Phantasy Impact: “Keepers, Sleepers and Weepers”

There are whispers that Matt Kemp could be baseballs next 40/40 guy (Malingering/Flickr).

There are whispers that Matt Kemp could be baseball's next 40/40 guy (Malingering/Flickr).

Last season I began a series entitled “Phantasy Impact” where I would discuss, well you guessed it, fantasy baseball. Clever title I know.

I received a lot of feedback from readers that they enjoyed it and so I decided to bring it back again for 2009. This year won’t be as sticky for me since my main league is a dynasty league and I won’t have to worry about tipping off any of my draft secrets. So I can share with you whilst not showing my hand to the league. Everybody wins.

Normally this series will cover a main fantasy article along with people you should add, drop or keep an eye on as well as other little tips and tricks of the trade that hopefully will help you win your league. Or at the very least help you beat your rival team so you can rub it in their face. Think of it as a consolation prize.

To start off our fantasy coverage I figured I’d give everyone a list of players I love and hate and players I think are ready for breakouts or breakdowns. I hope you enjoy this and if you feel so inclined, share your fantasy rosters or draft day wins in the comments section below.

Let’s do this.

The Keepers/Sleepers (who I love and think will shine)

Adam Jones, OF, Orioles: No, not the psychotic Adam Jones with the goofy nickname, this Adam Jones actually has a lot of potential. Jones was thrust into a spot last season and given a chance to run. While his numbers weren’t captivating, he learned a lot. I see Jones taking the next step and possibly reaching his 20/20 status. Plus he’s working with Brian Roberts on his steals. Not a bad mentor.

In the Red Sox 17 man rotation, Lester is the true ace (keithallisonphoto.com)

In the Red Sox 17 man rotation, Lester is the true ace (keithallisonphoto.com)

Jon Lester, P, Red Sox: This man right here is Boston’s real ace. Look for him to take the reigns in 2009 with 15+ wins and an ERA hovering above 3.

Jose Lopez, 2B, Mariners: It’s funny no one knows who he is since he’s not flashy and plays on a bad team. He’ll give you .295/20/80 at a shallow position. Remember the name. Draft the name.

Xavier Nady, OF, Yankees: Want to know who is going to benefit most from A-Rod’s boo-boo? Yup, this guy. Nady will most likely get bumped up in the order and is their second best offensive weapon after Tex. I’m looking at a .300/25/100 year from him if he doesn’t lose time due to the old guys getting play in the outfield (which I don’t see happening). I really hope he gets dealt at some point since I like him and hate the Yanks.

Gil Meche/Zack Greinke, P, Royals: Meche over Greinke, but both pitchers quietly had fantastic years last season for a mediocre team. Now that the Royals are better, these two will be better in turn. You’ll get wins, ERA and K’s which are extremely valuable.

Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers: I liked him BEFORE Manny signed, but I LOVE him after (that’s a lot of capitals so you know I mean business). He has grown a lot and now doesn’t have the weight of the team on his shoulders with Manny in town. He will he give you a 30/30 season (with 40/40 potential someday) and a .300 average. He’s a stud and to prove my dedication to him, I just completed a trade in my dynasty league for him. I can’t afford to be wrong!

Travis Snider/Adam Lind, OF, Blue Jays: Both are young. Both are Blue Jay outfielders. Both will give you a .280 average, 20 homers and 80+ RBI this year. Both are awesome. That’s all.

Alexei Ramirez, 2B, White Sox: Second base is a very shallow position and Ramirez had a very impressive start to his career last season. I personally don’t see him getting much better that his nice line last season, but I don’t see him getting worse either.

Stephen Drew, SS, Diamondbacks: Should automatically be taken after Hanley and Reyes are off the board. No questions asked. If you draft Jeter over him you should have your fantasy card taken away from you. .310/25/80 is realistic. Plus he’s not a wuss like his brother.

Francisco Liriano/Scott Baker/Kevin Slowey/Nick Blackburn/Glen Perkins, P, Twins: In that order. I’ve said it before, I see Liriano competing for the Cy Young this year and Baker putting up 16+ wins. All have the potential to have double digits in wins and below 4 ERAs. One of the best top to bottom rotations in baseball.

Giambi has his smile back now that hes back home in Oakland (scatterbrained/Flickr).

