Posted on: March 11, 2008 2:59 pm

All-Time Fantasy Teams?

Emack and I participated in an interview with the fine gentlemen at PABaseball.blogspot.com. It's basically a Pirates/Phillies-centric site, but they have some interesting stuff on there for everyone. If anything, it's interesting stuff you could do for your team. For instance, on Monday they posted a lineup/roster of former Phillies that are currently on other rosters. Bobby Abreu, Jim Thome, Billy Wagner, etc. But that rotation -- wow. It's like a who's who of 23rd-round Fantasy picks. Then add to that the fact that they'll be pitching at Citizens Bank Park!?! They were going to do the same thing with the Pirates ... but even former Pirates are getting at-bats in Triple-A.

So how about this -- a former Devil Rays Fantasy squad!?! You know my affinity for these boys. And I'm adjusting this to include their entire history of players, since it's only been 10 seasons and all. Only the stats they put up as a Devil Ray count -- hence why Bobby Abreu and Jose Guillen don't make this list. Can you believe I couldn't find a spot for Ty Wigginton? Oh ... you can?
C - Toby Hall -- Only four other C's hit better than Hall's .287 in '05
C - John Flaherty --
.278, 14 HR, 78 RBI in '99
1B - Fred McGriff --
Only Ray to post 100 RBI ('99) in the team's first 5 yrs
2B - B.J. Upton --
Can you believe he's the only Ray to ever hit 20 HR and steal 20 bases?
SS - Julio Lugo --
60 steals, with 172 runs scored, in '04 and '05 combined
3B - Aubrey Huff --
Led team in BA, HR and RBI in both '03 and '04
CI - Carlos Pena --
Set team record with 46 HR and 121 RBI in '07
MI - Jorge Cantu --
Led MLB 2B with then-team record 117 RBI (bumped Wigginton from our list)
OF - Carl Crawford --
Greatest player in team history, 277 total steals in six seasons
OF - Randy Winn --
.298-14-75-87-27 stat line in '02 only to get traded to SEA for Lou Piniella
OF - Rocco Baldelli --
.280-16-74-79-17 in '04, but best years are ahead of him
OF - Delmon Young --
Quietest 93 RBI for a rookie ever in '07
OF - Gerald Williams --
Teased Fantasy owners with '00 career season of .274-21-89-87-13
DH - Jose Canseco --
Don't laugh! He popped 34 homers with 95 RBI and a .279 average in '99
SP - Scott Kazmir --
Led AL in strikeouts last season with 239
SP - James Shields --
Only fourth Rays pitcher to win at least 12 games
SP - Victor Zambrano --
Best attribute was he was traded for Kazmir, also won 12 games in '03
SP -
Rolando Arrojo -- How did he win a still-team record 14 games with the '98 expansion team?
SP - Wilson Alvarez -- Went 9-9 in '99, top-three win/loss percentage in team's first five years
RP - Roberto Hernandez --
43 saves in '00, 101 saves in franchise's first three years
RP - Danys Baez --
41 saves in '05 after a 30-save season in '04
RP - Al Reyes --
Returned from TJ surgery to save 26 games in '07
RP - Esteban Yan --
If only Wigginton was a closer, he'd replace Este-blown Yan

OK, now I want to hear YOUR Fantasy team rosters for YOUR MLB teams. I'll try to get Emack to do the Mets, Dave Richard to do the White Sox, Sergio to do the Yankees, Scott White to do the Braves and Jamey or Ross to do the Marlins. BT and Dobie, you know you're all about the Red Sox and Indians. Just post the team, don't worry about writing the notes.

Jordan Schafer, the Braves' CF prospect, led the minors with 176 hits last season, and he hit a combined .312. In 136 games at Class A Rome and High Class A Myrtle Beach, he hit 49 doubles, 10 triples and 15 homers. The Braves traded for Mark Kotsay and Josh Anderson to hold down the fort until Schafer's arrival (and after Andruw Jones' departure), but he's outperforming both this spring, batting .389 after Monday. He could be a 20-20 prospect according to Baseball America, who rates him as the Braves' No. 1 prospect. Don't forget that Atlanta also brought over Gorkys Hernandez from Detroit in the Edgar Renteria deal (I hope he names his kid Gorkys Jr., so we can refer to him as Gorkys II.) For this season at least, Schafer is the one to target in NL-only leagues as a sleeper. Manager Bobby Cox told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "He looks great. He's real smooth. Does everything well, and he knows how to play. He really knows the game, knows situations, that kind of stuff." And we know the Braves have never been averse to using rookie position players when they are ready (Brian McCann, Jeff Francoeur, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, etc.) The Braves' beat writer still thinks Schafer will start in the minors though, with Josh Anderson the team's fourth outfielder. An interesting note is that Schafer played left field for the first time ever Monday.

