Never Too Early To Start Next Year’s Draft Prep

by Moonlight Graham

The top ten in my draft this season were Pujols, Hanley, ARod, Mauer, Utley, Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Howard, Longoria and Lincecum.  I know it’s early, but how many of these are still in next year’s first round and who replaces the guys that drop?  Artie DiSori -  Wallin, PA

Hey, Artie.  Looks like your fantasy baseball draft was standard, shotgun format last season. However, it’ll bear little resemblance to next year’s I’m afraid, especially with the emergence of a few young superstars.  If I was to sit at a draft table today, I’d still expect Pujols to top the list.  What follows may surprise some, but it’s how Moonlight’s first draft list will look.  Votto, Hanley, Cabrera, Cano, Braun, CarGO, Longoria, Tulo and King Felix.  Don’t get me wrong; I still love guys like Mauer and Lincecum but prefer to populate my Top Ten with young studs on the rise. Continue reading »

MLB Clubs Undermine Own Chances at Title

by Moonlight Graham

In 2003, in an attempt to regenerate fan interest just a year after a lack of available pitchers forced MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to declare the All Star Game a tie, Baseball’s hierarchy decreed that the Mid-Summer Classic would now determine home field advantage in the World Series. It wasn’t already bad enough that the rosters were watered down by the requirement that each team, no matter how bad, must be represented; now, a player from a second division club could have a hand in deciding the outcome of the sport’s premier event months in advance.

While the move was and is opposed by many, I never really had a problem with it.  Not because I agree with the concept; it’s completely ridiculous to think I’m staying up that late to watch Garrett Jones of the Pittsburgh Pirates face Kansas City Royals’ closer Joakim Soria because I’d like the Mets to have home field if they get that far.  However, because the old system of alternating the privilege was also completely without merit, I figured, “Who cares?”  Until I realized that the new policy actually gives mindless fans the opportunity to hurt their team’s shot at a championship; often at the prompting of it’s own front office. We’ve all been to the ballpark in the early part of the season and heard the huge pitch to vote for the hometown boys.  Actually, you don’t even have to attend a game anymore, as on-line balloting has given everyone a voice.  “Send Joe Blow to Los Angeles for the All Star Game”, blare the ads.  “Forget the stats, vote for our guys!”  On the surface, a nice marketing strategy, but one that could prove fatal to a championship run.  Continue reading »

by Moonlight Graham

If you’re a succesful Fantasy Baseball player, you know that it’s nearly impossible to finish near the top of the standings without having power at the corners. Unless you’ve secured significant pop at both First Base and Third Base, it’s a good bet you’ll be one of the first in your league looking to make a trade.

A quick glance at the top of your 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft sheets should reveal quite an imbalance between the two slots. You’ll probably have as many as twelve first tier options and a number of second and third tier guys capable of giving you 20+ HR and 90+ RBI. At third base, however, the pickins’ grow slim. There are but five top tier selections to be made; six if you’re confident that David Wright can bounce back in CitiField. As the talent at the Hot Corner begins to thin, you’ll find yourself scrambling to find adequate options. Good luck. Continue reading »

While injuries have certainly been a prevailing theme for many MLB teams, two managers have been pulling rabbits out of hats all year long. In Los Angeles, both fieldwithballmoon_copy_2zyhJoe Torre and Mike Scioscia have their squads atop the division despite depleted rosters that would have sent lesser teams to the bottom of the standings. Torre has been without Manny Ramirez since April and has seen a complete power outage from C Russell Martin. Scioscia has had to deal with the death of Nick Adenhart, injuries to starters Kelvim Escobar, John Lackey and Ervin Santana while also struggling along without Vladimir Guerrero… It’s absolutely ridiculous that steroid cheat Manny Ramirez gets to do a Minor League rehab before his 50 game suspension is complete. If suspended farmhands have to sit out the whole sentence, why not the big boys?.. Joey Votto returned to the Reds’ lineup last week and picked up right where he left off. After sitting out more than a month, Votto revealed that his emotional problems stemmed from the difficulty he’s had in coping with his dad’s death. Funny how, sometimes, we forget that many of these big leaguers are still just kids. Good luck, Joey… The Marlins got a glimpse of why Andrew Miller was the focal point of the Miguel Cabrera trade with the Tigers. In his last start, Miller gave up a leadoff double vs. the Orioles and then not another knock through 7 IP… Though having hit just 1 HR, Andrew McCutchen has surprised in Pittsburgh with 14 RBI in his first 18 G… When you sit down for your Fantasy Baseball Draft next year, remember that Heath Bell, likely a very, very late pick in mixed drafts, is leading the NL in S while Brad Lidge has blown 7 S already. Never, ever, reach for relievers or chase saves. They always come into the league… Mark Teixeira’s offensive prowess was unquestioned when he signed with the Yankees. What many (me) didn’t know was how smooth he is in the field. He is the very definition of an all- around player… Hope you heeded some Moonlight wisdom about Gil Meche. Since throwing 132 pitches in a complete game, Meche has allowed 13 ER in just 8 IP over 2 starts. Another victim of the pitch count police as he isn’t used to the extra work… Don’t look now, but the Tampa Bay Rays have the AL’s best record since April 30th… Jimmy Rollins returns to the Phillies’ lineup on Tuesday, hoping that his four game vacation will help pull him off the Mendoza line… David Aardsma is turning into a dominant closer for the Mariners… Quick, who is currently the best pitcher in the AL? My vote goes to Josh Beckett. Healthy now, he looks very much like the 2007 version that won 20 G…

