February 2010

411 Question of the Week (2/26)



Continuing our position-by-position look at ADP rankings, what change would you make on this Top 15 SS list from Mock Draft Central?


1.    Hanley Ramirez

2.    Troy Tulowitzki

3.    Jimmy Rollins

4.    Jose Reyes

5.    Derek Jeter

6.    Jason Bartlett

7.    Alexei Ramirez

8.    Stephen Drew

9.    Rafael Furcal

10.   Miguel Tejada

11.   Asdrubal Cabrera

12.   Yunel Escobar

13.   Elvis Andrus

14.   Orlando Cabrera

15.   Erick Aybar





Elvis Andrus is waaayyyy too low on this list. If he builds on last year’s second half growth he could easily be a top 10 shortstop by the end of the season and possibly higher if he really goes wild on the bases. As it is he should be able to challenge 40 steals after bagging 33 last year, and maintaining or improving upon his .280 second half average would further solidify a much higher ranking. I’d take him over Bartlett, Furcal and Tejada, among others, without a moment’s hesitation.




I couldn’t agree more with Cory. When all is said and done I could see Andrus 6th or 7th with Alexei Ramirez taking the other spot. Looking more closely at the 6-15 spots and taking away old men Tejada and Furcal, the remaining players all have certain attributes and potential like Drew, but for pure ceiling and electricity it’s all about Elvis.




In addition to bumping up Andrus, I’d place Orlando Cabrera in the slot right below Miguel Tejada. From 2006 through 2009, Cabrera has averaged 93 runs and 20 steals while batting over .280 in each of those four seasons. Orlando’s consistency goes underappreciated in fantasy circles and I can even see him surpassing the 10-home run mark for the first time since 2003 with his move to hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. Asdrubal Cabrera and Yunel Escobar probably have more upside but I’d sooner take my chances with O-Cab as a low-end starting shortstop in 12-team mixed leagues.



411 Question of the Week (2/23)



along in our position-by-position look at ADP rankings, what would you change
on these Top 15 2B rankings from Mock Draft Central?

  1. Chase Utley
  2. Ian Kinsler
  3. Brandon Phillips
  4. Dustin Pedroia
  5. Brian Roberts
  6. Robinson Cano
  7. Aaron Hill
  8. Ben Zobrist
  9. Dan Uggla
  10. Jose Lopez
  11. Howie Kendrick
  12. Orlando Hudson
  13. Rickie Weeks
  14. Martin Prado
  15. Placido Polanco


As likeable
a person as he may be, Orlando Hudson simply doesn’t belong on this list. He
hasn’t topped 10 homers in a season since 2006, and he’s reached that many
steals only once in his career, and while his batting averages have generally
risen throughout his career, that hasn’t led to meaningful growth in runs or
RBI’s. Batting among Span, Mauer and Morneau should be a plus, but Hudson is strictly a
late-round fall-back option, not the starting fantasy second baseman that his
#12 ranking would suggest.



This is a tough one.
On paper the position looks deep, but I’m not so sure. After Utley and Kinsler
you could probably pick out of a hat for 3-6 and make a very solid argument.
You have a guy who has went 30-30 in Phillips, an MVP in Pedroia and the high
power, average and run total of Cano. Roberts and his back have me concerned
since he’s also 32 but he still deserves to be in that tier of 3-6. The real
question is who is for real from 7 on down. Are Hill and Zobrist legit? Is this
the year Kendrick really breaks out? I’m not the biggest Howard fan and
 the fact he  is #11 says a lot to me but that doesn’t mean he can’t
move up to #7 or higher at year’s end. I see Kelly Johnson having a bounce back
year in Arizona, and as I agree with Cory on Hudson, I’d sub in
Johnson for the O-dawg.



