Mar 31, 2009
Mar 30, 2009
Details: Bazooka was launched in the summer of 1995 (I remember August for some reason) with an SRP of 50 cents per pack with 5 cards a pack and 36 packs per box. There was one insert set called Red Hots that were inserted 1:6 packs and 5 per factory set. These were the same design as the base set except completely red. The wheel was also slightly altered to have more positive outcomes. The base set was 132 cards including all the big stars of the day (Griffey, Thomas, etc) with the last 10 cards being dedicated to young up and comers (like my personal favorite Rico Brogna).
Mar 28, 2009
One of the important aspects to consider is whether the player you target will be available during your next pick. You will know this by keeping track of other teams' positional and categorical needs. This is also where tiers come into play. For example, if you are targeting a shortstop within the next couple of picks, and Rafael Furcal is your only remaining shortstop in the highest remaining tier, pick him if the teams picking after you already have their shortstops. This is not 100% foolproof because some people (myself included) will take a pick deemed to be a "great value" even if the position is already filled. The UTIL spot is also a consideration in this regard.
If you want to discuss any fantasy baseball strategy, please leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I like to hear other peoples's insights and differences of opinion. Because at the end, this is what this all is, educated guesses and opinions. I am just an experienced amateur, like everyone else with a set goal in mind for each draft.
My first draft is Sunday. Wish me luck!
Check the "rankings" label on the sidebar to see all comments together and the "draft" label for other drafting comments.
Mar 27, 2009
This is the last installment of rankings for this season. I ran out of time to make the detailed charts since my first draft is this Sunday.
Third base is a surprisingly shallow position at the top end. There are not many 4-5 category contributors compared to outfield or first base. It also a position where there are many players with multiple-position eligibility (i.e. Miguel Cabrera, Jorge Cantu listed in other rankings). After each player's name is their "strength" categories and where I expect them to be drafted.
David Wright (HR, RBI, R, AVG, SB) (1st round)
Alex Rodriguez (HR, RBI, R, AVG, SB) (3rd-4th round because of injury)
Chipper Jones (AVG, RBI, R) (4th-6th round)
Aramis Ramirez (R, HR, RBI) (4th-6th round)
Evan Longoria (R, HR, RBI (3rd-5th round)
Ryan Zimmerman (R, HR, RBI) (6th-10th round)
Chone Figgins (R, SB) (6th-8th round)
Adrian Beltre (HR) (8th-12th round)
Michael Young (R, AVG) (4th- 6th round) (SS eligibility)
Mike Lowell (HR, RBI) (6th-10th round)
Edwin Encarnacion (HR) (8th-12th round)
Garrett Atkins (HR, RBI) (4th-8th round)
Alex Gordon (R, HR, RBI) (8th round-12th round)
Scott Rolen (injury risk)
Troy Glaus (injured)
Mark Reynolds (200 K, low AVG)
Casey Blake (20 HR power)
Pablo Sandoval (doesn't walk, C eligibility)
Mark DeRosa (career best at age 33, 2B eligibility)
Melvin Mora (RBI)
DHs are players I might have forgotten about previously because they slot into UTIL only (in most cases). Here's the quick list of relevant DHs to consider drafting. All of their main contributions are in power categories.David Ortiz (4th-8th round)
Jim Thome (10th-14th round)
Jason Giambi (10th-14th round)
Travis Hafner (10th-14th round)
Billy Butler (14th-18th round)
Gary Sheffield (14th-18th round)
Mar 26, 2009
Mar 25, 2009
Mar 24, 2009
For me, joy has been derived from the acquisition of a few types of cards and memorabilia.
1. My first vintage card (and I'm not talking about the 1983 Topps Traded Larry Bittner that came in one of those baseball card starter kits). Like many of us, my father lamented that his mother threw out all his cards. He was an avid collector of 1961-1963 Topps, especially the wood grain 1962 version. For one of my birthdays (somewhere between 10-12), we went to the nearest hobby shop, which was called Neshaminy Stamps and Coins. It had everything, literally, but it's long gone now. We went to the vintage card section together and rifled through the boxes. Two cards stuck out, a 1961 Topps Curt Simmons and a 1962 Topps Orlando Cepeda. I was able to choose one (in addition to the other gifts that day). I chose the Cepeda (for the low price of $3.00), and it was and is the first vintage card I have ever owned. Check out the grin on this guy's face.
