Thursday, February 12, 2009

More Keepers - Summer Fox

Let's take a look at the possible keepers for the Summer Fox.  For those who remember from the last post, I'll be looking at which seven players I think each owner in our Yahoo H2H league should keep for the upcoming season.  Here's the roster for the Summer Fox.

Summer Fox

Jason Bay (Bos - OF) 
Adrián Béltre (Sea - 3B) 
Stephen Drew (Ari - SS) 
Yunel Escobar (Atl - 2B,3B,SS) 
José Guillén (KC - OF) 
Todd Helton (Col - 1B) 
Akinori Iwamura (TB - 2B,3B) 
Kenji Johjima (Sea - C)  
Adam Jones (Bal - OF)  
Paul Konerko (CWS - 1B)  
Jason Kubel (Min - OF)  
Brandon Phillips (Cin - 2B) 
Manny Ramírez (LAD - OF) 
Colby Rasmus (StL - OF) 
Aaron Rowand (SF - OF) 
Skip Schumaker (StL - OF) 
Ichiro Suzuki (Sea - OF) 
Mark Buehrle (CWS - SP) 
Fausto Carmona (Cle - SP) 
Randy Johnson (SF - SP) 
Hiroki Kuroda (LAD - SP) 
John Lackey (LAA - SP) 
Justin Masterson (Bos - SP,RP) 
Daisuke Matsuzaka (Bos - SP) 
Greg Smith (Col - SP) 
Billy Wagner (NYM - RP) 

First off, we have some no-brainer picks: Ichiro, Manny Ramirez, Brandon Phillips, and Jason Bay.  On average, these guys are being taken before the fourth round.  I don't think Jason Bay will revert to his 2007 season form, but I don't expect him to improve on last year's numbers.  Ichiro is getting older - he posted his lowest OPS total since he's been in the U.S. last year - but he can still run and help your batting average.  He should still be a stud this year.  Manny will mash no matter where he is.  Phillips will give you a good balance of power and speed at a position lacking depth for both, but I am a little worried about the possible batting average drain.

After that, I think we have to go with Stephen Drew.  A heralded prospect in the minors, Drew 
took a big step forward in his second full year in the majors, hitting .291 with a .502 slugging 
percentage.  He'll be 26 when the season starts, right in the middle of his prime, so it's possible 
that he could take another small step forward.  Like Phillips, strikeouts are a concern, so Drew 
might have trouble hitting .291 again.

Though I don't like keeping pitchers, I think the level of talent that's left means we have to take 
John Lackey.  Lackey is a solid pitcher who will give you good strikeout rates and 13-14 wins.  
He's cut down on his walks the past two years, which should help keep his ERA and WHIP down. Expect better numbers than last year from a healthy John Lackey.

For the last spot, we have a few players to consider.  A possible candidate is Daisuke 
Matsuzaka; while he is a good pitcher, he walks way too many batters to be able to repeat last 
year's 2.90 ERA.  He does strikeout more batters than Lackey, but I think Lackey has the edge 
in ERA and WHIP this year.  I think Matsuzaka, or a pitcher like him, could be found through the draft.  I also like Adrian Beltre; he's been a very solid third baseman over the years, but I think he is someone who could also found in the middle rounds of the draft.  For this last pick, I think we have to go for prospects with upside.  Summer Fox picked up Colby Rasmus in the draft last year in hopes that he would be called up during the season, but injuries kept Rasmus down in the minors for the year.  Rasmus is still a talent, but it doesn't look like there's room for him to win a spot out of spring training.  He's draftable, but only as a late-round flier.  I think the choice here is Adam Jones.  This is a high-risk pick, but Jones has displayed the type of skills in the minor that could make him a fantasy stud for years to come.  I don't know that he will break out this year, but his upside is a 20/20 season this year if he can take that step forward.  10/20 seems more likely this year, but we'll be happy with that.

As always, let me know where I went wrong or right in the comments.

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