Posted on: May 6, 2009 3:35 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2009 3:41 pm

The Chevy Nova Awards

Major League Baseball has all sorts of awards. The most popular awards include the MVP, Cy Young, Golden Glove and Rookie of the Year. Baseball fans love awards. Therefore, as a fan of baseball, I've come up with my own. My award is only for elite players whose accomplishments should be acknowledged. You probably think the MVP and Cy Young already serve this purpose. But my award is different. I call my award, "The Chevy Nova Award".

When I first started college many moons ago, I owned a 1976 Chevy Nova. It was orange with black tinted windows. Lifts were installed to lift the back end. It looked great. It looked fast. It looked intimidating. But in reality it was slower than a lawn mower. 0-60 in two hours. It was incredibly decieving because it could not live up to how it was perceived.

Keeping this description in mind, I give to you the leading candidates of the 2009 Chevy Nova Award:

For pitching, my nomination goes to C.C. Sabathia. Here we have a well known and elite pitcher in MLB. So valued and coveted was he, the New York Yankees signed him to a multi-million dollar contract and you probably used a #1 draft pick to get him on your fantasy team. Opening the 2009 season, Sabathia was a well coveted player in every way. But now we enter May 2009 and the story has changed. We have an era of 4.85 with a win/loss record of 1-3. Is he is giving runs away for free? No longer do we rub our hands together with that vicious smile on our faces when his start comes. Instead, we scratch our heads and "hope" he has a good outing. We "hope" the opposing team has mercy on him and that Sabathia can keep his era below 5. Maybe with a little luck we can get the win and limit the amount of point loss.

For hitting, the nominee for the 2009 Chevy Nova Award goes to Josh Hamilton. For those of you who didn't draft Sabathia as your #1 pick it was probably because you drafted Hamilton instead. Who would have thought Adam Lind would be producing far more fantasy points this year? I sure didn't. This Texas star was playing poorly before his rib strain so let's not use the injury as a basis for the poor statistics. You were probably expecting Hamilton to repeat 2008 (as I did). But he has been nothing but that 1976 Chevy Nova. He just looks intimidating on your team but has yet to back it up.

On one hand we look at these two elite players and scratch our heads. Afterall, it's May already. But on the other hand, it is still May. Which means we have four more months of this torture. The MVP, Cy Young, Golden Glove and Rookie of the Year awards are not given out until after the season has ended and all the statistics are in. The Chevy Nova Award should be no different. I've given my nominations now but I'm hoping it's not lived out.
Category: Fantasy Baseball
Posted on: April 9, 2009 10:41 am
Edited on: April 11, 2009 10:28 am

Picks of 2009

The 2009 MLB season has be begun and it's time for this year's picks. The following are my predictions for this season:

AL East - NYY will win the division. The Yankees have not looked good to open the season, I admit. Both CC Sabathia and Chien Ming Wang in particular seem to be giving away runs for free. Not to mention that Alex Rodriguez opened the season on the DL while recovering from hip surgery. There are question marks surrounding every team, I know. But not every team buys their championships. With the amount of money put into the Yankees, one would think there would be no concerns what-so-ever. But nevertheless, here they are: 1. Will AJ Burnett, Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui stay healthy all season? 2. Will the pre-season issues surrounding Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery, steroid exposure) have an effect on his production in 2009? These could all be considered legitimate concerns. However, I think the biggest question mark is with their coach, Joe Girardi. So far I personally have not been impressed with the Yankee's accomplishments since Steinbrenner replaced Joe Torre. In his first year coaching, the Yankees didn't make the playoffs even with the wild card. Nevertheless, I think the Yankees will come through and win their division this year. With the amount of talent on that team it would take effort to miss the post season. And if they don't make the post season, Girardi will have a lot more to worry about.

AL Central - KC will win the division. A year ago this would have been a silly choice. But in 2009 I'm not so sure it's funny. The Royals do not have any superstars on their team. There is not a single player that is glamorous. Because of this, I think they are over looked this year. The team is filled with young talent. The above-average players on the Royals include Gil Meche, Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria. These pitchers are top quality pitchers and are detrimental to the Royals' accomplishments. KC cannot afford to lose even one of these three players. But despite excellent pitching, you can't win if you can't score runs. Mike Jacobs hit 30 HR last year and drove in 93 RBI albeit with a .243 BA. If he brings that average up, he would be considered a legitimate first baseman in fantasy. Other players who could have big seasons include Alex Gordon, Mike Aviles and Billy Butler. For the past two years, Gordon and Butler have not followed through with their expected break-out seasons. But it could still happen, I'm hopeful. The addition of Coco Crisp will prove fruitful for this team with his speed and veteran Jose Guillen will continue to help if he stays healthy. David DeJesus could also be a major factor for KC. Mark Teahan is decent. I'm taking KC to win the division based on potential. It's a risk, but one I'm willing to take.

