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Sometimes guys are so obviously sleepers that it makes them overrated and consequently sleeper sells.  This happened in last year’s preseason to Chris Davis.  By the time we’re all drafting in 2010, Jay Bruce may fall into that category.  I tend to think he won’t because he was clearly terrible last year when you look at his surface numbers.  That’s good.  Don’t overrate the previous year.  Ever.  Baseball is a game of skills, not what someone did for a month or two in 2009.  Or three or four months.  One season does not make a career.  Anyone who’s familiar with my MO knows that I love me some players coming off a bad season who are capable of better.  When the player coming off the bad season is only 22, all the better.  Sucks for those that owned Jay Bruce last year.  He wasn’t good.  Then he was hurt diving for a ball in the outfield.  If you owned Bruce last year, push that bitterness you feel towards him deep into your cankles so you don’t remember it without 5 years of psychoanalysis.  Next year, Jay Bruce can be a nice fantasy baseball sleeper.

Bruce’s .222 BABIP was the lowest for any hitter in the Major Leagues with 345 or more at-bats.  This can be partially attributed to a dip in his line drive rate and partially attributed to the luck of a guy who simultaneously loses his virginity and gets herpes.  The dip in the line drive rate is not a great sign, but homers can cause young hitters to do strange things.  In April and May, Bruce hit 14 homers combined as his average plummeted.  His fly ball rate also, for lack of a better word, skyrocketed.  He may have just been trying to do too much.  When he returned in September after his injury, he did so with an adjustment to his batting stance.  Choosing to honor Gregory Hines in a different way, he lost the toe tap.  Then he hit .326 with 4 homers, 17 RBIs in 46 at-bats in the portmanteau of Septober.  Also, and perhaps more importantly, his luck turned around (.367 BABIP) and his line drive rate sharpened (14.7%).  There will still be some growing pains, Ben Seaver, but Bruce is young enough to go from someone drafted like a third outfielder to someone who performs like a first.  I like Jay Bruce like Snooki loves pickles.

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  1. Tony says:
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    Bruce has 30+ HR power. Just gotta get that Average up to something respectable. He’s got a good shot at 10 SB’s as well from looking at his minor league #’s? You think he could go 35/10 with a .270 average grey?

  2. TJ says:
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    Long time reader but cannot comment at work anymore. Need to know- is Bruce worth keeping over Gordon Beckham? Have 5 keepers and already have Kemp, Kinsler and Hanley as definites. My last 2 spots I need to pick from Bruce, Beckham and Nolasco. Thinking about keeping Beckham since 2010 is the last year I can keep Kinsler.

  3. Stephen says:
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    @Tony: I’d take 30/10 with a 250 average.

  4. Tony says:
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    @Stephen: TRUE. I think if he stays healthy he hits 30 with a blindfold on. How many he can hit? IDK. Really depends if he can stop striking out so much. I snagged him in the 10th round last year. I’m hoping between his crap average, tendency to K alot, and being injured last year I can get him around the 9th round in a 12 teamer.

  5. Paul says:
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    .367 BABIP with just a 14.7 LD% down the stretch is a major red flag. That means he was just as lucky later in the season, or even moreso, than he was unlucky early on. Major league average for LD% is around 18%. 14.7% from a guy with his power blows. He simply went from horrible to bad. An improvement I guess.

    That said, I do think he’s capable of hitting 35 HRs. I just don’t think he’ll hit much higher than .250. It’s too early to compare him to other players at this point in his career, but I can see him being an Adam Dunn-type in the BA/HR departments, with a little more speed on the basepaths and less patience at the plate.

  6. GopherDay says:
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    @Tony: @Stephen: I’ll take between you guys with 30/10 with a .260 average

  7. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tony: Those are best case scenario numbers.

    @TJ: Is it because of Snooki you can’t comment at work? I’d keep Kemp, Kinsler, Hanley, Bruce and Beckham.

    @Paul: Maybe, I think he gets his average above Dunn’s career norms.

  8. Tony says:
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    @Paul: @Grey: He was batting .364 at AAA before he was called up two years ago. He hit over .300 at AAA and AA. I think he could hit .260-.280 this year. He is going to be JUST 23 yrs old this year. It just depends how soon he adjusts to the big leagues.

