It has been a while, but the new NBA season is starting so I figured I would start up too. The new season brings lots of new questions to the table for a lot of teams, will the Clippers be the top of the West with Doc at the helm? Will the Bulls compete with a healthy Rose? Will the Thunder be a powerhouse with no “true” third option and a banged up/recovering Westbrook for the first few months? How bad will the Bobcats be this year? With a new season there are also fun questions in regard to fantasy players too, will Kyrie Irving take that next step and replace CP3 as the best PG in fantasy? Will Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio be top dogs in their respective positions now that they are fully healthy? What Dwight will we get in Houston? How good will Pau be with no Kobe? Can some of the rookies be fantasy relevant this season? Unfortunately I can’t give you answers to these questions we will all just have to watch the season unfold, but what I can do is give you the 10 guys I think will make a huge fantasy splash this season. Some of the guys will seem like pretty obvious guesses, but a few are going to be long shots that I think will be fantasy relevant or take that big step into the fantasy “must have” category. So without further ado my list of 10 guys who will surprise you this NBA season.

1) Kyrie Irving PG-Cle – So we all know that Irving is a beast, and he is entering his third season which is a typical year when guys take that BIG jump from good to great. He can take over a 4th quarter because of his quickness, and his ability to shoot an outside jumper. I think all of his % will be higher than they were last year (he has a better cast around him and they are all maturing which should mean smarter shots). I also think he could easily be a 24 pts, 4 reb, 8 ast, 2 stl guy this year. And with those numbers he will finish as one of the top 5 guys in fantasy basketball. If you have the chance to pull the trigger on him in the first round don’t be afraid!

2013-14 season projection- 48.3% FG, 87.6% FT, 1.9 3′s, 24.2 pts, 3.8 reb, 8.1 ast, 2.1 stl, 0.5 blk, 3.1 TO

2) Al Jefferson C-Cha – Al at one point in his career had a 23/11/2 season (2 being blks). That was with Min when he was the featured guy in the offense. He had plenty of chances in Utah, but it never seemed to quite fit for him there (he still put up really good numbers the last three years). I think Cha will look to Al early and often to wear down the interior of teams so that the young guards get a chance to have some freedom. I think we will see numbers similar to what he did back in 2008. Great value pick on a bad team, plus he doesn’t hurt you in any category as a big man!

2013-14 season projection- 50.4% FG, 77.5% FT, 0.1 3′s, 22.4 pts, 10.7 reb, 2.2 ast, 0.7 stl, 1.6 blk, 1.6 TO

3) Ricky Rubio PG-Min – Ricky should be 100% healthy after his ACL surgery the end of the 2011 season, and he has now been in the NBA for 2 full years (this being his third) which as I said about Kyrie that is usually when guys finally know what they can and can’t do against the competition. Rubio can’t shoot and I don’t think that will change anytime soon, but what he can do is rack up lots of ast, and get you a ton of stls. He is above elite in both categories so if this helps your strategy in building a team that tanks fg% he is a guy you can’t pass on. He will have a career year in all categories and Min should be really fun to watch.

2013-14 season projection- 41.5% FG, 80.8 FT%, 0.8 3′s, 12.2 pts, 4.9 reb, 12.3 ast, 2.6 stl, 0.3 blk, 3.2 TO

4) Paul Milsap PF-Atl – Paul had a career year in 2010 then has steadily declined since then. I think alot of that was due to the constant change in Utah, and the fact they had about 75 Big men on the roster last year trying to get minutes. Paul is one of those guys who will never overwhelm you with his numbers, but when you take a closer look he does a little bit of everything for you, and is a complement to any team strategy you guy with this season. I think him and Al Horford will make a great duo switching between the high and low post! Expect big things from Milsap this season.

2013-14 season projection- 52.5% FG, 77.7 % FT, 0.3 3′s, 16.2 Pts, 8.4 reb, 2.7 ast, 1.7 stl, 1.3 blk, 1.5 TO

5) Ersan Ilysova SF, PF-Mil – Ersan has had two good seasons the last two, he has shown flashes in both that point to him being able to be a big time player in the NBA. I think with some of the guys out of Mil that required a lot of shots Ersan and some of the other guys in Mil will get a chance to shine. He has shown he can reb at a high rate, and able to shoot around 50% from the field. I fully expect him to put together a season where he does both of those and some this season. Don’t expect Mil to be anything special in the NBA world but they have a couple of high quality fantasy guys. Ersan will be one of them.

2013-14 season projection- 48.9% FG, 82.0% FT, 1.5 3′s, 14.6 pts, 7.8 reb, 2.1 ast, 1.1 stl, 0.8 blk, 1.9 TO

6) Andrew Bynum C-Cle – Bynum hasn’t played a NBA game since the end of 2011, but reports are saying he is looking good, and is practicing at a fairly high level. He is only going to turn 27 this year so he isn’t old by any means. He was the 2nd best C when he played from 2009-2011. And I think if he plays at least 2/3 of the season he can put up the numbers to finish top 3 at the C position this year too. He seems motivated and has a good young Cle team around him. All he needs to do is get healthy and play some basketball. I would say expect around 55-60 games from Bynum this year.

2013-14 season projection- 57.4% FG, 69.8% FT, 0.0 3′s, 15.5 pts, 9.3 reb, 1.8 ast, 0.6 stl, 2.2 blk, 1.8 TO

7) Derrick Favors PF, C-Utah - I know preseason doesn’t mean much of anything, but Favors is rebounding the ball at an incredible rate this preseason. He was living in the shadow of Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap the last 3 years, but now will get to show everyone why he was highly touted coming out of college. He will finally get starters minutes, and he is someone I will be eyeing in every league this year. He can block shots, and will grab tons of rebounds for you. Don’t pass him up this year.

2013-14 season projection- 48.8% FG, 65.9% FT, 0.0 3′s, 15.2 pts, 11.6 reb, 1.5 ast, 1.1 stl, 1.9 blk, 2.2 TO

8) Evan Turner SG, SF-Phi – Evan has great ability and is entering his 4th season in the NBA. The 76ers won’t be good, but Evan is one of the few options on the team. He is going to take a dip in his FG% this season and in his TO, but since the team is letting him run the show this year all the other numbers are going to be fun to have. He is a guy that you can build your tank FG% team with. So don’t be afraid to pull the trigger because he will help you in a lot of categories!

2013-14 season projection- 40.8% FG, 77.5% FT, 1.1 3′s, 6.9 reb, 5.3 ast, 1.1 stl, 0.5 blk, 3.3 TO

9) Tiago Splitter C-SA – Tiago has quietly become a very effective C in the NBA and puts up quality numbers to make him relevant in almost every fantasy format. He has gotten better every year, and will continue to get more minutes to play as Tim gets more rest, and Pop begins to trust the young Center. I don’t think he is going to finish in the top 10 of Centers this year, but he is going to make himself a great 2nd or 3rd option on any team. He is a guy that is efficient and that is important in fantasy basketball.

2013-14 season projection- 58.9% FG, 74.5% FT, 0.0 3′s, 13.3 pts, 7.1 reb, 2.3 ast, 0.9 stl, 1.4 blk, 1.2 TO

10) Steven Adams C-OKC – Stevan won’t put up huge numbers because he won’t be the starter but I think Perk will get hurt at some point this year, and Adams will be forced to play big minutes for about a month to two months. He has shown he can put up some good “big” numbers in the preseason, and plays really aggressively on the offensive glass. He also can catch the ball (which Perk or Serge can’t do all that well on the inside…it hurts me everytime I see one of them get a BEAUTIFUL entry pass from KD or Russ, and it hits their chest and rolls down their body out of bounds) This is a total homer pick and I’m probably blinded by my optimism, but I think he has some good “tools” to be effective on the Thunder when given the opportunity to play.