I really can’t argue
with most of these rankings but one small change I’d make is moving Pedroia
ahead of Phillips. Over the past two seasons, Phillips holds a combined .269
batting average with 41 homers, 176 RBIs, 48 stolen bases and 158 runs scored.
During that same span, Pedroia has batted .311 with 32 home runs, 155 RBIs, 40
steals and 233 runs. Phillips’ edge in homers, RBIs and steals is easily
outweighed by Pedroia’s domination in the average and runs categories. Don’t
get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Phillips and his consistent power/speed
production, but a 42 point difference in average is simply too much to overlook
and the runs discrepancy should only continue considering Brandon’s low OBP and the fact that he’s
hitting more towards the middle of the order.


411 Question of the Week (2/19)



on our position-by-position look at ADP rankings, if you could make one change
on these Top 15 1B rankings from Mock Draft Central, what would it be?


  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Mark Teixeira
  3. Prince Fielder
  4. Miguel Cabrera
  5. Ryan Howard
  6. Joey Votto
  7. Adrian Gonzalez
  8. Kevin Youkilis
  9. Justin Morneau
  10. Kendry Morales
  11. Lance Berkman
  12. Carlos Pena
  13. Derrek Lee
  14. Billy Butler
  15. Chris Davis

The change
I would make has nothing to do with who is on this list, it’s who’s not on the
list, and that’s Adam Dunn of the Nationals. He’s never going to win a batting
title, but he’s about as close a sure thing as there is for drafting 40 homers
and 100 RBI’s, power numbers not dissimilar to Carlos Pena and clearly superior
to many of the second-tier names ahead of him. His outstanding plate discipline
leads to plenty of walks, and combined with the improved Nationals offense,
that should yield enough runs to at least partially offset the poor batting


I’d move Adrian
Gonzalez ahead of Votto. He’s been doing it longer and I believe he will end
the season in a different uniform which can only make his value rise. If you
disagreed I wouldn’t fault you. Weird to see Morneau so low but it’s
understandable. This position is so damn deep.  Did you know that, of the
top 16 players in the Majors in homers for 2009, ten of them qualify for 1B?


Chris Davis simply does
not deserve to be drafted 15th among first basemen. The guy was so
bad in the first half last year (.202 AVG, 114 strikeouts in 258 ABs) that he was
sent to the Minors for almost two months. While Davis performed fairly well down the stretch,
he was still one of the biggest fantasy busts of 2009 and has a lot to prove at
the big league level. Give me the steady yet underappreciated Adam LaRoche, Jorge
Cantu or Paul Konerko over Davis.
I’m just not a believer.



Final Slow Mock Draft Results


That’s right! The Fantasy Baseball Trade Market slow mock draft has finally come to an end. Click Here to view the Round 23 results and use the links on the right side panel to see the rest of the draft results. You can also access the Draft Grid, a PDF document that shows the picks in grid format as well as each team’s roster.

A few observations:

-Habiger taking Aaron Hill over Dustin Pedroia in the second round is a risky move to say the least considering Hill’s very short track record. I wouldn’t have done it as Hill will need to go .280-30-100 minimum to make this investment pay off.

-The Markakis/B.J. Upton/Hamilton/Granderson debate: In almost all of the mock drafts I’ve seen so far, these outfielders have been taken very close together and in several different orders. This mock was no exception. I have them ranked Granderson, Upton, Markakis, Hamilton but an argument can be made for any one of these guys going first. I’m not willing to gamble on the injury-prone Hamilton in the fourth round and believe that Markakis simply does not have the #1 OF upside of Granderson or Upton.

-Top tier starters like Halladay, Sabathia, King Felix, Verlander and Johan not being drafted until the fifth or sixth round isn’t much of a surprise considering that all of these participants seem to be devout 411 followers when it comes to SP draft strategy but in most drafts you’ll never see all of them falling this far.

-Jay Bruce getting drafted in the early eighth round ahead of more established names like Hunter, Abreu and Ibanez says a lot about the perceived value of a high-potential former top prospect vs an older veteran coming off a very productive season.

-Corey Hart in the 19th, Harang in the 20th and Cueto in the 23rd are all outstanding value picks.

