“We don’t want to overpromise, we want to overdeliver. We’re not here to be a competitive baseball team. We’re here to win the World Series. How long that’s going to take, I’m not sure. But I do know one thing — we’re headed in absolutely the right direction.” — Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston at the club’s annual state-of-the franchise event with season-ticket holders.
1. Joe Mauer - expect a bounce back year this year. An injury-free 2011 could bring Mauer back to .340/20/90
2. Buster Posey - a midseason callup for the Giants look for Posey to continue his hot bat in 2011. Look for .315/25/85
3. Carlos Santana - all the potential in the world. If he can stay healthy, he has more power than Posey, but might be a stretch to maintain a .300 avg.
4. Victor Martinez - Only a couple years removed from amazing offensive numbers, now a full-time DH in Detroit, look for Martinez to maintain a healthier 2011 campaign and set a foothold for his place in MLB’s top 5 Catchers. At least you can enjoy his last year of Catching eligibility before he’s a full time DH/Util. guy on your fantasy baseball roster.
5. Matt Wieters - 2009’s talk of the prospect crop, Wieters showed potential in the ‘09 campaign. A disappointed 2010, but with some imported bats around him this year such as Derek Lee and Mark Reynolds, the pressure to produce runs should be minimized helping Wieters mental game. He’s got the physical tools, so let’s see where 2011 takes him.
6. Brian McCann - consistent. boring.
7. Miguel Montero. Young, Power. If you need power, pick up Montero in your draft. He’ll be there in the later rounds. Catcher is quite deep this year.
8. Jorge Posada - 38 years old, but alas he’s the DH on a potent Yankees offense. Expect RBI, 15-20 homers, and a BA in the .260-.270 range. Similar to Victor Martinez, look for the move to DH to allow him to maintain his health throughout a long upcoming season.
9. Geovany Soto - someone has to help round out the top 10. Soto’s fantasy value has been a roller coaster ride over the past two seasons. Look for him to rebound a bit this year, and be there for you late in the draft.
10. Mike Napoli - power. that’s it. He’ll get you 20+ HR, even if it’s only in 400 ABs this year. With his ability to play 1B for the Rangers as well as catch, he should be able to snag some extra at bats.
Sleepers of the Year:
1. JP Arencibia. The Blue Jays prospect bursted onto the scene last year with a multi-homer debut. His bat cooled off, but the Jays also had All-Star John Buck. With Arencibia as the full-time Catcher, look for some nice offensive numbers from a sleeper candidate.
Paul Taylor -210 over Gabe Ruediger.
- (Note: expect Ruediger to be released after this fight from his contract.) He holds very little value to the UFC as a commodity. Gabe is not a main card fighter, and his only value to the organization is that he gained minor notoriety while a comeptitor on the The Ultimate Fighter. His last fight he was submitted by consistent gate-keeper Joe Lauzon. Overall, Ruedigar is 0-2 in the UFC, with the second loss being to an underdeveloped, erratic fighter Melvin Guillard in 2006. Ruedigar is 33 years old and has no value as an up and coming potential star. He is approximate 5 years past his athletic prime and carries very little career momentum going into this fight with Paul Taylor.
- Paul Taylor….Taylor is coming off a controversial decision loss to Canuck Sam Stout. Taylor brings a background in kickboxing and has been a UFC fight of the night recipient. His standup should be too overpowering for someone of Ruediger’s background. I expect a TKO victory, but luckily the lines don’t ask you to pick how it ends, only who’s hand gets raised.
Fight 2: Ricardo Romero -105 over Kyle Kingsbury
- Romero will submit Kingsbury. Kingsbury has a history of not finishing fights. Kingsbury is 9-2 overall (3 wins by knockout, 2 by submission, and 4 by decision). We know Kingsbury has the gas in the tank to go the distance but will his submission defense be strong enough against a seasoned Romero? I don’t think so. Let’s look at Romero……Romero’s UFC debut took place in July, 2010 with a submission victory over Seth Petruzelli, the guy most of know as the “Man who killed the Kimbo Slice/ EliteXC” love affair. That doesn’t say much. But looking further into Romero’s record, he’s submitted notable heavyweight striker and former Ultimate Fighter castmember, James McSweeney. In fact, Romero is 11-1 compared to Kingsbury’s 9-2, but Romero has finished 4 by knockout, 6 by submission, and only 1 by Decision. I like Romero’s history and ability to finish fights over Kingsbury’s history of leaving it in the judge’s hands.
Fight 3: Forrest Griffin +135 over Rich Franklin
- Expect Griifin to come back from embarrasment with determination. Franklin’s retirement talk is already beginning as witnessed on a recent article over at mmajunkie.com. Griffin is much larger than Franklin therefore carrying a longer reach and power advantage. Griffin is 5 years Franklin’s junior, and while Franklin always shows up in excellent condition, his age (36) will catch up with him sooner or later. The question is versus a larger and younger Griffin, is this the fight where we start to question Franklin’s timeline left in the sport.
Here’s an interesting thought to ponder….. If Silva loses to Belfort, and Franklin wins or loses a close fight to Griffin, do we see a Beflort vs. Franklin in line for the next title fight or does Silva deserve an immediate rematch based on history and name alone?