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Thread: Fantasy Prediction - Reds: Your typical beer league softball team (ouch! nasty!)

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    "Let's Roll" TeamBoone's Avatar
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    Fantasy Prediction - Reds: Your typical beer league softball team (ouch! nasty!)

    Lots of nasty stuff said about the Reds here. I hate this article.


    Feb. 18, 2006
    Reds: Your typical beer league softball team
    Fantasy Source Expert: Brendan Roberts

    Reds stat projections
    WHERE THEY STAND

    Where do they stand? Actually, a better question is where are they headed? I don't know if there's any pundit who can answer that. Or the Reds themselves, for that matter. The team has done about everything wrong an organization can do wrong in recent years. It has made dumb multi-year signings (Eric Milton). It has alienated its top prospects by either bringing them up before they're ready (Ryan Wagner) or creating a logjam and then sending them back to the minors (Austin Kearns). There have been disgruntled superstars (Adam Dunn), injury-prone veterans the team has been unable to trade (Ken Griffey Jr.), fired GMs and managers ... you get the idea.

    Key additions:RP Grant Balfour, RP Chris Hammond, 1B Scott Hatteberg, SP Dave Williams, IF/OF Tony Womack.
    Key losses: 1B Sean Casey, SP Ramon Ortiz, RP Joe Valentine.

    We'll sum it up this way: Go to your local beer league slow-pitch softball park on a weekday night. There you'll see big, but not necessarily athletic, sluggers who swing out of their ass and play with fire only if in the right mood. You'll also see plenty of home runs and high scores. And those are your 2006 Reds. And 2005 Reds. And 2004 Reds.

    Let's just say it's not coincidental that the perennial Hit Parade writer was given the assignment of previewing the Rangers and Reds. There are a number of solid offensive options in Cincinnati -- and a good ballpark for them -- for both NL-only and mixed leaguers alike. But there's not much to discuss in terms of pitching. You'll see.

    INFIELD

    Projected lineup
    Spot, Player, Position, Proj. round, Value
    1. Ryan Freel, 2B 12-14 $7
    2. Felipe Lopez, SS 8 $12
    3. Ken Griffey Jr., CF 11 $10
    4. Adam Dunn, 1B 6-7 $14
    5. Austin Kearns, RF 23-DND $1
    6. Wily Mo Pena, LF 16-18 $4
    7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B 19-21 $4
    8. Jason LaRue/Javier Valentin, C 22-23 $3/$4
    Projected as of Feb. 18. For updated information, click here. Projected round and values based on standard 5x5 12-team, 23-man-active mixed league. Dollar values by johnbenson.com. DND: Do Not Draft.
    Catcher: Platoons don't hurt as bad at catcher as they do at other positions because, essentially, every catcher in baseball is part of a platoon. Even the most durable backstops play in maybe 145 games. And in the case of Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin, a platoon was just what they needed to stay fresh in 2005. LaRue posted career highs in batting average, OBP and RBIs despite playing fewer games than he'd played the previous four seasons. Valentin took advantage of the increase in playing time by bopping 14 homers in 221 at-bats. Historical indicators suggest that LaRue's numbers were true and can be emulated, but Valentin's cannot. Plan accordingly.

    First base: Adam Dunn is a rare player, not just physically (6-6, 275) but production-wise. He does everything from a points league and 5x5 perspective an owner could want -- except hit for a respectable batting average. Among the top 16 run scorers in 2005, every player batted .289 or better, except Dunn, who batted .247. Dunn led the majors in strikeouts, yet was third in walks. See what I mean? Dunn's low batting average actually can bring down the aggregate average in mixed leagues, but don't let that scare you away. Consider him a stud three-category producer just as you would Ichiro Suzuki or Rafael Furcal. Oh, and don't worry about his backup, Scott Hatteberg. He'll turn into a glorified pinch hitter.

    Second base: Ryan Freel likely will get the most work here, but he'll be used all over the diamond again, upping his fantasy value. He'll run and score runs when playing often, but be careful not to consider him in the Jimmy Rollins/Juan Pierre tier of basestealers. Tony Womack actually might have a per-game steal rate that's even better, but we can't vouch for his offense. If Womack gets in the lineup regularly, you steals-thirsty 5x5 owners should throw him on your bench.

    Third base: He strikes out a lot and swings the bat hard, and he is ugly -- yup, Edwin Encarnacion is a Cincinnati Red. OK, that's not very nice. I don't really know if he swings the bat hard. But his home run rate has been steadily on the increase as he has developed, and scouts see 30 homers in his future. Now just 23, he is probably not to that level yet. If Encarnacion were at a position besides one that has gotten very deep in recent years, we'd be all over him. As it is, we can afford to wait. The Reds might take the same approach, platooning the youngster with Rich Aurilia if he struggles early.

