Archives for: 2011, week 08


Stars Aligned? Keep Your Fingers Crossed.

Permalink 09:01:23 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs by Digger  

Visit "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Players returning from injury are being tested gingerly during early days of spring training. Teams, players, management and fans all sticking with cautious optimism when it comes to some of the games biggest names. The injury bug was prevalent all around the league in 2010. New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels faced injury challenges all season long. How will returning players fare in 2011?

Spring training injuries to healthy players has begun. Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright is out for the season and needs Tommy John surgery. Rangers new 3B Adrian Beltre might be sidelined a month or more after aggravating his hamstring. Here's a short list of a few bigger name players attempting to rebound. Fantasy managers remember one rule, "buyer beware".

Carlos Beltran (Mets) was cut to shreds in New York after bum knees and poor team oriented decision making on best method for treatment. He's back and looking better but far from 100%. Most likely lost CF job and will begin in RF. Mets handling him very gingerly.

Jose Reyes (Mets) hamstring injuries have clouded his entire career. When healthy he's one of baseball's best. One never knows when Jose's hammy will pop again.

Chipper Jones (Braves) is clearly in twilight of career. How much gas left in his tank? Still a feared clutch performer but Chipper's on the down-slope of a great Hall of Fame career with a bum knee.

Johann Santana (Mets) is the second consecutive big money free agent to visit the DL for an extended stay (Pedro Martinez). He's out for at least 1/2 of '11 and shouldn't be counted on at all this year. Santana will be on strict pitch limits upon returning.

Justin Morneau (Twins) bad concussion days are over. At least that's what everyone hopes. MVP type season in 2010 cut short by a fluke knee to his head. He's not 100% and only recently returned to full time baseball duties. He's a keeper on one of my ESPN teams. Might be a long year.

Joe Nathan (Twins) is getting rave reviews recovering from Tommy John surgery. Big time closer hopes to be back on track in 2011.

Derrek Lee (Orioles) becomes Baltimore's new big man on campus. Retuning from off season thumb surgery he's ready to transform losing O's into challengers. Get ready for Orioles baseball.

Jason Bay (Mets) appears ready for 2011 after season ending concussion. Ready to continue his productive career? Or, another New York free agent bust?

Justin Duchscherer (Orioles) feels soreness in his surgically repaired hip. Perennial injuries plaguing a promising career. O's were counting on a healthy hurler. Caution time. Orioles plan to give him downtime before re-evaluating status.

Brandon Webb (Rangers) offers no fantasy value on the surface. 22 game winner in '08 has only pitched once since. Role undetermined. So is his stuff. Is there anything left.

Kendry Morales (Angels) was another star sidelined in '10 and his absence was a major reason why LA couldn't keep up with Texas. LA won't let him overdue it this spring and he may begin '11 as full time DH in April.

Francisco Liriano (Twins) could become a Yankee within days if one believes rumors. Wouldn't it be fitting for New York to make headlines right before the season starts? He's 27, unsigned beyond 2011 and ripe for the picking. Yanks have talent to trade but Liriano's health is iffy at the moment. Hard to imagine Twins not opening with Liriano at least until the trade deadline unless they use his health as a reason to unload now to a team desperate for pitching depth? Yanks had better not overpay in future talent.

Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox) left foot is ready to go. Major cog in Boston lineup hopes to remain fit all season.

Shin-Soo Choo (Indians) has a sore elbow and being watched carefully. Indians OF's have been banged up in recent years. Grady Sizemore is another to keep a close eye on.

Martin Prado (Braves) put up MVP type credentials until getting sidelines. Big table setter and up the middle defender hopes to pick up where he left off.

Mike Cameron (Red Sox) may not be the greatest fantasy value but he's a big time player in real life. Defensive specialist with plenty of pop was missed after multiple injuries during his first stint in Boston.

Jake Peavy (White Sox) shoulder issues won't fade. Optimistically slated to return by mid to late April. News hasn't been positive. One of baseball's finest when arm is sound.

Keep a close eye on team pages for latest updates before drafting squads. Stay tuned for our annual position by position fantasy rankings. A must for every fantasy manager.



Spring Training Spotlight: St. Louis Cardinals

Permalink 05:03:12 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs by Digger  

Visit "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Baseball's 2006 World Series champs were dealt a tremendous early season blow. 2010 Cy Young runner-up Adam Wainwright was officially declared out for the season this morning due to Monday's right elbow injury. Manager LaRussa is an expert at getting the most from his players. An improved lineup will be counted on to make up for a rotation now lacking depth.

