Commentary

The Talented Mr. Roto: Ten lists of 10

Updated: April 21, 2008, 6:47 PM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

A quick list about lists:

  1. Among writers of any quality, it is a commonly held belief that "lists" are lazy writing. I generally happen to agree with this. It's certainly a lot easier.
  2. That said, people, they really like the lists. We often get the most interest on ESPN.com (not just in Fantasy) when we do lists. They're easy and quick to read, they are a quick reference guide and they spark debate, which is always healthy.
  3. Pleasing people and doing less work than is usually necessary are two things I am in favor of.
  4. I wanted to do an updated rankings piece in which I would rank 51 players and call it "My board is bigger," but I was shot down. I thought that was hilarious. I was alone.
  5. Pete Becker came up with (and has used before) the concept of lists of lists and if there's anything I like more than pleasing people and doing less work than is usually necessary, it's not having to come up with an original idea for a column since my co-worker already did. And so, I present …

The TMR's 10 lists of 10

List 1: Ten guys I would trade C.C. Sabathia for right now (listed in no particular order)

John Lackey
AP Photo/Jeff ChiuA triceps injury has kept John Lackey out of action all season, making him already more valuable than C.C. Sabathia.
  1. John Lackey
  2. Fausto Carmona
  3. Yovani Gallardo
  4. John Smoltz
  5. Aaron Harang
  6. Roy Oswalt
  7. Brett Myers
  8. Erik Bedard
  9. Carlos Zambrano
  10. Justin Verlander

Notes: I was down on Sabathia in the preseason due to the 256 innings he pitched in 2007 (regular and postseason combined), after failing to top 200 in any of the four prior years. Add to that the bullpen concerns and that it seems he's pressing in a contract year, and I'm worried. I said on the ESPNEWS Insider Show that I would trade Sabathia for 75 cents on the dollar if I could. And that was before he got rocked by Detroit. You can watch Steve Phillips and I discuss Sabathia in "Fantasy vs. Reality" ESPN Video. You'll note I've changed my mind on Myers and Lackey.

List 2: Ten things that stood out to me from Sunday's box scores

  1. Juan Pierre stole two bases. He now has five. He is on pace to steal 56. He is hitting .282. He is available in more than 50 percent of ESPN.com standard mix leagues.
  2. Richie Sexson hit a home run. He now has four home runs and nine RBIs in his past nine games. He is hitting .258 in that span, which is good for Richie.
  3. Eric Gagne blew a save. He had pitched in four consecutive days. I actually think he's a buy-low guy now. He's keeping the gig and if they give him a rest every once in a while, he'll be effective.
  4. Hiroki Kuroda needed 118 pitches to get through six innings. He put 11 guys on base. I'm not a big fan, despite what look like good numbers.
  5. Scott Olsen had his third straight quality start. He has only 13 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched and has given up eight walks. I'm not buying.
  6. Jed Lowrie got another start for the Red Sox. He went 2-for-5 with two runs and one RBI.
  7. Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs. He has three home runs, six RBIs, seven runs and is hitting .304 in his past 12 games.
  8. Randy Wolf went 6 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs, which looks bad. But he struck out seven and walked one. He gave up only six hits. It was on the road at Arizona; In other words, against the hottest-hitting team in baseball at a hitter-friendly park. He still has only a 2.49 ERA on the year.
  9. Justin Huber hit a home run for the Padres. Those in deep leagues should take note.
  10. Jeremy Accardo got the save for the Blue Jays. Apparently, he's not dead yet. That's a true time share right now, though Ryan has the primo weeks and Accardo only gets nonconsecutive weeks during the slow months.

List 3: Ten guys hitting worse than .200 whom I am not worried about (and would buy low on if I could)

  1. Adam Dunn (.189)
  2. Russell Martin (.197)
  3. Robinson Cano (.169)
  4. Troy Tulowitzki (.176)
  5. Mike Lamb (.145)
  6. Wily Mo Pena (.115)
  7. Kenji Johjima (.196)
  8. Ryan Howard (.168)
  9. Jose Guillen (.173)
  10. Carlos Pena (.206, so I'm cheating a little. Deal with it.)

List 4: Ten guys hitting around .200 whom I am worried about (and would see if I could get full value for their names)

David Ortiz
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaGood news: David Ortiz is on a hot streak. Bad news: Big Papi is still hitting just .177.
  1. David Ortiz (.177)
  2. Delmon Young (.236)
  3. Adam LaRoche (.132)
  4. Ivan Rodriguez (.231)
  5. Jacque Jones (.231)
  6. Jayson Nix (.132, and Clint Barmes is hitting .389)
  7. Orlando Hudson (.238)
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera (.193)
  9. Carlos Delgado (.200)
  10. Jack Cust (.157)

List 5: Ten songs I am embarrassed to admit I really like and turn up the radio or iPod when I hear them

  1. "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" -- Charlie Daniels Band
  2. "Tuff Enough" -- Fabulous Thunderbirds
  3. "Don't You (Forget About Me)" -- Simple Minds
  4. "Tubthumping" -- Chumbawamba
  5. "Fighter" -- Christina Aguilera
  6. "… Baby One More Time" -- Britney Spears
  7. "Rock Me Amadeus" -- Falco
  8. "Relax" -- Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  9. "Life is a Highway" -- Tom Cochrane
  10. "Rockstar" -- Nickelback

