Bargains for Baseball Fantasy Drafts-- 2009 Edition

Fantasy baseball drafts are taking place all over the nation, and whether you're interested in rotisserie leagues or head-to-head leagues, there are some bargains I will point out to you for the upcoming 2009 season. When looking for a bargain, you must be willing to take a chance. If "everyone" wants a player, hes not going to be a bargain. Hes going to go in the first few rounds for quite a bit o' cash. That being said, don't take stupid chances. Take calculated risks... Heres my bargain by position for the 2009 season.

C- Chris Ianetta of the Colorado Rockies... Had 18 homers last year and no one knows who he is. Expect 20+ this year at Coors.

1B- I would say Chris Davis of the TX Rangers, but his name is out there and he won't be a bargain. Look at Mike Jacobs, recently acquired by the KC Royals. Another guy without a sexy name, who will put up good power numbers.

2B- Jose Lopez of the Seattle Mariners. Improving every year at the plate. Could top 20 homers and 100 RBIs at the second base position.

SS- Look out for Alexei Ramirez of the ChiSox, if he sinks in drafts because of the Sophomore slump questions, then snag him. One of the best athletes in baseball, and eligible at 2B/SS/OF. I'm in doubt he will be a bargain in most leagues, so also take a look at Elvis Andrus of the TX Rangers. Slick fielder, with tons of upside. Should be able to pick him up late for cheap.

3b- Alex Gordon of the KC Royals. He has had sub-par, disappointing seasons since his rookie year. This could be the year he turns the corner. Scouts have said of late that he looks in good shape and like he could be on a mission.

DH- Hank Blalock of the TX Rangers. He will likely DH for the Rangers this year, mainly due to his injuries of the past years. He can hit and they want him in the lineup consistently.

OF- Cameron Maybin of the Florida Marlins. Heard it here first... NL ROY '09

OF- Nelson Cruz of the TX Rangers... Look at his Triple-A stats from '08. Dear God...

OF- Willy Taveras of the Cincinnati Reds. He will steal roughly 60 bases. Pick him up if you already have power and BA guys, but are in need of speed. He won't cost much and he will undoubtedly lead the NL in SBs.
SP- Jose Contreras of the ChiSox. He reportedly lost around 40 pounds, and his fastball looks like it has new life. No one expects him to succeed this year because of his inconsistencies and mental quirks... Could have a great year with the Sox this year. We all know he has the stuff...

RP- Kevin Gregg of the ChiCubs. Marmol has the better stuff in Chicago, but Gregg is going to end up closing there for a very solid team. Marmol has some of the best stuff in the MLB, but Gregg has the makeup of a closer. Marmol/Gregg will be an effective bullpen combo, and either could be solid fantasy pickups.

Remember, take calculated risks, look for players that are under the radar, but not necessarily the ones with sexy names... and never, NEVER draft a Texas Rangers pitcher...

A Look Into the Netherlands Upset(s) of the Dominican Republic

How does an upset like this occur? TWICE?? How does a team made up of MLB outcasts-at-best defeat one of the favorites in the tournament, the Dominican Republic?

Eugene Kingsale has dabbled in the major leagues, and Randall Simon once hit an Italian sausage with his bat and gained fame that way... But other than that, these Netherlands players are unknowns to even the trained baseball fan's eye...

Sidney Ponson has had the best MLB career out of the Netherlands roster. Sid also has a 90-106 career record through 2008 with a 4.95 ERA... Less than impressive overall, obviously.

On the other hand, for the Dominican team you have some of the best players in the world in Big Papi, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, Willy Taveras, Robby Cano, Pedro, Ubaldo Jimenez... the list goes on! How does a Netherlands team with literally ZERO signed MLB players on the team defeat the team with virtually every one of their players not only on a MLB roster, but starters on their respective teams?

I understand I have only asked questions thus far in this blog post, but I am trying to convey what an enormous feat this is! This just should not happen!

Reason Number One for these upsets: Bert Blyleven.
Yes he was born in the Netherlands (Zeist), and Blyleven is the pitching coach for the team. Blyleven is not only the most accomplished pitcher not in the HOF, but is also evidently a tremendous pitching coach. Steve Phillips of ESPN was talking about how Blyleven has coaxed a tremendous amount of self-confidence in the Netherlands' pitching staff. He taught them to bring the bill of their caps down to right over their eyes in an effort to avoid all of the distractions and simply pitch their guts out. While Ponson is a decent enough pitcher, they have won two games against the D.R. with other pitchers too... Keep in mind Ponson has only pitched four innings out of the 18 total against the Dominicans...

