Results tagged ‘ Mike Napoli ’
In 2010, the Texas Rangers made it to the World Series and they lost. In 2011, the Rangers once again made it to the World Series, only to lose again. Will 2012 be the year that the Rangers finally win it all, or will there be disappointment once again?
I’m sure you’ve all heard it by now, but if you haven’t, the Rangers twice came within one strike of winning the World Series last year. Unfortunately those strikes were never recorded, and the St. Louis Cardinals ended up being champions. The Rangers refused to sit idly by, and made a few big moves during the offseason.
After losing C.J. Wilson to free agency, the Rangers went all out and signed Yu Darvish to a six year sixty-million dollar contract. That’s also not including the nearly 50 million dollars the Rangers had to pay in order to negotiate with Darvish.
It’ll be interesting to see how Darvish will fare in Major League Baseball, as we’ve witnessed his potential control problems, as well as his ability to be dominant against even the best hitters in baseball. In his last outing against the Yankees, Darvish struck out ten hitters in eight innings without allowing a run. If Darvish can be consistently dominant, he’ll be more than worth every dollar they spent on him.
In another surprising move, the Rangers signed Joe Nathan to a two-year deal to be their closer and moved Neftali Feliz to the rotation. I’m curious if that’ll be a good move in the end, as Nathan hasn’t pitched a full season since recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Feliz hasn’t thrown more than 70 innings in any season of his career.
Perhaps the best part of the Rangers is their lineup, and that’s why I’m saving it for last. From top to bottom, the Rangers have arguably the best offensive team in all of baseball. You have Ian Kinsler leading off who will likely hit at least 25 home runs and steal 25 bases. When you have players such as Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli and Michael Young in your lineup, you’re not going to find any weaknesses.
As much as it pains me to say this, I do think that the Rangers are currently the best team in all of Major League Baseball. This isn’t to say that they can’t be defeated, but it’s not going to be easy.
Fun fact: The Texas Rangers have only retired the number of one former player, and that’s the number 34 of Nolan Ryan.
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.
So yesterday I had my first fantasy baseball draft of the year. Today, I’m going to break down the rationale behind all my selections, and try to give you a little incite as to what I think you should do if you find yourself doing a fantasy baseball draft without a strategy. The draft was for a 25 man roster, so be warned that this entry will be longer than usual.
For the record, this was for a ten person, rotisserie scoring league.
1st round (5th pick): Jose Bautista- “Joey Bats” has been an absolute monster the last two years, and has proven to not just be a one-season wonder. A nice added value in Bautista is the fact that most leagues have him listed at multiple positions, which makes him a well above average third baseman, and a solid outfielder, too.
2nd round (16th overall): Prince Fielder- Most fantasy experts have Fielder ranked in the top 20, so I thought it was an okay selection with the 16th pick. I do not believe this pick has anywhere near the top value, but there’s no reason to expect that Fielder won’t be a top-five offensive first baseman for the Tigers. A bigger home field should limit his home run numbers a bit, but Comerica is quite forgiving for left-handed power hitters. Look at Fielder to hit doubles in the right-centerfield gap all year long.
3rd round (25th overall): Jered Weaver- With Verlander, Kershaw and Halladay all off the board, I thought it was necessary to get myself an ace for my team before the options got too thin. The Angels should be significantly improved this year, so if Weaver can have an average year for his standards, expect his wins to be up a bit compared to 2011.
4th round (36th overall): Mike Napoli- I admit this was one of the tougher selections I made in the draft, but there’s so few quality offensive catchers, that I felt like it gave me a chance to secure an edge in comparison to other teams from that position. I expect most of Napoli’s number’s to go down a bit, but he should be much more productive at the plate in comparison to the majority of catchers in baseball.
5th round (45th overall): David Price- I’d categorize this as one of the many steals I had in the draft. Price should be dominant once again in Tampa, and to pick him at 45th in the draft is slightly below where he was projected in most leagues to get picked. I wasn’t necessarily looking to add a starting pitcher with this pick, but didn’t know how to pass Price up.
6th round (56th overall): Brandon Phillips- Besides being a twit-a-holic, Phillips has been one of the most consistent second baseman the last few years. Take into consideration that he’s also in a contract year, and expected to sign quite a large deal, I don’t think it’s hard to envision him putting up solid numbers in 2012. It’s hard to not consider him a top five second baseman, so there’s excellent value in him at this point in any draft.
7th round (65th overall): Dee Gordon- I’d imagine that this is a name that not a lot of recreational baseball fans are familiar with, but you might want to capitalize on that. In just 56 games with the Dodgers in 2011, Gordon hit .306 with 24 stolen bases. If you’re in a league that counts stolen bases, Gordon may very well steal more bases than any other shortstop in baseball. Don’t expect him to hit over .300 for the season, but don’t let that be a deterrent.
8th round (76th overall): Carl Crawford- There’s a lot of fair-weather fans that think Crawford is going to be a complete bust again, but I just don’t think I can agree. Sure, Crawford should not be drafted in the top five rounds, but picking him up in the eight round has tremendous value. Due to an injury, Crawford will likely miss the first two weeks of the season, but I think he’s going to prove to baseball that he’s back to his usual self in 2012.