While Cory’s team lacks a true bopper, he somewhat made up for it by drafting above-average power guys at thin positions (Utley, Rollins, Zobrist) though I would not have taken Zobrist over Verlander. The underrated Valverde in the 12th and Homer Bailey in the 20th were, in my opinion, his best value picks.Rios could also turn out to be a steal if he can ever regain the form that made him a top-15 OF just a couple seasons ago.

As for Siano’s squad, his strength is clearly in the outfield as Braun, Sizemore and Werth were all gobbled up within the first four rounds. I really like the power/speed balance among this group. Mike usually tries to draft two closers back-to-back early on but made out real well  thanks to K-Rod falling to the 10th round. Love the Billingsley-Weaver-Burnett-Jackson foursome considering that all were drafted in Round 11 or later. Passing on Wright in the mid-third round in favor of Roberts is a little surprising, especially since third base lacks depth this year. I’m also not high on the decision to draft an aging Berkman over aces like Haren and Verlander but this can be explained by a difference in strategy. I have no problem with taking a starter in the sixth round if a truely elite one is still available.

Well those are just some of my quick thoughts. Let us know what you think.


Fantasy 411 Valuable Resources

411 Audio Podcast    411 Video Podcast    2010 MLB.com Fantasy Preview    List of 12         
Cory’s 2010 Composite Projections    Watch MLB Network Fantasy 411 Preview Show

Cory’s NFBC Recap

Siano’s AL Tout Draft Recap

Cory’s NL Tout Draft Recap

MLB.com Fantasy 411 lands on MLB Network for 2010

Follow the 411 on Twitter @fantasy411, @schwartzstops, @fantasymlb

411 Question of the Week (2/12)


If you could make one change on these Catcher rankings (ADP list from Mock Draft Central), what would it be?


  1. Joe Mauer    
  2. Victor Martinez
  3. Brian McCann
  4. Matt Wieters
  5. Jorge Posada
  6. Kurt Suzuki
  7. Russell Martin
  8. Miguel Montero
  9. Geovany Soto
  10. Bengie Molina
  11. Mike Napoli
  12. Chris Iannetta
  13. Ryan Doumit
  14. Yadier Molina
  15. Miguel Olivo


Matt Wieters may yet live up to his Mike Piazza-meets-Zeus hype, but ranking him fourth overall among catchers is still over-optimistic based on what we’ve seen so far. Indeed he did finish strong last year, hitting .333-4-17 in September, but his .882 OPS that month was 115 points higher than in any other month, and those five count also. If he were to maintain that level of production for six months this ranking would certainly be justified, but anything short of that represents too high an investment for this big a gamble.




Going off what Cory said I would simply flip Wieters and Suzuki. Suzuki showed what an asset he can be over a full season and he should get better at 26. Hanging .275/20/95/80/12 on Kurt in 2010 is not a huge reach and we love speed from the catcher position. I would have put Posada 4th if not for age and injury issues, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the spot with Suzuki a close 5th. Then again, Soto and Martin can be re-born and blow it all to bits.




Bengie Molina has been one of the more consistent offensive catchers over the past several seasons but I’m not high on him this year for a couple reasons. At 35, he’s reached an age when most catchers begin to break down. Playing in the NL certainly doesn’t help matters as the Giants will not have the DH option to occasionally give him a break from backstop duties. Then there’s the Buster Posey factor. Should Posey not make the big club out of spring training, chances are he joins the team by June at the latest. Molina’s value would obviously take a major hit if his title changes from starting catcher to Posey’s babysitter. I’d knock Molina down at least two spots on these rankings, placing both Mike Napoli and a healthy Ryan Doumit ahead of him. Chris Iannetta might even wind up with better final numbers than Bengie.




411 Blog Checklist (2/8)


March 6th: NY First Pitch Forum
March 21: Fantasy 411 Preview Show: 8 PM ET on MLB Network
March 26th: AL Tout Wars Draft @ Citi Field
March 27th: NFBC NY, Citi Field
March 28th: NL and Mixed Tout, Citi Field

Continue checking the blog for updates and an upcoming big announcement
Follow the 411 on Twitter @fantasy411, @schwartzstops, @fantasymlb

411 Audio Podcast
411 Video Podcast
2010 MLB.com Fantasy Preview

Hey everyone,

It’s official. The 2010 fantasy baseball season is here. Why do I say this? Because the MLB.com Fantasy Preview is up and running, complete with rankings, in-depth analysis, projections, dollar values and cheat sheets. Check it out.

