrano. Granted, the Cubs owe 15 of that $18Mil contract. Let’s go inside the Acquisition’s Stadiums of Jose Reyes.

  • When will the next Florida Fire Sale be?

This isn’t a new strategy for the Marlins. Their front office seems to be in a cycle of Buy, Buy, Buy, Sell, Sell, Sell. In 1997, they bought Bobby Bonilla and Moises Alou off free-agency at lucrative deals (see Reyes and Buerhle’s deals) and went on to beat the Indians in the World Series. Soon after, house was cleaned which is rare for a team winning the big game. Alou, Bonilla, Kevin Brown, and Gary Sheffield were all sent packing. In 2003 they won their second World Series, and by 2005 they sent most of their big names packing again. So here we are in 2012, and they are in the buying spirit again by throwing out big numbers out to Pujols, CJ Wilson, Reyes, Heath Bell, and Buerhle. But they only managed to bag three of them. With the major buying period over, it appears the Marlins’ next fire sale will begin in 2014. Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco will be a free agents, HanRam will be in his last year at $16Mil, Heath Bell in his last year at $10Mil, Reyes at $16Mil, and Buehrle at $19Mil. Not to mention Stanton will be eligible for his first year of arbitration. Yup, 2014 will be a busy year for Miami’s accountants.

  • Will Reyes finally stay healthy and produce useful numbers?

Reyes will be his fastest yet since hes more aerodynamic and 20lbs lighter without dreads. But he has only played in more than 130 games once in the past 3 seasons. Has only topped 100 runs in one of those three seasons. And hasn’t eclipsed the 40SB mark since 2008 (from 2005 to 2008 he stole almost 260 bases). However, he swiped 39 bags in 126 games last season and cheated won the NL batting title with a 0.337 BA by benching himself in the final game (did Reyes cheat or did he know Braun was doping and didn’t want a cheater winning the batting title?). So the question is, did Miami just buy the most expensive torn hamstring? If Reyes’ hamstrings stay healthy this season, he could potentially steal 70+ bases again. Ozzie Guillen is the new skipper and in 2010 (when the White Sox weren’t made of raw power) he told his guys to run 235 times. That was the most among all teams in 2010. It’s still unknown if Reyes will bat first or second, but he will be given the green light to run wild on the base paths in order to get more scoring opportunities for Hanley and Stanton. I would gamble on Reyes this season after missing 36 games last season and still finishing 16th on the ESPN player rater. Remember, no one has stolen 100 bases in a single season since Vince Coleman in 1987 (he did it in all 3 seasons from ’85-’87). I would love to see a 100SB season and I think Reyes has the best chance.

  • What impact does this signing have on Goliath Mike Stanton?

Mike Stanton is the Jim Furyk of baseball. His swing is so ugly but that ball goes a mile when he connects with it. Let’s be honest, Reyes coming to the Marlins won’t make Stanton’s swing any more beautiful to watch. But what Reyes does bring is a 0.292 career batting average. This translates into more RBI opportunities for Stanton since Reyes will be in front of Stanton in the order. He had 87 RBIs last season… this year he will get his first 100 RBI season and likely more than 110. Stanton’s the real deal; he’s not in Group A for his speed. Stanton is on my target list to own in all my leagues this season while he is still somewhat cheap.

Cut Dread Locks Unlock Reyes 2012 Speed

  • What impact does Reyes have on Hanley?