Alas, this image is from ebay and not mine (it's in PA, I'm in CA).
2. Is that Mickey Mantle? By the time I was a teenager, I was a veteran of packs and card shows and hobby boxes. In 1996, I received a Topps Series 1 box for Hannukah (well, this was the tradition: my brother and I would go to a card store, either Baseball Connection or Toy Trains and Sports Cards and pick a box for each of us; I miss traditions). Of course, Mickey Mantle reprints were inserted in the packs. I opened the box pack by pack, and when I came upon a reprint, I literally jumped off the living room floor and showed everyone in the house. I mean, it was Mickey Mantle! in my hand. The one that was on the August 1995 issue of Beckett. The one with the 1952 Topps card that I saw sell with my own eyes for $30,000. This proceeded to happen 3 more times during the next 2 hours. I had a lot of energy then.
3. The set's complete!: This joy is all about the quest. I still feel great when it occurs. The last two sets I've completed by hand were 2007 UD Masterpieces (thanks I am Joe Collector) and 2007 Allen and Ginter base set, flag set, box topper set, etc. These had a slightly different joy since I can anticipate the cards coming through the mail. For sheer "This is the last card I need for the set and I found it in THIS BOX!" feeling, I have to go back to 1996 when I completed the 1996 Upper Deck set.
4. The autograph to end all autographs: Now I'm an adult (at least functionally), and I live far away from home (nearly 93 million miles away). My mother came out to visit during the summer for a 5 day retreat with her oldest son. We both love to go to baseball games, and she wanted to see the San Francisco stadium for the first time. So I got tickets for a game there, but then I found something extraordinary (h/t Awesomely Bad Wax for his weekly postings), Mike Schmidt, the Phillie to end all Phillies, was going to be in Sacramento at a Sacramento RiverCats game for free autographs. I asked if she minded going to another game in the same weekend. When I mentioned who was going to be there, she also seemed very excited. So, we drove the nearly two hours (with typical Bay Area traffic) to Sacramento, arrived at the stadium....and waited in the shortest line ever for a living legend. We introduced ourselves, took a picture with him, and received the large card he was signing. It was a few seconds of pure joy. The game itself was also fun (it was amateur singer night, applause for all). (I am still looking for the photo of the "event")
Mar 23, 2009
For catchers, if you're not willing to sacrfice a 4-6 round pick on McCann, Martin, or Mauer(barring continuing injury), then you might as well wait. There is serious reaching for Matt Wieters in experts' drafts. Will he be worth it? He might not even start the season with the MLB club. His talent though is undeniable. There are other catchers (Soto, Doumit) who can offer the same production, and also have a track record. Just don't hurt yourself in all the categories when you pick one. Be ready to cut them if they're not working out since a good starting catcher normally starts only 115-130 games per season, depressing their overall numbers compared to other positions. If someone emerges during the season, don't hesitate to replace a mediocrity at the position. The same type of tiering system applies as previous rankings; these are similar groupings of players based on projected stats.
For closers, I've mentioned not to draft one too early, but this doesn't mean to overlook them. Try to draft 3-4 during the draft, and maybe also a middle reliever with a high K/9 and K/BB rate (i.e. Carlos Marmol, J.J. Putz). The only considerations with closers are opportunities, effectiveness at converting opportunities, situation stability, and injury. The rest is not as important because most only pitch 60-80 innings per year, which have a miniscule effect on ERA and WHIP. Although grabbing one with a high K/9 can help in maximizing Ks (assuming you have an inning limit in your league; for head to head leagues, it doesn't matter at all).
Mar 22, 2009
Let the presentation begin!
