Archive for March, 2012

Today will be the top 10 fantasy busts of the 2012 season, based on their ADP in fantasy leagues.

Curtis Granderson, NYY OF (ADP: 17):

Look. I love Granderson as a fantasy player. He is a consistent steals threat and posts solid 20+ homer years every year. In the Yankees lineup, he will score and drive in 100+ runs. What’s the catch? He is being drafted inside the top 20 on nearly every fantasy site. This is because he hit 41 home runs last year, up from his previous career high of 30. He also hit over .270 against lefties, up from a career average of .220. I don’t think that he can hit 41 homers again, and he will regress. If you can get him in the forth or fifth round (31-50 overall), then go get him. Otherwise, I’ll pass, because his average is nothing special and his HR will go down. As he gets older, he also won’t steal as many bases.

Verdict: I would have Granderson around 35, and not top 20.

Mike Napoli, TEX C/1B (ADP 40):

Napoli had a career year last year, and is the top catcher off the board in most leagues. However, I think that if we look deep inside to his stats there is a different story. He had a career year in terms of homers, but there is reason to think those will go down, as 1/4 of his fly balls went into the stands. That is an extremely high and unsustainable.. Also, he  had the best batting average of his career, hitting over .300. That isn’t going to happen again. He is a career .260 hitter, and last year his BABIP was a career high .344. His batting average and homers will come down this year, so I suggest waiting on Napoli.

Verdict: I think Napoli should be the 3rd catcher off the board (I’d rather have Carlos Santana and Brian McCann). Maybe draft him at 70.

Ryan Howard, PHI 1B (ADP of 140):

Howard is injured (likely out until at least June) and declining. No thanks.

Verdict: He should be around 240, IMO

Alex Rodriguez, NYY 3B (ADP of 70):

Feel free to let the people who pay for name value to take A-rod. He is clearly on the downside of his career, and his numbers are going down every year. More importantly, he is missing huge chunks of time each season with injuries. While his numbers are still solid (when healthy) I would pass on A-rod.

Verdict: If he wasn’t valued on his name, I believe that his ADP would be closer to 140.

Any closer being picked inside the top 120:

I’m not saying that ALL RP’s in the top 120 will be busts, but I AM saying that you should NEVER pay for saves. Closers are very unpredictable, and I’d much rather spend one of my top picks on a hitter. You can always pounce on the waiver wire later for closers. An example: Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson, two top 15 closers are ALREADY done for the year with TJ surgery. Here are the closers being picked in the top 120:

Craig Kimbrel (top 60), Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Paplebon, John Axford, JJ Putz, Drew Storen, Heath Bell

The least likely to bust would be Kimbrel and Rivera. Kimbrel is on a tier of his own and Mo is so consistent that I can’t predict a bust. On the other hand, Storen and Bell look like prime bust candidates. Storen, a young closer, is coming off a great season where he got fairly lucky and Bell is moving from Petco Park (most pitching friendly park in the MLB) to the new Marlins Stadium.

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Preseason MLB postseason predictions

Posted: 03/28/2012 by levcohen in Baseball

Yesterday I posted the standings. Today is the playoff predictions:

NL:
wildcard play in game: Julio Teheran and the Braves OVER Josh Johnson and the Marlins

#1 Phillies vs. #4 Braves.

Phillies win in 5. Halladay (2) (PHI), Hamels (PHI), Hudson (ATL), Kimbrel (ATL) get wins

#2 Diamondbacks vs. #3 Reds.

D’backs win in 4. Putz (ARI), Hudson (ARI), Bauer (ARI), Latos (CIN) get wins

#1 Phillies vs. #2 Diamondbacks

D’backs win in 7. Bauer (2) (ARI), Kennedy (ARI), Cahill (ARI), Stutes (PHI), Lee (PHI), Papelbon (PHI) get wins

AL:

wildcard play in game: David Price and the Rays OVER Colby Lewis and the Rangers

#1 Yankees vs. #4 Rays

Rays win in 5. Sabathia (2) (NYY), Moore (TB), Hellickson (TB), Davis (TB) get the wins

#2 Angels vs. #3 Tigers

Angels win in 5. Wilson (LAA), Santana (LAA), Haren (LAA), Verlander (2) (DET) get the wins

#4 Rays vs. #2 Angels

Angels win in 5. Weaver (2) (LAA), Richards (LAA), Haren (LAA), Farnsworth (TB) get the wins

WORLD SERIES:

D’backs vs. Angels

Angels win in 6. Weaver, Haren, Wilson, Scott Downs get one win apiece. Collmenter, Cahill win games for the Diamondbacks.

