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March 09, 2006

ESPN Fantasy Column

The Easy Projections

.295/.375/.575, 110 runs, 45 homers, 135 RBI, 4 steals

Teixeira has rocketed from decent fantasy first baseman to top-ten pick in two short years. ESPN ranks him fourth overall and I don’t disagree. He’s 26 and batting third for a good offense in a very offense-friendly park. He might not miss a game if the Rangers are competitive. Teixeira doesn’t homer often versus lefties and struggles on the road, but these are minor quibbles. Don’t worry about a slow start; he has a career .240 average and .449 slugging percentage in April. His slugging never dips below .517 in any other month.

.305/.355/.485, 115 runs, 23 homers, 95 RBI, 8 steals

Not long ago, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra reigned supreme over the world of both real-life and fantasy shortstops. Today, only Jeter even plays short anymore and he ranks behind Miguel Tejada and Texas’s Michael Young. For five years he’s surpassed (my) expectations and now he hangs on the fringe of fantasy’s top twenty players. He can’t exceed last year’s line of .331-114-24-91-5, can he? This time, I think not. Nevertheless, a lower but 300+ average combined with similar stats in all other categories should keep owners happy. The gap between Young and Tejeda is not large, and Young might finish with a better overall line. Like Teixeira, Young plays darn near every game.

More projections coming soon.

The Paradox Of Spring Training
Fifty at-bats against scattershot pitching or ten innings against organizational fodder is a terrible way to earn or lose a job, but that’s how Spring Training works. Within this framework, the fantasy owner must discern between worthwhile and pointless information. Worthwhile are reports on player health and job status. Unless you’re a hyper-dedicated owner sophisticated enough to formulate Plan B and Plan C, you should avoid players with troublesome histories and downgrade those who develop potentially nagging injuries in Spring Traning (think wrists, obliques, hamstrings, groins). Competing owners will pick these players before you and pay the price.

Conversely, spring statistics don’t matter. Of course they matter to players and management. If Ian Kinsler doesn’t hit (he is), he could end up repeating in Oklahoma (he won’t). However, prospective owners shouldn’t draft him over Marcus Giles if he bats .550 with eight homers in Arizona. Better to dig up his age and last year’s AAA stats to learn his capabilities over a full season. In this case I’ll just tell you: as a 23-year-old he batted .274/.348/.464 with 23 homers and 19 steals.

Posted by Lucas at March 9, 2006 02:20 AM