Browsing Archive April, 2009

2009 Fantasy Projections: Third Base

Third base is the first position in the infield where the Mets clearly have the best player in the National League (for fantasy baseball purposes). I have nothing remotely witty to add to that, so let’s get to the rankings…

Third Base Rankings – National League

  1. David Wright (.315-35-140) – With Reyes stealing more bases this season, Wright will put up a career high in RBI. And if not, he’s still going to be the top producing 3B in the NL.
  2. Chipper Jones (.320-25-100) – If he is healthy all season, Jones will challenge Wright’s numbers, but I expect him to miss 20-40 games. Get him at a good value if you can – I’ve seen him drop in alot of drafts. If you get him, be sure to get a solid backup who can fill in when Jones punches out.
  3. Aramis Ramirez (.290-30-100) – This guy is nothing if not consistent. He is also severely overvalued and undervalued depending on the league and the draft. Target him at $20 and grab him lower if you can.
  4. Garrett Atkins (.280-20-100) – Declining numbers over the past three years are a red flag. A .260 road average last season is another red flag. A possible trade to free up the 3B position for Ian Stewart is another possible red flag… Let Atkins pass.
  5. Ryan Zimmerman (.290-20-90) – It’s hard to predict where Zimmerman’s numbers will go. He’s been hurt and hitting in the black hole that is the Nationals lineup. I expect the Nats to be slightly better offensively and if Zimmerman is healthy, he should get back on track. I rate him only slightly lower than Atkins because there he has less of a track record. But he is also only 24 years old, so keep that in mind if you’re in a keeper league.

Sleeper – Edwin Encarnacion (.260-30-100) – I like the Cincinnati lineup and Encarnacion has a ton of potential. He may never realize his full potential, but he should approach 30 HR and have a modest gain in BA. Grab him under $12 if you can.

Third Base Rankings – National League NL EAST

  1. David Wright – see above
  2. Chipper Jones – see above
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – see above
  4. Jorge Cantu – (.275-25-90) The Marlins have already sent down 1B Gaby Sanchez, which frees up 1B for Cantu (like I predicted here). Although he’s going to be playing 1B, Cantu also ranks as one of the top 3B candidates in the NL East, for fantasy purposes. Don’t expect an improvement on last year’s fantasy numbers, but grab him cheap and use his multi-position eligibility to your advantage.
  5. Pedro Feliz (.250-17-65) Feliz was a disappointment last season and it looks like he will remain in a quasi-platoon with Greg Dobbs this season. The one thing Feliz has going for him – besides his power – is his glove. If he gets enough ABs, he could reach 20 HR, but Feliz is a crapshoot unless he gets catcher eligibility. I don’t believe that has happened for a couple of years…

Sleeper Emilio Bonafacio (.230-0-35) – For reasons I don’t quite understand, Bonafacio is slated to be the Marlins third baseman on Opening Day. He probably won’t hit and he may not start for long, but Bonafacio can run. I’ve seen him nearly beat out routine grounders to shortstop… I have to assume he has the green light whenever he’s on base and I also have to assume that he’s going to run whenever he can just to stay in the lineup. I’ll go out on a limb and say Bonafacio steals 40-50 bases this season, regardless of playing time. The important thing is that he stays on the big league roster – and that’s not guaranteed.

READ MORE +

Mets 25-Man Roster Set

With Opening Day only four days away, the Mets’ 25-man roster is set. Few, if any, surprises dot the list, though at least one individual may have been slighted.

Here are your 2009 New York Mets:

Pitching Staff

Rotation:
Johan Santana
Mike Pelfrey
Oliver Perez
John Maine
* Livan Hernandez

Bullpen:

Francisco Rodriguez
Joseph Jason Putz
Sean Green
Pedro Feliciano
Bobby Parnell
Brian Stokes
Darren O’Day

Catchers

Brian Schneider
Ramon Castro

Infield

1B Carlos Delgado
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
SS Jose Reyes
UTL Alex Cora

Outfield

Carlos Beltran
Ryan Church
Danny Murphy
Jeremy Reed
Fernando Tatis (UTL)
Marlon Anderson (1B / 2B)
* Nick Evans (1B)

(* – Livan Hernandez will join the roster on April 11th, presumably to replace Nick Evans)

Comments

There wasn’t any competition for the starting lineup positions, and four of the five rotation spots were earmarked, so much of the above is unsurprising. Livan Hernandez took hold of the fifth starter’s spot in the first week of spring training and never let go.

