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In 2009, penciled in behind Josh Hamilton in the cleanup spot for the Rangers is Nelson Cruz.  He has 30 homer pop and could steal ten bases with Ron Kovic pinch running.  Where’s the lose?  Why is he a fantasy sleeper and not simply being drafted like the Minotaur he is?  Wait a second, Grey, are you going to burst my freakin’ bubble on Nelson Cruz? Sorry, random italicized voice, I’m just injecting a bit of realism into your 2009 fantasy drafts.  Anyway, why is Nelson Cruz a 2009 fantasy sleeper?

Check Cruz’s 2006 minor league numbers: .302/.373/.528 with 20 HRs.  Jump on Oprah’s couch, Cruz.  Those numbers are incredible. And more of the same in 2007, but still in the minors — .352/.426/.698 with 15 HRs in only 44 games.  Why didn’t the Rangers bring him up? They did.  Oh, man, he was injured, huh? Nope.  If a beach ball fell onto the field, he couldn’t knock it back into the stands.  Rumors say the Rangers were considering using his whiffs to cool the luxury boxes.  Cruz is The Miz and the minors is the Intercontinental Championship.   In 2008, he hit well again in the minors, .342/.426/.695, but then, on his call-up, it finally came together in the majors.  In 115 ABs, Cruz went .330/.421/.609 with 7 HRs.

But now he’s twenty-eight years-old.  Way to get your act together for the decline of your career.  So this last one hundred plus at-bats is probably fluky, right?  His BABIP was at a .388 clip.  So he has a better chance of striking out 150 times next year than hitting .330.  Still, he walked seventeen times last year in those 115 ABs.  In his 2007 stint in the Majors, he walked twenty-one times in 307 ABs.  Cruz has definitely turned a bit of a corner, but a 28-year-old corner’s expectations should be kept in check.  Could he be 2009’s Ryan Ludwick?  Yup.  Could he start off in a bad slump and fall back into bad patterns?  Yup.  Nelson Cruz is a 2009 sleeper, but he could easily end up needing to be put to sleep.  If everything breaks right, his 2009 projections could be 75/25/90/.270/10.

  1. Ashley says:
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    Well that answers my Cruz question. I think I’ll pass on him, especially if I get Chris Davis.. Probably not a good idea to have half a team’s starting lineup… Even if it’s the Texas Rangers.

    I’m glad you approve of my draft strategy. The Yahoo! “experts” are mostly tools and obviousy I can’t talk about my draft plans with the people in my league, so you’re my #1 advice giver.

    My strategy with pitchers is just high strikeout guys.. I’ll probably end up with guys like Scherzer, Kershaw, Burnett, Harden, Nolasco, and Randy Johnson. Do you think Bedard and Chris Young will be good values later in the draft?

    Closers are the only position I’m really confused about. Yahoo! “experts” ranked their top RP, but I’m not sure who’s a closer and who’s a set-up man..

    Do you have a post that ranks the closers? Or is there a site that lists each team’s closer?

  2. sean says:
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    The Mizzzz — too f’ing funny.

    Great reality check re: Cruz. Dooode could be awesome, but he’s probably Jose Guillen in disguise.

  3. A 28-year-old breaking out in his second/third shot at a full time job? What is this? 1998?

  4. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Oh no you dint!

    Ya had to do it didn’t you? Ya had to go and get me thinking again. So what now? Cruz and Ludwick will both cost $5 to keep. Should I keep em both and throw Halladay to the wolves, hoping to draft him for less than the $27 he’ll cost me?

    Hey, you started it, now you gotta finish it.

  5. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: A random series of events landed my girlfriend and I out with the Mizz for sushi. My girlfriend liked his shirt and asked him where he got it. He said, Guess. She said, The Salvation Army? He was not pleased.

    @Fake Teams: Was ’98 a good year for breakouts?

    @BigFatHippo: Oh yes I did! No, you shouldn’t keep Cruz too. Redraft him for the same or let someone else take him.

  6. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Whew, thanks. I was worried people will overvalue him. Really want him but not for more than 5.

    I like to think, and Iowa will back me on this, he could be this year’s Hamilton.

    “Alright, Hamilton!”

  7. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Haha

    Hasheem Thabeet, 7 foot 3 inches of in_your_face.

    Gee, you’d think being out there in the land of the Bruins you’d be up on your basket…………….”Surfs up doodes!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Never mind.