|Name||Age||Strength Stats||Key Stats from 2008||Projected Draft Position||Comments||Tier|
|Hanley Ramirez||25||AVG, HR, R, SB, RBI||125 R, 33 HR, 35 SB, .400 OBP, .540 SLG||1||Consensus top 2 pick in the draft. 5 category stud because will not hit 3rd in Florida lineup||1|
|Jose Reyes||26||R, SB, AVG||113 R, 56 SB||1||Consensus top 4 pick in the draft. Steals are his biggest asset, but can contribute across all categories.||1|
|Jimmy Rollins||30||R, HR, SB||47 SB, .349 OBP, .437 SLG||1||Great asset at speed. Scores a lot of runs with Utley and Howard hitting behind him. Stats last year depressed because of ankle injury||1|
|Rafael Furcal||31||R, SB||36 G , 8 SB, 34 R||4-7 round||He may be overrated because he's over 30 and had injury problems last year. But with potent Dodger lineup can score 100-120 runs and steal 25-35 bases with respectable AVG and HR||2|
|Alexei Ramirez||27||HR, RBI||22 HR, 77 RBI, 13 SB, .475 SLG, .313 OBP||3-6 round||Free swinger with great power. Will be overdrafted based on potential. Also eligible at 2nd base||2|
|Stephen Drew||26||R, HR, RBI||.502 SLG, 21 HR||5-8 round||Similar in fantasy profile to Hardy and Ramirez, but his skills can portend a greater improvement for 3rd full season||2|
|JJ Hardy||26||HR, RBI||24 HR, .478 SLG||7-10 round||Streaky power hitter in the prime of his career who will contribute 25 HR and a decent AVG||3|
|Troy Tulowitzki||24||R, RBI||.332 OBP, .401 SLG||7-10 round||Extemely disappointing '08 with injury and performance. This ranking is more of a bounceback hope. Still only 24.||3|
|Derek Jeter||35||R, AVG||.363 OBP, .408 SLG||5-8 round||Still useful, but not for the value most people give him. Declining trend in power and speed is real.||3|
|Jhonny Peralta||27||R, HR, RBI||104 R, 23 HR, 89 RBI, .473 SLG||6-12 round||Power is there consistently. Place in Indians lineup will matter for other categories||3|
|Miguel Tejada||35||R||.314 OBP, .415 SLG, 13 HR, 66 RBI||6-12 round||Will not approach power of years past. Also, extremely slow (32 GIDP). Has lost batting eye as well||4|
|Orlando Cabrera||34||R, SB||93 R, 19 SB, .334 OBP||12-15 round||Solid contributor in all categories, however, has less than .400 SLG previous 2 years.||4|
|Brandon Wood||24||HR||not enough info||18-21 round||Amazing power numbers in the minors. Hasn't figured out major league pitching yet.||4|
|Yunel Escobar||26||R, AVG||.366 OBP||12-15 round||Above average hitter with developing skills and good strike zone control who will give you a solid contribution.||4|
|Ryan Theriot||29||R, SB, AVG||22 SB, .387 OBP||15-18 round||No power, but good speed, great plate discipline. Expect .300 AVG with 20 SB and 90 R||4|
|Edgar Renteria||33||AVG||.317 OBP, .382 SLG||15-18 round||Has clearly lost a step, but has moved to NL, where he seems to play better. Strictly a backup in this stage of his career||4|
|Christian Guzman||31||AVG||.316 AVG, 23 BB||18-21 round||Had one of career best year last year with surprising doubles power and high average. Has poor pitch recognition, but makes contact. Might maintain AVG, but offers nothing else||4|
|Elvis Andrus||20||SB||No MLB stats||18-21 round||Take a chance, get some steals. Very high talent ceiling, but probably too young to approach it this year||4|
|Mike Aviles||28||AVG||.325 AVG/ .480 SLG||15-18 round||High contact hitter who surprised last year. Might get double digit HR again. Also eligible at 2B.||4|
Mar 19, 2009
1978 Topps Bob Boone and 1977 Topps Terry Harmon: Some classic Phillies (especially the Boone) for a non-classic personality
1998 Flair Showcase Curt Schilling (#d to 2000) and 2009 Topps Toppstown Ryan Howard: I loved Schilling when he was on the Phillies, he talked a lot less back then, and the only thing he did say was to disparage Mitch Williams. Who doesn't disagree with that?
Three 2009 Topps Black (Walmart-style) Phillies: These are great because there are no Walmarts within any reasonable distance to my home, and I would never see these otherwise.
2009 Topps Turkey Red Shane Victorino, 2009 Upper Deck Phillies Team Leaders, and 2009 Upper Deck Rivals Rollins/Reyes: A celebration of the best the Phillies having to offer, including topping the Mets the past two seasons. Though Rollins true rivals might be New York sportstalk radio or Johan Santana rather than Reyes. Do opposing shortstops ever converse during the course of a game? They don't seem to be as chatty as first basemen.
Mar 17, 2009
Jayson Werth-HR, SB
Mar 16, 2009
So I decided to purchase a new sticker book with one box of 100 packs of stickers (retail price only 25 cents per pack!). I don't expect to get the whole set, but I will open them and stick them to my heart's content. You can see some of the results posted right here.
Mar 13, 2009
Design: The design itself is very clean. It's a full bleed photograph with the player name at the bottom in team related colors along with a new "Extra Bases" logo. On the back, is a second photo of the player with full career stats. Sounds great to me so far....The problem that I can't overlook is this...the size! Each card measures 2 1/2" x 4 3/4". This is not a proportional configuration and what ends up happening is that you get a squashed image of the player. Also, not fun to store. I completely mangled all the 89 Bowman cards I had as a kid. Imagine what I would have done with these...if I ever had any. It was long...and it wasn't strong.
Mar 12, 2009
Let the presentation begin!
|Name||Age||Strength Stats||Key Stats from 2008||Projected Draft Position||Comments||Tier|
|Chase Utley||30||R, HR, RBI, AVG||33 HR, 100+ R and RBI, .380 OBP, .535 SLG||1-2 round||Even with hip injury recovery, should put up similar numbers to last couple of years. The power should return after 2nd half drop. Can contribute in all 5categories||1|
|Ian Kinsler||27||R, HR, SB, AVG||.319/.375/.517, 18 HR, 26 SB||1-2 round||Legitimate 25-30 and 5 category threat, might be 1st 2nd baseman drafted in some drafts||1|
|Dustin Pedroia||25||R, HR, AVG||.326/.376/.493, 17 HR, 20 SB||2-3 round||Less power than Kinsler, but better AVG. Should hit .300 with similar numbers. Be wary of SB decreasing||1|
|Brandon Phillips||28||HR, SB||21 HR, 23 SB, .312 OBP||3-6 round||Doesn’t have great batting eye, but 20/20 almost assured.||2|
|Dan Uggla||29||HR, RBI, R||32 HR, .515 SLG, 171 K||5-9 round||High power with low AVG, should be a lock for 25 HRs||2|
|Brian Roberts||31||R, SB||.378 OBP, .450 SLG, 51 2B, 40 SB||3-6 round||Good batting eye with some power and speed to burn. On wrong side of 30, but should have 30-35 SB with .290 AVG and possibly 15 HR||2|
|Howie Kendrick||25||AVG||.306 AVG, .333 OBP, 92 G||10-15 round||Great hitter for average with some 2B power that might translate to increased HR. However, very injury prone.||3|
|Kelly Johnson||27||R, HR||.446 SLG||15-18 round||Solid all-around contributor||3|
|Rickie Weeks||26||R,HR,SB||.234/.342/.398||12-15 round||Real 20/20 potential…if he can get it together (saying that for 3 years now||3|
|Felipe Lopez||29||HR, SB||only .234 Avg in Washington||12-15 round||intriguing pick because of 2005/2006 and production when traded to St. Louis. Now in AZ, a majr hitter's park. 15/25 possibility||3|
|Jose Lopez||25||HR, RBI||17 HR, 89 RBI, .443 SLG||12-17 round||Free swinger who gets RBIs even when not hitting well. Low .OBP means when not hitting HRs is much less valuable.||3|
|Robinson Cano||26||AVG. HR||.271 AVG, .305 OBP||15-18 round||Has contact ability, but if career continues on this path, then useless as a fantasy player. Don't expect 2006 again.||3|
|Kazuo Matsui||33||SB||20 SB, .293 AVG, .354 OBP||18-21 round||Had career best season at age 32, 2nd baseman don't age well, injuries also a factor||4|
|Mark Ellis||32||HR||12 HR in 442 AB||18-21 round||Oakland lineup much improved, should help RBI numbers, on the wrong side of 30.||4|
|Aaron Hill||27||HR||17 HR in 2007||18-21 round||Is he recovered from the concussion?||4|
|Skip Schumaker||29||AVG||.302/.359/.406||18-21 round||high avg with decent batting eye, absolutely no power.||4|
|Orlando Hudson||31||AVG||.305 AVG, .450 SLG||15-18 round||Above average hitter with below average fantasy stats||4|
|Freddy Sanchez||31||AVG||.298 OBP||18-21 round||High contact hitter with little plate discipline. If AVG does not hover around .300 has no value since won't score runs and doesn't have SB||4|
|Clint Barmes||30||AVG, HR||.468 SLG||16-21 round||"Deermeat" Barmes has some useful skills and position versatility and plays in CO, but don't expect star numbers||4|
|Placido Polanco||33||R, AVG||.307 AVG, .350 OBP||16-21 round||Great contact hitter who will help your AVG with 6-10 HR, strictly a backup||4|
Mar 11, 2009
Let the presentation begin!
