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My Dream Fantasy Connie Mack World Series Lineup

I play in a couple of fantasy baseball leagues, and with just a third of the season left, my team in the Denslow Cup, a league that Mike, Griff, and I play in alongside many of our friends from college and high school, is tied for first place.  Because the last two pieces I have written have been a little intense, and since I’m about to head to Opening Night at Ricketts, I think something a little more light-hearted is in order.  So, without further ado, here is the CMWS fantasy team that I’d like to own if there ever was a CMWS fantasy league and the only restriction on eligibility is that players have to have played in at least one CMWS.


Catcher: Mike Matheny

Matheny won a national title with Midland in 1989 after which he took his talent to the University of Michigan, where he captained.  He played 13 Major League seasons and is currently the manager of the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.  He won four Golden Gloves and an N.L. pennant.


1B: Eric Hosmer

Hosmer played in three CMWS (with Florida in 2006 and Midland in 2007 and 2008) and won the 2007 MVP following the Redskins earning of yet another title.  He was taken third overall and is currently starting at first for the Royals in his second Major League season.


2B: Jemile Weeks

This one is tricky because a rule that I just made up is that the player must have played the position during the CMWS.  That comes into play here as certain players have played short in the CMWS and now are at second professionally or collegiately.  Weeks was a member of the 2004 Florida Bombers and was taken 12th overall by the A’s after a stellar career as a Miami Hurricane.  He debuted with Oakland 13 months ago and should stick around the Big Leagues for along time.


3B: Sean Burroughs

Burroughs was a member of the Orange County Dodgers, 1997’s runner-up.  He went 9th so San Diego the following year, won an Olympic gold medal in 2000, and debuted in the show in 2002.  He was one of baseball’s top prospects for years, had a lot of off-field trouble, and has recently been released, but he was really, really good as an amateur.


SS: Stephen Drew

Drew was a member of the East Cobb Yankees in 2001, the eventual champions.  Because of his bloodlines, there was a tremendous amount of hype surrounding him.  Shortstop is a tough position to really select just one guy.  Even in recent years, Manny Machado, Deven Marrero, Gordon Beckham, and Danny Espinosa have played short at Ricketts.  Drew went 15th overall, was an All-American at Florida State, and is currently in his seventh season with Arizona.  Cal Ripken Jr. was left off of the team primarily because he went in the second round and was not regarded as highly as a teenager as he is now.


OF: Ken Griffey Jr., Cameron Maybin, Manny Ramirez

Griffey is arguably the best outfielder of the last 50 years, so he needs no explanation.  Ramirez is the same way but for left fielders.  Maybin won an MVP with Midland and went 10th overall.  He currently plays for the Padres and is in his 6th MLB season.


Utility: Gordon Beckham

Beckham won the MVP at the 2005 CMWS as East Cobb’s SS.  He was an All-American at Georgia and went 8th overall in 2008.  Since this is a fantasy team, and since he currently plays 2B for the White Sox, the added positional flexibility he gives my team makes him all the more valuable.


P: Roy Halladay

P: Barry Zito

P: Dylan Bundy

Since he’s the only one without a long and illustrious MLB career on my list, I think this video says where he’s headed pretty clearly.

P: Zack Greinke

P: Duane Ward

Had to get a local guy in somewhere.


I think I’d win with a team like this.

Planting My Flag

Fantasy analysts are always talking about players that they are “planting their flags in” (Am I supposed to feel dirty when I type that?) each year.  I used to think this was a bad idea, as it might lead to poor draft day decisions.  Now that I am more seasoned I realize that we all develop an affinity for certain players each year.  I’m not talking your studs though.  Anybody can tell you to draft Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, or Roy Halladay.  For me, planting your flag requires you to step out on a limb of sorts.  These are the players that you feel, for whatever reason, are going to be big hits for the upcoming season.  For this article, I want to take a look at three players in which my flag has been metaphorically planted.

Mike Morse:

Last week in my live-blogged mock draft I explained how excited I was about getting Morse on my squad.  I referenced this video clip, and talked about how much I liked his swing.  Well I decided to take it a step further and look to see what his numbers said.  The numbers that caught my eye were his increased line drive rate, coupled with his decreasing ground ball rate.  Match those with an 85% contact rate and I see no reason why he can’t sustain a BABIP similar to his 2011 average of .344.  I predict a .290 average, 30 jacks, 90 RBI, and 70 runs scored.

Bud Norris:

Yes, he pitches for the lowly Astros.  Yes, he probably won’t accumulate many wins.  But if you’re chasing wins as a fantasy strategy, this might not be the website for you.  Not only can you snag Bud late in drafts, you will be getting an amazing bargain when you do.  He lowered his walk total last year, while actually increasing his innings pitched by 33. His 2011 ERA of 3.77 matched perfectly with his xFIP of 3.73.  His k/9 rate sits right at 8.5, and with a swing and miss rate right around 30% I see potential for a true breakout year.  I think Bud finishes the year with 197 IP, 205 K’s, and an ERA of 3.78.

