We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2011 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2011 Cardinals Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Redbird Rants.
1. With David Freese, I see a guy who could hit 20 homers and bat .300. Though I seem like the only one outside of his family that sees this for Freese. Am I being too optimistic?
Too optimistic? Maybe. But there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about David Freese. He was hitting .296 before his season ended prematurely in June. Freese looked like a solid ballplayer, reliable with the bat and in the field. Injuries got in the way. And those injuries left Cards fans skeptical about Freese’s ability to be the everyday third baseman for this club. Give the guy another chance before saying he’s fragile. If he stays healthy, I think he can hit .300 like he did last year and his entire career in the minors. The prediction of 20 home runs is why I say it may be “too optimistic.” Freese had only managed four home runs in 70 games in 2010. He struggled with his power. And it’s hard to see him putting it all together in his second season – first full (hopefully) – to find his power stroke. He has the potential, but power is often the last thing young players develop. I’d say a .275 to .300 batting average and 10 homers is realistic and a positive sign, especially if he plays 150 games.
2. My prediction for Colby Rasmus in 2011 is he will either go 25/15 or he will wake up one day with a scorpion in his bed placed there by La Russa. What’s your prediction?
I’m with you on this one all the way. Rasmus showed flashes of greatness last year despite his problems with La Russa. At 24, Rasmus is one of the exciting young talents in the game. He can hit for average. He has power. He can run. He has all the tools to be an All-Star in center field for years to come. The only question: Does he have the character and work ethic to match his talent? Some of that comes out of his constant battling with La Russa, but Albert Pujols also saw him as a spoiled punk. He seemed to change after Pujols sat him down to talk. Hopefully, Rasmus is fired up to prove he’s as good as everyone says. If he matures at all, he’ll coast to a 25/15 season, something he missed by two homers and three stolen bases last year. The Cards need him to develop into a base stealer, considering Pujols led the team with 14 in 2010. I think Rasmus could go 25/20. But if he hasn’t matured, it might be in his best interest to miss the Cards first flight to Arizona for a Diamondbacks series.
3. In the trailer for the new Roland Emmerich movie, there’s a scene where a pimply teenager jumps out of his car and runs for his life, screaming, “Jaime Garcia is falling back to earth!” Total fiction or plausible scenario?
Very plausible. As much as I loved how Garcia performed in 2010, I want to see it again this season before I call him the next big thing. Garcia was brilliant. He mixed his pitches like a veteran, and rarely got rocked. But he finished his season in early September due to pain his left elbow and he has already had Tommy John surgery once in his career. Arm problems with young pitchers can’t be ignored. And baseball is so tough and unpredictable. One season, a player can look like a Hall of Famer. And the next, he’s trying to find a job. One-hit wonders are just a part of sports. Take for example, Alan Benes. He went 13-10 in 32 starts as a 24 year-old rookie for the Cardinals in 1996. Benes would only start 35 more times in his eight-year career, compiling a 29-28 record. Arm trouble forced him to miss most of the 1998 and 1999 seasons. Fast forward to 2010: Jaime Garcia, 23, ties Benes’ rookie record for wins with 13. Will the same fate derail Garcia’s career? Only time will tell, but there is reason for concern.
4. This is a complete gut call but I think this year Jason Motte saves more games than Ryan Franklin in 2011. Could be something to that or I need a gut check?
This is a tough one, but I think Franklin has enough to get the job done in 2011. As long as Franklin can get by, Tony La Russa is going to stick with him. He has been a decent closer for about three years and after getting through 2010 with 27, I think he’s capable of nailing down another 20 this year. I’m ignoring his soon-to-be 38-year old arm and his plan to retire after this season, and going with my gut feeling here. La Russa will trust Franklin to start the season as the closer. He won’t make a change unless he absolutely has to. Franklin should have incentive to go out with some pride.
5. The French established a village back in the 17th century that later became St. Louis because they were looking for a port city to take advantage of fur trading. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) If La Russa and his PETA leanings were around three hundred years ago, how would he react to the French? 1) He’d find the smallest Frenchy and bat him ninth. 2) He’d share a few glasses of wine with them then when he tried to ride his horse back to his teepee, he’d fall asleep. 3) Treat them the same as he treats Colby Rasmus.
I’ll go with No. 3. Can’t imagine too much good will for anyone taking advantage of animals.