Monday, March 2, 2009

Last of the Keepers - Macafeys

Finally, let’s look at the last team in our league, the 2008 champions: the Macafeys.  The Macafeys have had a strong team that past few years; this was the second year in a row that they made the championship round, and this is their first championship.  Will they repeat?

The Macafeys

Elijah Dukes (Was - OF)        

Adam Dunn (Was - 1B,OF)  

Jeff Francoeur (Atl - OF)       

Alex Gordon (KC - 1B,3B)   

Carlos Gómez (Min - OF)      

Derrek Lee (ChC - 1B)          

Magglio Ordóñez (Det - OF) 

Jimmy Rollins (Phi - SS)        

Álex Ríos (Tor - OF)  

Geovany Soto (ChC - C)       

Ian Stewart (Col - 2B,3B)     

B.J. Upton (TB - 2B,OF)       

David Wright (NYM - 3B)    

Cha Seung Baek (SD - SP,RP)          

Grant Balfour (TB - RP)        

Taylor Buchholz (Col - SP,RP)          

Joey Devine (Oak - RP)         

Freddy García (NYM - SP)   

Jesse Litsch (Tor - SP)           

Kyle Lohse (StL - SP)           

Sean Marshall (ChC - SP,RP)

Zach Miner (Det - SP,RP)     

Ross Ohlendorf (Pit - SP,RP)

Josh Outman (Oak - SP,RP)  

The Macafeys are stacked in the infield with Jimmy Rollins and David Wright, both consensus first-round picks.  Wright is 26 and Rollins is 30, so there’s no reason to think that they can’t produce first round numbers again this year.  Rollins missed time early last season due to an ankle injury, but he shouldn’t be bothered by it this year.  Both players are easy picks due to age and track record, though Rollins will lose value if he fails to hit 20 HR again this year. 

B.J. Upton’s value dropped last season when he hit 9 HR after hitting 24 in 2008, but it seems likely that shoulder problems hindered his power output last year.  Offseason surgery will hopefully fix that, though he will miss the first week of the season.  I think Upton will bounce back to hit 20 HR again.  He’s young, and he did manage to hit 7 HR in the playoffs last year.  Throw in 40 steals, and you have a player looking to bounce back to elite outfielder levels.

Last season’s NL Rookie of the Year, Geovany Soto propelled himself near the top of the catchers’ rankings with a great first year.  Soto was inconsistent last year, but he showed flashes of greatness.  I think we can expect another 20 HR season from Soto, maybe more as he gets comfortable with league’s pitching.  He’s definitely a top-five catcher.

The Macafeys have a lot of keepers to choose from, and I almost want to go with Roy Halladay, but rather than choose that elite pitcher, I’m going to go with Alex Rios.  We’ve been waiting for Rios to have a 20/20 or even a 30/30 season for a couple of years now, but I think he puts it together this year.  Rios might never be an elite outfielder, but his ability to hit for average and his speed make him a solid contributor.  The upside his skills represent say that you have to keep him in case he does put it together this year.  I’m encouraged by the power surge he experienced in the second half last year, so I do think he can take that next step forward. 

Two more spots.  I’m going to pass up Halladay again and go with Derrek Lee.  Lee’s not getting any younger, but he’s still a good hitter, providing you middle-tier value at the first base position.  He’s not going to hit 30 HR, but he’ll give you a batting average around .300 and good RBI and Runs totals.  Lee is not elite, but he does represent a solid value, and I don’t think the Macafeys are going to be able to pick up any first baseman close to Lee’s skill level.

I considered a few different players for this last spot.  You know that Adam Dunn will hit for power and hurt your average, and this team could use some more power, but I don’t think this team needs another outfielder.  Besides, Dunn is usually available by the ninth round over at ESPN, so I think that he’ll be available for the Macafeys to draft if they don’t keep him.  Magglio Ordonez is getting older and he doesn’t run or hit for power anymore.  He does hit for average and could provide numbers similar to Rios, minus the steals, but I still don’t think this team needs another outfielder.  I really like Elijah Dukes for his potential if he can stay healthy and stay out of trouble, but he’s not a keeper yet.  I think it’s time to let go of Alex Gordon.  While Gordon still has a chance to have a good career and it’s possible that he breaks out this year, I don’t think he’s valuable enough to be a keeper.  He’ll probably slip due to the fact that he hasn’t measured up to the hype, so wait a few rounds and then draft him.  I think the last spot has to go to Roy Halladay.  I don’t like to keep pitchers and I almost want to take Ordonez instead, but consistently dominant pitchers like Halladay are important in head-to-head.  Halladay will start at least 30 games and give you elite control.  He doesn’t strike out a lot of batters, but he will help you in ERA and WHIP.  All of these other players could fall in our draft, but I don’t think Halladay makes it to the Macafeys in the first round.

All right, that’s it, all the teams have been looked at except for mine.  I will post my keepers on Wednesday, the day keepers are due for our league, and as I said last time, I will try to rank the top-three teams based on their keepers.

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