With Warrick Dunn officially signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week, it came to our attention that he is top three in career rushing yards for both the Falcons and the Bucs. And that made us try to come up with any other players that might be top five on two different teams. Right off the top of my head (and I haven't looked these up yet), I came up with Ricky Watters (Philadelphia and San Francisco), Marcus Allen (Oakland and Kansas City) and possibly Herschel Walker (Dallas and Minnesota). WITHOUT CHEATING -- can you come up with some others? I thought maybe O.J. Simpson (Buffalo and San Francisco), but I don't think he was with SF very long.
Posted on: March 11, 2008 6:44 am
Edited on: March 11, 2008 2:31 pm
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Posted on: February 28, 2008 3:03 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2008 4:41 pm

Prospects Abound

We're in that time of spring when every team's prospects are being discussed. Some are looking good in intrasquad games or very early spring games (Garrett Mock, Luis Mendoza and Justin Masterson), and some are getting back-slaps for being mentioned among Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects.

Nothing gets Fantasy owners more excited than a high-rising prospect and BA is a great site to get your fill in that aspect.

The Rays are tied with the Red Sox with the most prospects (seven) within that top 100. That really caught my eye. We're talking about 2007's worst team in the majors and the World Series champions. Obviously, the Red Sox have way fewer holes in their roster to open up starting opportunities for their seven studs.

Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz will probably be ready to start in Fantasy Week 1, but 1B Lars Anderson (20 years old), SS Jed Lowrie (23), RHP Justin Masterson (23), RHP Michael Bowden (21) and OF Ryan Kalish (19) will need to have injuries or trades to happen ahead of them before they get a shot -- and don't forget they also have to be performing at an above-average level, as well as be injury-free themselves.

Tampa Bay Rays
For the artists formerly known as the Devil Rays, 3B Evan Longoria has a great chance to be the team's starting third baseman, hitting in the heart of a batting order with plenty of potential. He ranks second overall on BA's list, just behind Reds OF Jay Bruce, and he's no secret to Fantasy owners. But the young pitchers are even more interesting in this organization. Tampa Bay has three -- THREE -- ranked in the top 20 overall. LHP David Price (10th overall), LHP Jake McGee (15th) and RHP Wade Davis (17th) will push everyone in the Rays' rotation that's not named Scott Kazmir, Jamie Shields or Matt Garza. McGee's strikeouts (1.25 Ks-per-inning) has Fantasy owners giddy (especially now that Kazmir's strained elbow is scaring everyone on the Gulf Coast). Then the Rays also have SS Reid Brignac (39th), who is an in-season Fantasy sleeper as a shortstop with pop, OF Desmond Jennings (21 years old) and 6-foot-9 RHP Jeff Niemann, who has become a forgotten fourth pitching prospect.

The reason I point these players out on both of these teams is to explain the difference. While the Rays certainly have more players that can arrive this season to help Fantasy owners, what they do once they arrive is likely going to be less than what the Red Sox players will, mostly because of their surrounding casts.

Removing Ellsbury, Buchholz and Longoria from the list (three players that are nearly locks to start in April), the remaining players can be compared more fairly. The Rays' three rookie pitchers will still have to deal with a bullpen that put up a 6.16 ERA in '07, which is by far the worst number by any bullpen in the past seven seasons. Granted, they signed Troy Percival to close, moving Al Reyes back to setup man, and Dan Wheeler is in town for a full season, but it's still a shallow group.

The Red Sox prospects that might earn time this season will be surrounded by a superb bullpen (3.10 ERA was second-best in majors in '07), top-notch rotation (4.21 ERA makes them fourth-best in majors in '07) and an offensive lineup that ranked fourth in the majors last year.

Anyway, back to doing updates and writing my "Bounce-back players" piece. I just thought it was interesting that both teams, on opposite ends of the major-league spectrum, had seven prospects in the top 100, and what that meant to F-Ballers.

Welcome Home: Kimbo Slice
My co-worker, Sergio Gonzalez, just mentioned to me that CBS will be airing Mixed Martial Arts this year. Kimbo Slice is just a beast (first-round pick in your Fantasy MMA draft) and I'm glad he'll also be my co-worker. Although, if customer service manager Carey Dunn, who he played high school football with, leaves an empty coffee pot on the burner again without making a fresh pot, I expect Kimbo to go Terry Tate on him. I wonder what time, "Two and a Half Dead Men" will be airing?
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com