2013 Fantasy Baseball Watch List : Speed

  knowitall5

2013 Fantasy Baseball Watch List

Kyle Stafford – @KStafford32

Speed Players:

Nobody doubts Gardners skill. Can he stay healthy?

Nobody doubts Gardner’s skill. Can he stay healthy?

Ben Revere- Phi, OF: I am very high on Revere this year. Had an 80% SB success rate last year. Being on the Phillies roster this year is an improvment. He is a rare speed guy with a high contact rate. Projection- .290, SB:50+

Everth Cabrera- SD, SS: The only thing you get with Cabrera is speed. He hit .250 and still had 44 SB in 2012. If he improves at the plate, we could see elite 60+ SB. Projection- .235, SB: 35

Billy Hamilton- Cin, SS/OF:  The big question with Hamilton is, Can he hit at the major league level? He made huge improvements at the plate in the minors. High Walk Rate and Contact Rate continued to rise all last season. If the Reds have an injury in the outfield, this could give this top prospect a chance to shine. Projections: .245, SB: 45+

Brett Gardner- NY, OF:  I was one of the many that bought into Gardner last year in multiple leagues and lost big. There is the concern for injury. He has looked good and healthy at the start of the spring. I believe he is a key piece at the top of the Yankee lineup. I am going to buy high on him again this year. Projection .285 SB: 55+

Darin Mastroianni- Min, OF:  A classic case of “You Can’t Steal First”. When Mastoianni does reach first he is a beast. Elite speed, 85% SB Rate. He will platoon this year. Projection .220, SB: 30

Can Hamilton break stolen base records in the Show?

Can Hamilton break stolen base records in the Show?

Norichika Aoki- Mil, OF:  Turned it up in the second half last year(.290, 20 SB). He is a nice overall outfield option that will fall to the mid to late rounds. Projection .300, SB: 28

Jean Segura- Mil, SS:  Has had injury problems, but is a nice young developing talent. Has great speed that will show more as his bat comes along. Projection .275, SB: 35+

 

 

Questions? Comments? Follow me on Twitter @KStafford32

 

 

Cafe 101: The 6th Course

Sports Heaven's most exclusive restaurant is the Cafe 101. As the name suggests there are only 101 tables, each reserved for the greatest to don that number.

Imagine there’s a sports heaven;
It’s easy if you try.
Where sports’ greatest legends

Depart to when they die.

Imagine all the athletes, of past and present day.

Now imagine a Cafe;
It’s not that hard to do.
There’s only 101 tables;
It’s open to a select few.

Imagine all the athletes, hoping to get a seat.

You may say I’m a dreamer;
But I’m not the only one.
Deciding the greatest athletes by number;
Who get to enter the Cafe 101.

<< 5th COURSE

This week I got an interesting group of numbers and had to spend quite a bit of time debating where I was going to go with my first two numbers of the day.  I know there will be complaints about my #29 pick but it’s important to remember that some athletes had more than one jersey number and while they did not get in at one number, they may still make it in another.  Without further ado, the greatest athletes to ever wear 11, 29, 60, & 79.

TABLE

MARK MESSIER

Centre, Indianapolis Racers, Cincinnati Stingers, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, & Vancouver Canucks (1978 – 2004)
6x Stanley Cup Champion, 15x All-Star, 2x Hart Memorial Trophy Winner, 2x Lester B. Pearson Award Winner, 1983-84 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner, Edmonton Oilers Team Captain, New York Rangers Team Captain,  NHL Hall of Fame – 2007

While I did spend some time thinking about #11 my thoughts always came back to Mark Messier – one of the greatest hockey players of all time.  Mark Messier was a 6x NHL Champion and a 15x All-Star.  Over the course of his 26 year long career that started in the now-defunct WHA Messier scored 1,887 points (2nd most all-time behind Wayne Gretzky) and played 1,756 regular season games (2nd most all-time behind Gordie Howe).  Messier is the only person in North American sports to have captained two separate teams to a championship in their respective sport (Oilers and Rangers).  Not just one of the greatest hockey players of all time, many consider Messier among the best leaders (in any sport) of all-time for what he brought to the ice and his team.  He was the type of player that made everyone around him better and it was obvious that he should get Table #11.

RUNNER-UP: ISIAH THOMAS, Detroit Pistons (1981 – 1994)

ON THE WAITING LIST: Sparky Anderson, Drew Bledsoe, Carl Hubbell, Elvin Hayes, Luis Aparicio, Yao Ming, Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Leinart (College), Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Norm VanBrocklin, Barry Larkin,  Jerry Lucas (College), Phil Simms, Edgar Martinez, Gilbert Perreault, Paul Waner, “Lefty” Gomez, & Bob McAdoo

TOO SOON TO TELL: Alex Smith, Jimmy Rollins, Anthony Gonzalez, C.J. Sapong, & Carlos Tevez

TABLE

ROD CAREW

1st Baseman/2nd Baseman, Minnesota Twins & California Angels (1967-1985)
18x All-Star, 1977 AL MVP, 1967 AL Rookie of the Year, 1972 AL Batting Champion, 1977 Roberto Clemente Award, Hall of Fame – 1991

#29 was a toughie because there were so many ways I could’ve gone with this.   I could’ve chosen one of the greatest goalies of all time, two of the best pitchers to ever throw in the major leagues, or one of the greatest running backs ever.  Instead I chose a player who is one of the all-time great second basemen, a member of the 3,000 hit club and possibly the greatest player in the history of two different Major League franchises.  I know that there will be a lot of debate with this choice (do yourself kindly to remember there are some athletes eligible for multiple jersey numbers) but in my mind Table #29 belongs to Rod Carew.

