Results tagged ‘ Carlos Beltran ’
The kings of swing
Tonight at 8:00 PM, eight of Major League Baseball’s greatest sluggers will participate in the annual Home Run Derby. I’d like to share a few of my thoughts and predictions about the event.
The first thing I wonder, is why in the world is Matt Kemp participating in this? Don’t get me wrong, the guy is one of the most talented players in all of baseball, but he’s also injured. Kemp is currently on his second stint on the disabled list with a hamstring issue, and it just seems way too risky for have him in the derby. I’m sure he’ll put on a display of power for all of the fans, but at what cost? Imagine if he manages to re-aggravates his hamstring while he’s swinging for the fences. If I was an owner of the Dodgers, there’s no way I’d let him be out there.
Along similar lines, I’ve always wondered about the ill-effects of participating in the derby. Many players won’t and haven’t participated in the derby, because they believe it has a negative impact on your swing and takes up too much of your energy. I would argue that both have to be true, at least to some extent. As it is, I think the derby is great for the fans, and I’d hate to see it go away. I do wonder why they don’t reduce the amount of outs per round, though. It’d make more sense to only have five outs for each round, with the exception of 10 for the final round. I think doing so would be in the best interest for the players.
Without further ado, I’d like to make my final predictions for the 2012 Home Run Derby.
8th place-Andrew McCutchen
7th place-Carlos Beltran
6th place-Carlos Gonzalez
5th place-Mark Trumbo
4th place-Robinson Cano
3rd place-Matt Kemp
2nd place-Prince Fielder
1st place-Jose Bautista
Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in the history of the New York Mets tonight, as they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals by a final score of 8-0.
Santana was by no means perfect, walking five batters en route to the no-no, but he did do an excellent job of keeping a very potent Cardinals team off balance for the entire game. But as is the case with almost all no-hitters, Santana got some much needed help to get there.
The first assist came courtesy of third-base umpire Adrian Johnson, who incorrectly ruled that a line drive off the bat of Carlos Beltran was foul. Replays show that the ball did in fact hit the chalk down the left-field line, and it should have been ruled fair.
But perhaps equally crucial, was a spectacular running catch made by the Mets left fielder, Mike Baxter. On a shot hit to deep left-center, Baxter ran full speed into the wall, and still managed to hold onto the ball. After the play, he was replaced by Andres Torres.
It was the first career no-hitter for Johan Santana, who missed the entire 2011 season after getting surgery on his shoulder. Whether or not Santana can return to the form he once had remains to be seen, but he’s looked excellent so far this year.
As I’ve done with all of my other fantasy baseball drafts, I’m going to give you a round by round breakdown of it. Hopefully this can help you prepare in case you haven’t had your draft yet. This was for an eight person, head to head league. It’s important to realize that the less people are playing, the average roster will be significantly better in comparison to a 12 team league. Also, I just wanted to mention if you ever have any fantasy baseball questions for me during the season, feel free to comment on one of my blogs, or send me a tweet @brjeffers13 and I’ll do my best to help you. If I think it’s a good enough question, I’ll even write a blog with more in depth analysis.
Round 1 (3rd overall): Jose Bautista-After Miguel Cabrera and Matt Kemp were off the board, I decided to take Bautista instead of Albert Pujols, who is ranked third in most pre-draft rankings. Some reasons for this include the fact that Bautista is eligible at multiple positions, giving me depth at both third base, as well as the outfield. His 2011 numbers pretty much exceeded those of Pujols, plus you’re going to get more stolen bases. I’m not sure that Bautista will duplicate the numbers he put up last year, but I highly doubt there will be a significant drop off.
Round 2 (14th overall): Adrian Gonzalez-It’s hard to not love Gonzalez, as he’s been a consistently dominant hitter for many years, and he’s playing in a very hitter-friendly ballpark in Boston. I’ll gladly take a guy who will hit around .300 with 30 home runs, and 100 RBIs in the second round, and you should, too.
Round 3 (19th overall): Dustin Pedroia-I consider Pedroia the second best offensive second baseman behind Robinson Cano, and at a position where there’s not exactly a whole lot of big talent around the league, I wanted to get a well above average second baseman while there was still one on the board. Some people would say you should draft a quality starting pitcher with this pick, but I don’t feel that was necessary with it being a league with only eight teams.
