Here is the second edition of 10 Questions for fantasy owners in 2011. I was listening to the MLB channel on XM 175 on my ride home last night and Jim Bowden posed a few questions to the listeners before they went to break, one of which involves Yankees catcher Russell Martin, so I will lead off with that question.
1. Will Russell Martin win the Yankees starting catcher job in 2011?
Bowden speculated that he thinks Jesus Montero could win the job out of spring training, which got me to pondering how healthy Martin is right now. We heard after he signed with the Yankees that he needed knee surgery, so it is possible Bowden is hearing rumblings that Martin is not healthy. Or, he just feels that Montero can hit his way into the starting catcher job out of spring training.
2. Who will win the closer job in Toronto?
The Blue Jays have signed Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel this offseason and they appear to be the favorites to battle for the job. I tend to lean toward the pitcher who can strikeout more batters, so, for me, it's Dotel. But I can see Rauch getting some save opportunities.
3. Is Aramis Ramirez worth $29 in an NL-only keeper league, where power is expensive on draft day?
I am leaning toward saying yes, as I own him in the UBA league where there will only be about 10-12 solid power hitters on draft day, and most will go for more than $29. Guys like Pujols, Howard, Upton, HanRam, Tulo, Kemp, Utley and Pence are available in the draft. I will post this as a poll question.
More after the jump:
4. Who will be the Rockies starting second baseman in 2011?
The Rockies have plenty of second base options including recently acquired Jose Lopez, Eric Young Jr., Jonathan Herrrera, and Chris Nelson. This question was posed to former Rockies beat writer Tracy Ringolsby today over at Baseball America, and he responded with Jose Lopez. I guess since he hits right-handed in a heavy lefty hitting lineup, Lopez makes sense.
5. Can Pablo Sandoval keep the weight off and bounce back in 2011?
I saw a picture of Sandoval after his offseason workout program and the guy looks like he lost at least 30 pounds, so it appears he is taking this offseason seriously. Can he get back to being a 20-90-.300 hitter in 2011? I want to see how he performs in spring training first.
6. Who replaces Heath Bell as the Padres closer should he get dealt this season?
As I stated in my article a few days ago, I think Mike Adams gets the first shot to close, with Luke Gregerson and recently acquired Chad Qualls falling right behind him. The Padres look like they will have another excellent bullpen in 2011.
7. Which hitting prospect will get called up in May/June and perform like Buster Posey did in 2010?
I will throw out a few names-Mike Moustakas, Brandon Belt and Jesus Montero.
8. Will Ricky Nolasco finally pitch closer to his peripheral stats in 2011?
I am giving him one more year, as he might be the unluckiest pitcher over the last few years. He has won 42 games the last 3 years, but his ERA has increased from 3.52 in 2008 to 4.51 in 2010, with an ERA over 5.00 in 2009. But his FIP has been at least a run lower than his ERA the last two years as well. Is 2011 the season he puts it all together?
9. Can Desmond Jennings make the Rays fans forget about losing Carl Crawford?
Jennings will be under some pressure to replace Crawford in LF for the Rays, and I don't see the power approaching Crawford's, but he could over time. But, he does have the speed to steal 40+ bases, so he could surprise in that category this year. Bill James projects him to steal 54 bases this year, which seems very high to me.
10. Will the Pirates young hitters make some noise in the NL Central in 2011?
I think the Pirates young hitters-Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Jose Tabata-can make the Pirates an exciting team to watch this year. With the young pitching they drafted in the 2010 draft, Pirates fans could have something to cheer about in a few years. Tabata and McCutchen can steal 30+ bases, while Walker has some pop for a second baseman, and Alvarez has the potential to hit 30 HRs as soon as this season.