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Fantasy Baseball

MLB: Bold and/or Reckless Predictions

MLB Opening Day is the best day of the year. The Fourth of July, Christmas, and the Super Bowl all have nothing on Opening Day. On the first day of the season, every baseball city in America has a legitimate chance to set course on a path towards the World Series (well everyone except those who root for the Cubs). Look at the champions over the last 10 years in the MLB and tell me if you would’ve correctly predicted: St. Louis, San Francisco, NY Yankees, Philly, Boston, St. Louis, Chicago White Sox, Boston, Florida, Anaheim, Arizona. Barring the normal Yankee dominance and a stint in their time as a ‘roided up Red Sox team, all those teams listed were not expected to win the whole thing on the first day of the season.

As a kid, I waited nervously for opening day. I checked spring training box scores and standings each morning in the LA Times. Now, as an adult (albeit a fairly irresponsible one), I feverishly read everything on the Internet about the upcoming summer of lazy days and double plays.
Everyone who knows anything about baseball can tell you the Dodgers are going to be a shitty team this year. We have the worst infield in the League and we still haven’t ensured that Frank McCourt is going to be out of lives forever (seriously, he still owns the parking lot/land in joint venture with Magic). So even though KOBEshigawa went through the trouble of doing a full season preview on the boys in the blue, I don’t see the point in guessing exactly how many players on our starting 9 will be hitting under .250. Instead, I would like to spend my time here with thegreatmambino making reckless predictions about the upcoming season that you will not get anywhere else…
Prediction 1: The Marlins AND the Pirates will WIN a playoff series
The Miami Marlins have been making a name for themselves this offseason. They no longer have to play in their cavernous hole of a stadium, and somehow they landed the craziest manager in baseball. Add that to a lineup that now has speedy (yet fragile) Jose Reyes, a rotation that boasts Josh Johnson (not crazy), Mark Buerhle (kinda redneck crazy), and Carlos Zambrano (batshit crazy), and you have a recipe for dominance. Granted, success in Miami will only come if this witches brew of talent can gel, but with the powerhouses in the East set to have down years (looking at you Braves and Phillies), a hot Ozzie-led squad will eek out a playoff series win this fall.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are finally going to do it this year. I live with a die-hard fan of the losingest team in baseball over the last 25 years and he has assured me that this season is the one! With the expanded playoffs and a Central that no longer has a Pujols or a Prince, the Pirates will finally put it all together and make it into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The playoff series they win… that first game to get into their series with Miami.
Prediction 2: This is the last season without a DH in the NL

The MLB has been run by a bunch of drunks for decades. Each league used to have power beyond anything you can imagine in any other professional sport. So much so that one league plays by entirely different lineup rules. This has been allowed to continue for decades for no apparent reason other than the fact that the AL prefers winning a lot, and the NL has cited tradition/purity in the game. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the DH, but with the new way the MLB has set up the schedule for 2012, the DH has to go. Currently, almost every single baseball league in the world uses a DH (all minor leagues, Japan, Latin leagues etc.).

Teams are soon going to be playing interleagu
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What the "Experts" Are Getting Wrong: Tips from Fantasy Baseball 365

(KOBEsh: I met Mark Schruender our freshman year of college, and he is the jerk that got me involved in Fantasy Baseball in the first place. Calling him a Fantasy guru would be like my mom calling me a disapointment – vastly understating the obvious. He’ll be contributing fantasy advice for MAMBINO sporadically (ooh, good word of the day!) throughout the season, but at the great Fantasy Baseball 365 on the regular)
The great KOBEshigawa originally suggested that I write about sleepers for the upcoming fantasy season. I told him I didn’t like that idea. I hate sleepers because immediately when someone writes about them they aren’t sleeping anymore. You can also make a case that every player in the deck is a sleeper. Chris Heisey is a sleeper because he hit 18 home run in under 300 at-bats, should start, and you haven’t heard of him. Elvis Andrus is a sleeper because you didn’t know he doubled the number of extra base hits he had last year and he isn’t 24 yet. Albert Pujols (yeah I said it) is a sleeper because people think he won’t be as good after signing a really big contract and being distracted for an off-season.
Instead what I’m going to do is look at what the major sites out there (ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, Mock Draft Central) are saying about players and find flaws in what they say. I’m going to give you 10 suggestions that help get around the clutter of the ranking sheets out there. In other words (sigh) this is really just sleeper advice. At least I tried to get around the stereotypical fantasy article.
1.   Mike Napoli will be better than Carlos Santana. Napoli was the best catcher last year after moving from the 25th best park to the best park for home runs. He hit a ridiculous .383 in the second half. Carlos Santana was good and has a very bright future, but the dude hit .249 in the second half last year. Everybody except Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN has Napoli ranked lower. Classic case of liking a young player just a tad too soon.
2.   A-Rod is old and getting worse, but Pablo Sandoval has no right to go ahead of him in drafts. You’ve got a guy with the anti-midus touch and a guy with the Nutty Professor touch off the field, but disregard that for a sec. Kung Fu Panda has never driven in more than 90 runs, hit more than 25 home runs, or scored more than 80 runs in a season. A-Rod did it for 12 years in a row before last year. CBS, ESPN, Yahoo all seem to think that Sandoval is better anyway. Look, I know he’s old, you don’t like him, and you don’t want him on your team. All I’m saying is don’t pick Kung Fu Panda over him.
3.   Howie Kendrick will be a better value than Brandon Phillips. Kendrick is going about 40 picks after Phillips in mock drafts, but the numbers of the two players were the same in terms of home runs and steals last year. Watch Phillips’ average drop 20 to 25 points this year and Kendrick to reap the benefits of Albert in the lineup to score more runs than Phillips.
4.   Carl Crawford had a tough year, but he’s not that bad.  Tristan Cockroft ranks Carl number 92 overall. Yahoo ranks him number 96 overall. Last I checked a player that is 30 years old is in the prime of his career. Since 2006 he’s ended the season in the top 30 players four times. It doesn’t get anymore bottom than it did last year for Crawford who isn’t the type of player that needs a contract season for motivation. He will be a top 60 player again this season.
5.   Ryan Braun is a better pick than Jay Bruce. Even when I thought we were getting just 110 games of Braun, I would have picked him over 155 of Bruce. Jay Bruce just hasn’t proven himself as a consistent Major League hitter Read more...