Monday, November 12, 2012

2012 MLB PROSPECT REVIEW: Prologue



As the MLB season has crowned a new champion (Congrats to the San Francisco Giants) and the Arizona Fall League is in full effect, now would be the time to take a look back at my unpublished 2012 Baseball Prospects Rankings.

The reason I never published them was because I'm in a highly competitive fantasy baseball keeper league and feared that my opponents would take advantage of my hard work in ranking 116 baseball prospects. However, since it's a competitive league, I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of smart players and a lot of the top prospects were gobbled up, regardless.  So more transparency wouldn't hurt my chances  of winning, heretofore.

Also, when ranking these prospects back in March, once again, I had the following criteria in mind when coming up with the list:

  • How close is the player ready to contribute to his MLB team?
  • How talented is this player expected to be once he gets called up?
    • Be it in the short-term or long-term. 
  • Will player be able to make a fantasy baseball impact soon?
  • Does the player's team have a good/bad reputation in scouting young talent?
To start off, we can take a look at player #116 (Mr. Irrelevant on this list, if you will) on the big board, former Giants' catching prospect, Tommy Joseph:
  • 116.  Tommy Joseph--C--Philadelphia Phillies: 
    • 2012 OUTLOOK: "Impressive power, but still developing other skills"
    • 2012 ACHIEVEMENTS: Participated in 2012 Future Games; Came into 2012 as "Best Defensive Catcher" in California League; Ranked #11 and #10 in California and Eastern League respectively
    • CONCLUSION: Joseph was a key piece in the Hunter Pence trade that sent him to the Giants. His 2012 season saw his homerun rate drop immensely to 1:36.7 at bats. His approach at the plate improved slightly as he finished with a BB:K of .35. He is starting to look more like a defensive specialist and a liability at the plate.  If he can rediscover his power stroke, he would improve a few spots on the list.
There you have it, a quick little sample on what lies ahead.  Hope this proves to be a fun and informative project for everybody involved!

Part I is in the books.  Click here to read the profiles of players #115-111. 

NBA 2012-13 Fantasy Preview: ON THE RISE

Felipe M

Finally, two weeks of the NBA are in the books, but it's never too late to "bookmark" some players who might become household names among casual NBA, basketball junkies, and fantasy basketball fans alike.  Here are the rising stars of the 2012-13 NBA season:


  • Bismack Biyombo: Only his second season and he is still a raw product, but in a fantasy points league, blocks and rebounds coming from a center is adequate enough to get a virtual GM's attention.  Remember, Michael Jordan went out of his way to draft this player despite his inexperience so there's a good chance that Biyombo will get the opportunity to play more this season.
  • Brandon Knight: I thought that Knight would be the better point guard than Kyrie Irving.  In his second season, he might end up being the best guard on his team at the very least. 
  • JaVale McGee: A fresh start in Denver and playing under a coach with more prestige than Flip Saunders or whoever D.C. can sucker into coaching that sorry team can only do wonders for the very gifted, but incomprehensible and quizzical player.
  • Omer Asik: From 3rd string big man with the Bulls to feature frontcourt player with the Rockets, Asik's stock can only go up.
  • Dion Waiters: Don't like the fact that he was a bench player in college (remember Marvin Williams?), but should be a great running mate to Irving in Cleveland.
  • Goran Dragic: Finally, after years of being the best backup point guard with the highest upside in the NBA, Dragic will no longer have to look behind his back to see who will steal his minutes.  It's finally his show to run in Phoenix and many fans can't help, but rejoice at this deserving player.
  • Damian Lillard: The small-school product will continue to make a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest with the small-market, but crazy, basketball town of Portland.  He will be given every opportunity to prove himself in the NBA and show what he's made out of.
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: The rookie love continues with MKG.  His athleticism and stature should make him ideal as a perimeter defender.  That should equal more minutes and produce lots of padded stats for the former Kentucky Wildcat. 
  • Carlos Boozer: After many Bulls' fans came with pitchforks and torches to rid themselves of the underachieving, but very expensive forward, Boozer enters this season as the Bulls' best offensive threat and main scorer.  That should at least quiet down the fans, media, coaches, front office, etc.
  • Jeff Teague: His progress as an NBA point guard has been stalled with the presence of former teammate Joe Johnson, but this year, Teague will finally display his speed, quickness, handles, and athleticism and prove to the NBA world why he has been the best kept secret among NBA prospects. 
  • Greivis Vasquez: He's the best ball-handler by default in New Orleans and last season, he proved that he can produce on the court as well as New Orleans deals with injuries to promising guards in Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers. 
And so it goes.  Can't wait to see if these predictions come to fruition or not, but I'm really excited to see how Dragic and Teague (and his brother Marquis) will develop.  And not a lot of rookies to get excited about, but the lottery picks are certainly must-watch (i.e. Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, etc.).

