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Fantasy Forecast

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Fantasy Forecast

Posted on 22 February 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

In Florida and Arizona all spring training camps are now kicked into gear. Along with that, Fantasy Baseball leagues are forming and drafts are being prepped for.

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This year, my fantasy career becomes a teenager. I have been competing in various fantasy leagues since the year 2000, and with that I have managed several championship teams, have also had a few down teams, and a whole bunch in the middle with heartbreak and triumph.

For me, fantasy football and baseball leagues have always been about fun. The chance to have bragging rights over friends, maybe win a few bucks, and watching the games from a different perspective is a great learning tool. I can still remember having those drafts in friend’s basements and jokingly hearing from the peanut gallery that every player would be a bust. Or, making a draft day trade that was crazy ridiculous, yet still managing to win a championship that same year. Gathering around big boards with magazines fanned out and a dozen pizzas ordered, hoping that you will create that winning club for the upcoming season are like mini Christmas’ for some.

With that in mind, here is a little forecasting to hopefully set the 2013 season off on the right track. For me, the top pick overall this season has to be a guy that has yet to play on an Opening Day. The Angel’s Mike Trout is the guy this season. His rookie season was one of the best seasons in history and not just by a rookie. He is a five tool player. Trout edges out the Detroit Tigers’ Triple Crown man, Miguel Cabrera. Rounding out my overall top 5 would be Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols, and Andrew McCutchen.

Next on the clock, the top pitcher would be Justin Verlander of the Tigers as well. He just turned 30 but he is a true ace. He wins games, eats up innings, and dominates the strike outs. Two other aces to headline a staff would be the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw or the Rays’ David Price. Stephen Strasburg, while he is a star attraction, is not quite a top three pitcher just yet. Personally, I still have questions about his arm. Coming out of college I suspected that he may be prone to a major surgery and that is what happened a few seasons ago. After last year’s well publicized inning limit he should have a solid season and hopefully will pitch a full year. The top catcher would definitely be the Giants’ Buster Posey and top closer to rack up saves would be the Braves’ Craig Kimbrel.

Many times, seasons are won and lost on those draft day risks and reaches. The sleepers or rookies you hope will pan out because you want to jump at them first before the guy on his ninth slice of pizza does. These picks may have you booed into the next beverage run, but they could also lead to a victory dance at the end of the season too.

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On the mound, sleepers may include the White Sox Chris Sale who last year was a starter, then closer, then starter again and turned in a heck of a season. This year he will likely be the ace and have another good season while many still may have doubts. Also, Madison Bumgarner continues to develop and improve out by the bay. He is overshadowed by others out there but his talents and skills are right up there. Mike Minor in Atlanta could also put together a nice season as well.

Offensive sleepers include the Houston Astros Jose Altuve. When it comes to the Astros, there are not very many good things but Altuve is one. From another club that could struggle all year is the Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario. Finally, it may be my turn for the drink run, but Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs will be a guy to get dibs on. I am confident in that. Let the big names go early, sit back, wait, and grab Rizzo mid draft.

The top rookie on draft day will likely be the closer of the Tigers, Bruce Rondon. He is a young flame thrower and will surely get plenty of chances with that offense in support. Also, likely making a debut this year will be the New York Mets top prospect pitcher Zack Wheeler.

As draft days near, may the force and luck be with you. Best of luck constructing that winning club, but most importantly have fun! The best thing about baseball is that it is everyday for 162 games and the weather is mostly sunny.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts for draft strategies and Play Ball!

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Auction league hidden gems

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Auction league hidden gems

Posted on 15 March 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Hidden Gem

If you have spent much time playing auction draft fantasy baseball leagues, then you understand the value of finding an inexpensive hidden gem.  If you can stock your team with a few players on the cheap, then you can afford to overpay for a few guys at the top end of the pay scale.  The problem with finding that gem is that nearly everyone else in your league is looking for the same thing at the same time you are.  How do you start looking for value?

Well, I usually start by going through the various online draft kits and draft results to look for some players to keep in mind.  However, you probably will not get too far without some kind of process in mind to evaluate player costs in an unbiased manner.  To that end, here are some guidelines I use to assist me…

  • I rank players at each position, and then I choose a personal top 5 list at each position.  I then select 3 or 4 positions that I am willing to overpay to fill with a player or players from the aforementioned lists.
  • An “overpay” is defined as exceeding 120% of the player’s projected value.
  • If any of the players on the lists comes available at a price less than 120% of the projected value, then that player becomes an automatic target.  At anything less than 110% of projected value, that player definitely makes the “short list” of priorities.
  • Watch to see if any team affiliations are artificially pushes prices substantially higher than projected value.  An example here might be any San Francisco Giants pitcher expected to benefit from the return of Buster Posy or anybody on the Detroit Tigers who may spend significant time in a lineup projected to score a lot of runs.
  • Look for an obvious falling off point at which prices at a particular position drop substantially between tiers of players.
  • Keep a Word document or Post-It not handy to write down names of players that are going for close to projected value or even below it.

