Archive for February, 2011

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: I’m on a boat

Monday, February 28th, 2011

How are things on the West Coast?

Rally Fries!  For another season, the free french fries that the Mariners broadcast booth delivers to a group of lucky fans may be the only thing Seattle fans can look forward to enjoying.  The #3 hitter from the worst offence in the American League last year remains in that spot, and the pitching staff hasn’t really changed either.  Despite this bleak outlook – there’s still some fantasy value at Safeco Field.

On Cosby’s Board

Felix Hernandez – SP

- The king of everything but winning.

Ichiro Suzuki – RF

- “Hey hey, ho ho, lead-off batter Ichiro” is the song that should play when Suzuki strides to the plate.  He shouldn’t be your first outfielder, but he’s finally available in a spot where you won’t mind drafting 45 steals, a .315 average and 75 runs.

Chone Figgins – 2B – with 3B imminent (or is it eminent…you’d think a writer wouldn’t mix that up every time)

- Interesting stat #1:  Chone is an awkward way to spell Sean.  Interesting stat #2:  Figgins is a career .298 hitter when playing 3rd base (where he’s slated to play this season) and bats a career .262 as a 2nd baseman (where he played last year).  Stat #2 is enough for me to not only forgive him for the way he spells Sean, but to push aside Figgins’ .259 average last season.  Feel free to target him in the middle rounds if you miss out on a 2B or 3B early, he should be a good source of runs, average and steals.

Michael Pineda – SP

- Stipulation:  Pineda must beat out (shouldn’t have trouble – more just up to the organization and how they want to break him in) David Pauley and Luke French for the fifth spot in the rotation before you put him on your roster (unless you’re in a very deep league).  I won’t be taking him until I’m comfortable with my players at every position.

Erik Bedard – SP

- Much like Pineda, I’ll have to be satisfied with my entire team before taking a chance on Bedard in the late rounds.  Consider every pitch you get from him a bonus.

Off Cosby’s Board

Franklin Gutierrez – CF

- He’s the 3-hitter I mentioned in the opening.  Don’t let the spot in the batting order fool you, his career high of 18 homers in 2009 would be a generous projection.  Leave him out there.

Jack Cust – LF

- Clean-up hitter or not, when you have to decide whether 200 k’s and a .250 average is worth 25 home runs – you just don’t decide.

Justin Smoak – 1B

- The Smoak Machine won’t get it going for a couple of reasons – his home ballpark and the lack of bats behind him.

The bats behind Smoak – C, LF, SS, 2B

- Miguel Olivo, Michael Saunders/Milton Bradley, Jack Wilson, Brendan Ryan/Adam Kennedy can all start the season on the scrap heap in the Safeco rail yard.

Brandon League/Chris Ray/David Aardsma (Closer)

- Reports are calling a return for Aardsma in early May ‘optimistic’.  We also don’t know how Aardsma will pitch once he recovers from his hip surgery.  Unless he gets left on the board very late, pass him by on draft day.  Brandon League seems like the appropriate interim closer, but he blew as many opportunities as he saved last year, so don’t overvalue him just because he’ll be the one getting the ball in the ninth to start the season; who knows how long that will last?

Because Cosby’s Bored

Dustin Ackley – LF with 2B on the way

- Your minor league numbers really have to be amazing for me to take a liking to you.  While Ackley was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League, the 2010 numbers he put up between AA and AAA aren’t enough for me to consider drafting a guy who’ll have to fight for playing time while batting low in the order.

There.  A nice concise look for once and I managed not to bombard you with pointless facts about journeyman infielders.  The western swing continues tomorrow…

Quasi-legal/Promotional Note:  We at Sportsnet Radio THE FAN590 hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Prep School.  Before you go, keep the following points in mind:  A player is not guaranteed to tank just because Zach Cosby has removed said player from his draft board – in fact, that may enhance the aforementioned player’s chances of breaking out.  Team previews should appear daily until the season begins but, once posted, the draft boards listed are subject to change as spring training progresses.  And finally, think before you draft.  Any questions can be answered by filling in the comments section below or by listening to The Fantasy Show every Saturday on Sportsnet Radio THE FAN590.