Oh there you are Hanley” is what Marlins fans hope to be saying this season after last. HanRam’s ADP in ESPN drafts last season was about 2.6! Two, point, six! I watched Hanley Ramirez get traded for Dillon Gee in one of my leagues last season and there was a riot. In the end, Dillon Gee may have been a better player. So adding Reyes definitely can’t hurt Hanley’s ability to perform better than 2011. And if you voiced your hatred to Hanley on his twitter account, HanRam may be giving you credit this season with every crack of the bat. Most likely, the Reyes signing will move Hanley to the three hole in the lineup to make use of his power. Unfortunately, adding Reyes pretty much puts a kibosh on Hanley’s use of his speed. Before 2011, Hanley has a 124HR/196SB split line for his first 5 full MLB seasons. That’s an average of 20HR/40SB per season. Absolutely ridiculous. That type of speed and power combination doesn’t come along often let alone at the most scarce fantasy baseball position: Shortstop. I would speculate that Hanley will now be more of a 25HR/20SB type player. Which is still good but not GREAT. He’s also moving to thirdbase which will give him multiple position eligibility (that’s a common trend in the first 3 Acquisition’s Stadium articles). Even though his stolen base totals will drop, his RBI and potential power will increase. Hanley Ramirez may have upset some fantasy owners in 2011 and terrified would be owners in 2012, but one thing is for certain, I will gladly draft Hanley in the top 15 this season (his current ADP is 19.3).

  • What impact does Reyes have on Lo-Mo and Bonifacio?

The real question here is who’s going to be batting in one of the other top 2 spots in the Marlins lineup alongside Reyes this season. Bonifacio is projected to bat number 2 behind Reyes, but I don’t necessarily agree with that. I would think Logan Morrison would be a better fit at number 2 and putting Bonifacio at the bottom of the order. That might be the reason that I’m not a big league manager. In either case, Bonifacio has nothing to gain other than more RBI opportunities if he bats second. If he bats first, he’s the same player he was last year. If he bats at the back half in my scenario, he has a lot of run opportunities to lose. If LoMo stops playing with his dog Twitter and gets the opportunity to represent his father’s favorite player (the Marlins actually unretired a jersey number for LoMo) by batting in the two-hole, he has a lot more to gain. His runs scored would almost double from the 54 he had last season and his RBI could push 85 or 90. So the current answer to the question posed above is, Bonifacio has first crack at increasing his RBIs from the 36 he had last season. But Logan Morrison could (should) be the beneficiary of said RBIs. Pay attention to the Marlins spring training lineups to see who should be on your fantasy radar.

  • What does this mean for the Mets?

Let’s face it, the Mets season is going to be over after the first pitch, again. The Mets are a team on the brink of bankruptcy sale. Their opening day payroll will probably drop by more than $50Mil from 2011 to 2012. Still at a $90+Mil payroll in 2012, they don’t have the names to be able to contend or justify that amount of money in the payroll. And I wouldn’t be surprised if David Wright is on a new team by the middle of July. That’s not good news for Mets fans as they will be forced to watch a losing team. However, the good news for Mets fans is that the rumor is ticket prices could be reduced by as much as 30% to try to spark more revenue. So it will at least be more affordable to watch the Mets lose than it has been in previous seasons.

Recap:
– Marlins are restocking their shelves for their next fire sale in 2014.
– Reyes has the best chance at a 100SB season. If he stays healthy, he will attempt at least 80SB this season. And with HanRam and Stanton behind him, he has a shot at 120 Runs.
– Stanton will get 100RBI for the first time and has a shot at topping 115.
– Hanley is worth the gamble in 2012. Expect 25HR/20SB and he will be worth a top 15 pick as a multi-position eligible player.
– Either Logan Morrison or Emilio Bonafacio will benefit and the other will suffer. Monitor spring training lineups for the Marlins to see if LoMo is batting near the top of the order. Otherwise, LoMo will not gain any fantasy value from last season.
– Mets Fans, you might as well read the article on being a fan of a sub 0.500 team. Just stick it out true Mets fans, your day will come again (once you stop paying retired player Bobby Bonilla 11-years of interest).

Inside The Acquisition’s Stadiums: Albert Pujols

Pujols new look

Pujols may have gotten $254 Million, but he didn’t get $900 Trillion.

The Cardinal organization sold their souls their World Series rings for a first round compensation pick. And the Angels just bought themselves two World Series caliber players (Pujols/CJ Wilson) for a combined $330 Million. Hopefully they enjoy paying a 42-year old DH the remainder of a 10-year $254 Million contract to sit in a hospital bed waiting for a hip transplant. It’s not my job to judge but I think the Angels just made a $100 Million mistake. Pujols is a stud right now but I can’t imagine the Angels break even in 6 years for what they are paying him at that time. Not to mention the $1 Million per year the 10 years after that, the suites, and the numerous bonuses.