AL West - LAA will win the division. This is a no-brainer, even with John Lackey and Ervin Santana opening 2009 on the DL. Adenhart has pitched well in pre-season and pitched well his first start during regular season. He's making a nice substitute while Lackey and Santana wait patiently to return. Even with the loss of Mark Teixeira to the Yankees, the Angels are a stellar team. There is too much talent to think anyone else in this particular division can beat them. With a lineup that includes Bobby Abreu, Vladimir Guerrero, Tori Hunter and Chone Figgins, it will take effort to lose this division.

AL Wild Card - BOS will make the playoffs by wild card. It was hard to decide between Boston and Tampa Bay to win the wild card. The idea of Tampa Bay not making the post season seems rediculous. But considering they are in the same division as NYY and BOS, means one of these three teams has to lose. As good as Tampa Bay is, I think Boston is the better team. So I take BOS to make the post season with the wild card since I take NYY to win the division.

NL East - ATL will win the division. The Braves are a good team. Chipper Jones is clearly the star of the Braves but only by luck will they get 400 games out of him. There is no doubt that Jones is an elite hitter. He just can't stay healthy. This is the reason he didn't make my top ten 3B in fantasy this year (for those of you who have read my prior blog regarding drafting a third baseman. Many of you were concerned that Chipper didn't make my list. This is why.) Nevertheless, Jones will produce nicely when he plays. I think we'll see some good production with rookie Jordon Schafer. I think Jeff Francoeur will return to 25 HR, 100 RBI and .280 BA. I think Yunel Escobar will stay healthy. Casey Kotchman, Garrett Anderson and Kelly Johnson will also be factors in the success of Atlanta in 2009. Let's not forget Brian McCann folks. This is an elite player in baseball and will contribute greatly to the division title. I like the pitching staff. Bringing in Derek Lowe and Javier Vasquez was an excellent move. Combine them with youngsters Jair Jurrjens and Kenshin Kawakami, the Braves could surprise everybody this year. My only concern with the Braves is their bullpen. I don't find any stellar relief pitching either with closer or set up. But I still take Atlanta to win the division title in the NL East.

NL Central - CHC will win the division. I'll be honest. This is my team. I'm a Cubbies fan. And due to my biast opinion, I think the Cubs have the best team in MLB. They have it all. Their lineup includes Aramis Ramirez, Derek Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Geovanny Soto as the major contributors. Ryan Theriot hits above .300 and steals bases. I think Kosuke Fukudome will have a much better 2009 than his first season now that he's adapting both to MLB and U.S.A. I'm not crazy about Milton Bradley because he can never stay healthy. But he has the potential to help when he does play. Then we come to the pitching staff. Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden as the top four starters. If Harden stays healthy like 2008, this staff could be outstanding. The Cubs brought in Kevin Gregg for relief. While I think Carlos Marmol should be the closer and Gregg set-up, (and I think by May it will be this way), either way the Cubs have an excellent bullpen. I think the Cubs will not only win their division, but I'm taking the Cubs to win it all. Yes folks, even the World Series. I can hope, right?

NL West - LAD will win the division. This clearly is the best team in the NL West. Manny Ramirez now has a full season with the Dodgers. He's going to make Matt Kemp, (which by the way has the same batting stance and swing as Ramirez), Andre Ethier and James Loney better hitters. Rafael Furcal enters 2009 healthy. I think Casey Blake is a quality player as well. And of course, Russell Martin is an elite player. The Dodgers certainly have the lineup. This is the best Dodger's team I've seen in many years. My only concern with the Dodgers is the pitching staff. Chad Billingsly I think will have a stellar year. I'm actually choosing Billingsly to win the NL Cy Young. I think Clayton Kershaw will make his mark in 2009 as well. Jonathan Broxton is an excellent closer. But after this the pitching is questionable. But I don't think any other team in this division can beat them.

NL Wild Card - NYM will make the playoffs by wild card. It was hard for me to decide whether to take the NYM or ATL to win the division. In the end I obviously took ATL which means I take NYM to win the wild card. The same factor applies with the NYM as it does with the NYY and LAA: it would take effort for this team not to make the playoffs.

AL MVP Prediction: Miguel Cabrera

AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay

NL MVP: Albert Pujols

NL Cy Young: Chad Billingsly

So there you have it. These are my picks.