Follow Zach on twitter: http://twitter.com/thecozbyshow

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: Texas Toast?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Young is restless

It wasn’t the greatest off-season for the Texas Rangers.  They lost the stud left-hander (Cliff Lee) who carried them to an American League Championship.  Sure, they landed one of the year’s best free agents (Adrian Beltre), but in doing so they managed to upset a career .300-hitter (Michael Young) who’s suited up for them over 1500 times (Michael Young).  The Michael Young Situation (I searched high and low for a different word, sorry for reminding you that you missed last week’s Jersey Shore) seems to have settled in since his trade request.  Young’s a consommate pro so he may well settle in to whatever spot Ron Washington wants, but there’s still enough uncertainty here to make the projecting of Ranger numbers a difficult task.  One thing is for certain, Cliff Lee bolting for Philly means this guy won’t be targeting any Rangers starters.

On Cosby’s Board

Ian Kinsler – 2B

- Kinsler appears here first because Ron Washington confirmed his star 2nd-baseman will hit leadoff this season.  Kinsler’s average suffered in that role in 2009 but if he can put up anything near the numbers he gave fantasy owners in just 120 games in 2008, he’ll be a steal if taken outside the top 25.

Elvis Andrus – SS

- Andrus appears here second because it appears he’ll be occupying the 2-hole in the Texas lineup this season.  He appears on my draft board only because shortstop is a shallow position (not as shallow as Fabro, but close) and Andrus offers a guarantee in runs and steals.  There is no reason to believe his average goes up, so anything you get outside of plate-touches and swipes is a real bonus.

Adrian Beltre – 3B

- Third base is very thin (like this but not quite as scary) so if you miss out on the Longorias and the A-Rods of the world, Beltre may be your last chance at some guaranteed power at the position.  You have to like his new home, but hate news of a spring calf strain that you’ll need to monitor heading into draft day.

Nelson Cruz – LF, RF

- He’s my favourite Ranger.

Mike Napoli – C, 1B

- Playing time is the only thing keeping me from guaranteeing he’ll be a top-5 backstop by season’s end.

Off Cosby’s Board

Josh Hamilton – LF, CF

- Pick your jaw up.  Proceed.  The fact of the matter is that I usually only have one stud outfielder and it won’t be him.  I could type things like ‘he’s yet to have two good seasons in a row’ but I’d be lying, it’s simply a gut thing.  It also should be noted that the positions I target in the early rounds are only available near Hamilton’s ADP.

The Rangers’ Rotation – SP

- C.J. Wilson + Colby Lewis + Tommy Hunter + Brandon Webb + Winner of 5th starter battle = Serious lack of clout = Nothing good enough to outweigh the fact that they pitch in Texas = Incredibly long and annoying math equation = Not funny

Neftali Feliz – RP (Closer)

- 40 saves?  Check.  Rookie of the Year Award?  Check.  Rumours he’ll enter the rotation? Check.  The latter check mark isn’t the only reason I’m avoiding Neftali, I also don’t like his draft position heading into 2011.  You have to ask yourself (because you want to, not because I told you to) ‘Do I want to spend a 4th or 5th round pick on a guy who may not close?’.  The answer to the next question ‘Will he be a legit stud starter?’ trumps all of this.  If you believe Feliz has 4th or 5th round upside as a starter and don’t mind searching for the saves you initially wanted from him…then draft away.  (Alexi Ogando would likely close if Feliz, for some reason, does not)

Michael Young – 3B

- New role (DH).  New spot in the order (6th).  You don’t need me to tell you that whenever possible, uncertainty is something you avoid on draft day.

Mitch Moreland – 1B

- More like Mitch Lessland (pause for laughter).  He has to show me he’s caught up to major league pitching/can hit lefties/will garner steady at-bats before I even consider giving up a spot on my roster.

Because Cosby’s Bored

Julio Borbon – CF

- Those of us whom Julio refused to throw a Borbon last year spent the offseason (or the last 20 minutes) trying to figure out if he can become fantasy relevant in 2010.  This blogger could not.  Can he be a cheap source of steals?  Well he was caught 25% of the time in the minors and it’s only gotten worse in the bigs.  Will he score runs or bat .300?  His minor league stats support that he should one day hit in the upper .200s.  Even if Borbon does find his timing this year though, it’s hard to roster any number 9 hitter – no matter how potent the offence.

All right, so I’m 2 for 2 on going more in-depth than expected/I wanted to go.  Tomorrow I’m thinking we’ll go further west (not a Pet Shop Boys reference) because A) the teams out there are a mystery to you, and 2) (classic Wilner-ism) some AL West clubs offer very little to discuss.

Quasi-legal/Promotional Note:  We at Sportsnet Radio THE FAN590 hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Prep School.  Before you go, keep the following points in mind:  A player is not guaranteed to tank just because Zach Cosby has removed said player from his draft board – in fact, that may enhance the aforementioned player’s chances of breaking out.  Team previews should appear daily until the season begins but, once posted, the draft boards listed are subject to change as spring training progresses.  And finally, think before you draft.  Any questions can be answered by filling in the comments section below or by listening to The Fantasy Show every Saturday on Sportsnet Radio THE FAN590.

Follow Zach on twitter: http://twitter.com/thecozbyshow

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: Los Gigantes

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Crown by the Bay

BASEBALL!  Some may claim the reigning World Series Champions get the first look in this year’s Prep School because there is a bias at work.  Some are wrong.  While this blogger has been a Giants fan since Bonds arrived by the Bay, they’re the World Series Champions for Pete’s (or anybody’s – don’t know why people always limit it to Pete’s) sake.  What’s startling is that (much like last year) many Giants won’t make their way into fantasy lineups.  Still, it’s worth taking a closer look at the Black & Orange

On Cosby’s Board

Buster Posey – C, 1B

- Gerald Demp Posey batted 93 points higher on the road last season, but the Rookie of the Year’s pedigree suggests he should turn it around at AT&T Park and avoid the dreaded “sophomore slump”.

Tim Lincecum – SP

- Ace of his staff = ace of your staff.

Matt Cain – SP

- Proven time and again that he’s able.  Target him in the second wave of pitchers (Round 5ish)

Madison Bumgarner – SP

- You’re lucky you’re not in my pool because I plan on saving a mid round pick for him – you shouldn’t have to go that high but the young lefty should disappear before many late-round arms in 2011.

Brian Wilson – RP (closer)

- Fear the beard.  Even if Wilson takes a liking to facial hygiene, many (including The Machine) could argue that he should be the first closer off the board…and they’d have a pretty good case.

Off Cosby’s Board

Andres Torres – LF, CF, RF

- He’s only REALLY (first Wilner-ism!) good in one category (runs) and barely mediocre in the rest – expect a little bit of pop but 25 steals is his ceiling if he strikes out over 125 times again.

Jonathan Sanchez – SP

- Sanchez issued a walk while this sentence was being typed.  While I love the way he handled Chase Utley’s flip back to the mound in the NLCS, I’ll draft a pitcher with the same strikeout potential who may not fall victim to the base on balls.  Make that 2 walks now.  There’ll be plenty of arms available in the late rounds where Jonny-No-No is being projected.

Pablo Sandoval – 1B, 3B

- There was nothing funny about The Kung Fu Panda’s production in 2010.  His sequel to an outstanding 2009 was a box office flop.  I can’t explain a guy following up a .330 season by hitting .268.  I also can’t explain the effects of a 38-pound weight drop on a once 278 pound beast.  I can however say that even if he bats .300, Pablo doesn’t put up the power numbers I seek from my corner infield positions.

Aubrey Huff – 1B, LF, RF

- Like the eligibility but feel like last year was his ceiling and he could easily fall short of it.

Cody Ross – LF, CF, RF

- Would draft him if he could face Roy Halladay 80 times each season.

Miguel Tejada – 3B, SS

- Still don’t believe we know his actual age.

Because Cosby’s Bored

Brandon Belt – 1B

- It’s doubtful that Belt will make the club out of spring training as the 22-year-old played just 13 games in AAA last season.  His pop did help him speed through the Giants minor league system so if one of their vets (cough, Pat Burrell, cough) struggles, and the 6’5″-195-pound Texan shows he can handle AAA hurlers, you may be plucking him off the waiver wire this season.

One team down – many teams to go.  I can only hope it marks the beginning of a team-by-team draft preparation that will help us all claim a virtual championship.  I’m taking the same approach as successful-year’s past, only now I have some fantastic listeners/readers/fantasy freaks with whom I can share it.   For now it’s getting late though, I better go…

Quasi-legal/Promotional Note:  We at Sportsnet Radio THE FAN590 hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Prep School.  Before you go, keep the following points in mind:  A player is not guaranteed to tank just because Zach Cosby has removed said player from his draft board – in fact, that may enhance the aforementioned player’s chances of breaking out.  Team previews should appear daily until the season begins but, once posted, the draft boards listed are subject to change as spring training progresses.  And finally, think before you draft.  Any questions can be answered by filling in the comments section below or by listening to The Fantasy Show every Saturday on Sportsnet Radio THE FAN590.

Follow Zach on twitter: http://twitter.com/thecozbyshow

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