Thursday, March 31, 2005

New Assignment in South East Asia/Preseason Busts

Greetings loyal readers. I have some news on the job front. I have been hired by a South East Asian rebel faction to work as a consultant in their attempts to overthrow their nation state's current illicit regime. I will be operating out of a SanPan (AKA a "luxury pontoon boat") again but hopefully there won't be too much violence this time around. My god I hope I don't have to kill women and children on the river again. So much blood. So much suffering. Why did it have to happen God? Why?

I digress. Anyway the bad news is that I will be in a dreadfully isolated region when the major league baseball season begins. I'm not sure what kind of wireless plans they have out there, and I am just going to take a chance and hope things work out.

Now the baseball season is indeed fast approaching. I have decided to use the remainder of this post to chronicle my preseason busts. That is players who have already had bad things happen to them before the season has even begun. The value of these players is dropping faster than a Stuka so be careful:

1) Ryan Dempster, SP, Chicago (senior)- A week ago I told you Dempster was getting an opportunity to start for the Cubs. This boner has been shelled the whole spring and has squandered said opportunity.
2) Frank Thomas, DH, Chicago (junior) -Oh let the puns begin, The Big hurt is indeed hurting (bum ankle) and lord knows if or when this rotund under-achiever shall return to the baseball diamond.
3) Juan Gonzalez, OF, Cleveland- Some people thought Mr. Gonzalez would undergo a resurgency in Cleveland, but instead he is headed back to the disabled list because of a hamstring injury.
4) Dave Roberts, OF, San Diego- the speedy Roberts has a sore hamstring and may have played his way out of a starting role to super-sleeper Xavier Nady
5) Vinny Castilla, 3B, Wash- Based on '04 stats alone fantasy managers wasted valuable draft picks on this pud. If you were one of those idiots, it's best to cut your losses early and cut him lose- those '04 stats are gone and they are not coming back brother
6) Ryan Howard, 1B, Phi- His path to the big league clogged by the hulking Jim Thome, the mountainous Howard was just sent to the Phillies triple-A affiliate. What he's not good enough to pinch hit in the show? Come on Philadelphia, you're better than that!

Howard, who embiggens the image of the prototypical first basemen of the future, recently asked the cromulent Philadelphia brass to trade him.

7) Greg Aquino, RP, Arizona- A hot pick-up on draft day, Aquino has been knocked around like a cheap trailer-park whore and may lose his job to uber-sleeper Brandon Lyon
8) Jaret Wright, SP, New York (junior)- Joe Torre has decided Wright doesn't need to pitch the first few weeks of the season, y los Yanquis will use a 4-man rotation. Not a very ringing endorsement. ALthough if Kevin Brown has any more set-backs, it may be Brown, and not Wright, who gets skipped in the rotation.
9) Braden Looper, RP, New York (senior)- Looper hasn't done anything wrong. On the contrary, Looper has pitched quite admirably this preseason. But trade rumors abound that Ugie Urbina or Danys Baez may be headed to Flushing to supplant Looper as the Mets closer
10) Nick Swisher, OF, Oakland- this top Oakland prospect had a poor spring
11) Dallas McPherson, 3B, LosAngeles (junior) -a hot prospect in the off-season, McPherson's trek to the big leagues (and fantasy stock) has been gravely affected by injuries and poor play. He will start the season in the minors.
12) Brian Lawrence, SP, San Diego- this man frustrates fantasy owners every season. This preseason opposing hitters have smacked him around mercilessly.
13) Chin-hui Tsao, RP, Colorado- this promising closer suffered a very serious arm injury and has rotator cuff tendinitis- Don't hold your breath that he returns to the role of Rockies closer.

And please note I left Barry Bonds out of this discussion out of respect to his late father Bobby Bonds. Bobby, it's kind of hard with you not around. Although I know you are in heaven smiling down. Watching us while we play for you. Every day we play for you. Til the day we meet again. In my heart is where I'll keep you friend.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Reeling in that Stud Pitcher off the Waiver Wire...

Greetings draft sharks. I will use this post to discuss some starting pitching prospects that likely fell below the radar of most drafters. Good starting pitching is tough to find, and the waiver wire is an excellent source for starters.