  9. Tony says:
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    @Grey: YA dunn has a career average of .249 I hope BRUCE tops that….

  10. Paul says:
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    Tony,

    He hit very well in the minors. Unfortunately, his swing is still really, really long. The scouts’ concern here isn’t so much his numbers through 200-plus games played as a big leaguer; it’s that he hasn’t adjusted his swing one bit during that time. Often, the difference between the guys who go on to become stars and the guys who don’t is the ability to make those adjustments.

    I don’t know if no one’s told him (I can’t imagine that’s the case), or he’s simply been too stubborn, but he needs to show more than he has from an adjustment standpoint if he wants to improve from a batting average perspective. It’s not merely his approach, taking pitches, etc. as much as it is tweaking the mechanics.

    Coincidentally, Dunn hit .329 at Triple-A and .343 at Double-A.

  11. Tom says:
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    He hurt me bad last year, and it still hurts. He’s Jay Bruise, at least until he makes the pain go away.

    I’m planning on drafting him if I can get him in later rounds.

  12. Steve says:
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    Is Jersey Shore a trip down memory lane, Grey?

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: I spent many nights cruising the strip for hair-sprayed girls.

  14. brad says:
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    took bruce in round 8 of a 14 team league last year and i could keep him at that same price. good value?

    better value than say javy vasquez at 10? wieters at 11? wandy at 20? carlos gonzalez, r. davis or bourn at 22?

    i can actually keep 2 of those 7, right now i’m thinking wieters and cargo (with mini-donkey, j-up and bj-up as my other keepers). . . would you endorse bruce over any of them?

  15. Tony says:
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    @Paul: thats true, you’d think with all his hitting instructors, etc he’d start to figure it out. I’d say give him 2010 and we’ll see. Triple A is not the bigs, i agree haha.

  16. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @brad: I wouldn’t endorse Bruce over CarGo at 22.

  17. andrew says:
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    http://www.rotosavants.com/2009/10/cheap-in-2010.html

    go to the comments section to see my thoughts on bruce. they haven’t changed since i wrote them.

    also, i’m not sure how fair the adam dunn comps are.

    dunn has a career K rate of 32.4% while bruce sports a K rate of 24.4% at 839 PAs through his age 22 season.

    they might offer similar power potential, but dunn’s more likely to hit a HR when he does make contact with the ball, while bruce will make up for a lower HR rate due to putting the ball in play so much more often.

    i wouldn’t be the least bit shocked for bruce’s batting average to settle in the .270s, or even higher.

  18. TJ says:
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    @Grey: no, not snooki. Web filters, which means i can only access the rss feed. So you like keeping all offense over Nolasco? Was leaning towards Nolasco since the pitching categories are K heavy. The choice i am debating is Bruce or Beckham. More power one way and better average the other.

  19. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    See that Lackey taking a physical for Boston.
    Career at Fenway:

    5.29 ERA
    9HRs in 10 GP

    Haven’t worked the numbers against AL East yet.

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @TJ: Well, I don’t know how K heavy, but hitting’s a bit safer and Nolasco wasn’t exactly lights out last year. I don’t mind Nolasco in 2010, but I’d keep Bruce and Beckham over him. I think you can get Nolasco back or someone similar.

  21. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Simply Fred:

    Lackey lifetime against the East (sans BOS):

    3.63 ERA; 30 HR in 51 IP

  22. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Simply Fred:

    25W, 15L

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: He’s always pitched well against the Yankees.

  24. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: Hey, where did you see it? (would save me research time).

  25. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: Sorry, lifetime against the Yanks:

    5-7, 4.67 ERA

  26. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: What do you mean? See what? Him pitching well vs. the Yankees? On the TV.

  27. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: 3.14 ERA over the last three years.

  28. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: No, your comment: “Yeah saw that.” As in you had seen the stats that I put up, elsewhere.??

  29. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: Oh… No, I saw that he was being checked by the Sawx.

  30. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: Won’t quibble over when always is the last 3 years. :-)

    the last 3 the most significant!

  31. brad says:
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    halladay to phils, lee to mariners. . .

  32. brad says:
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    @brad: actually, the lee part is unconfirmed. . . would be good for both guys i think.

    except lee’s Ws.