Remember these rules:
A pitcher may:
Not pitch until a minimum of four days have passed since he last pitched, if he threw 50 or more pitches when he last pitched;
Not pitch until a minimum of one day has passed since he last pitched, if he threw 30 or more pitches when he last pitched;
Not pitch until a minimum of one day has passed since any second consecutive day on which the pitcher pitched;
Throw no more than
70 pitches per game in Round One of the tournament;
85 pitches per game in Round Two of the tournament; and
100 pitches per game in the Semifinals and Final of the tournament; unless the pitcher needs more to complete a batter's plate appearance; and
Throw no more than
50 pitches per exhibition game for a Team, or the maximum number of pitches that WBCI sets forth for such pitcher for such exhibition game, whichever is less, if the pitcher is under reserve to an MLB Club. WBCI may set forth such a maximum upon the written request of the pitcher's MLB Club.

(Courtesy of

This allows unknown pitchers like Alexander Smit, Robbie Cordemans, Tom Stuifbergen, Dennis Neuman and Leon Boyd the opportunity to shut down the potent D.R. lineup for 5 innings in the first game and nearly the entire second game. The Dominicans knew how big of an upset this was going to be if they lost, so they panicked, swinging at pitches they definitely should not have. Kudos to Blyleven and his pitchers for capitalizing on these over-anxious mistakes.

The first game was basically given to the Netherlands with Eugene Kingsale scoring on a wild pitch by Edinson Volquez, and two more runs scoring in the first on a throwing error by Hanley Ramirez. That lead held up and the Netherlands won.

The second game, and the reason this is such a tremendous story, featured tremendous pitching on both sides. Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies struck out 10 batters in four innings for the Dominican team, while Team Netherlands didn't allow an earned run the entire game, allowing just one run (Jose Reyes scored) on a miscue by Kingsale.
The tremendous team pitching for the Netherlands, coupled with solid defense proved successful in extra innings and created one of the biggest upsets we've seen in any sport in a long time. This team showed a lot of heart and will go on to face Puerto Rico on Wednesday... You know what they say... If you ain't Dutch, you aint much.

What We've Missed

Here is a quick rundown of the big sports happenings in the last 10 days...

ARod had surgery on his hip to repair torn cartilage. It looks like he's going to be out until May at least. Not the great start to the season that he needed to rebound from the ARoid controversy.

Terrell Owens was cut by the Cowboys. And, just when you thought that the NFL's front offices were wising up to this guy, the Buffalo Bills picked him up for a 1 year/6.5 million dollar deal. Time will tell how this gamble works out, but I don't see it being beneficial in the long run. How does an NFL exec not get the similarity between Trent Edwards and Tony Romo, I can not understand.

In NCAA hoops, Pitt dismantled #1 UConn and #15 Marquette, but somehow is only good enough to be the #2 team in the country. This is due to the extreme bias to North Carolina, who is now at #1 after beating Duke on Sunday.

Busy busy busy

An apology to anybody that ever looks at this blog--if there is anybody. As college students, the two weeks before spring break are the 2nd busiest of the semester. So, if there's anybody out there who has been disappointed, apologies from the guys at shortwhiteguys.

This week Jordan Loperena and myself will be heading to Indianapolis to cover the Big Ten Tournament for KRUI. I will try to update a couple of times down there, as we begin to learn how the madness that is March unravels.

Spring Trading

by Jordan Loperena

On a day where everyone's thoughts start turning to baseball, why not talk about America's forgotten sport - hockey. As most of you probably don't know, the NHL Trade Deadline is quickly approaching. The deadline sits at March 4 and as of now, no major moves have been made. There have been rumors involving big names like Vincent Lecavalier, Marty Havlat, and Jordan Staal. You know who they are right? Yeah, keep nodding your head with that clueless look upon your face. Anyways, the most exciting rumor thus far regarding the NHL Trade Deadline was made two weeks ago and it was a deal that seemed to good to be true. Young stud Jordan Staal had been rumored to be on his way to the Blackhawks in return for crafty veteran Martin Havlat. That deal ended up being a pure trade "rumor". The Lecavalier trade rumors have been flowing for quite some time now but his massive contract could prevent him from ever getting out of Tampa. A team would have to clear A LOT of room to bring in someone like him.

Another story coming out of the NHL today was one that I found to be disappointing, yet not necessarily surprising. New Jersey Devils' Future Hall of Fame Goaltender Martin Brodeur returned from his injury and was activated by the team. The Devils next move was sending stand-in goaltender Scott Clemmensen down to their AHL affiliate, the Lowell Devils. This typically sounds like something that should happen without any question. However, Clemmensen went 25-13-1 with a 2.39 GAA (yes, let's say it together now, Goals Against Average) while helping the Devils reach the top of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference. It's a tough call, a future Hall of Famer who is getting old but has a ring and outstanding playoff experience or an up-and-coming goalie who has been successful, but untested in playoff action thus far in his NHL career. The Devils have decided to go with Brodeur. What would you do?

