Sunday, April 4, 2010

Season Preview: Jeters Never Prosper

We opine a lot on names here, be it cursing out teams like M*ke, lauding governor lowercase for his general audacity, or shrugging our shoulders at The Spam Avengers. Jake has upped the ante a bit this year by naming his squad after its starting shortstop Derek Jeter. That's all fine and good...but he named his team Jeters Never Prosper. While this may be an anti-Yankee rant, which we're fine with, it also may be an Anti-Jake rant, which is somewhat nonsensical. After all, this team rode a superb 2009 draft to a 3rd place finish and had a nice keeper list. Is there reason to think that they won't be back in the money this year?


When Captain Jeter is your fourth or fifth best infielder, you've got a helluva squad. Beyond the team's namesake, this unit includes AL MVP Joe Mauer, NL slugger Prince Fielder, former MVP Justin Morneau, and solid citizen 2B Ian Kinsler. Even the backups are interesting: Billy Butler has no place to play in this lineup but is a fun sleeper for this year and Miguel Tejada is an underrated fantasy performer despite being 40 years old. Kinsler's hurt right now, but assuming he comes back in one piece, this is probably the best infield in the league.


As great as the infield is, the outfield leaves a lot to be desired. Jason Kubel was a personal favorite of mine last year and is a pretty solid performer on a good team, but if he's your best outfielder, you need better outfielders. Juvenile Delinquent Drew and Nate McLouth both have tempting rate stats but are never healthy enough to play consistently and lack "big bopper" potential. And while Nyjer Morgan will steal a bunch of bases, he's unlikely to contribute much in the way of runs, doesn't walk, and in 206 games, has knocked in a whopping 53 runs. Generally it's fine to carry a Steals Guy, but when your other two outfielders contribute fewer than 50 home runs, it's a tough to punt 3-4 categories in an outfield slot.

Starting Pitching

This franchise has a lot of history of playing the Ace & Flyers formula, and this year is no exception. Yovanni Gallardo is a bonafide ace and Kevin Slowey is a good bounceback candidate. After that, we get the typical Jake Risk Pool. John Danks had a decent 2009 on the surface, but his HRs and walks went up appreciably and to me looks like a decline candidate. Justin Duchsherer and Edinson Volquez combined for 49 innings last year and cannot be considered reliable. Kevin Correia is just A Guy. And then we have the Cum Dempster, about whom we've written more than enough.

Relief Pitching

In most areas of fantasy (and real) baseball you'd prefer quality over quantity, but relief pitching may be the exception. In any event, it's certainly the modus operandi for the Captains, who have multiple closers that are squarely in the "meh" category. Brian Wilson inspires fear and awe in zero people, but has a firm hold on the Giants job. K-Rod is about a year from falling off a cliff, but should get 30 saves for my putrid Mets. And while none of the quartet of the firm Adams Morales Ziegler & Dotel, PLLC, looks to be a star, they should combine for another 30-50 saves. Combined, this looks like 90-100 saves, which would be good enough for 5th place in the league last year. Can't complain too much.


As strong as the Mauer-Morneau-Fielder-Kinsler quartet is, the outfield and starting pitching are shaky enough to put this team tier behind the league's best. That said, those are the two positions where every year we see surprises emerge and plenty of talent available for trade. If this team can snag another bat in the outfield and another good starter sometime before the All-Star Break and avoid the injury bug, they'll compete for a spot in the money.

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