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Aren’t the Bruins in Boston? (Next time Steve leaves a winking emoticon, consider it mine.)

  9. cockyphoenix says:
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    I definitely like this guy, but he’s getting some fairly early attention in some of the mocks I’ve done. Hope he doesn’t climb like Wieters has

  10. Doug Ault says:
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    He seems to be a stud in AAA, but goes colder than a hooker in Salt Lake City when he joins the big team.I don’t know if he’ll hit 270,but if he sticks around he should get 25-30

  11. Steve says:
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    ;-)

  12. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: @Steve: Put these two comments together you got……………. “the ambiguously gay fantasy ballers.”

    Whoa, just got a horrible pop-up.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Where did you get a pop-up from?

  14. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: I keed, man.

    Type “the ambiguously, blah blah, blah” in your browser and see what you get. I’m not gonna do it!

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Gotcha… Just cause we joined a network today so I was worried that they were serving pop-ups.

  16. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: That’s what’s going on then. I noticed the ads on the edges are wider and change a lot, making the comments narrower.

    Thought it was my computer messing up.

  17. BigFatHippo says:
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    No pop ups though, so don’t worry about that.

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Nah, web designer is currently in the hull making some slight changes so things are scooting a little.

  19. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Perfect, came up just right. No navigation bar on the bottom now to slide the screen over. That’s what was throwing it off eh?

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Yeah, that’s what he was trying to get rid of.

  21. BigFatHippo says:
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    Just don’t get too cute and add pics that take too long to load like other sites do. Thing I like about Razzball is you can get right to reading what Grey and Rudy have to say.

  22. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: I’m so computer-stupid I couldn’t add pics if I wanted to.

  23. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Cool

    Remember this, KISS (keep it simple stupid).

    Others try to get too fancy, by the time FantasyPros911 loads I’m already off looking for something else.

  24. Turnip

    Turnip says:
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    Is it my imagination, or are those ads on roids? Looks like the right sidebar ate half the left sidebar.

  25. BigFatHippo says:
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    While I’ve got you here, subject change. (cause I know you love to be off subject, insert Steve’s emoticon here)

    Anybody got any tips on how to make a pinewood derby car furiously freaking fast?

    My Cub Scouts are gonna win this year if I gotta bribe somebody or put Dash on rhoids.

  26. Turnip

    Turnip says:
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    yeah, use dry graphite as lube. Make friction as little as possible

  27. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Turnip: Hey, you have a user photo! Be cool if everyone had one of those. Can we do that?

    To those wondering, Turnip’s the designer.

    @BigFatHippo: Wish I could be of some assistance. Seems like something you might be able to find online though. Is it illegal to oil the wheels or something… Yeah, I’m just making something up. I have no idea.

  28. Turnip

    Turnip says:
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    If your users register, they can all have user photos!

  29. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Turnip: Already got the graphite, just like a padlock baby. Thanks.

    @Grey: Hehe

    We’re already cheating, went to a hobby shop and got some tips. I’m just trying to find any edge I can. Wait till you have kids, it’s like fantasy cub scout league.

  30. James says:
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    His hype is going to land him in a territory that will hurt you if he fails, which is a fair possibility. Instead, go with a guy who is more stable like Hawpe, Ibanez, or Jackson. I rather gamble on sleepers in the later rounds rather than the mid rounds when my team is already stable.

  31. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Just pay off the German judge already and get it over with.

    @James: I think the guys you mention should be going before Cruz, so I gotta say I agree with you.

  32. James says:
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    Really? I figure Cruz would go before all of them. I am pretty sure all the sheep in my league will be all over him after Yahoo! blows him up again. Plus, Cruz’s o-rank is better than Hawpe and Jackson and only two ranks below Ibanez. And we all know o-rank is official, so you know it’s good. //sarcasm off

    I thought about Cruz, but have decided to go pitcher in his possible draft spot. I hope the guy does well. Well, not really…

  33. Tony Y says:
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    @James: Yahoo’s pre-ranks are well “yahoo’s preranks”…… loving some of them, hating some of them, the fact they have votto at like 100 something 107 i think? Thats awesome, but other guys that should be lower and I’d like to take later are too high…. Votto that late was a major stand out in my mind, Matt Holliday at #36, and big papi at #33????? Yeah thats not EFFFF’d up?