One of the biggest factors that leads to Rod Carew’s astounding career is his longevity and how long he played at a high level.  His careers with the Twins and Angels were both so impressive that his #29 has been retired by both ball clubs.   Carew burst on to the scene in 1967 wrapping up the Rookie of the Year award and 10 years later he was the AL MVP.  Between his two different teams, he appeared in a staggering 18 MLB All-Star games.   One of my favorite Rod Carew statistics is that in 1972 he batted .318 which was good enough to win him the batting title.  Oddly enough, that was the only year of his career where he did not have a home run.  To this day, Carew is the only player to win a batting title without having hit a homerun.   Carew finished his career with over 3,000 hits, over 1,000 RBIs, and a .328 batting average and was only the 22nd player to be elected into the MLB Hall of Fame on the first ballot.  He holds both the Twins’ and Angels’ records for on-base percentage, holds the Twins’ record for career batting average (and is 2nd in this category for the Angels’).  What I find amazing about all of these things is that Carew’s career could’ve started 3-4 years earlier if not for a commitment to the Marine Corps and probably would have lasted 2-3 years longer if Major League owners had not conspired to force him into retirement in 1985 (not conspiracy theory – it’s been proven and a judge awarded Carew nearly $800,000 in 1995 as a result) and then his numbers may have just been ridiculous – can you say potential 4,000 hit club member?  I gave a lot of thought into who deserved this table but for me, it kept coming back to Rod Carew.

RUNNER-UP: KEN DRYDEN, Goaltender, Montreal Canadiens (1970 – 1979)

ON THE WAITING LIST: Eric Dickerson, Satchel Paige, John Smoltz, & Paul Silas

TOO SOON TO TELL: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DeMarco Murray, Eric Berry, Roy Helu, LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, Ryan Clowe, Michael Bush, & Andre Fleury

TABLE

OTTO GRAHAM

Quarterback, Cleveland Browns (1946-1955)
3x NFL Champion, 4x AAFC Champion, 5x Pro Bowl Selection, 9x All-Pro Selection, 1x Second Team All-Pro Selection, NFL 75th Anniversary Team, NFL 1950’s All-Decade Team, 3x NFL MVP, 1950 Pro Bowl MVP, 2x AAFC MVP, 1955 Hickok Belt Winner, Hall of Fame – 1965.
1946 National Basketball League Champion

While there are not many athletes across sports who wore the #60 this was no easy task.  It came down to Otto Graham, who some NFL historians consider the greatest quarterback of all time, and Chuck Bednarik, the last true two-way player in the NFL.  Both are great but I had to take Otto Graham.  In the AAFC and later in the NFL, Otto Graham took the Browns to the title game in 10 straight seasons, he won 7 of those.   He won every championship in the brief history of the AAFC and then when the Browns joined the NFL, they won it all in the very first season.  His 86.6 QB Rating is among the best all-time.  He finished his career (when football was a running game) with 23, 584 yards passing and 174 passing touchdowns.  His 57-13-1 record as an NFL starter over 6 NFL seasons represents the highest winning percentage (.810) of any quarterback in NFL history.  In addition to his Hall of Fame football career, he also briefly played for the Rochester Royals in the National Basketball League and helped them win the 1946 Championship.   There’s not a doubt in my mind that Graham was the best athlete to ever don #60.

RUNNER-UP: CHUCK BEDNARIK, Linebacker/Center, Philadelphia Eagles (1949-1962)

ON THE WAITING LIST: Bill Willis, Walt Kirk, Scott Schoneweis, & Jose Theodore.

TOO SOON TO TELL: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Jason Demers, & Kevin Poulin

TABLE

HARVEY MARTIN

Defensive End, Dallas Cowboys (1973 – 1983)
Super Bowl XII Champion, Super Bowl XII MVP, 4x Pro Bowler, 1x 1st Team All-Pro, 3x 2nd Team All-Pro, NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, NFL Defensive Player of the Year – 1977

Like #60, not a whole lot of athletes have worn #79 but it has been worn by some great NFL players.  While Bob St. Claire and Roosevelt Brown deserve some consideration – I had to go with Harvey Martin who was perhaps, the best pass rusher of the 1970s.  He was a very large factor in the first Super Bowl Win in Dallas Cowboys history which led to him being the co-MVP of that Super Bowl.   As the cornerstone of the vaunted Doomsday Defense he had 114 sacks in his 11 season career.  He led the Cowboys in sacks in 7 of those seasons.  Table #79 has to go to Harvey Martin in my eyes.

RUNNER-UP: ROOSEVELT BROWN, Offensive Tackle, New York Giants (1953 – 1965)

ON THE WAITING LIST: Bob St. Claire

TOO SOON TO TELL: Andrei Markov

Agree? Disagree? Tweet @can_of_corn with hashtag #Cafe101 to tell us your picks!

Click to enlarge the seating chart for Sports Heaven’s most exclusive restaurant.

 Will your favorite athletes be able to get a table at the Cafe 101? Keep reading to find out!  If you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks please comment below or tweet them to @can_of_corn! Courtesy of Devan Dignan+


Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings – Third Base

 

Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings

Updated 2/21/11

 

 

Third Base

 

Kyle Stafford – @KStafford32

Player Rankings by Position:

Catchers

First Base

Second Base

ShortStop

Third Base

Outfield… coming soon

Starting Pitchers… coming soon

Relief Pitchers… coming soon

Closers… coming soon

 

The rankings are based upon the following:

 

Random Variance Score- shows the results random variance had on a player’s 2011 season and the probability that a player will exceed or regress in 2012. Scoring is a -5 to +5 scale that measures several sabermetric categories that reflect if a player is prone to regression.

 

The Mayberry Method- a 0-5 scale of a fantasy players Power, Speed, Batting Average, and Playing Time.

 

Health & Age- Player is given a score A to F based on the combination of health history and age/regression.

