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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 Dodgers Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.

1. I’ve put Matt Kemp about as high as any reasonable person can in my top 20 for 2011 fantasy baseball.  I can’t help it, but I see a guy in the prime of his career who is going to be more successful in his rebound from Rihanna than Chris Brown.  Am I being crazy here?

Kemp had an OPS over .900 in April of last year, and ended the season by homering in each of the last five games of the season. If you ignore the middle 5 months or so, he was the best player in baseball history.

Seriously, though, 2010 was a mess on all fronts. The GM called him out at the end of April for his poor fielding, despite the fact that there were about 40 bigger reasons the team was sucking. Then he got into it with old crusty coaches like Bob Schaefer and Larry Bowa.. and got benched by Joe Torre.. and got accused of slacking because he had a celebrity girlfriend.

Whether or not you buy into the Rhianna distraction bit – I don’t – she’s gone, as are Torre, Schaefer, and Bowa. Kemp apparently has a very good relationship with Don Mattingly, and new coach Davey Lopes – who’s not only revered for his baserunning coaching, but is good friends with Kemp’s agent Dave Stewart – should be a huge positive influence on him. Kemp did a poor job of handling the criticism last year, so it’s not all on other people, but publicly accepted the blame late in the season, which is another good sign – as is the season-ending homer streak.

The funny thing is that expectations were so high that people were killing him for a year in which he had a 107 OPS+; it’s not like he went all “Andruw Jones in 2008″ on us here. Call me biased – and I probably am – but I think he’s going to destroy the world this year.

2. Last year, I picked Clayton Kershaw in the preseason to win the Cy Young. He finished with a 2.91 ERA and 212 Ks so it wasn’t like I was playing back up for Daniel Johnston and eating cereal out of my Nikes. This year, I might pick him again. What kind of year do you expect from Kershaw?

I’ve been calling Kershaw an “ace” for about 2.5 years now, and he’s barely old enough to drink. If you look at the stats, he was arguably the best pitcher in baseball, and he was almost certainly the hardest to hit. He even made progress in reining in his wildness, allowing him to work deeper into games. And he’s not even 23 for another few weeks!

To be honest, the only reason that he doesn’t get more credit is that his W/L record is mediocre, as though we don’t know how useless that is. He could have easily been 18-6 or something similar last year with just a little help from the offense, and I think that’d have really changed the viewpoint on him.

It’s hard to say he’s “going” to win the Cy in a league with guys like Lee, Halladay, Lincecum, Wainwright, etc., but choose against him at your own peril. Half of those guys hadn’t even been in the bigs at this age, and he’s already dominating.

3. Rafael Furcal can’t stay healthy, Juan Uribe, well, he’s kinda terrible. Any chance we see Dee Gordon this year? If so, when? (For Razzball readers, Gordon is a Dodgers infield prospect who can steal 50 bases.)

I don’t think there’s any chance you see Gordon this year. Put another way, if you do, the Dodger season has gone completely sideways. Just about all the scouts agree that he’s a fantastic athlete, but despite his famous dad he didn’t take baseball seriously until late in his teens, making him exceedingly raw. He had a good – but not great – year at AA last year, and it’s likely he starts there before moving up to AAA. The absolute best case scenario is a September call-up, and even then I think he’s more of a 2013 target date to be the full-time starter rather than 2012.

That doesn’t mean he’s not an exciting prospect; he surely is, if he can put it together. He’s just not going to shoot through the system at a Heyward-esque pace.

4. I kinda love relief pitchers who can K a shizzload. Jonathan Broxton fits that bill and he’s only going to be 26 years old to start the season. Last year’s problems will be behind him or the Dodgers will experiment with other closers in 2011?

The holy war over Jonathan Broxton is one of the least fun parts about being a Dodger fan right now. I honestly have written about his troubles so many times that I can’t bring myself to go through it all again, so I’ll sum up his 2010 like this:

April 8 – June 26: 0.83 ERA, 48/5 K/BB, awesomesauce
June 27: Torre leaves him out for 48 pitches, capping a stretch of 99 pitches in 5 days, which is more than a lot of starters throw.
June 28 – Oct 3: 6.59 ERA, 24/21 K/BB, craptactular

I don’t think that’s exactly a coincidence, no? Mattingly says that Broxton gets the first crack to retain the job, which makes sense; no one wants a $7m setup man. I think that a winter of rest and a season away from Torre can really do wonders. If not him, Hong-Chih Kuo filled in capably last year and may do so again, though his fragile arm makes him an iffy proposition since he can’t really pitch on back-to-back nights.

