3.16.2005
 
NFL Draft - Pro Days (California, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Florida)
PRO DAY INDEX
  • While Aaron Rodgers will hold his private workout on March 17 and J.J. Arrington did everything at the combine, the one player of interest who worked out during Cal's March 8th Pro Day was WR Chase Lyman. The former Bears receiver missed his 2002 season because of a torn hamstring and played in only 4 games in 2004 before he injured his left knee in Cal's 17-23 loss to USC. Before his season ending injury, Lyman had 14 catches for 414 yards (a 29.6 ypc average) and 5 touchdowns. Chase's injuries are definitely an issue for any NFL team that selects him, but for a 6'3, 218 pound receiver who sports a 36.5 inch vertical and a 4.5 time in the 40, Lyman will get a chance somewhere in the league to put the doubts behind him.

  • Oklahoma held their pro day on March 9th and since Mark Clayton, Mark Bradley, and Brandon Jones all ran at the combine, the main focus was on the former Sooner DE, Dan Cody. According to Gil Brandt's notes:
    Dan Cody (6-5¼, 257) ran the 40 twice for times of 4.75 and 4.76. He had a 33-inch vertical, a 10-foot-1 long jump, a 4.56 in the short shuttle and a 7.09 in the cone drill.
    Cody is listed at #10 overall on Mel Kiper's board, but his short shuttle time worries me a bit. It's almost the same as his 40 time, and that's never a good sign of a player's quickness. Cody's 7.09 in the three cone would have been good for second place among DLs at the combine though, so it's possible that he just posted a bad shuttle time. He's more of a trench player anyhow, so workout numbers are only a smal part of Dan Cody's game.

  • Nebraska had three cornerbacks post impressive times in their March 9 Pro Day. At the top of that list is Fabian Washington, who ran a 4.29 and a 4.31 on the field-turf in Nebraska. At the combine, Washington had the fastest official 40 time of all DBs, with a 4.33. Fabian is entering the draft a year early and he is climbing up many teams' charts as the late April draft approaches. Washington weighed in at the combine at 5'10 and 188 pounds. He did 18 bench reps there and also added a 41.5 inch vertical at his Pro Day workout.

    The second Husker CB who posted some nice times was Willie Amos. There doesn't seem to be much info out there on Amos, but both espn and cbs list him as a WR for his senior year. Amos was Nebraska's team leader in interceptions during the 2001 season, but a knee injury seems to have set back his college career a bit. At Nebraska's Pro Day, Amos registered at 6'0, 186 and ran a pair of 4.37's in the 40. He also added a 41 inch vertical (excellent), and 9 foot broad jump (average), a 4.14 short shuttle (below average), and a 6.87 three-cone (above average). Amos could be a nice pick for any NFL team that has the depth to bring him along slowly.

    Lornell McPherson, 5'9 and a half and 175 pounds, ran a 4.53 and a 4.51 40 in Nebraska. He had a 38 inch vertical and a 10 foot broad jump to go with his short shuttle time of 4.28 and three-cone time of 7.26. McPherson played a lot at Nebraska and will make a decent prospect as a late round pick.

    Between Washington, Amos, McPherson, and safety Josh Bullocks, Nebraska is giving the NFL some pretty good defensive backs this year.

  • March 9th was also the date for the University of Florida's Pro Day and NFL personel finally got to see Ciatrick Fason work out. The facility in Gainesville where the workout was held is outdoors and on grass. From Brandt's notes:
    Fason (6-0 5/8, 209) did his running with a little wind playing a role. He ran 4.65 against the wind and 4.57 with the wind. He had a 36-inch verticalm a 9-foot-10 long jump, a 4.24 short shuttle, a 12.07 long shuttle and a 6.72 in the three-cone drill.
    Linebacker Channing Crowder also worked out and put up some very athletic times.

  • Jordan Beck, of Cal Poly-Slo, from Brandt's notes:
    Beck (6-2 3/8, 233) ran his 40s in 4.46 and a 4.45 outdoors on grass with a slight wind at his back. Had a 42-inch vertical jump, 10-foot-9½ long jump, 4.30 short shuttle and 6.92 three-cone drill. He is a rising star who had four interceptions, returning one for a TD against Montana State. Coaches don't know if Beck is a linebacker in the pros or if they should slim him down a bit and make a safety out of him.
    A 4.30 short shuttle is slow for someone who may end up at safety. He seems like a player more suited to play linebacker like Brian Ulracher does. Not that Beck is as good as Ulracher, but some team could take advantage of his sideline to sideline speed in the same manner. Of course, he could just end up like Torrence Marshall.

    Also, here's a nice, long bio about Beck.

  • One final player note is San Jose State defensive end, Tony Ficklin. Brandt's notes that Ficklin "was a Proposition 48 guy and was listed as a junior last year, but didn't make progress by NCAA standards. He does not have more eligibility."

    As a 6'2, 268 pound DE, Ficklin ran a 4.72 and a 4.75 in the 40. He also had a 38 inch vertical and recorded 38 reps on the bench press. Those are all explosive numbers for a player that not too many people know about.

