2005 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Spring Notes II

National League

  • ARIZONA: I've been lauding 3B Troy Glaus this spring and he's responded by hitting .429/.755, with 4 homers and 24 RBI. As low as he is rated, Glaus is the best bargain of 2005... Javier Vazquez's numbers this spring are in line with what I expect him to do during the regular season. The ERA is just above 4.00, but it’s good to see that he’s regained his control again; walking just 1 batter in 19.1 innings.

  • ATLANTA: Maybe I went too far earlier with the sarcasm on Andruw Jones. Maybe this is the year he fulfills his potential. With 10 homeruns this spring, that is the buzz. But other than the 10 HRs, his only other extra base hit is a lone double. There are a ton of stories out there right now about Jones. Check some out. I’m still passing... John Smoltz has thrown 14 scoreless innings this spring.

  • CHICAGO: Just like Andruw, Nomar Garciaparra is getting big press about his impressive spring. Beware of taking either too high, though. Nomar's ceiling is around the low 30s in HRs and 110 RBIs... Both Carlos Zambrano and LaTroy Hawkins have thrown well this spring. Hawkins, has gone 11.1 innings with 12 Ks, 1 BB, 12 hits, and a 1.59 ERA.

  • CINCINNATI: Joe Randa has the third base job and so far he's producing good numbers. Randa is hitting .327/.653 with 4 HRs... Austin Kearns is also swinging the bat well; 8 of his 21 hits so far have been doubles and Kearns is holding a .339 average through the end of March... The Reds' bullpen is getting better too. Danny Graves has thrown 11 scoreless innings and Ryan Wagner has pitched 13.0 innings with just 7 hits, 3 walks, and 10 strikeouts. His ERA this spring is 1.38.

  • COLORADO: Matt Holliday is having a nice spring and he will probably end up as a nice player to have in your lineup when the Rockies play at Coors. Matt hit .338 with 10 HRs in 63 home games last year. He's hit .315/.611 this March and will start the season as Colorado's left fielder. Another guy to watch is Dustan Mohr, but Holliday is probably the more talented of the two.

  • FLORIDA: Beware, Juan Pierre will not be ready to start the season with the Marlins. If he misses an extended period of time, I would expect Luis Castillo to go back to the lead-off spot... Dontrelle Willis has thrown 28 spring innings and has only walked 3 batters... Josh Beckett has started his year much better than A.J. Burnett. Beckett has gone 20.2 and has allowed just 14 hits, 2 earned runs, 5 walks. He's struck out 21. Burnett's ERA is 4.67 after 27 innings of work. He's walked 11 and struck out 19.

  • HOUSTON: One of my favorite sleepers coming into this year is Jason Lane. The Astros outfielder has hit .281/.561 so far and of his 16 hits, 3 are doubles, 2 are triples, and 3 are homeruns. Lane's also stolen 3 bases... I'm sure Roger Clemens is just experimenting with things, but his line of 9.1 innings with 20 hits and 14 runs looks ugly... Brandon Duckworth's good spring made Tim Redding tradeable to San Diego. Duckworth has thrown 20.2 innings with an ERA at 3.05.

  • LOS ANGELES: Scott Erickson doesn't even have a Yahoo profile anymore, but he sure is pitching well. In 30 innings of spring work, Scott has a 2.10 ERA and he's only walked 6 batters. His numbers in Dodger Stadium could earn him a spot on fantasy teams... On the flipside, Edwin Jackson struggled all spring and he's already been sent down. Jackson's just 21 years old, so there's plenty of time for him to learn... Given Eric Gagne's recent arm scare, Yhency Brazoban is a pitcher to draft late. He could have a season like Brad Lidge's 2004; starting the year as a dominant middle innings guy and finishing the year as a top closer. Yhency's pitched 10 innings so far and has 12 Ks with a 1.80 ERA.

  • MILWAUKEE: Lyle Overbay's .383/.550 March is encouraging after I called him out in late February as this year's Sean Casey. It's still early, but Lyle led the NL in doubles last year and if a 5-10 of those balls travel a little further this season, he'll be someone's great find... Carlos Lee is also hitting the cover off the ball. He's gone .419/.977 in 43 at bats.

  • NEW YORK: By my count, the Mets have stolen 33 bases this spring. They've attempted 8 more, giving them 41 attempts in somewhere around 22 games. They are gonna run this year and the two guys that will lead the way are Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. Reyes is 8 for 8 during the spring and he's hitting .333/.508. Beltran is 3 for 3 and he's hitting .348/.652. I still believe Beltran hits over .300 this year (explanation) and that he should be the top overall pick...Kris Benson is pitching well, but he does that every spring... Braden Looper's tough spring may have the Mets edgy about their closer situation. A trade for Urbina has been rumored all month.