Here goes:

1) Orlando Hernandez, Chicago (American)- "El Duque" is an old friend of mine from my banana raiding days. He is injury-prone, but averages a strike-out per inning when healthy, and he doesn't allow many runs
2) Ryan Dempster, Chicago (National)- his value plummetted when it became evident he would not be closing any games for Dusty Baker's Cubs. But that just means he will get a shot to start in a good offense that has a banged up pitching rotation
3) Joe Kennedy and Jeff Francis, Colorado- Kennedy is the purported ace of the Rockie staff, and Francis is the young flame-thrower that may average a strikeout per inning. This spring Francis struck out 10 in 12 innings and mustered a 2.25 ERA. Because Kennedy and Francis are pitching in Colorado, most fantasy owners shied away from drafting them.
4) Gavin Floyd, Philadelphia- I say this man's name nearly every week. At least his name isn't Gabbin. Well he should get a few starts early in the season now that Vincente Padilla is hurt
5) Gil Meche, Seattle- most people stayed away from him because he hasn't pitched well in nearly in two years. This spring Meche was 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA and averaged better than a strikeout per inning- so consider giving him another shot
6) Scott Elarton, Cleveland- this former Houston prospect is trying to resurrect his career in Cleveland, and had a fantastic spring, going 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA.

7) Runelvys Hernandez, Kansas City- Is he healthy?
8) Estaban Loaiza, Washington- the "dot-com" of pitching, this man's stock sunk in '04 as quickly as it rose in '03.
9) Mark Redman, Pittsburgh- Mr. Redman has pitched for Minnesota, Detroit, Florida and Oakland. And maybe even somewhere else. Has he found a home in Pittsburgh? Maybe the change of scenery will do him well- His numbers on the road were great last year (2.90 ERA), but he was continually shelled at home in Oakland (7.46 ERA).

And when fishing for starters remember this: Don't get off the boat- Colonel Walter Kurtz got off the boat, and look what happened to him

Friday, March 25, 2005

Crossing Jordan/ Fantasy Basketball Trouble

All good things must come to an end, and I have left my hospital bed in Jordan and will be moving to another undisclosed location. My wound is healed and hopefully I will be training and preparing for another mission. There are lots of good projects popping up right now, and I have been in contact with the Taiwanese and Bolivian government and am hoping someone will give me a nice project. I debated using a temp agency or head hunter to find an assignment, but I find those sorts of people to be of the lowest moral caliber, and am also wary my contact with them may jeopardize the confidentiality of my operations. No sir I'll never work for a temp agency again.

As I bid farewell to my loyal guards in Jordan, I took a photo of them that I promised would appear on my popular blog

All that is well and good, but I am very disgusted with the state of the American National Basketball Association, and in particular, its effect on fantasy basketball. My every year good fantasy teams are sunk by injuries occurring late in the season. Many of these Sallys sit out for weeks as a mere precaution. This year's list includes Brad Miller, AK-47 (Andrei Kirilenko, and Oh What a magnificent nick-name!), Jermaine O'Neal, Zack Randolph, Lamar Odom, and of course everyone's favorite former Demon Deacon, Tim Duncan. This is absolute nonsense! How is a fantasy owner to cope?

In these sorts of leauges, it is quite easy to replace guards. They are everywhere- like the Cong. But big men are tough to find. So I have made a few suggestions for weary fantasy owners:
McStallen's waiver-wire free agent fantasy hoops pick-ups!
1) Brian Skinner, FC, Sacremento- filling in admirably for Brad Miller in Sacremento. He could also replace Miller on a fantasy roster.
2) Joel Pryzbilla, C, Portland- I am afraid cats out of the bag on this one. The "Vanilla Gorilla" is a monster, an more than likely he was skooped up a few weeks ago
3) Dan Gadzuric, C Milwaukee- he's finally getting the minutes he deserves. Look for Gadzuric to provide boards and blocks, but not buckets.
4) Nenad Krstic, C New Jersey- a little inconsistent, but certainly worthy of a roster spot
5) Dale Davis, C Indiana- a rebounding machine in March

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Draft Buzz

I am getting ready to leave Jordan, and have spent the law few days observing mock fantasy baseball drafts. This has certainly passed the time better than "Freejack," which I have quickly grown tired of.