WS MVP: Albert Pujols

 

While I think this is a doubtful world series, I am surprised by how many people have been counting out the D’backs this year. Many people don’t even think they will make the playoffs. I don’t see why not. They made it last year and have vastly improved their depth in terms of getting another SP, and really anchoring up their bullpen. They also got a starting OF in Kubel, who will thrive in Chase Field.

An interesting note is that 3 of the 4 wild card teams are from the NL and AL East. The East’s also win both wildcard matchups, and the top team in each league is from the East. I guess that just proves the dominance of the East.

my preseason MLB standings predictions

Posted: 03/27/2012 by levcohen in Baseball

Here they are (plus each divisions MVP and CY Young, and rising star.):

NL East:

1. Philadelphia Phillies, 93-69… Trending down (age and injuries taking their toll)
2. Miami Marlins, 90-72 … Trending up (new stadium, big FA)
3. Atlanta Braves, 88-74.. Not trending (quiet offseason)
4. Washington Nationals, 83-79.. Trending up (maybe the first winning season coming up?)
5. New York Mets, 66-96… Trending down (Big salary dump this offseason)

Overall, this is one of the top 2 if not the top division in baseball.

MVP: Giancario Stanton, Miami Marlins
CY Young: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
Rising Star: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

NL Central:

1. Cincinnati Reds, 87-75… Trending up (easier division this year, traded for an ace in Mat Latos)
2. Milwaukee Brewers, 85-77… Trending down (lost Fielder, gained Aramis Ramirez)
3. St Louis Cardinals, 81-81… Trending down (lost Pujols and gained Beltran. Now Carpenter is out for months)
4. Pittsburgh Pirates, 78-84… Not trending (good offseason, but they won’t be trending up until they break .500 for the first time in decades)
5. Chicago Cubs, 73-89… Trending up (rebuilding year, time to shed those contracts. The trending up is just because i like their front office changes)
6. Houston Astros, 57-105… Not trending (they stink, next year they move to the AL West)

One of the worst, and most winnable, divisions in baseball..

MVP: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
CY Young: Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
Rising Star: Shelby Miller, St Louis Cardinals

NL West:

1. Arizona Diamondbacks, 91-71.. Trending up (traded a top prospect for another mid level SP, improving depth. Signed power hitting Jason Kubel)
2. San Francisco Giants, 85-77… Not trending (hitting is still the problem)
3. Colorado Rockies, 82-80.. Not trending (last year was a down year, they traded their ace and now need their young pitching to develop. High scoring team in Coors)
4. LA Dodgers, 80-82… Trending up (ownership fiasco is over with, they have 2 longterm building blocks in Kemp and Kershaw)
5. San Diego Padres, 72-90… Trending up (traded their ace for some top tier prospects. Patience is needed in San Diego)

Interesting division. I could see any of the top 4 winning if the D-backs aren’t as good as I think they will be. Top 4 are all very talented.

MVP: Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks
CY Young: Clayton Kershaw, LA Dodgers
Rising Star: Trevor Bauer, Arizona Diamondbacks

AL East:

1. New York Yankees, 96-66.. Trending even (Let’s face it. They are the Yankees)
2. Tampa Bay Rays, 90-72.. Trending even (pitching is still the strength and it all comes from good drafting)
3. Boston Red Sox, 89-73.. Trending even (very talented, new manager, pitching problem)
4. Toronto Blue Jays, 86-77.. Trending up (would be in contention to win the division in almost any other division)
5. Baltimore Orioles, 70-92.. Trending down (they are trapped in a bad division with a bad team. Not a good combination)

Might be the toughest division.

MVP: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
CY Young: David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
Rising Star: Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays

AL Central:

1. Detroit Tigers, 92-70.. Trending up (Got Prince Fielder, lost Victor Martinez. I’ll take it.)
2. Cleveland Indians, 81-81.. Trending down (Fausto Carmona’s identity issue causes the trending down)
3. Kansas City Royals, 80-82.. Trending up (young talent has arrived. Joakim Soria is down for the year, but they can replace him)
4. Chicago White Sox, 70-92.. Trending down (it is bad when you start rebuilding when your top prospect is barely inside the top 100)
5. Minnesota Twins, 68-94.. Trending down (their stars are just too injury prone)

Looks like the Tigers are the most obvious preseason division winner pick

MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
CY Young: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Rising Star: Will Myers, Kansas City Royals

AL West:

1. LA Angels, 93-69… Trending up (Gotta love Pujols and CJ)
2. Texas Rangers, 90-72… Trending down (Angels may have passed them in terms of talent, lost CJ Wilson for Darvish)
3. Seattle Mariners, 70-92… Trending up (great prospects, in a few years they may be over .500)
4. Oakland Athletics, 65-97… Trending down (rebuilding has just began)

This is a very split division, with LA and Texas way better than Seattle and Oakland..

