Tag Archives: Jason Kubel

Original Draft Series – Team # 15 – Minnesota Twins


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #15: Minnesota Twins

General Managers(since 1994)

Andy MacPhail (1994): 53-60
Terry Ryan (1995-2007): 1023-1062
Bill Smith (2008-Current): 175-151

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 0 5 5 2 2 4 3

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Joe Mauer 2001 – 1st Rd (1) 9 2009 AL MVP, 3 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers
766 gm, .325/.406/.478, 75 HR, 431 RBI, 35 SB
Currently with Org.
1B Justin Morneau 1999 – 3rd Rd 11 2006 AL MVP, 3 All Star Appearances, 2 Silver Sluggers
940 gm, .285/.358/.510, 178 HR, 672 RBI, 525 R
Currently with Org.
2B Michael Cuddyer 1997 – 1st Rd (9) 13 915 gm, .269/.342/.453, 114 HR, 462 RBI, 36 SB, 484 R Currently with Org.
3B Matt Tolbert 2004 – 16th Rd 6 133 gm, .247/.308/.337, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 13 SB, 50 R Currently with Org.
SS Trevor Plouffe 2004 – 1st Rd (20) 6 7 gm, .130/.125/.274, 3 RBI, R Currently with Org.
LF Denard Span 2002 – 1st Rd (20) 8 313 gm, .297/.379/.408, 17 HR, 144 RBI, 56 SB, 214 R Currently with Org.
CF Torii Hunter 1993 – 1st Rd (20) 14 2 All Star Appearances, 7 Gold Gloves
1234 gm, .271/.324/.469, 192 HR, 711 RBI, 126 SB, 672 R
Free Agency – 10/29/07
RF Jason Kubel 2000 – 12th Rd 10 579 gm, .276/.341/.470, 81 HR, 321 RBI, 252 R Currently with Org.
DH A.J. Pierzynski 1994 – 3rd Rd 9 1 All Star Appearance
430 gm, .301/.341/.447 26 HR, 193 RBI, 184 R
Traded to SF – 11/14/03
SP Scott Baker 2003 – 2nd Rd 7 49-40, 4.36 ERA, 582 K, 168 BB, 749 IP, 1.274 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Nick Blackburn 2001 – 29th Rd 9 28-29, 4.46 ERA, 228 K, 104 BB, 490.1 IP, 1.424 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Kevin Slowey 2005 – 2nd Rd 5 33-20, 4.47 ERA, 304 K, 67 BB, 400.1 IP, 1.304 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Matt Garza 2005 – 1st Rd (25) 2 8-13, 4.47 ERA, 105 K, 55 BB, 133 IP, 1.602 WHIP Traded to MIN – 11/28/07
SP Brian Duensing 2005 – 3rd Rd 5 7-3, 3.17 ERA, 72 K, 39 BB, 116.1 IP, 1.246 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Alex Burnett 2005 – 12th Rd 5 1-1, 3.15 ERA, 26 K, 14 BB, 1.369 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jesse Crain 2002 – 2nd Rd 8 33-20, 3.57 ERA, 228 K, 126 BB, 345.2 IP Currently with Org.
RP J.C. Romero 1997 – 21st Rd 8 25-20, 4.35 ERA, 336 K, 209 BB, 407.2 IP, 1.482 WHIP Traded to LAA – 12/9/05
RP Jose Mijares Int’l FA – 2002 8 2-3, 2.18 ERA, 70 K, 27 BB, 86.2 IP, 1.108 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Grant Balfour Int’l FA – 1997 8 5-1, 4.63 ERA, 74 K, 38 BB, 68 IP, 1.456 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/05
CL LaTroy Hawkins 1991 – 7th Rd 12 44-57, 44 SV, 5.05 ERA, 532 K, 290 BB, 818 IP, 1.523 WHIP Free Agency – 10/27/03
BN Wilson Ramos Int’l FA – 2004 6 7 gm, .293/.321/.407, 1 RBI, 2 R Currently with Org.
BN Saul Rivera 1998 – 9th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Selected by NYM – 11/20/01
BN Peter Moylan Int’l FA – 1996 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 4/1/98
BN Mike Lincoln 1996 – 13th Rd 4 3-13, 7.70 ERA, 42 K, 39 BB, 97 IP, 1.825 WHIP Released – 12/20/00
BN Evan Meek 2002 – 11th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 6/22/05

June Amateur Draft

The thing that seems to stand out to me about the Twins and their draft is that they consistently seem to get useful Major Leaguers out of the draft, and don’t seem to miss too often on their high level picks. Clearly the cream of the crop has been Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter, and Justin Morneau, who are all multiple award winners. Looking at their first round picks over the last 15 years, a majority of them have played in the Majors, and quite a few of them have made it to the Majors with the Twins as well.