Lets take a look at the two teams involved in this huge off-season acquisition (3rd highest in history, only behind A-rod’s two previous deals):

  • What did the Angels buy?

The Angels just bought a team to try and reclaim the American League west of the Mississippi. Tired of missing the playoffs, the Angles paid big bucks to steal today’s best player from the Cardinals and then steal a division rival’s star starting pitcher, CJ Wilson (who will be covered in a later post). The 10-year $240 million deal is completely back loaded. Meaning, Pujols will make most of his money in the latter years of this contract. In fact, he is making $4 Million less in 2012 than he did in 2011. But he also worked out bonuses for reaching baseball milestones (3000 hits, 763 homeruns, etc) and winning awards (MVP, All-star selection, etc). There are other perks when he retires. This deal will be a great deal for the Angels for the next 4 season or so while Pujols is still raking with 35+ HR, 0.300+BA, and 100+RBI. But, I still think this goes down as one of the worst deals in MLB history. Simply for the fact that Pujols will be 42 when the deal expires and making $30 Million. That much cash for a DH who will be well past is prime is $28 Million too much. I foresee a $100 Million fallout in 6-years where someone picks up Pujols for cheap while the Angels are still paying him.

  • What to do when you have three 1B: Pujols/Trumbo/Morales

Unlike having three yearbook photos rejected, the Angles have three 1B that could start for most teams. And that translates to RBI’s for Pujols. Pujols will be the starting 1B and most likely be batting 3rd in front of Morales and Hunter giving him plenty of protection to see better pitches. I would only expect his HR, RBI, and BA to increase this season. It also means that Trumbo and Morales need to find new positions. Rumors are Trumbo will start at 3B, Morales will fill the DH role, and Bobby Abreu will be forced to the logjam of an outfield. With 5 players left on the roster fighting for an everyday position, two of the following Bourjos/Wells/Hunter/Abreu/Trout will be without a starting position with the Angels.

  • Meet Mark Trumbo, a new and very valuable multi-position player

Trumbo was a pleasant surprise in 2011 with 29HR and 87RBI after Kendry Morales was unable to play after his 2010 freak accident. Trumbo was almost my write-in for the Home Run Derby and now he finds himself in Group C for the 2012 Home Run Derby. He was the Angels 2011 starting 1B and presumably the 2012 before Pujols was signed. With nowhere to play, the Angels organization is committed to starting Trumbo at 3B this season to keep his bat in the lineup and Morales starting at DH. This basically means that Bobby Abreu’s bags are packed but doesn’t have a known destination. Trumbo will have 1B and 3B eligibility and should be on your radar as a valuable fantasy source. Plus, if he fails at 3B defensively, he may gain OF eligibility throughout the year. He should maintain similar stats to his 2011 season assuming he is an everyday player and he bats in the 7th spot of the order. I think he’s undervalued at a ranking around the 220-230 range.

Too Many Angels In The Outfield

  • Where does this leave Mike Trout

There are too many Angels in the Outfield in 2012. With Vernon Wells signed for $21 Million (one of the worst contracts in history) and Torii Hunter making $18 Million (and still producing), there really is only 1 “cheap” outfield position for the Angels. Peter Bourjous claims the last spot in CF simply because he can actually cover the vast area required by the CF. What this means is that the aging Bobby Abreu is homeless on the Angels lineup. And I’m not sure how the Angels deal him for a gain. Now we come to Mike Trout. He is a young stud prospect who is ranked as the #3 overall prospect in the MLB. This kid can flat out rake and run. He’s hit over 0.300 every season and has stolen over 30 bases the past 2 seasons in minor ball. He has potential to have a 20HR/30SB season when getting regular playing time. The problem is… the Angels have nowhere to play him. Either they have to bench $21 Million or find a way to off-load such a bad contract (refer to this article in 2017, Pujols will be the next Vernon Wells contract for the Angels). What this means to your fantasy team… monitor Mike Trout’s playing time and performance in spring training this season and the status of Vernon Wells’ playing time throughout the season. If there is any small rumor about Trout grabbing a starting spot in the outfield, pick Trout up and stash him. He is worth a bench spot. Or hope that Morales doesn’t bounce back. The Angels may have to put Wells at DH and Trout in the OF.