Category: MLB
Posted on: April 4, 2009 9:21 am
Edited on: May 4, 2009 9:14 pm

Drafting a Third Baseman

Call me crazy but I'm ranking Ryan Zimmerman in the top five at third base in 2009. The top five. Here is how I rank third base entering the 2009 season:

1. David Wright NYM
2. Evan Longoria TB
3. Aramis Ramirez CHC
4. Ryan Zimmerman WAS
5. Garrett Atkins COL
6. Kevin Youkilis BOS

The obvious #1 pick at third is David Wright. Wright does it all. He hits for average and home runs, he scores a ton of runs and drives in a ton of RBIs. Oh, and Wright steals bases too. Not only is David Wright the #1 third baseman, but he's probably the #1 draft pick over all. Longoria and Ramirez come in at #2 and #3 at this position.

As you can see, Arod doesn't even make the top five. Everything that could go wrong with Arod during the off season, has gone wrong. The exposure to steroid use. Hip surgery leading to 3-4 months loss time. I admit that he probably will return after 3-4 months and put up good numbers. But I think Arod looks like a mess this coming season. I've got caution signs posted all over the place when it comes to Alex Rodriguez.

I'm ranking Zimmerman fourth and over Youkilis , Huff and Garrett Atkins at third this year. Youkilis is always sustaining some type of minor "set back" during the season. I've had Youkilis on my fantasy teams in the past and thankfully the loss time was short. But I have a feeling there will come a time when one of his many ailments will cause him to miss significant playing time. Caution signs go up with Youk too, though not as many as Arod . Huff is decent and his value goes up since he is 1B/3B eligible. Same applies to Atkins. But Huff has been relatively inconsistent during his career and I don't think he can repeat 2008. Deciding between Atkins and Zimmerman is a tough call.

As mentioned above, Atkins is 1B/3B eligible which increases his value over Zimmerman. But I like Zimmerman at third this coming season. Zimmerman has played three seasons now. In his first two, his home run total was in the 20's. He was well on his way for 20+ home runs last year but went down with injury. He's relatively consistent in batting average and looks to be a .285 hitter. His RBI totals are also consistent 85-90 each year. Doesn't sound like stats you'd want to rank in your top five third basemen, right? But did you realize he's only 25-years-old this coming season? At age 25 his power is just starting to develop. He'll also mature as a hitter. I'm not a math genius but it seems to me that maturity + increase in power = increase in stats across the board. Let's not forget that Zimmerman hit 20+ home runs at age 21 in his rookie season!

One other thing you need to realize about Zimmerman. He plays for the Nationals. This is where I would normally lose you, but I actually think it works in his favor when analyzing his stats. You see the Nationals as a negative thing. I see 85-90 RBIs while playing for the Nationals. That's like hitting a million RBIs on a better team. Let's not forget the Nationals during the off season improved their lineup by bringing in Adam Dunn. Dunn will likely hit behind Zimmerman which means pitchers can' t just pitch around him anymore. Ahead of Zimmerman in the lineup will likely be Cristian Guzman (hit .316 last year), Lastings Milledge (stole 24 bases last year) and/or Elijah Dukes (stole 13 bases last year). None of these players are to get excited about. But they can get on base and move into scoring position, allowing Zimmerman to increase his RBI production.

Two other things to remember about Zimmerman in 2009. He enters the season fully healthy from last year's injury (torn muscle in left shoulder) and he's playing on a one-year contract at this point. Which means he's playing on contract year. He returned healthy by the end of last season hitting .290 with 5 HR in September. I'm guessing he will pick up from where he left off.



Category: Fantasy Baseball
Tags: Third Base
Posted on: March 15, 2009 7:04 pm

Drafting a First Baseman

Have a fantasy baseball draft coming up? Having trouble ranking your players? Don't know which positions to draft first? If your draft is automated, you don't have much control on the order of positions. You have more control with the live draft. So if your upcoming draft is live, let me give some suggestions on first base.

The top five are Albert Pujols , Miguel Cabrera, Mark Teixeira , Lance Berkman and Ryan Howard. In that order. If all these players are taken before it's your turn to draft, move on to a different position. Fill in second or short stop where the positions are weaker. By filling in these positions first, you get a better player in these positions and you can then go back to first base in the later rounds and draft Joey Votto or James Loney .

Votto and Loney are not going to give you the same stats as the top five. But they will give better stats than the second baseman or short stop those other teams in your league will need to draft in the later rounds. I'd probably grab Joey Votto before James Loney but it's a toss up either way. If you're not sold yet, here are the stats:

In his first full season, Joey Votto hit .297, 24 HR and drove in 84 RBI. He also stole 7 bases. He's only 26 years of age and entering his prime. Entering 2009 he'll be more familiar with major league pitching and more comfortable with his role on the Reds. Those surrounding Votto in the lineup include Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion . Don't discount these players just yet. All three are young and emerging stars each capable of hitting 20-30 home runs as history has shown. Willy Tavares has joined the Reds also and will likely be at the top of the batting order giving Votto more RBI production this coming season.