And I must admit I was surprised with many of the late risers in the drafts I have been privy to. Here is my list of a dozen draft risers:

1) Jeremy Bonderman, Detroit, pitcher- everyone knew this kid had alot of talent, but out of nowhere people are yelling "Cy Young!" I haven't seen this much excitement around a Tiger pitcher since the days of Frank Tanana and Dan Petry

2) Jeremy Reed, Seattle, outfield- this guy has alot of potential and will get a shot to produce in the revamped Seattle offense. People seem to think he will be a Corey Patterson without all the strikeouts

3) Justin Morneau, Minnestoa, first base- people are picking this youngster to hit 35-40 homers this year. There are alot of good first baseman this year, and Morneau is going 5-10 rounds before stars like Kansas City's Mike Sweeney.

4) Gavin Floyd, Philadelphia, pitcher- those of you loyal to my blog have heard this name before. This kid has the perfect build for a stud pitcher, and has downright nasty stuff. Philadelphia was hesitant to rush him into the rotation, but he should get a shot now that several Philadelphia hurlers are hurting- Vincente Padilla in particular.

5) Nick Swisher, Oakland, outfield- a top draft pick of the cursed capitalist Billy Bean, Swisher is expected to produce big numbers in the bottom part of the Oakland line-up. Buyer Beware- Swisher had an awful spring

6) Tony Womack, New York, second base- this man is like a cock roach. Or like the Viet Cong. He just won't go away. He hit over .550 this spring and will likely bat 9th for the Yanquis. But look for the aging Womack to wear down as the long baseball season progresses.

7) Chone Figgins, Los Angeles (American), utility- Figgins can play many positions and his versatility and base-stealing ability commanded alot of interest from fantasy owners. Be wary of Figgins losing playin time to Dallas McPherson and Adam Kennedy as they get into playing shape.

8) Huston Street, Oakland, relief pitcher- many expect Street to supplant Octavio Dotel at some point this season as Oakland's closer. Dotel owners beware!

9) Clint Barmes, Colorado, shortstop/second base/; JD Closser, Colorado, catcher; Garrett Atkins, Colorado, third base - this trio of Rockie youngsters could provide badly needed help for an owner desperate for infield slugging

10) Brando Inge, Detroit, catcher/third base- Inge's versailtiy is unique, and he may bat lead-off because of the injuries in Detroit and the dismissal of the lazy Alex Sanchez

11) Kevin Mench, Texas, outfield- Mench may emerge as a homerun threat in the deep Ranger outfield depth chart. He slugged 26 dongs in a little over 400 at-bats last year, so scan your waiver-wires for this meat-head

12) Jason Lane, Houston, outfield- the primary beneficiary of the injury to Lance Berkman, the power-hitting Lane should retain a starting position in the Houston outfield even after Berkman returns.

On a final note I would like to apologize for ending several of my sentences in this post with prepositions. That is reprehensible, but I am quite tired and it is hard to think clearly because I am so doped up on morphine.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Shortstop Preview!

I am still laying down recouperating from my injury. I refuse to go outside and the doctor told me I have agorophobia, which I believe is the fear of bulls. But there are not many bulls in Jordan.

OK so now I will be previewing shortstops. I remember doing a fantasy draft while I was in Kosovo a few years back, and it seemed superstar shortstops were everywhere. But these times they are a changin. There's not as much here as there used to be- don't get left out in the cold- make sure you grab a decent option at short before they are all gone!

1) Miguel Tejada, Baltimore- no more A-Rod, so Tejada is king. And it is good to be king.
2) Michael Young, Texas- under-rated
3) Nomar Garciapara, Boston err... Chicago -over-rated
4) Derek Jeter, Yanquis -more over-rated
5) Carlos Guillen, Detroit -had a break-thru season in '04
6) Rafael Furcal, Atlanta -solid option
7) Jose Reyes, Mets -plays 2B and SS
8) Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia -good numbers in ’04, but a little inconsistent
9) Edgar Renteria, St. Louis -numbers may decline now that he has left St. Louis
10) Bobby Crosby, Oakland -Tool of the insidiuos Billy Beane, scripter of the slanderous "Money Ball"
11) Orlando Cabrera, Los Angeles -had an off year last year
12) Clint Barmes, Colorado -Royce Clayton’s replacement in Coors Field
13) Jose Valentin, Does it matter where he plays? -nice homerun numbers
14) Chandra Bose, India -German sympathizer
15) BJ Upton -stud in the making who will start the season in the minors because of his poor fielding.