|Name||Age||Strength Stats||Key Stats from 2008||Projected Draft Position||Comments||Tier|
|Albert Pujols||29||R, HR, RBI, AVG||.357/.462/.653||1 round||Might be best hitter in game, I would not hesitate to pick him in top two picks of draft||1*|
|Lance Berkman||33||R, HR, RBI, AVG||.420 OBP, .567 SLG, 100+ Runs and RBIs||2-4 round||Great batting eye with 30 HR power and .300 avg possibility. Don't count on 18 SB again||1|
|Prince Fielder||25||HR, RBI||34 HR, 102 RBI, .507 SLG,/td>||2-4 round||In the breakout zone with huge power potential. Needs lineup support to score more runs. 40 HR season likely||1|
|Ryan Howard||29||HR, RBI||48 HR, 146 RBI||1-2 round||Declining power to human levels since 2006 MVP year. Can hurt you with AVG, amazing power to all fields in all parks.||1|
|Miguel Cabrera||26||HR, RBI, AVG||.537 SLG, 37 HR, 127 RBI||2-4 round||Adjustment to Detroit led to slow 1st half last year, still led AL in HR. His AVG should increase this year.||1|
|Justin Morneau||28||HR, RBI||.499 SLG, 129 RBI||2-4 round||Has lots of RBI with low .SLG percentage (thanks Joe Mauer), capable of 30 HR. Plate discipline should allow for maintained success.||1|
|Mark Teixeira||29||R, HR, RBI, AVG||.410 OBP, .527 SLG, 100+ R and RBI, .300 AVG||2-3 round||A great player with a good batting eye and approach, sufficient power and in a good lineup. Will hit .300 with 30 HR and 100 RBI||1|
|Derrek Lee||33||R, RBI||only 20 HR, but 41 2B, .462 SLG||5-9 round||Power has fallen dramatically since great 2005, still a solid overall player, normally a bit overdrafted||2|
|Adrian Gonzalez||27||R, HR, RBI||100+ R and RBI, 36 HR, .510 SLG||6-10 round||Very talented player with terrible home park, 22 HR and .578 SLG on the road||2|
|Chris Davis||23||HR, RBI||.549 SLG, 22 HR in 294 AB||6-10 round||Has serious pop, but needs better strike zone control to realize full power potential. Young and full of possibilities +eligible at 3rd base.||2|
|Carlos Pena||31||HR, RBI||.494 SLG, 31 HR, .377 OBP||6-10 round||Don't expect 2007 again; 30 HR and a lot of strikeouts are what to expect. Has a good batting eye, so higher run total could come about.||2|
|Kevin Youkilis||30||RBI, AVG||.315 AVG/.390 OBP, .569 SLG||4-7 round||Had career year in 2008, but is still an above average first baseman. I would expect a .300 AVG with 20 HR and possibly 100 RBI||2|
|James Loney||25||AVG, RBI||90 RBI, 35 2B||13-16 round||2nd full season, has breakout possibility, line drive hitter, good value pick||3|
|Jorge Cantu||27||R, HR, RBI||29 HR, .484 SLG, .327 OBP||7-10 round||Draft as a third baseman. Free swinger who can hit the ball a mile. Hopefully, resurgence continues in FLA||3|
|Carlos Delgado||37||HR, RBI||38 HR, 115 RBI, .518 SLG||7-10 round||Which is the real Delgado…1st half or 2nd half? Still has pull power and can hit 30 HR||3|
|Aubrey Huff||32||HR, RBI||32 HR, .552 SLG||9-12 round||Draft as a 3rd baseman. Won't likely hit 30 HR again, but a useful player even if he matches career averages||3|
|Joey Votto||25||HR, RBI||24 HR and .502 SLG||6-10 round||Can break out in a mojor way hitting in the middle of the lineup. Has decent plate discipline and a lot of power without piling up 150+ Ks.||3|
|Adam LaRoche||29||HR, RBI||25 HR, .500 SLG||13-16 round||Has 30 HR power, would make a fine backup first baseman.||4|
|Todd Helton||35||RBI, AVG||83 G, .391 OBP, .388 SLG||16-20 round||Had career worst season in 2008. Still has great batting eye, but back has sapped him of power. Can be useful, but don't depend on him||4|
|Mike Jacobs||28||HR||.299 OBP with 32 HR||16-20 round||His low OBP offsets the power because he won't score runs or have a high average, strictly a backup||4|
|Paul Konerko||33||HR||.438 SLG||16-20 round||Clearly has lost power since 2007 and is not a reliable pick (see 2003 season).||4|
|Kendry Morales||26||AVG||Not enough info||post 20th round||First opportunity to play full time, high contact hitter with 15 HR potential.||5|
|Daric Barton||23||none||none||post 20th round||Still young, but potential doesn't exist for fantasy categories. Has decent batting eye with 10-15 HR power.||5|