  33. royce! says:
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    And Lackey’s now a Sawk. Or at least they agreed to terms.

  34. peter says:
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    @brad: Kind of a lateral move for the Phils? Both are in the last year of their contracts. Not to mention, I’ve gotta think that a Halladay extension would be more $$$ than a Lee extension.

    Also, asks the once and future Mets fan, a little dick-ish for them to trade away Lee after the way he led them in the post-season?

  35. black love says:
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    WTF is Omar doing!!!! here comes Doug Davis!

  36. Cheese

    Cheese says:
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    Sad to see Halladay go as a Jays fan… Haven’t read anything yet on the return for the Jays though. The Mariners will have a solid pitching staff now with Bedard, F-Her, and Lee. Let me know if anyone has insight into the whole trade, thanks.

  37. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Cheese: Cliff Lee’s agent hasn’t even heard of the trade yet. Details to come…

  38. Doug Ault says:
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    @Grey: Is Phillipe Aumont the real deal?

    It looks like he’s going to the Jays in this possible trade

  39. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doug Ault: I believe Stephen wrote about him recently. Can search the site for Aumont. Either way, he’s a closer. A solid minor league one, but still a closer.

  40. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Closer+has-a-job=we-like-him

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Yup, assuming he gets the job.

  42. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Sorry – closer+if-has-a-job…

  43. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Cheese: Ah, interesting.

  44. Doug Ault says:
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    @Grey: Thanks, after careful consideration he’d better not be all the Jays get back

  45. Steve says:
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    @Cheese: @Grey: I may need to apply for a leave-of-absence from work for the fantasy baseball season.

  46. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doug Ault: They also got Michael Taylor. Writing up something now for tomorrow. He’s a solid prospect.

    @Steve: Good call.

  47. Steve says:
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    @Grey: A wiseguy might have said that I do that already…

  48. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: It’s assuming you work in the offseason.

  49. Doug Ault says:
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    @Grey: Now that’s better, some think Taylor has the potential to be a superstar

  50. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Shhhhh!

  51. The Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners have agreed to a trade that will send Roy Halladay to Philadelphia and Cliff Lee to Seattle

    do you think Halladay is a big upgrade over Lee – I think Lee looked great in the playoffs last year and pitched well for phills

  52. The Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners have agreed to a trade that will send Roy Halladay to Philadelphia and Cliff Lee to Seattle, according to an SI.com report.

    The exact terms of the deal have not yet been reported, and the trade might not be finalized until Tuesday or Wednesday. Lee and Halladay are both in the last year of their contracts, with Lee owed $9 million and Halladay’s deal calling for $15.75 million. The Phillies are currently working on an extension with Halladay that would keep him in Philadelphia long term. He went 17-10 with a 2.79 ERA over 32 starts in 2009, spanning a league-high 239 innings. Lee, meanwhile, produced a 3.22 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 34 starts between the Indians and Phillies in 2009. He went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts after the joining the Phillies in July and then posted a 1.56 ERA and perfect 4-0 record in five postseason starts. A whole bunch of prospects are also mixed in

  53. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @mrbaseball: Halladay is an upgrade over Lee. Between a top 5 pitcher in the game vs. a top 20 pitcher.

  54. I tell you grey looking at Lee in the world series he sure looked like a top 5 pitcher

    OBJECTS ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR” warning appears only on the passenger side mirror – I quess I saw him pitching threw the side view mirror

  55. Report: Angels, Hideki Matsui agree to terms

    Tyler Kepner of the New York Times has confirmed that the Angels and DH Hideki Matsui have agreed to a one-year contract.

    Matsui, 35, will take over as the primary designated hitter in Anaheim. He hit .274/.367/.509 with 28 homers and 90 RBI in 456 at-bats this past season for the Yankees and should serve as a fine replacement for Vladimir Guerrero. Matsui is a .292/.370/.482 career hitter

  56. Steve says:
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    @Grey: OK. I need some real-life baseball help here. The Yankees didn’t want the World Series MVP? OK, he’s not getting any younger, but it’s not like they can’t afford him.

    What gives? (Does anyone even say that anymore?)

  57. Dexter says:
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    reports that Cameron and the Sox are working on a 2 year deal. Probably platoon him in left with Hermida, which would put them out of the running for Holiday/Bay.