 

Runs Above Replacement (RAR)- Estimated number of runs a player will generate above his replacement

 

On Base Plus Slugging Average (OPS)- Combines On Base percentage plus slugging percentage to show a players overall performance. Elite players will bat .900 or higher. Stars will bat .800 or higher. The average player will bat above .650. A bad score is anything under .650

 

 

1. Miguel Cabrera, Det

Age: 29   2011 Stats: .344-30-105

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-2

5155

A

39.1

1.034

 

Another MVP Caliber year for Cabrera. The 2011 AL Batting Champ hit .356 in the second half leading a well rounded Detroit team to the AL Championship series. I don’t see the move to third hurting him much. I could see a slight drop in power numbers with all of the weight he has dropped to play third. He is in the middle of his prime, and with the addition of Prince Fielder I see a better pitches coming his way. His contact% has been on 4 year incline. You can count on .300-35.100.

 

 

2. Evan Longoria, TB

Age: 26   2011 Stats: .244-31-99

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+5

5245

B

16.8

.847

 

Longoria is young and his elite potential is still on the rise. I would not be too concerned about injuries. Batting Average took a hit in 2011. I would expect a rebound, and if he can get 550+ AB, expect 35-40 HR Power. Showed great PX and xBA.

 

3. Hanley Ramirez, Mia

Age: 28   2011 Stats: .243-10-45

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+2

3235

B-

.05

.709

 

2011 was a year to forget for Hanley. Injuires and clear lack of motivation made him almost worthless to fantasy owners. I have never bought into the hype surrounding Ramirez. He has had only one great season (2009: .342-24-106, 27 SB). I think he can be a nice player, but when the “experts” call him elite I just laugh. His entitlement toward himself  is enough to scare me away from him. Ramirez is a classic case of High Potential. If he could show his talents you might see a season that look like .350-40-120 with 35+ SB. He reminds me of a former High Potential, unmotivated player I remember from St.Louis named J.D. Drew.

 

4. Adrian Beltre, Tex

Age: 33   2011 Stats: .296-32-105

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

0

4145

C+

14.9

.891

 

Beltre showed us 2010 in Boston was no fluke. He hits in a powerful Texas lineup that gives him plenty of chances to drive runs in. My main concern when I evaluate Beltre is his injury history. He missed August last year with a bum hamstring and had a nice injury history before that with Seattle.

5. Ryan Zimmerman, Was

Age: 27   2011 Stats: .289-12-49

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-2

3225

C+

5.1

.799

I feel Zimmerman is very underrated. He has 35+ HR power, and can hit .300+. At 27 he is entering his prime with a lineup in Washington that is only getting better around him. Injuries have been a hurdle for him lately, but he is healthy heading into 2012 and should continue to put up premium stats.

 

6. David Wright, NYM 

Age: 29   2011 Stats: .254-14-61

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+1

4125

D+

2.7

.769

Ever since taking a 93 mph fastball to the head in August of 2009, Wright has showed a steady decline. Not the Elite player that many thought he would be, but is still a talented 3rd baseman. 30 HR power, BA in the .280 range, and steals 15 bases is a nice piece to have on your team. 

 

7.  Kevin Youkilis, Bos

Age: 33   2011 Stats: .258-17-80

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

0

4235

F

12.1

.818

 

Being on the wrong side of 30 has not fared well for Youkilis. Since 2009 he has been on a downward trend that took a huge dive last year when injuries came into the picture. He still put up .818 OPS, but with the high risk of injury don’t expect 25+ HR power to come back.

 

8 Pablo Sandoval, SF

Age: 25   2011 Stats: .315-23-70

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-1

4145

B+

18.4

.914

 

Sandoval came back huge in 2011. At 25 years old, you can only hope the sky is the limit for this rising star. The metrics show 30+ HR potential and with a .315 average could bolt him into the elite discussion. Lets see how 2012 turns out before we crown him, but it should be fun to watch him continue to develop. 

9. Alex Rodriguez, NYY

Age: 36   2011 Stats: .276-16-62

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

0

4125

F

8.1

.818

 

 

You can no longer consider A-Rod elite. You can’t count on much with the declining trends, injury history, age, and overall regression. He still has the potential at his age to hit 25-30 HRs and drive in 100, but staying on the field is the issue.

10. Aramis Ramirez, Mil

Age: 34  2011 Stats: .306-26-93

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-1

4235

C+

15.9

.865

 

Even with injuries, Ramirez has been able to slug 25+ HR for the better part of 4 of the past 5 seasons. He hit .306 and hit 96 RBIs on a horrible Cubs team last season. With the Brewers, I could see him picking up some of the slack Prince left behind.   

 

If you would like to explore more in-depth about Advanced Metrics, here are some amazing resources/people that have made a priceless impact on the way I evaluate players and it has shown in the success I have each year. I do not get any kick backs from this list, just like to promote great materials/information when I see it.

 

http://www.baseballhq.com  – Ron Shandler is amazing, buy Baseball Forecaster… it’s my “Fantasy Bible”

 

http://baseballguys.com/ – Ray Flowers gives simple, but great wisdom on the world of Fantasy Sports. Follow him on twitter @Baseballguys

 

http://www.billjamesonline.com/ – Bill James is the Godfather of SABR, If you are new to the game here is where you start to learn advanced metrics

 

 

Questions? Comments? Follow me on Twitter @KStafford32

 

 

Cafe 101: The 5th Course

Imagine there’s a sports heaven;
It’s easy if you try.
Where sports’ greatest legends

Sports Heaven's most exclusive restaurant is the Cafe 101. As the name suggests there are only 101 tables, each reserved for the greatest to don that number.

Depart to when they die.

Imagine all the athletes, of past and present day.

Now imagine a Cafe;
It’s not that hard to do.
There’s only 101 tables;
It’s open to a select few.