International Free Agency

The Twins don’t visit the international markets a lot, mostly because it costs money to get the top prospects from foreign countries. That said, they still have done reasonably well, with Wilson Ramos being one of the top prospects in their system right now, and a solid reliever in Jose Mijares. The most recent signing of note for the Twins is Dominican SS Miguel Angel Sano, who was scouted by many teams and nearly signed a couple of times. I’d like to see more players come out of the international markets before I think it’s been a complete success, but the Twins have done alright here to this point.

Overall Grade

B-. The Twins have done very well to not only scout and develop a lot of high quality players, but have also managed to keep a lot of them and used their farm system to replenish themselves when they need to as well. The only reason that they aren’t really higher up in my rankings is because the bench is so unusually weak for a team with the amount of success that the Twins have had. Also, I think that their inability to translate these groups of players into a championship is a bit of a knock on them, but overall their performance has still been good.

Fantasy Preview – Outfielders


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 45 Outfielders for 2010

1. Ryan Braun – MIL
R HR RBI SB AVG
113 32 114 20 .320
What’s not to love about Ryan Braun the fantasy outfielder? He gives you elite runs and RBI, excellent power and batting average, and great speed. And he’s still young, and has the potential to improve even more. Seriously, Braun is a top-5 talent right now for fantasy, and would definitely be on the short list of players I would want to start a franchise around. I am extremely confident that Braun could give you all those stats again in 2010.


2. Matt Kemp – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
97 26 101 34 .297
As good as Braun has been, Kemp vaulted up into the same tier after his excellent 2009 season. Kemp is another top-10 type player who is going to provide you great value in all 5 categories. Honestly, I think that Kemp would actually put up better numbers than Braun if he didn’t play so many of his games in the spacious parks of the NL West. And he’s only going to be 25 to start the 2010 season. Another player on the short list to start a franchise around.


3. Matt Holliday – STL
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 24 109 14 .313
Holliday started off slow last season while in Oakland, but really turned it up once he arrived in St. Louis. I’m sure that having that Pujols guy as protection for you in the batting order doesn’t hurt, but I think that the Holliday we saw in the second half is legit. I can see him posting another season of 100 runs scored, 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, and probably 10 steals, all while hitting around .320 again. I don’t think that Holliday has any drop-off related to the gigantic contract that he signed in the offseason, but it may be something to watch for.


4. Carl Crawford – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
96 15 68 60 .305
I put Crawford here because I think there is still some upside for him. I think that he’s probably not going to hit more than the 15 HR he hit last season, but I think there’s actually the potential for his SB total to increase on the career high he set last season. An elite basestealer who I believe has the potential to approach the 75-80 range, and post solid-to-great values in some other categories, and there’s a lot to like here. Something to keep an eye on will be his contract situation, as there remains the possibility for him to be traded midseason if the Rays fall out of it and cannot get him signed to an extension.


5. Justin Upton – ARI
R HR RBI SB AVG
84 26 86 20 .300
Upton really started showing us the potential we had all been hearing about last season. Despite missing almost 3 weeks in August due to injury, he still posted a 20-20 season, and was on pace to score 100 runs and drive in 100 also. And he’s still only going to be 22 years old this season. I think he probably has a 30-30 season in him at some point, but for this season, I think he probably posts a 25-20 season. He’s missed time in each of the last 2 seasons related to strains, so I’d be at least aware of that possibility, but I wouldn’t put a lot of weight into it when you’re drafting him.