To read Part I of this series on established players, click here.

Part II deals with declining players.

Part III looks at players who are at the crossroads of their careers.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NBA 2012-13 Fantasy Preview: THE CROSSROADS



Felipe M

There are other players who are not declining, but certainly in a certain crossroads where they have a chance to improve their stock for next season or make the "Decline" list as early as this season.  The choice is theirs. The list is as follows, but first, and oldie, but goodie:


  • Rodney Stuckey--Rumors that management is losing patience with him and Brandon Knight ready to step up at either guard position, Stuckey better produce this season.
  • Derrick Favors--He is still raw entering his third season, but he will get every opportunity in Utah to succeed.  He still needs to put up numbers this season.
  • Jerryd Bayless--Entering his 5th season, he will be playing for his 4th team and he will once again be coming off the bench.  Not ready to label him a bust, but it's getting closer to that time.
  • Michael Beasley--Fresh new start for the former #2 pick overall (remember those arguments between Derrick Rose and Beasley?  Yeah, they have seemed to disappear), if he can't put up numbers this year in Phoenix, then there's no hope for him.
  • Zach Randolph--It's not as serious, but the Grizzlies know they can win without him and Marc Gasol proved to be a great big man in Randolph's absence and his play last season also marked Gasol as the Alpha Dog in Memphis.  How will Randolph play alongside another big man who's as talented as he is?
  • O.J. Mayo--Once one of the best players in high school, he will now try his luck with another Western Conference team.  
  • Ryan Anderson--Many have him as a bust coming into this season, but playing in New Orleans might not be the end of the world for the sharpshooter.  Still, he needs to show he can make his shots when the pressure is on him.
  • J.J. Hickson--This is it for Hickson.  Put up or shut up.  Either he will be a legit, starting big man in the NBA or he will relegate himself to journeyman status--if he's lucky.
  • Kris Humphries--Can't hate on this player too much, but the fact that the Nets' front office don't think too highly of him is a concern and might get traded to another team who might not give him the minutes he needs to score in the paint and grab rebounds. He's in the perfect situation in Brooklyn because teammate, Brook (Lyn) Lopez, is a terrible rebounder so Humphries has relished the role of the tough big man for the Nets who can grab boards, block shots, and score the ugly points inside. I don't think another team will give him that shot to succeed so he needs to play his heart out if he wants to stay with the Nets. 
We finish our series next as we take a look at players who are on the rise and ready to breakout this season.

NBA 2012-13 Fantasy Preview: THE BAD AND UGLY

Felipe M

(The following article will now deal with NBA players who are destined to see a dip in their production as we enter the upcoming NBA season. All projections are based on fantasy point, head-to-head leagues.  I apologize, once again, to any roto fans out there).

Unfortunately, what goes up, must come down in the real world, and it's no different in the NBA as some players' stock just has to come down for various reasons (age, new coach, new system, new teammates, new rules, etc).  The following is a list of players who will most certainly see a dip in their stock for this upcoming (and maybe beyond this) season:
  • Jameer Nelson--Despite being the de facto best scoring option and playmaker in Orlando, projections show that he will not produce as much as most guards who are in similar situations (i.e. Ramon Sessions).  There's a reason why Dwight Howard did not want to play with him in Orlando. 
  • Gerald Wallace--How "experts" can pick the New Jersey Nets as a title contender with Wallace in the starting lineup is perplexing to me. His career will continue to "crash."
  • Andrew Bogut--After sustaining a number of injuries (most of them very serious) Bogut gets a fresh start at Golden State, but it's doubtful that he will post up the numbers he used to post up in Milwaukee. 
  • Elton Brand--You can make the argument that his decline began a long time ago, but many fantasy owners still believe that a fresh start in Dallas where he will play in a more conventional half-court offense will revitalize his career.  My prognosis is that he cannot be relied on too heavily for this season.
  • Anderson Varejao--Despite the fact that his production comes in the hustle categories, Varejao's time in Cleveland might be coming to an end as the Cavs might use him as trade bait for a contending team, which might mean a decrease in minutes/production.
  • Chauncey Billups--Age and decline in production and play time play a factor in him making this list.
  • Tyreke Evans--What should be the prime of his career, Evans is stuck in basketball limbo as he has refused to develop another dimension to his game. 
  • Jose Calderon--Mr. Calderon, here's Kyle Lowry.
  • Nene--No longer will benefit from the fast-paced game of the Denver Nuggets and was already unhappy being traded to D.C.
  • Ray Felton--This is an obvious submission to this list as his timing is horrendous in returning to New York only to have coach Mike D'Antoni missing.
  • Paul Pierce--He's still the best scoring option in Boston, but every year, he's relinquishing more and more control to Rondo.  
  • Devin Harris--His days as a starting point guard in the NBA have come to an unexpecting end.
  • Gerald Henderson--With the selection of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Henderson's days in Charlotte and as a somewhat fantasy relevent player might be nearing an end soon.
  • Dorrell Wright--Was a fantasy darling when he played at Golden State, I don't expect him to do much in Philly despite the similar styles in play by both teams. 
  • Caron Butler--Too much talent in Clipper-land and not enough basketballs to go around. Butler is in "Swingman Hell."
Next up, we will take a look at the NBA players who are in the crossroads of their careers coming into this season.

