What They’re Saying: CBS Sporstline: #27 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #13 Starting Pitcher & #48 Overall; Yahoo: #14 Starting Pitcher & #57 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP : #16 Starting Pitcher & #76 Overall; RotoChamp: #37 Overall Projection: For the fourth straight season, Matt Cain will be a top 60 overall player. 15 wins 3.07 ERA 1.12 WHIP 172 K in 210 innings
As steady as they come, Cain is an arm that you can bid on with confidence. Solid skills. Even induced more ground balls last year. I a very bullish. Invest!!!
So How Does This Affect The Rankings? If Braun never tests positive for PED’s, he is the consensus #1 overall pick in fantasy baseball this year. So now what do we do? Can we put Braun at the top of the list? Is he better than Cabrera with Cabrera’s new 3B eligibility? Should position scarcity override a healthy Ryan Braun? How much of an impact will this whole ordeal have on him? It would take years to answer these and all the other questions we now have but what I think is best is just do go over my new updated top 36 overall rankings.
Without getting into the Braun controversy, I have to say that picking him in the top four makes me nervous. I worry about how the pressure will be affecting him. I wouldn't criticize anyone for taking him at the beginning of round 1, but I will personally wait until the 10-15 range.
Even if you assume that Minor is prone to giving up a higher BABIP than most pitchers (his projections for 2012 range from .299 from The Fans to .330 from RotoChamp), his bat-missing ability, quality control and pitcher-friendly home park make him a good bet to post an ERA much closer to that of his fielding-independent stats in 2012. All of the projection systems and The Fans call for around a K per inning, with a walk rate slightly over three and around a homer per nine allowed, with an ERA ranging from 3.8 to 4.00. That’s basically Michael Pineda circa 2011, or Tommy Hanson Lite.
With Hudson out for a month, the opportunity is there my Minor to seize. In the second half of 2011, MInor gave up way to many home runs for my liking. My early suspicion the Mike Minor's name is more valuable then the return he will give you in 2012.
Some look at his walks as a concern, but whenever he’s started his walks have come down. Sure, it was back in college (229 IP and only 51 BBs), but it’s what we have to go on. I’m not too concerned; he has the Ks to make up for it. In the top 80 starters for 2012 fantasy baseball post, I have Sale’s projections down at 8-8/3.50/1.24/130. I have this guy down for 10-3/2.75/1.05/100. Oh, that guy is Josh Johnson. I’ll take the discounted Sale 150 picks later for the bargain and leave my competitors...
Sale does indeed make for an interesting post hype sleeper pick. Has an elite skill set and could easily rack up the K's and do some damage as he enters the starting rotation this year.
Ichiro has hit double digit HRs three times as a Mariner, most recently in 2009 when he hit 11. I am willing to believe that batting third may bring a slightly different approach, as well as allow him to see more fastballs and could result in a projection of 9-10 HRs. RBI – This should definitely be the biggest gain we see from Ichiro. The last four years Ichiro has put up RBI totals in the mid-40 range, posting 47 RBIs last year. I don’t see how batting third doesn’t boost Ichiro’s RBI totals greatly, even on this weak hitting Mariner team. One of the goals of hitting Ichiro third is to put Chone Figgins back in the leadoff slot in hopes to get his career kick-started; another is to bat Ackley second. Now I don’t think there is much left to kick-start on Figgins but with Ackley hitting second, Ichiro should definitely see a nice increase in RBI opportunities. Ichiro’s career high in RBI is 69, which he hit way back in 2001. I see him eclipsing that and posting 77 RBI.
We have heard it before: Ichiro can hit for power if he wants to. Now batting third, he will have many more men on base and it is highly possible that he swings for the fences more this year. I expect his normally high BABIP to return to above league average. I am very bullish on Ichiro this year. I'm expecting 10 HR, 30+ SB and a .300BA.
In the deeper pool of mixed, I still like LaHair at his current ADP of 225 — I also love Dexter Fowler, who is going at the same time, but that’s a post for another time — especially in OBP leagues. He’s not quite Carlos Pena-esque in the disparity between his average and his OBP, but walks are definitely part of LaHair’s skill set. ZiPS has him down for 24 HR and while that isn’t earth shattering production, grabbing that extra power down in the mid-200s can help to round out a good team.
LaHair is simply a place holder for Anthony Rizzo, but depending on Rizzo's development, LaHair could have the starting job for a month, or he could have it untill September. If you want a CHEAP source of power, LaHair is your guy for mere pennies. Solid speculative all upside pick!
What They're Saying: #18 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com - #27 Starting Pitcher & #102 Overall; RotoChamp - #138 Overall; Mock Draft Central - #24 SP and #91 Overall Projection: Despite the overall vibe of this piece being kinda negative, I'm not totally against Beckett this year. I'm against him repeating his successes from 2011, but I don't think he'll be the pitcher he was in 2010 either. He'll regress some, but still put up numbers worthy of a SP 2 or 3 in your leagues. 14 W, 3.80 ERA, 170 K, 1.14 WHIP in 180 IP
Beckett was playing a bit over his head in his stellar first half of 2011. Invest in Beckett as a solid #2 guy. He should post close to 200K's, 3.50 ERA, and a 1.20 WHIP. And as long as you do not lose points for extra time wasted between pitches, Beckett is still s solid investment.
I’m ignoring closers in "only" formats this year and waiting on them in mixed leagues, although with so many intriguing options later on, a "be the last to draft your first, and the first to draft your second" strategy may make sense.
I always target 2.5 closers. 2 closers in the mid tiers, and one guy that is shaky or could find himself gaining saves as the year goes on. What is your strategy to acquire saves?