The slow mock draft is certainly living up to its name. Click Here for the most recent results.

Now to the blog links…

411 Question of the Week: Need for speed

on adjusting projections for position scarcity

analyzes the very latest transactions

List of 12

Keep the questions coming,


411 Question of the Week (2/4)


March 6th: NY First Pitch Forum, Time and Location TBD
March 26th: AL Tout Wars Draft, 4:00pm ET @ Citi Field
March 27th: NFBC NY, Citi Field
March 28th: NL and Mixed Tout, Citi Field

Continue checking the blog for updates and an upcoming big announcement

411 Audio Podcast
411 Video Podcast

Follow the 411 on Twitter @fantasy411, @schwartzstops, @fantasymlb


one player who you will be targeting in the very late rounds as a cheap source
for speed.

Lastings Milledge is something of a forgotten man
after being run out of two organizations, and he was further hampered last
season by a broken finger, but he’s stolen 28 bases in his last 162 Major
League games going back to 2008, along with a .278 average and 17 homers. He
seems comfortable in Pittsburgh,
especially now that he’s been moved to the less stressful defensive assignment
in left field, and he’s still only 24. Milledge’s talent has never been in
question, so with a full season of health and calm this could be year he starts
converting those skills into big-time fantasy results.


Want to fill your
middle-infield spot with a burgeoning young shortstop with top-flight speed who
will cost you next to nothing?  If so, give Everth Cabrera a call. The impressive 23-year-old sophomore is
riding high after swiping 25 bases in just 103 games during his maiden voyage
through the bigs last season.  And don’t attribute it to beginner’s luck,
as Cabrera’s track record more than backs up his strong debut, as he pilfered a
******** 73 bags through the Minors in the 2008 season.  If that’s not
enough, the fleet-footed Padre has proven he can get on base, as evidenced by
his .324 OBP in the ’09 campaign.  Don’t let this middle-infield sleeper
who can carry you in steals slip through the cracks in the late rounds of your

-Dave Feldman,
MLB.com Fantasy     

Dexter Fowler
just got selected with the fourth pick of the 19th round in the
ongoing slow mock draft over at fantasybaseballtrademarket.com. That’s awfully
late for a former top prospect who finished his rookie season with 27 stolen
bases in only 135 games. The switch-hitting centerfielder averaged a little under
28 steals a year over his final three Minor League seasons, proving that his
2009 performance was no fluke. Fowler’s struggles vs. righties (.240 AVG) might
scare off some owners, but let’s remember that the kid is still only 23. so
there’s plenty of room for improvement. His ability to hit from both sides of
the plate should only help him to make the necessary adjustments. As for the
crowded outfield situation in Colorado,
I’m not all that concerned. Fowler will surely receive enough at-bats to make a
legitimate steals impact. No way will I let him fall this far in my drafts.


411 Blog Checklist (2/1)


March 6th: NY First Pitch Forum, Time and Location TBD
March 26th: AL Tout Wars Draft, 4:00pm ET @ Citi Field
March 27th: NFBC NY, Citi Field
March 28th: NL and Mixed Tout, Citi Field

Continue checking the blog for updates and an upcoming big announcement

411 Audio Podcast
411 Video Podcast

Follow the 411 on Twitter @fantasy411, @schwartzstops, @fantasymlb


We’re back,

About two more rounds of the slow mock draft have been completed in the past
week, so Click
to check in on the recent results and commentary.

This blog was also very busy last week.  Below are the links to the latest

Question of the Week: Overvalued Starting Pitchers

on adjusting projections for position scarcity

analyzes the very latest transactions

List of 12

Topics on today’s podcast will include the Orlando Cabrera and Melvin Mora
signings and Francisco Liriano’s 2010 outlook.



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