No. 10 – It doesn’t seem possible that
a $21 million opening day starter doesn’t belong on your roster, but Johan
Santana is the exception to that rule. His status as the New York Mets’ opening
day starter says much more about their mediocre staff than it does his
The last time Santana threw a
major league pitch was in September 2010, and he hasn’t warranted a roster spot
since then either.
No. 9 – When Jamie Moyer made his major
league debut in 1986 there were 263 2011 major leaguers who hadn’t even been
born yet. No fantasy implications here, just some life lessons about
discipline, determination and playing the game well beyond your abilities.
No. 8 – MLB saddled Ubaldo Jimenez with
a five-game suspension for plunking former teammate Troy Tulowitzki. Missing
one start doesn’t stand as a reason to downgrade a player, but it does stand as
a warning of the enigmatic type player that Jimenez is. He will product good
strikeout numbers, but you can’t expect much else from the lanky right hander.
No. 7 – I had a long discussion last
week with a friend about the idea of having a couple of middle relievers on
your roster to help your team earned run average and walks and hits per inning
pitched. Always one to put my theories to the test, I ran the numbers by
“dropping” an underperforming starter and replacing his stats with those of
Johnny Venters from that point forward. The rotisserie pitching points were the
exact same. I did the same for a closer who was losing his grasp on his job with
the exact same result. No loss, no gain. My verdict: don’t hesitate to add an
elite setup guy who piles up strikeouts over a marginal starter, especially if
there is a chance the setup guy may eventually claim the closer role.
No. 6 – Aging stars may hold a special
place in your heart as you reminisce of days of previous titles won, but don’t
let your blind allegiance leave you with the title of the All-Disabled List team.
While Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter will earn a roster spot in most leagues,
you can pass on the likes of Jim Thome, Chipper Jones and Roy Oswalt (if and
when he signs somewhere).
No. 5 – I’m not exactly sure what to
make of the news around Andrew Bailey’s thumb injury in Boston, but if Bailey
is forced to the Disabled List, my money is on Mark Melancon to step in to the
role for the interim. Melancon filled in admirably last year for the Houston
Astros, converting 20-of-24 save opportunities.
No. 4 – Ichiro Suzuki hit less than
.300 for the first time in his career last season. In the first two games this
season, the Mariners batted Suzuki third. This is welcome change, and I expect
Suzuki’s numbers to see resurgence. Expect a solid bounce back season from a
guy drafted for less than his production will warrant.
No. 3 – You knew about Prince Fielder
and Miguel Cabrera, but have you seen Brennan Boesch, Delmon Young and Ryan
Raburn this spring? The three lesser-known Tigers have combined to slug 18 home
runs this spring. This lineup is scary. Throw in Raburn’s second base eligibility
and he is my pick as the player to trade for before everyone else is on to our
– Prediction time
MVP – Miguel Cabrera
MVP – Clayton Kershaw
Rookie of the Year – Jeff Kipnis
Rookie of the Year – Matt Moore
1 – And while am at it, how can I not take the opportunity to make my
predictions for the division winners and Wild Cards this season?
East – Tampa Bay Rays
Central – Detroit Tigers
West – Los Angeles Angels
East – Philadelphia Phillies
Central – Cincinnati Reds
West – San Francisco Giants
Wild Cards – New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox
Wild Cards – Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers