Saturday, March 21, 2009

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XII

Welcome to our 28th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on In case you missed it, here are the previous issues: Volume I, Issue I (September 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue II (September 13, 2008), Volume I, Issue III (September 19, 2008), Volume I, Issue IV (September 27, 2008), Volume I, Issue V (October 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue VI (October 11, 2008), Volume I, Issue VII (October 18, 2008), Volume I, Issue VIII (October 25, 2008), Volume I, Issue IX (November 1, 2008), Volume I, Issue X (November 8, 2008), Volume I, Issue XI (November 15, 2008), Volume I, Issue XII (November 21, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIII (November 30, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIV (December 7, 2008), Volume I, Issue XV (December 14, 2008), Volume I, Issue XVI (December 20, 2008), Volume I, Issue XVII (December 28, 2008), Volume II, Issue I (January 3, 2009), Volume II, Issue II (January 11, 2009), Volume II, Issue III (January 20, 2009), Volume II, Issue IV (January 24, 2009), Volume II, Issue V (January 29, 2009), Volume II, Issue VI (February 8, 2009), Volume II, Issue VII (February 17, 2009), Volume II, Issue VIII (February 23, 2009), Volume II, Issue IX (February 28, 2009), Volume II, Issue X (March 8, 2009), Volume II, Issue XI (March 15, 2009)

In this week's issue, we bring you:

^ Spring Training Player Notes
^ Strategic Observations From the Two FDH Mock Drafts

Spring Training Player Notes

^ Max Scherzer: At this point, it appears that his shoulder issues will not preclude him from making his first start as the Arizona first starter in mid-April.

^ Chipper Jones: With his injury history, you have to be cautious about the notion that he will start the season for Atlanta. But hopefully, any concerns about his health are “baked into the cake” on your draft board and his creaky gut muscles shouldn’t pose much additional concern beyond what you already expected.

^ Kenshin Kawakami: While shoulder fatigue should be a concern, hopefully you didn’t consider this relatively low-ceiling import as a crucial player to obtain anyway.

^ Kevin Youkilis: He shouldn’t miss much regular-season time, if any.

^ Fausto Carmona: While there was reason to expect a rebound from his star-crossed ’08 campaign, the line drive he took off the forearm this past Thursday should lead to caution. Negative X-rays don’t necessarily mean the end of his woes.

^ Travis Hafner: The shoulder is now supposedly healthy, but the spring numbers are not, which is not a good sign for those hoping he wasn’t permanently mired in suckatude.

^ Shin-Soo Choo: One of the best fantasy hitters in ’08 on a per-AB basis, his arm appears healthy enough based on his contributions to the Korean WBC team.

^ Ervin Santana: Elbow? Uh-oh! Use much caution. He just started his rehab program, so you can’t be too optimistic right now.

^ Kelvim Escobar: He’s making a strong comeback from surgery, but if you count on him from Day One, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. Temper your expectations, even with the “miracle comeback” talk.

^ Manny Ramirez: Sad to say, but the fact that he didn’t get every last dollar from the Dodgers may well “affect his recovery time.” Don’t count on an immediate return.

^ Joe Mauer: We already had him downgraded, as we do every year, for “slappy-itis,” but his back issues should drop him lower as he can’t be counted upon until late April at the earliest.

^ Francisco Liriano: The Sporting News reports that he looks as good now as he did in ’07 – and he was the best pitcher in baseball that year.

^ Johan Santana: Seems good to go – and he’s the best pitcher of this generation when healthy.

^ Alex Rodriguez: Don’t count on him until at least May 15, so that slots him as no better than a third or fourth-round pick at best – and a bit lower, in our book.

^ Joey Devine: His rehab is going well, tentatively, but he’s not trying to go 100% yet, and he surely has lost ground in the closer battle with Brad Ziegler.

^ Justin Duchscherer: ‘08’s career-year poster child is making baby steps in his return. Play it on the safe side and assume he won’t be ready at the start of the season.

^ Cole Hamels: Proceed with caution. He will almost assuredly start the season on the DL, and although the stay may not be lengthy, he’s not necessarily a fantasy ace at this point due to time he’ll miss.

^ Mark Prior: He should be fine. Nah, just kidding!