  • What happens to Berkman’s and Holliday’s values

What would Starsky be without Hutch? What would Sherlock be without Watson? They would be like Holliday and Berkman without Pujols… average. Seriously, Pujols made these two players better. Opposing teams had to pitch to these two due to the fear that Pujols created. With that fear removed, Holliday will be pitched around and opposing pitchers will take their chances with the aging ‘Big Puma’. Holliday won’t hit over 25HR and will collect less than 100RBI. While Berkman regresses back towards his 2010 numbers (I’ll guess 22HR and 85RBI). I hope Cardinal fans enjoy pitching duels because that’s about all they will be seeing in 2012.

  • The St Louis pitching staff just became more valuable

Losing the biggest bat in the Cardinals’ lineup has one benefit to the fantasy world… the Cardinals bullpen is going to be more valuable. With less offense, Cardinal games will be much closer leading to more save opportunities and holds (hopefully less marry-go-rounds in the later innings with La Russa gone as well). So keep an eye on the closer status of the Cardinals, right now it’s Chris Motte. On the opposite end of the pitching staff, the Cardinal starters just became more valuable to the Cardinals, but not to fantasy owners. If the Cardinals are going to contend in 2012, it all comes down to their starting pitching (Carpenter/Wainwright/Lohse/Garcia/Westbrook). Carpenter (as much as I hate him) will put up his typical polished numbers. Wainwright has a lot to prove coming off of Tommy John, but I would take a flyer on him in any fantasy league. Lohse was great in the regular season, but wore down in the postseason and I don’t see him having a sub-4.00 ERA this year. Garcia could only pitch at home (2.55 ERA at home, 4.61 ERA on the road) and I see his home numbers looking more like his road in 2012. And Westbrook isn’t anything special. With less offense behind them, I see all of the Cardinals’ starters decreasing in Wins and with the pressure on their shoulders in close games, their ERA and WHIP will also increase. I would only trust Carpenter and Wainwright on my fantasy teams.

  • Does St Louis have a shot at defending their 2011 title?

With no replacement to Pujols in the lineup, the St Louis Cardinals will be depending on their pitching staff in 2012. And to be honest, the starting rotation doesn’t really wow me. Unless they sign Roy Oswalt, the starting rotation has 2 mediocre pitchers on the back and their ace is coming off Tommy John. If Wainwright is rusty or doesn’t return back to his pre-surgery form, the Cardinals will be in a large world of hurt. Not to mention losing probably one of the best skippers of all-time (Tony La Russa) and one of the best pitching coaches in the league today (Dave Duncan), the Cardinals will be chasing at least the revamped Cincinnati Reds for most of the season.

In Summary, what does this mean to you:
– Pujols numbers will be better than last season, go get him.
– Trumbo gains fantasy value by gaining 3B and possibly OF eligibility. Undervalued at rank 220+.
– Morales still holds 1B eligibility and could rake in the clean-up spot if healthy.
– Trout needs an injury or a $21 Million bench spot to find playing time in 2012.
– Angels pitchers will achieve more wins with more offensive help.
– Cardinals offense will struggle resulting to less wins by Cardinals pitching.
– Cardinal relievers will have more save opportunities than 2011.
– Berkman will produce more like his 2010 stats and not his 2011 stats.
– Holliday will see an increase in walks and be pitched around.
– Angels will regret the 10 year deal in 5 to 6 years.

Stay tuned for the next guest of Inside the Acquisition’s Stadiums: Jose Reyes

The All-Star Head-to-Head 2011 Fantasy Baseball Team

Something to read while the Flying Tomato lands a four-peat.