Yoenis Cespedes:

I know, I know, we haven’t even seen him face big league pitching yet.  And to be honest I have no statistical evidence to support this pick.  Sometimes though, you just have to go with your gut.  Blind faith is counter-intuitive to almost everything I believe, but I am also a fan of legalized gaming.  Thus, I have no problem taking a gamble on Cespedes.  I might even reach a few rounds early just to get him.  To win your fantasy league you have to hit at least one grand slam on an unknown player.  For me, this is the guy.  No prediction here.  Just going with my gut that he completely outperforms the value of the draft pick I get him for.

You can follow Griffin on Twitter- his handle is @sp_flips.  Feel free to support, harass, or share any thoughts you have and he will be sure to reply.

Top 50 Prospects: #27 – Travis d’Arnaud

#27 Travis d’Arnaud

Toronto Blue Jays

DOB: 2/10/1989

Previous Rank: N/R

ETA: 2013

d’Arnaud earned MVP honors in the Eastern League in 2011 as a 22-year-old, and seems destined to produce big numbers for Toronto sooner rather than later.  As a key portion of the package that sent Roy Halladay to the Phils, the expectations have been high for d’Arnaud.  He delivered and then some in Double-A, and should open the year ready to torch Triple-A to the same tune that he did the Eastern League, with a call-up to the Jays possible at any time.

However, with J.P. Arencibia seemingly firmly entrenched behind the Toronto dish, d’Arnaud may have to wait until September or even 2013 to arrive at the Rogers Centre.  In 2011 for New Hampshire the former 37th-overall selection slashed .311/.371/.542 with 21 dingers.  He only walked 33 times, and plate discipline is his worst offensive tool, but he squares the ball up consistently and generates quality lift.  He covers the zone well and hits to all fields, so the lack of walks is less of a concern than it might be with other more pull-oriented hitters.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BA
2007 18 Phillies GULF Rk PHI 41 151 141 18 3 0 4 20 4 2 .241
2008 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A–A PHI 64 267 239 33 18 1 6 30 1 2 .305
2008 19 Williamsport NYPL A- PHI 48 197 175 21 13 1 4 25 1 2 .309
2008 19 Lakewood SALL A PHI 16 70 64 12 5 0 2 5 0 0 .297
2009 20 Lakewood SALL A PHI 126 540 482 71 38 1 13 71 8 4 .255
2010 21 Dunedin FLOR A+ TOR 71 292 263 36 20 1 6 38 3 1 .259
2011 22 New Hampshire EL AA TOR 114 466 424 72 33 1 21 78 4 2 .311
5 Seasons 416 1716 1549 230 112 4 50 237 20 11 .278
A (2 seasons) A 142 610 546 83 43 1 15 76 8 4 .260
AA (1 season) AA 114 466 424 72 33 1 21 78 4 2 .311
Rk (1 season) Rk 41 151 141 18 3 0 4 20 4 2 .241
A- (1 season) A- 48 197 175 21 13 1 4 25 1 2 .309
A+ (1 season) A+ 71 292 263 36 20 1 6 38 3 1 .259
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/11/2011.
2007 18 Phillies GULF Rk PHI 41 151 141 4 20 4 23 .241 .278 .348 .626 49
2008 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A–A PHI 64 267 239 6 30 23 39 .305 .367 .464 .831 111
2008 19 Williamsport NYPL A- PHI 48 197 175 4 25 18 29 .309 .371 .463 .833 81
2008 19 Lakewood SALL A PHI 16 70 64 2 5 5 10 .297 .357 .469 .826 30
2009 20 Lakewood SALL A PHI 126 540 482 13 71 41 75 .255 .319 .419 .738 202
2010 21 Dunedin FLOR A+ TOR 71 292 263 6 38 20 63 .259 .315 .411 .726 108
2011 22 New Hampshire EL AA TOR 114 466 424 21 78 33 100 .311 .371 .542 .914 230
5 Seasons 416 1716 1549 50 237 121 300 .278 .336 .452 .788 700
A (2 seasons) A 142 610 546 15 76 46 85 .260 .323 .425 .748 232
AA (1 season) AA 114 466 424 21 78 33 100 .311 .371 .542 .914 230
Rk (1 season) Rk 41 151 141 4 20 4 23 .241 .278 .348 .626 49
A- (1 season) A- 48 197 175 4 25 18 29 .309 .371 .463 .833 81
A+ (1 season) A+ 71 292 263 6 38 20 63 .259 .315 .411 .726 108
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/11/2011.
Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G Ch PO A E DP Fld% RF/G PB SB CS CS%
2007 18 Phillies GULF Rk PHI C 23 182 167 11 4 0 .978 7.74 7 19 6 24%
2008 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A–A PHI C 58 504 453 41 10 1 .980 8.52 16 58 14 19%
2008 19 Williamsport NYPL A- PHI C 42 367 330 31 6 0 .984 8.60 11 41 12 23%
2008 19 Lakewood SALL A PHI C 16 137 123 10 4 1 .971 8.31 5 17 2 11%
2009 20 Lakewood SALL A PHI C 99 891 817 68 6 7 .993 8.94 9 132 40 23%
2010 21 Dunedin FLOR A+ TOR C 58 467 427 38 2 3 .996 8.02 2 38 16 30%
2011 22 New Hampshire EL AA TOR C 98 838 775 57 6 7 .993 8.49 13 66 24 27%
2011 22 New Hampshire EL AA TOR DH 14 0.00
5 Seasons 350 2882 2639 215 28 18 .990 8.15 47 313 100 24%
C (5 seasons) C 336 2882 2639 215 28 18 .990 8.49 47 313 100 24%
DH (1 season) DH 14 0.00
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/11/2011.

