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Finding Keepers: Kansas City Royals

Posted on 06 April 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The Kansas City Royals probably aren’t going to factor into any playoff scenarios this season but many of their young players will help you build a solid fantasy baseball team to make a run at your league’s championship title.

In the latest installment of Finding Keepers, I’ll take a look at the Kansas City Royals players on their 40-man roster you should be considering as “keepers” heading into the 2012 fantasy baseball season.

1B Eric Hosmer is primed to make a run at the upper echelon of fantasy baseball first basemen in 2012. In 128 games in 2011, he hit .293 with 19 home runs with 11 stolen bases. If his Spring Training numbers (.398 BA, 33 hits and 29 RBI in 28 games) are any indicator of things to come, fantasy owners who locked him up as their starting first baseman have nothing to worry about this season (and beyond).  His ADP is currently 52.06 and ranks: ESPN #45; Yahoo! #58; CBS #106.

OF Alex Gordon put together the season fantasy baseball owners have been hoping for since he burst on the scene in 2007. His 5×5 line of .303/101/23/87/17, along with his .376 OBP, .502 SLG and OPS+ of 140 have fantasy owners drafting him with an ADP of 62.37. Check out his rankings: ESPN #50; Yahoo! #40; CBS #87.

DH Billy Butler is starting to show fantasy owners what to expect from him each season rather than drafting him based on potential or perceived expectations. He’s probably only DH-eligible in your league now (lucky you if he still has 1B eligibility), so there’s that drawback but you can bank on a 5×5 line around .300/75/20/90/1. Rankings: ESPN #98; Yahoo! #127; CBS #111.

 Best of the rest but not a keeper

3B Mike Moustakas has 20-home run potential but only hit five in 365 plate appearances in his rookie season. He plays a premium fantasy baseball position and could easily become a keeper with a much-improved sophomore season.

OF Lorenzo Cain will be given every chance to show what he’s got this season and what he’s got is a .300 average and 30 stolen base potential. He will be fun to own but not yet a keeper.

C Salvador Perez had many fantasy owners targeting him as a sleeper for 2012 after a .331/20/3/21/0 in just 39 games in 2011. Unfortunately a Spring Training knee injury has virtually wiped out his entire season.

The Kansas City Royals farm system is currently ranked 5th overall by Baseball Prospectus and should continue to produce and promote quality players. Now if only they could have success growing some major league-ready pitchers. PS, Danny Duffy…not a keeper…yet.

So there you have it. How did you feel about the Royals’ roster heading into your fantasy baseball drafts and now into the 2012 season? Please use the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @DJAubain to continue the discussion.

 

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Finding Keepers:New York Yankees

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Finding Keepers:New York Yankees

Posted on 11 March 2012 by Gary Marchese

I know a lot of people will say this is pretty easy to do.  The New York Yankees are arguably the best team in the American league and one of the best teams in baseball.  They have a ton of talent but I think it is hard to go over a team like this.  I am going to try my best and find a little different wrinkle then just yeah keep this guy and keep this guy.  Lets see what I can come up with and I hope you will enjoy this and get some value out of it.

2B Robinson Cano is a pretty easy one to say keep.  He is one of the best players in baseball, a rising star.  He is so good and to think a few years ago they thought he was lazy and unmotivated.  He is the best second baseman in baseball and quickly becoming a top ten player in the game today.  You have to keep this guy around if your lucky enough to have him.  He is going to be a top of the line player for many many years.

LF Brett Gardner is due to have a bounce back year.  He does need to bat better then 259, he does have a high on base percentage though and is capable of stealing lots of bases.  I would expect him to hit more in the 280 range and think he can steal around 50 bases with a 380+ on base percentage.  I wouldn’t say he is one of the best left fielders but think he is a very valuable piece to keep around on your team, even if it is just a backup position.

CF Curtis Granderson had an MVP type season last year.  Is he able to keep this up??  I would say you can’t predict the exact same numbers but I think he is.  He has embraced New York and isn’t scared at all of it.  He is an ambassador of the game and takes everything in stride.  He had a lot of problems with lefties when he first came over to the Yankees a couple of years ago and has now seemed to solve that.  If he hits lefties pretty good on a consistent basis then he will be in the upper echelon of players and is a keeper.  I right now would bet on that being the case and keeping him around, I would expect him to have a great rest of his career and be a star player in New York for many more years.

SP Phil Hughes had a terrible year last year.  It started off bad then he got hurt and he never seemed to find it again.  I think he will have a bounce back year though.  I look for him to be more of the pitcher he was in 2010 then in 2011.  He won 18 games in 2010 and I think he can approach that number once again.  The early signs from spring training are encouraging and I think you should keep him around on your team.  If he has another tough year then it will be time to dump him.  He is still a young player and I wouldn’t give up on him just yet.

