Well, the Blues are playing right now…buuuuuuut Mediacom and Fox Sports Midwest have decided that the good folks in our viewing area would rather watch Pac-10 basketball. Let’s see here…a local team pushing for their playoff lives or a 20 point blowout between Oregon and Cal. Yeah, makes perfect sense to me, too. I guess it’s movie time.
So since there are no sports on, I’ve started signing up for fantasy baseball leagues. So far, I’m in three and I’d like to stop there, but I know I won’t. I wanted to stop at two but I got sucked in by a friend of mine. Now you may be asking yourself, “Why am I still reading this?” and that’s a good question. In fact, it’s one that I cannot answer. However, my plan is to make this an interactive post. Now if that doesn’t make you keep reading, I don’t know what will.
One of my leagues is a keeper league. It’s a roto league with some funky scoring that is being changed right now, so I can’t give you all the details on it. Regardless, it’s going to be a slightly pitcher friendly league. I’m allowed to keep four players off of last year’s fourth place team. My problem is that I have five players that are more than worthy of a spot on The Yellow Darts. This is where you come in.
I’m going to give you a little background on each player and at the end I’ll have a little poll where you can help me pick my four keepers for this upcoming season. It’s also worth mentioning that I have the first overall pick in the draft which does not snake. I’m in a good position. Okay, let’s get started.
Justin Morneau – 1B – Minnesota Twins
The Twins first baseman was a very late round selection my first year in the league and he’s been on my team ever since. Morneau has averaged almost 30 homers and 118 RBIs in those four years so he has been very, very good for me. He only played in 135 games last year after a back injury ended his season prematurely. I’ve read that he’s healthy now and his stats should get even better after moving into the brand new Target Field. Early word is that it will be a hitter’s ballpark which bodes well for Morneau and for The Yellow Darts. Chance that I’ll keep Morneau: 99%
Matt Holliday – OF – St. Louis Cardinals
The newest member of the $100 million dollar contract team was another late-round gem that I found in my first season. He was a charter member of the Darts and I don’t see that changing. Last year between the A’s and Cardinals, Holliday posted a line of .313/24/109. Now he will get a full season of hitting around Albert Pujols and I’ll get to go see him in person a few times. That can only help his case. The career .318 hitter is a doubles machine and he can even steal a few bases, recording double digits in steals every year since his rookie campaign. He even swiped 28 for the Rockies in 2008. That one surprised me a bit. Chance that I’ll keep Holliday: 99%
Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers
I took an early round gamble on Verlander in last year’s draft. He was coming off a horrific season that saw him go 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA. He bounced back in grand fashion by posting a 19-9 record with a career low 3.45 ERA a career high 269 strikeouts. He was phenomenal. His 2008 concerns me a bit, but three of his four big league seasons have been excellent. He’s a very durable pitcher with a solid team around him. I’d expect at least average numbers from him again this year: 16-18 wins, 3.50-3.70 ERA and around 200 Ks. Chance that I’ll keep Verlander: 75%
Cliff Lee – SP – Seattle Mariners
Cliff Lee was an early season waiver wire pick up during his Cy Young Award winning year of 2008. That year he went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA 170 Ks for a Cleveland Indians team that finished 81-81 on the year. Needless to say, I kept him. Now Lee is an interesting case. He has been historically good and he has also been shockingly bad. In 2007, he went 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA before being demoted to the minors. That’s not generally a precursor to a 22-3 season, but in this case it was. There will always be that seed of doubt that maybe he’ll revert back to that form. He’ll also be joining the Seattle Mariners who have quietly put together a pretty solid team for this upcoming year. How solid? Well, that remains to be seen which is another one of the many questions surrounding Lee. Chance that I’ll keep Cliff Lee: 50%
Carlos Lee – OF – Houston Astros
Carlos Lee is an RBI machine. Only once since 2003 has he posted a season under 100 and he still had 99 of them. His power numbers have begun to shrink slightly as he’s gone from 37 homers in 2006, to 32, to 28, and 26 this past year. 2008 was a bit of an anomaly, however, since he only played in 115 games. Lee is still very capable of putting up solid numbers considering he plays his home games at Tropicana Field which is a hitter’s haven. I am just a little worried that he’ll be 34 this year and the Astros won’t be very good. Chance that I’ll keep Carlos Lee: 50%
So those are my five potential keepers. If you have a compelling argument for or against a certain player, please let me know in the comments. Or, if you’re more of the read-only type, just vote in the poll below. (Be sure to read it carefully) Maybe I’ll keep you updated on the Darts’ progress throughout the year if this catches on.