6. Torii Hunter – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 22 90 18 .299
This is probably where you ask how on earth I can have Hunter this high. He missed over 30 games last season, and still put up an excellent season. While I don’t think that he necessarily will hit quite as well as he did last year, I can see a 90 run, 27 HR, 100+ RBI, 20 SB season with a .290 average. I’m a sucker for players that contribute well to all 5 categories. Although that could be all fantasy players. The Angels will look to him to really lead this team, as Chone Figgins and Vlad Guerrero are both gone. This is Hunter’s team, and I think he’ll thrive in the role.


7. Jacoby Ellsbury – BOS
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 8 60 70 .301
Elite basestealer. Normally this is not going to be enough to get a ranking nearly this high. (Keep an eye out how much further Michael Bourn is to see that). But Ellsbury drives in runs at a reasonable rate, scores runs at a great rate, hits for a high average, and even provides some power. I think that if you draft Ellsbury, you’re pretty much able to ignore speed for quite a while after that. I think there’s actually some room for growth in his numbers this season with the changes that they have made to the lineup in Boston.


8. Jayson Werth – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
98 36 99 20 .268
I didn’t realize how good of a 2009 season that Werth had. He saw a spike in his fly-ball percentage (44% LY vs. 40% career), which probably lead to the increased homerun total. I don’t think he necessarily hits 36 again, but I think a 30-20 season is very reachable for Werth. The batting average is probably going to be in the same range, but with him likely to approach 100 runs and 100 RBI again, there’s quite a bit to like. I don’t necessarily prescribe to this idea, but he is also in a contract year. Something to file away in the back of  your mind.



I think this starts the next tier of outfielders. Werth was probably the last of the “elite” outfielders, in my opinion.

9. Grady Sizemore – CLE
R HR RBI SB AVG
73 18 64 13 .248
Sizemore probably hurt some of your fantasy teams pretty bad last year. Try to remember that the stats he didn’t give you last year have no affect on the quality he could potentially bring you this season. After offseason elbow and abdomen surgery, Sizemore has been cleared to practice at full-speed. I think that he sees a rebound to numbers close to his 2008 season, when he was a 30-30 outfielder. The slight risk I see based on the injuries of last year are what keep me from putting Sizemore back into the top 5 for outfielders.


10. Adam Lind – TOR
R HR RBI SB AVG
93 35 114 1 .305
Lind was one of the few bright spots on the 2009 Blue Jays, as he posted great numbers across the board. You’re not going to get speed from him, but the high average and excellent power more than make up for it. I think that Lind has a very good chance of repeating his 2009 season. He will be 26 this season, and I think that at some point in his career he’s going to top 40 HR in a season.


11. Bobby Abreu – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
96 15 103 30 .293
Abreu is one of those players who never really comes to mind when talk begins of the best fantasy players, and the only reason I can think that is lies with his homerun total. He’s not particularly likely to hit even as many as 20 homeruns anymore, but he’s a professional hitter. He’s going to hit right around .300, score right around 100 runs, drive in right around 100 RBI, and steal between 25 and 30 bases. A very solid outfielder.


12. Ben Zobrist – TAM
Also qualifies at 2B and SS
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 27 91 17 .297
I also wrote about Zobrist in my 2B rankings. I think I have him ahead of some of the outfielders due simply to the positional eligibility he provides. It seems unlikely to me that any team is going to be using him in the OF, but there’s always the chance.


13. Andre Ethier – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
92 31 106 6 .272
The Dodgers have some pretty good outfielders, don’t they? Ethier posted career highs in runs, HR and RBI last season. I think there’s actually room for improvement on the batting average front as well, which could very well leave you with an outfielder with 100 runs, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 5 SB and a .285 average. Which also seems amazing considering all the time spent in the parks of the NL West. Ethier seems like he will be a hot commodity on draft day, and could go earlier than anticipated. Those owners may well end up extremely happy with that decision.


14. Curtis Granderson – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 30 71 20 .249
I think that Granderson has an even bigger season now that he’s playing at new Yankee Stadium. The place played like a bandbox last season, and I think there’s a very good possibility that between that and being in the better Yankee lineup, Granderson scores 100 runs, hits 35 HR, and drives in 90 runs. Even the batting average seems like it has the potential to head up to the .265-.270 range.