MVP: Albert Pujols, LA Angels
CY Young: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
Rising Star: Danny Hultzen, Seattle Mariners

 

Playoff predictions coming tomorrow

Sweet 16 review, Elite 8 predictions

Posted: 03/24/2012 by levcohen in Basketball

Here are the sweet 16 results:

Syracuse OVER Wisconsin, 64-63 (i picked correctly)

Louisville OVER Michigan State, 57-44 (Correct)- upset

Ohio State OVER Cincy, 81-66 (incorrect pick)

Florida OVER Marquette, 68-58 (incorrect)- upset

Baylor OVER Xavier, 75-70 (correct)

UNC OVER Ohio, 73-65 OT (correct)

Kentucky OVER Indiana, 102-90 (correct)

Kansas OVER NC State, 60-57 (correct)

I went 6-2. Some notes:

I guessed correctly that Cuse-Wisconsin would be close. I guessed that Baylor-Xavier would be close. I thought Cincy would win or cover, a big mistake. I thought UNC could blow out Ohio, a huge mistake. I guessed that Kansas-Nc State would be close

Elite 8 predictions:

#1 Kentucky OVER #3 Baylor, 87-76

#7 Florida OVER #4 Louisville, 65-61

#2 Ohio State OVER #1 Syracuse, 77-73

#2 Kansas OVER #1 UNC, 81-71

setting up a final 4 of Kentucky vs. Florida and OSU vs. Kansas

NCAA Sweet 16 predictions

Posted: 03/22/2012 by levcohen in Basketball

Now for the sweet 16 predictions (games have started, but im doing this before looking at any):

#1 Kentucky OVER #4 Indiana, 78-73. Let’s face it. Kentucky is much more talented, athletic, and have a better defense than Indiana. However,  Indiana knows how to beat Kentucky and have tremendous 3 point shooting. Look for Kentucky to win, but Indiana to cover the spread

#3 Baylor OVER #10 Xavier, 76-72. Baylor seems to have the athleticism and size to rout Xavier, but Xavier will keep it close and cover the spread. For Xavier to win, they must contain Brady Heslip and hit their 3 point shots. I’m picking Baylor to win, but wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset.

#4 Louisville OVER #1 Michigan State, 64-60. I don’t really like either team, and both have major holes. Louisville isn’t a great offensive team, but are a great defensive team. As for MSU, in their close win against Saint Louis they shot 54% from the field compared to 35% for St Louis, but MSU barely squeaked by. This is because they have a hard time holding onto leads. Draymond Green and Co. will build a lead, but Rick Pitino’s stifling defense will answer in the second half.

#3 Marquette OVER #7 Florida, 78-68. Both of these teams are built the same kind of way. Get out on the fast break and hit 3’s, and both do it well. However, the difference in this game is Jae Crowder. Marquette’s star forward, Crowder will feast on the shaky forwards on Florida, who’s strength is in their guard play.

#1 Syracuse OVER #4 Wisconsin, 66-61. This is an interesting matchup. The Orange will get thoroughly out rebounded, and Wisconsin has great defense. The Badgers also get to the free throw line a lot. However, Syracuse, even without Fab Melo, have an experienced and deep team. They might lose the rebounding battle, but will get out enough on the fast break to squeeze through.

#6 Cincinnati OVER #2 Ohio State, 73-71. I’ll most likely be wrong on this one, but it is March Madness, so why not. Cincy has great, tough defense, which will be a concern for a shallow team like Ohio State. Cincy should let Jared Sullinger get his points, because there is no stopping him. Instead, they will look to stop William Buford and Aaron Craft from scoring, and will get just enough scoring to win. The spread is Ohio State by 8, so even if they lose Cincy should cover.

#1 North Carolina OVER #13 Ohio, 77-68. This is assuming that star PG Kendall Marshall is out. With him, I think it is a double digit game. Even without Marshall, the Tar Heels have the talent to beat Ohio by double digits. But how will they respond without a true PG? Ohio could keep this close, but talent will win out late.

#2 Kansas OVER #11 NC State, 82-80. This is going to be a very closely matched game, closer than the seedings or the game line (KU by 8) would indicate. NC State can match Kansas in terms of talent. I just like Kansas in this one because they have a POY candidate in Thomas Robinson, who had a bad game against Purdue. I think he bounces back in a big way, but it is still a very close game, much like the Purdue one. 

