Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Power Rankings

It's time for the first power rankings of the year.  For those who don't know, this is a ranking of the 12 teams in my head-to-head keeper league.  As always, these are 90% subjective and they are a measure of how I think each team will do from this point on.  I reserve the right to change my opinion about each and every one of these team's throughout the year.  As an added bonus, I have designated one player from each team that I would like to have on my own team in a transparent attempt to ignite some trade talks.  These power rankings will appear intermittently throughout the season because they are time-consuming, though I will be more inclined to do them if you guys ask nicely.  Feel free to debate these rankings in the comments section.  Onto the rankings.

1. The $5 Footlongs

With Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Chase Utley, and Carlos Beltran, this offense can officially be considered stacked.  Most teams will not outslug them, and they might find it hard to outrun them since they also have Jacoby Ellsbury, Rafael Furcal, Bobby Abreu, and Adam Jones.  This outfield is a little light on power, so any home run droughts in the infield will be a blow to this team.  This team has great pitching, and though Tim Lincecum and Kevin Slowey have struggled so far, both pitchers should be fine.  This team has a solid bullpen, especially if Trevor Hoffman can stay healthy.  The only thing I can nitpick about this team is after their top four pitchers, they are relying on guys like Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey, Anthony Reyes, and Rick Porcello.  These pitchers all have value, but it’s not a good sign to see them all in one place.  

Guy who I’d want on my team: Kevin Slowey.  I think he’s going to be a top-15 pitcher this year. 


2. Screaming Lemurs

The Lemurs have a good mix of speed and power; this is a very balanced lineup.  Victor Martinez has started hot out of the gate this season, probably trying to erase any memory of his awful 2008 season.  Travis Snider has also started well, and he could have a solid rookie year.  The Lemurs need Alex Gordon to step things up this year to make this lineup one of the best in the league.  I’m a big fan of this team’s pitching, even with Brandon Webb on the DL.  John Danks, Javier Vasquez, Matt Garza, and Johnny Cueto should all have good seasons.  Saves will be scarce on this team, but the Lemurs have already taken advantage of Trevor Hoffman’s injury by picking up Carlos Villaneuva, who should get a few save opportunities before Hoffman comes back.  The Lemurs went 4-6 last week, but that was a very close matchup that could have easily been 6-4 in their favor.  

Guy I’d want on my team: Johnny Cueto.  He’s going to bounce back this year.


3. Naterade

This is a team that is better than the 5-4-1 record they put up last week against a very strong Macafeys team.  Naterade has a solid offense with a few young stars and a great pitching staff anchored by young aces such as Chad Billingsley, Felix Hernandez, and Josh Beckett.  This team should have a lot of high strikeout totals each week.  Naterade will more than hold his own in the pitching categories each week, but they may have trouble beating some of the more powerful offenses in our league.  Other than Justin Morneau and Evan Longoria, this team is a little light on power.  They will need guys like Justin Upton to improve this year if they want to go deep into the playoffs this year.  

Guy who I’d want on my team: Robinson Cano.  I think he’s going to have a strong season this year. 


4. Dissect Yourself

I think this offense is better than people realize.  Micah has lots of power and a good amount of speed on this team.  This team could be poised for a deep playoff run if Chris Davis and Ryan Doumit can hit like they did last year, and if Troy Tulowitzki can return to his 2007 form.  Micahel Bourn will steal a lot of bases if he can keep hitting the way he is now.  The bullpen is very solid, and Micah should come close to winning the Saves category every week.  The pitching is decent, but I’m not a fan of Carlos Zambrano, even with his good start.  

Guy I’d want on my team: Ubaldo Jimenez.  Despite pitching in Coors, I think Jimenez will be a good pitcher.


5. Macafeys

Last year’s champions have a strong team again this year, but I feel that it’s a bit weaker offensively than the 2008 team.  They have fantasy studs like David Wright, Jimmy Rollins, BJ Upton, and Geovany Soto, but they also have some weak spots, specifically at the middle infield positions.  The Macafeys have reloaded with young up-and-comers such as Adam Lind and Matt Wieters; Wieters will especially be valuable to the Macafeys as either Wieters or Soto will become a trade chip once Wieters is promoted.  Mike Jacobs has started slow, but I really like the power that he offers and he’s a solid CI or UT.  I’m not a Milton Bradley fan, mainly because he can’t stay healthy.  I think Nelson Cruz will be good this year, but I’m not buying into the hype that he generated with last year’s performance.  The pitching staff is very good; having Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, Erik Bedard, Adam Wainwright, and Yovani Gallardo will result in some great pitching totals every week.  Closers are scarce on this team, though Jose Arredondo and Scott Downs could find a few saves this year.  Downs could supplant BJ Ryan as the Blue Jays closer if Ryan is injured or inefficient, greatly increasing Downs’ value.  

Guy I’d want on my team: Erik Bedard.  I’m buying into Bedard’s comeback year.   


6. The Balls

The Balls are also strong offensively, though there are some question marks on their team; Shin-Soo Choo and Xavier Nady have started out well, but can they continue to hit well throughout the season, or will find themselves losing at bats if they struggle?  Also, will Jarrod Saltalamacchia bust out of his slump and overtake Elvis Andrus as the jewel of the Mark Teixiera trade, or will he be a black hole at catcher for the Balls this year?  This team will run and hit, but batting average might be a problem for them.  The pitching staff should be pretty good, with Jake Peavy, Ricky Nolasco, and Derek Lowe running out there every five days.  I’m also a fan of Jair Jurrjens for this season, more so than I am of Gavin Floyd who, last season’s 17 Wins notwithstanding, I feel is overrated.  This team is good enough to win 6-4 every week, but I think they will struggle in the Saves, BA, and Wins categories.  