3.15.2005
 
2005 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Third Basemen

BASEBALL PREVIEW
PAGE ONE- INTRO
PAGE TWO- PROSPECTS
PAGE THREE- CATCHERS
PAGE FOUR- FIRST BASEMEN
PAGE FIVE- SECOND BASEMEN
PAGE SIX- THIRD BASEMEN


The 27-29 year olds; age as of opening day.
Stats are 2004

THIRD BASE   TEAM AGE AVG RUNS HR RBI SB
Alex Rodriquez   NYY 29 .286 112 36 106 28

Still at just 29 years old, Alex has been a full time MLer for 9 seasons. Last year's .286 batting average was second worse to only his .285, 1999 campaign as a 23 year old. A year later, Rodriguez set a career high in walks with 100. Now in his second season with NY, one has to think that ARod will return to his .305 career average. I'm still astonished at his base stealing efficiency; Alex has swiped 205 of his 255 attempts. There's no need to talk about value here. He's either the #1 or #2 overall pick.

Scott Rolen   STL 29 .314 109 34 124 4

Technically, Scott is 29 when the Red Sox and Yankees pitch off the season on Sunday night. But when the Cards take the field to begin their 2005, Scott will be celebrating his 30th birthday. Rolen is a career .286 hitter who hit .314 last year. If he spends most of 2005 healthy, he'll will produce similar run and power numbers but I see his .314, 2004 season as a career best. Value too high at 15th overall.

Adrian Beltre   SEA 25 .334 104 48 121 7

Obviously, the breakout was last year. At 25, Beltre gets on this list because he's starting his 7th full MLB season this year. Thus, Beltre's 2004 explosion came a little early. Adrian has only 12 career at bats at SAFECO, so there isn't much evidence to offer a guess on how his number will translate to Seattle. But he did hit 23 of his 48, 2004 HRs at Dodger Stadium. In a new league and with a new contract, I would expect Adrian's power numbers to be consistent with his 2004 showing. His average will probably stumble a bit, but overall Beltre offers decent value at 19th overall if for no other reason than has more pure power potential than another other 3B except ARod.

Arasmis Ramirez   CHC 26 .318 99 36 103 0

Ramirez turns 27 in June, but he is no longer a great value candidate thanks to a strong 2004 season. The Cubs 3B has hit very well at Wrigley over the last two seasons and also proved last year to be a consistent performer. A solid 2005 should be expected. Ranked 40th overall by espn, there's no reason to take Rolen at 15 when you can get Ramirez two rounds later. Good value

Eric Chavez   OAK 27 .276 87 29 77 6

Chavez has been a tease for many years now. Eric has to hit .300 in order to be a top fantasy 3B, but the closest he's gotten was a .288 effort four seasons ago. Expecting 30 HRs and 100 RBIs is easy. Show me the average. Until then, there's no reason he should be rated 35th; ahead of Ramirez. Still, now that he's 27, he's worth a shot.

Aubrey Huff   TB 28 .297 92 29 104 5

Touched on Aubrey with the first basemen. One thing to note is that this 2005 Devil Rays team is the best group that has ever been in Tampa. They’re not playing for the wild card yet, but the Rays are better and Aubrey is their leader. He’ll hit no less than .300 100-30-100. People realize that too, so his ranking is very high. Take him early only if you can’t live without him.

Troy Glaus   ARZ 28 .251 47 18 42 2

This one is as close to a guarantee as you can find. Take a highly repsected player, give him one or two bad seasons in a row (plagued by either injuries or other troubles) and then put him on a new team, in a new league, with lowered expectations and have him turn 28. Sit back and watch. Before Glaus lost his 2004 season, his improved vision as a result of offseason laser eye surgery helped power Troy to 18 homers in just 58 games. That’s a 50 HR season over 162 games. There is, of course, great concerns about his batting average. Glaus is a career .253 hitter but he’s moving into the batter friendly Bank One Ballpark this year. If he can raise it to .275, he’s more than worth the 103rd rating that espn has him at. 50 homeruns. Seriously. In terms of value, Glaus is the top rated third baseman this season.

Shea Hillenbrand   TOR 29 .310 68 15 80 2

Shea has proven he can hit near .300 for a full season, so he makes a good stop-gap player to stick at third. Back in the AL East now, Hillenbrand is a decent alternative if you need someone to just fill a spot.

Pedro Feliz   SF 29 .276 72 22 84 5

Another stop-gap option, Feliz will be 30 before April turns to May. Still, his limited playing time suggests there could be more room to improve. But it seems unlikely that Felipe Alou will turn him into an everyday starter unless one of the Giants’ regulars get seriously hurt. Feliz got 503 ABs last year in a platoon role, but as Alou says here, “We'll see what we can do to get the at-bats for Pedro. We've been able to do it the last two years. But it will be more difficult this year."

Ty Wigginton   NYM 27 .261 63 17 66 7

Ty's a blue collar player on a blue collar team, but because of the Pirates troubles, it's doubtful that he'll reach the 100 run, 100 rbi area this season. For a player that will hit under .290 and have only about 20-25 homeruns, having 100 R/RBIs is a fantasy must. If Wigginton was the Mets everyday third baseman, maybe he'd be worth another look. But with the Pirates, I don't see the benefit of this 27 year old.

