Fantasy Baseball: Team Previews

By Jason Fukao

This is the last installment of a preview of the 32 teams around the league. Check back tomorrow for the Couch Copy that you’ll want to have with you at your draft this year.

St. Louis Cardinals

Projected Line-Up

SS: David Eckstein

LF: Chris Duncan

1B: Albert Pujols

3B: Scott Rolen

CF: Jim Edmonds

RF: Juan Encarnacion

2B: Adam Kennedy

C: Yadier Molina

Projected Rotation

Chris Carpenter

Anthony Reyes

Kip Wells

Adam Wainwright

Brad Thompson

Closer: Jason Isringhausen

Player Spotlight

LF: Chris Duncan – 30 homeruns? 35? Even 40? Those are some of the predictions being  tossed around by fantasy experts and hopefuls this preseason for the number of jacks Duncan will hit. If any of you saw him hit last year, you know this kid’s potential. In 280 AB last year, he hit 22 out of the park and drove in 43 runs. Theoretically speaking, if he had 500 AB last year, it would translate to 39 homeruns and 77 RBI. Plus, those 280 AB were mostly in pinch-hit or spot starts. This year, it will be different, as he won the starting left field job and will be batting in front of Albert Pujols. That alone should translate to strong numbers. One area of caution is his inability to hit lefties. Last season, he hit an awful .170 against them while hitting .318 against righties.

SP: Adam Wainwright – Contrary to popular belief and last year’s playoffs, Wainwright is a starting pitcher. He came up in the Cardinals’ organization as a starter but was put in the bullpen due to the logjam in the rotation last year. He will be moving back to his original duties, but don’t be surprised if he is moved back into the closing role. Jason Isringhausen is the closer right now, but he is come off of an injury-plagued season. If he stumbles out of the gates, Wainwright could be asked to move back into the bullpen.

Washington Nationals

Projected Line-Up

2B: Felipe Lopez

SS: Cristian Guzman

3B: Ryan Zimmerman

1B: Nick Johnson

RF: Austin Kearns

C: Brian Schneider

LF: Ryan Church

CF: Nook Logan

Projected Rotation

John Patterson

Tim Redding

Shawn Hill

Beltran Perez

Jerome Williams

Closer: Chad Cordero

Player Spotlight

2B: Felipe Lopez – Lopez seems to have given some of his power for speed. In 2005, he hit 23 homers and stole 15 bags, and there were talks about him being the next 30-30 guy. How did he respond to that hype? He came back the next year and stole 44 bases but hit only 11 homeruns. Those are not bad numbers, but it just changes the dimensions of Lopez. His main attribute is now steals instead of power at the shortstop position. Look for him to post similar numbers this year as the Nationals’ leadoff batter.

SP: John Patterson – Patterson’s season was shut down early last year due to injuries, and  that was too bad considering the success he achieved in 2005. Two years ago, he had a 3.13 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and struck out 185 batters in 198.1 innings. Those are fantabulous numbers, and he’ll be looking to replicate them this season. He is healthy after his season-ending surgery last year and will be the ace of the Nats’ staff. If he can consistently pitch, watch out for a breakout season from Patterson.

All player images in the team previews were carefully selected by Jason Fukao.

All images courtesy of Getty Images.


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