Fantasy Baseball: Team Previews

By Jason Fukao

Cincinnati Reds

Projected Line-Up

RF: Ryan Freel

1B: Scott Hatteberg

CF: Ken Griffey Jr.

3B: Edwin Encarnacion

LF: Adam Dunn

2B: Brandon Phillips

C: Dave Ross

SS: Alex Gonzalez

Projected Rotation

Aaron Harang

Bronson Arroyo

Kyle Lohse

Eric Milton

Kirk Saarloos

Closer: David Weathers

Player Spotlight

RF: Ryan Freel – At last this speed demon is assured a spot in the starting line-up. Fantasy  owners of Freel in previous years knew he was a threat to steal bases whenever he had the chance to play but with the departures of Rich Aurilia last year and Willy Mo Pena two seasons ago, Freel is set to lead off in front of Ken Griffey Jr., Edwin Encarnacion, and Adam Dunn. If he stays healthy, expect 40+ steals and 95+ runs.

RP: Dave Weathers – The Reds seem headed for another season employing the closer-by-committee tactic. This does nothing for those looking for a cheap source of saves except bring frustration to fantasy owners. Weathers and Mike Stanton should see the bulk of save opportunities, but my advice is to steer clear of closers like Weathers as there are several better options who have a secure role as the closer of their team.

Cleveland Indians

Projected Line-Up

CF: Grady Sizemore

LF: David Dellucci

DH: Travis Hafner

C: Victor Martinez

1B: Ryan Darko

RF: Trot Nixon

SS: Jhonny Peralta

3B: Andy Marte

2B: Josh Barfield

Projected Rotation

C.C. Sabathia

Jake Westbrook

Cliff Lee

Paul Byrd

Jeremy Sowers

Closer: Joe Borowski

Player Spotlight

SS: Jhonny Peralta –A 2005 campaign where he put up numbers of 24 home runs, 78 RBI and 82 runs  produced great hope for an even better 2006 season, but 2006 was definitely a disappointment for him and fantasy owners alike. Instead of putting up career numbers, he finished with 152 Ks and a .257 BA. Those are not numbers you want from a middle infielder. However, this guy is only 24 years old and could be coming into his own now for his 3rd full major league season.

2B: Josh Barfield – Could Josh be the next 25-25 guy? Now, this might be an unfair expectation as he only hit 13 home runs in his rookie campaign last year, but some say that he could fit the rare mold of players like teammate Grady Sizemore who combine speed and power. He stole 21 bags for the San Diego Padres last year and the Indians are not afraid to run. He is tentatively penciled in for the 9 hole in the batting order so while he may not see the RBI opportunities, he will have plenty of chances to score once he gets on base in front of Sizemore, RBI machine Travis Hafner, and Victor Martinez.

Freel image courtesy of CBS Sportsline.

Peralta image courtesy of MSNBC.


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