If you love relievers who whiff people, don’t sleep on Kenley Jansen. He only switched from catching to pitching at the tail end of 2009, yet struck out 13.7/9 in 25 MLB games last year. He barely knows how to pitch yet, but he was blowing people away.

5. What on earth is going on in this picture of Andre Ethier?

I’m pretty sure that picture is at least 5 years old; it’s probably from when he was a rookie in 2006 and was forced to participate in rookie hazing. I like to think that instead he’d just robbed the 7-11 in the background and that was his costume.

From Around The Web

  1. Steve says:
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    Any insight from MSTI as to what Dodgerland expects out of Bills this year?

  2. DrEasy says:
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    Hey, what’s wrong with playing backup for Daniel Johnston? (awesome reference!)

  3. Ray says:
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    Guys-I am a Dodgers fan, and I think Billz builds on his strong 2010 season. He appeared to grow up on the mound last year, and was pitching more to contact than in the past. His GB rate reached the 50% level (well close-49.6%). His HR/FB rate may regress a bit, but if he continues to induce groundballs and keeps his K rate around 8, he should be a top 25 SP in 2011. Shandler says his upside is a sub-3.00 ERA if I am not mistaken. And the bullpen, on paper, appears stronger with Jansen for the full season (I think) and Guerrier added. Jansen could be sent to AAA to work on some things at the beginning of the year, but I think he is the closer of the future….and maybe in 2011 if Brox struggles again.

  4. Tom Thumb says:
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    Agree with Ray– I love Jansen. I was hoping to see something of their awful LF situation and the possibility of seeing Jerry Sands or Trayvon Robinson this year. What are your thoughts on them, Grey?

  5. Greytech Drafting says:
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    grey, you didn’t ask him if you were being (relatively) overly pessimistic about ethier?

    also, i didn’t realize that kuo had a “fragile arm”. i’ve been drafting him and sale on about every mock draft i’ve had because they can make your pitching look awesome. should i be concerned?

  6. I watch a lot of Dodgers game b/c I love the voice of Vin Scully (at least the Dodger games that he does) and Ethier was absolutely crushing the ball before he got hurt last year. I mean, his outs were rockets, too. I’m very curious to see what he’ll do at 100% again. I’m really high (not stoned) on J-Brox, Ethier, Kemp, and Kershaw.

  7. TDCC says:
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    off-topic. But I just joined a league with the Yahoo default amount of offensive players. But for pitching, you can only play 2 SPs, 1 RP, and 1 P. Saves and Holds are both categories. What would your strategy be for attacking the draft? Typically I’ve been waiting since SP is such a deep position this year, but in this league I feel like reaching for an ace might not be a bad strategy. As for RPs, I’m thinking they have even less value than before and can get them whenever. But just curious to see what you think would be a good strategy for this draft.

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @DrEasy: Thanks!

    @Ray: Yeah, I usually fall in and out of favor with players, but I’ve liked Bills for a few years now.

    @Greytech Drafting: When he maybe checks in maybe he’ll see that.

    @TDCC: A twenty team league with that default would be different than a 10 team one.

  9. Eddy says:
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    @Tony

    Great trophy man, it’s perfect! Next year’s should have a fro included.

    @VinWins

    Thanks for the tiers, very helpful!

  10. Jay says:
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    That’s the best argument for 2011 Broxton I’ve heard yet. I was a 2009-2010 Broxton owner and the 2nd half of 2010 just shocked me. The dude went from the best reliever in the game to the worst. I remember that 48-pitch outing and shouting at my PC screen for Torre to yank him already.

    Obviously, we have to monitor his velocity in spring training. If he’s throwing 90-94 mph, stay away. But if he comes out with a healthy arm throwing 98 mph gas, you gotta think he’s going to pitch like an elite closer again.

  11. TDCC says:
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    @Grey

    my bad. It’s a 10-team league

  12. mr baseball says:
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    My first attempt to add to the Razzball Glossary

    Marshall Herff Applewhite – when you draft a hitter and instead of making you wait for the spaceship to come he makes you wait for his stats to come and by season end you realize that there is a better chance that the spaceship will come

  13. mr baseball says:
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    Marshall Herff Applewhite was leader of the Heaven’s Gate Cult and he told the members that a space craft was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp and was ready to pick him up

  14. DonSlaughtOnslaught says:
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    @mr baseball: Too soon.

  15. Kazmere says:
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    Hey Grey. I’ve done a few mock drafts since Miggy’s incident. He’s dropped as far down as #7 in a few. (crazy!) Do you think he’s going to shed his bad juju in spring training and still be deserving of a top 3 ranking?