Imagine all the athletes, hoping to get a seat.

You may say I’m a dreamer;
But I’m not the only one.
Deciding the greatest athletes by number;
Who get to enter the Cafe 101.

<< PREVIOUS

When I started on my quest to determine the greatest athlete to ever represent each jersey number from 00 to 99, I looked across the world of sports and knew some numbers would be challenging (every number 35 and under), some would be extremely difficult – 1, 7, 10, 12, 21, 32, 33, etc. but when I looked at the field of numbers there was 1 number I thought would be the most difficult of all, and it’s probably not one you would expect – #4.  I saw #4 and I immediately thought of Brett Favre, Lou Gehrig, and Bobby Orr.  It wasn’t the greatness that was going to make this difficult, well at least not just the greatness, it was that this is personal.  I’ve long been a fan of Lou Gehrig and he is one of my favorite baseball players (definitely my favorite Yankee) of all-time.  As a Vikings fan, I am a big Brett Favre fan and of course I live and work in Massachusetts so the influence of Orr is overwhelming.  Of course last week my Random Number Generator determined I would write about 4 this week and so I spent the last few days thinking long and hard on one question –

Favre Orr Gehrig?

Without further ado, this was my decision:

TABLE

LOU GEHRIG

First Baseman, New York Yankees (1923-1939)
6x World Series Champion, 7x All-Star, 2x AL MVP, Yankees Team Captain (1935-1939),  Major League Baseball All-Century Team, Hall of Fame – 1939

In a great battle between Iron Men (Favre and Gehrig) and one of the greatest hockey players of all time (Orr), I had to take Lou Gehrig.  For the longest time I thought I would take Brett Favre, one of the greatest Quarterbacks of all time, but then I began to realize that Gehrig is probably the greatest first basemen of all time and not just that, I think he is one of the top 5 baseball players of all time.  About 10 months ago I wrote that, “If I could build an all-time team around one player – no doubt in my mind that that player would be the Iron Horse” and I don’t plan to detract from that now.  He started and played in 2,130 straight games (a record until Cal Ripken, Jr. broke it in 1995), he has 23 career grand slams, scored the winning run in 8 World Series games, has the most extra base hits of a first baseman, had a .765 slugging percentage in 1927, and was so good that the Hall of Fame waived the waiting period rule so they could vote him in a few months after he retired.   Had Gehrig not come down with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), he would have likely finished his career with around 3,700 hits and 650 homeruns.  In my mind, Lou Gehrig, not Babe Ruth, is the greatest Yankee of all-time.

More than that, he was a great all around person and his famed “Luckiest Man” speech, in my opinion, is the single most moving moment in the history of sport.

RUNNER-UP (TIE): BRETT FAVRE, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, & Minnesota Vikings (1991 – 2010) & BOBBY ORR, Chicago Blackhawks & Boston Bruins (1966-1978)

ON THE WAITING LIST: Mel Ott, Paul Molitor, Adam Viniatieri, Jean Beliveau, Chauncey Billups, Duke Snider, & Teresa Edwards

TOO SOON TO TELL: Taylor Hall, Brandon Phillips, Vincent Lecavalier, Antawn Jamison, & Kevin Kolb

TABLE

RICHARD PETTY

NASCAR Driver (1959 – 1992)
7x NASCAR Champion, NASCAR Rookie of the Year – 1959, 7x Daytona 500 winner, NASCAR Hall of Fame – 2010 (Inaugural Class)

There’s a reason that Richard Petty is known simply as “The King”.  He is without a doubt one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all-time and his 7 NASCAR titles are a record (tied with Dale Earnhardt).  He is also the only driver to have won the Daytona 500 7 times.  His 127 poles and 700 top 10 finishes in 1,185 races are also unbelievable feats.   Even sports fans like myself that really do not follow NASCAR are aware of the accomplishments of Richard Petty and have heard of the Richard Petty School of Driving.  This was a pretty simple decision for me to give Table #43 to Petty.

RUNNER-UP: DENNIS ECKERSLEY, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s, & St. Louis Cardinals (1975-1998)

ON THE WAITING LIST:  Jack Sikma & Troy Polamalu

TOO SOON TO TELL: R.A Dickey, Darren Sproles, & Nazem Kadri

TABLE

DERRICK THOMAS

Linebacker/Defensive End, Kansas City Chiefs (1989 – 1999)
9x Pro-Bowl Selection, 3x 1st Team All-Pro, 3x 2nd Team All-Pro, 7x 1st Team All-AFC, 1x 2nd Team All-AFC, NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year – 1989, UPI AFL-AFC Rookie of the Year – 1989, Dick Butkus Award (1988), All-American (1988), NFL Hall of Fame – 2009

58 was one of the easiest decisions I had to make.  You could make an argument for Jack Lambert here but Derrick Thomas is one of the greatest pass-rushers of all time.  I’m amazed to this day how long it took him to get in the Hall of Fame because the guy was an absolute beast.  He hold Chiefs franchise records with 41 career forced fumbles, 8 forced fumbles in a season, 19 fumble recoveries, 126.5 career sacks, 20 sacks in a season, and 3 career safeties.  Additionally the guy holds the NFL record for most sacks in a game with 7.  That mark broke the previous record of 6 in a game, which had also been set by Thomas. John Elway always said he could’ve played a few more years in a warmer climate like Miami.  I think Elway could’ve played a few more years if he didn’t have to face Derrick Thomas twice a year.  As a collegiate player, he set an NCAA record with 27 sacks in a single season while at Alabama.  His 52 career sacks at Alabama were also an NCAA record at the time.  It’s unbelievable to think of what Thomas could’ve accomplished if his career and life had not been cut short due to paralysis.  No doubt in my mind that Table #58 belongs to Derrick Thomas.