    Shortstop: All right, get the Daily Mail ready with your rebuttal. Here's my take: Felipe Lopez had a breakout season in 2005, but I don't think it was for real. Sure, he is just coming into his prime at age 25 and has a favorable lineup and ballpark. But I see nothing in his scouting reports and minor league indicators that he is a .291-23-85 hitter. I don't see him repeating that, although I wouldn't hesitate to take him in the middle rounds after the upper tier of shortstops is gone ... but I doubt he'd fall that far.

    OUTFIELD

    Left field: With Sean Casey gone and Adam Dunn now in the infield, Wily Mo Pena finally has a permanent job to himself. He'll provide good pop and RBIs numbers, but don't mistake a jump in playing time to a jump in batting average or OBP. In fact, the extra work might even lower those figures. Pena is a solid fourth or fifth mixed-league option, but nothing more. If he were to get hurt, which did happen last year, keep an eye on hustling youngster Chris Denorfia, the Reds' minor league prospect of the year.

    Center field: The skies opened and the angels were singing as Ken Griffey Jr. played the way the Reds were paying him to play -- until he suffered a season-ending injury for the fifth consecutive season. Knee, foot, hamstring ... the Kid is paying the prices for years of play on artificial turf. Ultimately, somebody is going to draft Griffey waaaaay too early, or overpay for him, simply because he is Ken Griffey Jr. Don't be that guy. If by some strange chance he falls to the level you want him, make sure he is one of the few risks you are taking.

    Right field: June 3, 2005: Austin Kearns collects three hits against the Rockies, including a homer. June 12, 2005: Kearns is sent to Triple-A, where he hadn't been in years. That can stunt development of a stud hitter such as Kearns, but it's not that that worries us about him. It's the injuries. Go to his player page and you'll see such words as season-ending hamstring injury, thumb surgery, shoulder surgery and broken forearm. Although he'll produce when healthy, there's no way this guy makes it through a full season injury-free now that he is starting.

    STARTING PITCHING

    Projected rotation
    Player, Hand, Proj. round, Value
    Aaron Harang, R 16-17 $5
    Eric Milton, L DND $0
    Paul Wilson, R DND $0
    Brandon Claussen, L DND $1
    Dave Williams, L DND $0
    Projected as of Feb. 18. For updated information, click here. Projected round and values based on standard 5x5 12-team, 23-man-active mixed league. Dollar values by johnbenson.com. DND: Do Not Draft.
    Aaron Harang is an attacker, a gamer or, as I like to refer to him, the one Reds pitcher I'd want to own. In fact I did in many leagues last season, and was pleased with that. Miscast, perhaps, as the staff ace, Harang didn't post the wins relative to his performance, but he has a nice 6.9 K/9 rate and consistently posted a solid six-plus innings, making him a safe play in weekly leagues. Don't expect a wins jump, but he should be able to match or beat his 2005 numbers.

    Guys like Eric Milton send us to therapy. Milton has the stuff to be a stud starter, and on some days he will be. But his game logs show way too many runners, runs and homers, and he never has posted better than a 4.32 ERA for an entire season. Avoid the temptation.

    I still remember the nationally televised game in which Joe Morgan was trying to think of something nice to say about Paul Wilson. He eventually came up with, "He'll battle you." In other words, he doesn't have a strikeout pitch and allows a lot of balls to be put in play ... and all that was before major shoulder surgery.

    Brandon Claussen has the stuff that befits his "prized prospect" status, but he pitches in the wrong ballpark. At Great American Ball Park in 2005: 4.81 ERA with 15 homers in 91.2 innings. Away from it: 3.48 ERA and nine homers in 75 innings. Looks like someone you should rotate onto your active squad for away starts.

    Dave Williams: another fly-ball pitcher the Reds just had to have. Williams has the potential to be dominant on some days, but he allowed four earned runs or more in more than one-third of his starts in 2005.

    BULLPEN

    Projected bullpen
    Player, Hand, Proj. round, Value
    Closer: Todd Coffey, R 23 $1
    Setup 1: David Weathers, R 23-DND $1
    Setup 2: Kent Mercker, L DND $0
    Projected as of Feb. 18. For updated information, click here. Projected round and values based on standard 5x5 12-team, 23-man-active mixed league. Dollar values by johnbenson.com. DND: Do Not Draft
    Todd Coffey or David Weathers? Who will close in 2006? Our question: Does it even matter? OK, so it does to 5x5 owners, but it's worth noting that Coffey is raw and unproven -- he could be this year's Derrick Turnbow or this year's Mike Adams -- and Weathers is nothing special numbers-wise. Also, only the Royals had fewer team saves than the Reds in 2005.

    The Reds do have some intriguing arms in their 'pen, including Ryan Wagner, Kent Mercker and Matt Belisle. I still think Wagner will become a valuable late-inning reliever at some point in his career.

    TO KNOW LIST

    Games Tip : Looking at the early MLB.com Ultimate Fantasy Baseball salaries, there aren't too many bargains on this team. But picking the closer the team announces coming out of spring training will help you build roster value early in the season.

    BACKUP TO WATCH

    Rich Aurilia, 2B/SS. Now don't laugh. Aurilia qualifies at second, short and even 3B in some leagues and is a deadly hitter at home (.332, 11 of his 14 homers in 2005). If injuries or ineffectiveness force him into a starting role, he'll help, at least during homestands.

    STAT SPLITS

    Over the past two seasons, Wily Mo Pena has a .296 average and .364 OBP against lefties and .239-.286 against righties. We questioned the Scott Hatteberg signing, but the team could have a platoon (with Adam Dunn rotating between 1B and LF) in mind.

    SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

    It's not as easy as you'd think. The Cardinals and Astros were 1-2 in the majors in team ERA last season, and the Brewers ranked fifth in the NL and should be even better this season. The Cubs could be dangerous if all their pitchers are healthy, and the Pirates have some good young starters. Make note of that if your Reds offensive players hit the road for a long road trip against intra-divisional teams.

    Senior Editor Brendan Roberts is a fantasy baseball expert for Sporting News.

    http://fantasy.sportingnews.com/base.../20060218.html
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

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    Member kheidg-'s Avatar
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    Re: Fantasy Prediction - Reds: Your typical beer league softball team (ouch! nasty!)

    Wow that guy really doesn't like the Reds or their chances of competing.

    Third base: He strikes out a lot and swings the bat hard, and he is ugly -- yup, Edwin Encarnacion is a Cincinnati Red. OK, that's not very nice. I don't really know if he swings the bat hard. But his home run rate has been steadily on the increase as he has developed, and scouts see 30 homers in his future. Now just 23, he is probably not to that level yet. If Encarnacion were at a position besides one that has gotten very deep in recent years, we'd be all over him. As it is, we can afford to wait. The Reds might take the same approach, platooning the youngster with Rich Aurilia if he struggles early.

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasy Prediction - Reds: Your typical beer league softball team (ouch! nasty!)

    Shortstop: All right, get the Daily Mail ready with your rebuttal. Here's my take: Felipe Lopez had a breakout season in 2005, but I don't think it was for real. Sure, he is just coming into his prime at age 25 and has a favorable lineup and ballpark. But I see nothing in his scouting reports and minor league indicators that he is a .291-23-85 hitter. I don't see him repeating that, although I wouldn't hesitate to take him in the middle rounds after the upper tier of shortstops is gone ... but I doubt he'd fall that far.
    I disagree with his take on Felipe.

    Felipe Lopez was rushed through the minor league system by the Jays. He debuted in the majors with the Blue Jays at the ripe age of 21. Despite being rushed, he still held his own. In 2001 at AAA he hit .279/.337/.506. Very solid numbers for a 21 year old kid getting his first taste of AAA. He was soon prematurely promoted to the majors. 2002 saw him start out slow with the Jays before being sent back to AAA, which is where he should have been in the first place.

    He went on to hit very well at AAA to the tune of .318/.419/.457. Again this was coming at the age of 22. Still considered young for that level. After being acquired by the Reds and struggling, he was sent to Louisville where he showed signs of being a good hitter, but was very inconsistent. But in late 2004 after going on a nice little hitting streak at Louisville, he was recalled in July and that's when he started turning his potential into results. He was arguably the best shortstop in the NL in the second half of the 2004 season as he hit .261/.341/.450 in over 200 atbats. He was able to successfully carry that momentum into the 2005 season and become the best SS in the NL and be named to the All-Star team.

    If you look at his walk rate you will see that it has improved with age over the last year and a half. That has a lot to do with his success... and it's the reason why I think Felipe Lopez is legit. I see no reason why Felipe can't be a perenial .285/.350/.475 20 homerun guy for the next 5-8 years.
    Last edited by OnBaseMachine; 02-19-2006 at 12:11 AM.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Fantasy Prediction - Reds: Your typical beer league softball team (ouch! nasty!)

    Don't disagree with anything he said about the pitching staff
    Go Gators!


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