  16. Wire says:
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    A head’s up on Liriano…

    An MRI on Francisco Liriano’s shoulder showed no structural damage.
    Liriano was scratched from his Friday bullpen session due to tightness in the shoulder. Though it wasn’t believed to be serious, the fact that he needed an MRI suggests it wasn’t regular spring training soreness. The left-hander will be re-examined Sunday and start playing catch within the next three days if all goes well. It’s a relief that nothing appears to be seriously wrong, but this is definitely something to keep a close eye on.

  17. Kazmere says:
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    Anyone heard any news on Liriano’s MRI?

  18. Kazmere says:
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    @Wire: Thanks, Wire!

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @TDCC: You don’t have to draft SPs high in a ten team league, especially that one.

    @mr baseball: Dated, but funny.

    @Kazmere: That is crazy and, yeah, I do think he’ll be fine. Mantle and Ruth were drunk for the better of their careers and they were fine.

    @Wire: Thanks!

  20. Kazmere says:
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    @Grey: Here’s hoping Pujols goes on a bender and drops to #4.

  21. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Kazmere: I’m slightly more worried Hanley will lollygag for half the season.

  22. Eddy says:
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    Is the 14th rd. too late to nab a closer in a 12-team league?

  23. Eddy says:
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    And in a keeper league where there are no restrictions, which side do you want?

    McCutch and Pedro Alvarez

    or

    Evan Longoria

  24. Eddy says:
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    @Grey:

    One last question to finish the Trifecta:

    Do you see any holes in this staff?

    SP-C.C Sabathia
    SP-Jered Weaver
    SP-Max Scherzer
    SP-Jhoulys Chacin
    SP-Daniel Hudson
    SP- Mike Minor
    SP- Hiroki Kuroda

    RP-Chris Perez
    RP-Craig Kimbrel
    RP-Joel Hanrahan
    RP- Kevin Gregg
    RP-Frank Francisco

    Is Kuroda’s presence necessary here?

  25. Eddy says:
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    This is via Yahoo notes.

    RHP Drew Storen is still the Nationals’ choice to be the closer long-term, but he is not necessarily a lock to begin the season in that role, manager Jim Riggleman said. Riggleman would prefer that Storen serve an apprenticeship as a setup man before becoming the full-time closer, and he indicated he might use Storen in the seventh or eighth innings to begin the year.

    Who would step in next?

  26. Tony says:
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    @eddy: thanks man, i appreciate it.

  27. Ray says:
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    eddy-mccutch and alvarez side for sure

  28. Ray says:
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    Tom Thumb-I think Sands will be Loney’s replacement at 1b, unless they land a star there (wishfull thinking), and Robinson is their CFer of the future, but needs to cut down on the Ks. Has some pop, nice speed and can take a walk.

    Sands has what LAD has been lacking for years at 1b-POWER.

  29. DonSlaughtOnslaught says:
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    Rotoworld has a report that Dusty will consider Stubbs, Phillips and…Jay Bruce for the lead-off spot.

  30. Hello says:
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    Need some opinions…

    I am in a 5 x 5 standard roto 11 team keeper league and can keep up to 7 players. So far I am thinking of keeping these guys:

    Votto
    Hamilton
    Reyes
    Werth
    Verlander

    I also have ARam, Lind, Tabata, Snider, Quentin, but it’s probably not worth keeping any of them except maybe ARam.

    If I only keep 5, I’ll be able to start drafting to fill out my team while other teams who kept 7 will have to wait until everyone has 7 players and then the regular draft starts (round 8). So, there’s a chance to get some decent players from teams who had more than 7 keepers, but at the same time, there are other teams that may not keep 7 keepers, and I’ll have to wait because I pick 2nd to last. Also, we have not submitted our keepers so I don’t know who will be out there.

    I also have been offered Beltre for my 8th round pick (first round of drafting after keepers). I worry though that having that 8th round pick may be pretty important since it’ll be about 20 picks before I get to draft again after the 7th round since the draft will not snake and once again, I pick 2nd to last.

    What do you think is my best option?

  31. wilsoniam says:
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    grey, can you please rank which two would you feel most comfortable taking for your #2 & #3 behind king felix?

    volquez, danny hudson, dempster, gio, lilly, colby lewis, big Z

    thank you.

  32. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: Longoria, but it’s fair.

    @Eddy: I’m not crazy about CC but you know that from reading the top 20 starters post.

    @Eddy: Clippard, but I don’t buy Storen won’t be the closer, not yet at least.

    @DonSlaughtOnslaught: Oh, Dusty.

    @Hello: Eh, I’d throw them all back after the five.