RUNNER-UP: JACK LAMBERT, Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers (1974-1984)

ON THE WAITING LIST: Johnathan Papelbohn & Carl Banks

TOO SOON TO TELL: Von Miller, Rey Maualuga, Karlos Dansby, & Kris Letang


TABLE

BUCK BUCHANAN

Defensive Tackle, Kansas City Chiefs (1963-1975)
Super Bowl IV Champion, 2x AFL Champion, 6x AFL All-Star, 2x Pro Bowl Selection, 6x All-AFL, 1x 2nd Team All-Pro, AFL All-Time Second Team, NFL Hall of Fame – 1990, College Football Hall of Fame – 1996

On back to back numbers we have famous Kansas City Chiefs defenders getting themselves a table at thea Cafe 101.  Buck Buchanan was an absolute monster from the time he played at Grambling under the legendary Eddie Robinson to the time he was the first draft pick in AFL history and had an amazing career with the Chiefs.  He was also the first black player to be drafted #1 overall in professional football history.  His defense and ability to penetrate the Minnesota Vikings’ vaunted offensive line helped the Chiefs hold the Vikings to only 67 yards giving the Chiefs their only Super Bowl win and one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets in history.  At 6’7″ 287 lbs, Buchanan was a force to be reckoned with.  Despite his size he was very quick and could run a 4.9 40 which allowed him to make tackles from sideline to sideline.  He started 166 straight games and is one of the greatest players in the proud history of the Kansas City Chiefs.

RUNNER-UP: HINES WARD, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers (1998 – Present)

ON THE WAITING LIST: James Lofton & Todd Heap

TOO SOON TO TELL: David Nelson, Fred Davis, & Daniel Fells

Agree? Disagree? Tweet @can_of_corn with hashtag #Cafe101 to tell us your picks!

Click to enlarge the seating chart for Sports Heaven's most exclusive restaurant.

 Will your favorite athletes be able to get a table at the Cafe 101? Keep reading to find out!  If you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks please comment below or tweet them to @can_of_corn! Courtesy of Devan Dignan+


Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings – Shortstop

 

Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings

Updated 2/14/11

 

 

Shortstop

 

Kyle Stafford – @KStafford32

Player Rankings by Position:

Catchers

First Base

Second Base

ShortStop

Third Base

Outfield… coming soon

Starting Pitchers… coming soon

Relief Pitchers… coming soon

Closers… coming soon

 

The rankings are based upon the following:

 

Random Variance Score- shows the results random variance had on a player’s 2011 season and the probability that a player will exceed or regress in 2012. Scoring is a -5 to +5 scale that measures several sabermetric categories that reflect if a player is prone to regression.

 

The Mayberry Method- a 0-5 scale of a fantasy players Power, Speed, Batting Average, and Playing Time.

 

Health & Age- Player is given a score A to F based on the combination of health history and age/regression.

 

Runs Above Replacement (RAR)- Estimated number of runs a player will generate above his replacement

 

On Base Plus Slugging Average (OPS)- Combines On Base percentage plus slugging percentage to show a players overall performance. Elite players will bat .900 or higher. Stars will bat .800 or higher. The average player will bat above .650. A bad score is anything under .650

 

 

1. Troy Tulowitzki, Col

Age: 27   2011 Stats: .302-30-105

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+1

4255

A

39.9

915

 

Tulo is everything you want in an elite fantasy player. Tulo has yet to reach his ceiling. 40 HR and 20 SB potential all while playing Shortstop and hitting .300+ .The metrics and trends clearly show we have yet to see the best of this elite player.

 

 

2. Jose Reyes, Mia

Age: 28   2011 Stats: .337-7-44

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+1

3545

D-

23.2

.880

 

Through the first half of 2011, Reyes looked healthy and was on his way to a career year. He was on pace for 60+ SB, 90+RBI, 20 HR all while hitting .337. All those hopes for Reyes owners were crushed when his hamstring blew up before the allstar break. Even when he came back he was not the same player. Over his career, Reyes is the classic High Reward/High Risk player. Switching leagues and getting paid might have some negative effects on him getting a fast start. The new ballpark in Miami is suppose to be a pitchers park which could lead to a lot of XBH. He is only 28, and being in the middle of his prime you can expect big stats if healthy.

 

3. Starlin Castro, ChC

Age: 21   2011 Stats: .307-10-66

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+2

2435

A+

7.5

.773

 

At 21 years old, Elite Speed with a .300 average is a great foundation to have. The trends show that power will develop over the years but I could expect 15 HRs in 2012. If he gets the right manager that will give him the green light, 50+ steals are in his realm. Great CT% shows the average is legit. Castro is a great keeper to hold onto and build your team around for years.

 

4. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cle

Age: 26   2011 Stats: .273-25-92

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-1

2325

B-

7.2

.799

 

A healthy 2011 showed great progress from a 2009 season. He saw more Fastballs in 2011 than ever before, which could show where some of his power came from. The trends do show 10-15 HR power. Besides the power every other basic stat fell inline with the metrics. Projected 2012 ceiling would be .270-15-90.

 

5. Eric Aybar, LAA

Age: 28   2011 Stats: .279-10-59

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+1

2335

B+

.08

.738

There is a lot of hype surrounding Aybar in the Fantasy world. I have seen projections as insane as .335-20-100 with 55 SB. I am not on that bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, I think Aybar will have a nice season. With Pujols and Morales entering the lineup, Aybar should have beter pitch selection at the plate and more chances to rack up steals on the basepaths. Aybar has only hit over .279 once in his career. With his SB metrics dropping in 2011, 50 plus stolen bases are a stretch. I see Aybar gaining a lot in Runs and a spike up to 40 SBs. He produces across the board which makes him valuable at SS, but he is not “great” at anything.

