Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Miranda Warnings": 2009 "Studs and Duds" (Part 1 of 2)

Welcome to the 2009 version of "Miranda Warnings", your weekly guide to what's happening in the world of Major League Baseball, from a fantasy baseball perspective. Every Saturday, throughout baseball's regular season, "Miranda Warnings" will appear on I'm your host Michael Miranda.

It's that time of year again. With Major League Baseball's regular season on the horizon, fantasy baseball magazines litter the magazine stands. The fantasy baseball magazines (and websites) have their player rankings, their sleepers/busts, and their cheat sheets. But, the fantasy baseball magazines and websites don't have "studs and duds"!

Welcome to the first of "Miranda Warnings" two-part series, "studs and duds" . Today, I bring you the 2009 "studs" (i.e. a must-have player). I'll select one "stud" from each Major League team. Next week, I bring you the 2009 "duds"!

A "Miranda Warnings" stud is not necessarily the best player on his Major League team, but he's a player that I would target on Draft Day 2009 because I expect him to exceed expectations. The "studs" profiles below are based on talent, potential, playing-time and extenuating circumstances. Let's get to it!

American League East:

Baltimore Orioles: There's no question that OF Nick Markakis is a stud. The question is, has he hit his ceiling or is there room for further improvement? I'm gonna say the latter. The next step in Markakis' improvement could come as soon as 2009. Markakis' potential/upside: .290-.300 BA, 90-100 runs, 25-30 HR's, 110-120 RBI's!

Boston Red Sox: You may not have known that OF Jason Bay had solid seasons in Pittsburgh, because he played for the lowly Pirates. If Bay can put up nice numbers for the Pirates, he'll have the opportunity to do some serious damage for Boston. Bay is signed through 2009, making '09 his "contract year". Bay is my dark-horse 2009 AL MVP! Don't laugh! Bay is a big-time talent with a great skill-set. He'll have the opportunity to strut his stuff in a great lineup and great hitters ballpark for all of 2009. Bay's potential/upside: .280-.290 BA, 90-100 runs, 30-35 HR's, 110-120 RBI's!

NY Yankees: On a Yankees' team full of studs, 1B Mark Teixeira could get lost in the shuffle. Don't you forget about him on D-Day 2009. Teixeira's potential/upside: .295-.310 BA, 100-110 runs, 35-40 HR's, 120-130 RBI's!

Tampa Bay Rays: Most OF Carl Crawford profiles tell you that he's never lived up to expectations, been a fantasy disappointment, blah, blah, blah. I'm telling you to get him on D-Day 2009. He's only 27, and his best years are ahead of him. While most fantasy GM's are pursing Tampa's OF B.J. Upton, 3B Evan Longoria and P David Price, don't you forget about Crawford. Crawford's potential/upside: .290-.300 BA, 100-110 runs, 15-20 HR's, 65-75 RBI's, 50+ SB's!

Toronto Blue Jays: OF Alex Rios has long been touted as a star. He's had solid seasons, but has yet to have monster season. The talent is there. Perhaps he puts it all together in 2009? Rios' potential/upside: .290-.300 BA, 90-100 runs, 25-30 HR's, 90-100 RBI's, 25-30 SB's!

American League Central:

Chicago White Sox: If OF Carlos Quentin has fully recovered from a broken wrist suffered in September, he could win the AL MVP award that eluded him in 2008. Quentin's potential/upside: .280-.295 BA, 90-100 runs, 40-50 HR's, 110-120 RBI's!

Cleveland Indians: SS Jhonny Peralta is an elite shortstop that most people don't know about. As a result, he gets little recognition/respect he deserves. A perfect example would be the fantasy magazine that ranked him 12th, amongst major league shortstops! Peralta has already put together two solid seasons (2007, 2008). Keep in mind that Peralta, 26, has yet to enter his prime years. This could be one of the best D-Day 2009 draft bargains. While Peralta gets overlooked by most fantasy GM's, you need to pounce on a guy who produces elite numbers at a thin position. Peralta's potential/upside: .270-.280 BA, 80-90 runs, 25-30 HR's, 90-100 RBI's!