15. Shin-Soo Choo – CLE
R HR RBI SB AVG
87 20 86 21 .300
Choo helped to make up for some of the dropoff in performance from Grady Sizemore last year, and I think he actually can build on this performance. I can see getting closer to 100 Runs and RBI this season, providing the Indians lineup performs even slightly better than last year. Something interesting about Choo: At some point before he turns 30, he’s required to do 2 years of military service since he is a citizen of South Korea. It has happened in the past that players have been excused from this, but it’s something to keep an eye on if you are playing in a keeper league.


16. Adam Dunn – WAS
Also Qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 38 105 0 .267
I wrote about Dunn in my 1B rankings. He’s a lock to give you 35+ HR and 100+ RBI. Even the run total could see improvement on last year. Quietly, a very solid player.


17. Jason Bay – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 36 119 13 .267
I don’t think that Jason Bay gives you these numbers again. If I did, he’d be in my top 10 outfielders. I think he sees a drop off in runs (probably to the 85-90 range), HR (probably toward 25-30), and RBI (probably to the 90-95 range). I just don’t have a whole lot of faith in the idea that Jason was not helped by playing at Fenway Park. Just remember that when you’re drafting him, you’re probably not going to get the same stats as last season.


18. Ichiro Suzuki – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
88 11 48 26 .352
Ichiro remains a hitting machine, posting a .352 average and 225 hits despite missing almost 20 games during the span of the season. I think that he approaches 100 runs again, and could reach 40 steals potentially. But I wouldn’t bank on more than 25 steals and 8 homers out of Ichiro. He seems to be able to hit homers when he desires to, but is just as happy getting singles and stealing the bases instead. Pairing him with a high-power, low average group of hitters could be a good strategy to use Ichiro with.



I’d say that at this point, nearly everyone in this next group could be moved around based on what you think you need at that point in your draft. They’re all very similar to me in terms of value, and it’s really your preference.

19. Carlos Beltran – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
50 10 48 11 .325
Beltran missed half of the season last year due to injury, and was having a very good season when he got hurt. If he’s 100% healthy, I could see him returning to his 100 run, 20 HR, 100 RBI, 20 steal form of previous years. I think that the ranking of him here is very aggressive considering that he seems unlikely to stay healthy for the full season. Definitely a lot of upside, and possibly a top-10 outfielder if he meets that upside.


20. Shane Victorino – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
102 10 62 25 .292
Victorino had a good well-rounded season, posting solid numbers in all categories. I think that Victorino is a lock to score 100 runs again in that powerful Phillies lineup. I also think he could steal over 30 bases again this season, and even possibly hit a few more homeruns as well.


21. Nelson Cruz – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
75 33 76 20 .260
I had no idea that Cruz had this good of a season last year. 2009 was really the first time Cruz got a full season at the Majors, and he provided a solid season as a result. My biggest concern with Cruz would be that he may have already peaked, as he turned 29 during the 2009 season. I think that he has some room for growth this year in batting average, and also possibly in runs as well.


22. Carlos Lee – HOU
R HR RBI SB AVG
65 26 102 5 .300
Lee isn’t going to steal double digit bases any more, and he seems really unlikely to score 100 runs again. He seems like an ideal candidate for the “Name not performance” award. He does have some good solid value still, as he’s practically a lock to hit 30 HR and 100 RBI with a .300 average. But I don’t think he’s a top-10 outfielder anymore, and it seems like there’s bound to be someone who will draft him like he is. I do think he does score closer to 80 runs this season as well, which still makes him a solid fantasy outfielder.


23. Michael Cuddyer – MIN
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
93 32 94 6 .276
I originally had thought about Cuddyer as a candidate for my top-15 first basemen, but he ended up in the notes at the bottom instead. Cuddyer had a very good year last year, posting a career high in HR last season. I think he can repeat similar power (probably 30 or so), and conceivably repeat similar numbers in all other categories as well. I think he’s also has a pretty good chance at getting to 100 runs and 100 rbi again this season. Something to watch for: Cuddyer is going into the season as the starting RF, but has also played 1B and 3B previously for the Twins. If Nick Punto struggles really badly, I could see them conceivably moving Cuddyer if they feel that they can get better production with Jason Kubel in RF and Jim Thome as the DH.


24. Raul Ibanez – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
93 34 93 4 .272
Ibanez posted an amazing first half of the season, showing quite a bit of power (22 HR through June), but fell off a bit in the second half. That split concerns me, as he hit 12 in the second half. It is what keeps me from ranking him higher, as I think he’s probably more likely to hit 25 HR than 35. Ibanez will be 38 years old by the end of the 2010 season, and I just don’t think he can keep up this kind of performance for another season.