2013-14 season projection- 55.8% FG, 65% FT, 0.0 3′s, 7.2 pts, 6.1 reb, 1.1 ast, 0.5 stl, 1.3 blk, 1.5 TO

Well there you have it my 10 guys who will surprise this season. Let me know who you think is going to exceed expectations this year in the comments, and don’t forget to “like” the Hombre on facebook or subscribe to the blog. I will be posting my 10 guys who I think will disappoint sometime this weekend. Good luck to you all this fantasy basketball season!

Long time no see blog! Sorry that I completely fell off the map those of you that actually checked the page from time to time. Life got busy and I tried to do too much on top of my job and got burned out. But I figured new year means “restarting” so wanted to try and get back into doing some blogging. Since it is my favorite season and favorite fantasy season (basketball) thought this would be the best time to start up again. So now on to the good stuff, if you forgot, this is how this works,

All-In=add them to your roster if they are avaliable.

Check=watch them over the next several games because they could be that “budding” fantasy rose.

Fold=if they are still on your team it is time to cut ties because they no longer bring any value (this has been Vince Carter the last 3 seasons)

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How can you say no to that smile :P

All-In

Jarrett Jack (PG,SG GS)- Step Curry injured his ankle again (a shame to because he was ballin’ this season) So his backup, Jack, will step in to fill the void. Jack has been very productive this season as a bench player so this is what to expect from him as the starter. 47%+ FG%, 86%+ FT%, 1.1 3′s, 16 pts, 3.5 reb, 6.5 ast, 1 stl, 0 blk, and around 3 TO. That is a great PG across the board does everything you want from you PG but doesn’t shoot poorly. If he is still a FA add him even if it is for the next 3 or 4 games as Curry’s strength rebuilds.

Elton Brand (PF, C Dal)- Brand is only averaging around 22 min a game the last month, but he is being very productive in those minutes. Over the last 2 weeks (7 games) this is what his line gets you, 63% fg%, 89% ft%, 0 3′s, 10.9 pts, 6.4 reb, 0.6 ast, 0.3 stl, 2.1 blk, and 0.3 TO. So it isn’t the “sexy” line you may want, but if you need a big boost in fg%, ft% and blk, Brand is the guy you can add and he will greatly increase those for you. Plus he doesn’t hurt you in pts or rebounds which is what should happen since he is a PF, C.

Check

Wilson Chandler (SG, SF Den)- Chandler has just returned from a hip injury so he will probably see some ups and downs over the next 2 weeks, which is why I have him on the “check” list. If you have some extra bench space or don’t mind dealing with a sudden no start for extra rest then he could be worth an immediate add, and here is why. Chandler for in his last full season 10-11 shot around 45%, 80% from the line, gave you about 1.5 3′s a game, right around 14 pts, 5.5 reb, 2 ast, less than a stl and a blk a game. Those are quality numbers from your 2 or 3. He has the potential to be a 2 3′s a game type guy so he could be someone you will want to watch. (he also has had 5 stl in his first 2 games back this season from his injury)

Earl Clark (SF, PF LAL)- Clark got to see a lot of minutes this past week with Pau out (concussion), Dwight out (shoulder), and Hill out (hip surgery) and he did surprisingly well probably better than anyone could have hoped for him. He is a long athletic guy who brings a lot of energy to the game. How does that translate to fantasy value. In his 4 games this week he had 9pts, 9 reb, 3 ast, 2 blks a game. (all of those are within .2 of the actual value). So nothing special, but when you have a SF getting 9 reb and 2 blks you will take it or if you have a PF getting 3 dimes you take it. I would say watch and see how his minutes end up being now that Pau and Dwight are both back, but if he continues to see 20-26 I think he would make a solid contribution to any team.

Fold

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I don’t know why you are playing so poorly either Kris…figure it out dude!

Kris Humphries (PF Bkn)- Humphries has seen his role decline dramatically since Avery was fired. He has only gotten around 19 min a game the last month, and there isn’t any signs that he will get back up to the 26-30 he was seeing early in the year. On top of that he is shooting under 43% from the field and only getting you 5 pts and 5 reb. It is time to send Humprhries to the pine in your fantasy league aka the waiver pool.

Marcus Thornton (SG Sac)- Thornton has been a great fantasy player the last 2 years, but over the last month he is seeing his role quickly diminish (only getting 16 min the last 4 games). Sacremento is bad and they are trying out every combination of their current players to see who will be kept when they move to Seattle. Thornton over the last month was only bringing in 1.8 3′s and 11 pts. He was shooting poorly 42%, and bringing in 0 defensive stats. So I think it is time to let Marcus go…

I hope you enjoyed the post. I will try to put one up every week or 2 weeks this year, but no guarantees during the summer months (my busy season). As always if you enjoyed don’t hesitate to subscribe to the blog, like H2HHombre on facebook, or help spread the word. Enjoy your Friday!

Here they are everyone the 3B rankings, from the H2H Amigo!

1. Jose Bautista (Tor-3B, OF) I was hesitant to draft Bautista in the 3rd round last year, and quick to trade him early in the season.  The mistakes we make… This year I expect some regression for Bautista, especially average-wise.  Bautista is a career .254 hitter, and I find it hard that he’ll be able to put together back-to-back .300 seasons.  Otherwise, Bautista is a pretty safe bet for some monster numbers from the hot corner.  And get him now… he probably won’t be 3rd base eligible next year.

2012 projection: .281 avg – 99 runs, 41 HR, 108 rbi, 8 sb

2. Evan Longoria (TB-3B) My instinct with Longoria was that “Man, he had a terrible year last year.”  His line for 2011 looked like this:  .244 avg – 78 runs, 31 HR, 99 RBI and 3 SB in 133 games.  Not great. But certainly not terrible.  If his .244 average was removed from his career numbers (this will only be his 5th year in the League) he is a career .282 hitter.  If he can hit his average, he’s got a chance to be the number one fantasy 3b this year.

2012 projection: .285 avg – 91 runs, 38 HR, 103 rbi, 10 sb

3. Adrian Beltre (Tex-3B) When you look at last year’s numbers for Beltre, two things stick out:  1)  He only played 124 games.  2)  His numbers at 124 games (approximately 75% of 162) were still 100% draftable.  If anyone had told you last year that your 3b was going to hit .296 with 82 runs, 32 HR and 105 RBI, I don’t think you would have complained.  It’s a risky pick, but one that could pay dividends.

2012 projection: .288 avg – 88 runs, 35 HR, 110 rbi, 1 sb

4. Ryan Zimmerman (Was-3B) Zimmerman, who played only 101 games last year, presents another higher risk/higher reward opportunity.  Despite struggling through an injury plagued 2011, I think Zimmerman will post extremely solid numbers this season.

2012 projection: .294 avg – 87 runs, 30 HR, 102 rbi, 5 sb

5. Pablo Sandoval (SF-1B, 3B) I have a great idea!  Instead of having an All-Star game to determine home field advantage in the World Series, Sandoval and Prince Fielder will Sumo wrestle…  At least it would get some decent TV ratings.