|Lyle Overbay||32||AVG||.358 OBP||post 20th round||Above average MLB hitter, but below average fantasy hitter. At 32, will not match career high 2006.||5|
|Casey Kotchman||26||AVG||none||post 20th round||Younger version of Overbay, still young enough to break out with a 20 HR season.||5|
|Chad Tracy||29>||none||88 G played||post 20th round||Has become injury prone of late, still no better than a steady hitter; think Sean Casey||5|
|Travis Ishikawa||25||none||Not enough info||post 20th round||First full season in MLB. Dominated AAA last year in half season. Does not have the plate discipline to break out||5|
|Ryan Garko||28>||RBI||90 RBI, 14 HR, .404 SLG||post 20th round||Major disappointment last year, now threatened to split time with Victor Martinez. Avoid.||5|
|Russell Branyan||33||HR||12 HR in 132 AB||post 20th round||Wow. He's not a starting first baseman,||5|
|Nick Johson||30||none||none||Don't||INJURY PRONE||5|
Mar 10, 2009
I've also grouped the players into tiers or levels based on where I feel or mostly where I expect them to be drafted in a 5 x5 snake-style draft. Tiers are important to me because they differentiate players of similar skill levels and expectations at a given position. This, of course, do not draft a first tier closer before a first tier outfielder or first baseman. Gauge the flow of the draft to determine when the talent drop-off at a position is too severe to let go anymore.
Next up is first baseman (this is the most comprehensive list since I did it first. In future lists, I'm omitting players I wouldn't draft at all in a 12 team mixed league to save some time. If you see any omissions, please let me know.)
Can you smell the springtime?
Mar 8, 2009
Up first, is my first villified set with arguably the most villified player of this era.
Look to the left. Now adjust your sight for any purple spots. This was Pacific's first foray into the premium market in 1995. I believe, according to their license at the time with MLB, they could release two bilingual baseball sets per year.
Design: The design was a "prismatic" foil backfround with the player image superimposed onto it; it's practically epilectic when you move the card around. The Pacific crown logo was in the upper left corner. The name was in foil inside a team-specific colored box. The back was bilingual (cool).... with no stats ( very not cool) on a rainbow background with a player headshot in the corner.
Details: 1995 Pacific Prisms was distributed in 36 pack boxes with 2 cards per pack (one Prism and one team logo) for a SRP of $1.79. The base set was 144 cards with the major stars and semistars of the day. There were no rookies of note.
Impact: None, except on the wallet. Even though this did spawn other shiny, no substance sets in the future. There were no insert sets worth chasing with the only one being a one per pack team logo, which is not even desirable in 2009.
Summary: Just by looking at this set, you could tell it's trying to say, "Don't leave me behind; I can be a worthwhile card too. Check out this rainbow effect." But in reality, this set was not for high-end (or so-called premmium) collectors of the day (or now) because it was likely you were not going to receive a star card in a pack. In fact, the odds were against you getting one. In addition, there was no scarcity component involved at all in any aspect of the set.
For set collectors, it would require a minimum of 4 boxes without duplicates to amass this miasma-inducing set because of the one card per pack configuration. On the plus side there weren't one thousand parallels. However, the design and value held it back then as it does now. I have two cards from this set, both from 10 cent boxes at card shows....in 1995. Why buy a pack at all?
Mar 6, 2009
Phillies Pholklore (notice the clever use of the Ph in place of the F, it's like it's never happened before.... ever) will recount fond (and not so fond) memories I have had of players or events from Phillies' teams past.