List 6: Ten preseason predictions I made that I kinda wish I could take back

  1. Putting Andruw Jones on my Love list.
  2. Rajai Davis getting 30-plus steals. He was designated for assignment. The Giants love John Bowker and want to get him more at-bats.
  3. Chipper Jones on my "Hate" list. And this is with the most recent injury.
  4. Tim Hudson on that same "Hate" list. I changed my mind on the Braves after talking with (and seeing) a bunch of them at ESPN the Weekend, which was still preseason, but still.
  5. Norris Hopper steals more than 30 bases. Didn't count on Corey Patterson.
  6. Taking the under on 15 homers and 15 swipes for Kosuke Fukudome.
  7. Nick Swisher getting more than 120 RBIs. I really thought Jerry Owens would be back by now.
  8. Scott Podsednik stealing at least 30 bags as a backup outfielder.
  9. Al Reyes winding up with double-digit saves.
  10. Ditto, Derrick Turnbow.

List 7: Ten preseason predictions that I'm pretty proud of (and I think they'll keep it up; they're not flukes).

  1. Geovany Soto on my Love list.
  2. Joey Votto and Jeff Keppinger on the same list.
  3. And Yunel Escobar.
  4. Mark Reynolds and Micah Owings on the list as well.
  5. Curtis Granderson on the Hate list. Sure, he's been injured, but I'll take it.
  6. Chad Billingsley also getting on my Hate list.
  7. George Sherrill saving 30 games this season (in my "You Heard Me" bold predictions article.
  8. Francisco Liriano striking out fewer than 175 batters and my decision to take the under on 25 starts. You'll see.
  9. Johnny Cueto as the fantasy rookie pitcher of the year.
  10. Xavier Nady hitting 30 home runs.

List 8: Ten things to know about Frank Thomas being released

  1. Matt Stairs will be in a platoon in the DH spot with Rod Barajas and Shannon Stewart.
  2. I am actually telling the truth. Yes. Rod Barajas.
  3. Stairs is hitting .333 with a home run this year and should be picked up (and spot started) against righties. Barajas is a decent pickup in leagues in which you are required to play two catchers.

  4. Adam Lind is hitting .360 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 14 games in Triple-A right now. According to the Canadian Press, he wasn't called up initially because he has a sore neck, but he will be up soon enough. He will play every day. And he can rake.
  5. Frank Thomas bobblehead night is scheduled for May 25 in Toronto. Who's with me?
  6. In the past three years, Frank Thomas hit .222 in April.
  7. In the past three years, Frank Thomas hit .224 in May.
  8. To resume: Frank Thomas is a slow starter.
  9. In the past three years, he has basically hit 50 points better after the All-Star break than before it. Last year, in June, he hit .289. He is a career .302 hitter.
  10. Frank Thomas should be dropped in 10-team mix leagues but held on to in all others, if you can. He'll get a job and he will hit.

List 9: Ten best first names in baseball (that also happen to be of underrated players)

  1. Yorvit
  2. Yovani
  3. Akinori
  4. Edwin
  5. Bengie
  6. Kenji
  7. Odalis
  8. Kazuo
  9. Uggla (See list three, item 10)
  10. Jair

List 10: Ten lists I was planning on doing but either didn't have enough to make it a list of 10, didn't think I could get away with it, or thought it wasn't funny or interesting enough for me to do.

  1. Ten things I hate. Had a lot more than 10. On the list? Southwest Airlines stewardesses who say "Welcome to Lost Wages" and laugh because they think that is so funny.
  2. Ten FAQ I get about Molly Qerim: They all tend to be versions of one question.
  3. Ten things the Blue Jays could have bought with $18 million instead of Frank Thomas.
  4. Ten interesting pitching lines from this weekend: I'm not buying Shawn Chacon.
  5. Ten lies I've told: I'm with you, Miguel Tejada.
  6. Ten facts you don't know but probably should: Since the All-Star break last year and going into Sunday, Conor Jackson is hitting .316 with 13 home runs and 51 RBIs in just 231 at-bats.
  7. Ten complaints my editors, co-workers and the copy desk have about me: Again, couldn't narrow list down to only 10.
  8. Ten most common misconceptions about my job.
  9. Ten worst pickup lines of all time: Fairly certain No. 1 is "Hi, I'm the Talented Mr. Roto."
  10. Ten lists I was planning on doing but either didn't have enough to make it a list of 10, didn't think I could get away with it, or thought it wasn't funny or interesting enough for me to do. Seems a little too "filler-ish" to me.

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is ESPN's senior director of fantasy. He was just as surprised as you to find out it's a real job. He is a multiple award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He has been playing fantasy sports for more than 20 years, writing about it professionally for more than 10. He currently appears on or in ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN the Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile TV and, as soon as he learns to say "ground-ball/fly-ball ratio" in Spanish, ESPN Deportes.

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• Senior Fantasy analyst for ESPN
• Member, FSWA and FSTA Halls of Fame
• Best-selling author of "Fantasy Life"

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