25. Adam Jones – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
83 19 70 10 .277
Adam Jones is already showing just how good the return was on the Erik Bedard trade. He only played in 119 games last season, and I think that if he can stay healthy for a full season, he will post a 25-15 season with 90+ runs and RBI. The key to this whole theory being that he can stay healthy. Just remember to include that in your thoughts when drafting Jones.


26. Jason Kubel – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
73 28 103 1 .300
Kubel posted what was easily his best season to this point. The power is legitimate, and I can see him being good for 100 RBI again. I’m not 100% sold that he can repeat his batting average, partially due to a jump in his BABIP (.327 in ’09 compared to .295 in ’08 and .305 in ’07). While it’s not a huge spike, it could very well be the difference between him posting a .295 average and a .275 average. I do think that the run total could potentially see a little bit of growth, but probably not a whole lot more than 80 or so. He’s another player who I think could be forgotten about on draft day.


27. Hunter Pence – HOU
R HR RBI SB AVG
76 25 72 14 .282
Pence looks to me like he’s got a pretty good chance of repeating his 2009 season, as he essentially repeated his 2008 season, but with a slightly higher batting average. Pence was able to cut down a bit on his strikeouts in 2009 (18% vs. 21% career), and also increased his walk rate as well. I think that the thing that really appears to be holding Pence back is his own team. He really doesn’t seem likely to improve his run or RBI totals with the lineup that the Astros have built. It just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that good.


28. Manny Ramirez – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
62 19 63 0 .290
Ramirez really wore down at the end of last season (.255/.379/.459 in the 2nd half), and that concern keeps me from ranking him too highly. Obviously, there’s a huge amount of upside possible with Ramirez, as he could conceivably post a 100-30-100-.300 season. I just won’t be the one to pay for it, because I’m a little wary of that not happening.  But if you’ve gotten some players with low risk, he could be worth it when he’s going to be drafted.


29. Andrew McCutchen – PIT
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 12 54 22 .286
McCutchen only played in 108 games last season, due to not being called up until the beginning of June. Once there, he cemented himself as the starting center fielder for the years to come in Pittsburgh. McCutchen could conceivably get to 100 runs, 20 homers, 80 rbi, and 30 steals if it all falls correctly for him. He’s a very good young player, and he’s only going to get better. He may see a little bit of an adjustment period with it being his sophomore season, but I think he eventually becomes a top-15 outfielder on a consistent basis.


30. Michael Bourn – HOU
R HR RBI SB AVG
97 3 35 61 .285
The speed is legitimate. Beyond that, it’s all a bit risky to me. He posted a career high batting average of .285 backed by a BABIP of .366. I think that there’s some chance of regression, but the .366 BABIP is not brutally out of line with his minor league numbers (.335 at AA, .353 at AAA). He’s not going to provide a lot of RBI or even more than the 3 HR he hit last season. But I think there’s still a chance he steals even more bases. Just try to temper your expectations on Bourn. The Astros’ lineup worries me a bit still, but as the leadoff hitter he should have the best chance to score of anyone on that team.


31. Nate McLouth – ATL
R HR RBI SB AVG
86 20 70 19 .256
I actually like McLouth a lot for this season. Providing that you can get him at the right point in your draft. He missed some time last season, and could see a return to a 20-20 season again. The batting average is a bit of a drag, and it doesn’t appear to be that far out of his expected range unfortunately. He posted similar per-game numbers with both teams last season, so I’m not inclined to believe that he’s going to post a much better season due to spending the full year in Atlanta.


32. Carlos Quentin – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
47 21 56 3 .236
Quentin is another player who is coming back from an injury, and missed quite a bit of time as a result. He also posted an extremely low BABIP last season (.221 vs .278 in 2008), which should lead him to an increase in batting average if he regresses closer to his norm. I think that there’s a lot of upside here as well, with the potential for a 100-30-100 season out of Quentin. But he’s missed time in both seasons with the White Sox due to injuries, and the concern around these leads me to rank him lower than his talent probably would justify. I would want the potential to be that much higher as a result.