NBA 2012-13 Fantasy Preview: THE GOODS

Felipe M

(The following are just quick thoughts about the upcoming NBA season based on fantasy basketball projections.  That is not to say that this is a fantasy basketball preview as I like to discuss the subject matter interchangeably and effortlessly with what's "really" going on in the NBA.  Also worth noting, my opinions are based on fantasy point, head-to-head leagues.  Sorry Roto-fans).


  • Bedrock Players--If you want to have a successful season, the following players are prime players to build your squad around for this upcoming season (and if you're in a keeper league, for seasons to come):
    • The list gets pretty obvious with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Love getting top billing, but one player does not make a team (real or fantasy). Rounding out the top 12 is as follows:
      • Josh Smith
      • Deron Williams
      • Rajon Rondo
      • John Wall
      • Russell Westbrook
      • Carmelo Anthony
      • Blake Griffin
    • As mentioned having great support for your superstar player is key in determining whether your team will contend or struggle for this season.  The following players are borderline "franchise" players/2nd bananas on any fantasy team:
      • Kobe Bryant--he's due for a dip in production, but Kobe is still Kobe and determination alone makes him a force to be reckoned with.
      • Pau Gasol--In most leagues, he qualifies at both forward (power) and center and that versatility makes him a coveted player.
      • Jeremy Lin--yes, Linsanity is alive and well in Houston.  You can't deny the great opportunity that has presented itself for the polarizing guard.
      • LaMarcus Aldridge--Same peripherals as Gasol. 
      • Kyrie Irving--If he keeps producing like he's projected to, he is a prime keeper for years to come and is ready to rack up the points this year as well. 
      • Al Jefferson--Despite not being good at any particular thing, he can rack up the stats and makes a great complement player for any fantasy team.
      • Dirk Nowitzki--The Godfather of the perimeter big men, he can still produce in Dallas.
    • Other top players come with questions and issues (both on and off the court):
      • Andrew Bynum--Arguably, the best offensive player at the center position, also comes with lots of baggage and injury concerns.  If he can overcome both issues, he can be a scoring machine. 
      • DeMarcus Cousins--Quickly becoming this generation's version of Rasheed Wallace, if he can control his anger and stop with the bad attitude, his NBA stock can absolutely sky-rocket into galactic proportions.  He's athletic, highly talented, and a machine in the middle. 
      • Dwyane Wade--From fantasy point superstar to descending into 2nd banana status, Wade is quickly aging.  He's a solid pick for this season, but in keeper leagues, you might want to trade him now and save yourself the headache for next season.
      • Stephen Curry and Eric Gordon--Great shooters and scorers, but seem to always be hurt and have reputations of being fragile.
      • Tony Parker and Tim Duncan--Highly talented players, but their team's priority is not for them to pad their stats, but to be ready for the playoffs and that hinders their production.
      • Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis--As former owner of both of these players, they certainly can leave you frustrated, but when they get on fire, they're almost unstoppable.
    • Other players worth mentioning:
      • Ty Lawson and Jeff Teague-- Both quick point guards who can explode around the basket, but higher upside goes to Lawson
      • Marc Gasol--Skill big man like his brother Pau, but not as explosive. 
      • David Lee--Some "experts" think he's due for a drop-off, but somebody needs to get rebounds and points in the paint for Golden State.
      • Rudy Gay--Memphis' best perimeter player.
      • Brook Lopez--According to Shaq O'neal, he's the best big, true center in the NBA... on some days.
      • Paul Millsap, Greg Monroe, and Joakim Noah--Solid big men who are very consistent safe to have on any roster: you know exactly what you're getting from all of these players.
      • Andre Iguodala--Not the franchise player that he was supposed to be, but is playing for the right team in Denver. 
      • Al Horford and Chris Bosh--Highly-skilled players who can leave many owners frustrated because they seem to always be playing out of position, but can rack up the points and rebounds. 
And that is a quick summary of my top 40 players coming into this NBA season.