fuentes-brian-angels

I had a nice weekend. I went out on a wonderful date on Friday night, amazingly the second time that the beautiful woman agreed to see me, had my first Tom Collins on Saturday (not bad at all), and I got to lounge around on Sunday in my pajamas while watching inane movies off my recently purchased subscription to Netflix. I also spent my usual amount of time running through all the happenings in the sports world as I found out that even while slightly intoxicated I could still remember the majority of facts and figures I came across (to be honest I already knew this having spent a good portion of the past three years drunk - my mom would be so proud). Hopefully your weekend went as well as mine.

Enough with that. You didn't come here to read about my fledgling life as a social butterfly, so let's get down to some hardcore analysis shall we?

A Signing and a Free Agent

Jason Bartlett signed a 2-year, $11 million deal to take over at shortstop for the Padres. The deal buys out his last season of arbitration and first year of free agency in 2012. The dollars might seem somewhat pricey given that he hit .254 with 47 RBI and 11 steals last year, but he was a fantasy superstar in 2009 (.320-14-66-90-30). The "real" Bartlett is somewhere between those two extremes. I'd draft Bartlett for his average (.281 career) and for the speed that led to 20-steals each year from 2007-09. If he returns to that level he will have an awful lot of value in NL-only leagues.

Brian Fuentes is still a free agent, and I'm having a hard time understanding why that is. Maybe he wants big dollars, but plenty of middle relievers this offseason have gotten loaded (see Hot Stove: Not Everyone is Greedy). Perhaps it is because he wants to serve as a closer and teams don't have an opening for him there? What I can say for certain is that he still owns the skills to be a highly effective reliever. He only lasted 48 innings last season because of injury, but when he was on the hill he was vintage Fuentes with a 2.81 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and an 8.81 K/9 mark. The K-rate was down a full batter from his career rate, and that certainly is a concern, but after posting a career worst 7.53 mark in '09 adding a batter plus to that rate in '10 is certainly encouraging. It should also be noted that his fly ball rate last season was over 58 percent, a massive number. If/when that number recedes closer to his career rate of 45.0 percent, one would think he would have little trouble continuing to get batters out. With all of that, and the fact that he is one of just four men with at least 20 saves each of the past six years (Mariano Rivera, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez), isn't it odd that Brian is still twisting in the wind?

Strategy Corner

A brief thought as we slowly start to move away from fantasy football into fantasy baseball.

Don't believe the hype.

Sometimes the hype is warranted, but at least as often the hype ends up amounting to little. How does that apply to the early 2011 mock draft winds?

Adrian Gonzalez is being taken as a first round selection. I've already given my thoughts as to why I think that is a bad idea in ADP Riser: Adrian Gonzalez. Also, put this in your pipe and smoke it - do you know how many seasons A-Gone has had with a .300 average and 30 homers? The answer is zero. There are a lot of reasons to think A-Gone will be extremely productive this season, and if healthy a .300-30 season seems a strong bet, but that doesn't mean he'll improve to the level of being a top-10 selection. I would only suggest that you do your own analysis and take into account your own thoughts on the matter and don't blindly jump in because it's what everyone else is doing. Sometimes doing the old zig while everyone is zagging is beneficial. Don't be a sheep following the others, be your own person and lead based on what you think is right, even if it is counter to the commonly accepted position of the "experts."

The World of Numbers

I love numbers - you might have gathered that if you have read anything I have ever written. If you have a few more minutes to kill reading my work, click on the link to By the Numbers where I talk about the historical greatness of Vladimir Guerrero, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome to name but a few of the players I tackle in the piece.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

#mlb ARTICLE - Best plays for Saturday and Sunday courtesy of The Oracle & @FantasyAlarm - http://t.co/FPoZ2t6fLh

RT @MiLB: Jose Chavez reaches on IF single w/one out in the 9th to end the no-hit bid of @kage49 of @LansingLugnuts. http://t.co/MExEREjMa5

RT @AdamRubinESPN: David Wright breaks up no-hit bid with two-out single in eighth vs. Luis Avilan. #Braves 5, #Mets 0, bot 8

RT @scottmerkin: Quintana, Chris Sale and John Danks have combined to go 5-0 with a 2.62 ERA in nine starts this season