From this point on, you’re really getting into need. For me, all the players remaining are all extremely similar in terms of the value they provide to a fantasy team. Just figure out where you are needing some stats, and go from there.

33. Carlos Gonzalez – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
53 13 29 16 .284
Gonzalez appears to finally be showing the promise that made him the highlight of both the Dan Haren and Matt Holliday trades. Despite only playing in 89 games last year, he still posted excellent numbers. And he comes into Spring Training with what appears to be a very good chance to be an everyday player. In a full season, I think he can post 100 runs, 20 HR, 75 RBI, and 25 SB with a good average. The only real concern I have for Gonzalez is that the Rockies seem to have too many solid outfielders (Hawpe, Spilborghs, Fowler, Smith), and as a result could see a loss of some playing time potentially for Gonzalez. Something to monitor in Spring Training if you get him. But I love the upside, and think he’s going to be extremely popular this season.


34. Johnny Damon – DET
R HR RBI SB AVG
107 24 82 12 .282
I don’t believe. He’s not going back to the Yankees, and I don’t believe in the homeruns or the runs scored based on him not being there. Someone is probably going to get a decent value on him, as he’s still out there as of this writing. Once he signs,  I think that he could conceivably score about 85-90 runs, hit 15-20 HR, and steal 10+ bases. But I don’t think that there’s a lot of upside for him without playing in that Yankee juggernaut.


35. Nick Markakis – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 18 101 6 .293
Markakis is one of those players that I think ends up doing well on his name, as opposed to his actual numbers. I don’t see a full repeat of the numbers he posted last season, but I can see another 85 runs and 90 RBI season. The problem I keep running into is the power. Even with a spike of almost 8% in his fly ball rate, he hit even less homeruns. There’s still the potential for growth since he’s only going to be 26 during the 2010 season, but I’m not necessarily taking the risk. For me, the upside for Markakis appears to be what he did last season. Which is good, but not amazing. And for upside, I’d rather take some other players first.


36. Alex Rios – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
63 17 71 24 .247
He can’t be as bad as that batting average, right? I think he may rebound this season, but it really speaks to me that the Blue Jays were willing to give up on the talent for just salary relief. He has the potential to post a 25-25 season I think, but at this point the risk that he continues to be what he did in Chicago (.199/.229/.301) is what keeps me from drafting him like he could do that.


37. B.J. Upton – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
79 11 55 42 .241
The batting average is a concern, especially since his BABIP of .310 was actually fairly solid. I think he could very well hit .250 again. The steals are nice, but I’m not convinced that he could give you a 20-20 season again. I’m not really sold he will give you 40 steals again, but I think he’s got a better shot of that. Strikeouts remain a problem, as he had 152 last season against only 57 walks. If he can improve that ratio, he could see some improvement, but I’m not inclined to believe it will happen.


38. Josh Hamilton – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
43 10 54 8 .268
Hamilton is probably one of the higher-upside high risk players you could draft. If he’s back to 100% healthy (both mentally and physically), he could be an elite outfielder again. But this remains a player who has missed significant time in 2 of the last 3 seasons. And while I do have to remind myself that he is still developing, I’m averse to the risk in this case. I’ll let someone else take the chance on him. If he does perform to his potential, he could post an 85 run, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 15 steal season with a .280 average. But the odds of that seem really low to me.


39. Alfonso Soriano – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
64 20 55 9 .241
The Cubs would probably like a do-over on this contract. Soriano missed quite a bit of time last season due to injury, and will look to rebound in 2010. His batting average should improve, as he posted a BABIP about 20-25 points lower than his career norms. I think that he’s more likely to have a similar season to 2009, with probably about 80 RBI instead of 55, and a few more homeruns as well. But I think that his days as a top-10 outfielder are over, and I don’t think he steals more than 15 bases this season. At this point he’s just not quite the same player he once was.


40. Brad Hawpe – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
82 23 86 1 .285
Hawpe is always knocked as a player who benefits from playing at Coors Field, but the dropoff between home and away does not seem that severe to me. (.297/.397/520 at home, .275/.372/.518 on the road). Something to watch about Hawpe would be whether or not the Rockies consider moving him mid-season. There was rumor that he may get moved during the offseason, but remains with the Rockies. I think they’d have to hold onto him unless they’re blown away by whatever is offered, as he remains a solid power hitter. I don’t think the upside to get to 100 runs or 100 RBI is there for Hawpe, but he’s still likely to provide solid production in 4 categories. Probably a fair 2nd outfielder or great 3rd outfielder for a fantasy team.