Round 4 (30th overall): Cole Hamels-Definitely an interesting pick on my part, but you can consider me a fan of Hamels. With Kershaw, Verlander, Lee and Halladay already off the board, I wanted to make sure I was able to get a proven starting pitcher. Even though not everyone agrees with it, I love taking solid players in a contract year, as they always have a little extra incentive to perform.
Round 5 (35th overall): Jered Weaver-There’s really no reason to suspect that Weaver won’t have another strong year in 2012, and with the improved offense behind him, he should be able to be a bit more comfortable on the mound. I thought this was one of the easiest picks I made in the draft, as I almost selected him a round earlier.
Round 6 (46th overall): Hunter Pence-Some people are still not sold on the fact that Pence is an All-Star outfielder, and I don’t get it. In the last three years, Pence is hitting .292 while averaging about 24 home runs a year. Don’t forget that he’s also likely to steal you a about 10 bases or so a year, and those add up through the course of a year.
Round 7 (51st overall): Mike Napoli-Another person that I love because of him being eligible at both catcher and first base. There’s a quick drop off amongst most catchers in Major League Baseball, so I love being able to get a guy that should be amongst the best in the league. I plan on using him primarily as a catcher, except on days that Adrian Gonzalez has off, then I can shift him to first base to fill the void.
Round 8 (62nd overall): Ben Zobrist-I have a feeling that I’m either going to love or hate this pick. I went with a guy who hits for a decent average, has speed, and plays multiple positions. Hopefully he can hit about .275 this year with 20 home runs, 15 stolen bases and keep his slugging percentage around the .435 it’s been in his career. If he does, then I got a ton of value from this pick.
Round 9 (67th overall): Stephen Strasburg-Simply put, if Strasburg is healthy, he should’ve been picked about five rounds earlier. I played the risk vs. reward card here, and I’m hoping it’ll pay dividends.
Round 10 (78th overall): Desmond Jennings-Although I have absolutely no clue what kind of average Jennings will have in 2012, I expect him to steal a ton of bases and hit around 15 home runs for Tampa Bay this year. I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t pay attention to stolen bases in fantasy baseball, so there’s always value in picking up a speedster or two, as it’ll likely be enough to win the stolen base category in most leagues.
Round 11 (83rd overall): James Shields-“Big Game” James seems to be consistent every year, and still manages to stay off the radar each year. Hopefully Shields can prove that 2011 wasn’t a fluke, when he won 16 games with a 2.82 ERA, while striking out 225 hitters along the way.
Round 12 (84th overall): J.J. Putz-Besides the fact I met and interviewed Putz a month ago (you can watch the interview HERE), Putz proved he is without a doubt one of the most dominant closers in baseball. Playing for the Diamondbacks should give him plenty of save opportunities, and I don’t see him blowing too many of them.
Round 13 (99th overall): Jimmy Rollins-This is one of the picks I think I might regret a bit, but I’m okay with in the grand scheme of things. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s not exactly a ton of quality shortstops in MLB, so I thought I’d take a guy with speed and plenty of offensive upside. I knew the shortstop I wanted to take would likely be available in the later rounds, so I didn’t need to waste a pick in taking him here. If I wasn’t able to get him, I’d at least have a shortstop that wouldn’t hurt my team.
Round 14 (110th overall): Lance Berkman-First and foremost, I do not think Berkman is likely to repeat the numbers he put up in 2011, but I do expect him to hit at least .270 with 20 home runs. For a guy who I can put in my lineup as either an outfielder or first baseman, I’ll take it.
Round 15 (115th overall): Andrew Bailey-Let’s face it, the guy is going to be a closer for the Boston Red Sox. That means he’s going to get plenty of save opportunities, and at this point in the draft, there wasn’t too many other options that I could say the same thing about.
Round 16 (126th overall): Carlos Beltran-I love how Beltran fits in with the St. Louis offense, and expect him to have a solid year at the plate. If he can stay healthy, there’s no reason why he won’t hit .285 with 20 home runs, and have a slugging percentage around .500. Again, this was a risk vs. reward selection, and I think there is enough value in Beltran to make it completely justifiable.