Giambi has his smile back now that he's back home in Oakland (scatterbrained/Flickr).

Jason Giambi, 1B, A’s: In case you don’t get a first baseman until late, he’s a great option. He’s back home in Oakland and out of New York. How could that hurt him?

Chris Davis, 1B, Rangers: Another guy who not many people really realize how good he’s going to be. He’ll give you 30+ homers and 100+ RBI. Plus he’ll be eligible at both first and third base. Love him.

Ricky Nolasco/Josh Johnson/Chris Volstad, P, Marlins: They will be pitching their club into the post season. Will they do the same for your team? If you draft them they will.

Rich Harden, P, Cubs: Damn it, one of these years he’ll stay healthy. When he is, he’s a top five pitcher in baseball. Take a chance as he’ll drop pretty low.

Yovani Gallardo, P, Brewers: In the next couple of years you’ll be debating whether to take him or Lincecum. He’s that good and some people are afraid to draft him due to his injury last season. An injury to his non-driving knee from a freak accident. Thankfully people are dumb which enables the rest of us to get players like this.

Manny Parra, P, Brewers: I somehow was able to add him as a free agent this off season. He’ll get you some wins and will get you a lot more strikeouts.

The Upton Brothers, OF, Diamondbacks/Rays: Look out kids, they are ready to pop. Justin will give you 25+ homers with increased plate discipline and BJ will give you 40+ stolen bases with increased power.

David DeJesus, OF, Royals: You probably think I’m nuts for this one and are ready to close your browser, but wait! He’s not going to explode for any ridiculous numbers, but if you are in a deep league and need some depth in the outfield, this guy will give you a .300ish average, double digits in homers and stolen bases as well as 120+ runs created. Sure that’s not going to make the papers, but wouldn’t you want a guy like this on your team to fill the gaps?

The Weepers (players I’m not fond of and will disappoint)

Cliff Lee, P, Indians: Do you really see Lee putting up 22 wins and posting a 2.54 ERA again? I sure don’t. I’m not saying he’s not a good pitcher, but he’s not 22 wins good, more like 14 or so. Plus I’m annoyed with him for wussing out and faking an injury for list last start of the season just so he could keep his ERA crown. Pretty low if you ask me.

Milton Bradley, OF, Cubs: When Bradley’s healthy, he’s an incredible hitter. The problem is he’s never healthy and I don’t see how a move to the NL where he will be forced to play in the field everyday will be a good thing. He’ll hit .330 this year but you won’t get 100 games out of him so draft him with caution.

Luis Castillo, 2B, Mets: Blah.

Gavin Floyd, P, White Sox: Talk about lucky. This guy somehow skirted by last season with stuff that got hit around a lot. I don’t see him doing anything this year other than getting crushed all over the place. Stay away especially if your league counts WHIP.

Perfect example of someone drafted based on their name (keithallisonphoto.com).

Perfect example of someone drafted based on their name (keithallisonphoto.com).

Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees: I just don’t get why people continue to draft him so high every year. The only thing he brings to the table is batting average and even that has been on a steady decline (he’ll hit .280 this year). I don’t like him and I think he is an overrated fantasy player and an overrated baseball player. I hate Derek Jeter. There I said it.

Khalil Greene, SS, Cardinals: Ugh, a guy who will get you double digits in homers but hit in the low .200’s. Might as well throw Richie Sexson out there.

AJ Burnett, P, Yankees: Chronically injuried. A ton of money. Small market pitcher to the biggest market of them all. This has disaster written all over it. Wasn’t Mike Hampton available?

Edgar Renteria, SS, Giants: Bad signing for the Giants, bad draft pick for you. He’ll get you a .265 average with 8 homers.

Jon Garland, P, Diamondbacks: See Gavin Floyd.

Travis “Pronk” Hafner, DH, Indians: Plagued by injury and a loss of power. I don’t like using the “s” word to accuse players but it seems fitting here of someone who was on it and is now off it. I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with “pteroids.”

Nick Swisher, OF, Yankees: The only reason I say Swisher is because he doesn’t seem to have anywhere to play. The outfield is overcrowded by big names and big contracts and first base is out of the question now since the Tex signing. It’s like they signed him and then forgot about it until after their spending spree. I honestly can’t predict any stats for him because I don’t know how often he will see action and it’s too bad. Maybe he can learn third base to fill in for The Liar until his return.

Is Ortiz still a fantasy All-Star? Not really (Amado Deras/Flickr).

Is Ortiz still a fantasy All-Star? Not really (Amado Deras/Flickr).

David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox: For starters, I don’t know how healthy he’ll be. But the main reason is his numbers are declining and is only eligible at DH. Most leagues use a utility position over a DH spot so really you can plug anyone in there. Another guy not to draft too high.

Jeff Francoeur, OF, Braves: I honestly can’t tell you if he remembers how to hit or not. He could hit a line of .220/.290/.350 with 10 homers and 60 RBI just as easily as he could hit .280/.330/.450 with 30 homers and 100 RBI. The problem is I don’t think there’s much of a happy medium here and it will be one extreme or another. Let’s hope it’s not another Andruw Jones situation. Speaking of…

Andruw Jones, OF, Rangers: I know some of you are trying to catch lightening in a bottle, but look elsewhere because his career is done. He can’t hit anything at the plate as his approach has gone from bad to worse. You won’t see him in the majors this season so don’t waste the roster spot.

Any Detroit Tigers Pitchers: I don’t like any of their starters and I don’t like any of their relievers. Don’t agree? Prove me wrong. Good luck as not one has done anything in the past year and a half worth owning. Go on, try it.

Barry Zito, P, Giants: Because a.) he sucks and b.) he is/was dating Paris Hilton. I honestly don’t know which reason is a better one for you to keep him off your team. But either works.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
diamondcutter@columnist.com

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13 Responses to Phantasy Impact: “Keepers, Sleepers and Weepers”

  1. I debated whether or not I should post this or wait until I unveil the new site. But since the weekend is coming up and people will be drafting, I figured I’d throw it out there.

    As for the site, I will be working over the weekend in getting everything loaded into the new site. I really hope you all like it as Bloguin.com (our new network) did a great job building it for me.

    In the mean time, let’s hear your fantasy thoughts on these players or any others. Or, it doesn’t even have to be fantasy related, just your thoughts on these guys.

    Thanks everyone!

  2. E K says:

    Nice list. You must really like Meche and Greinke since they are listed twice.

    I think I pretty much agree with you on just about everything. I have one guy I would add to the list but not sure I want to name him just yet in case anyone in my league reads this site.

    A few questions for you:

    Adam Jones: Doesn’t the walk to K rate alarm you? I like the kid, but see him and Chris Young being very frustrating players until they learn better plate discipline.

    Greinke/Baker/Slowey/Gallardo/Nolasco/Lester: How would you rank them in terms of projected ERA and innings pitched only. I think I would go with the following order:
    Gallardo/Greinke/Baker/Nolasco/Slowey/Lester. I’m with you on Gallardo, had him last year and his injuries killed me.

  3. Ha yeah I do. Actually that is what happens when you try to cut and paste from Word into here at 2AM. The eyes play tricks on you!

    Well you’ll have to let me know who that is as soon as your draft is finished. When do you have yours?

    The BB/K rate does worry me with the two of them. I think we should see improvements from both of them this season, more so from Jones. Jones has already been working with Brian Roberts on his base stealing as well as his on-base skills with coaches. Already this spring I have seen some improvements. Young, well, he’s a different story.

    I’m actually similar and would go:
    Gallardo/Greinke/Baker/Slowey/Lester/Nolasco

    Gallardo will be a stud, Greinke and Baker will take then next step, Slowey will improve, Lester will be Lester and I think Nolasco will be solid but won’t have the IP the others will.

  4. E K says:

    Our draft isn’t until the first week of April.

    What’s your take on Elijah Dukes? Seems like he could put up some big numbers if he doesn’t have any tantrums. I can see him being a nice sleeper pick if he gets 500 at bats…

  5. While Dukes is a jerk he has a lot of potential. If he actually does stay healthy (or out of prison) and gets 500 at bats, 30/30 isn’t out of the question.

    But at this point in his career 500 at bats will get a 20/20 at least. I just hope he can get his head on straight because he has a lot to offer.

  6. Mike says:

    Alright, my draft is tomorrow (Although we’re a keeper league and none of these guys are in the draft. Pablo Sandoval is going to be our first pick if that says anything).