41. Franklin Gutierrez – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
85 18 70 16 .283
Gutierrez quietly had a very solid season last year. he’s not going to provide top-tier stats in any category, but he will provide you with value in all 5 categories. I think he has the potential to post a 20-20 season at some point in his career, but I’m not convinced it will be this season. But he should still give you about 15 HR and 15 steals to go with a solid batting average and run totals.


42. Denard Span – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
97 8 68 23 .311
Span finally got consistent playing time, and made great use of it. Span probably drops slightly in batting average this season, but we’re talking about him still being around .300, so it’s not really that much of a drop. He’s not likely to be a power hitter, probably providing no more than the 8 homeruns he had last season. But if you pair him with someone like Adam Lind or Adam Dunn, he’s going to be a great balance and give you solid production from a 3rd outfielder.


43. Juan Rivera – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
72 25 88 0 .287
Rivera was healthy for the most part in 2009, and his numbers really showed it. He cemented himself as a starter in the Angels’ outfield last year, and with the trade of Gary Matthews Jr., this is unlikely to change. I think he’s going to provide similar numbers again in 2010. Reasonable power, and some solid run-production. He’s what I would call a “bland” player, in that none of the stats that he provides really stand out. But you need players like this on your team just like you need the ones that provide elite values.


44. Juan Pierre – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
57 0 31 30 .308
Pierre has finally been freed from the bench in Los Angeles, and will be a starter in Chicago. I don’t think he’s going to give you 60-70 steals anymore, but I can see him getting into the 50′s potentially with the Sox. He could very well get back to around 85-90 runs as well. And you should know better than to expect even a single homerun. But he’s likely to give you a solid batting average to go with those other stats. I think he adjusts to the American League just fine, as he has quite a track record of performance at this point in his career.


45. Nolan Reimold – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
49 15 45 8 .279
As you get down into the 40s for outfielders, you’re mostly looking for upside. Or maybe that’s just me. Reimold only played a little more than half the season, and I think he could pretty easily post a 20-15 season with a full season. The upside is 85 runs, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 15 steals. Something to watch for is how the playing time sorts itself out. Reimold is probably going to lose a little playing time to Felix Pie, but could also see some time at 1B or DH as well. I can’t imagine that the Orioles think that Pie is the better long-term play, but I don’t imagine that they’ll ask me either. Not that they should.



From here, you’re really going to be looking for specific skills or stats. You’ve got lots of steals out there if you need them: Rajai Davis (41), Nyjer Morgan (42), Dexter Fowler (27). But for me, I tried to avoid players who didn’t provide at least reasonable value in 3-4 categories. There’s still some upside plays, with Vladimir Guerrero and Jay Bruce both having the potential to be special this season.

The one thing that I did notice is this: More than any other position, nearly every outfielder provides value with stolen bases. This seems unusual to me, and it’s something to keep in mind when you’re drafting. There are a lot of positions that don’t provide speed particularly well, but outfield is not one of them.

Tomorrow I will continue on with my fantasy previews, with the first half of my starting pitcher rankings.

Team Preview – Minnesota Twins


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Joe Mauer SP 1 Scott Baker
1B Justin Morneau SP 2 Carl Pavano
2B Orlando Hudson SP 3 Nick Blackburn
3B Nick Punto SP 4 Kevin Slowey
SS J.J. Hardy SP 5 Francisco Liriano
LF Delmon Young Bullpen
CF Denard Span CL Joe Nathan
RF Michael Cuddyer RP Matt Guerrier
DH Jason Kubel RP Jose Mijares
Bench RP Jesse Crain
DH Jim Thome RP Jon Rauch
IF Brian Buscher RP Clay Condrey

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SS J.J Hardy Trade (MIL) CF Carlos Gomez Trade (MIL)
2B Orlando Hudson Free Agency SS Orlando Cabrera Free Agency
DH Jim Thome Free Agency C Mike Redmond Free Agency

Top Prospects: Aaron Hicks (OF), Ben Revere (OF), Carlos Gutierrez (P), Wilson Ramos (C), Danny Valencia (3B)