2012 projection: .317 avg – 76 runs, 25 HR, 84 rbi, 3 sb

6. Brett Lawrie (Tor-3B) An unknown quantity, Lawrie saw only 150 Major League AB’s last year.  He’s got some pop in the bat, and was very successful in the Minor’s.  Now let’s see if it can translate to a full Major Leagues season.  I’m predicting a roller coaster ride that results in some serviceable numbers:

2012 projection: .271 avg – 79 runs, 19 HR, 84 rbi, 21 sb

7. Michael Young (Tex-1B, 2B, 3B) Since 2002, Young has played less than 155 games only one time!  The best way to put numbers on the board in fantasy is to have players that are actually on the field.  His multi-position eligibility also gives him some extra value.  He’s getting older, but I would love to have Young as my starting 3b this year.  Or 2b.  Maybe 1b.

2012 projection: .303 avg – 76 runs, 20 HR, 81 rbi, 5 sb

8. Aramis Ramirez (Mil-3B) He’ll probably replace Fielder in the lineup for the Brewer’s, so I guess the Brew-crew is worse this year.  Regardless, Ramiriez has been a pillar of consistency in the fantasy 3b world.  I think he’s a bit under-valued and wouldn’t hesitate to grab him in the early-mid rounds.

2012 projection: .270 avg – 80 runs, 25 HR, 84 rbi, 5 sb

9. Alex Rodriguez (NYY-3B) He’s getting old, folks.  At the ripe age of 36 (he’s no Jamie Moyer) A-Rod is halfway down the sled-hill called “retirement”.  Now, his projected line below won’t reflect it, but I have a slight inkling that  A-Rod might be one of those “steal-of-the-draft” if he comes even close to returning to form.   Again, that inkling is slight

2012 projection: .290 avg – 75 runs, 15 HR, 66 rbi, 15 sb

10. David Wright (NYM-3B) Listen, I’m rooting for David Wright.  I’ve always loved his well-rounded game.  But when I hear “back injury” I hear “STAY AWAY FROM ME IN FANTASY DRAFTS!”  If Wright stays healthy this year, he could be deserving of his high rankings on other popular fantasy sites.  Unfortunately, I am thinking that Wright owner’s will be lucky to get 120 games out of him.   I guess if he was Adrian Beltre, that might  be alright.

2012 projection: .295 – 47 runs, 11 HR, 55 rbi, 2 sb

Sleeper: Ian Stewart (CHC-3B) Ian Stewart, who has as much potential as his bat does before it swings and misses, has a new shot at life this year.  Stewart had a MISERABLE season for the Rockies last year, and consequently was shown the door.  That said, he is the undisputed starting 3b for a team that will need middle of the lineup hitters.  Even if you don’t draft him, keep an eye on him and be ready to scoop him up.

2012 projection: .249 avg – 79 runs, 28 HR,81 rbi, 8 sb

Bust: David Wright (NYM-3B) see line above

2012 projection: see line above

My Rankings ESPN Yahoo! CBS
Jose Bautista 1 1 1
Evan Longoria 2 2 2
Adrian Beltre 3 3 4
Ryan Zimmerman 6 5 5
Pablo Sandoval 5 6 8
Brett Lawrie 7 7 7
Michael Young 8 11 12
Aramis Ramirez 9 8 10
Alex Rodriguez 10 10 9
David Wright 4 4 3
Sleeper: Ian Stewart 31 26 24
Bust: David Wright 4 4 3

People that play fantasy baseball with me probably know my stance on RP. For those of you who don’t let me tell you what my view is on them. “I think they are a complete crapshoot, and I really don’t like having to draft them.” I’m doing this ranking post more out of obligation that standard leagues record saves, than I truly enjoy trying to predict which closer is going to do what. Because closers are like the weather in the plains region of the US, one day it is sunny and beautiful, the next it is cold and winds blowing from the north at 50 mph, the next it is 105 degrees with a hot dry wind, then the next day there is a chance of snow (I’m sure those reading that are from the plains are nodding fervently at this). So as you can see I don’t like closers because the position seems to be so random, one season a guy can’t be hit and has like 45 saves, and the next season everything he throws gets crushed and he can’t seem to throw strikes. Closers are the one thing that change the most in fantasy baseball. I bet if you looked at a list of the top 10 1B from 5 years ago. You would see some similar names on the list, or top 10 3B, but you look at the top 10 closers and there are at least 4 names different every year. With all that said RP can be very beneficial to your fantasy team. They can do more than just save games, so look for the guys who have good k/9 and k/bb rates, they will be the guys who will help turn the tide in K’s and Whip throughout the season. Now here are my top 20 RP for the season.

1. Craig Kimbrel (Atl-RP) Dude can flat out pitch struck out 127 batters in just 77 innings. That alone is worth drafting.

2012 projection: 5 W, 48 sv, 115 K, 1.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

2. Jonathan Papelbon (Phi-RP) Pap seemed to be losing some of his mojo in the Boston area, but still has elite stuff…I feel like that happened with another closer and it seemed to work out pretty good for the Phillies (here’s looking at you Brad Lidge!)

2012 projection: 4 W, 43 sv, 88 K, 2.24 ERA, 1.05 WHIP

3. Drew Storen (Was-RP) Another young hurler who could potentially be atop of the list for a couple of years! Can walk hitters at times, but posts a decent K rate (8.84 per 9) to make up for it.

2012 projection: 5 W, 44 sv, 82 K, 2.86 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

4. Mariano Rivera (NYY-RP) He is getting old (that is the understatement of the year) but he still gets people out with his cutter. He won’t get as many opportunities because the Yanks will want a strong Mo for a postseason run, but he still puts up great numbers in a “smaller” role.

2012 projection: 2 W, 39 sv, 62 K, 1.99 ERA, 1.01 WHIP

5. Ryan Madson (Cin-RP) Madson’s only problem is that he can give up some hits from time to time, but with a strong lineup and a great strikeout rate (9.2 per 9) he should produce a great season.

2012 projection: 5 W, 40 sv, 69 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.11 WHIP

6. John Axford (Mil-RP) Axford has been great for the Brewers since taking over full time as their closer. He is a high strikeout guy, but also can give too many free passes. Still a top flight closer in the league.

2012 projection: 4 W, 41 sv, 78 K, 2.27 ERA, 1.18 WHIP

7. Rafael Betancourt (Col-RP) Betancourt has top 10 stuff for sure, and he finished the season strong last year at the closer spot. If he can continue what he started last Aug (sub .3 WHIP) then he will easily be a top 3 RP at season’s end.

2012 projection: 3 W, 37 sv, 79 K, 2.67 ERA, 0.97 WHIP

8. Joel Hanrahan (Pit-RP) Hanrahan was a solid closer last season for the Pirates, and I don’t see that changing that much. He will put up decent K numbers, but probably won’t dominate like some of the other guy’s on this list.

2012 projection: 2 W, 41 sv, 83 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

9. Brian Wilson (SF-RP) Wilson has been a top flight closer for his short career, until last year when he had some elbow issues. Even though there was no ligament tears, that doesn’t mean that the elbow won’t give him problems this year. A pitcher is only as good as his shoulder and elbow. So I would say tread lightly when getting Wilson.

2012 projection: 4 W, 36 sv, 63 K, 3.11 ERA, 1.27 WHIP 

10. Jason Motte (StL-RP) Motte will be in his first full season as “the guy” in St. Louis. He was nearly perfect from September through October only blowing 1 save. He has a dynamic fastball, and has started to harness a secondary pitch. Expect a fairly up and down season from Motte since he is still learning how to be a pitcher.

2012 projection: 3 W, 38 SV, 65 K, 2.46 ERA, 1.03 WHIP

11. Joakim Soria (KC-RP) Soria used to be the guy who was always a top 5 closer, but then his numbers were a little low last year and he seems to be forgotten. He is still young (age 27), has great control (17 bb in 60 innings, and still can strike people out. He is the guy who you could get cheap that might easily be a top 5 at season’s end.