So the real mystery — if there was any — came in regard to the bullpen and the bench. Darren O’Day was a Rule 5 pick, and pitched well enough to earn a spot. I think he’ll be a sleeper coming out of the ‘pen. Brian Stokes was fairly effective in the spring, and was helped by the fact that most of the ST invites brought in to compete for bullpen spots were underwhelming at best. Stokes also is out of options, and likely would have been plucked by another team if waived. Similarly, Sean Green pitched well in March and was more or less a lock, as was Pedro Feliciano and the two closers. The only surprise is Bobby Parnell, who impressed by touching 97 MPH on the radar gun and posting a 2.19 ERA. I’m a little skeptical on carrying Parnell, due to the 9 walks he gave up in only 12 innings, and the long fly balls that resulted when his fastball veered chest high over the middle of the plate. Personally, I would’ve preferred to see Nelson Figueroa on the staff as a long man, especially after his excellent performance in the WBC. Apparently, facing some of the best hitters in the world in a playoff-like competition does not weigh as heavily as pitching against AA hitters in a spring training atmosphere. Go figure.

As for the bench, we knew that Alex Cora’s $2M contract guaranteed a spot, and Ramon Castro was similarly set. Marlon Anderson was also retained for financial reasons, though also out of respect, I surmise, because he didn’t hit very well. I’m OK with that, as I’m a huge fan of Marlon and believe he is a good clubhouse presence. But if he needs to hit to stick around — this situation is eerily similar to that of Julio Franco in 2007.

Tatis was a no-brainer for the bench after Dan Murphy was named the starting leftfielder. He’s an ideal guy to have around for his versatility and occasional pop. Reed was the best of the dozen or so light-hitting, defensive-minded, Endy Chavez replacements. I like Reed quite a bit and wonder why he’s not the one starting in LF, after hitting a blistering .418 with a .500 OBP in the spring. Talk all you want about Danny Murphy, but from what I saw, Jeremy Reed was the most impressive all-around outfield candidate in camp.

The Cuts

The demotion of Figueroa — and subsequent longer looks at schlubs such as Fernando Nieve and Elmer Dessens — was deplorable. What more did Figgy have to do this spring? If it weren’t such a wide open competition, it would be somewhat understandable. In 7 2/3 high-pressure innings, Figueroa gave up zero runs, struck out 6, and posted a 0.68 WHIP. The Mets are in need of a flexible guy in the bullpen — one who can handle both long and short duties — and Figgy fits the bill. Strange.

Tony Armas, Jr. was cut after pitching one scoreless inning. I thought for sure he would be assigned to AAA Buffalo; perhaps he eventually will.

Jose Valentin was also released, which was sad. If not for the guaranteed contract given to Cora, he might have had a chance. Like Armas, he may eventually be assigned to a minor league club — my guess is that the team will discuss with him a player-coach position in Buffalo, or a straight coaching job at a lower level.

Similarly, Andy Green was demoted quickly, despite invigorating an otherwise boring spring with heightened enthusiasm and hitting like crazy. He reminded me of Joe McEwing, during Superjoe’s heyday.

Freddy Garcia wasn’t in shape, and pitched poorly, but I believe and hope he builds himself up in the minors, as I have a funny feeling he’ll be needed at some point.

What happened to Eddie Kunz? Not a peep about him all spring.

Final Thoughts

No huge surprises, as the Mets’ roster was fairly set due to financial commitments. There is a concern that Pedro Feliciano is the only lefty coming out of the bullpen, but the LOOGYs brought in ranged from awful to ordinary, and it doesn’t make sense to carry a lefty for the sake of carrying a lefty.

On paper, the roster looks fairly solid up and down. Let the games begin.

READ MORE +