 Real Examples from the Yahoo Auction Leagues:

  1. Consider that the shortstop position has only 8 players projected to have double digit value.  Troy Tulowitzki is going for an average of $46.2 versus a projected value of $40.  While I do consider him the top guy at the position, I like Hanley Ramirez at an average of $34 ($29 projected) much more.  If you are looking for a value pick instead, then maybe $8.7 ($11 projected) for Dee Gordon is a better deal for you.  If you have faith that JJ Hardy can duplicate his 2011 season, then $6.5 ($7 projected) is quite appealing as well.  Hidden Gem:  Ian Desmond going for an average of $1.7 versus a projected value of $5.
  2. It should not surprise anyone that Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols are both hovering around the $50 mark on average.  What about Joey Votto at $44.1 ($39 projected)?  He seems like a pretty good deal compared to Prince Fielder who is averaging $37.2 with a projected value of $29.  Then again, the projected value seems a bit low, so he may be a good deal at around $12 cheaper than Miggy or Albert.  With all the depth at the position, you still may have to go down the list a ways to find the likes of Billy Butler at $7.9 ($9 projected) or Freddie Freeman at $6.5 ($8 projected).  Hidden Gem:  Mitch Moreland at $1.3 ($3 projected) as a backup 1B or utility guy.
  3. Due to injuries and variance in the number of plate appearances, catchers are often difficult to evaluate in the context of your roster dollars.  Getting a catcher that consistently hits is worth a bit of a premium, and that premium increases for catchers who also qualify at 1B.  Carlos Santana, Mike Napoli, and Joe Mauer are probably worth every penny for their respective offensive output combined with the dual threat factor.  That does not mean it is a good idea to sleep on guys like JP Arencibia at $3.4 ($5 projected), although I would probably stay away from Geovany Soto, even if he is going for well below the anticipated market rate of $6.  Hidden Gem:  Nick Hundley at $1.3 or Russell Martin at $1.6.

It is one thing to know who is good at each position.  It is even better to know what other people think each player is worth at those positions.

If you enjoy the “Hidden Gems” work, then please check out the rest of the gems here at FullSpectrumBaseball!!!

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bmccann_braves

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Finding Keepers: Atlanta Braves

Posted on 14 March 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Most generic fantasy baseball leagues utilizing the ” keepers” feature are going to allow each team to keep “x” number of players from the previous year’s roster. I’ve seen most leagues keep five players per team and most of those leagues had 12 teams. So doing the math, we’re talking about 60 players for a league of that size. Following this logic deeper, players being targeted as keepers should probably be ranked somewhere within the top 75 players (top 100 if you keep a player based on position scarcity).

Now I’ve seen dynasty leagues with minor league systems in place or auction leagues that assign a value to each player you keep. I’ve even seen intricate formulas used based on what round or price you paid in the previous year to calculate the cost of keeping a player on your roster for another season. This kind of keeper article can’t possible address all the factors needed to call a particular player a keeper over another. So we’ll go with the “inside the top 100″ strategy because a player ranked much lower than that can probably be targeted during the redrafting rounds if you really want them on your roster for another season.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look at which players on the 2012 Atlanta Braves should be considered “keeper-worthy”.

OF Michael Bourn consistently brings your team Stolen Bases (50+) and Runs (90+) with a Batting Average (.270+) you can easily live with on your roster. I was surprised to see how differently he was ranked on the big three fantasy baseball sites: ESPN #35; Yahoo! #50; CBS #74. In any format, Bourn is a no-brainer keeper.

C Brian McCann is easily a top 5 fantasy baseball catcher, netting you 25 HR and 99 RBI per 162 games played over his seven year career. You can expect another .270+/20+ HR/80+ RBI season and should definitely consider locking him up as a keeper for 2012. Here are his rankings on the big three fantasy sites: ESPN #69; Yahoo! #86; CBS #41.

