by Moonlight Graham

It happens every spring.  MLB clubs head into the new season filled with all of the promise and excitement that a new year brings.  Injured players are healthy, dissapointing performance are forgotten and optimism rules the day. Unfortunately, many also begin the new campaign focused more on finances than the standings and thus, head into battle without a full arsenal of weaponry.

Without going into all of the legal issues surrounding the MLB arbitration process, suffice to say that the most important element is service time; specifically, days on a Major League roster.  If a rookie that would normally be eligible for arbitration after two years is held back until the end of May, he cannot be credited with the service time required for a full season.  Therefore, the big payday usually gained through arbitration is delayed by a full calendar year. Continue reading »

by Moonlight Graham

You know you’ve had a good run as a Fantasy Baseball League when you’ve been around to see the entire career of a Hall of Famer like Ken Griffey Jr. Long the property of the Monroe Pearls of the Hausier’s Krowedum Rotisserie League, Griffey was one of the reasons the league decided to no longer retain players from year to year. “I’d like a shot at Junior”, was a common refrain, “why should Fat Cat get to keep him forever?” Griffey, a first-ballot Cooperstown entrant regardless of the injuries that plagued the latter part of his career, was one of the game’s greats; certainly one of Fantasy Baseball’s greatest, and, now that he’s decided to retire,  will be missed. However, he was not the only giant lost to the Fantasy Baseball world as Forte Bellino, long-time owner of the U.B.40′s, U.B. Jews and charter member of the HK Roto League as well as its first champion, passed away suddenly at the sinfully young age of fifty eight.  A high school teacher, administrator and coach, Fortunato left behind legions of family, students, colleagues and waiters (his favorites)  that he filed under the one category that mattered to him most: friend. Continue reading »

by Moonlight Graham

No position has undergone more change over the last decade than the Middle Infield. Long a collection of slap hitting, base stealers and the occasional power guy, it saw drastic change with the emergence of big guns like Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, Jeff Kent and Barry Larkin.  Even marginal, late round options like Jose Valentin were good for better than 20 HR.

However, retirement, injury and position change have all been factors in depleting the ranks of the Middle Infielders that’ll give you a boost in the power department.  While some do remain, (Hanley Ramirez and Chase Utley will cost you a first rounder), for the most part, many Fantasy Baseball owners will settle for the mid-round options that produce low, double-digit HR’s, a solid BA and a decent number of SB.  The trick is, to find that one player who could break the mold and give you a top tier performance for a second tier price.

Fantasy Stars

-  Unless you’ve got one of the first two picks, you can forget Hanley Ramirez.  After that, Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes top the Shortstop list but neither is a sure thing. Tulo comes off a terrific season but Fantasy Baseball owners still bear the burn marks from his disastrous ’08 season.  New York Mets’ star, Reyes, is not only coming off of a campaign lost to injury but was just cleared to play after a thyroid condition sidelined him for most of camp.  Don’t reach for either.  On the other side of the bag, Utley and Ian KInsler are the cream of the crop but Cincinnati Reds’ second sacker, Brandon Phillips, may be the best value.  He’s a guaranteed 20-20 from a position where that’s rare and he bats cleanup.  Going with that theory, we’d also have to add Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, as he’s been moved to the five hole of that very potent lineup. 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 »

Mike Napoli Sizzles While Fantasy Owners Get Burned

by Moonlight Graham

Think back to last year’s Fantasy Baseball Draft when you sat at the table clicking your heels, hoping for Geovany Soto to get through to the round in which you had him slotted.  Coming off a season so stellar that he garnered the Rookie of the Year award, Soto was even more enticing to Fantasy Baseball owners because his 23 HR and 86 RBI came from behind the plate; traditionally the weakest Fantasy spot.  But like many before him, (remember Rick Wilkins?), Soto failed to build on his initial success.  Instead of the 30-100 season many expected, his was an injury riddled exercise in disappointment. Continue reading »

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