Season #4! We’ve got two new GM’s this year, and looking at the keepers there may be a little shakeup in the league this year. It’s interesting looking at the keeper trends from year to year. There are some very strong keeper cores here, the draft will be a lot of fun this year.
Draft is March 25th, 6pm PST.
Durham Bulls (77 points)
After a slow start and nearly a month at the bottom of the standings, the Bulls find themselves on top at the mid-season break. The main reasons for the climb in the rankings are were the free agent pick ups of Jose Guillen and Melvin Mora, along with a resurgence by Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez after slow starts. Picking up AJ Burnett has paid off nicely as Burnett has come back stronger than most expected after Tommy John surgery. This has helped offset a poor season by (keeper) Barry Zito. The Bulls have a big lead at the moment, but they are by no means untouchable. Many categories are still very close and there is a big group of teams within striking distance.
Reason for Hope: The Bulls ERA was decimated by bad relievers in the first half, but if recent outings by Burnett and Santana are any indication, the starting pitching may be strong enough to keep lowering the team ERA and WHIP.
Cause for Concern: Frank Thomas and Melvin Mora, two huge contributors to the Bulls offense, will start the second half on the DL. The Bulls’ stable of closers is shaky at best, with at least two of them slated to lose their jobs in the next few weeks.
Worst Keeper: Barry Zito
Best Draft Pick: Paul Konerko (23rd, but then dropped)
Worst Draft Pick: Marlon Byrd (15th)
A-Robbed (68 points)
A strong core of hitters plus Jason Schmidt and Mark Prior make a very strong fantasy team. With the exception of Bret Boone, A-Robbed’s keepers have performed admirably. The emergence of Brian Lawrence and Adam Eaton helped offset the early loss of Prior. Burnitz continues to prove that Coors field = fantasy gold. This team should have enough to challenge for the #1 spot this year, but they certainly look strong enough to push hard this year and even stronger for the future.
Reason for Hope: Mark Prior is back, Boone has been playing better. With Prior, A-Robbed may gain a few points in strikeouts and wins.
Cause for Concern: With the majority of their hitters performing and or above expected levels the team OBP is low and is a difficult stat to raise without moving several hitters.
Worst Keeper: Bret Boone
Best Draft Pick: Miguel Cabrera (14th)
Worst Draft Pick: Mike MacDougal (18th)
Bad Attitudes (59.5 points)
Strong young pitching, if these guys can just get a few hitters in the second half they can definitely contend this year. If I were managing this team, I’d be looking to make a deal or two. This is a team that should either choose to go for it this year and trade a few young players for the pieces they need this year or decide to build their keepers for next year.
Reason for Hope: Orlando Cabrera might be traded to a contender and might play better in new surroundings. Having Trot Nixon back should definitely help.
Cause for Concern: Is this the long awaited breakout season for Ben Sheets or will he slide back to his career numbers in the second half?
Worst Keeper: Lance Carter
Best Draft Pick: CC Sabathia (21st)
Worst Draft Pick: Roberto Alomar (19th)
The Mobsters (57.5 points)
This team is mostly made up of established players that are largely doing what is expected of them. There is little reason to think they won’t continue to do well for the rest of the year. Rivera and Gagne have been unbelievable so far. This is another team that badly needs some hitting if they want to make a run at the money this year.
Reason for Hope: Richard Hidalgo seems rejuvinated in NY and has performed at this level before and Morgan Ensberg seems like a good bet to double his HR total in the second half.
Cause for Concern: Ken Griffey and Phil Nevin are back on the DL, again.
Worst Keeper: Morgan Ensberg
Best Draft Pick: Melvin Mora (21st, but then dropped)
Worst Draft Pick: Jose Reyes (13th)
West Coast Yankees (55.5 points)
Pitching was the question going into the draft after the West Coast Yankees kept only John Smoltz along with 9 hitters. Roger Clemens and Freddy Garcia have made this look like a solid strategy while the offense probably hasn’t performed up to expectations yet.
Reason for Hope: They’ve been in the money every year so far. Getting Wade Miller back would be a big boost.
Cause for Concern: Most people don’t win starting two catchers or keeping a guy like Magglio Ordnoez on the DL after he’s activated.
Worst Keeper: Shawn Green
Best Draft Pick: Freddy Garcia (18th)
Worst Draft Pick: Rich Harden (15th)
Senators (53.5 points)
The Senators have been around the top of the standings for a good part of the year after completely revamping their roster from last season. Starting pitching has been strong but injuries have really hurt the team’s offense. With strong pitching and suspect hitting, they seem like good candidates to stay in contention for the rest of the year if they can make a trade.
Reason for Hope: If Randy Johnson gets traded to a contender it could mean a few extra wins for the Senators down the stretch.
Cause for Concern: The lineup lacks punch after you get past Berkman (and Konerko), will teams start pitching around Berkman if he doesn’t get some protection?
Worst Keeper: Preston Wilson
Best Draft Pick: Joe Mauer (21st)
Worst Draft Pick: Kazuo Matsui (7th)
SoxFan (52.5 points)
I had this team picked to challenge for the title this year but their starting pitching has really let them down. Halladay has been good, but Beckett is having blister problems and Colon and Millwood had been really poor. Maybe a trading partner for the Bad Attitudes, Mobsters and Senators?
Reason for Hope: They hitting is good enough they can afford to give some up to get some pitching.
Cause for Concern: There is a long hill to climb to get back in the ERA and WHIP mix, and that is where SoxFan needs to get some points back.
Worst Keeper: Bartolo Colon
Best Draft Pick: Jose Mesa (20th)
Worst Draft Pick: Rich Aurilia (14th)
Todds Revenge (48 points)
They aren’t out of it yet, but they will need to have a very strong second half to jump over the teams in the 50s to make it into the money. The early draft rounds were gold for TR (Ortiz, Kolb, Guillen) but the later rounds didn’t produce as much magic.
Reason for Hope: The starting pitching looks better than the current stats indicate.
Cause for Concern: It’s hard to see an trade that would really help them, they may start getting ready for next year.
Worst Keeper: Hideo Nomo
Best Draft Pick: Jose Guillen (13th, but then dropped)
Worst Draft Pick: Austin Kearns (17th)
All Stars(AKA Yanks) (42.5 points)
The All Stars are probably looking towards next year at this point. Some confusion during the draft got things off to a tough start but there is a decent core of players for the future. How this team leads the league in wins by 7 is a mystery.
Reason for Hope: Kerry Wood will help boost a solid pitching staff that should gain some ground in the second half.
Cause for Concern: This team needs more impact hitters in next year’s draft.
Worst Keeper: Chipper Jones
Best Draft Pick: Luis Gonzalez (14th)
Worst Draft Pick: Robb Nen (13th)
Huntsville Hammers (36 points)
This team started the season already thinking about next year and there is a solid core of players to build on. Unfortunately, they probably won’t make it out of the cellar this year.
Reason for Hope: There are some promising hitters on this squad.
Cause for Concern: There isn’t a top starting pitcher on the roster, unless Cliff Lee continues to impress.
Worst Keeper: Joe Borowski
Best Draft Pick: Hee Seop Choi (26th)
Worst Draft Pick: Eric Hinske (7th)