2B Dan Uggla frustrated his fantasy owners in the first half of 2011 with a measly .185 BA but rewarded the ones who stuck around for the .296/21/48 second half. It’s hard to stay away from a top 5 second baseman with 30+ HR/90+ RBI/90+ Runs potential, even at the cost of a sub-.260 Batting Average. His fantasy rankings are as follows: ESPN #42; Yahoo! #103; CBS #103. I’d target Uggla as a keeper for his power numbers as a second baseman but would be pairing him up with a high average/stolen base guy to fill the holes in his game.

RP Craig Kimbrel is definitely the first closer coming off the board in drafts with an ADP of 57.73 and with good reason. His 14.8 K/9 and 3.97 K/BB ratios, 127 Strikeouts in 77 Innings Pitched and 46 Saves are enough to justify him as a keeper, for sure. So if you’re thinking of keeping a closer and own Kimbrel, do it. He’s ranked: ESPN #62; Yahoo! #114; CBS #39.

Best of the rest but not a keeper

3B/OF Martin Prado should chip in a dozen Home Runs and a .290 Batting Average but with an ADP of 190.22, you can easily target him late in the drafts if you must own him.

3B Chipper Jones has fantasy value but only in deeper or very shallow NL-Only types. You can hope for 125 games played and around 15 Home Runs. Hope. With an ADP of 234.88, there’s no reason to target him as anything more waiver help.

OF Jason Heyward let fantasy owners down in 2011 but look for him to turn things around in 2012. Look for a return to the 20 HR and 12 SB range for him. Unfortunately there is risk involved, so you wouldn’t want to use a keeper on him. His ADP of 109.90 means he should be on your radar by the 8th or 9th rounds and you’ll probably have a few owners steering clear out of fear.

NL Rookie of the Year runner-up 1B Freddie Freeman posted great numbers in 2011 and should be in line for more of the same (.280/80/25/80/5) but most sites have him ranked somewhere around the 15th-best option at first base. That’s not keeper-worthy but definitely a fine option at first base to target around the 10th round according to his ADP of 121.97.

SP Brandon Beachy burst onto the scene in 2011 with a 7-3 record, 3.68 ERA, 1.21 WHIP with a 10.7 K/9 and 3.67 K/BB ratios. With an ADP of 114.51, he should be a target to occupy a spot on your pitching staff, just not as a keeper.

SP Tommy Hanson missed the final eight weeks of 2011 with a rotator cuff injury and is coming into 2012 working on a revamped delivery. Nothing about this seems like positive news. Not only is he not a keeper, I’d be weary of drafting him at all this season.

Does your league use a unique keeper system that makes these or any other Braves’ players keeper-worthy heading into your 2012 drafts? If so, I’d love to hear all about it. Leave a comment so we can all appreciate the complexity some leagues use.

Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter @DJAubain and Full Spectrum Baseball @FullSpectrumBB.

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Players with power and speed you should be targeting on draft day

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Players with power and speed you should be targeting on draft day

Posted on 09 March 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Standard fantasy baseball leagues use five basic statistics as offensive scoring categories (AVG, R, HR, RBI, SB) and finding the players who will contribute across most categories, if not all, should be your primary objective while those types of players are still available in the drafting pool. But what if I told you which of the two statistics  you should be paying attention to more than the others that would pay off dividends in all five categories?

Targeting players who provide both power and speed is a strategy sure to pay off, if done right. Only 24 players had 15 or more home runs and 15 or more stolen bases in 2011 and produced an average 5×5 line of .273/95/24/83/25. Not too shabby. It’s  quite the collection of players but some of the names on the list may surprise you.

The Elites (30/30 potential)

OF Matt Kemp (39 HR/40 SB), OF Jacoby Ellsbury (32 HR/39 SB), OF Curtis Granderson (41 HR/25 SB), OF Ryan Braun (33 HR/33 SB) and 2B Ian Kinsler (32 HR/30 SB) are serious candidates to go 30/30 in 2012. Kemp (ADP 2.18), Braun (ADP 4.65) and Ellsbury (ADP 9.30) are all being drafted in the first round, so you’ll probably only get a shot at one of these players unless Ellsbury were to fall to the turn (12th pick).

Imagine pairing up one of these first-round elites with a second-round pick of Kinsler (ADP 24.04). Personally, I’d go for Kinsler over Granderson (ADP 19.93) simply because of position scarcity. Coming out of the first two rounds of your draft with a cornerstone outfielder and elite second baseman who can combine to go 60/60-plus is how you start build a winning fantasy baseball team.