2012 projection: 3 W, 39 SV, 67 K, 2.44 ERA, 1.05 WHIP

12. JJ Putz (Ari-RP) Putz had a great season as the full time closer for the D-backs. He has always posted good K numbers. If he stays healthy and doesn’t have to long of a rough patch during the season. He should have another solid season.

2012 projection: 2 W, 44 sv, 61 K, 2.88 ERA, 1.09 WHIP

13. Heath Bell (Mia-RP) Bell has had 4 straight 40 save seasons, and is expected to be the 9th inning guy for the Marlins. I have a good feeling about the Marlins this year, so I expect Bell to have another really good season.

2012 projection: 3 W, 41 sv, 67 K, 2.65 ERA, 1.18 WHIP

14 Jose Valverde (Det-RP) Valverde is one of those guys you hate a little bit if you are facing him, but if you aren’t you love his energy. I think he can be a little out of control at times, and that can be dangerous for closers. I expect a slight down year from Valverde this year.

2012 projection: 3 W, 35 sv, 64 K, 3.03 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

15. Jordan Walden (LAA-RP) Walden performed great in his first full season. Has a tendancy to walk to many hitters, so if he can get that under control he will finish much higher than 15 at the end of the season.

2012 projection: 4 W, 38 sv, 71 K, 2.89 ERA, 1.22 WHIP

16. Carlos Marmol (ChC-RP) Marmol hasn’t quite been what every one hoped him to be. He still has amazing stuff, but he hasn’t always been able to harness all of that potential. If he can finally put it together in the 9th he is a great guy to grab. Oh yea he also borders around 100 k’s a season.

2012 projection: 3 W, 36 sv, 104 K, 3.37 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

17. Andrew Bailey (Bos-RP) Bailey is only 28 so the last two seasons of injuries will hopefully be behind him. If he can be the guy he was in 2009. He will put up great numbers, but for some reason I think he might struggle with all the pressure that comes from a big market.

2012 projection: 3 W, 30 sv, 67 K, 2.88 ERA, 1.05 WHIP

18. Joe Nathan (Tex-RP) I’ve always like Nathan, and he is just a few years removed from being a top 5 closer. I think he will do well in Tex, but he is still a closer, so who really knows!

2012 projection: 3 W, 35 sv, 61 K, 2.85 ERA, 1.11 WHIP

19. Huston Street (SD-RP) Last year I made a bold prediction that Street would have a huge season and needless to say he let me down. I guess I can only blame myself for trying to predict closers ;)

2012 projection: 3 W, 33 sv, 59 K, 2.95 ERA, 1.07 WHIP

20. Kyle Fransworth (TB-RP) Fransworth is that sneaky closer who isn’t sexy, or new, but he did a great job closing out games for the Rays. I don’t expect greatness from him, but probably exactly what he did last year.

2012 projection: 4 W, 31 sv, 62 K, 2.25 ERA,  1.09 WHIP

Sleeper: Sergio Santos (Tor-RP) Santos will finally get the shot to be the full time guy, and since he has great stuff and a good strikeout rate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish in the top 15 by the end of the year.

2012 projection: 5 W, 33 sv, 81 K, 3.35 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

Bust: ALL Closers! No not really some will do well, but I think Jose Valverde could tank this year. The guy just tends to walk to many batters and puts himself in a lot of bad situations, and having Miggy at 3B in close games isn’t going to help the defense…just saying.

2012 projection: See above line

My Rankings ESPN Yahoo! CBS
Craig Kimbrel 1 1 1
Jonathan Paperlbon 3 3 2
Drew Storen 4 5 6
Mariano Rivera 2 2 4
Ryan Madson 6 12 15
John Axford 5 4 3
Rafael Betancourt 8 20 30
Joel Hanrahan 9 10 11
Brian Wilson 7 11 7
Jason Motte 12 21 19
Joakim Soria 16 16 9
JJ Putz 14 8 5
Heath Bell 15 7 8
Jose Valverde 10 13 13
Jordan Walden 18 14 18
Carlos Marmol 22 17 20
Andrew Bailey 17 9 14
Joe Nathan 24 23 22
Huston Street 20 19 23
Kyle Fransworth 19 23 27
Sleeper: Sergio Santos 28 18 17
Bust:Jose Valverde 10 13 13

If you have any opinions on which RP will be a stud or a bust this year, let me know in the comments. Sorry for the delay on the position rankings some miscommunication and a busy schedule from my new author has delayed the 3B and OF ranks. If you liked what you saw, follow the blog, or “like” H2H Hombre on facebook. The more views I get the better chance I have at making money for writing about sports, and I think we can all agree that that would be pretty awesome. Have a wonderful day everyone and good luck to you fantasy drafters!

SS one of my favorite positions, but one of the worst positions in fantasy baseball. Apparently according to a lot of prospects list, there are a lot of SS that will soon be up that will take the league by storm. But that will be in the near to distant future. This year we have a couple of studs, a couple of has beens, and then some other guys. Not the sexiest position in terms of offense, but hey, they are still one of my favorite positions!

1. Troy Tulowitzki (Col-SS)- Tulo has had three straight awesome years from the SS position, and that was all before the age of 27. He is still young and in his prime, so is he absolutely worth a top 5 pick, and if you take him at three I wouldn’t flinch for a second. The only thing against Tulo is his inability to play a full season (only played more than 150 games once, 2009). If he reaches that 150 game mark he will rake!

2012 projection: .308 avg, 98 r, 32 hr, 103 rbi, 14 sb

2. Hanley Ramirez (Mia-SS)-Han Ram was derailed by injuries and mental issues last year. Before last year he was in the conversation as the #1 overall pick. After a down year, and a move to 3B he could be in for a huge bounce back year. From some of the projections I’ve seen for his season I would say most are being a little safe with what to expect. Well I expect the Hanley Ramirez that crushes the ball and gets on base a lot. As a result he will be right on the heels of Tulo by season’s end.

2012 projection: .311 avg, 101 r, 23 hr, 94 rbi, 34 sb

3. Jose Reyes (Mia-SS)-Reyes finally returned to his old self after two injury shortened seasons. He had a career high in BA last year. However I don’t think the BA will be that high again this year. He is making a transition to a new team, which is going to be much more potent than his former, but they will also have a lot of guys who will be streaky. Expect a high avg, r, sb.

2012 projection: .297 avg, 112 r, 8 hr, 56 rbi, 43 sb

4. Elvis Andrus (Tex SS)-Elvis is only 23 years old, has already had 3 seasons of 30+ sb, he has improved his runs every season, and his doubles hit. The guy is continuing to get better at the plate and in his 4th season I’m saying he is going to be a little more consistent at the plate this year. Expect the continuing trend of improvement from the young Elvis!

2012 projection: .288 avg, 106 r, 5 hr, 66 rbi, 44 sb

5. Starlin Castro (ChC SS)-Starlin proved a lot of doubters wrong last year with a great sophomore season (including myself). He improved in all 5 categories last season. So I think we can expect another improvement in all of the categories this season too.

2012 projection: .308 avg, 96 r, 13 hr, 68 rbi, 28 sb

6. Alexei Ramirez (ChW SS)-Alexei was once a budding star that had a chance at a 30 hr, 20 sb season, but that seems ages ago (ok so it was probably only 2010 when we thought it could happen). Alexei has his worst season statistically last season, but when you take a closer look he may have been fairly unlucky (288 BABIP). He had a career high in doubles (which means he was hitting the ball hard, just not hard enough to make HRs last year) and tied a career high in OBP. So if he just improves slightly from a year ago in his k% and gets a little more luck from the ball. He should put up a great year. “Why can’t I quit you Alexei Ramirez!?!?”

