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Thursday, March 23, 2006 

What's Your Fantasy? (3/23)

The fantasy discussion continues...

- Who are the top 3 fantasy rookies?

1. The Florida Marlins - Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Mike Jacobs and Jason Vargas. All 4 of these players will have value for your fantasy team this year to varying degrees. Hermida is a great keeper prospect and could be a 20/20 guy as a rookie. Willingham has the talent to lead all catchers in home runs. Jacobs' value is dependant on his PT - which could come at first or possibly catcher (with Willingham moving to left field) - if he gains cather eligibility, his value could skyrocket. Vargas will be the #2 starter this year behind the D-Train and will look to build off his solid debut last fall.

[Editor's note: If you want to see a funny joke, check out the official Marlins team depth chart.]

2. Justin Verlander / Joel Zumaya - Both of these guys should be staples in the Tigers rotation for a long time, and with Bondermania in front of them, we could be talking playoffs (playoffs!) in the near future. Zumaya won't help the fantasy team this year, but keep your eye on him for the future. Verlander's debut last fall was less than spectacular, but with a fastball topping out at 100mph, many see him as the top pitching prospect in the game.

3. Francisco Liriano - No pitching prospect has more potential than the Twins' Liriano. Unfortunately he is blocked in the rotation by the shocking Kyle Lohse and fellow rookie Scott Baker (who has the inside track for the 5th spot in the rotation). All Liriano needs is a chance and he will show what he can do. Before you know it this guy is going to be Johan Santana Jr.

And the top rookies who will can contribute on your squad this year:
1. Prince Fielder
2. Ryan Zimmerman
3. Delmon Young - if he gets the chance to play

1. Prince Fielder - The Brewers thought so much of him they shipped off Lyle Overbay, and with good reason. Prince's power drawfs Overbays, and has been tearing through the minors since hitting .390 in rookie ball. He should blast 25 easy.

2. Francisco Liriano- Underrated part of the AJ Pierzynski deal in '03, the converted outfielder has a blazing 98 mph fastball and according to Baseball America, has better overrall stuff than Santana. Hed be No.1 on my list if I knew the Twins wouldn't baby him like they did Johan.

3. Jeremy Hermida- Think about it. He tore apart the minors. He had a sizzling September debut. And now, Hermida could give you 500 ab's, and that should net you a 20-20 man who will hit .300, and with a bonus .360 OBP for leagues who care.

1. Prince Fielder - The Prince's reign could begin with 30 homers in 2006. If you find that your team is lacking power in the middle of your draft, bow down to the Prince.

2. Conor Jackson - In all honesty, the pick here should be Hermida but we needed to mix it up a bit. Jackson will battle Tony Clark for playing time, but the D-Backs won't be pushing for a playoff spot in 2006. It is time to see how Jackson fares against major league pitching so that the team can determine if he is part of their long term future. Jackson was a career .330 hitter in the minors and has hit .432 with 9 BB's this spring. Teammate Stephen Drew is a stud who might end up getting a lot of playing time this year as well, having only to beat out Craig Counsell at shortstop.

3. Matt Cain - The San Francisco starter pitched 46.1 innings in 2005, going 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA and 30 K's but retains his rookie eligibility. AT&T Park is a pitcher's park under any name and he should be the fourth starter for the Giants. Keep an eye on him in deep leagues and see if Cain is Abel to help your squad.

- Who are the top 5 starting pitchers in fantasy?

1. Johan Santana. Don't be afraid to draft him 3rd overall, he's that good.

2. Roy Halladay. Just what the doc ordered - his numbers from last year are stifling (2.41 ERA, 0.96 WHIP - both better than Santana) - unfortunately he didn't even throw 150 innings due to injury. He will challenge Santana for the AL Cy Young this year - wins should be high with an improved lineup, but his ERA and WHIP will go up due to a suspect defense behind him.

3. Ben Sheets. Still young and his best days are in front of him. He is 3rd only if he can stay healthy, probably the biggest injury risk in my top 5.

4. Randy Johnson. Big Unit is still a stud, even in his advancing age. Look for the 3.7 ERA to dip back down closer to 3. He can still strikeout 200 and with that lineup helping him out, he could push 20 wins.

5. Pedro Martinez. The 2006 NY Mets season is resting on the big toe of Pedro Martinez. If he is healthy, they can topple the Braves NL East dynasty. If not (or if his shoulder continues to bother him as it has all spring), the Mets thin rotation will be their downfall. Look for his numbers to be even better than last year if healthy. However, I'm guessing he'll miss up to a month of the year with injuries, draft at your own risk.

1. Johan Santana- The best, and no publication would disagree.

2. Roy Oswalt- Although he's starting to give up more hits, hes a 20 game winner the last 2 years, and has an above average K rate. Skeptics will point to almost 480 inning the last two years, not including two deep postseason runs.

3. Pedro Martinez- The toe injury suffered late in the 2005 season is a concern, but that he improved his ERA by a full run coming from the AL makes him a second round pick. The K's will always be there, and hes still only 34. If your still not convinced, listen to his career comparables according to Baseball Prospectus: Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, and Mike Mussina.

4. Chris Carpenter- Just one more injury-free year Chris. Last year he threw over 260 innings(!) but arguably, they were the best 260 innings in baseball. Big time K's and a fabulous ERA suggest he'll win another 16-20 games in '06.

5. Rich Harden- Do you like to roll the dice? More pontential lies here than any other pitcher, and he gives you production at all 5 categories. Besides, he's just plain fun to watch. A gamble in the fourth round would be ideal.

1. Johan Santana - Should top this list for years to come. Santana needs only one thing to complete his resume: a stellar nickname. This guy is going to be dominating for the next decade, so it's time to give him a lovable nickname befitting his stature, something on par with the Rocket or the Big Unit. Please feel free to submit your suggestions (perhaps one that isn't a phallic symbol like those of Clemens and Johnson).

2. Roy Oswalt - I was mocked for taking Oswalt 17th overall in a recent draft, but I don't regret it one bit. There ain't nothing wrong with consistency and he is my pre-season pick for the NL Cy Young. Why does this guy remain under the radar?

3. Chris Carpenter - Carpenter has tossed 16 shutout innings this spring, proving that his Cy Young in '05 was no fluke. If healthy, Carpenter will pile up wins and innings. A nice strategy would be to deal Carpenter after he gets off to a hot start, but before Tony LaRussa works him to death.

4. Jake Peavy - The only thing lacking here is wins (13-7 , 2.88 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 216 K's). Playing in spacious and beautiful Petco Park with an improved outfield defense only solidifies the 24 year old's spot on this list.

5. Roy Halladay - Halladay broke my heart when he broke his leg last summer, ruining a ridiculous season (12-4, 2.41 ERA, .96 WHIP) and my chances at the title in one of my leagues. He should be fully recovered in 2006 with a fresh arm. Carlos Zambrano, Randy Johnson, and Rich Harden are just outside my top 5.

i don't want to sound like volk, but i need a good fantasy baseball league which i think noobsports can provide. help wampies out. i'll pay top dollar.

My vote for Santana's nickname is for Johan "Santana featuring Rob Thomas"

Noobsports should definitely do a fantasy mailbag this year.

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