The Very Good (25/25 potential)

OF B.J. Upton (23 HR/36 SB), OF Justin Upton (31 HR/21 SB), 2B Dustin Pedroia (21 HR/26 SB), OF Carlos Gonzalez (26 HR/20 SB) and OF Andrew McCutchen (23 HR/23 SB) all came close to a 25/25 season in 2011 and nothing in their respective games suggest they can’t come close to or achieve these same numbers or better in 2012. OF Drew Stubbs (15 HR/40 SB) is a player who’s averaged 21 HR and 37 SB per 162 games played so far in his young career. A low batting average (.251 career average) and high strikeout rate (28.9% of the time) are red flags to his game but you shouldn’t ignore his 3-category potential (R, HR,SB).

This group, just like The Elites, is made up of outfielders and a second baseman. Dustin Pedroia (ADP 19.62) is being drafted before Kinsler, which means depending on your draft slot, you still have a shot to pair up one of these second baseman with your elite outfielder. CarGo (ADP 14.52) should be available on the turn and could easily elevate his game enough to join The Elites.

B.J. Upton (ADP 64.36) could be the biggest bargain of the bunch as a fifth or sixth-round target. He’s a similar risk to your batting average (.257 career average) as Stubbs but there’s no denying his fantasy eliteness when it comes to power and speed combos. If you’re targeting him for your team, just don’t get stuck pairing him up with other low-average hitters.

Justin Upton (ADP 9.40) and Andrew McCutchen (ADP 26.12) join Gonzalez as the players in this group most likely to take their game to 30/30 level of The Elites.

 The Good (20/20 potential)

OF Chris Young (20 HR/22 RBI), OF Jayson Werth (20 HR/19 SB), 2B/OF Ben Zobrist (20 HR/19 SB), 2B Danny Espinosa (21 HR/17 SB), OF Melky Cabrera (18 HR/20 SB), 2B/3B Ryan Roberts (19 HR/18 SB) and OF Shane Victorino (17 HR/19 SB) all showed the coveted 20/20 potential fantasy owners should be looking for in the draft.

This group includes the third, fourth and fifth second base-eligible players (of 24) as well as a shortstop and a third baseman, all at a significant discount than what you’ll be paying for earlier in the draft. Danny Espinosa is a batting average risk (.232 career average in the majors) but did hit .270 overall in the minors. If he can get that average up to an “acceptable” range (.260′s), Espinosa would be a steal (no pun intended) with an ADP of 147.19.

Chris Young (ADP 122.23) has averaged 24 HR and 21 SB per 162 games over his young career but his .240 career batting average brings a level of risk to your team’s scoring category (are we seeing a pattern here?). Jayson Werth (ADP 96.52) has averaged 29 HR and 20 SB over his last four seasons in a full-time role with an acceptable .267 batting average. Shane Victorino (ADP 72.95) has never reached the 20 HR mark in his career but has come close over the last two seasons (18 in 2010; 17 in 2011). He’ll be a free agent after this season unless the Phillies lock him up to a long-term deal, so we could see a career year from him. Ben Zobrist (ADP 78.79) has averaged 21 HR and 22 SB over the last three seasons in a full-time role, so continue to expect the same from him in 2012.

Melky Cabrera came close to a 20/20 season virtually out of nowhere, so it’s hard to gauge if this will be his new norm or simply a statistically anomaly. I’d bet for something on the higher end of a 15/15 season and with an ADP of 175.39, there’s little risk as a fourth or fifth outfield option.

Ryan Roberts is another “out of the blue” 20/20 threat but what makes him so attractive in fantasy baseball is his 2B/3B eligibility and relatively low risk (ADP 195.56) .

The Best of the Rest (15/15 potential)

SS Jimmy Rollins (16 HR/30 SB), SS Asdrubal Cabrera (25 HR/17 SB), OF Jeff Francoeur (20 HR/22 SB), OF Alex Gordon (23 HR/17 SB), 2B Kelly Johnson (21 HR/16 SB) and OF Johnny Damon (16 HR/19 SB) round out the list of 24 players who accomplished at least a 15/15 season in 2011.

Jimmy Rollins (ADP 88.70) has averaged 17 HR and 37 SB over his career, so his value is with his speed over power. The Phillies are looking old as a team, so expect Rollins to provide a majority of the offensive spark in 2012.

If you’re still looking for a value at second base, be sure to target Kelly Johnson (ADP 240.21) in the late rounds for his 20/15 potential. He could find himself near the top of the Blue Jays lineup and nothing about that would be bad news to his fantasy baseball owners.

Alex Gordon (ADP 61.01) has averaged 20 HR and 13 SB in has career so far, so 20/20 might be a stretch. That’s okay, though. Fantasy owners have been waiting since 2008 for a return to productiveness as a fantasy option and he finally came through. I’m waiting a year to see if he can duplicate or surpass his 2011 numbers.

I’m less than optimistic that Asdrubal Cabrera (ADP 75.67) and Jeff Francoeur (191.00) can reproduce (or exceed) their 2011 numbers since neither has a history of 15/15 or better. The only reason I’d be targeting these two players is because Cabrera plays a premium fantasy position (SS) and Francoeur comes at a low-cost draft position. Oh, and I guess Johnny Damon needs a job before he’ll be fantasy baseball-relevant in 2012.

Other Power/Speed Threats for 2012

2B Aaron Hill (ADP 231.49) had 36 HR in 2009 and 21 SB in 2011. Deeper league players should think about drafting him as late as possible and seeing what the month of April brings. Is 15/15 really out of the realm of possibility?

OF Jason Heyward (108.92) slumped miserably in 2011 but is a 20 HR/15 SB season out of reach for this 22 year old?

Per 162 games played over his young career, OF Adam Jones (ADP 74.38) has averaged 19 HR and 11 SB. Now is the time for him to step up and take his game into the 25/15 club. It would be a lot easier to invest a sixth-round pick in him if he weren’t on the Orioles.

OF Carl Crawford (ADP 40.95) flopped in his first season with the Boston Red Sox but still managed to produce an 11 HR/18 SB season. A wrist injury will slow the start of his 2012 season but I’m betting he returns to form with a season of at least 15 HR and 30 SB. His high draft position would scare me away from drafting him, though.

OF Alex Rios (ADP 216.40) produced a 21 HR/34 SB season in 2010 before dropping off to a 13 HR/11 SB season in 2011. Split the difference with a 17 HR/22 SB campaign in 2012? There’s not a whole lot of risk involved to find out the answer.

2B Brandon Phillips (ADP 60.38) missed the 15/15 club in 2011 by one stolen base. He’s averaged 20 HR and 22 SB per 162 games in his career and should see a return to those levels playing for a new, long-term deal.

OF Shin-Soo Choo (ADP 62.56) had back-to-back 20/20 seasons in 2009/2010 before and injury-riddled 2011. Look for him to return to form in 2012. Teammate 2B Jason Kipnis (ADP 165.18) had 7 HR and 5 SB in 36 games played in 2011, so a 15/15 season seems realistic for 2012.

1B Eric Hosmer (ADP 54.02) produced a 19 HR/11 SB season in just 128 games in his rookie season and could provide a 25 HR/15 SB during his sophomore campaign. That kind of power/speed combo is rare for first basemen these days. Are you sold on him in the fifth round?

Los Angeles Angels teammates 2B Howie Kendrick (ADP 104.28) and OF Peter Bourjos (ADP 131.59) each just missed going at least 15/15 in 2011 and should both be considered locks to join this group in 2012.

SS Hanley Ramirez (ADP 20.34) has lots to prove heading into 2012 after an underwhelming 2011. He’s averaged 25 HR/41 SB per 162 games over his career and should be a top target if you are buying into my power/speed drafting strategy. Oh, and the third base eligibility coming soon makes him even more valuable to fantasy baseballers.

OF Angel Pagan (ADP 165.25) and OF Andres Torres (ADP 314.34) were traded for each other this offseason and each have the potential to provide 10 HR and 30 SB. Could either step it up the power and go 15/25 in 2012? I’ll be targeting them BOTH in late rounds of my deeper leagues.

Will moving the fences in at CitiField help 3B David Wright (ADP 32.70) return to the upper ranks of fantasy baseball greatness? He’s averaged 27 HR and 22 SB over his career and should be able to put a disappointing 2011 season behind him.

If any catcher were to make a run at the 15/15 club, Russell Martin (ADP 250.24) would have to be that guy. I don’t see it happening but if you’re a “punt the catcher position” strategy type, grab him late hope the speed returns. He did go 18/8 in 2011.

It doesn’t look like OF Domonic Brown (ADP 266.77) will get a chance to show his stuff full time in the crowded Phillies outfield in 2012, so look for him to be on my 2013 list of 20/20 guys.

Pirates OF Alex Presley (ADP 258.50) had 4 HR (22 XBH) and 9 SB in 52 games in 2011 and could produce an under-the-radar 15/25 season hitting out of the #2 hole in front of McCutchen.