2012 projection: .279 avg, 84 r, 22 hr, 76 rbi, 10 sb

7. Jimmy Rollins (Phi SS)-Jimmy Rollins had a good season at the age of 32, I don’t think he can improve again though. I see a line more like the one he produced in 2010 then the one he gave in 2011. I say draft at your own risk.

2012 projection: .258 avg, 78 r, 15 hr, 61 rbi, 24 sb

8. Asdrubal Cabrera (Cle SS)- Asdrubal is only 27 so last year may become the norm rather than the anomaly. I think he will come back down to earth a little, but also wouldn’t be surprised if he blows my expectations through the roof. I look at him with caution where others probably see a 27 year old off of a career year and drool.

2012 projection: .278 avg, 74 r, 15 hr, 72 rbi, 11 sb

9. JJ Hardy (Bal SS)- Hardy has the potential to be a 35+ HR guy from a position that doesn’t typically hit HR. However the only way he manages that is by staying in the lineup consistently, for example this is the games played each seson for his career (124, 35, 151, 146, 115, 101, 129). He needs to get back to the 145-150 mark to be real steal in the draft, but he won’t contribute anything in the speed category. So if that is a category you are looking to lose, than Hardy is your man.

2012 projection: .272 avg, 78 r, 31 hr, 82 rbi, 1 sb

10. Dee Gordon (LAD SS)- Gordon is only 23 (will be 24 after the first month of the season) and had 24 sb in just 56 games last season. If you extrapolate those numbers for the full season he would have somewhere around 61 sb. That is AWESOME. Oh did I mention he hit over .300 in those 56 games. He will be a staple atop the Dodgers lineup for a long time if he continues to do that. Think of Castro last year with more speed but less pop.

2012 projection: .300 avg, 84 r, 2 hr, 41 rbi, 63 sb

Sleeper: Alcides Escobar (KC-SS)- Once upon a time Escobar was a top 20 prospect two years in a row, then he played two and half years in the pros and has been nothing but underwhelming. He will only be 25, will play in a pretty good KC lineup. If he can somehow get back to getting on base (around .345 obp is all he needs to do) he will probably be a top of the lineup, which will mean lots of runs. He is still a great SB guy.

2012 projection: .278 avg, 78 r, 3 hr, 49 rbi, 35 sb

Bust: Jimmy Rollins (Phi-SS)- I know, I know, I have him ranked 6 overall but have him as a bust, and that is because Philly’s offense isn’t what it used to be, Rollins legs aren’t what they used to be, and I just get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach when it comes to what his season will look like this year. I will be staying away from him at pretty much all costs.

2012 projection: see line above.

My Rankings ESPN Yahoo! CBS
Troy Tulowitzki 1 1 1
Hanley Ramirez 2 2 2
Jose Reyes 3 3 3
Elvis Andrus 6 4 7
Starlin Castro 5 5 4
Alexei Ramirez 8 11 11
Jimmy Rollins 4 7 6
Asdrubal Cabrera 7 6 5
JJ Hardy 9 10 13
Dee Gordon 13 8 12
Sleeper: Alcides Escobar 21 19 16
Bust: Jimmy Rollins 4 7 6

Have any projections for SS this season? Don’t be afraid to post them in the comment section. As always don’t forget to follow the blog or “like” us on Facebook. Hope you enjoyed the rankings, and long live the SS! 3B will be up and running tomorrow, see you then.

This is the first post of what hopefully will be many from the H2H Amigo, he is my brother-in-law and we have been good friends since our college days together. Well without further adieu here are his rankings for Second baseman this season.

1. Robinson Cano (NYY-2B)- One thing struck me when looking at Cano’s numbers from 2011 -  The only difference between his numbers and Pujol’s was about 10 HR’s.  The combination of production, power and average make RC the only second baseman 1st-round worthy.  If I have the 7-12 pick in my draft, I’m not hesitating to pull the trigger on this guy.

2012 projection:  .301 avg – 99 runs, 30 HR, 108 rbi, 6 sb

2. Dustin Pedroia (Bos-2B)- Now, if I didn’t grab Cano in the first round, and I’m intent on having an elite 2B on my team, Pedroia is the guy to grab.  His numbers last year were outstanding, posting a 102-21-91 line with a .300 avg and 26 SB’s.  While I expect comparable numbers, the one area I look for Pedroia to drop off a bit is in the power department.  I expect closer to the 15 HR’s that he’s averaged over the last 5 years.

2012 projection:  .310 avg – 86 runs, 18 HR, 94 rbi, 25 sb

3. Ian Kinsler (Tex-2B)-  The man.  The myth.  The semi-present.  While Kinsler plays for the most prolific offense in baseball, the question is how much will he be playing for the most prolific offense in baseball?  His games-played total over the last 4 years are as follows: 121-144-103-155.  While you should be cautious about drafting Ian, you can also grab a late-round flyer like Ryan Roberts or Jason Kipnis as an insurance policy.

2012 projection:  .288 avg – 97 runs, 29 HR, 99 rbi, 23 sb

4. Ben Zobrist (TB-2B, OF)- Think Pedroia, minus the .300 average.  He should be a solid producer, with the versatility to stay on the field in Tampa Bay.  Zobrist is a guy I haven’t hesitated to grab in the 4th and 5th rounds of fantasy drafts, looking forward to have a potential 20-20 guy slotted in at 2B for my team.

2012 projection:  .249 avg – 87 runs, 21 HR, 90 rbi, 22 sb

5. Dan Uggla (Atl-2B)- I’ll rank him 5th on my list of 2B, but I probably won’t draft him.  Last season’s Jekyll and Hyde approach terrified just enough think “Ehh… I’ll pass on him and wait for Utley to come up in a round or two.”  That being said, Uggla  has been a great source of Runs, HR’s and RBI’s over the last 5 years.  The average may have a negative impact on your team, but the combination of the other three may well be worth the risk.

2012 projection:  .254 avg – 87 runs, 29 HR, 94 rbi, 3 sb

6. Brandon Phillips (Cin-2B)- The experts will tell you how wonderfully consistent Brandon Phillips is.  I’ll tell you how consistently OK Brandon Phillips is.  Phillips is a safe choice, averaging about 150 games played over the last 6 years.  He will probably throw down an 85-17-85 type of line, which is absolutely serviceable.  While no one will blame you for drafting him, don’t expect any pat on the back at the end of the year for stealing a top 30 player in the 6th or 7th round.

2012 projection:  .281 avg – 79 runs, 17 HR, 84 rbi, 14 sb

7. Rickie Weeks (Mil-2B)- Productive when healthy, draft Weeks at your own risk.  This guy’s career stats read like a roller-coaster. Although, if we’re following that logic, last year was a down year, so maybe this year will be up?

2012 projection:  .274 avg – 88 runs, 24 HR, 64 rbi, 12 sb

8. Chase Utley (Phi-2B)- Ah, Chutley.  Only two years ago I remember taking you with the 9th pick overall…  But no more.  When Utley came back last year he was fairly mediocre.  This is a risk/reward type of pick.  If Utley returns to form, or even close to form, he’ll be a great 2B for you.  If he doesn’t, well, there’s always next year.

2012 projection:  .292 avg – 84 runs, 16 HR, 67 rbi, 15 sb

9. Howard Kendrick (LAA-1B, 2B, OF)- The artist formerly known as Howie is a 2B that I feel caustiously optimistic about.  If he can figure out a way to weasel his way into a top of the lineup roll, that means he’ll be hitting in front of some guy named Pujols.  Sign me up.