Detroit Tigers: Hard to believe that 1B Miguel Cabrera is only 25. He's already put together a few monster seasons. There's no reason to think that he can't do the same in 2009. Cabrera's potential/upside: .310-.320 BA, 90-100 runs, 35-40 HR's, 110-120 RBI's!

Kansas City Royals: Like Cleveland SS Jhonny Peralta (see above), SP Zack Greinke gets little, or no, attention. But, his 2008 numbers don't lie (13-10, 3.47 ERA, 183 K's, 1.28 WHIP). Greinke is on a very, very short list of major league pitcers with four major league quality pitches. Greinke has Cy Young ability. On a slightly improved KC team, 2009 might be the year that Greinke puts it all together. Greinke's potential/upside: 15-20 wins, 3-3.50 ERA, 180-200 K's!

Minnesota Twins: All you need to know about OF Carlos Gomez is this... he was the centerpiece of the Johan Santana trade and he's faster than NY Mets SS Jose Reyes! It's not a matter of if, but when, Gomez turns into a star. Gomez remains a raw talent, but when he hones his skills, watch out!. When Gomez puts it all together, we're looking at the next Carl Crawford! Gomez' potential/upside: .275-.285 BA, 80-90 runs, 10-15 HR's, 60-70 RBI's, 50+ SB's!

American League West:

LA Angels: OF Vladimir Guerrero is a former elite OF, completely healthy for the first time in several years, and playing in his contract year. This is a recipe for an MVP-type season! Although he's coming off a down year, don't rule out an MVP-type season from one baseball's greatest hitters. Guerrero's potential/upside: .300-.310 BA, 90-100 runs, 35-40 HR's, 100-110 RBI's, 5-10 SB's!

Oakland A's: Can OF Matt Holliday perform at a high level, while not playing half his games in Colorado? I say no, but he's still a stud! Holliday's potential/upside: .290-.300 BA, 90-100 runs, 25-30 HR's, 100-110 RBI's!

Seattle Mariners: C/DH Jeff Clement is part of Seattle's youth movement and, based on his minor league numbers, is very capable of having a breakout season. Clement's potential/upside: .270-.280 BA, 60-70 runs, 15-20 HR's, 60-70 RBI's!

Texas Rangers: 1B/3B Chris Davis burst onto the scene in 2008. Davis won't come cheap in 2009, but this may be the lowest price-tag on him for many years to come! Note the dual position eligibility! He's got mammoth power and fully capable of putting together a monster season. Davis' potential/upside: .280-.290 BA, 80-90 runs, 30-35 HR's, 100-110 RBI's!

National League East:

Atlanta Braves: Switching leagues could be the final ingredient to making Javier Vazquez a very special pitcher. He's been rock-solid/durable for several years, but we could see him reach new heights in 2009. Vazquez has elite talent, but has yet to have an elite season. Like I said, the talent is there. Will 2009 be that special season? Vazquez' potential/upside: 15-20 wins, 3-3.50 ERA, 200+ K's!

Philadelphia Phillies: OF Shane Victorino is one of many catalysts in Philly's lineup. His best years are ahead of him. Victorino's potential/upside: .280-.290 BA, 100-110 runs, 15-20 HR's, 75-85 RBI's!

NY Mets: 3B David Wright is an elite talent who, believe it or not, is capable of improvement. Will 2009 be that special season? Wright's potential/upside: .300-.310 BA, 100-110 runs, 35-40 HR's, 110-120 RBI's!

Florida Marlins: P Ricky Nolasco battled arm problems heading into 2008. In 2008, he was healthy, and it showed. Nolasco went from being Florida's #5 starter in May, to one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball by years' end. Nolasco's potential/upside: 15-20 wins, 3-3.50 ERA, 200+ K's!

