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Archive March 2009

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Deep Sleeper Tuesdays: Jason Lane and Lindsay Gulin

Once more into the breach, with a couple of minor league veterans, before the games start mattering.

Strat-O-Matic 2009 Card Review - Part 1 (The Hitters)

Spring is in the air! That means it is time to prepare for your Strat-O-Matic league. Sometimes the difference between coming home with a championship are those handful of 'freak' cards that may not be the best long-term talent, but will do a fantastic job in a platoon or as a pinch-hitter in the right situation. We will cover pitchers in an upcoming blog entry.

National League West Preview


1. Los Angeles Dodgers


Hitting: Orlando Hudson should be an asset when not hurt, but Casey Blake is consistently overrated by media types who care about things like being a “clubhouse leader.” Still, James Loney should improve, and a healthy Rafael Furcal would really help. I do worry about Russell Martin getting so overworked, but the outfield is a major strength. Manny Ramirez will be a big liability on defense, but I have to disagree with the statisticians who think he’s only worth 1-2 wins.

Pitching: The Dodgers are hardly a juggernaut, but this is the year Chad Billingsley should become a true ace, and while Clayton Kershaw will likely battle control problems, he’ll still be awfully tough to hit. Hiroki Kuroda is a solid No. 3, while Randy Wolf and James McDonald form a fine back end of the rotation. The bullpen isn’t all that deep, but Jonathan Broxton is a shutdown closer, and only health can halt the unstoppable force that is Hong-Chih Kuo – he had an OK 44:2 K:BB ratio over 26 innings against lefties last season.

RotoWire Expands Japanese Coverage

As players from Japan have become more prevalent in MLB, RotoWire has tried to be on the cutting edge of fantasy coverage of top players in Japan and other foreign leagues. We've expanded our coverage this spring by adding Patrick Newman of NPBTracker.com to our staff.

Newman is going to cover Japanese Professional Baseball player news for RotoWire. Newman's blog has drawn widespread industry praise for his coverage of Japanese baseball. He'll add his insight, and ability to read the actual Japanese media sources, to our coverage. Check out our Foreign Player News page, where his work will primarily appear.

In addition to Newman helping our expanded coverage, we've also added two new cheatsheets to our fantasy baseball coverage.

RotoWire's AL Tout Wars Team

The AL Tout Wars auction was the first of the three Tout Wars auctions to go off this weekend, at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning. This is the squad I ended up with:

Summing Up the Nationals in One Sentence

Of course if this were a contest Julian Tavarez probably already won it, but this gem (hidden in amongst the usual "Look Marge, they're bonding!" spring boilerplate) caught my eye in a piece up today on the Nats' web site, about why there's optimism in camp this year:

"The Nationals, at 12-14-2, are in the midst of their best Spring Training since 2004, when they were known as the Expos."

Is this the Golden Age of the NBA?

According to the hype, we currently have several of the best ever players in the NBA at their particular positions all playing right now.  Is this all just recent-memory syndrome?  Unfounded hype?  Or is this really one of the best periods in NBA history?

MLB Notes

Call me crazy, but I currently view Jason Motte as a top-10 closer. Sure, there are safer options, but then again, there’s also quite a bit of uncertainty in the closer’s market right now (B.J. Ryan, Brian Fuentes, Francisco Cordero, etc.). There’s always the chance Tony La Russa goes all Ryan Franklin on us, but I always draft for skills, not role, and he’s probably a smarter manager than that anyway. I like Chris Perez, but he’s walked 5.6 batters per nine innings throughout his career, and I’m not sure why he’s generally considered the pitcher with more upside. Motte, a former catcher, didn’t even start pitching until two years ago, compiling a 11.9 K/9 mark throughout 164.2 minor league innings. When you combine last year’s stint with the Cardinals and his stats this spring, you get an acceptable 31:4 K:BB ratio over 21.1 innings. And this has all been accomplished throwing primarily his fastball, as his slider remains a work in progress (and it’s showing definite signs of improvement). With terrific command of a devastating fastball, he only needs the slider to be average anyway. Go get him.

Morrow to the Pen -- Forever

You step away for the afternoon to watch a little college hoops and the whole world changes. Well, at least Marinerworld. And in my view, it's not a positive development -- Brandon Morrow is going to the bullpen for good.

Why I Think ARod Might Return in Mid-April

I'm not one for conspiracy theories generally, but does anyone else think it's strange that in the midst of his steroid scandal this spring which was threatening to overwhelm the team's preparations for the season that ARod suddenly discovers a hip cyst which necessitates his removal from camp and immediately causes the scandal to die down?

RotoWire's Mixed-League Tout Wars Team

Here's the squad I bought Saturday - (17 teams).