    Adam Jones- Completely agree- just traded for him a little while ago, I think he is going to be a STUD.

    Cliff Lee- No, he won’t do that again. He should be a good pitcher, though. I had him his whole career. Oh, except last season!!!

    Khalil Greene- I think Greene is going to have a rebirth in St. Louis. I really see him having a good year. As the owner of Miguel Tejada and Bobby Crosby, I am drooling at the thought of Khalil Greene. Of course, I look longingly at Maicer Izturis, too.

    Francoeur- What the hell??? How soon do you fire your hitting coach after this?? I’m with you- he either gets right back on track or is gone. It’s like he got the hitting yips. Thank God I traded him for BJ Upton before last season.

    Justin Verlander- C’mon- Verlander’s good. They’ve got a new pitching coach, so I’m expecting him to revert to where he was before last season. Zumaya and Bonderman have talent, if they can stay healthy. Porcello will probably be there soon.

    Zito dated Paris Hilton?!?!? Well, I could’ve really done without ever knowing that.

    Here’s my sleeper for the year- Troy Tulowitzki. Why is that everyone seems to have forgotten about him? It’s not like he pulled a Francouer, he was hurt. He’s going to be the Bobby Crosby that Bobby Crosby never was.

  7. Francoeur for Upton before last season is one of those “right place, right time” trades! Nice.

    Troy is for sure a great sleeper pick. If he falls enough he could be a great steal.

    So what is your roster like prior to the draft?

  8. E K says:

    I don’t think people are forgetting about Tulo. He was actually protected in our keeper league and if he were available I am certain he would be one of the 1st shortstops off the board.

    I actually have Sandoval going into the year and he qualifies as my catcher. So I am putting a lot of faith in his abilities. Not that he needs to do much to be better than most of the other garbage available behind the plate.

    Francour – I will never draft him. I’ve never liked him and think he has a little bit too much Andruw Jones in him.

    Verlander – Can’t figure him out yet. Not sure I’m willing to risk a high pick on him or not. If he falls far enough he might be worth a gamble. But only if I already have 4 pitchers I trust ahead of him.

    Khalil – I agree with you on this one. I think he could be a surprise this year. He needs to get that average up quite a bit though.

    Cliff Lee – FLOP! Stay away.

    Adam Jones – I’ve read too many posts of people hyping this kid up this season. I still just don’t see it. He reminds we way too much of Chris Young. Anyone that strikes out as much as they do without drawing enough walks scares me. Unless those numbers improve this season I think a lot of people will be disappointed. I’d rather go with Hunter Pence who I think is a better player (less speed).

    One more sleeper for you:
    Seth Smith – If he gets the left field job in Colorodo and gets 500 at bats he could be a nice late round steal. The only draw back is he’ll have to fight off both Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler all year long. But I think he has a shot of being this years Nate McLouth!

  9. Mike says:

    I like Smith, too- if he gets the chance. There seem to a be a couple of Rockies prospects that the same thing can be said, “If…”

    With Jones, I just thing he’s going to learn and get better. He showed great improvement during the season last year before he was injured, and I just see him as a player that gets better and better, not just the status quo.

    Sandoval is going to be popular because of crazy eligibility. Looks like he may actually be a hitter, too.
    My thing with Tulo is alot of the magazines I’ve read. One had Mike Aviles rated ahead of him. How do you do that??? Aviles has one good half-3/4 of a year and now he’s better than Tulowitzki? No way.

  10. Funny you should mention Smith as I just added him as a free agent not too long ago in my dynasty league. All reports are now saying that it is his job to lose and has been impressing the Rockies all spring. I figured with how consistent he was in the minors that I’d stash him away.

  11. E K says:

    Was just looking over some Spring stats (I know they don’t mean much) but was very impressed at how well Andrew McCutchen was doing! 9 walks, a nice on base average, and is hitting the ball quite well. I know he got off to a slow start so he must have picked it up as of late.

    I hope they are smart enough to give him the centerfield job to start the season. He deserves it far more than Nyjer Morgan!

  12. Mike says:

    I agree, E K- it’s time for the Pirates to start seeing how the kids can do- McCutchen, Walker, Tabata’s probably a bit young, but he’s been hitting. Let’s see some more young talent and a little less of the Ramon Vazquez’s

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