Preseason MLB top 50 fantasy players

Posted: 03/20/2012 by levcohen in Baseball

Today, taking a break from march madness, I will preview the top 50 fantasy players:

1. Albert Pujols, LAA 1B- consistency gives King Albert the top spot.

2. Ryan Braun, MIL OF- The MVP last year is just entering his prime

3. Miguel Cabrera, DET 1B/3B- He is sliding over to 3B, which will give Miggy a ton of extra fantasy value.

4. Troy Tulowitzki, COL SS- By far the most powerful shortstop, Tulo also boasts a tremendous average

5. Matt Kemp, LAD OF- Kemp came close to the triple crown last year, even on a bad team.

6. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS OF- I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellsbury gave us a 40-40 this year. Is the power legit?

7. Robinson Cano, NYY 2B- I will take the power/r/rbi/average from a 2B all day long.

8. Joey Votto, CIN 1B- Just entering his prime, Votto should anchor a strong Reds lineup

9. Jose Bautista, TOR 3B/OF- Expect the batting average to go down a lot, but his homers keep him elite.

10. Evan Longoria, TB 3B- Tons of skill, this is the year Longo puts it all together

11. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS 1B- Great AVG, solid HR.. And he told media that he has been injured the last two years. Now? He is healthy.

12. Justin Verlander, DET SP- The first pitcher off the board. What’s not to like about the AL CY Young and MVP?

13. Roy Halladay, PHI SP- Consistent, elite pitcher who should win a lot of games.

14. Ian Kinsler, DET 2B- Kinsler, an injury prone second baseman, is the only 2B in the MLB who has 35-35 potential (last year he went 30-30)

15. Hanley Ramirez, MIA SS/3B- With dual eligibility and a new manager, the immensely talented HanRam will put up huge numbers.

16. Dustin Pedroia, BOS 2B- Pedroia is a great hitter who has an even better work ethic.

17. Justin Upton, ARI OF- Upton is still very young, and put up great numbers last year in an improving offense.

18. Clayton Kershaw, LAD SP- CY Young award winner, still young, great stuff, whats not to like?

19. Giancario Stanton, MIA OF- No longer “Mike”, Stanton is my pick to hit the most home runs in the majors this year.

20. Jose Reyes, MIA SS- Miami’s third player, Reyes is a great pick if you want average, runs scored and steals. And who doesn’t?

21. Prince Fielder, DET 1B- Detroit’s new slugging first baseman, you have to love Fielder hitting right after Cabrera.

22. Carlos Gonzalez, COL OF- Playing in Coors field, CarGo should continue to put up good numbers.

23. Felix Hernandez, SEA SP- Had a “down” year (by his standards) but is still the most talented pitcher in the MLB. Expect a bounce back.

24. Cole Hamels, PHI SP- Hamels is still at the beginning of his prime, and has great stuff. Also, this is a contract year.

25. Curtis Granderson, NYY OF- If his power breakout was for real, he could be top 10.

26. Jay Bruce, CIN OF- Bruce, another extremely talented young player, hasn’t even entered his prime yet.

27. Jered Weaver, LAA SP- Weaver will ace a tremendous staff in Los Angeles.

28. David Wright, NYM 3B- A victim of a rebuilding year in New York, he has the skill to be top 10.

29. Andrew McCutchen, PIT OF- McCutchen is a toolsy outfielder who will put up a 20-20, and maybe even a 30-30.

30. Cliff Lee, PHI SP- One of the Phillies 3 aces, Lee, a top 5 cy young candidate last year, should continue to put up some great stats.

31. Mark Teixera, NYY 1B- The average is down and won’t come up, but Tex provides many other important stats.

32. Adrian Beltre, TEX 3B- A great source of power, RBI, and runs scored in a great lineup.

33. Eric Hosmer, KC 1B- Had a breakout rookie year, and shouldn’t have too many sophomore problems. Should only get better.

34. David Price, TB SP- Price, in the beginning of his prime, has already put up great stats. They will only get better.

35. Tim Lincecum, SF SP- Another immensely talented pitcher who won 2 cy youngs.

36. Hunter Pence, PHI OF- The Phillies will rely on him to put up monster numbers in the cleanup and 3 hole.

37. Josh Hamilton, TEX OF- High risk/reward injury prone outfielder who won an MVP when he was healthy.

38. Dan Haren, LAA SP- Solid as can be pitcher with talent and stats.

39. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS 3B- The anchor of an improved Washington offense, should be healthy.