 

6. Elvis Andrus, Tex 

Age: 23   2011 Stats: .279-5-60

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+1

1335

A+

-.07

.703

 

I am starting to wonder if this is as good as it gets for Andrus from a fantasy prospective.  If defensive stats where big in fantasy, he would be elite. He has zero power, hardly hits .279, and his baserunning metrics dropped in 2011. With his talent I would expect 50 steals, and that would be enough for me to draft him higher. BUT he has not shown that talent and I am starting to wonder if he is not over-hyped.

 

7. Jhonny Peralta, Det

Age: 29   2011 Stats: .299-21-86

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-1

2225

A

3.5

.827

 

Shows 20+ HR power. Can hit in the .270-.299 range. OPS was a nice .827. If Peralta could steal 15+ bases and be more consistant, he would easily be a top 5 Shortstop. The problem is one year he hits .249, then the next he is .299. One year he will hit 24 HRs, then he drops to 11. With Prince in the lineup, you can hope Peralta is in a better position for success.

 

8. Alexei Ramirez, CWS

Age: 30   2011 Stats: .269-15-70

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+1

2335

A

7.2

.724

 

In my book, Ramirez is a huge letdown. After his 2008 season, there was hope he would produce 30+ HR power, steal 25+ bases, and hit over .300. Those projections are long gone. At 30 years old, he has acted like a player on the wrong side of 30 the past 3 seasons. As he continues his decline he is just average across the board.

 

9. Jimmy Rollins, Phi

Age: 33   2011 Stats: .268-16-63

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+1

1235

C-

2.8

.735

 

 

The 30 steals in 2011 suprised me, but I don’t expect 30+ in the future. With a 33 year old Rollins, you can expect 15-20 HRs, 20 steals and a .260 average. Regression metrics are showing 20% decline every year past 33 for Rollins.

 

10. J.J. Hardy, Bal

Age: 29  2011 Stats: .269-30-80

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-2

3125

C+

5.6

.801

 

The only other player besides Tulo to show 30 HR power in 2011. I wouldn’t expect 30 HR this year, but if healthy he can easily get you 20-25. I like Hardy do to the power potential and he normally holds a BA around .270.  His CT% has held steady, but health issues might spark regression. He is a nice MI option, and a cheap source for power.

 

 

If you would like to explore more in-depth about Advanced Metrics, here are some amazing resources/people that have made a priceless impact on the way I evaluate players and it has shown in the success I have each year. I do not get any kick backs from this list, just like to promote great materials/information when I see it.

 

http://www.baseballhq.com  – Ron Shandler is amazing, buy Baseball Forecaster… it’s my “Fantasy Bible”

 

http://baseballguys.com/ – Ray Flowers gives simple, but great wisdom on the world of Fantasy Sports. Follow him on twitter @Baseballguys

 

http://www.billjamesonline.com/ – Bill James is the Godfather of SABR, If you are new to the game here is where you start to learn advanced metrics

 

 

Questions? Comments? Follow me on Twitter @KStafford32

 

 

Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings – Second Base

 

Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings

Updated 2/2/11

 

 

Second Baseman

 

Kyle Stafford – @KStafford32

Player Rankings by Position:

Catchers

First Base

Second Base

ShortStop

Third Base

Outfield… coming soon

Starting Pitchers… coming soon

Relief Pitchers… coming soon

Closers… coming soon

 

The rankings are based upon the following:

 

Random Variance Score- shows the results random variance had on a player’s 2011 season and the probability that a player will exceed or regress in 2012. Scoring is a -5 to +5 scale that measures several sabermetric categories that reflect if a player is prone to regression.

 

The Mayberry Method- a 0-5 scale of a fantasy players Power, Speed, Batting Average, and Playing Time.

 

Health & Age- Player is given a score A to F based on the combination of health history and age/regression.

 

Runs Above Replacement (RAR)- Estimated number of runs a player will generate above his replacement

 

On Base Plus Slugging Average (OPS)- Combines On Base percentage plus slugging percentage to show a players overall performance. Elite players will bat .900 or higher. Stars will bat .800 or higher. The average player will bat above .650. A bad score is anything under .650

 

 

1. Robinson Cano, NYY

Age: 29   2011 Stats: .302-28-118

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

0

4255

A

24.2

875

 

Cano has so much upside it’s hard to ignore. He has power, average, and is in a monster lineup. He did take a minor baby step back in 2011. OPS, Contact rate, and FB% all took a drop. I would not be concerned, you have 3-4 strong prime years with a guy that plays a position with weak talent. I don’t think he can compete for a batting title, but he will hit .300-30-100.

 

2. Ian Kinsler, Tex

Age: 30   2011 Stats: .255-32-77

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+2

4235

D+

22.5

.826

 

When healthy, Kinsler is the elite second baseman. 2011 showed what a healthy year can produce. The great news is that he is due for an even bigger year in 2012, if he can stay healthy.  At 30 years old we have no idea how injuries will continue to effect Kinsler, but 30-30 potential and hope that .300 batting average can come back would make Kinsler a top 15 fantasy player.

 

3. Dustin Pedroia, Bos

Age: 28   2011 Stats: .307-21-91

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-1

3345

C+

29.7

.864

 

Pedroia put up very similar numbers to his 2008 MVP season. His first 20-20 season and a huge second half stat line .339-14-56. The trends show Pedroia could take a step back in 2012. Being in that very dangerous Boston lineup, I could see the opposite take effect. At 28, Pedroia is a safe pick.

 

4. Ben Zobrist, TB

Age: 31   2011 Stats: .269-20-91

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

0

4225

B

21.3

.823

 

Zobrist had another solid season. At 31, regression is always a concern. He has a healthy OPS, and runs the bases well. A solid middle infield option.