Paul Scott "Ricky" Jordan is one of the first ballplayes I tried to emulate in Little League. I copied his batting stance when I was 8 years old and copied the pre-stance underhanded swing motion that he did before each pitch. My dad definitely did not like that and altered my swing. I felt like Willie Mays Hayes when he would say to me, "With your speed and tiny size, you should be hitting balls on the ground." I eventually developed into a decent line drive hitter.
All that aside, Ricky Jordan burst onto the baseball scene in 1988 with a home run in his first official major-league at-bat. With the team languishing in last (6th!) place in the NL East practically the entire season, it was exciting for my young mind to have someone to root for. I mean, I was excited when they were within 5 games of the 5th place Cardinals. He hit over .300 (actually .308) for his half season of work with good power (11 HR and .491 SLG) and a slick glove.
He was an above average player in 1989, but the power potential did not develop as hoped, only hitting 12 home runs for the full season with a drop in BA and .OBP from the previous year. On May 6, 1990, on the Phanatic's birthday, he hit the first grand slam I ever saw in person. It was very exciting. It's still the only one I've ever seen by a Phillie in person. My mother couldn't go that day for some reason, so a friend came instead to take the 5th of my family's 5 tickets. She still is upset because she's always wanted to see a grand slam, but STILL never has. She more than made up for it in my eyes by witnessing Kevin Millwood's no-hitter in 2003.
With the arrival of John Kruk, he became a contributing part-time player and pinch hitter through 1994. He led the team in pinch-hits in 1993 as the Phillies won the NL pennant, and he started the first two games in Toronto during the World Series as the DH. Shoulder injuries soon made him retire in 1996.
He finished with a line of .281 BA/.308 OBP/.424 SLG with 55 HR and 301 RBI for his career. He was a memorable player during the impressionable times of my life.
Mar 4, 2009
7. Speed cuts both ways. Steals are great. I love to lead the league in steals and runs. If I had my way, I would draft all leadoff hitters. Although, you shoudl try and distribute steals across the roster. Two 20-20 (HR-SB) guys are almost always better than a 10-50 guy(this was not true for Jose Cruz Jr in 2002). The key is to see how many categories they contribute in. I made that mistake and have drafted Juan Pierre and Scott Posednik too early. It's ok to take those guys late (Taveras and Bourn last year) after the 12th round. Don't consider speed and power as two sides of a coin; all categories are equal to the fantasy gods.
Based on this, for me, the most overrated person to draft is Ichiro in the 2nd round. Afterwards, he is an acceptable pick. He only contributes in runs, average, and steals, and if he has a down year like last year (<.330 BA), then he is overrated.
8. Draft for your team only. This is a little harder to explain. When choosing a player, think of how he fits in your team's lineup and most importantly, how he contributes in the given categories. Have a rough projection of how each player should do as the draft progresses and don't overpopulate power or saves categories. It's good to establish categories of strength, but depending on your league, sometimes it's difficult to find willing takers in trades. In 2004, I took David Ortiz and Jim Thome, figuring it would give me all the power I needed. The downside is that it limits daily lineup flexibility. Of course, if you could take Alex Rodriguez and David Wright in the same draft to play 3B and Util, you would (though, it's not going to happen).
9. Keep in mind the waiver wire. I always draft someone who has a high upside (like the moon, baby), but also has a lot of risk involved. This is usually the first or second person to drop, especially if they don't get playing time. Examples were Alex Gordon in 2007, Hank Blalock in 2002, Max Scherzer in 2008. This only works if your league is 12 teams or less.
10. Don't overlook veterans older than 33. Do you know who was a great draft pick last year? Mike Mussina. On average, he went in the 19th round. On the hitter side, Jermaine Dye was also great. Ken Griffey, Jr, on the other hand, was not so great. They're always there at the end of drafts. Fill in your team with some guaranteed stats if you tend to draft a lot of young kids like I sometimes do. I think I drafted Greg Maddux every year from 2003-2007; average helps your team.
11. Factors for pitchers that I look at and recommend are K/9, K/BB, WHIP, IP/start, GB/FB ratio, .OPS against, HR allowed, and their home park. Because strikeouts (K) are a category, I gravitate towards high strikeout pitchers (preferably with a low WHIP). These, of course, are the top pitchers in the league: Santana, Lincecum, Hamels, and Sabathia. Wins is a category you can't really draft for, unfortunately, but a good rule of thumb is a good team+ a good closer=an acceptable number of wins.
