Thursday, March 28, 2013

MARDI GRAS MADNESS: Texas Sooner


Felipe M

I continue to preview my head-2-head fantasy points' baseball keeper league.  The last team reviewed was team Halladay Holiday

Up next is a strong contender for the 2013 league championship.

CENTRAL DIVISION—TEXAS SOONER (out of Texas)

BATTING LINEUP

Like: I make no secret as to how much I like Ben Zobrist’s game: patience, pop, and versatility made him a much, sought-after commodity in drafts this season.  Aramis Ramirez, despite concerns with age and boom-and-bust tendencies, still makes him a legit option at the hot corner.  I also like Freddie Freeman’s game and I expect big things from him in 2013.  Shin-Soo Choo also came in this year with many concerns, but a new environment in a new league should be the remedy to make Choo a relevant name in fantasy.

2013 Hitting Projections
Player
Team
Pos
BB/K
AB/K
AB/HR
OBP
SLG
OPS
SB
Ben Zobrist
Tampa
2B/SS/RF
0.81
5.07
29.45
0.373
0.462
0.835
16
Aramis Ramirez
Milwaukee
3B
0.56
7.08
21.24
0.346
0.506
0.852
4
Freddie Freeman
Atlanta
1B
0.49
4.35
21.65
0.359
0.484
0.843
3

Dislike: Ichiro Suzuki and Austin Jackson in the starting OF might prove to be an Achilles’ heel.  I’m also not a fan of starting two SS’s.  Bad enough that the enigmatic Starlin Castro is slotted at that position, but Elvis Andrus was not born to be a fantasy, DH hitter. 

Look Out For: There’s a few names to mention here: Currently, Mike Napoli is starting at Catcher, but Mariners’ prospect, Mike Zunino might get called up sooner than many of us think as he begins his baseball career at Triple-A.  Jackie Bradley has been highly hyped this spring and is on the verge of making the Red Sox opening day squad.  Finally, Pablo Sandoval has elbow issues, but if he overcomes the injury, he can provide much needed offensive power that the Sooner is currently lacking at the moment.

BENCH: The only other player to mention is Carlos Correa, the #1 pick in the 2012 draft.  He will start his career in Class-A.  Might be a while.

PITCHING
Like: Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg: what more can I say?  Check out their stats below.

2013 Pitching Projections
Player
Team
K/BB
K/9
BB/9
H/9
WHIP
HR/A
Justin Verlander
Detroit
3.93
9.23
2.35
7.31
1.07
0.77
Stephen Strasburg
Washington
4.42
10.91
2.47
7.27
1.08
0.79

Other pitchers worth noting: Homer Bailey as he seems to finally be refined enough to be an adequate pitcher in fantasy leagues.  Not a stud like he was expected to be, but he’s legit enough to warrant a spot; Anibal Sanchez and Mike Minor are excellent in support of Verlander and Strasburg.  Even C.J. Wilson will bring something to the table despite the low BB/9.  And having A.J. Burnett and Matt Harrison at the backend of the rotation is insane.  Not really a fan of Harrison, but as a spot starter in a points’ league, he is definitely a luxury.  This could possibly be the best starting staff in the league.

Dislike: Not a fan of Glen Perkins.  His low K/9 makes him an underwhelming choice for a closer.  Also, of all the closers out there, he has the 8th worst, HR/9 rate.  Wei-Yin Chen—I’ve been preaching all spring: beware of this guy!  He is prone to give up plenty of long balls and a high 1.28 WHIP makes him not worth the headache that he will provide you.  But on a deep rotation like this, he may be worth the gamble, but considering the issues on offense that this team has, I would highly consider dropping Chen for a hitter.

Bullpen: Not only does this team have the two best right-handed pitchers in the game, but they also have the best closer in Craig Kimbrel.  He’s near automatic in the 9th inning and almost unhittable. 

PREDICTION: The pitching staff is loaded and enough to carry the team to a championship.  The offense is lacking a consistent source of power and it might cost them late in the season, but it might be steady enough to prove to be adequate for much of the season.  They definitely need to find an upgrade for LF and CF and it might cost them in a title run, but a strong pitching staff has proven to be just enough to win a league title.  A better offense would increase their chances.  

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