Friday, March 18, 2005

More Drugs for McStallen = First Base Preview

The morphine is kicking in, so I decided to do two posts in one night because I am in such a good mood.

Well we did second base, so I suppose it would only be right to cover first base now. There is alot of talent here kids, so don't be too eager to get a star. You can probably get a very good one 8-10 rounds into the bloody draft.

1) Albert Pujols, St. Louis- he is probably really 35-years old, but he is simply the best out there
2) Todd Helton, Colorado- outstanding hitter
3) Jim Thome, Philadelphia- this big lummox may hit 55 homeruns this year
4) David Ortiz, Boston- former Twin who went ape-shit last season
5) Mark Teixeira, Texas- everyone is waiting for him to win a homerun title. Move him up a few slots on your cheatsheet if he is eligible at third base in your league
6) Justin Morneau, Minnesota- consensus break-out player at first base
7) Aubrey Huff, Tampa Bay- two years ago he was the consensus break-out player at third base
8) Derek Lee, Cubs- are his days as a base stealer over?
9) Richie Sexson, Seattle- a steal as a late-round pick, although Seattle's Safeco Field is not very hitter-friendly
10) Carlos Delgado, Florida- may have an outstanding season batting in Captain Jack McKeon's stacked line-up
11) Paul Konerko, Whitesox- won't reproduce last season's success
12) Travis Hafner, Cleveland- this year's draft "bust" at first base
13) Jeff Bagwell, Houston- hits worse and worse every year
14) Tom Hagen, New York- when Sonny was a kid he found Tom Hagen in the street. He's not a Sicilian, but I think he's going to be consiglieri.
15) Phil Nevin, San Diego- may be eligible at third base too
16) Sean Casey, Cincy- could be a steal if he can reproduce his '04 season
17) Brad Wilkerson, Montreal- under-rated
18) Lyle Overbay, Milwaukee- faded fast last season- McStallen says "Stay Away!"
19) Nick Johnson, Montreal- make-or-break season for the former Yanqui prospect
20) Mike Sweeney, Kansas City- a steal if he can stay healthy- pity though that the rest of the line-up is downright terrible

Watch out for Darin Erstad, Dmitri Young, Craig Wilson, Kevin Millar, Carlos Pena and Shawn Green- they're all decent hitters. And keep an extra eye out for Mo Vaughn clone Ryan Howard, who is waiting behind Jim Thome in musty Philadelphia

McStallen's Cinema Picks/ Second Base Preview

Well the Jordanians sure know how to return a favor. I am living comfortably here as I wait for my leg to recover. There is not much to do and my TV does not get any reception. I started watching DVDs on my laptop, but the only movie here is the science-fiction classic "Freejack," and I have watched it several times already and I cannot bare to watch it again. But I must say this Mick Jagger is certainly an entertaining figure. Bravo!

The devilish Mick Jagger surveys the scene in the American cinema classic "Freejack"

Onto second base. And my there is a great disparity of talent here. Just as in Jordan, there are the "haves" and the "have-nots." If you cannot grab a solid second basemen, try to get someone who will at leaat help you in stolen bases. Also be on the prowl for versatility- players like Chone Figgins, Pedro Feliz, Jose Reyes, Juan Uribe are of a little addiitonal value because of their versatility.