2012 projection:  .290 avg – 75 runs, 15 HR, 66 rbi, 15 sb

10. Michael Young (Tex- 1B, 2B, 3B) (doesn’t qualify at 2B in ESPN leagues)- While Michael Young may not be 2B eligible in all formats, if he is, he’ll be an invaluable piece of your teams puzzle.  He’s growing a bit long-of-tooth (he’s old) he is hitting in a great lineup at a great hitters field.

2012 projection:  .300 avg – 79 runs, 12 HR, 70 rbi, 5 sb

Sleeper: Marco Scutaro (Col-2B, SS)- If I’m taking Miguel Cabrera first overall, it’s so he can play 3B for me.  And if I’m taking Marco Scutaro at all, it’s so he can play 2B for me.  The Rockies traded for Scutaro not to replace Tulo (shocking, I know) but to put an end to what has been years of watching the rotating door on the right side of the infield.  Scutaro has been fantasy-relevant off and on over the last few years, but his new home at Coors Field could provide some top ten 2B production.

2012 projection:  .287 avg – 79 runs, 13 HR, 68 rbi, 8 sb

Bust: Dustin Ackley (Sea-2B)- Maybe it’s unfair of me to label Ackley as a “bust” but I believe it is a reaction to the hype from his emergence in the Big Leagues last year.  Ackely will be a decent 2B for the Mariners, but that offense-starved team needs more than this guy to put some runs on the board.  I think Ackley will put up a line similar to the following:  70 runs, 13 HR’s, 65 RBI’s with 15 SB’s while batting .276.  Decent numbers, but numbers I’m willing to bet I can find on the waiver wire at some point during the year.

2012 projection:  .276 avg – 70 runs, 13 HR, 65 rbi, 15 sb

My Rankings ESPN Yahoo! CBS
Robinson Cano  1  1  2
Dustin Pedroia  2  3  1
Ian Kinsler  3  2  3
Ben Zobrist  5  5  4
Dan Uggla  4  4  7
Brandon Phillips  6  6  8
Rickie Weeks  8  11  5
Chase Utley  7  10  6
Howard Kendrick  9  8  9
Michael Young  N/A  7  N/A
Sleeper: Marco Scutaro  N/A  N/A  N/A
Bust: Dustin Ackley  12  12  12

We hope you enjoy the post. Like always if you have any fantasy sports questions don’t hesitate to post them in the comments or e-mail me at h2h.hombre@gmail.com, and I will do my best to answer them for you. We would love to hear your projections of any 2B this year, who are your sleepers and bust for the 2012 season? If you like what you have been reading don’t forget to “like” H2H Hombre on facebook, or just follow the blog. Have a wonderful day! SS will be up tomorrow!

Here are the 1B rankings for the 2012 season.

1. Albert Pujols (LAA-1B)- Albert has left my redbirds, which is very sad, but from a fantasy standpoint I actually think he will be a little better in Anaheim. From a ballpark standpoint Angel stadium saw better offensive production than Busch, with a worse lineup in place. So with Pujols ability to drive to the gaps he will probably see more 2B than he normally does, which is usually a lot! I think now that the contract stuff is over, and lots of games in Arlington, I expect him to have a great season. I probably have to much of a crush on Pujols to take him out of this spot for a least 2 more years…hey just being honest!

2012 projection: .324 avg, 123 r, 44 hr, 124 rbi, 7 sb

2. Miguel Cabrera (Det-1B, 3B)- Miguel has been 1.b for the last several seasons to Pujols but after his 2nd straight better season than Pujols (statistically) he has finally taken over the #1 spot in most peoples eyes, but not mine. He will have 3B eligibility too, which helps his fantasy value, but could potentially hurt his game. He has lost about 35-40 pounds already this offseason and from a picture I saw of him he looks like he did when he first came in the league…which he played some 3B then too. Oh and Prince hitting behind Miggy should only help him.

2012 projection: .338 avg, 111 r, 34 hr, 118 rbi, 3 sb

3. Adrian Gonzalez (Bos-1B)- Gonzalez saw his power numbers decline some last season, but he also saw a career high in batting average. I fully expect his average to dip some, but his power numbers to shot up as a result. Gonzalez is just a solid hitter from top to bottom and playing 80 games in Fenway again isn’t going to hurt any of his stats. The next 2 guys could have been at this spot, but I like Gonzalez line just a little better than Prince and Votto.

2012 projection: .328 avg, 107 r, 35 hr,  122 rbi, 1 sb

4. Prince Fielder (Det-1B)- Prince surprised everyone when he signed with the Tigers this offseason, but when you look at what that lineup could look like it is scary good from top to bottom. Prince will be batting most likely behind Miguel (arguably best hitter in baseball) and then probably in front of Avila (rising star at C) or Boesch (player with a lot of pop in his bat). That is a lot of potential damage to other teams. Plus the AL central in my opinion has worse top to bottom pitching staffs than the NL Central (not by much but it is worse).

2012 projection: .291 avg, 101 r, 43 hr, 131 rbi, 3 sb

5. Joey Votto (Cin-1B)- Votto is another stud option at 1B, but I  just don’t like him as much as some others. He isn’t in as good of a lineup as the 4 guys above him, and the trade talks/contract stuff around him this year could become a slight distraction. Don’t get me wrong he will still have a great year, but I just see him a step below the 4 above him.

2012 projection: .312 avg, 96 r, 31 hr, 108 rbi, 9 sb

6.Mark Teixiera (NYY-1B)-Tex had his worst pro season last year, and it has been 3 straight seasons of decline. So I debated dropping him even further (around 8). But with the short porch in RF, a loaded Yankees lineup, and hopefully a healthy season will help Tex return to a great 1B instead of just an average one. He is on the wrong side of 30 so I won’t be surprised if the last two years are the norm instead of the exception. Draft Tex at your own risk.

2012 projection: .278 avg, 98 r, 39 hr, 114 rbi, 5 sb

7. Mike Napoli (Tex-C, 1B)- Read my catcher rankings if you want all the details on the “Nap Dog.”

2012 projection: .301 avg, 71 r, 32 hr, 78 rbi, 5 sb

8. Eric Hosmer (KC-1B)- Hosmer is the young star that KC thought they had in Alex Gordon, and lucky for the Royals that both played great last season. Hosmer has above average power, a great eye at the plate, and will finally get a full season in the majors. If you were to simply extrapolate his stats from the 128 games last season he will finish with a great line, but I expect there to be a little improvement across the board.

2012 projection: .304 avg, 86 r, 25 hr, 98 rbi, 12 sb

9. Michael Morse (Was-1B)-Morse finally got his shot to be a full time player and he didn’t look back. He hit over .300 and had 30 hr, he was definitly one of the major surprises from last season. He still should be right in the thick of a sneaky good Nationals team. They will have some good players in their lineup with a potential spark in Bryce Harper. Not only do I expect Morse to have another solid year, I’m going to project a competitive Nationals team in the heavy NL East.

2012 projection: .296 avg, 79 r, 33 hr, 98 rbi, 1 sb

10. Lance Berkman (STL-1B, OF)- Lance was the best hitter in the Cardinals lineup for the first three months of last season, but after the all-star break he cooled off tremendously. Lucky for the Cardinals he seemed to have just enough in the tank to have a solid playoff line. I don’t expect the same power outburst that Berkman had last season, but I do expect another really good line for the “Big Puma.”