 

5. Brandon Phillips, Cin

Age: 31   2011 Stats: .300-18-82

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-1

3235

A

11.4

.804

Being on the wrong side of 30, regression has hit Phillips that past few seasons. He is no longer a 20-30 HR threat. The days of 30 SB are gone. What you are left is an aging hitter that will hit .285-15-70. Still not a bad stat line for a middle infielder. His regression rate is similar to Orlando Hudson when he hit 30, Phillips obviously has a better skillset.

 

6. Chase Utley, Phi 

Age: 33   2011 Stats: .259-11-44

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+2

3325

F

2.9

.750

 

When healthy, Utley has an elite skillset for the second base position. He plays the game hard, sometimes too hard. You have to have faith that he is going to be healthy if you select him on draft day. In the second half of 2011, you saw him gain power as he stayed healthy. He also ran the bases well as the season progressed. I see a BA rebound, and you can expect 20 HRs, and double digit SB.

 

7. Howie Kendrick, LAA

Age: 28   2011 Stats: .285-18-63

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

-1

3245

A-

7.2

.790

 

Great combination of Speed/Power/BA. The trends show that we have not seen the peak of his power yet. Qualifying at 2B/OF, you can not get a better value pick than Kendrick.

 

 

8. Rickie Weeks, Mil

Age: 29   2011 Stats: .269-20-49

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

0

4325

F

12.0

.810

 

Last year I passed on drafting Weeks because I was afraid of his injury history. I was right, but again I was wrong because I drafted Tsuyoshi Nishioka instead…. I was trying to stay under my league cap…my bad. Like Utley, Weeks is another example of great talent that can’t stay on the field. 30+ HR, 25+ SB, and 100 RBI potential that we have been waiting for since 2007, but we only got a short look at it in 2010. He could be the only big bat for the Brewers this season with Ryan Braun a facing PED suspension. Classic High Risk-High Reward.

 

9. Dan Uggla, Atl

Age: 32   2011 Stats: .233-36-82

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+1

4215

A-

2.2

.758

 

Had a great second half, .290-24-54. Buy the Power, 30-35 HR potential. BA is on a huge decline, and regression trends are picking up. He is the Mark Reynolds of second basemen.

 

10. Brian Roberts, Bal

Age: 34  2011 Stats: .221-3-19

 

Rand Variance Mayberry Health / Age RAR OPS

+2

2213

F

–7.7

.606

 

Continuing the trend of talented Second Basemen that can’t stay healthy, Meet Brian Roberts. This former 18 HR, 50 SB, .314 hitter has fallen pretty hard. Unable to stay healthy, because he can’t take his PEDs *allegedly*, Roberts has only potential that keeps him in the discussion of top second basemen. Like Joe Mauer, you can’t ignore potential. Let hope Roberts skills were not all a result of PED abuse *allegedly*. Looking at the stats and factoring in regression at 34, IF Roberts can get 500 AB look forward to .265-10-60 with 20 SB.

 

 

If you would like to explore more in-depth about Advanced Metrics, here are some amazing resources/people that have made a priceless impact on the way I evaluate players and it has shown in the success I have each year. I do not get any kick backs from this list, just like to promote great materials/information when I see it.

 

http://www.baseballhq.com  – Ron Shandler is amazing, buy Baseball Forecaster… it’s my “Fantasy Bible”

 

http://baseballguys.com/ – Ray Flowers gives simple, but great wisdom on the world of Fantasy Sports. Follow him on twitter @Baseballguys

 

http://www.billjamesonline.com/ – Bill James is the Godfather of SABR, If you are new to the game here is where you start to learn advanced metrics

 

 

Questions? Comments? Follow me on Twitter @KStafford32

 

 

Cafe 101: The 4th Course

Sports Heaven's most exclusive restaurant is the Cafe 101. As the name suggests there are only 101 tables, each reserved for the greatest to don that number.

Imagine there’s a sports heaven;
It’s easy if you try.
Where sports’ greatest legends
Depart to when they die.

Imagine all the athletes, of past and present day.

Now imagine a Cafe;
It’s not that hard to do.
There’s only 101 tables;
It’s open to a select few.

Imagine all the athletes, hoping to get a seat.

You may say I’m a dreamer;
But I’m not the only one.
Deciding the greatest athletes by number;
Who get to enter the Cafe 101.

<< PREVIOUS

So far 12 tables at the Cafe 101 have been spoken for.  There are some athletes left wondering why they’ll never get into the Cafe 101 while many still remain hopeful that the hostess will call their name and that they will gain entrance to the most exclusive restaurant in Sports Heaven.  Today 4 more will get the call as I dive into exploring the greatest athletes to ever wear the numbers 19, 26, 62, & 98.

TABLE

JOHNNY UNITAS

Quarterback, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Colts & San Diego Chargers (1956-1973)
Super Bowl V Champion, 2x NFL Champion, 10x Pro Bowl Selection, 3x NFL MVP, 3x Pro Bowl MVP, 3x Bert Bell Award, 6x 1st Team All-Pro, 1x 2nd Team All-Pro, 1x 2nd Team All-Conference, NFL 75th Anniversary Team, NFL 1960’s All-Decade Team, Hall of Fame – 1979

19 is a number that has been worn by two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, one of the greatest hockey players of all time, one of the greatest pitchers, one of the greatest outfielders,  and one of the all-time greatest shortstops, among several other athletes.  This was definitely the toughest decision of this installment because there are easily 5 or 6 players you could argue as the greatest 19 but for me it kept coming back to “The Golden Arm”, Johnny Unitas.