With fantasy football a few weeks behind us, the real American pastime can begin to grasp hold of America. Don’t even attempt to begin a battle you should already know you will lose. Football is just another easy out for American sports enthusiasts and should not even be mentioned in the same breath as Baseball. (This blogger should be beat with Pa’s Ol’ Beatin’ Stick… his only valid point is #5)

According to the countdown in the upper right of the site, Pitchers and Catchers report for training in roughly 10 days, 23 Hours, and 20 minutes. And since we are within the 2 week period, it is officially time to start talking Fantasy Baseball… and it isn’t a minute too soon as I was beginning to go bananas.

Fantasy Baseball comes in two opposing identities (there are other formats but not nearly as popular)… similar to Cinderella and the Ugly Step-Sisters. Rotisserie and Head-to-Head. One may ask… so which format is Cinderella and which format is the Ugly Step-Sisters. The Commish’s opinion is only one small opinion, but seeing as you are reading this post, it’s an opinion that you care about (I’m just stroking my own ego at this point). But, Cinderella only plays in Rotisserie format Fantasy Baseball, for several reasons.

  • It encourages building a superior all-around team.
  • It encourages research on all players and trying to find that turd to polish diamond in the rough and not streaming pitchers.
  • The best team always wins.
  • There is no luck involved because there is no ‘easy schedule’.
  • You can’t cheat (I’ll explain this comment below).

The one thing Rotisserie lacks in compared to Head-to-Head is the ability to provoke competitiveness, friendly banter, and managers in last may stay interested longer (although no manager should walk away from a team). In Head-to-Head, your team always has a specific opponent. Sure your team may be in last and out of the playoffs in August, but the ability to play against your arch nemesis (probably your boss), who is ranked number 1 in the league, and pull off a week victory leaves you feeling as if you had just won the World Series. Yes, Head-to-Head is perfect for the league that survives on cockiness and not necessarily on baseball knowledge and wits.

What fuels this hatred of Head-to-Head of mine? It’s the idea that one can walk into a league with very little baseball knowledge but has a fined tuned ability to dissect the rules and scoring. For anyone who has any morals and participates in Head-to-Head Fantasy Baseball leagues, please turn away and do not continue any further with this post. Because what follows next will give you the tools to be almost unstoppable in any Head-to-Head league.

Are you sure you want to continue reading? If you continue, I cannot be held responsible for you being banned from your high stakes league with all your old high-school buddies for using “the force” for evil and not for good.

To Learn About The Force: Follow the Jump…

Fantasy News: Book Value

The first guest posting: From “The Changeup Artist”

I bet everyone reading this had a baseball card collection. If you didn’t have one, you knew someone who did. We all had our favorites, those cards that you loved that nobody else loved; those cards with the bent corners that you saved your dimes to buy; those cards that you put in plastic sleeves and locked away for when you were 50.

Fantasy baseball teams are no different than your old card collection. You collect guys hoping your collection is the most valuable. It isn’t about looks – twenty Dwight Gooden rookie cards won’t help you win the best collection. In fact, to get the best collection you need to beg, borrow, steal, trade, and scrounge guys onto your roster. This week, I offer you guys to save from a burning building, to hold on in your lock box, to make a complete set, and to use on your dart board.

Run Back into the Flames for that Card!

Example: 1909 Honus Wagner could buy you one of these for 1.5 million, 1933 Babe Ruth ($150K), and 1933 Mickey Mantle ($100K)

After saving the wife, children, dog, cat, and Brewer hat, go back in for these guys. They could at least buy you a new house. Who could buy you a new team in fantasy if yours burned down in May? The question is really how many good players someone would pay for a great player. You don’t have to wait for production with these cards: they pay now! Albert Pujols is obvious. The guy kills the ball (7 Homers, 18 RBI) and is on a great team. I would run back in for Miguel Cabrera, too. His 24 RBI leads the majors and he isn’t slowing down. Maybe gaining weight but not slowing down.
For The Rest Of The Story: Follow The Jump…