40. Pablo Sandoval, SF 3B- Would be much higher if 3B wasn’t so deep this year.

41. Carlos Santana, CLE C/1B- The most talented catcher, Santana could break out this year.

42. Mike Napoli, TEX C/1B- With his catcher and first base eligibility, Napoli is very valuable.

43. CC Sabathia, NYY SP- Consistently one of the best pitchers in the AL, should win a lot of games.

44. Paul Konerko, SOX 1B- Another consistent, aging 1B who should put up solid stats.

45. Michael Bourn, ATL OF- He is an elite source of steals and runs.

46. Yovani Gallardo, MIL SP- Should have a breakout year this season.

47. Dan Uggla, ATL 2B- Uggla is an elite source of power from 2B

48. Nelson Cruz, TEX OF- Injury prone, but when healthy puts up monster numbers. High risk/reward

49. Starlin Castro, CUB SS- Might be the most talented young SS. He will put up great stats on a bad team.

50. Matt Moore, TB SP- The top prospect, Moore will have a good rookie year.

Positional breakdown (keep in mind that most fantasy rosters go with: 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS, 1 CI (corner IF), 1 MI (middle IF), 3 or 5 OF, and 1-3 UTIL slots.. There is a wider range of pitching slots, but let’s say there are 6 SP.

2 C’s

8 1B’s (not including Santana and Napoli)

4 2B’s

8 3B’s

4 SS’s

14 OF’s

10 SP’s

Notes: 1B is extremely top heavy. You want to get one of Fielder or better. 3B is extremely deep this year. OF and SP are shallower than usual, and the MI spots are about the usual.

 

March Madness.. I went 8-6

Posted: 03/19/2012 by levcohen in Basketball

I had a bad showing in predicting the outcomes of the round of 32 games, going a disappointing 8-6. My correct choices were:

Kentucky OVER Iowa State

Baylor OVER Colorado

Michigan State OVER Saint Louis

Marquette OVER Murray State

Florida OVER Norfolk State

Kansas OVER Purdue

NC State OVER Georgetown

UNC OVER Creighton

My wrong picks were:

VCU over Indiana (Indiana won in a close game)

Lehigh OVER Xavier (Xavier won by double digits, after Lehigh led by double digits in the first half)

New Mexico OVER Louisville (Louisville won by a tad)

Vandy OVER Wisconsin (another close game)

FSU over Cincy (Cincinnati overcame a deficit to win)

South Florida OVER Ohio (Ohio, the newest cinderella team, relied on the 3 and beat the great defense of South Florida)

We are now up to the Sweet 16, which starts on Thursday. The matchups are as follows:

#1 Kentucky vs #4 Indiana. Line- Kentucky is a 9 point favorite. This game has a massive storyline attached to it. Indiana is one of only two teams to beat Kentucky this year, and they did so on a buzzer beater. Kentucky has all the motivation it needs.

#3 Baylor vs #10 Xavier. Line- Baylor is a 6 point favorite. These teams haven’t played against each other, but both have all the motivation needed. Everyone counted Xavier out after their brawl with rival Cincinnati. However, they have talent, as they were #8 in the country before the fight. Baylor wants to erase the memory of the killing of a player and the bad punishment the university got afterwards in the early 2000’s.

#1 Michigan State vs #4 Louisville. Line- Michigan State is a 4.5 point favorite. Louisville is kind of under the radar because they are a very balanced team who plays good defense. Michigan State is also surprisingly under the radar, considering that they are a #1 seed. Draymond Green and Tom Izzo are a great player-coach combo.

#3 Marquette vs #7 Florida. Line- Marquette by 1.5 points. Marquette had a great year in the Big East, finishing as its second best team. On the other hand, Florida underperformed to their preseason top 10 pick, falling quickly out of SEC competition. I think the Golden Eagles should be favored by more

#1 Syracuse vs #4 Wisconsin. Line- Syracuse by 4 points. This is the third 1 vs 4 matchup. Everyone is counting out Syracuse because of their loss of star center Fab Melo, but they still have great depth. On the other hand, Wisconsin was perceived as the worst #4 seed before the tournament started. Doesn’t look that way now.

#2 Ohio State vs #6 Cincinnati. Line- Ohio State by 7.5 points. Ohio State was picked to go to the final 4 by a lot of people, and they have not disappointed. A lot of people also picked Cincy to upset Florida State, which they did. Two teams from Ohio battle it out.

#1 North Carolina vs #13 Ohio. Line- UNC by 11 points. Ohio, the only true Cinderella team left in the tournament, looks to upset a North Carolina team that might be without their star PG. Carolina has a super talented team.

#2 Kansas vs #11 NC State. Line- Kansas by 7.5 points. Kansas is lead by coach Bill Self and POY candidate Thomas Robinson. NC State looks to finally get over the hump.