Guy I’d want on my team: Jair Jurrjens.  He’s going to surprise some people.


7. Order of the Phoenix

There’s some good power on this team stored in the bats of Lance Berkman, Pat Burrell, Josh Hamilton, and Ryan Ludwick, but this team should find steals hard to come by with Jose Reyes their only proven base stealer.  Even if Reyes has a monster year and steals 3 bags a week, this team will struggle in the SB category against most teams in the league.  There’s talent on the mound for the Phoenix, but there’s not a lot of depth behind Scott Kazmir and Francisco Liriano.  The bullpen is very good, so the Phoenix should be competitive in Saves, WHIP, and ERA, but K’s and Wins might be hard to come by for this staff.  It looks like Mark plans to address this problem by rotating out as many pitchers as the league allows each week, which should help him if he can pick solid matchups each time.  

Guy who I’d want on my team: It’s a tossup between Pablo Sandoval and Manny Parra.  Both players have started slow, but I think they’re going to have great years.


8. Adrian’s Revenge

My team has been hurt by injuries.  Already I’ve had to deal with Ervin Santana, Scott Baker, and Melvin Mora making trips to the DL (Joe Mauer and Kelvim Escobar are also on the DL but they were like that when I got them).  Only the young guys on my team want to hit; Mark Teixiera, Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Guillen have given early performances ranging from awful to so-so.  Still, I like my team’s chances to make the playoffs if they can turn things around.  I really like my pitching staff, especially with the way Zack Greinke and Gil Meche have been pitching.  It would be nice if Joel Hanrahan would get a save, but I guess the Nationals would have to win a game for that to happen. 


9. Summer Fox

The Fox has the best record after the first week, but their team resembles a MASH unit more than a baseball team.  6 Fox players are on the DL, though Ichiro just came off recently, and it’s not looking like Hiroki Kuroda will return next week when eligible.  This team has a good offense with some young stars to build around.  Their hitting will need to carry the team until the pitching can get healthy.  Right now they are depending on Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, and Jamie Moyer to anchor their staff.  There’s not much in the way of relief on this team, and it might be time to drop Joey Devine for another pitcher since he won’t be back any time soon.  This team can be competitive in the future if managed right, but they will need to get some pitching help if they want to be competitive this year.  

Guy I’d want on my team: Stephen Drew.  I think he’s going to be a solid SS for the next five years or so.

10. Butt Admirals

This could be again one of the faster teams in the league.  They don’t have any true burners, except for possibly Chone Figgins, but they do have quite a few guys that can steal 20-30 bases.  Elvis Andrus is a guy who will probably struggle at the plate, but he had 93 steals over the last two years in the minors, so I think it’s safe to say that he’ll have value this year.  Their pitching staff isn’t as solid as the offense, especially with the injury to Chris Carpenter, who was doing so well prior to getting hurt.  Dan Haren is a stud, Rich Harden is only as good as he’s healthy, and Edinson Volquez has talent, though he probably won’t be as good as he was last year.  Beyond those three, there isn’t much else.  The Admirals should be fine most weeks because they have a solid bullpen to help out in WHIP and ERA, though I’d probably think about dropping Takashi Saito for a reliever or starter with less health issues, preferably one that strikes out a lot of batters.  This team is well-suited to compete over the next couple of years if their young players like Chase Headley and Andrus can mature into All-Stars.  

Guy I’d want on my team: Joey Votto.  I think this guy’s going to be a star for years to come.


11. Orc Mischief

This is a boring team.  It’s boring, and I mean that as a compliment.  None of the players on this team are really sexy breakout picks, except for Alexei Ramirez probably, but they get the job done.  Players like Mark Reynolds, Mike Cameron, and Brad Hawpe don’t seem that great during the season because they can be streaky, but their stats at the end of the year are solid.  This team will have a lot of power, but I think their batting average will be suspect most weeks.  The Orcs will need to use that power to bash their opponents into submission each week, because there’s not much going on in the bullpen.  Johan Santana has started the season with his typically amazing results and Jon Lester is a solid young ace, but Chien-Ming Wang has been awful and Joe Saunders is overrated.  This team will have to hope their relievers give them solid ERA and WHIP each week.  I think this team could surprise some people if they get in the playoffs, but I don’t think the Orcs are built to win beyond this year.  

Guy I’d want on my team: Brad Hawpe.  Solid slugger.


12. The Tossers

What I like about this offense: Travis Hafner looks to be making a bit of a comeback, Corey Hart is a solid 20/20 player, Chris Iannetta could be a top-5 catcher, and Alex Rodriguez might be his old self by May.  What I don’t like: There are a lot of older guys here, which is not a good sign for a team that didn’t have a lot of success last year.  I do like the power and speed that Torii Hunter and Jayson Werth bring, but this team does not have a lot of stars.  The pitching staff is looking better than the offense, especially because bullpen offers three solid closers.  Aaron Harang also looks like he’s ready to bounce back from last year, and Ted Lilly is always good for strikeouts and a decent WHIP and ERA.  This team will need Cliff Lee to pitch better because the pitching staff will be critical to this team’s season record.  

Guy I’d want on my team: Ted Lilly.

1 comment:

John said...

nicely done. like "player i'd like on my team" bit. dude you should totally play WoW.