PosPlayer$
CVictor Martinez18
CMiguel Olivo2
1BTodd Helton7
2BMark Ellis1
3BMike Lowell5
SSHanley Ramirez49
CIPaul Konerko7
MIDerek Jeter22
OFAlfonso Soriano35
OFElijah Dukes7
OFRandy Winn4
OFDanny Murphy3
OFMatt Joyce1
UIan Stewart2
PRoy Halladay28
PA.J. Burnett18
PJustin Verlander7
PErvin Santana6
PSean Gallagher1
PMariano Rivera26
PTrevor Hoffman3
PJoey Devine5
PKevin Gregg3
BScott RolenR
BPhillip HughesR
BSeth SmithR
BGlen PerkinsR

Defensive Stats Getting their Due

Interesting article on the world of defensive statistics in the Seattle Times today. For starters, that a newspaper would take the issue seriously without resorting to cliches and snide asides regarding sabermetrics, stats, et al, is perhaps an indication that advanced statistical measurements are gaining acceptance among the last of the holdouts -- the mainstream media.

Jim Bowden Still Haunting the Nationals

Sure, there is a little hope in Washington. Jordan Zimmermann is looking fantastic in camp, Nick Johnson is still healthy, the sun is shining. But if  you had any doubt that this was still Jim Bowden's team, or that it'll take a while for new/interim GM Mike Rizzo to climb out of the hole his former boss left the organization in, consider the case of Dmitri Young.

Draft Software & Draft Logistic Tips

If you're not using the RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Draft Software, you should be. It's the best thing since sliced bread. Especially in keeper leagues where you can quickly figure out who's available, who has money left to spend and what the estimated inflation will be for players.

In using the software for a few drafts, here's some tips for even seasoned users.

Jeter Doesn't Have a Drink Named After Him

Leave it to a Boston bar to kick a Yankee when he's down.

Is an MVP Award in Chris Paul's Future?

Will the best point guard of this generation fall short of an MVP award during his career?

Zeke and the Clippers?

Could Isiah Thomas really be put in charge of another NBA franchise? 

MLB Notes

Ryan Braun’s intercostal strain has officially become a major concern. Considering it’s the same exact injury that limited him to a .208/.304/.356 line in September last year, his latest setback can’t be taken lightly. The fact it lingered after a full offseason of rest was worrisome in the first place. I just drafted him with the seventh pick in my main league and am already regretting it. I knew I should have went with Timmy.

Evans Makes the Case for Daniel Murphy

If you're looking for an end-game outfielder in a 12-team mixed league, you might consider Murphy. I'm agnostic about him - but Yahoo! Sports' Brad Evans makes the case.

Is Extending the NFL Season Really a Good Idea?

I love the NFL - I'd watch it over any other sport, but I'm not sure Roger Goodell's plan to expand the regular season to 17 or 18 games is a wise one.

Out of Control Wives

If you thought Chuck Finley had a problem, that's small potatoes compared to Jose Tabata's situation.

Quick Glance: Halos Rotation

The Angels' rotation has been dealing with a handful of injuries this spring. They still seem to be the consensus favorite in the AL West, but could this be a year where the A's knock them from their perch?

Deep Sleeper Tuesdays: Matthew Brown and Junichi Tazawa

Deep Sleeper Tuesdays travels to the AL side of the equation this week, looking at one guy trying to avoid a Quadruple-A label, and another who nobody really knew what to make of coming into the spring.

Alex Rodriguez's Stock Falls in Fantasy Leagues

If you want to have a good laugh, check out the NY Times' baseball blog today. It implies that fantasy owners are not drafting ARod in part because of offseason distractions ranging from dating Madonna to the steroid scandal.

Maybe Donte' Stallworth Wasn't At Fault

It's premature say one way or the other, but what I posted last week was based on a report that Stallworth had been drinking before the accident.

Stephen Strasburg's Evolution

Yahoo! Sports Steve Henson profiles Strasburg from his days as an overweight college freshman.

The Pirates' Secret Weapon

While the Pirates didn't make any front pages with their offseason acquisitions, one signing could end up having a big impact on the fantasy fortunes of their pitchers: first base coach and 'unofficial' infield coach Perry Hill.

Can Anything Save A-Rod?

Alex Rodriguez can't seem to keep his name out of the headlines.  Is there anything that can prevent him from being public enemy number one for the rest of his career?

Albert Pujols or the Field?

There hasn't been a Triple Crown winner (among hitters) since 1967 when Carl Yastrzemski went 44/121/,326. That's 41 years without one when prior to Yaz, Frank Robinson had won in 1966, Mickey Mantle in 1956, Ted Williams in 1947 and 1942, Joe Medwick in 1937, Lou Gehrig in 1934, etc. In other words, this is an unprecedented dry spell for Triple Crowns.

MLBPA Running Out Of Feet To Shoot

I'm one of those people who reflexively takes a union's side in just about any union/management dispute, especially in sports. Neither the "they should be happy playing a boy's game" argument nor the "spoiled millionaires" argument holds any sway with me, and the "higher salaries equals higher ticket prices for the little guy" argument has been debunked time and time again. If there's money to be made, and there clearly is, then the players generating the revenue should get a large share of it, and their union should be there for them to make sure they get it.

This is not one of those disputes.
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RotoWire's AL LABR Squad
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