Now that OF Ichiro Suzuki (ADP 102.15) has been moved into the #3 slot in the Mariners batting order, could his power numbers increase too? Is a 15 HR/30 SB season a possibility? Thoughts?

2B Dustin Ackley (ADP 137.58) had 6 HR/6 SB in 90 games in 2011, which would have put him just under the 15/15 club. I like his chances at accomplishing this in 2012.

Could OF Desmond Jennings (ADP 56.34) really make a run at a 20 HR/45 SB season? Well his 10 HR and 20 SB in just 63 games in 2011 had him on pace for this type of monster season. I hope the Rays commit to him for 162 games so we can all find out. BUY NOW!

Okay. I get the hype over 3B Brett Lawrie (ADP 55.45). But I was shocked at what I saw on his projections page on RotoChamp.com. A 26/25 season coming in 2012? Really? Wow. He did have 9 HR and 7 SB in just 43 games, so this should be very interesting.

Targeting players who can provide you with both power (HRs) and speed (SBs) is a strategy worth looking into when deciding whether or not to draft Player X or Player Y. A 30 HR/0 SB player could cost you a lot in the early rounds whereas two 15/15 players should come relatively cheap later in the draft. Remember, fantasy baseball is about finding the statistics and the right combination of players to help you win NOW! So do yourself a favor. Please. Avoid Bryce Harper for 2012. He’ll help you win in 2013 or 2014. I promise.

NOTE: All ADP numbers are courtesy of MockDraftCentral.com and were accurate as of March 5th, 2012.

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Prince Fielder Selected The Detroit Tigers to Annoy Fantasy Baseball Owners

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Prince Fielder Selected The Detroit Tigers to Annoy Fantasy Baseball Owners

Posted on 02 February 2012 by Dennis Lawson

The Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder in order to fill the gap left by an injured Victor Martinez, and the team is getting a lot more than it bargained for in some ways.  Adding the budding multimedia superstar promises to make a good lineup even better while also having significant fantasy baseball implications.

Prince Fielder and Eminem on the "Ate Mile" set

The $214M promissory note given to Prince Fielder from the Detroit Tigers certainly was a significant factor in Fielder’s decision to sign with Detroit.  It is quite possible that the ability to work as a designated hitter (DH) from time to time was a compelling draw as well.  Perhaps Fielder liked the weather in Milwaukee so much that he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving behind fond memories of frolicking on the tundra after home games.  Perhaps Comerica Park is completely surrounded with restaurants that cater specifically to vegans.  These all represent legitimate issues that must be considered when making a decision about where to play for the next 9 years.

However, there remains little doubt that Fielder was motivated primarily by his desire to frustrate fantasy baseball players around the globe.  That is right.  Everything else accompanying the contract was pure gravy.  Fielder managed to weaken NL-only leagues, change Miguel Cabrera‘s fantasy value, and add credence to a very recent rumor all in one fell swoop.  Now that is impact.

The impact to fantasy baseball leagues around the world cannot be overstated.  For people who manage or own teams in leagues that utilize only National League players, the world just got a bit darker.  Not all that long ago the NL was stacked with the likes of Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, and Prince Fielder.  Only Votto remains, and he is only signed through the 2013 season.  From a fantasy perspective, the slow migration of premier first basemen to the American League has created a situation for NL-only leagues that may best be described as “Ryan Howard, Lance Berkman, and everybody else”.

Of course, fantasy players are not the only people affected by the signing.  Real players like Brennan Boesch, Magglio Ordonez, and Miguel Cabrera could all benefit from time spent in Fielder’s orbit.  For the past three seasons, Fielder has averaged over 100 walks per year with an average OPS+ of approximately 155.  During that same stretch, Fielder drove in 344 runs and slammed 126 home runs.  You can color me impressed that the Tigers were able to upgrade their lineup during the absence of Victor Martinez.

Finally, there exists a persistently pervasive sense that Fielder wants to add acting to his resume, if the right opportunity comes along.  Highly placed anonymous sources close to at least 2 people who memorized the location of every public restroom in Comerica Park have provided evidence that reinforces that sense.  Fielder was spotted just recently with rapper Eminem on a movie  set in suburban Detroit.  The same sources revealed that the working title for the production is “Ate Mile”.

Bonus Baseball:  I’ve heard that Fielder considered releasing a rap album during this off season due to all the extra time he had on his hands.  His chosen rap name?  “P.F. Cha-chings”

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