  33. wilsoniam says:
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    grey, not to repost, but im coming up in draft!

    Can you please rank which two would you feel most comfortable taking for your #2 & #3 behind king felix?

    volquez, danny hudson, dempster, gio, lilly, colby lewis, big Z

    thank you.

  34. Steve says:
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    In today’s You’re-Kidding-Never-In-A-Million-Years Spring Training Update:

    – Miggy not in Camp
    – Carlos Carrasco loses 30 lbs
    – Chipper feels discomfort in knee

    Thanks for watching! Good night and good news.

  35. Eddy says:
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    @Grey:

    Thanks for the response. I’m seriously hoping Kershaw lands at my feet at the 48th pick, but I doubt it. Yahoo! pushed him too far up the default rankings.

    There was a question I had posted, but I think you may have missed it. In a 12-team league, is the 14th round too late for your first closer?

  36. GopherDay says:
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    @Eddy: Depends on who is left in the 14th round. If your league seriously undervalues closers and you can grab Feliz or Marmol there, then it isn’t too late. But if your league overvalues closers and you are only left with, say Lyon, Nunez, etc. Then it might be a little late. Really depends on the league.

  37. Eddy says:
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    @GopherDay:

    Can’t say I know my league mates’ strategy too well; I’ve only played with them one year.

    The 5 RPs I listed above (Perez, Kimbrel, Hanrahan, Francisco and Gregg) are all after the 160th spot in current Yahoo! ADPs. Not to mention that League wasn’t even ranked.

    I know I’m pushing it a little far, but I’m actually pretty quick with closer news, so I trust myself.

    And heck, if worse comes to worst, I’ll just take a bonafide relief guy like Chapman.

  38. JTin says:
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    STRATEGY Q:
    1st time in a league, they use K/9 ratio instead of Ks. 1100 IP minimum.

    I’ve never played this variation before. Any tips? Do I need to alter my draft/in-season strategy at all? Will middle relievers have greater value?

    I target high-K players in all my leagues, curious about the other effects.

  39. Eddy says:
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    @Grey:

    Grey, could you drop a line for Feliz if he gets a spot in the rotation? It looks more and more like a done decision.

    In addition, you mentioned he’d be in the top 40. I’m assuming the ” I kinda love these guys” tier?

  40. Sean A says:
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    @JTin: Yes, middle relievers are more valuable. Assuming your league is 5×5 with all other categories standard, so you still need to worry about wins, but 1100 IP is pretty low, so picking guys like Kimbral, Venters, etc. makes more difference than in standard K leagues.

  41. wilsoniam says:
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    ok, if you had to take someone in your boring tier then, would it be kuroda, wandy, or dempster?

    do you think kuroda can stay healthy again?

  42. potus says:
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    @ Eddy: What say you Eddy in regards to Feliz? I know Nolan and Maddux get all wooded up in regards to young 100 mph arms but does the move to the rotation really seem like a foregone conclusion?

    Is the “done” decision you are referring to– a.) stretching him out in spring training to see if enough of his secondary pitches are ready for the show? OR 2.) It is decided HE WILL START THIS YEAR?

    This is the 2nd comment I have read on the boards about him and I don’t doubt their validity I would just like to know how/where they originated and if they are true. If so I need to trade him ASAP.

    Thanks in advance & carry on,
    YHL
    Potus

  43. Giant JJ says:
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    Eddy
    Any tricks for being quick to the draw with closer news? I tend to be late to the party.

  44. EMC Squared says:
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    Grey-

    I’ve now done two mock drafts on ESPN and both times it says I’m dead last in their post-draft “standings”. Now, I don’t really trust their projections, but last? I’ll post the second one tomorrow. Insight?

    5×5 – 12 team Mixed Snake Draft Picking 2nd – 22 players/3 bench
    1. Hanley
    2. Howard
    3. J. Upton
    4. Greinke
    5. Phillips
    6. Reynolds
    7. Bruce
    8. Liriano
    9. Rasmus
    10. Billingsley
    11. Swisher
    12. Nolasco
    13. A. Bailey
    14. Hellickson
    15. Storen
    16. Tabata
    17. Kila
    18. Brignac
    19. Rodney
    20. A. Jackson
    21. Aardsma
    22. Arencibia
    23. J. Montero
    24. De la Rosa
    25. Brandon Allen

  45. Wilsonian says:
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    @JTin: I play in two leagues that have Ks/9 and middle relievers are much more important. However, both leagues I’m in with Ks/9 also have Ks, so it’s a little tricky. In H2H you can win one and not the other. So you need to have some starters that get Ks (obviously) to bump up your totals, and you also need some middle relievers/closers that get Ks to help out with the Ks/9 ratios.