1) Alfonso Soriano, Texas- the best by far
2) Jeff Kent, Los Angeles- nice mustache, but look for the numbers to decline now that he has relocated to Los Angeles
3) Marcus Giles, Atlanta- injured alot last year
4) Jose Reyes, Mets- I am very high on this little man, as he could steal 75-100 bases if he can play a full season. Use him as a second baseman or shortstop.
5) Bret Boone, Seattle- may have a big year if he is still using anabolic steroids
6) Mark Loretta, San Diego- outstanding season in '04. Can he reproduce it in '05?
7) Tony Womack, Yanquis- this man may have a monster year in New York- he will be a great draft-day steal. Too hell with "thumbs"- I say "Two Kalishnikov's Up" for this ball-player!
8) Jose Vidro, Washington- Mr. Vidro had an off year last year due in large part to injuries
9) Chase Utley, Philadelphia- Up-and-coming slugger who may hit 30 dongs in Philadelphia's homerun-happy ballpark
10) Brian Roberts, Baltimore- stopped stealing bases last year after the all-star break- maybe because his opponents were on to him. Or maybe he was just paranoid, like the great Josef Stalin
11) Chone Figgins, Los Angeles- may lose playing time when Adam Kennedy returns
12) Luis Castillo, Florida- a late-round steal- remeber when he was a "top-3" second baseman?
13) Mark Belhorn, Boston- good clutch hitter in a powerful line-up who plays to hoards of drunken bean-eaters
14) Jerry Hairston, Jr., Cubs- will he start? If so, where?
15) Aaron Miles, Colorado- let's call this "The Eliis Burks Rule"- Mr. Miles will be decent so long as he starts for Colorado

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Leaving on a Midnight Train to Jordan/ Back-stop Preview

Well things got a bit too hairy at the hospital, and my old friends in the Jordanian government have arranged for me to have safe passage across the border to Jordan. I am riding on a government train as we speak, and taking full advantage of their excellent wireless services.

Several of you have e-mailed me saying you are afraid to leave a comment on my blog because you think I may kill you. I would like to reassure all my readers that I only kill to protect myself or for money, and I don't plan to kill anyone who posts on this site. That would be a silly thing to do!

Now onto the catcher preview, and what a worthless position it is! Even a good catcher will do very little for your team; most catchers don't play more than 130-140 games, so don't waste an early pick on one. And try to grab someone who is eligible at catcher but who actually plays a different position. That way you can nab someone who actually plays alot. That said, onto the rankings:

1) Ivan Rodriguez, Detroit- it's a god damn shame he doesn't DH
2) Javy Lopez, Baltimore- solid offensive threat in a strong line-up
3) Victor Martinez, Cleveland- reigning RBI king among catchers, he is young and still improving at the plate
4) Mike Piazza, Mets- let someone else waste an early pick on this clown
5) Jorge Posada, Yankees- disappointing season last year
6) Jason Varitek, Boston- the Red Sox highly value his services, but fantasy owners should not be as star-struck
7) Joe Mauer, Minnesota- had more dongs than people expected in '04 given his limited at-bats. A promising player who has already had his fare share of injuries
8) Jason Kendall, Oakland- former Pirate who was stolen from the organization by the evil capitalist Billy Bean
9) Michael Barrett, Cubs- under-rated
10) Brandon Inge, Detroit- should be eligible at catcher and third base
11) Johnny Estrada, Atlanta- can he repeat his strong performance of '04?
12) Paul LoDuca, Florida- really just good for batting average
13) JD Closser, Colorado- promising prospect and a sleeper favorite of my friend Gelbo, but young catchers have not had a good trek record in Colorado. And Charles Johnson may still be in the picture
14) Matt LeCroy, Minnesota- he's not a catcher, he just plays one in fantasy baseball
15) Miguel Olivo, Seattle- may put up nice numbers if the revamped Seattle line-up gels quickly

Joe Mauer could be a fantasy stud if he can stay healthy

Sunday, March 13, 2005

More trouble in the streets/Fantasy Baseball Third Base preview

I am still recovering from my wound in a hospital bed in an undisclosed location, and I spend most of my day crying in pain. The hospital I am in has run out of antibiotics, and the streets have become crowded with heavily-armed civilians. I fear the government here may fall, and I am unsure how I am going to get out of here. From my hospital bed, I have seen hundreds of angry civilians gathering and trading fire with government positions. The government soldiers are cowardly dogs, and I have no faith in their ability to control the civilian revolutionaries.