  58. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Not sure why they would need him. Their outfield/DH is crowded as it is and Matsui way past his prime.

    @Dexter: Wow, didn’t hear that. Odd choice for the Sox.

  59. Steve says:
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    @Grey: It would be awesome to see him and Vlad playing in the same outfield. Then maybe put Adam Dunn in center and watch ‘em converge on a pop fly.

    If it got high enough, the hitter could circle the bases before the ball hit the ground.

  60. GopherDay says:
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    @Dexter: Add to an already REALLY crowded outfield. Great job Sox

  61. Steve says:
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    Hmm. That’s not quite what I meant.

  62. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Technically, if a batter hit a fly ball high enough to circle the bases before the ball hit the ground, the outfielder’s speed wouldn’t matter. I would like to see Matsui and Dunn celebrate something together. The thought of them spraying each other in bubbly makes me laugh.

  63. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Ha! Beat you to it.

    Perhaps a shallow fly ball that landed… oh never mind.

  64. GopherDay says:
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    @Steve: @Grey: I can see it now, Vlad and Matsui both running after the ball…..wait….ok scratch that, Vlad pulled his hammy and matsui tripped. Dunn’s running after it, this will be a while…

  65. just when Jeter learned Japanese they traded Matsui

  66. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Reports out of the Lou have the offer for Holliday at 8 years, between 14-16 mil per. After consoling my abacus I find that works out to about 120 mil.

    Shouldn’t that be enough?

  67. Steve says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Would be for me. Wouldn’t even invoke a free-Budweiser clause.

  68. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: I would think that would get it done as long as the Mets continue to focus on Bay.

  69. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Steve: I was floored when I heard 8 years. Most teams don’t like to do that long a contract anymore. Now if we can just give Albert that billion dollar lifetime deal he’ll be playing well into his eighties.

  70. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: In case David Freeze was gonna be one of your sleepers he was arrested for DWI over the weekend. Don’t bet on him for 2010.

  71. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: I’m done with any hitters on the Cards not named Albert or Holliday.

  72. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: What, guys named Skip or Yadi don’t get your pulse racing?

    Man, the rich get richer, Sawx-Lackey, Phils-Halladay…….what’s next Yanks-http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1119283/index.htm?

  73. GopherDay says:
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    @Grey: No Colby jack cheese for grey?

  74. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @GopherDay: Actually I do like Colby this year, forgot about him, but he’s obviously not a top guy.

    @BigFatHippo: That’s one of the best stories ever.

  75. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @BigFatHippo: yeah he was good,but he had 6 fingers on his pitching hand

  76. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Wish I had six fingers now.

  77. Steve says:
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    @Grey: I don’t think that’s the Jersey Shore in the background.

  78. BigFatHippo says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: @Grey: @Steve: Ha, yeah, six fingers comes in handy sometimes! :)

  79. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @BigFatHippo: yeah,you wont drop your beer as often either

  80. BigFatHippo says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: I would never drop a beer. I’m the only Hippo with opposable thumbs after all……………….

  81. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @BigFatHippo: woa,gotta look that one up

  82. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: roob fined you $10,i think he`s kidding though

  83. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey:
    Thoughts on this 12-team 5X5 18-rnd mock please:

    1.3Utley(2B)
    2.22Rollins(SS)
    Could have had Greinke here
    Rollins/Peavy better than Greinke/Bartlett?
    3.27Sizemore(OF)
    4.46Granderson(OF)
    5.51Votto(1B),
    or Morales?
    6.70Ibanez(OF)
    7.75Webb(SP)
    8.94Peavy(SP)
    9.99Kershaw(SP)
    10.118Montero(C)
    11.123*BJ-Upton(OF)
    (*BJ ain’t gonna drop this far in RCL)
    12.142G.Jones(CI)
    know you aren’t high on him, but this far enough drop?
    13.147R.Davis(OF)
    or Bruce?
    Need speed or power to balance this team?
    14.166Street(RP)
    15.171Hoffman(RP)
    16.190J.Sanchez(SP)
    17.195Fox(3B)
    18.214McGehee(2B)
    or Kendrick?
    Which gets preference?

  84. big o says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC:
    opposable thumbs enable him to hang from tree branches .

