Fantasy Baseball: Team Previews

By Jason Fukao

New York Mets

Projected Line-Up

SS: Jose Reyes

C: Paul Lo Duca

CF: Carlos Beltran

1B: Carlos Delgado

3B: David Wright

LF: Moises Alou

RF: Shawn Green

2B: Jose Valentin

Projected Rotation

Tom Glavine

Orlando Hernandez

John Maine

Mike Pelfrey

Oliver Perez

Closer: Billy Wagner

Player Spotlight

LF: Moises Alou – Let’s hope that this 40 year-old still has something left in the tank because  he has never played in a line-up like this before. If David Wright doesn’t clear the bases every time, Alou will find himself with RBI chances quite often. He is a career .308 batter with runners in scoring position and hit a hair better last year with a .320 clip. He also has hit 19 or more homeruns in each of the last four years, including 22 last season. That is incredible considering that he only played in 98 games and had only 345 AB. This means that he hit a homer every 15.7 AB, which equates to 32 dingers if he had 500 AB. If he doesn’t get taken in your draft, make sure to keep an eye on him.

SP: Oliver Perez – At the tender age of 22, Perez had an unforgettable season when he fanned 239 batters in 196 innings (11 K/9 IP). Fantasy owners entered the next season with high hopes for this flame-thrower, but were doused with Perez battling numerous injuries. That was three years ago, and it seems like this can be the season that he returns to form. In the past couple of seasons, his ability to strike out batters was never the problem, but rather it was his high ERA (over 5.80) and WHIP (over 1.67). This could be his year to come back, as the Mets are relying on him heavily to be a consistent starter. If you can stomach the ERA and WHIP, pick up Perez for some sure Ks.

Oakland Athletics

Projected Line-Up

C: Jason Kendall

CF: Mark Kotsay

RF: Milton Bradley

DH: Mike Piazza

3B: Eric Chavez

SS: Bobby Crosby

LF: Nick Swisher

1B Dan Johnson

2B: Mark Ellis

Projected Rotation

Rich Harden

Dan Haren

Esteban Loaiza

Joe Blanton

Joe Kennedy

Closer: Huston Street

­Player Spotlight

DH: Mike Piazza – Mike is definitely on the descending point of his career. He is now 38 and catching for 15 MLB seasons cannot be kind on the body. He is now in Oakland and will be the full-time DH, meaning a greater chance for a longer season and more AB. He can now devote his focus solely on hitting and concentrate on bringing back some pop into his swing. He has still averaged 20 homeruns in the last 3 seasons, which is strong considering his position eligibility. Can a move to Oakland revitalize his career as it did for Frank Thomas? We can only speculate.

SP: Rich Harden – Can Harden return this season as the A’s ace? So far, he has showed his critics that he is back into form. After winning three straight decisions to open up last season, he was shut down due to elbow problems. However, it looks like he is ready for 2007. In 8 2/3 innings so far this spring, he has struck out 18 and posted a 1.04 ERA. Elbow problems are not good for pitchers, especially hurlers like Harden, so monitor his progress in the early parts of the season. If he is healthy, he will be a terror on AL batters.

Alou image courtesy of Reuters.
Piazza image courtesy of Getty Images.

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