  • PHILADELPHIA: I first noticed Chase Utley during a spring game last year in St. Pete. He's got surprising power and a quick bat. Last night I saw him poke two Hideo Nomo 'fastballs' over the right field fence. I think many pitchers will spend 2005 trying to sneak fastballs by Utley, and I think he'll hit 20 homeruns as a result. But I see holes in his swing, so his success may be fleeting if he doesn't adjust at the same rate as the pitchers do. Chase is .353/.647 so far, with 6 homers... Pat the bat is also having a nice month of March. A combination of a new, more gentler manager along with a healthy wrist could return Burrell to .290 and 40 homeruns. He's hit .377/.792 with 6 HRs and 20 RBI so far... The Phillies are going to need a lot of help from their starting pitching if they are going to compete against the Marlins, Mets, and Braves. Only Jon Lieber has kept his ERA under 4.00 this spring. Lidle, Myers, Wolf, and Floyd are all above 6.00.

  • PITTSBURGH: Craig Wilson has been hot, but he's going to need to keep that average up above .300 now that he's no longer catcher eligible. Currently, he's at .311/.738... Jack Wilson has yet to show that doubles power he displayed last year. 8 of his 10 hits so far have been singles... I had high hopes for Kip Wells this year, but his spring hasn't been too inspiring. In 11 innings, he's given up 14 hits, 8 runs, and 6 earned.

  • SAN DIEGO: Xavier Nady was overlooked in my 27-29 review of outfielders because he's turns 27 in November, but I should have included him based on his MLB experience. So here he is. Nady played 110 games in 2003 and hit .267 with 9 HRs and 6 SBs. Nady should start the season in center and if he continues to play everyday, he’ll likely put up Eric Byrnes type numbers. Xavier’s spring averages are .357/.679... Phil Nevin has looked solid, hitting .340, but most of his hits have been singles (13 of 14)... Jake Peavy is still going strong, he’s got a 2.13 ERA through 12.2 innings. But Woody Williams and Brian Lawrence have struggled. Both of their ERAs are over 7.00.

  • SAN FRANCISCO: Pedro Feliz will benefit from Bonds’ absence. Feliz, already eligible to play third and short, will now start in left field and bat in the middle of the Giants lineup. This spring, he’s hitting .403/.661 and has 13 RBIs... Last year, J.T. Snow finished the season on fire (.387 after the break) and he’s continued to look sharp in 2005. Snow has a .364 average in March... I would automatically upgrade any pitcher on the Giants just because they have Mike Matheny catching for them now, but take an extra look at Brett Tomko this spring. He’s given up a ton of hits (31 in 23.2 innings) but his ERA is still just 3.80. Between Tomko, Kirk Reuter, Noah Lowry, and Jerome Williams, at least one of these guys will step up to win 10-12 games with an ERA under 4.00.

  • ST. LOUIS: Pujols = Machine. His spring line: .434/.887 - 15 R - 6 HR - 19 RBI... The Cards have two new middle infielders this year and they are both hitting well this March. David Eckstein is at .404/.532 and Mark Grudzielanek is at .396/.458... I it’s possible this team as a whole will steal less bases than Carl Crawford... Matt Morris’ decline is firm. He’s pitched just 9 innings and has given up 10 hits and 6 runs... Jason Marquis has struggled to find the strike zone, walking 10 in 19.2 innings. His 6.86 ERA is surely a direct result of that as well.

  • WASHINGTON: Jose Guillen has just 5 RBI in 45 at bats. He’s sporting a .267/.556 average and does have 3 homeruns... Termell Sledge appears to have won the left field job with a solid .278/.472 spring... Vinny Castilla is 2 for 20 so far...Esteban Loiaza looks like he’ll settle in as the #2 starter. Loiaza’s line: 20.0 - 22 H - 7R - 7ER - 1 BB - 10 K... Closer Chad Cordero has also been solid. He’s got a 3.24 ERA in 8.1 innings and just one walk to go with his 9 strikeouts.


Past Ten Posts
2005 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Spring Notes
Hockey News
NFL Draft - Pro Days (Purdue, West Virginia, Flori...
2005 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Outfielders
2005 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Short Stops
NFL Draft - Pro Days (California, Oklahoma, Nebras...
2005 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Third Basemen
2005 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Second Basemen
NFL Draft - Pro Days (Oklahoma St., Missouri, Nort...
NFL Draft - Upcoming Pro Days

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