  85. sean says:
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    @Simply Fred: Going back-to-back MI gives you an advantage in terms of position scarcity, but you are in a monster deficit for power, especially on the corners. You don’t have a sure bet for 30 HRs on that entire roster.

    Also, your picks in rounds 6-10 are all forgettable. Can’t ever agree with picking a less-than-elite catcher in that stretch if you really felt obligated to draft a catcher. You spent a key mid-round pick on Webb, who may be done for life. Question marks abound for Peavy. Going Webb, Peavy, Kershaw in consecutive rounds is a ton of risk heaped on your roster before some might even select their first SP.

  86. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: I agree with Sean’s assessment. Specifically, that seems fine for Jones, would’ve preferred Bruce on your team — you already have plenty of speed and McGehee’s fine… As Sean pointed out, not sure about your pitching. Webb as the first pitcher doesn’t seem like a good move.

  87. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @sean: Is this the same Sean that drafted Peavy in the 4th and Liriano in the 7th and finished 6th your RCL league last year?

  88. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: I appreciate the feedback, especially not knowing a good balance of speed/power. Will consider Jones good, seek Bruce rather than Davis, and stay with McGehee.

    Not sure how to improve power at the corners. With Utley the 3rd pick, by the time it got back to 2nd round number 22, none of the next seemed stellar. Who would you recommend rather than Rollins amongst: Sandoval, Zimmerman, Youklis, V.Martinez, Hill, J-Up, A. Gonzalez?

  89. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: Think it’s unfair to fault someone for drafting Peavy and Liriano last year. A-Gonz at 22 isn’t terrible.

  90. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: I wasn’t being critical of Sean drafting Peavy and Liriano (I had them on my teams). It was just that he criticized my picking SP 7, 8, and 9 “before some might even select their first SP.” Seemed a bit hypocritical to me. Heck, I can give him credit for learning from experience.

    I am thinking it is more the Webb pick rather than drafting an SP in the seventh.

    BTW: There are 3 pitchers who finished in the top ten in three of the last four years: Sabathia, Santana, and Webb. I ain’t gonna get the first two in the seventh. I will monitor Webb’s health in the spring. Maybe if enough others feel the same, Webb drops to ADP 10.

    I appreciate the discussion (but was a little put off by what I perceived to be a holier-than-thou don’t-pick-SP-in-early-rounds, when he had).

    @sean: I know you were trying to be helpful. It’s all good.

  91. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: I am cooled down. Wanting to work out the nuance. “A-gonz at 22 isn’t terrible” doesn’t sound like a resounding, hey Rollins was bad. It was/is a tough call. The position scarcity got the balance in the close call. Would you say take A. Gonz there knowing that the next available SS would be Bartlett in the 6th or some schmohawk later. I am really struggling with these.

  92. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: I’d probably pass on Rollins and take Desmond, Andrus, Everth, etc much later on.

  93. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: That’s what I needed to know.
    @sean: My apologies to Sean and you. I have spent countless hours trying to put together a plan that I thought mirrored your thinking (including waiting until at least the 7th before drafting a SP). Then when shot down, I got defensive–a real character flaw of mine.

  94. sean says:
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    @Simply Fred: No problems at all here. In the RCL when I saw that it was going to be a competition to see who could draft the most like Grey’s gameplan, I decided to go contrarian. Much like picking an NCAA pool, I figured the only way I could be outside the middle of the pack (high or low) was to do something the others wouldn’t. I wasn’t going to waste my time trying to out-razz Razzballers, so I zagged.

  95. sean says:
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    @sean: In my RCL defense, the team that won our league drafted 8 players who finished in the top 35 in ESPN’s player rater:

    7 Cabrera (10)
    31 Halladay (15)
    55 Haren (12)
    79 Abreu (31)
    90 Jeter (10)
    193 Mauer (17)
    247 Bartlett (34)
    282 Bourn (32)

    I think he auto-drafted, PS. He also added Kendry Morales, Ian Stewart, Andrew Bailer, Edwin Jackson, Carlos Gonzales, and Joel Pineiro off of waivers.

    Dude just had a sick, sick year.

  96. Colin says:
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    This is the 3rd year I am hanging on to this guy and I think I will be rewarded. I expect him to easily hit the 30 homer mark with a .270 avg and double digit steals.

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