Here is a photograph from the streets around my hospital

Well onto more pleasant news- the fantasy baseball third base preview. Gobe are the days when you were lucky to have Tim Wallach at third. Now pratcially everyone hits like the Great mike Schmidt, and you should not overpay for a third-sacker because of the glut of talent here. Here are McStallen's top picks:
1) Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -the greatest
2) Scott Rolen, St. Louis- Scott may be a spineless coward from the midwest, but he is an RBI machine in St. Louis
3) Eric Chavez, Oakland- well-rounded slugger who is a tool of the fiendish Billy bean and his slanderous "Money Ball" literature which makes "Satanic Verses" look like a child's coloring book
4) Aramis Ramirez, Chicago- very under-rated
5) Melvin Mora, Baltimore- even more under-rated
6) Adrian Beltre, Seattle-MVP season last year- bust of the year this year
7) Aubrey Huff, Tampa Bay- finished strong last year after a slow start -plays first base too
8) Hank Blalock, Texas- starting to hit lefties
9) David Wright, Mets- stud in the making
10) Mike Lowell, Florida- had cancer
11) Troy Glaus, Arizona- injury concern
12) Chipper Jones, Atlanta- yes, he's eligible at third again this year
13) Aaron Boone, Cleveland- Remember him?
14) Casey Blake, Cleveland- smart bet?
15) Dallas McPherson, Angles- Troy who? Why do I ask so many questions?
16) Chone Figgins- very versatile
17) Bill Mueller, Boston- very consistent
18) Vinny Castilla, DC- he's not in Colorado any more
19) Corey Koskie, Minnesota- who cares?
20) Sean Burroughs, San Diego- his dad was a good baseball player

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Betrayal in Cairo/Fantasy baseball closer preview

Well I just got back from Egypt, and, as the Americans say, "When it rains it pours." We had moved Rodrigo to Egypt in hopes of fleeing the Nepalese officials. Unfortunately our contact in Egypt sold our operation out. Egyptian military police surrounded our base-camp and I was lucky to shoot my way out. Several of my team-mates were not as fortunate; Rodrigo was killed by a grenade, and Doohan was found a day later floating face-down in the Suez Canal. Needless to say the entire operation has left me quite agitated with the current state of free-lance global military operations.

But onto fantasy sports. As promised in my newsletter, I will start my fantasy baseball preview on this blog. The first matter regards "closers." This is always an intriguing category; fantasy owners need saves to win the save category, yet they should be wary of closers with high ERAs and WHIPs. As Sun Tzu so frequently noted, one should not sacrifice two categories for the sake of one category.
McStallen's top 5 bargain-value closer options:
1) Armando Benitez, San Fransisco- all he does is save games. The change of scenery to America's bay area may scare some fantasy owners away, but it shouldn't
2) Danny Kolb, Atlanta- this man was very good in Milwaukee, and both Milwaukee and it's baseball team are horrible entities
3) BJ Ryan, Baltimore - the Orioles are finally sitting Julio Jorge or Jorge Julio or Jorge Orta or whatever his name was, and are giving the hard-throwing Ryan a much-deservered chance to close
4) Guillermo Mota, Florida- Captain Jack McKeon's crew will not miss Armando Benitez now that they grabbed the virtually unhittable Mota
5) Ryan Dempster, Chicago- the Cubs may never win a World Series, but Dempster will save alot of games this year

Others to watch:
1) Mike Adams, Milwaukee- someone had to replace Kolb. Adams could be a good bargain, but beware his WHIP and ERA
2) Mike Gonzalez, Pittsburgh- Jose Mesa is fat and old, and it is only a matter of time before the Bucs go with Gonzo
3) Jeremy Affeldt, Kansas City- word out of Kansas City is that Affeldt corrected a few mechanical flaws and should be this year's Danny Kolb- lights out on a poor team

1) Nationals Closers- Frank Robinson has hinted Chad Cordero and several others will share closer duties
2) Trevor Hoffman- I think Rob Nen was more durable
3) Shingo Takatsu-- "Mister Zero" has trouble hitting 80 MPH with his fastball; after some adjustments, American League hitters should have little trouble hitting his fastball