DH Raul Ibanez is a veteran and his best days are behind him.  He is noted as one of the best guys in the game by just about everyone you talk too.  I think he fits in perfect in the Yankees clubhouse and will do well in New York.  He is coming from Philadelphia which may be an even tougher place to play so that isn’t a problem.  He had a tough year last year but still put up good power numbers, I expect him to do better this year especially on this team and in Yankee Stadium.  It is perfect for a left handed power hitter.  I think he is a guy that is worth keeping on your team, he is a perfect DH.

RP Dave Robertson was the best eighth inning guy last year.  I like what he brings to the table.  He does put too many men on base but they call him Houdini for a reason.  He knows how to get out of jams and is a strike out pitcher which helps him.  I know with bullpen guys sometimes they change from year to year.  I think this guy is coming into his own though and will be a good reliever for a long time.  He may even become the next closer of the Yankees.  I wouldn’t let this guy go and especially not now.  I know some may be worried about his foot.  He just the other day tripped down the stairs in his house moving boxes.  The Yankees were a little scared but the diagnosis came back with just a bone bruise.  I am sure they will be cautious with him but I don’t expect him to miss much time and I think he will be ready to go for the season.

SP Michael Pineda is a huge guy.  He burst onto the scene last year with the Seattle Mariners.  He is a fastball slider guy and working on a changeup now.  He struggled in the second half last year and a lot of people questioned that.  Was it fatigue, did the league catch up to him etc.  I think he will be great with the Yankees and win a lot of ballgames.  I think he will learn a lot from guys such as CC Sabathia and Freddy Garcia.  I wouldn’t let this guy go, if he develops his changeup he is a number one type pitcher and can be for years to come.  He is just coming into his second year in the league and should also know the hitters better.

If there is anyone you think I could of went over that you would of liked me to cover let me know.  I have twitter and can be reached @gmarchesej, you can also comment here on the website and I welcome all opinions.  Just make sure you keep it civil and we can have a good debate, I don’t mind constructive criticism.  As always thank you for reading and I hope you will continue to do so not just for me but my colleagues as well and spread the word about our site.

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DOs And DONTs: Milwaukee Brewers

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DOs And DONTs: Milwaukee Brewers

Posted on 14 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With Prince Fielder signing with Detroit and Ryan Braun facing a possible 50 game suspension for allegedly using PED’s, the Brewers offseason has not gone so well. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t players with fantasy value on their roster.

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Here’s a look at the DO’s and DON’Ts with regards to the Milwaukee Brewers.

DO keep an eye on the Ryan Braun situation. A resolution is expected before Spring Training. If his appeal is upheld, he could be a top 5 pick in any league. If his suspension is upheld, he could fall to the 3rd round.

DON’T overlook Norichika Aoki, especially if Braun suspension is upheld. While Aoki is likely a 4th outfielder for the Brewers, he could see some time at the beginning of the year if Braun is suspended.

I DO like the Brewers starting pitching. With Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers have a top 3 about as good as any in the NL, with the exception of the Phillies. Each of them is capable of posting an ERA under 3.50 and 15 wins.

DON’T forget about Corey Hart. After hitting at the top of the order last year, he could be asked to move down to the heart of the order this year, to help offset the loss of Fielder (and possibly Braun). Look for him to increase his RBI total of 63 from 2011 to possibly 90-100 in 2012.

DO take a chance on Mat Gamel in the late rounds. The kid can hit and is the front runner to take over first base for the departed Prince.

DON’T overlook Aramis Ramirez. Signed by the Brewers to help offset the loss of Fielder, Ramirez had a strong 2011 season and should fit nicely into the Brewers lineup and provide good protection for Braun. Third base has become a surprisingly weak position in fantasy baseball and Ramirez is still one of the best.

DO draft Jonathan Lucroy. He proved to be a decent hitter last year, at least as far as catchers go, hitting .265/.313/.391 as well as 12 homeruns. He is not amongst the upper echelon of catchers, but is certainly one who will not hurt you.

DON’T draft Carlos Gomez. Other than speed, he has little else going for him. He hit only .225/.276/.403 last year and will likely split time with Nyjer Morgan in center.

DO draft John Axford. Even with Francisco Rodriguez lurking in the setup role, John Axford is solidly locked into the closer role. He saved 46 games and had only 2 blown saves in 2011, while posting a 1.95 ERA.

DON’T go to sleep on Chris Narveson. He has a career K/9 of 7.5 and BB/9 of 3.3 in 385.2 IP. He always seems to be on the cusp of putting together a breakout season and could perhaps finally put in all together in 2012. But, at the same time…

DO keep an eye on Marco Estrada this spring. He struck out 88 while walking only 29 last year in 92.2 IP and could battle Narveson for the 5th spot in the rotation.

Finally, DON’T forget about Rickie Weeks. Despite his injury history, he is still one of the best second basemen in the majors. Last year he hit .269/.350/.468 with 20 homeruns in just 118 games, pretty much in line with his career year in 2010, in which he played 160 games and hit 29 homeruns. He no longer steals very many bases (just 9 in 2011), but there aren’t very many second baseman with his power.

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