Washington Nationals: If OF Elijah Dukes can keep his head on straight and stay healthy, he is one of the few players in Major league Baseball with 30-30 potential. Dukes' potential/upside: .280-.290 BA, 80-90 runs, 25-30 HR's, 90-100 RBI's, 30+ SB's!

National League Central:

Chicago Cubs: In 2008, C Geovany Soto proved that his minor league numbers were for real! Soto is already one of the better catchers in baseball, and capable of even better numbers. Soto's potential/upside: .280-.290 BA, 70-80 runs, 25-30 HR's, 90-100 RBI's!

Cincinnati Reds: 1B Joey Votto is for real. In 2008, he hit over .300 on the road, which tells you just how good he is! Votto's potential/upside: .280-.290 BA, 80-90 runs, 25-30 HR's, 90-100 RBI's!

Houston Astros: OF Hunter Pence has huge upside, but must improve his plate discipline. If he can limit his free-swinging ways, he could be a bargain on D-Day 2009. Pence's potential/upside: .280-.290 BA, 80-90 runs, 25-30 HR's, 90-100 RBI's, 10-15 SB's!

Milwaukee Brewers: Almost everyone has given up on 2B Rickie Weeks, which could provide a great buying opportunity for you. Fantasy GM's may have written-off Weeks, but don't you do the same. He's still young enough to improve. Weeks has immense potential and you need to remember that come draft day. Weeks' potential/upside: .270-.280 BA, 80-90 runs, 20-25 HR's, 70-80 RBI's, 20-25 SB's!

Pittsburgh Pirates: C Ryan Doumit is one of the very few Pirates with upside. If healthy, Doumit could be a difference-maker in fantasy leagues. Doumit's potential/upside: .280-.290 BA, 70-80 runs, 15-20 HR's, 70-80 RBI's!

St.Louis Cardinals: OF Rick Ankiel has made a successful transiton from pitcher to hitter. If he could just stay healthy, we'd witness his immense potential. Ankiel's potential/upside: .270-.280 BA, 70-80 runs, 30-35 HR's, 90-100 RBI's!

National League West:

Arizona Diamondbacks: OF Chris Young has one thing holding him back from being a superstar... plate discipline/pitch selection. If he can improve in those areas, look out! Young's potential/upside: .270-.280 BA, 90-100 runs, 25-30 HR's, 80-90 RBI's, 30+ SB's!

Colorado Rockies: In 2008, C Chris Iannetta broke through, and his upside might be higher than what we saw last year. Iannetta's potential/upside: .270-.280 BA, 70-80 runs, 20-25 HR's, 80-90 RBI's!

LA Dodgers: OF Andre Ethier has proven that he has what it takes to be an everyday player. Ethier's potential/upside: .300-.310 BA, 80-90 runs, 20-25 HR's, 80-90 RBI's!

San Diego Padres: If P Chris Young can ever stay healthy, watch out! Young's potential/upside: 15-20 wins, 3-3.50 ERA, 200+ K's!

San Francisco Giants: Coming up through the San Francisco organization, P Matt Cain, and not Tim Lincecum, was ranked higher! This tells you just how good Cain can be. My only concern is that Cain has logged over 600 Major League innings, and he's only 24 years old! Yikes! That's a lot of innings for such a young pitcher. Fortunately, until now, Cain has been durable. Cain's potential/upside: 15-20 wins, 3-3.50 ERA, 200+ K's!

Thanks for reading "Miranda Warnings"!

See you next week!

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Kevin Fenstermacher said...

Um, did you mean Werth for Philly instead of Victorino?

Anonymous said...

Victorino has a career total of 34 HR in 1500+ AB. His upside is 30-35 HR? Huwhat?

Pat Burrell in that TB lineup, and not losing ABs because he has to be replaced defensively halfway through the game, is a stud.

While there's really no one else to choose from on KC, Greinke's emotional instability means he's bound to suddenly take a leave of absence at some point this season. He looks like he could breakdown into tears at any moment. I'm banking on it happening after a little kid approaches him for an autograph.