When the Dodgers resigned Manny Ramirez for 2009, Loney's stock went up. In his first full season, Loney hit .289, 13 HR and 90 RBI. He too had 7 stolen bases. His home run production was lower than expected considering in the year prior he hit 15 in fewer AB. But I think Loney hits minimum 20 HR this coming season and brings his RBI total above 100 for the first time. He's capable of hitting .300 as well. The presence of Manny Ramirez during the second half of last season made everyone on the Dodgers better. Loney will now have a full season with Manny in the lineup and he's surrounded with more talent as well with Ethier , Kemp, Russell Martin and Casey Blake.

You'd probably do better by drafting either Pedroia , Utley , Hanley Ramirez or Jose Reyes in the beginning of the draft (if still available) and then go back to first base in the later rounds to grab Votto or Loney .

First basemen to avoid: Hank Blalock , Nick Swisher, Paul Konerko , Jason Giambi , Jim Thome

Other considerations: Connor Jackson, Casey Kotchman



Category: Fantasy Baseball
Tags: First Base
Posted on: February 14, 2009 9:03 am
Edited on: February 14, 2009 9:05 am

Season Upon Us

Ah, the season is beginning. Baseball Season. It should be a season all it's own. Winter, Spring, Baseball, Summer and Fall. You have to love this time of year. Crunching the Numbers of every single player in baseball, steadfast preparations for your upcoming fantasy baseball draft. One league is not enough. We must have three fantasy baseball teams! Drafting your team early before the season, even before spring training. Looking at your team every single day even though nothing has changed. Did I miss that one all star still on waivers that nobody else knows about? Fantasy baseball is a good time of the year.

Category: MLB
Tags: Baseball, Fantasy
Posted on: January 19, 2009 7:50 pm


My vote goes to Matt Cassell for the Most Valuable Player in the NFL this season. Let me first tell you that I'm a New England Patriots fan. I have been a Patriots fan since following the NFL. But my vote to Cassell does not stem from my football loyalty. I vote for Cassell because of his accomplishments. I believe he truly is the most valuable player this past season.

You can imagine that week one of the 2008 season was a football tragedy for me after Tom Brady went down with a knee injury in the first quarter. Like all Patriots fans, I thought our season was over before it started. But enter Matt Cassell. Matt Cassell is a quarterback who sat on the bench in Tom Brady's shadows for several years. In fact, up until this NFL season the last time Matt Cassell actually started a game was in high school. (In college he was backup to both Carson Palmer and then Matt Leinart.) After Brady went down in week one, Cassell was given the reins of the New England Patriots. My first thought was, "Oh no. We're done."

Cassell's first two weeks in the starting role were very shaky, which compounded my belief the season was over before it started. But now approaching the final week of the NFL season, we are tied for first in the division with a 10-5 record (and I predict a final record of 11-5 after this coming week) and a chance to make the playoffs. If that is not enough to prove Cassell is a true quality quarterback, here are Cassell's stats thus far: 15 games, 3615 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and an 89.1 rating. He's had two games above 400 passing yards and four touchdowns and several more games above 300 yards and two touchdowns. He's playing like a football star. Not bad for a guy who up until this year hadn't started since high school.

After leading his team to a winning record, Matt Cassell has proven to be the Most Valuable Player in at least the AFC if not the entire NFL. Several other teams were forced to start games during the season with their backup quarterbacks. Brad Johnson started for the Cowboys for three straight weeks while Romo sat out with a broken pinkie finger. That was an obvious disaster and Romo returned early and played through pain just to get Johnson off the field. The Lions lost John Kitna (not that he was great to begin with) but the backups, Dan Orlovsky 1391 passing yards, 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with a 56.8 rating, and Daunte Culpepper 786 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with a 52.2 rating, have also proven disastrous. Let's not forget the emergence of Ryan Fitzpatrick after the Bengals' lost Carson Palmer early in the season. Fitzpatrick stats are 1776 passing yards, 8 touchdowns and 9 interceptions with Houshmenzadeh and Chad Johnson as his wide receivers. Compared to these backups, Cassell is a gem.

Even if the Patriots do not make the playoffs they still had a good season considering they lost Tom Brady in week one. Now that Cassell's confidence has increased, he will only get better and I predict he will continue to out perform most quarterbacks in the league. It's safe to say Cassell won't be with the Patriots next season. Brady will return and Cassell is a free agent after this year. After his success this year, it will be of no surprise when another team signs Cassell as their full time starter. I can think of plenty of teams searching for a Cassell-quality quarterback.
Category: NFL
Tags: MVP, Patriots
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or