There are many who still consider Johnny Unitas the greatest QB to ever play the game. Originally drafted by Pittsburgh in 1956, the Steelers thought he was too dumb to play quarterback and cut him before the season even began.  The rest as they say, is history.  Johnny Unitas was the 1st Quarterback in NFL history to pass over 40,000 yards and his 10 Pro Bowl selections as a QB were a record until Brett Favre got his 11th in 2009.  At the time of his retirement, his 118 regular season wins were an NFL record.  Along with Kurt Warner, he is one of only 2 quarterbacks to have attained a QB Rating of 120 in 4 consecutive games. His 3 NFL MVP awards were also a record that was later tied by Brett Favre and broken by Peyton Manning.  It is a good thing that Unitas did not live long enough to see Peyton break his record as he severed all ties with the Colts once they left Baltimore and in his final years embraced the Ravens.  There is no doubt in my mind that Johnny U is the greatest to ever wear 19.

RUNNER-UP: STEVE YZERMAN, Detroit Red Wings (1983 – 2006)

ON THE WAITING LIST: Bob Feller, Tony Gwynn, Robin Yount, Lance Alworth, Joe Sakic, Tommie Frazier (College), Bernie Kosar, Jose Bautista, Greg Luzinski, Wilmeth Sidat-Singh, & Joe Montana

TOO SOON TO TELL: Jonathan Toews, Miles Austin, Scott Kazmir, Eddie Royal, Ted Ginn, Jr., Brandon Marshall,  & Joe Thornton

TABLE

WADE BOGGS

Third Baseman, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, & Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1982-1999)

1996 World Series Champion, 2x AL Pennant Winner, 12x MLB All-Star, 8x Silver Slugger Award, 2x Gold Glove Award, 5x AL Batting Champion, 3,000 Club, Hall of Fame – 2005

At #26, sit two of the greatest shutdown corners to ever play in the NFL but for me #26 is Wade Boggs.  Wade Boggs was one of the greatest MLB players of all time and one of the best to ever play the hot corner.  His 12 consecutive appearances in the All-Star as a third baseman is third best all-time behind George Brett and Brooks Robinson.  Between 1982 and 1988 he had only one season where he batted below .349 (he batted .325 in 1983) and had 7 consecutive seasons in the 80’s where he collected 200 hits and 100 runs.  In his 18 year career he had only 3 sub-.300 batting seasons.  In 1996, Wade Boggs helped the Yankees win their first World Series in 18 years. The most noted achievement of Wade Boggs’ is that he was the first player in MLB history whose 3,000th hit was a Home Run.  While there are several athletes you can make an argument for – to me Wade Boggs is the most deserving of Table #26.

RUNNER-UP:  ROD WOODSON, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, & Oakland Raiders (1987-2003)

ON THE WAITING LIST: Antoine Winfield, Billy Williams, Gene Autry, Herb Adderly, Johnny Oates, Sean Taylor (College) & Clinton Portis

TOO SOON TO TELL: Dan Uggla, Chase Utley, Antrel Rolle, Beanie Wells, & Taylor Mays

TABLE

JIM LANGER

Center/Guard, Miami Dolphins & Minnesota Vikings (1970 – 1981)

2x Super Bowl Champion, 3x AFC Champion, 6x Pro Bowl Selection, 4x 1st Team All-Pro, 2x 2nd Team All-Pro, NFL 1970’s All-Decade Team, Hall of Fame – 1987

When it came down to #62, I knew I was going with Jim Langer.  He is one of the greatest centers of all time.  Only one team in NFL history has pulled off the perfect season (the 1972 Dolphins) and the line that led to that success was anchored by Jim Langer.  He is remembered primarily as a quick blocker.  What made Langer so unusual and so good is that he was a converted middle linebacker.  He had the strength and speed of a linebacker combined with the size of lineman which made him an incredibly productive pass protector.  Yes, #62 belongs to Langer.

RUNNER-UP: CHARLEY TRIPPI, Chicago Cardinals (1947 – 1955)

ON THE WAITING LIST:Guy McIntyre & Casey Wiegmann

TOO SOON TO TELL: Terrence Cody & Joba Chamberlain

TABLE

TOM HARMON

Halfback, University of Michigan (1938-1940)

1940 Heisman Trophy Winner, 1940 Maxwell Award, 1940 AP Male Athlete of the Year, College Football Hall of Fame – 1954

There are few college football programs that are more storied than the University of Michigan Wolverines.  Many greats such as Desmond Howard, Ron Kramer, and Tom Brady played their ball there but if you ask most Michigan fans the greatest Wolverine of all time they will tell you it was “Old 98”, Tom Harmon – the first Michigan Wolverine to win the Heisman.  Tom Harmon was the original dual threat player.  He finished his time at Michigan with 2,134 yards rushing, completed 100 passes for 1,304 yards and 16 touchdowns.  He led the nation in scoring in 1939 and 1940 (a feat that has never been matched). To understand how good Harmon was, all you need to do is take a look at his last collegiate game which came in Columbus against Ohio State.

In that game, he scored 3 rushing touchdowns, 2 passing touchdowns, 4 extra points, intercepted three passes, and punted 3 times with an average of 50 yards per punt.  Due to his love of broadcasting, Harmon only spent one season playing professionally and then pursued a career in acting and broadcasting.  He could have been just as legendary as a pro as he is as a collegiate athlete.   Table 98 has to be given to “Old 98”.

RUNNER-UP: TONY SIRAGUSA, Indianapolis Colts & Baltimore Ravens (1990 – 2001)

ON THE WAITING LIST: Robert Mathis

TOO SOON TO TELL: Brian Orakpo, Nick Fairley, Phil Taylor, & Sedrick Ellis

Agree? Disagree? Tweet @can_of_corn with hashtag #Cafe101 to tell us your picks!

Click to enlarge the seating chart for Sports Heaven's most exclusive restaurant

 Will your favorite athletes be able to get a table at the Cafe 101? Keep reading to find out!  If you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks please comment below or tweet them to @can_of_corn! Courtesy of Devan Dignan+