  46. Eddy says:
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    @Giant JJ:

    It’s a combination of several things, really. I follow several guys on Twitter, but the most important ones would have to be closernews and mlbtraderumors. They’re usually very quick with their info. And the commenters here provide lightning fast remarks about closing situations around baseball. I’ve actually gotten plenty heads-up on baseball news simply by reading the comments here.

  47. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @JTin: Agree with Wilsonian and Sean.

    @Eddy: Why are you saying it looks like a done decision?

    @wilsoniam: They’re ranked in the post.

    @EMC Squared: Why does it say you’re last?

  48. EMC Squared says:
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    @Grey –

    It uses the ESPN projections to give totals in each category. So, for example, I had the highest ERA and WHIP, given their projections, compared to other teams. If they assigned team team-by-team rankings, my team finished last.

  49. Eddy says:
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    @Grey: @potus:

    Alright, I may have jumped the gun a little bit, but this piece of an article posted yesterday, seems like they want him to start.

    “The club determined this offseason to stretch out Feliz, who signed a one-year deal Thursday for $457,160. He was third in the AL with 40 saves in 70 appearances and a 2.73 ERA last season.

    Texas did the same thing with former reliever C.J. Wilson last year, and Wilson ended up with 15 wins and returns as the club’s top starter.

    “It’s an opportunity for him to get out there and have a chance to use all his pitches,” manager Ron Washington said Friday. “As an organization, we just want to make sure we don’t shortchange this kid. That’s why we want to give him a chance to see if he can start.”

    It goes on to say that it’s also very dependent on how his secondary pitches look in spring training.

    But I think they want to get him out there.

  50. Giant JJ says:
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    Albright,
    Does Matt Thorton move into your top 20 closers with the news that Ozzie says he’d prefer Thorton as his closer? Thanks.

  51. Steelers Can't Lose says:
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    Hey Grey, who do you want:

    Ryan Howard

    or

    Matt Kemp + Konerko

  52. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @EMC Squared: Well, Nolasco isn’t great and they’re probably very conservative on Hellickson.

    @Eddy: I read Washington wants him as the closer, but they’re giving him a chance.

    @Giant JJ: Into donkeycorn territory.

    @Steelers Can’t Lose: Kemp/Konerko

  53. Bill Lumbergh says:
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    @Gret et al: In a vacuum, which do you prefer for 2011 in a 12 team 5×5 mixed league: Buchholz or Volquez?

    Looking to swap Greinke for either Lester or Liriano, with Buchholz as a throw-in. Only thing is that I would no longer be able to protect Volquez as a keeper – although Volquez will probably be available to me in the post-keeper draft.

    Thanks!

  54. Steelers Can't Lose says:
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    @Bill Lumbergh:

    You should take Lester and Buchholz and lose Volquez if you have to.

    Shit, you should take Lester for Greinke even if there is no “throw-in.”

  55. Giant JJ says:
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    Grey,
    Not sure if you play in deep leagues but I wonder if you have any deep upside picks that you want to target in the neighborhood of picks 400 to 500. It doesn’t matter which position, just players to throw on my bench and hope they stumble into a good situation or just breakout. I’m in a 20 team league with 6 bench spots. Thanks!

  56. Eddy says:
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    Grey, can you link me to the post where you talked about search queries that made people land here by mistake?

  57. wilsoniam says:
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    assuming all needs are met on your team and you have an extra pick, would you rather have kuroda, nathan, or lind

  58. Eddy says:
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    @wilsoniam:

    Lind, by a landslide.

  59. Wilsonian says:
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    @wilsoniam: easily Lind. Definitely agree with Eddy, it’s not even close.

  60. royce! says:
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    @EMC Squared: I recommend never looking at ESPN’s mock draft team rankings. There are some players that they’re super hyped on that don’t deserve it, and those players skew the results. I don’t know any examples for this year, but last year Polanco was very valuable in ESPN mocks (I think they projected him for over 100 R) and I don’t know anyone that won their league starting Polanco at 3B, or even 2B, at least in a 12 team league.

  61. Hello says:
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    @Grey:

    Hey Grey, thanks for the reply! I’m just curious, was that an easy decision? Am I right in thinking that it might be too much to lose an 8th round pick for Beltre given the circumstances, and I should just take my chances at drafting after my 5 keepers?

  62. Carl Spackler says:
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    Grey, Hey there, sorry if this is already been asked but last year you did pairings for like the first 3 rounds. I saw the pitchers, but are you going to do the batters? Thanks

Comments are closed.