Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Once More, Keepers - Self Indulgence

Time to do another one.  Let’s look at the possible keepers for Self Indulgence, who will be known this year as Orc Mischief.  Here’s the roster.

Self Indulgence 

Orlando Cabrera (CWS - SS)

Johnny Damon (NYY - OF)  

Andre Ethier (LAD - OF)      

Ken Griffey Jr. (CWS - OF)  

Carlos Guillén (Det - 1B,3B,SS)       

Jerry Hairston Jr. (Cin - 2B,3B,SS,OF)         

Aubrey Huff (Bal - 1B,3B)   

Derek Jeter (NYY - SS)         

Chipper Jones (Atl - 3B)        

Matt Kemp (LAD - OF)        

Jeff Kent (LAD - 2B)

Hideki Matsui (NYY - OF)   

Joe Mauer (Min - C)   

Carlos Peña (TB - 1B)

Mark Reynolds (Ari - 3B)      

Denard Span (Min - OF)        

Jose Arredondo (LAA - RP) 

Aaron Cook (Col - SP)          

Brian Fuentes (LAA - RP)     

Brandon Lyon (Det - RP)      

Gil Meche (KC - SP) 

Johan Santana (NYM - SP)   

Scot Shields (LAA - RP)       

Andy Sonnanstine (TB - SP) 

José Valverde (Hou - RP)      

Chien-Ming Wang (NYY - SP)         

Carlos Zambrano (ChC - SP) 

Here are three no-brainers, but I call them no-brainers for three different reasons.  Johan Santana is a no-brainer because he’s been arguably this best pitcher in the major leagues since he became a full-time starter in 2004.  The man is consistent, and I think we can expect another stellar season from him. 

Matt Kemp is a no-brainer, not because he’s a fantasy stud, but because he could be a fantasy stud for many years to come, starting with this one.  I think the power will come, and we could be seeing a 30/30 season from him in the next few years. 

Joe Mauer is a no-brainer because he is one of the best hitters, not just at his position, but in the entire league.  He won’t hit for power like Brian McCann, and he won’t run like Russell Martin, but he does hit for average.  He’s entering his prime, so be ready for a good season, barring injury.

After those three, we have Chipper Jones, a third baseman who has had more than 500 at bats in a season once since 2003, but who is really good when he plays.  Despite his age and his injury history, I think Jones is one to keep on this team as long as you expect him to miss a quarter of the season.  His main calling card these days is his ability to get on base, which he does by being selective and making contact.  Enjoy it if he reaches 500 at bats, because you could have really good value for him if he does.

Derek Jeter is definitely starting to fade, but I think we can expect one more season of double digit HR and SB with a BA near .300.  He can be overrated in drafts, but he’s fine as a keeper for this team. 

Carlos Pena has hit 77 HR over the past two seasons after struggling to find playing time the two years prior.  I don’t think he’ll hit 40 HR again, but between 30 and 35 is reasonable to expect.  I also don’t think that we can expect him to repeat his .282 BA from 2007; his .247 average from last year is more in line with his career stats.

For the last spot, I think we have to pick another fading Yankee, Johnny Damon.  Damon had one of his stronger seasons last year, but at the age of 35, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect him to continue performing at that level.  I still think he’ll provide good value this year, but it seems likely that his SB will drop closer to 20.  I’d take the under on him hitting 15 HR this year as well.

Some quick thoughts on the players I passed up on: Andre Ethier could take another step forward this year, but he’ll be available later in the drafts.  Aubrey Huff showed some great power last year, but I think his draft-day value will be suppressed as people wonder if he can repeat it.  I think he can repeat, but he should be relatively cheap on draft day.  I don’t like Carlos Zambrano this year at all, as his k/9 has been trending downward the past few years, and the high number of innings pitched in his career may be catching up with him.  I’d take him if he fell to the middle rounds, but I think he’ll go too high based on his name value.

I think this team has some interesting pieces for next year and a good mix of power and speed, but I think they'll need to get a little younger if they want to be competitive over the next couple of years.  Let me know what you think.

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