2012 projection: .295 avg, 89 r, 25 hr, 97 rbi, 4 sb

Sleeper: Ike Davis (NYM-1B)- Ike was off to a great start last year, and then got injured and never got back on track. I really like what he could bring to the table this year. You can get him really cheap as your backup 1B or in deeper leagues you could take him as your number 1 and since he has always played well when he is healthy (minors and short stint in the pros so far). He won’t disappoint you.

2012 projection: .303 avg, 80 r, 23 hr, 85 rbi, 5 sb

Bust: Paul Konerko (ChW-1B)- Paul Konerko has been ole’ reliable for the White Sox. He is not letting “father time” catch up with him at all. (he’s probably on the juice! JK I don’t really think he is) Paul will probably still drive in a lot of runs and hit a fair share of HR, but I can see him starting his steady decline this season just like Jim Thome did in 09. I don’t wish him to fail, but my head and heart says at age 36 the decline is going to happen sooner rather than later.

2012 projection: .275 avg, 76 r, 27 hr, 92 rbi, 1 sb

My Rankings ESPN Yahoo! CBS
Albert Pujols 2 2 2
Miguel Cabrera 1 1 1
Adrian Gonzalez 4 4 4
Prince Fielder 5 5 6
Joey Votto 3 3 3
Mark Teixiera 6 6 7
Mike Napoli 9 14 8
Eric Hosmer 8 11 14
Michael Morse 12 12 12
Lance Berkman 11 16 10
Sleeper: Ike Davis 24 18 17
Bust: Paul Konerko 7 8 11

There won’t be any posts going up until Monday, so check in then for the 2B rankings by my good friend. If you have any questions about fantasy baseball leave a comment, or if you have any of your own 1B projections let us know what you think. Like always don’t forget to follow the blog, or like “H2H Hombre” on facebook. Good luck to you all this fantasy season.

So Fantasy Baseball is finally starting again, and with the season beginning it is time to rank the positions! Here is the list of my top 10 Catchers for the upcoming season, along with one sleeper, someone who I think might surprise, and one bust, a guy who I think you should stay away from. My rankings are what my head and eye tells me, but my projections might have a little more of my heart in them (aka they may not match their rank exactly). I hope you enjoy the first of my 8 position ranking posts!

1. Mike Napoli (Tex-C, 1B)-I went back and forth between the “Nap Dog” and McCann, but the potential of .300 and 30+ HR won Mike the #1 spot. He had an incredible season for a catcher last year, and this year he is the guy behind the plate. Last season for the first 2-3 months Napoli wasn’t yet a regular but for the final 3 months he went on a tear. So I expect him to have the best season for a C again this year.

2012 projection: .301 avg, 71 r, 32 hr, 78 rbi, 5 sb

2. Brian McCann (Atl-C)-McCann had a decent season last year, and really hasn’t been the same since he had to have eye surgery, well at least in terms of BA. But even if he is just a .270 hitter he still offers so much in terms of power that he is an easy top 3 C by season’s end. I expect a slight uptick in power, but don’t see any of his other numbers being dramatically changed.

2012 projection: .277 avg, 63 r, 28 hr, 79 rbi, 2 sb

3. Carlos Santana (Cle-C,1B)-Santana had the 2nd highest HR out of the catcher spot last year, but his average was pretty painful. If he can get his BA up around .270-.280 then he might claim the #1 spot or at least be competitive for it. He is only in his third year, which for some is the breakout season, but it is really only his 2nd full year. So I don’t see the huge breakout until next year.

2012 projection: .265 avg, 85 r, 27 hr, 89 rbi, 2 sb

4. Alex Avila (Det-C)-Avila could very easily go back to what he was before last year (a complete unknown) but he was consistent throughout last year. Every time I watched him I was impressed with what I saw. Good discipline and just a solid swing. He finished among the tops in BA for Catchers so that is where his value will be compared to some of the other Catchers. Plus with V-mart going down, Avila will have even more opportunities in that still potent lineup.

2012 projection: .293 avg, 67 r, 21 hr, 82 rbi, 3 sb

5. Matt Wieters (Bal-C)-Wieters has been a dissappointment so far in his young career, but when you look at his numbers he has been a very good Catcher. Expectations for him were way too high and he just couldn’t live up to it. I ranked him modestly because I won’t be surprised if he continues his steady incline, but I think he is going to have a monster year.

2012 projection: .284 avg, 76 r, 24 hr, 78 rbi, 3 sb

6. Miguel Montero (Ari-C)-Miguel had an excellent rebound year from his 2010 campaign, but he needs to do it again before he makes it into the top 5. He plays in a great ball park for gap hitters, which he is, so the stadium is perfect for his style of hitting, as long as he stays healthy he will have another solid season.

2012 projection: .287 avg, 71 r, 19 hr, 83 rbi, 2 sb

7. Buster Posey (SF-C)-Posey was the next hot Catcher since Wieters or Mauer. But he actually performed almost as well as the “experts” claimed he would, but then it all came crashing down (crash, collision; tomato, toemato (say it how its spelled)…so that didn’t work sorry). I know Posey has all the skills to return to excellent production, but I think he is going to have a slow start to start the year. So take caution when drafting him or just buy low in mid-May :)

2012 projection: .288 avg, 64 r, 19 hr, 71 rbi, 4 sb

8. Joe Mauer (Min-C,1B)-Mauer will have dual-elegibility, but it is in the loaded position of 1B. Mauer used to be the creme of the crop at C, but his rare leg injury set him back some. I want to believe that since he is only 28 and will be 29 this season that he will return to his former glory. He probably won’t be able to play Catcher to much if he wants to avoid further damage to his legs. Expect Mauer to be solid for you, but don’t pay a hefty price for him.

2012 projection: .302 avg, 64 r, 9 hr, 75 rbi, 1 sb

9. Wilson Ramos (Was-C)-Ramos didn’t have a great year last year, but when you look closer his last 3 months he was one of the top 5 Catchers. Hitting .288 with close to double digit HR after the all-star break if he just duplicate that over two halves of the season he will probably finish higher than the 9th spot. He is someone I will be targeting in my drafts because you can get him cheap and has high upside.

2012 projection: .285 avg, 62 r, 15 hr, 64 rbi, 2 sb

10.Yadier Molina (STL-C)-Yadi is not only the best defensive catcher in the game, but he has slowly become an adequate offensive player. Most of his value will be in OBP and Avg. So don’t expect a 20 hr season or an 100 rbi season. He won’t do that, but if you just want your catcher to help you in avg, while driving in adequate runs and scoring at a decent pace than look no further.

2012 projection: .299 avg, 56 r, 12 hr, 58 rbi, 0 sb

Sleeper: Devin Mesoraco (Cin-C)-Mesoraco is a top rated prospect that is projected to get quite a bit of playing time for the “redlegs” this season. He will most likely become a staple in the Reds lineup for a couple of years if his power from the minors carries into the pros. Now don’t expect greatness from the young man as the pro game is much harder for young catchers to pickup than most other positions because of learning to manage pitching staffs, but if you are in a keeper league or have some major injuries at the C position than he should be a great addition to your team.

2012 projection: .265 avg, 52 r, 13 hr, 63 rbi, 2 sb

Bust: Russell Martin (NYY-C)-Russell was great to start the year last year, and had many hoping he was returning to his glory days of 07-08. But then he returned to earth and finished with a below average year. Now some people are projection Russell to finish in the top 10 of catchers this season, but despite the weight loss I just don’t see it happening. He just turned 29 so he isn’t the young breakout anymore. He has played in the majors for 6 seasons now so we should know what to expect and that is just a decent C nothing more nothing less. Also, he is notorious for hot starts and horrible finishes…you’ve been warned.