  34. James says:
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    To be honest, for the most part they are fine, but like you mentioned, they have some ranks that are totally off. The catch 22 is that you need to keep them in mind because the ignorant drafters in your league will treat them like gospel.

  35. James says:
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    @Tony: To be honest, for the most part they are fine, but like you mentioned, they have some ranks that are totally off. The catch 22 is that you need to keep them in mind because the ignorant drafters in your league will treat them like gospel.

  36. James says:
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    Sorry for the double post – my computer froze.
    Continued…
    For example, I wanted to get Weiters later than the 9th or 10th round, but with his o-rank I doubt that will happen.

  37. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @James: Cruz could go before those guys, but what I was saying is I don’t think he should. I like him a little after those Hawpe and Ibanez. If they’re ranked 28-34, Cruz is 41-50. Actually Jackson is around the same place as Cruz, but I like Jackson slightly more.

    @Tony Y: Haven’t seen them, but I’m sure they’re hilarious.

  38. @BigFatHippo: From what I remember of the derby days, the winning cars were always those with as little pine to metal weight as possible. Use a postage scale and make certain the weight is good before the competition. Oh, and polish the nails that hold the wheels on the chassis. Remove any source of possible friction such as imperfections on the nails, too.@Tony Y: There’s an interesting post at FantasyGameday regarding the Yahoo rankings. Since I can’t talk some of my commissioners out of using Yahoo, I’ll have to deal with the foibles of their ranking system during March.

  39. cockyphoenix says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Well, I won my Derby back when I did it, but that was luck. Looking back at my car, I can see some reasons it did well and some areas for improvements, so here are some tips.

    -Streamlined body shape. Mine looked like a simplified corvette

    -As little pinewood as possible given the regulations. You want that baby to be ironclad

    -For reasons I considered explaining, it’s best to weight the front end disproportionately, but not excessively

    -Also do not be excessive with the graphite, and make sure there isn’t any on the outside of the wheels before launch

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @johnwhorfin: You can’t at this time.

    BTW, I’m real hungover. Bleh!

  41. Alex says:
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    He also stole 20 bags! Nelson Cruz is a big time sleeper next year. Did a little analysis on this guy yesterday: http://tinyurl.com/cfbqko. Really nothing he doesn’t do, IDK why he isn’t getting picked before like the 15th round.

  42. BSA says:
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    @BigFatHippo:
    Went to the states with my pinewood eons ago.
    spray the axles with Pledge
    using a one inch drill take out some wood on the bottom between the axles and fill with solder.

  43. BigFatHippo says:
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    @BSA: Cool, we still have to put the weight in, I’ll do that tomorrow.

    Unfortunately, the bodies were already cut so we couldn’t modify them. But we did skin them instead of paint them. They look like they’re on fire. At least they’ll both win coolest car in their division. As for speed, planing the axles tomorrow and smoothing the wheels, I’ve got everything at the shop to do that. The gals at the grocery store are gonna weigh them so we don’t go over 5 ounces. I can’t be at the race cause of work but my brother’s standing in for me.

    Sorry to be off subject here guys but with the kids 200 miles away, Daddy gotta do what Daddy gotta do. Peace, and thanks for all the help.

    “Razzball, not just for baseball anymore.”

  44. BSA says:
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    @BigFatHippo: It should have been called Daddie Do it – Not Howie Do It.
    Good luck and have fun!

  45. Tony Y says:
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    how did we start talking about boyscouts and pine wood derby racing? LOL

  46. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Try a bong hit. Worked for Phelps.

    @Tony Y: Cause Hippo’s gotta win this thing.

  47. Steve says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Razzball’s for baseball?

  48. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Tony Y: Stick around. We’ll be discussing way more important things than baseball this summer into the wee hours.

    @Grey: Might try that, but I don’t recommend it for the kids.

    @Steve: Surprised you didn’t know that!

  49. big o says:
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    PINE WOOD DERBY TO TEST FOR GRAPHITE

    have we learned nothing from the steroids era ?

  50. BigFatHippo says:
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    @big o: Ha!

    Never thought of that. Hmmmmm, inject the wheels with HGH?

  51. Watch Out says:
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    If anybody is interested in joining my fantasy baseball league email me at ewolf_raiders@yahoo.com or search Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues and browse custom. It should be a h-2-h live draft on marhc 28th at 8:30 pm. The password is baseball so join

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