I also like low WHIP pitchers from the year before whose ERA was a little higher than average. These pitchers are usually later round picks and are more risky because there's not a direct correlation between a low WHIP the year before and lower ERA the next year. (A good pick was Jason Schmidt in 2004, a bad pick based on this was David Bush in 2008). The hope is that the previous year's low ERA was based on some bad luck (examine batting average on balls in play and line drive % to be sure).
Ground ball pitchers with a lower strikeout percentage are also decent plays. Think Chien Ming Wang and Fausto Carmona from the past couple years; these also have some risk because a lot of their success is based on team defense and not allowing a ton of home runs. Brandon Webb and Roy Halladay are a hybrid of the above two categories, and this is why they are top 10 fantasy pitchers.
12. Factors for hitters that I look at and recommend are .OBP, .SLG, OPS+, K/BB Ratio, Line Drive%, HR/FB %, and their home park. I like multi-skilled position players; good eye, some power, some speed. They might not always be top fantasy players, but you can build a fun, competitive lineup. My favorite players last year were B.J. Upton and Matt Kemp; you never knew what they were going to do on a given day.
Power and high contact % with a high line drive % is the perfect fantasy player since it translates to high average, home runs, RBI and runs(depending on lineup position). This is Albert Pujols in brief. He is unique, but you can find up and comers with similar skill sets if you look deeply enough. On the flip side, a high strikeout% is not a deal killer to draft (Ryan Howard, Jim Thome, Alfonso Soriano, etc). The key is to factor in the player's overall skill set, their position, and how they help you in each category.
I hope this gives some insight on what to look at and how to approach a fantasy baseball snake-style draft. I'll try a rankings exercise next time.
Mar 3, 2009
1. Have your personal rankings ready. Most draft services have automated rankings. More detail on how to make the rankings will come in later posts.
2. Form a plan for the first two rounds based on your draft position. This is an underrated and, I believe, not oft-talked about strategy. You should have three players targeted for each of your first two picks (and even three). These picks are the least susceptible to runs and also can really dictate what direction you take the draft in the subsequent 6-7 rounds.
Let's break this down; if you draw,
picks 1-5 first round: 1st pick: rated as 4-5 category stud, 2nd/3rd pick: best 5 category player available, high average, high power outfielder, or top 5 pitcher
picks 6-12 first round: 1st pick: best 5 category player available, high average/high power guy, or Johan Santana, 2nd/3rd pick: should not choose a 2nd pitcher
In these picks, you want cornerstone players; players to build (based on their stats) your team around.
3. Do not overvalue starting pitching. Pitching is important; after all, it is half the stats you have to keep track of. Drafting too many pitchers early really does put you at a disadvantage for filling in the rest of the positions. Depending on the draft itself, I usually end up with 2-3 starting pitchers in the first 8 rounds. You woud be surprised who drops to the 8th round in a given draft. (examples include Mark Prior: 2003, Jason Schmidt: 2004, Josh Beckett: 2007)
4. Don't jump on the closer train first. All that matters with closers is saves and job security (including injury possibility). Draft accordingly. I typically draft one closer in the first 10 rounds. (Mariano Rivera in round 9 last year). Then, I target 2-3 more during the draft. If that doesn't work, target a high innings/high strikeout middle reliever approximately round 16-19.
5. Know your sleepers. What is a sleeper? A sleeper is someone who is drafted lower than their perceived value. Target the rounds in which you want your sleepers. You may have to overreach by 1-3 rounds because other people may target the same ones. For example, I wanted Josh Hamilton in the 15th round (worked in one draft, he was drafted in the 11th round in the other).
6. Catchers....meh. I'm not a big catcher fan. Only Mauer, McCann, and Martin are top guys, but their perceived value is too high (4th round) for what they ultimately give you. Take the hit at the position and draft someone who won't hurt your batting average or better yet, is eligible to play at another position.
Next time, is some more of my thoughts on drafting.....
Mar 2, 2009
Let's start with a middling one.
Here's this week challenge: Name all 27 members of the 3000 hit club.
Vent your frustrations in the comments sections about how you missed that obvious one that was on the tip of your tongue...trust me it happens a lot. Good luck!