Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Every season sees an A.J Pierzynski (White Sox), Ryan Howard (Phillies), Jorge Cantu (Devil Rays), Jhonny Peralta (Indians), Morgan Ensberg (Astros), and Jeff Francoeur (Atlanta) emerge. What's the common thread between the 6 players? Well, I went around the horn, starting with the Catcher and ended up with Atlanta Outfielder Jeff Francoeur, and each player blew UP last year! Further, most of the above enjoyed seasons that no one could've predicted.

Let's take a quick look around Baseball and see who stands to be this seasons' Jhonny Peralta and Chris Shelton.


Brian McCann (Atlanta): McCann hasn't had a bang-up spring so far, but last year he hit a more than respectable .278/5/23 in 59 games. Thus far, McC's swatting a line of 220/.256/.293 in 41 plate appearances, and has demonstrated an excellent rapport with his staff. Slotted to be the Braves everyday Catcher, he'll hit in the bottom third of the order and that will negatively impact his fantasy production. Still, if he gets off to a solid start Brian McCann stands to be a very hot 'Wire pickup.

Kenji Johjima (Seattle): After paying a king's ransom just to negotiate with Ichiro's agent the Mariner's landed the All Star Outfielder... and he's been far and away the most consistent hitter in the Mariner lineup, not to mention a top-5 MLB talent. Now, Johjima is the latest of Seattle's Asian imports. A 7-time Japanese All Star the 29 year old receiver has a strong arm, is an excellent defensive presence, and could be as good as .275/15/80.

Josh Willingham (Florida): No youngster at 27, Willingham has had a HUGE spring and, according to Marlin manager Joe Girardi, he will see time in LF AND at Catcher.
During last year's 16 game cup of coffee J-Will' hit at a .304 clip, and so far this spring he's hitting in excess of .448 with 4 round-trippers'. Frankly, the Marlins need Willingham's bat and he's an early NL ROY candidate.

Ryan Doumit (Pittsburgh): Doumit played in 75 games last year and while consistency wasn't his strong suit, a .255/6/35/25 campaign was a positive indicator. And after a full off-season and spring with the parent club, Doumit enters the season as the unquestioned everyday backstop and is hitting .300 over the course of the spring. Surrounded by better talent than many realize, Doumit has .280/15/75 capability.


Conor Jackson (Arizona): Last season was supposed to be the collegiate 3B rookie campaign at 1st, but aged Tony Clark's rennaissance season precluded the young corner infielder from playing the position and he was subsequently bumped to LF. Although he did little in 85 '05 plate appearances (.200 BA), his torrid spring (.442) led manager Bob Melvin to bump OF'er/1B Shawn Green from the 5-spot... and slide Jackson in his place! Another NL ROY candidate, C-Jack' has .300/20/75 po'.

Dan Johnson (Oakland): Johnson had a fine rookie year; .275/15/58, with 21 Doubles. However, the acquisitions of Frank Thomas and Milton Bradley have left Johnson without a position. Then again, given his defensive aptitude and Thomas' balky foot, Johnson should see plenty of time at 1st... and could even DH once Thomas finds his way to the DL. And as has been his wont, Thomas WILL be shelved due to injury no later than June..
A .285/25/70 talent, the Oakland 1st bagger should be an excellent pickup should he remain available.

Casey Kotchman (Anaheim): A gifted player who's still under 25, Kotchman has been smackin' the white off the ball all spring and will likely hit close to .290 with 20+ HRs and 75+ Ribbies.

Chris Shelton (Detroit): I pushed Shelton as 'Wire pickup HARD last season and he rewarded them with a .299/18/59/61 campaign. Now, surrounded by... dare I say it..dare I? I dare, I dare- an "abundance" of talent, Shelton has .285/25/90 capability.
***Here's the caveat: it looks as if Detroit manager Jimmy Leyland will hit Shelton 8th. Naturally, that will hinder the corner infielder's Rib' and Run opps'. Still, expect this Tiger to roar!


Josh Barfield (San Diego): Son of former slugger Jesse Barfield, a "big-boned" man to be sure, Josh has a vastly different body type (he's positively svelte at 6'-180 Lbs) and game. Built more on speed and gap power, look for young master Barfield to be a .260/16/60, 35 Double, 5 Triple, 12 SB kinda' player.

Mark Ellis (Oakland):

Esteban German (KC): Talk about a deep "sleeper!" German is a true unknown to most fantasy owners and fans alike, but the dude whalloped his way to a .315/5/68/103, with a ridiculous 43 Swiped Bags Triple-A season. As of today, his chances of winning the starting job are slightly more than 50-50.

Howie Kendrick (Anaheim):

Ian Kinsler (Texas):

Rickie Weeks (Milwaukee):


Ryan Zimmerman (Washington):

Joe Crede (Chicago White Sox):

Ian Stewart (Colorado):


Clint Barmes (Colorado):

J.J Hardy (Milwaukee):

Stephen Drew (Arizona):



At 6:52 PM, Anonymous mike lin said...

Where's the Thursday 3/30 article?
Sleeping on the job or something?


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