Chris Davis Shelton and the Smoak Monster

In 2008 Chris Davis came up from Triple A  for 317 plate appearance with the Texas Rangers.  In that time he hit .285/.331/.549 with a K:BB of 88:20.  Davis was hitting home runs at an average of once every 18 at bats in the bigs and was positioned for a huge breakout year in 2009.  Baseball Prospectus listed his comparables as Justin Morneau, Lee Stevens, James Loney, and David Ortiz in their 2010 annual publication.  This is not bad company.

But in 2009 and the start of 2010 Davis hasn’t hit at all for the big league team.  A .238/.284/.442 line in 2009 is buoyed by his .308/.338/.496 compilation after the slugger returned from a minor league vacation. Again, a strong finish, yet his 2010 season has been a month of sorrow: .188/.264/.292. And back to the minors he goes.

Justin Smoak meanwhile was mashing Double A to the tune of .328/.449/.481 before cooling down after a Triple A promotion (.244/.363/.360).  Being described as “a switch-hitting version of Justin Morneau with better defense” by Baseball Prospectus’s team of experts means Chris Davis could face a long minor league exile if Smoak adjusts to the big leagues faster than his predecessor.

If he’s available in your fantasy league, grab him now.  If you have Davis already, even better.

Fantasy Draft #1

I had my first fantasy baseball draft over the weekend. I tried a new strategy this year and took a few pitchers in the early rounds rather than building a scrapheap rotation and trying to trade for an ace in July. This is a 6×6 league: R,HR,RBI,SB,AVG,OPS | W,K,ERA,WHIP,SV,K:BB. 23 man roster.

C: Brian McCann

1B: Carlos Pena

2B: Chase Utley

3B: Chone Figgins

SS: Stephen Drew

OF: Justin Upton

OF: Julio Bourbon

OF: Ryan Ludwick

Util: Adam Laroche

Util: Nick Swisher

Bench: Kyle Blanks

Bench: Vladimir Guerrero

SP: Dan Haren

SP: Justin Verlander

SP: Ricky Nolasco

RP: Chad Qualls

RP: Leo Nunez

RP: Bobby Jenks

P: Matt Cain

P: Matt Garza

Bench: Erik Bedard

Bench: Ervin Santana

Of course, Santana’s elbow had to act up right after the draft. Bedard won’t be available until May or later, but he’s a good bet to perform well when he’s on the mound. I’m crossing my fingers that Santana is healthy and ready to deliver on another big year, but I’m keeping my eye on a few waiver wire pitchers just in case.

With two more drafts coming up on Sunday, one in the Sports of Boston league, I’ll have more to say. There’s pressure on me to do well in that league, or I’ll have to face those guys as the writer who lost!

2010 Fantasy Baseball Outfielder Rankings

The Sports of Boston team of experts posted their Top 50 outfielders. Here are my picks:

  1. Ryan Braun
  2. Justin Upton
  3. Matt Kemp
  4. Matt Holliday
  5. Grady Sizemore
  6. Jayson Werth
  7. Nick Markakis
  8. Jason Bay
  9. Adam Dunn
  10. Carl Crawford
  11. Jacoby Ellsbury
  12. Ichiro Suzuki
  13. Shin-Soo Choo
  14. Curtis Granderson
  15. Adam Lind
  16. Ben Zobrist
  17. Nelson Cruz
  18. Andre Ethier
  19. Carlos Lee
  20. B.J. Upton
  21. Bobby Abreu
  22. Hunter Pence
  23. Shane Victorino
  24. Josh Hamilton
  25. Adam Jones
  26. Many Ramirez
  27. Carlos Quentin
  28. Andrew McCutchen
  29. Michael Bourn
  30. Johnny Damon
  31. Nate McLouth
  32. Torri Hunter
  33. Carlos Gonzalez
  34. Jay Bruce
  35. Julio Borbon
  36. Brad Hawpe
  37. Alfonso Soriano
  38. Alex Rios
  39. Drew Stubbs
  40. Carlos Beltran
  41. Michael Cuddyer
  42. Denard Span
  43. Jason Kubel
  44. Nolan Reimold
  45. Corey Hart
  46. Nyjer Morgan
  47. Garrett Jones
  48. J.D. Drew
  49. Kyle Blanks
  50. Jason Heyward

2010 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings

Next up on the docket for the Sports of Boston fantasy baseball was Second Base. A much deeper position than even a few years ago, today’s second basemen have power, speed or both.

  1. Ian Kinsler
  2. Chase Utley
  3. Dustin Pedroia
  4. Aaron Hill
  5. Brian Roberts
  6. Brandon Phillips
  7. Ben Zobrist
  8. Dan Uggla
  9. Rickie Weeks
  10. Robinson Cano
  11. Asdrubal Cabrera
  12. Ian Stewart
  13. Kelly Johnson
  14. Howie Kendrick
  15. Orlando Hudson
  16. Jose Lopez
  17. Luis Castillo
  18. Polacido Polanco
  19. Scott Sizemore
  20. Clint Barmes
  21. Akinori Iwamura
  22. Kazou Matsui
  23. Felipe Lopez
  24. Macier Izturis
  25. Skip Schumaker

A much deeper position than even a few years ago, today’s second basemen have power, speed or both.

2010 Fantasy Baseball First Basemen Rankings

For the next fantasy baseball primer, the folks at Sports of Boston tackeled the Top 30 First Basemen. Here are my rankings:

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Prince Fielder
  3. Miguel Cabrera
  4. Adrian Gonzalez
  5. Mark Teixeira
  6. Kevin Youkilis
  7. Joey Votto
  8. Carlos Pena
  9. Ryan Howard
  10. Justin Morneau
  11. Adam Dunn
  12. Lance Berkman
  13. Nick Johnson
  14. Todd Helton
  15. Chris Davis
  16. Billy Butler
  17. Adam LaRoche
  18. Derrek Lee
  19. Kendry Morales
  20. Nick Swisher
  21. Garrett Jones
  22. Conor Jackson
  23. Paul Konerko
  24. Matt LaPorta
  25. Jeff Clement
  26. Daric Barton
  27. James Loney
  28. Russell Branyon
  29. Garrett Atkins
  30. Jorge Cantu

I’m not a believer in Garrett Jones, but if he’s your second 1B or DH or a guy off the bench he’s a great pickup. On the whole, first base is deep. Pujols is still top of the class, but Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, and Joey Votto are going to be right on his tail, depending on which categories you use in your league.

2010 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

Over at Sports of Boston we started with the Top 20 Catchers for fantasy in 2010. Here are my picks:

Joe Mauer
Victor Martinez
Brain Mccann
Miguel Montero
Matt Weiters
Mike Napoli
Jorge Posada
Chris Iannetta
Yadier Molina
Geovany Soto
Kurt Suzuki
Ryan Doumit
Carlos Ruiz
Russell Martin
A.J. Pierzynski
Kelly Shoppach
Nick Hundley
Bengie Molina
Carlos Santana
Gerald Laird
In a 12 team league with one catcher, there is a lot of value here. If you are in a two catcher league, things don’t look quite as nice.

Fantasy Warmup

With the 2010 season approaching it’s time again to think about your fantasy team. As part of that I’m looking forward to my own drafts and trying to determing the most valuable players to target. Over at Sports of Boston I’ve been contributing fantasy positional ranking each week during out fantasy preparation series. As they are posted, I’ll put my picks up here and link to the full series.

Enjoy your drafts and good luck!