9th round (85th overall): Ichiro Suzuki- 2011 was not a good year for Ichiro, who put up a career low .272 batting average for Seattle. A lot of people in baseball believe that Ichrio’s career is far from over, and his talent level would certainly support that claim. Despite being 37 years old, Ichiro did still manage to steal 40 bases. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t think that Ichiro will get his batting average up to .300 and steal at least 35 bases this year.
10th round (96th overall): Michael Young- If you’re willing to pass up a guy who seems to get 200 hits every year, and is a lifetime .304 hitter in the tenth round, you should really just let your computer autodraft for you.
11th round (105th overall): Jose Valverde- Even as a Tigers fan, I don’t expect Valverde to go 49 for 49 again in save opportunities. With that being said, I do expect him to get plenty of saves for a team that should be able to easily win 90 or more games. I thought this was about the right time to start drafting a few relief pitchers, since they’re aren’t that many true quality relievers. I always prefer to get closers when drafting relief pitchers, and you should, too.
12th round (116th overall): Brennan Boesch- I know there’s going to be a lot of people who think this was an absurd pick in the 12th round, but I respectfully disagree for one main reason. When Boesch comes up to bat this year, take a look at who is on deck, and who is in the hole. No pitcher is going to want to walk Boesch to face Cabrera and Fielder with a runner on base, and I truly think he’ll be able to benefit greatly from it.
13th round (125th overall): Josh Johnson- I definitely gambled a bit on this one, but a healthy Josh Johnson is a dominant pitcher for what should be a very competitive team in Miami. I think the risk vs. reward definitely helps make this pick a pretty easy one.
14th round (136th overall): Doug Fister- “Mister” Fister will likely not be able to duplicate what he did after getting traded to Detroit last year, but odds are he will be a quality number two pitcher for a team that should win 90 games. You can never get enough wins from your starting pitchers in fantasy baseball, so there’s always extra value in drafting starting pitching from teams that are likely going to make it to the playoffs.
15th round (145th overall): Heath Bell- If your fantasy team awarded points to pitchers who can slide, Bell would be a first round pick. With that being said, he’s definitely a top-tier closer, and I was quite shocked that he was still on the board this late in the draft. Again, I like to draft pitchers from winning teams, and from everything I’ve seen and read, Bell seems like an easy guy to cheer for.
16th round (156th overall): Ryan Roberts- Truthfully, I’m not sure what to expect from this pick. I liked the fact that he is listed at multiple positions in my league, and he seemed like a cool guy from my brief interactions with him in Arizona. If he can hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases for Arizona this year (which he could very well do), then I got excellent value for a late-round pick.
17th round (165th overall): Kyle Farnsworth- A bit of a wildcard for me, since he seems to always go up and down throughout his career. His raw stuff is amongst the best in baseball, and he should get plenty of save opportunities for Tampa Bay this year.
18th round (176th overall): Yadier Molina- It’s too bad that defensive abilities don’t count in fantasy baseball, since Molina is without a doubt one of the best catchers in Major League Baseball. His offensive numbers aren’t terrible, which makes him a quality backup in most fantasy leagues.
19th round (185th overall): Ryan Raburn- Despite not being an everyday player for the Tigers, Raburn should get enough playing time between second base and the outfield to hit 15 home runs and drive in 60 runs. It’s hard to ask for much more than that from a bench player in any league.
20th round (196th overall): Jesus Montero- No clue how he fell this far in the draft, but I like having a guy on my team who may very well end up winning the Rookie of the Year award in the American League on my team. Getting him in the 20th round is an absolute bargain for a guy who is going to be a quality hitter for many years to come.
21st round (205th overall): Emilio Bonifacio- In 2011, Bonifacio hit .296 and stole 40 bases. I’d imagine that both of those numbers are very likely to go down in 2012, but he definitely gives you great value and depth as a bench player.
22nd round (216th overall): Delmon Young- Delmon does one thing well, and that’s hit. I’m expecting him to get an opportunity to drive in 100 years for Detroit this year, and being a contract year for him, one would think he’s going to do everything he can to showcase himself and prove he’s worth signing to a multi-year contract. I’d imagine you don’t normally see a guy who will drive in 80 or more runs after the 20th round, so take advantage if you can.
23rd round (225th overall): David Robertson- As much as I hate rooting for the Yankees, Robertson proved to be one of the best relievers in 2011. Take into consideration that he would likely be Mariano Rivera’s replacement if he gets injured, and this was an absolute no doubt pick.
24th round (236th overall): Yoenis Cespedes- This was a bit of a shot in the dark for me, but the Athletics seem convinced that he’s going to break camp with the team. If he can come close to any of the hype he built in the offseason, Cespedes will go about 100 picks earlier in 2013, making this a low risk, but great return selection for me.
25th round (245th overall): Chris Perez- For my final selection, I was debating between Bryce Harper and Perez, but ultimately selected Perez since I know he’ll be playing for the Indians the entire season. It’s nice to find a decent closer in the 25th round, but I’m still not sure about how much I like this pick. The nice thing about it is that usually your 25th rounder doesn’t mean a whole lot to your team, so if he starts off slowly this year, I can always drop him and hit the waiver wire.
That’s all for this draft breakdown. Hopefully this will help make your draft-day decisions a little bit easier for you.