NBA Second Half Predictions.

With the NBA trade deadline coming and going with absolutely nothing of note happening NBA fans can now look to the second half of the season. As it sits right now there are 4 or 5 real contenders for the Larry O'Brien trophy. LA(not the clippers, goes w/o saying right) Boston, Cleveland, and San Antonio with Orlando having an outside chance, mostly because they have a mutant playing center. One of the most intriguing storylines of the second half will by the MVP race between Kobe and King James(gayest nickname ever, can you imagine if a white guy used that nickname). I can't remember two players playing this well who both play for top teams. There is a good chance that they will not only be considered the two best players in the league, but will both be the top seeds in their respective conferences. Really exciting stuff. All right lets get on with the predictions.

MVP- Lebron James

I must admit i am a huge Kobe fan, so i am pulling for him to win the award. But i really dont see any way in hell he wins mvp. The chance he has is if he say F you to his team the last month of the season and just starts scoring 50 a game(which he can easily do) just so he can win the award. Actually that might happen..... anyways heres my 5 reasons lebron will win
1.Lebron has slight better stats than kobe. Lebron's line is 28, 7, and 7. Kobes is 27.5, 5, 5. Im sure there will be some voters that vote purely on stats.
2.Kobe is a jerk, rapist, and kind of has annoying fake smile/persona. A lot of ex-teammates say they hate him, everyone remembers the rape thing... and i really hate his annoying fake smiling good teammate persona. Kobe, You're cold, calculating, and have a killer instinct that sets you apart from every player in the NBA. Just be you.
3.Lebron has a worse supporting cast. Although lebrons supporting cast doesnt come close to rivaling what kobe had to deal with during what i like to call the smush parker/kwame brown era, He is still without a proven #2 go to guy.
4.Kobe won it last year. I've already been hearing players and the media saying "well hey, kobe won it last year so this year is lebron's turn. That is a terrible reason but... what ya gonna do.
5.The Nike/MJ factor. Ever since Jordan retired the nba, and America in general has been trying to annoint someone as the next Jordan. Many think lebron can be that guy, and that will unfortunately win him some votes.
Western Conference winner- LA Lakers in 5 over SA spurs
I think this series would be much more competitive if they were playing in the first or second round, but i just don't see the aging spurs being able to hang with the lakers' depth. Also have you seen popovich, I think he may have alzheimer's or some other terrible disease, which cannot bode well for the spurs. Anyways, Gasol and Odom did a number on Duncan when these two teams met last year in the playoffs, and Ginobili never plays well vs Kobe so if the spurs are going to have any chance its going to have to be Tony Parker, and i just havent seen him carry that team during an entire 7 game series.
Eastern Conference winner-Celtics in 7 over Cleveland
Lebron will be good to win 2 or 3 games on his own, but the Celtics just have too much talent. I am making this prediction based on KG being back and relatively healthy. If he is out i reserve the right to change my prediction. There is one fact crippling the cavs, one of the most well known NBA laws.... The White Guy Law, you can't win a championship with a white guy being your #1 or 2 go to guy. Ilgauskas is a decent enough player, but its just the law. Ask Karl Malone. The only way you can win with a white guy as your #2, get a time machine and go back to the 70's.
NBA Finals-Lakers in 7 over Boston
I think this series is coming down to one thing. Home court advantage, and the terrible 2/3/2 finals format. Right now it looks as if the Lakers are going to finish with the best record, and they own the tiebreak over boston by beating them twice this season. They key to this series is w/o a doubt Lamar Odom, he's going to have to play big at both ends of the court. Guarding KG and being a scoring factor for the lakers. For Boston, Rajon Rondo is going to have step up, Last year in the finals the lakers literally did not guard him and when he played well the celtics were able to win.
Should be a dynamite second half of the season.

More NFL News

Stompy Gets Signed???

Reportedly the number one free agent of the NFL has already agreed to terms, three days before the Free Agency Period will begin. Lance Zierlein, a Houston area journalist, has broken the story (link here) that defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth will sign with the Washington Redskins. The former Titan/head-stomper joins a long list of Daniel Snyder's big free agent expenditures over the last few years.

Really Vikings? Really?!?

Also, Houston is going to go ahead and trade backup QB Sage Rosenfels to the Minnesota Vikings for a fourth round pick in the 2009 Draft. The Iowa State alum appears to be the starter for this team (can't be worse than the Tavaris Jackson/Gus Ferrote experiment of last year). My only question is, can Sage Rosenfels be the guy to turn the Vikings from a first round playoff loser to a Super Bowl contender? I'm just not seeing this working out...