He is likely going to top out as an average receiver and thrower, and is a 40-45 in both areas now, but his bat is so good that no one will have any problem dealing with that in Toronto.  Despite the fact that the Doc deal also brought the Jays Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor (who was immediately traded to the A’s and debuted in the Show in 2011), d’Arnaud is looking like the best piece that Toronto got in the trade.

BBA Stan Musial Award (National League MVP)

How we voted for National League MVP:

Mike: 1) Kemp  2) Braun  3) Upton  4) Votto  5) Halladay

Griff:  1) Kemp  2) Braun  3) Upton  4) Votto  5) Tulowitzki

Dee:   1) Kemp  2) Braun  3) Votto  4) Upton  5) Halladay

Jim:    1) Kershaw  2) Kemp  3) Braun  4) Votto  5) Upton

Towel:  1) Braun  2) Kemp  3) Upton  4) Votto  5) Pujols


National League Stan Musial Award Final Vote:

1)    Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

2)    Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

3)    Justin Upton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

4)    Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

5)    Roy Halladay, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

Why the Playoffs Can Make Even the Worst Months Bearable

After each Ranger game this October, the sports fans of my dental school class usually have something to say to me about the previous night/day’s game.  From bullpen usage to pinch hitters, they typically want to hear what I have to say about the decisions being made on and off the field that affect the Rangers and their bid to follow the Mavs as world champs.  I don’t know what or who the Mavs are, but apparently they won something called the NBA Finals last summer just as baseball season was about to break for All-Star festivities.   If you’ve been reading my stuff on this site for long, you know that October is the worst month at the Baylor College of Dentistry each month.  It is referred to as Black October because it is full of midterm exams, progress exams, presentations, etc.  Nevertheless, for me at least, whatever is happening at school must take a backseat to whatever is happening in baseball.  Two nights ago I had to move my bedroom TV into the living room so I could watch both LCS games and simultaneously study for my pediatrics exam, which I had at 7:40 the following morning.  I surely did quite poorly on the exam, but I also was able to watch two pretty fantastic games.  Perspectives, right?

The baseball fans of my class as well as several faculty members and their baseball-related questions make my experience at dental school much more enjoyable, and, despite the fact that BCD tries so hard to make October suck, this month is still the best month of the year.  2011 is uniquely terrific because such a high percentage of the game’s truly elite hitters and pitchers were/are on playoff teams.  Evan Longoria, David Price, CC, Doc, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Robinson Cano, Tex, Grandelay, Justin Upton, James Shields, and those are just some of the guys who have already been eliminated.  The remaining players and teams are so evenly matched and the games have been so competitive that the baseball world has been collectively drooling since the last week of September.

As we watch the NFL and NBA unions collectively fail their fans and their sports altogether, we baseball fans are reminded this time of year how lucky we are that we have the game that we do.  Honestly, how is the NFL players’ union going to allow for HGH testing?  That league is in very serious danger.  What NFL player isn’t on H?  The kickers?  Maybe.  And the NBA has already cancelled games because of labor disputes.  This might be baseball’s chance to take back what it is rightly due, the hearts of sports fans nationwide.

What we baseball nuts can do for the sport during this month is realize that no matter what is going on in our lives, we must continue to make time for the game.  The people we surround ourselves with on a daily basis must constantly be reminded how awesome the game is and how lucky we are to have a month long holiday where we are encouraged to celebrate it.  So as the World Series approaches and with both LCS’s very evenly matched and close, remember how lucky we are to have a game to follow that provides us thousands of games a year at the highest level to follow and love.  This is the culmination of another terrific year.  Thanks for reading The Sombrero and sticking with us as Arlo worked through whatever malware bullshit was going on here a couple of weeks ago.  Happy October baseball fans!