^ Troy Glaus: He will probably miss about 2-4 weeks at the start of the season.

^ BJ Upton: It’s very unlikely he’ll miss much more than the first week of April.

Strategic Observations From the Two FDH Mock Drafts

Before we get started, we need to remind you again, for your own good, to check out FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009, a free joint electronic publication from and our pals at Sportsology. It was released at the beginning of March, so it is up-to-date in a way that other publications are not (i.e. factoring in the A-Rod surgery). This guide has a mock draft that we put together on March 1.

The second mock draft we are referencing here was held as a special edition of our FDH LOUNGE program on (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT) on March 11. Normally, THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER exists as a “show-within-a-show” from 9:00-9:30 PM EDT, but this 49th episode of THE LOUNGE was completely given over to this event. We recapped it in full in last week’s newsletter.

With many of the same owners, and the drafts held a mere 10 days apart, many elements of the two events were similar – but since the first draft fell just before A-Rod’s injury was revealed, his draft status was much different from the initial one (third pick overall) to the second one (11th pick, 7th round).

^ While the conventional wisdom holds that Matt Holliday is worth far less in ’09 due to his transfer from a big hitting park to a big pitching park, our participants begged to differ in both mock drafts. Remember that this superstar is not going to be fazed by the dimensions, merely the carry of the ball, because the Rockies compensate for the altitude not only with the humidor but also with fence location. He may have more doubles and less homers, but that doesn’t translate to lower numbers across the board in a dramatic way.

^ Grady Sizemore is the first outfielder to go in many drafts this year, but he lasted until the late first round in the first draft and early second round in the other.

^ Folks weren’t inclined to take starting pitchers very high unless they were aces. That’s a sound approach to take this year.

^ In both drafts, owners heeded our notion that shortstop was far, far deeper this year than the other traditionally shallow positions of catcher and second base.

^ Even with many of the same owners involved, human nature does not always yield predictable results. We already established why there would be a big range in A-Rod’s point of selection in the two drafts. Much less apparent is why Jay Bruce would go at the top of the 8th round in one draft and in the mid-15th round in the other! Sometimes players will rise and fall in different leagues even with many common owners due to factors that cannot be forecast, such as different strategies being applied by the same owners.

^ Our lectures on how the power/speed gap has been closing in MLB were apparently absorbed by the participants, as drafters in both events were unwilling by and large to overpay for stolen bases.

^ Given that both drafts had strict mandates on positions that had to be taken, it was no surprise that owners waited until late to satisfy the middle infield slot. Additionally, they tended to stagger their last remaining need to differentiate from other owners so that they could get players earlier at positions still being actively contested.

Additionally, because our draft guide went to press so recently, almost all of our content is still pretty current. We’ll list for you one more time our Table of Contents for FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009.

Page 1: Draft Philosophy Overview, Top 72 Overall
Page 2: Starting Pitcher Rankings, Draft Board Decoder, Lessons of “The Stat”
Page 3: Starting Pitcher Rankings Cont’, 2009 Don’t Be That Guy
Page 4: Starting Pitcher Rankings Cont’, Relief Pitcher Rankings, 2009 Sleepers
Page 5: Catcher Rankings, 2009 Overvalued, 2009 Undervalued, Offseason Movement Winners and Losers
Page 6: First Base Rankings, Injury Risk Management
Page 7: Second Base Rankings, Designated Hitter Rankings, 2009 Position Battle Overview
Page 8: Shortstop Rankings, 2009 Prospect Rankings, Long-Term Keeper League Prospect Rankings
Page 9: 2009 AL & NL Scarcity, 2009 Players With a Wide Range of Opinion
Page 10: Respect Mah Eligibilitah!
Page 11: Third Base Rankings, Suggested League Guidelines
Pages 12-13: Outfield Rankings
Pages 14-15: 2009 Mock Draft and Analysis
Page 16: World Baseball Classic Draft Board and Suggested League Guidelines
Pages17-18: Russ’s Rants: Steroids, Blyleven and Schilling
Page 19: MLB Front Office Manager
Page 20: FDH Standings/Awards Predictions for 2009 MLB, FDH Minor League System Rankings
Page 21: 2009 Fantasy Overview, 2008 Legitimate Breakthroughs/Reclamation Cases


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