Monday, February 22, 2010

Fantasy Baseball Preview 2010 (Part 5 of 6)

Group 5: (Well, It’s Been a Time and a Half, But…*checks watch*)

Garret Anderson (OF, Atl) – Anderson found out what life is like when you’re not batting cleanup behind Vlad Guerrero, and his numbers reflected this realization. Relegated as a fourth outfielder in Atlanta, Anderson doesn’t have much left in the tank to be considered in mixed leagues. Nostalgic Angel fans beware.

Milton Bradley (OF, Sea) – Hopefully, eight (as in, teams he’s played for) is enough! Even without his mouth, shenanigans and domestic issues getting him into doghouses across the continent, Bradley’s upside has eroded. While Milton is still a talented ballplayer, he doesn’t stay on the field to get enough at bats to warrant serious fantasy consideration. However, Seattle is not a pressure-cooker environment like previous cities Bradley has played in. So even though he now plays home games in a pitcher-friendly park, the soon-to-be 32 year-old could benefit from a change of scenery, and, possibly, an improved attitude. Only the daring should take a chance on a potential headache like Bradley as their OF5.

Carlos Delgado (1B, Free Agent) – The Mets parted ways with him, and as spring training gets underway, he has yet to find a team for 2010. Only two years removed from a 38-homer campaign, Delgado had to recently undergo a labrum reconstruction, as well as microfracture surgery on his hip socket. If all goes well (which is a big “if” for the 37 year-old), he might have a healthy two months of 2010 if someone is desperate enough to give Delgado a shot. In other words, stay far, far away.

Nomar Garciaparra (1B/3B, retired) – Red Sox Nation may play a bagpipe-laden dirge for No-Mah’s illustrious but shortened career. Before Boston's World Series run in 2004, Garciaparra gave Red Sox fans reason to cheer with his all-out style of play and clutch hitting. Subsequent stints on the Cubs, Dodgers and A’s never panned out, so remember him as the 1997 ROY who took baseball by surprise, and helped to lay the foundation for the Red Sox’ return to prominence.

Ken Griffey Jr. (DH, Sea) – It’s been a fun and occasionally injury-riddled ride, but honestly, if Ken Griffey Jr. is anything but a last-round throwaway pick by the most fervent of die-hard fans in AL-only leagues, it’s to throw away the Smash Mouth CD and and stop living in 1997. He’s a shell of a shell of his former self. Assuming the, er, “Kid” stays healthy, he could be good for 15 homers and 70 RBI in a little over 400 at bats. You can do better.

Travis Hafner (DH, Cle) – While a 25 home run bounceback season isn’t totally out of the question, Hafner’s swing has slowed to more of a fierce wave recently. Last season, he couldn’t get around on inside fastballs, a pitch he would clobber five years ago. If his back is okay, take a late-round flier, but don’t expect the return of Pronk from 2006.

Jason Isringhausen (RP, Free Agent) – Izzy maintains that he’s healthy and ready to pitch, but first he needs a job. Only time will tell whether he’s the last one who needs to be told the party’s over. At 293 career saves, Isringhausen surely wants to close out at least seven more victories before he calls it a career.

Randy Johnson (SP, Retired) – One wonders what might have never been had Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan not taken a then 28 year-old Johnson under his wing after the 1992 season and corrected his pitching mechanics. Although Randy’s pursuit of 5000 strikeouts fell short by 125, I will maintain that, all due respect to Johan Santana and Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson was the best left-handed starting pitcher I ever saw. Sayonara, Unit.

Chipper Jones (3B, Atl) – This fan favorite should no longer be considered a mixed-league option at 3B. His body prevents him from staying healthy for an entire season, and he will start getting spelled at third base more from 2010 moving forward. Count on Chipper more as a late-round reserve corner infielder if you absolutely have to have him on your squad.

Andruw Jones (DH, White Sox) – A name I will rue forever after I wasted a third-round pick on him in 2007, Jones’ putrid batting average, in spite of his HR/AB, will cause more headaches than jumps for joy. His inability to cover the outfield any longer is the reason the White Sox will use Andruw as a DH. The perfect example of an “old” 32 years old, Jones looks indifferent on some nights, and washed up on others. On a side note, nothing brought Dodger fans more closely together in 2008 than the chance to mercilessly boo Jones (signed for an appalling $36 million over two years) each time he stepped up to bat. Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti will NEVER live that free agent acquisition down.

Mike Lowell (3B, Bos) – Now that Boston signed Adrian Beltre to hold down the hot corner, Lowell will be relegated to a bench role. However, Lowell has been showcased at first base in spring training while Red Sox GM Theo Epstein attempts to deal him. As he will be 36 come Opening Day, Lowell’s best days are behind him, and given the he is still recovering from a thumb injury, look elsewhere for corner infielder help unless Lowell proved he’s healthy and gets a regular gig somewhere.

Ivan Rodriguez (C, Was) – In this downturn economy, Pudge hit paydirt by accepting a 2-year, $6 million offer to platoon with Jesus Flores and Will Nieves in Washington DC. The future Hall-of-Famer’s name may look good on paper as your second catcher, but his stats will leave something to be desired.

BJ Ryan (RP, Free Agent) – He can’t even get a minor league deal right now. His fastball is currently of the Reagan Era variety (mid-80s). Stay away, and instead reminisce about his salad days from five-to-six years ago when he struck out an average of over a batter and a half for every inning he pitched.

Gary Sheffield (OF/DH, Free Agent) – His playing career literally spans my entire fantasy career. Instead of boring you with my many Gary Sheffield trades, rants, and anecdotes, I will tell you that the 41 year-old doesn’t have much left in the tank. He may think he has a shot at 3000 hits (currently at 2689), but his defensive limitations limit him as a candidate for DH duties.

Tim Wakefield (SP, Bos) – At 43 years of age, Wakefield is still a very effective pitcher. His command of his famous knuckleball is as good as when he was a Pirate in the mid-90s. Wakefield was actually leading the American League in wins at one point near the All-Star break in 2009, but given Boston’s recent free agent acquisition of All-Star pitcher John Lackey, Wakefield’s rotation spot will probably go to up-and-comer Clay Buchholz unless Buchholz falters. Stay tuned for further developments, and only use a late-round flier on Wakefield if he’s the Red Sox fifth starter.

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