Buy Low- Not surprising to find a Colorado Rockie leading this list, as they are the hottest team in the game. Troy Tulowitzki leads the charge, raising his BA more than 40 points over the last two weeks while rediscovering the power he displayed during his stellar rookie year… John Danks has put two dominating performances back to back as the White Sox rotation has started to turn things around… Been waiting all year to add Francisco Liriano to this list. The projected Twins’ ace has looked like his old self in his last two outings…

Sell High- Jesse Palmer currently sports a 7-1 record for the Angels. Make a point of that and deal him before your trade partner notices that he doesn’t strike anyone out and has a 5.16 ERA… Despite vying for the NL batting lead, Pablo Sandoval hasn’t logged any time behind the plate; significantly lowering his value heading into next season’s Fantasy Baseball Draft. If yours is not a keeper league, you might consider moving him for a lot of help in return…

Grab Bag- Mike MacDougal has been a nice surprise for the Nationals since taking over as closer… I know it was only the Mets, baseball’s version of a AAAA team, but Chien Ming Wang turned in his second straight solid performance vs. the Amazins on Sunday. If you’re looking for pitching, you could take a flier on much worse… Oakland turns to Gio Gonzalez after losing Josh Outman to Tommy John surgery. Gonzalez, long a top prospect, was 4-1 2.50 at AAA Sacramento… Chad Gaudin shut out the Rangers in Arlington on Sunday; his third straight dominant outing for Seattle. His K total has spiked over that time as well…

Drop Zone- Bill Hall may have seen his last day as the Brewers staring 3B. With his BA at .197 and Mat Gamel playing well, Hall doesn’t figure to see the field anytime soon… It pains me to write the name Vladimir Guerrero in this spot but that’s just where Vladdy’s power outage has landed him. Take him out of your lineup until he starts driving the ball… Getting close to the time to give up the ghost on the struggling Elijah Dukes…

Sick Bay- It’s starting to become more likely that Brandon Webb won’t be returning to the D’Back’s anytime soon. He’ll seek the opinions of three specialists this week as to what might be wrong with his shoulder and could be out for the season… Braves’ SS Yunel Escobar is trying to play through a hip problem that has forced him to the bench on occasion… Jose Reyes took ground balls and BP over the weekend but still appears to be out until after the break… Carlos Quentin is in the midst of a running program but is no closer to returning from a foot injury…

While the Rays and Phils get down to the business of the World Series, we’ll stop to take a look back at those players that helped their Fantasy owners more than any others during the year.  As is often the case, not many of our honorees appeared during the post season in the world where the only numbers that count are on the scoreboard.  Disagree with some of the choices? Then, let’s hear it.  My email address is listed below.

*    *    *    *    *

Catcher-Though his owners would love to see more power, Joe Mauer walked away with his second career batting title while leading AL catchers in RBI.  While it’s true that the absence of Victor Martinez and Jorge Posada made this a thin position, Mauer was still great.

First Base-Though it’s unlikely he’ll get enough votes to garner his second AL MVP award in three years, Justin Morneau was still better than anyone else at 1B this year.  Always asked to carry the offensively challenged Twinkies, he never disappoints.  A .300+ BA along with 30 HR and 100+ RBI have become the norm for this emerging superstar.

Second Base-Red Sox fans miffed at Kevin Youkilis being passed over at 1B are not going to be pleased with this selection either.  While Dustin Pedroia is being trumpeted for MVP consideration, the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler was head and shoulders above his peers.  Before going down in early September, Kinsler was in the top ten of most categories and was leading the league in total bases.  The fact of the matter is that Kinsler and whoever you replaced him with had better stats than Pedroia.

Shortstop- Michael Young makes it an all Texas keystone combo as his usual BA and R were enough to place him on top of a weak Fantasy group.

Third Base- Lost in the disaster that was the Tigers’ season was the huge production of Miguel Cabrera, who will go into 2009 with eligibility at 1B as well.  His .292 BA 37 HR and 127 RBI were enough to nose out Alex Rodriguez.

Outfield-One of two players to appear on our fantasy sleeper and all star lists is ChiSox OF Carlos Quentin.  Despite missing the last month, he still managed to cop the league HR crown.  Josh Hamilton gives the Rangers its third representative despite his late season fade.  Based on his Home Run Derby performance alone, he merits a nod.  His .302 BA 32 HR and 130 RBI simply sealed the deal.  Bobby Abreu takes the last OF spot based on a 20-20 season that also featured a .300 BA, 100 R and 100 RBI.

Starting Pitcher-Hard to ignore a 23-2 record, which is why Cliff Lee gets the nod at this spot.  Would have loved more strikeouts and looked st Roy Halladay but Lee takes a close race.

Relief Pitcher- Easiest call we’ve made all year.  Francisco Rodriguez set the Major league record for saves at 60.  Case closed.

© 2015 Fantasy Sports Dirt Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha