Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spring Time!!!....



Baseball has started, the weather is starting to warm up and girls are going wild during college spring breaks all over the world......

If you happen to be a single guy looking forward to the start of your fantasy baseball season or just the baseball season in general and are unsure when the next time you are going to make it happen with a fine young woman, fear no more......the spring break season is upon us! I unfortunately am past the point in my life where I can partake in such tom foolery, but that doesn't mean you can't dive back into the crazy party scene for one last romp. Even if you're in your late twenties, feel no shame....the girls on break sure don't. Just throw on a hat and some cargo khakis and you'll fit right in....just don't put your damn collar up on your polo unless absolutely necessary in order to score because you might get your ass kicked.

Ahhh, the beauty of spring break. All you need is a cheap hotel to store your bag, an open mind and a liver ready to take on a week of non-stop binge drinking. Just be sure not to drink so much that you wind up going home with Jenny Craig. If you must you can always resort to the straggler but make absolutely sure you don't get duped into hooking up with Shim Shady.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's take a look at some of your typical hot spots for Spring Break debauchery....

Cancun, Mexico - A personal favorite of Dr. X, this tropical paradise has everything any young, randy male in his twenties (and thirties) could ever want....scantily clad women, plenty of cervezas, authentic Mexican cuisine, rowdy locals, awesome clubs & bars (have to check out Coco Bongo - best club ever), sandy beaches with stupid college girls gone wild, snorkeling, parasailing, and did I mention plenty of women.

Lake Havasu, Arizona - If boats and naked women are your thing than you'll want to visit Havasu for sure. Many Girls Gone Wild videos have been shot here and I'm not sure what it is but the girls who vacation here seem to lose all inhibitions when they see step foot on a boat. Make sure to take a life preserver.....

South Padre Island, Texas - Personally don't know too much about South Padre other than what I've heard and seen on TV, but this place looks like a solid alternative to Cancun if you can't make it that far south. I'm sure it has the usual drunken girls from colleges all over the US but it doesn't look quite as exciting as Cancun...either way there looks to be plenty of stragglers there.

Jamaica - Another favorite of X, the home island to many rastafarians (including the late great Bob Marley) and the coolest accent of any in the world, Jamaica offers plenty of beaches and adventures to entertain. Don't forget to try the local beer and if Ganja is your bag, the Rastas have a plethora.....but remember it is still illegal there. Yah Mon!

While the above are some of your more popular destinations, there are plenty of other options although you may not find hooking up as easy and of course, if you're single that is your numero uno goal. Enough about all that for now....run out and get your ticket to paradise now before you get too old and regret it 15 years from now. Make it Happen, YUH!

-X

Thursday, March 09, 2006

UPDATED World Baseball Classic Power Rankings

1) Dominican Republic
2) Cuba
3) Venezuela
4) USA
5) Puerto Rico
6) Korea
7) Japan
8) Canada
9) Panama
10) Mexico
11) Chinese Taipei
12) Italy
13) Netherlands
14) South Africa
15) Australia
16) China

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Barry BALCO....


A snapshot comparison of Bonds before and after his extensive steroid use. Looks to me like he did more than eat extra hamburgers and spend a few extra hours in the gym. This guy is a major piece of work and will not be on any of my fantasy teams unless I can grab him in a late round....and even then I won't be happy. If you are one of the people who's still not sure if he did in fact use illegal performance enhancing drugs, maybe you should go check into rehab yourself because you must be smoking or injecting something. Cheater.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A moment of silence for "Puck".....


Would like to take a moment to reflect on Kirby Puckett's contribution to the great game of baseball....he brought a great attitude to the game and always played his hardest when on the field. Some of today's superstars would benefit themselves by trying to play with half the heart that Puckett did....he will truly be missed. Thanks Puck.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Fantasy's Most Dynamic Position as viewed by the X-Man...


Sure outfielders seem to be a dime a dozen when you take a quick look and see that there are so many more of them available than at the infield positions.....but then you take a closer look and realize that there are a bunch of guys out there that are heads and shoulders above a lot of the "stud" infielders but don't get as much love. X is here to set those fools straight and tap into the greatest source of 5 tool workhorses. Most leagues require at least 3 OFs and some 5, which means that even though there are more available you need to make sure you don't wait too long to grab a couple big bats or you'll be stuck fielding Jacque Jones and Shannon Stewart as your leading men.....wait wasn't that 2/3 of the Twins' starting OF in 2005?....must be why they can't seem to score too many runs.

Granted this doesn't mean you should run out and draft 3 stud outfielders right off the bat unless you want your infield to consist of Pokey Reese and Alex Gonzalez, however don't get caught up thinking you can hold off until round 8 to take your first outfielder because I guarantee you won't be too happy with those who are left at that point. Everybody has their own opinions on how they prefer to balance out their lineups, but I tend to lean towards drafting one stud power hitting OF and then round the rest out with 20/20 guys or guys who provide power with at least double digit speed. Let's take a look at what 2006 has to offer:

Grade A Prime Cuts

1. Vladimir Guerrero - Stolen bases and higher batting average put him above Manny, but let's not forget his 30+ HR power and run scoring ability. Injuries may slow him a bit, but at age 30, he still has a few good years left in him.


2. Manny Ramirez - Power and average numbers will make him a top 6 overall pick in 2006....not to mention 100 runs scored likely. If he could steal 10 bases, we'd be arguing if he should be considered for the #1 overall pick.

3. Bobby Abreu - 20/30 seems to be a lock for this guy and will hit close to .300 while topping 100 in RBIs and runs. Can't argue with production...Let's go Phils!

4. Jason Bay - 32/21 in 2005...can it get better? It just might but don't bet the ranch on it. Like his upside more than Abreu's in 2006, but Bobby got the nod due to history, etc. Bay will help in all 5 categories and that is worth gold in fantasy realms.

5. Carl Crawford - Closest thing to a modern day
Rickey Henderson. Not sure that Crawford will ever have one season as good as Henderson's best (in fact, I'd bet a lot of $$ that he never tops 100 SBs in today's game), however he has the potential to go 20/50 with good numbers in other categories. Check the wrist in the spring and buy accordingly.

6. Miguel Cabrera - STUD. Pujols Jr. is a 4 category beast and is all but guaranteed of a .300-30 HR-100 RBI-100 R line, although the weak supporting cast may keep him from going much higher. Still awesome totals either way.

7. Carlos Beltran - A major dud for fantasy owners and the NY Mets in 2005, Beltran was highly overpaid and his owners suffered through his worst season in the last 5 years. Didn't even crack 20 HRs or 20 steals but might be due to his leg injury and new surroundings. Like his chances for a rebound year but don't put his ceiling much higher than 25/25. I just hope he runs more.

8. Gary Sheffield - A monster year in 2005, Sheff should once again hit for average while banging out 30+ and well over 100 RBIs. Not sure about double digit steals however as he is getting older and there is too much fire power in the lineup to risk the chance of being caught.

9. Ichiro Suzuki - A sizeable drop off in BA in 2005, but otherwise very consistent totals. Draft him for his 3 best categories and be happy with the double digit HRs.

10. Andruw Jones - No chance at 50 + bombs again in 2006, but was glad to see him finally breakout into the elite in 2005. 40 HRs and 110 RBIs sound about right.

Worthy as a #1 OF...Great #2s

11. Lance Berkman - Now eligible at first base, Lance becomes more flexible. Let's just hope his knee is as well. .300-30HR-100 RBIs sounds like a good start.


12. Adam Dunn - Ding Dongs galore from the Dunn meister....along with 100 runs, 100 RBIs and a .250 average??? Only category holding him back from top 10 status. Would also like to see him steal more in 2006.

13. Carlos Lee - Stepped up for the Brew Crew in 2005 and was simply a monster driving runners in. Expect good all around numbers again and could break 30/20 in 2006.

14. Barry Bonds - Could be ranked higher or lower depending on his health but right now, I'm dropping him in the middle of where I think he would land if seemingly 100% (7th overall) or if banged up more than we'd like to see (28th or so). Either way, don't bank on more than 40-45 HRs and his RBIs will suffer because of all the free passes.

15. Hideki Matsui - Godzilla hasn't been as powerful in the US, but his overall numbers can't be argued with. Expect another good year in the star studded Yankee lineup.

If you haven't locked up a #1 at this point, you better have a good infield

16. Juan Pierre - Should join Damon near the top of the league in runs scored batting in front of Lee and A-Ram, but won't do squat for power numbers. If you draft him, make sure you are getting plenty of power from your other OFs.


17. Chone Figgins - 2005's most surprising thief is better used as a middle infielder in fantasy, however if you can afford to use him as an OF, more power to you.

18. Johnny Damon - Move to NY shouldn't change his totals much at all...expect him to be near the top of the league in runs scored and his other numbers to be solid.

19. Grady Sizemore - On the rise with a 20/20 season under his belt. Grady should continue to improve but I'm not quite sold on his power yet as he was never a big HR hitter in the minors and he's only entering his 2nd full season in the bigs. Worthy as a #2 OF, but don't count on Abreu totals just yet.


20. Jim Edmonds - Still good for 30 dongs and 90 RBIs? I think so.

21. Randy Winn - Found his home in San Fran as numbers were off the charts after his move there. Expect 15/20 power and speed with a decent average and lots of runs batting in front of Bonds.

22. Scott Podsednik - Will steal a ton of bases but doesn't offer much else...I'm steering clear but can be your speed guy if that is the strategy you prefer.

23. Coco Crisp - Like his move to Boston....will score lots of runs, hit for a good average and I think he can still reach 20/20 at least once in his career.

24. Vernon Wells - Can he disappoint fantasy players any more after teasing us with his 2003 season? Already hurt but still has skills...tune back in a few weeks to check his stock.

25. Aubrey Huff - Expecting a rebound in 2006 after a step back in '05, but doesn't seem to be anything more than a 25-30 HR guy.

26. Matt Holliday - Super hot after break in 2005 and plays in Colorado. Don't pay too much, but keep an eye on him.

Entering Questionable Territories

27. Pat Burrell - Another 30 HR, 100+ RBI season in him?...as a Philly fan, I hope so.


28. Jeff Francoeur - Youngster with lots of upside will play full time in 2006....expect ups and downs on way to solid overall stat line.


29. Ken Griffey Jr. - If he is 100% expect big things, but that is a big if I'm not willing to risk earlier than this.
30. Jonny Gomes - Another stud Devil Ray OF....average will not be very good but will hit for good power and steal double digit bags.

31. Torii Hunter - Was on pace to go 20/30 in 2005 before he got hurt...can he do it again?

32. J.D. Drew - If this guy could stay healthy, he'd probably be 10 spots higher on the list...but he can't. Expect decent numbers until he inevitably gets hurt.


33. Cliff Floyd - Not a chance at 34 dingers again in 2006...OK maybe a slight chance but only if Michael Jackson isn't a child molester.

34. Geoff Jenkins - .280, 27 bombs, 85 RBIs and 80 runs....nice.

35. Mike Cameron - Love his chances for a 23 HR/25 steal season....with a .240 average.

36. Brian Giles - If I was the GM of the Padres, I'd probably be kicking myself and wishing I hadn't shipped off Jason Bay and Oliver Perez for Giles a couple of years ago. Not to take anything away from the former stud, but he is on the downward spiral while Bay is just now taking off. Expect solid all around totals in 2006, but won't light it up in any one category.

37. Brad Wilkerson - An awful 2005 which pretty much made him worthless can be thrown out the window in 2006 with his move to Texas. If healthy, expect a return to 20+ HRs and an increase in all of his other numbers.

38. Jeremy Hermida - Highly touted youngster finds himself thrown into the fire in Florida...should provide decent all around numbers but the average may suffer as he learns on the fly.

39. Willy Taveras - The poor man's Juan Pierre will have a decent BA, 25-35 steals and a solid run total to make him worth owning, but I'm not a fan of his type.

40. Reggie Sanders - This nomad is all but a lock for 20+ HRs, 15 SBs and an injury or 3 every season, however Sanders now finds himself in lowly K.C......could be worse but be careful with him.

41. Jose Guillen - Would be a little higher on the list if he was 100%, but news of potential surgery on his wrist has me concerned, even if the latest is that he won't go under the knife. Value dependent on how the wrist responds over the next few weeks leading up to opening day.

42. Moises Alou - Lost a lot of power in move to San Fran, but still has a good BA and other numbers should benefit from having a healthy Bonds in the lineup.

43. Preston Wilson - Won't hit for much of an average, but his power numbers should remain fairly high in Houston as long as he can stay healthy.

44. Aaron Rowand - Move to CBP definitely shouldn't hurt his numbers and if he bats 2nd in front of Abreu & Co., will have opportunity to score many runs if he can get on base.

45. Shawn Green - His 40+ dinger and 100+ Ribbie days are long gone, but can still help a bit in all categories.

46. Jermaine Dye - 2005 power numbers unlikely to be repeated in 2006 but should still flirt with 25 HRs and 80 RBIs.

47. Milton Bradley - Firecracker attitude has most likely hurt his production in the majors, but still may have a 20/20 season in him...just keep in mind that Oakland isn't very big on stealing bases which could hurt his overall value.

48. Jason Lane - Took him a while to get a full time gig with the 'Stros and wasn't terribly disappointing in 2005....just don't expect much more than 25 HRs and 70 RBIs.

49. Jacque Jones - A poor average with 20/15 power and speed.

50. Garret Anderson - New Ceiling for Garret seems to be .300. 20 HRs and 95 RBIs....pretty good for a 3rd or 4th OF (if he comes anywhere close to those numbers).

51. Raul Ibanez - Will hit for decent BA and RBI totals, but will be lucky to top 20 dingers.

52. Craig Monroe - Potential for .280, 23 HR and 80+ RBIs....not pathetic, but not great.

53. Wily Mo Pena - The Mike Tyson of baseball....only hits the bombs and doesn't have much stamina at the plate. Worth the gamble for a potential 40 long balls but expect a horrific average and mediocre totals in other categories.

54. Kevin Mench - The Fightin' Blue Hen had another decent but unspectacular season in 2005, smacking 25 HRs and driving in 73, however it's not looking like he'll ever do much better.

55. Luis Gonzalez - Looks like Luis tried steroids in 2001 when he hit 57 ding dongs and then realized his sack had shrunk and decided to quit. Has only averaged about 24 HRs per year since and it doesn't look like he'll be hitting many more than that anytime soon.

56. Dave Roberts - Basically a one category player on the down swing. Don't over bid for his 30 SB ceiling.

57. Rocco Baldelli - Not sure how Rocco is progressing at this point in his return from 2 major injuries that kept him sidelined for the entire 2005 season, however if he shows signs of life in the spring, feel free to bump him up a few notches as he has the tools for a 20/20 campaign...as long as his knee lets him.

58. Juan Encarnacion - Nothing spectacular but solid all around. Move to St. Louis should help his numbers a bit.

59. Magglio Ordonez - Career threatening knee injuries are never good for one's athletic abilities and Magglio can tell you that first hand. After finishing the 2003 season with 29 HRs, 99 RBIs, 95 runs and a .317 Avg, Mags has completely fallen apart although he can still hit for average and can probably be counted on for about 15 HRs...just don't count on him for 500+ ABs.

60. Brady Clark - Seemingly came out of no where in 2005, Clark was on pace to score well over 100 runs and steal 15 bags before a 2nd half let down. His average was still respectable and he finished over .300 but at age 32, you could probably do better as he probably won't.

Grasping at Straws

61. Jeromy Burnitz - 25 HRs, 80 RBIs.....260 Avg. Not bad as a 4th OF but I'm not a huge fan.


62. Matt Murton - This youngin' had a solid stat line in his first taste of the bigs in 2005....looks like he could be what Corey Patterson was supposed to be in Chi-town (only with a better average)....if Dusty gives him a fighting chance.

63. David DeJesus - The Royals' replacement for Carlos Beltran hasn't quite filled the void in K.C. thus far, however he has shown the ability to hit for average and seems like he may have the potential to go 15/10 some day soon with a decent amount of runs scored....could be worse.

64. Jay Gibbons - 22 HR, 75 RBI and .270 Avg...if you like those numbers give him a shot.

65. Austin Kearns - Another young Reds outfielder who can't hit for average but has good power. Sounds pretty good for a 3rd or 4th OF until you look at his injury history and wonder if it is possible for him to stay healthy....A poor man's J.D. Drew = wasted roster space.

66. Curtis Granderson - I love Nook Logan's name and the kid has some speed, but this guy should most likely be starting in the OF ahead of Logan. The "Grand Daddy" could provide solid speed and power numbers if he gets regular playing time...pay attention.

67. Delmon Young - This 5 tool super prospect could move his way up the rankings in a hurry if he has a good spring and finds himself playing OF for the Rays on opening day. Problem is, Tampa Bay has a log jam of talent at the position so he is low until there is signs that he'll play.

68. Dmitri Young - Delmon's brother will provide solid power and average numbers, but he's run of the mill at best.

69. Trot Nixon - Plenty will draft him hoping he bounces back to his 25 HR, 90 RBI days, however 20-80 is probably the best you can hope for if all the stars are aligned just right in 2006.

70. Alexis Rios - Still pretty young with time to step up into that hyped 20/20 class, but expect no more than 10/10 or so.

71. Jeremy Reed - On a lot of sleeper lists in 2005...never woke up. Hopefully he got enough rest last year and The M's get him some No Doz or his cup of coffee might stay cold.

72. Nick Swisher - Potential for 25 HRs and 80 RBIs if he gets 500+ ABs, but not too special in other categories.

73. Corey Patterson - Overhyped in spring of 2005 led to complete disaster with Cubbies. Still has potential to go 20-30 and will be playing in HR friendly Camden Yards....try him late in drafts.

74. Matt Lawton - Not one for a good BA, however always seems to end up on a fantasy squad to provide help in HRs and SBs.

75. Mark Kotsay - Nothing really special about him for fantasy.

76. David Dellucci - Surprising dinger and runs scored totals in 2005....don't bank on those or anything better in 2006.

77. Cory Sullivan - If he can claim a decent spot in the Rockies lineup...possibly #2 hole??....could provide a bit of speed and some runs scored.

78. Brian Anderson - The new centerfielder for the defending world champions....at least for now. Check back in a few weeks to see if he moves up or off this list.

79. Casey Blake - Will flirt with HRs in lower 20s....other than that he offers squat and has no real upside.

80. Craig Wilson - Remember when Goldylocks was eligible at catcher and hit 29 HRs?... no longer so.

Whew! There you have it...the top 80 OFs as of 3/6/06.......Check back in a few weeks to see whose play and hopefully no injuries effect the ranks.

-X