Fantasy Baseball: Team Previews

By Jason Fukao

Atlanta Braves

Projected Line-Up

2B: Kelly Johnson

SS: Edgar Renteria

3B: Chipper Jones

CF: Andruw Jones

C: Brian McCann

RF: Jeff Francoeur

1B: Scott Thorman

LF: Ryan Langerhans

Projected Rotation

John Smoltz

Tim Hudson

Mike Hampton

Chuck James

Kyle Davies

Closer: Bob Wickman

Player Spotlight

SP: Chuck James – This reliever turned starter helped many fantasy owners during the second half of last season. After being placed into the rotation in late-June, he finished with an 11-4 record, 3.78 ERA, and 91 Ks in 119 innings (6.9 Ks/9). Most of his success came in a 7-game span, where he went 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA. He is a budding star, and being obscured by big names like John Smoltz and Tim Hudson will only give you the advantage as you keep him on your radar.

RP: Bob Wickman –No one believed that Wickman would finish with 33 saves last season after a  45-save year in Cleveland, and no one seems to believe that he will remain the team’s closer for long. But you know what? I don’t either. There is a reason why the Braves gave up Andy LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez. Expect Rafael Soriano to see some opportunities as well.

Boston Red Sox

Projected Line-Up

SS: Julio Lugo

1B: Kevin Youkilis

DH: David Ortiz

LF: Manny Ramirez

RF: JD Drew

3B: Mike Lowell

C: Jason Varitek

CF: Coco Crisp

2B: Dustin Pedroia

Projected Rotation

Curt Schilling

Josh Beckett

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Jon Papelbon

Tim Wakefield

Closer: Mike Timlin

Player Spotlight

SS: Julio Lugo – Don’t let last season’s stat line fool you. He was putting up numbers consistent with his 2005 campaign (89 runs, .295 BA, 39 SBs) in Tampa but faded when he was traded to the Dodgers. He ended up with a modest 24 steals with a .278 BA, but expect more from him this year. He has his full-time gig back and will be leading off for the BoSox. Expect an increase in SB’s and runs as well. In addition, in Yahoo! Leagues he has eligibility at 2B, SS, and 3B.

RP: Mike Timlin – If he falters the slightest bit, Joel Pineiro will take his job. If neither of those guys can cut it,   Boston might be forced to move Jon Papelbon back to the bullpen. Timlin might be better suited for a set-up role, but has always been a cheap source of saves in fill-in duties throughout his career. Draft him as a back-up reliever, not as a front-line closer. If possible, draft Pineiro too and you will be assured one of them to be the closer.

 —

Wickman picture courtesy of AP Photo.

Timlin picture courtesy of “CBC Sports.”  

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