Eric Hinske   TOR 27 .246 66 15 69 12

How far have you fallen, 2002 ROY? This is a big year for Eric. His 2004 was terrible and his 2003 was a typical sophomore slump. For 2004, I'd expect a 20-20 season, but I don't think Eric is a .300 hitter. The Blue Jays should be better this season and Eric could show up on the fantasy radar by scoring 100+ runs with his 20-20. He's a player to keep an eye on this year.

Joe Crede   CHW 26 .239 67 21 69 1

Joe's another guy who, like Hinske, is being counted on to produce this year. Both the Jays and the ChiSox will be looking to fill a hole in the middle of their lineups (Delgado and Ordonez). Crede also has a younger 3B prospect, Josh Fields, making noise behind him. According to this, there is reason to believe that Joe may be able to put it all together. He's added a leg kick to his timing, he's worked hard in the off-season, and he turns 27 less than a month into the 2005 season. Between Hinske and Crede, I figure one of those guys is going have a successful 2005 season. A .285 90-25-100 year from one isn't that much of a stretch.

Morgan Ensberg   HOU 28 .275 51 10 66 6

Morgen's 2004 was exactly what a sophomore slump is all about. He started poorly, and the effects of that plagued him the entire season. "I'm sitting there saying to myself, 'Just get through it, just fight, just battle,' " he said. "I knew everything would be OK in the end. But there were some difficult nights in there." He seems ready to bounce back this year, and his defense will keep him at third even when he struggles. Mike Lamb took games away from Morgan last year, but with Berkman out for the first half of the year, I imagine that Lamb will find more time in the outfield. A full season from Ensberg could turn into a pretty decent 20 homers, .300 average season. Good value.

Rob Mackowiak   PIT 28 .246 65 17 75 13

Rob's a lefty batter who hit right handed pitching pretty well last year. But a meager .164 average against lefties and a .224 mark after the all-star break indicates to me that he's a part time player only. Rob will play OF mostly this year since Wigginton is out third now for the Pirates, but Mackowiak's 3B eligibilty gives him some value. Just not a lot.

Mike Lamb   HOU 29 .288 38 14 58 1

One of the reasons Ensberg missed so many games last year was because the Astros needed Lamb's left-handed bat in their lineup. For 2005, they will try to find a spot for Mike somewhere, even if they have to move him around the field, but he still won't be an everyday player. Like Mackowiak, Lamb's 3B eligibility is the best fantasy thing going for him.

Robb Quinlan   ANA 28 .344 23 5 23 3

Before the spring, it didn't look like there's was a place for Quinlan to play with Dallas MacPherson at third and Erstad at first. But Dallas got hurt and Rob will most likely start the season as the Angels' 3B. There isn't much history to Quinlan's numbers, but he had such a strong 2004, you've got to take notice on this guy going into 2005.

Wes Helms   MIL 28 .263 24 4 28 0

There's no doubt that Helms is capable of monster power numbers, but will he ever be a real major league hitter? Wes turns 29 in May, so this could be it for him. Helms has never hit righties for average, and he'll likely be a platoon hitter in 2005.

Russell Branyan   MIL 29 .234 21 11 27 1

He's the left-handed Wes Helms and it's ironic that they are playing for the same position on the same team.


Since drafting 27-29 year olds is more art than science, it's important to not overlook the value of Hank Blalock, David Wright, Aaron Boone, Bill Mueller, and Mark Belhorn.

Blalock comes in to this season as a 24 year old with two full MLB seasons under his belt. I would anticipate some steady progress for the next few seasons, but his high ranking and young age suggests to me that there are better 3B options.

David Wright, on the other hand, is a 22 year old who comes into this season with comparison to Scott Rolen. What I saw of Wright last season I really liked, but as a fantasy option for this year it may be too soon. Rolen's first full year following his 37 game rookie season ended up pretty nice though. Scott hit .283 93-21-92 in 1997.

Boone and Mueller are both coming off lost 2004 seasons and as a result, they could fly under the radar a bit. Boone has never been a good hitter for average, but he's in the middle of a nice Cleveland lineup. Mueller came back down to earth last year after his career 2003 season. Bill says he's healed, but at 34, his best days are behind him.

Mueller's teammate, Mark Belhorn, missed the list by one year. The 30 year old former Cub is a good option for leagues that use OBP instead of AVG. Bellhorn will play second for the BoSox, and his kind of power numbers are rare there, but in any position as .260 average won't cut it.

Draft Value 3B Rankings:

  1. Alex Rodriguex
  2. Adrian Beltre
  3. Aramis Ramirez
  4. Aubrey Huff
  5. Troy Glaus
  6. Eric Chavez
  7. David Wright
  8. Morgan Ensberg
  9. Joe Crede
  10. Eric Hinske

Not worth their price:

  1. Scott Rolen
  2. Hank Blalock
  3. Melvin Mora
  4. Dallas McPherson


ON THE BEACH
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