Cardinals 2011 rotation competition is a new ball game with Wainwright out. Second year starter Jamie Garcia needs to mature in a hurry as he now takes over the 2nd slot in the rotation behind Chris Carpenter. Health is always a question mark for #3 hurler Jake Westbrook. No clear cut winners to round out the rotation. Cards may now find themselves talking trade for pitching help. Ryan Franklin must improve from last season's disappointments. He's the key to hold down the fort in the 9th.

Lance Berkman (RF) and Ryan Thierot (SS) are the two big new additions on offense. Berkman had a rigorous off season conditioning program in an attempt to rebound from a career worst 2010. If he's fit and can regain batting prowess, then Berkman's signing can provide huge dividends with plenty of RBI potential batting behind Pujols and Holliday.

Will not re-signing Albert Pujols become a season long distraction? Pujols is one of baseball's greatest ever players. A future first ballot Hall of Famer and without question the player of the decade is without a contract beyond 2011. He's driven in over 100 runs in every single season of his 10 year career. Scored 100 all but one (scored 99 in '07). 10 year batting averages ranging between .312 and .359 compiling a .331 career average. Pujols and Cards management had been trying to work out a contract extension which failed to get completed before Pujols self-imposed pre-spring training deadline.

Keys to success rely squarely on Cardinals pitchers. Barring injuries, the offense should produce. Question is whether or not starting pitchers can effectively shut down division rivals. NL Central is very competitive. No single team stands above the rest. No imposing starting rotations. Plenty of hitters parks. Cards ability to win one run games may be the difference. 37 year old closer Ryan Franklin faces the biggest challenge of his career. Blown saves will not be tolerated.

Hard to handicap Cards before their final rotation is announced. A healthy team will compete for 162 and should be considered division front runners.



Power Rankings Movers & Shakers

Permalink 08:00:00 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs by Digger  

Visit "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Big news of the week. Carmelo Anthony lands on Broadway as Knicks pull off a blockbuster deal. I think it's safe to say everyone throughout NBA-land is happy knowing all Melo trade distractions have finally ended. Countless rumors, near deals, no deals kept most teams involved off balanced. Circus act is over. NBA East promises to be great for years to come.

Speaking of circus style atmosphere... circus aroma's emanating from the Yankees spring complex. The Bronx Zoo version 2.011 simmers. Hank Steinbrenner criticized 2010's non championship season claiming players spent too much time celebrating their 2009 world championship and not enough time concentrating on baseball. Get ready for plenty of headlines coming out of the Bronx in '11. Yankees might produce disastrous results with a very thin starting rotation.

Rankings time...

1 - San Antonio Spurs
2 - Boston Celtics
3 - Miami Heat
4 - Dallas Mavericks
5 - Chicago Bulls
6 - Oklahoma City Thunder
7 - Los Angeles Lakers
8 - Orlando Magic
9 - Atlanta Hawks
10- Portland Trail Blazers

1 - Vancouver Canucks
2 - Philadelphia Flyers
3 - Detroit Red Wings
4 - Pittsburgh Penguins
5 - Boston Bruins
6 - Tampa Bay Lightning
7 - Phoenix Coyotes
8 - San Jose Sharks
9 - Washington Capitals
10- Nashville Predators

NCAA Men's Basketball
1 - Duke
2 - Ohio State
3 - Kansas
4 - Pittsburgh
5 - San Diego State
6 - Brigham Young
7 - Texas
8 - Purdue
9 - Arizona
10- Notre Dame

NCAA Women's Basketball
1 - Connecticut
2 - Tennessee
3 - Duke
4 - Baylor
5 - Stanford
6 - Texas A&M
7 - UCLA
8 - Xavier
9 - DePaul
10- Michigan State

MLB (pre-season)
1 - Philadelphia Phillies
2 - Boston Red Sox
3 - Tampa Bay Rays
4 - San Francisco Giants
5 - Minnesota Twins
6 - Chicago White Sox
7 - Oakland A's
8 - Texas Rangers
9 - Los Angeles Angels
10- Atlanta Braves

1 - Green Bay Packers
2 - Pittsburgh Steelers
3 - New York Jets
4 - Baltimore Ravens
5 - New England Patriots
6 - New Orleans Saints
7 - Philadelphia Eagles
8 - Chicago Bears
9 - New York Giants
10- Kansas City Chiefs