2009 Review

The Twins had a pretty good season in 2009, posting an 87-76 record en route to an AL Central division title. They spent the month of April without their all-star backstop, Joe Mauer. Not that you could necessarily tell, since he posted a career year. Mauer won the AL batting title with a .365 batting average, hit a career high 28 homers, and drove in 96 runs en route to winning the AL most valuable player award as well. The Twins were also led on offense by RF Michael Cuddyer (32 HR, 94 RBI), DH Jason Kubel (28 HR, 103 RBI), and CF Denard Span (.311, 23 SB). 1B Justin Morneau had a solid year as well (30 HR, 100 RBI), although not necessarily quite to the standard of his MVP season.

The starting rotation was a complete mixed bag last season, as they only got 200+ innings from Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn. Late season additions to the rotation of Carl Pavano and Brian Duensing both helped the Twins stay in the race until they finally caught the Tigers during the last weekend of the season. The bullpen pitched extremely well last season, with Joe Nathan (47 sv, 2.10 ERA), Matt Guerrier (5-1, 2.36 ERA), and Jose Mijares (2-2, 2.34 ERA) all posting excellent seasons in relief.

The Twins won the play-in game against the Tigers, but unfortunately were no match for the eventual World Champion New York Yankees. They were swept in 3 games by the Yankees.

Team Outlook for 2010

As has become the standard for the Twins, they didn’t make a lot of flashy moves this offseason, but did make some excellent moves which will help to improve their team for the 2010 season. The trade to acquire SS J.J. Hardy could pay off hugely, as he will likely provide some more power for the Twins, and all it cost them was a player that had essentially been passed on the depth chart. Resigning SP Carl Pavano should also help to bring some stability to a rotation that is sorely in need of it. I particularly like the signing of 2B Orlando Hudson, as it takes a position where the Twins have been weak the past two seasons and brings in a professional hitter who can also provide some solid defense as well.

Unless it gets done during the season, the biggest topic of discussion during the season will be whether or not the Twins can get C Joe Mauer signed to a contract extension. It seems at this point like both sides want to get this done, and that they’re likely to before the season starts. I think it’s really important that they get this done, as Mauer is probably more representative of his organization than practically anyone else in the league right now. Joe Mauer is the face of the franchise for the Twins, and it would be a gigantic hit to the organization if he ends up walking away from the Twins.

The Twins are also moving into a new outdoor stadium at the start of this season. It remains to be seen how it is going to play, but I think that the Twins lose a major home-field advantage that they had with the Metrodome. That roof was the bane of quite a few visiting outfielders’ existence, as the ball would get lost in it on a fairly consistent basis. That said, I think that the Twins still are the class of the AL Central at this point, and should do pretty well in 2010.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

All sorts of good fantasy players here, with C Joe Mauer leading the way. RF Michael Cuddyer, DH Jason Kubel, RP Joe Nathan, and 1B Justin Morneau will all end up owned in nearly every league. And of course, there is everyone’s favorite high-risk, high-reward starting pitcher in Francisco Liriano. Liriano has been reported that he pitched well at winter ball, but he is a definite buyer-beware type of pitcher for fantasy.

Prediction for 2010

I think that this Twins team is actually better than last year’s version, and remains the class of the AL Central division. I think that barring a huge rash of injuries, the Twins should win the division pretty easily.

87-75, 1st in the AL Central

Trade Review – MIL/MIN


Milwaukee trades J.J. Hardy to Minnesota for Carlos Gomez
Source: ESPN.com

When I first heard this trade, I really liked it for both teams. Hardy fills an immediate need for the Twins at SS, and only takes away from a position of strength. For the Twins, they are able to shift Denard Span permanently to CF, and have either Michael Cuddyer or Jason Kubel go to RF. For the Brewers, this allows them to let Mike Cameron leave via free-agency, and take that savings to help improve the team in other areas. This definitely signals the start of the Alcides Escobar era in Milwaukee, as he will likely be handed the starting SS job.

Overall, I like this trade a lot. One of those trades that makes too much sense.

Some other opinions and information:

Beyond the Box Score takes a look at the impact of this trade on the defense of the Twins next season.
They also take a look at the value provided to each team by each player.