Round 17 (131st overall): Josh Beckett-Now that there’s no more beer in the clubhouse, there should be no distractions for Boston’s starting rotation. With that being said, I expect Beckett to quiet critics and have a solid 2012 season. It’s not common that your 17th round pick will win you 15 games and have an ERA around 3.00, but that’s exactly what Beckett should do this year.
Round 18 (142nd overall): Max Scherzer-In 2011, Scherzer was 15th in the American League in strikeouts, and had an elevated ERA due to a few bad outings. I expect Scherzer to find his true form in 2012, and with Detroit’s revamped offense behind him, he should be able to win at least 15 games.
Round 19 (147th overall): Delmon Young-After coming to Detroit late in 2011, Young was an absolute hitting machine. With Brennan Boesch (hitting second), Miguel Cabrera (third), and Prince Fielder (fourth) hitting in front of Young, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to get an opportunity to have a career high in RBIs this year.
Round 20 (158th overall): Jhonny Peralta-I wish I had an answer as to why Peralta is ranked so low in most fantasy leagues, but he’s a proven hitter in a stacked lineup. I was hoping he would be available in the later rounds, and sure enough, he was. This is an absolute steal as far as I’m concerned.
Round 21 (163rd overall): Yadier Molina-Simply put, he was the best catcher available at this point in the draft. I’m a huge fan of having two people who can play each position (if possible, and without passing up a significantly better player at another position at the same time), so I wanted to make sure I had at least two catchers on my roster. I don’t expect Molina to hit over .300 like he did last year, but he’s a good enough hitter that he could be a starting catcher in most fantasy leagues.
Round 22 (174th overall): Rick Porcello-I may have performed a big fantasy baseball no-no here, but I took someone because of my home-team bias. Don’t get me wrong, I like Porcello quite a bit, I just don’t think he was the best available starting pitcher on the board. I could see Porcello winning 14 games with an ERA slightly above 4.00, and that’s fine with me.
Round 23 (179th overall): Ervin Santana-I think everyone gave up on the draft, because I’m not sure how Santana was still available at this point. If he pitches anything like he did last year in 2012, I’d expect him to easily rack up 16 wins for the Angels.
Earlier today, I completed my first ever fantasy baseball auction draft for a 12 team head to head league. I heavily suggest you and your friends giving it a try sometime, as it adds a fun and competitive dynamic not found in a traditional draft. The concept is quite simple, even for first time participants. You start out with a certain amount of “dollars” to spend on your team (for us, it was 260 dollars). Instead of going in order to draft players, you rotate nominating players, in which all teams have the option of bidding on said player. The catch is you must be able to bid at least one dollar on every single player, and you cannot spend over your bankroll on your entire draft. This creates a challenge when you big top dollar on players early in the draft, but find yourself too low on funds to bid on players in the later rounds.
Here’s my team, and how much I bid on each player.
Catcher: Alex Avila-$13
First baseman: Joey Votto-$47
Second baseman: Ryan Raburn-$1
Shortstop: J.J. Hardy-$6
Third baseman: Placido Polanco-$5
Outfield: Curtis Granderson-$32
Outfield: Brennan Boesch-$7
Outfield: Drew Stubbs-$7
Utility: Corey Hart-$7
Utility: Carlos Beltran-$5
Bench: Jhonny Peralta-$1
Bench: Yadier Molina-$3
Bench: David Freese-$4
Bench: Neil Walker-$3
Starting pitcher: Roy Halladay-$42
Starting pitcher: Doug Fister-$15
Relief pitcher: Jose Valverde-$14
Relief pitcher: Phil Coke-$3
Pitcher: Rick Porcello-$6
Pitcher: Mat Latos-$12
Pitcher: Ryan Madson-$6
Bench: Max Scherzer-$4
Bench: Tim Hudson-$2
Overall, I really feel like my team is very solid all around, with enough star players to make a difference. My strategy going into the draft was to not spend more than 20 percent of my budget on any one player, and to not have more than three people combine to cost more than 60 percent of salary cap. I was able to get my three most expensive players for 46.5% of my budget. By doing this, I had plenty of money available in the later parts of the auction to outbid people who spent foolishly early on. If you do find yourself in an auction draft, I suggest using a similar strategy, as I thought it worked quite well.