2012 projection: .252 avg, 50 r, 13 hr, 57 rbi, 6 sb

My Rankings ESPN Yahoo! CBS
Mike Napoli 1 2 3
Brian McCann 3 3 2
Carlos Santana 2 1 1
Alex Avila 6 8 4
Matt Wieters 4 5 8
Miguel Montero 5 6 7
Buster Posey 7 4 6
Joe Mauer 8 7 5
Wilson Ramos 10 13 13
Yadier Molina 9 11 12
Sleeper: Devin Mesoraco 25 20 18
Bust: Russell Martin 14 12 9

That is it for today, tomorrow the 1B rankings will be up. Hope you enjoy the rankings, if you have any fantasy baseball questions let me know in the comment section. Or if you have any thoughts of your own on Catchers for the upcoming season, I would love to hear your opinions! Don’t forget to follow “The Hombre ” for immediate updates on posts, or ‘like’ on facebook. Enjoy the new fantasy season my friends!

Good news fantasy sports fans. My fantasy baseball rankings will be slowly coming up over the first 10 days of March! A friend of mine is helping me with the rankings, so you will get to have two different opinions throughout this year’s rankings. I will put up a position a day, every weekday, starting March 1st. So Catchers will be up this Thursday. Don’t forget to follow the blog or “like” the Hombre on facebook so you can see the post the moment it is up. Spring has finally arrived because baseball is back!

The All-star break was this last weekend, and even though I didn’t get to watch much of the festivities, I did see that my Thunder did a decent job this weekend (Durant with the MVP…NICE!). We are at the half way point in the NBA season, which means we are about 2/3 of the way through our fantasy regular season. So this is the time to really take a long look at your team, and decide what you need to do for that playoff push. Or if you are at the top of your league then to take a look at what you need to do to ensure further dominance in your league. In order to do this you need to take an honest approach to your team, or in other words don’t let “names” influence” what your team has been to this point. I’m going to use one of my teams as a model for you too see what an honest evaluation might look like.

This is a team that is in 5th place in a 10 team, 9 category, league on Yahoo! I’m currently sitting 9 games out of 1st, 8 games out of 2nd, but only 1 game out from 3rd. Top 6 teams make the playoffs, and top 2 seeds get a first week bye. So my goal should be trying to climb my way up to the 2nd seed. This will ensure I will be in the semi-finals no matter what. I have 5 weeks to make up this gap, and I play both the #1, and #2 team in the next 3 weeks (these are matchups I really need to focus in on winning so I can make up the gap faster). Now let’s look at my team, Dwayne Wade (PG,SG), James Harden (SG, SF), Mario Chalmers (PG), Tony Allen (SG, SF), Kris Humpries (PF), Tiago Splitter (PF,C), Serge Ibaka (PF, C), Pau Gasol (PF, C), Gerald Wallace (SF, PF), Zaza Pachulia (C), Ricky Rubio (PG), DeAndre Jordan (PF, C), Nicolas Batum (SG, SF). So from first glance you might think “6 or 7 guys who are really good, another 3 or 4 that are serviceable, and 3 that probably won’t be on the team for long.” I have made 2 or 3 trades already in this league and 20 waiver moves so far. So this team has seen some changes and could continue to use more. Now how do you go about honestly assessing your team. Some might just look at the names and say my team looks pretty good, Wade, Harden, Ibaka, Gasol, Rubio, DeAndre, Batum and Gerald Wallace are great fantasy guys, but as most of you already know the only way to truly asses your team is by looking at the raw numbers (or stats whatever you like to call them). There are two good ways to looking at the stats of your team to evaluate what you have.

1) Simply go to your team and see what your players average stats are for the season or the last 30 days (preferably do both to get a real look at how your players have truly been). I like to look at the last 30 days first because that is a better indicator of how much value they have had recently, and if a player has had 1 or 2 “awesome statistical games” the other 12 from the month should help even out those games (unlike looking at the last 7-21 days would). So looking at my team the last 30 days, I see some pretty interesting things. Everyone on my team but 1 person shoots over 45% from the field (tsk tsk Rubio), I have lots of people contributing to my AST numbers (11 give me 1.5 or more and 6 give me more than 3), everyone but 1 person on my roster contributes in at least 1 defensive category (Tiago Splitter hasn’t done much defensively the last 30 days), I don’t hit a lot of 3′s (only 3 who give me more than 1 a game), and I only have one player getting more than 3 TO a game. So based on those 5 observations I know that I can compete in fg%, ast, stl, blk, and I’ll probably lose 3′s every week, the player that is hurting my team in fg% might need to be shopped or dropped, the player not contributing to my defensive team might need to be shopped or dropped, and I should probably just allow my team to be starved of 3 pointers for the last several weeks. This is my opinion is one of the easiest ways to honestly evaluate your team. If you let the numbers do the talking you know what your team can be or what you should start focusing on. So I should start looking to make moves that build on my strengths and that don’t cripple me in the categories I’m average at (I’m fine with completely losing 2 categories a week if that means I will be practically impossible to beat in 3 other ones).

2) The 1st way to evaluate is the best way to look at your team, but this one can be an effective way too. Simply go to your leagues cumulative stat page, or the head-to-head stat page, and start observing your team through those lens. If your league has a win-loss by category than that should be what you really look at. So let’s look at how my team is doing to show you how I go about looking at these stats. I’m 7-2 in FG%, 4-4-1 in FT%, 1-6-2 in 3′s, 3-6 in Pts, 5-4 in Reb, 6-3 in Ast, 5-3-1 in Stl, 8-1 in Blk, 4-5 in TO. From those numbers we see I’m a tough beat in FG%, AST, and BLK, I’m competitive in FT%, REB, STL, and TO, and I don’t win in 3′s and points. With all of that information I need to start basing all of my waiver pickups, and trades I propose or accept to support the categories I can compete in and/or solidify the categories I usually win at. What I mean by this is if there is 2 guys on the waiver that are both playing well the last couple of weeks (last 14 days)and their lines look like this;

player A: .446 FG%, 1.000 FT%, 2.2 3′s, 12.8 pts, 3.5 reb, 3.8 ast, 2.5 stl, 0.2 blk, 2.0 TO

player B: .619 FG%, .500 FT%, 0.0 3′s, 10 pts, 9.7 reb, 1.8 ast, 1.5 stl, 1.0 blk, 0.8 TO

So from a ranking standpoint Player A is better, but when looking at my team Player B is a better fit, he helps shore up FG%, and Blk, doesn’t cripple me in reb, stl or TO, and since I don’t win in 3′s or pts very often he makes more sense for my team’s “philosophy.” So that is one example of how to look at your waiver pickups once you honestly evaluate your team. Don’t just look for the guy who puts up the flashiest stats, or puts up huge points, but instead look at the guy hwo is going to really help what your team is already good at. Remember come playoff time all you have to do is win 5 categories, and it doesn’t matter which category you win or how much you lose in the categories you lose.

In Conclusion, I have given you 2 easy ways to evaluate your team just by looking at the numbers, and some advice on how to help continuing to build your team that you already have. Don’t try to change the makeup of your team completely at this point it would take far to much work, and would probably end in disaster for you. Look at the “bones” of your team and try to strengthen them the best way you can. I wish all of you luck in the final 6-8 weeks (depending on your leauge’s format) and I hope that this post can help you see your team in a honest and real way. If you have any questions regarding fantasy baskeball (trades, pickups, your team) don’t hesitate to post a comment, and I’ll try to address them as quickly as I can.