- Matthew Berry, Fantasy
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I've had two important discussions with my editors over the past two days. The first, I kid you not, was whether or not I was as important as a pizza burger. The room was split.
The second was what I should do for my regular column this baseball season. The day of the week (Thursday, obviously) was set, but the question was whether it should be a pure "pickups" column as I have done in the past or a mish-mash of some of my other favorite formats, such as "Love/Hate," "You Heard Me!" or Player A versus Player B comparisons, "Just sayin' " or, of course, "Ten lists of 10."
My argument was that, in a way, every column we do is a "pickups" column. With fantasy baseball being played primarily as a daily game, we discuss guys to grab and drop in Daily Notes, in Out of the Box, on our daily Fantasy Focus podcast, on our Fantasy Focus video show, in specific columns such as Sixty Feet, Six Inches, Relief Efforts and Hit Parade and now in this one.
If you see a percentage number after a player, it means I suggest you consider adding that player. The number is the player's ESPN standard (10-team mixed) league ownership percentage.
It's early, of course, so you can't read too much into anything that has happened. Unless, of course, you have a column due. In such case, you realize it is clearly time for yet another
Ten lists of 10
List 1: Ten things that I am not surprised about and think are legit based on preseason scouting and my gut instincts
1. Emilio Bonifacio's (36 percent) stolen bases.
2. Orlando Hudson's (56 percent) stolen bases.
3. Nyjer Morgan's (3 percent) stats, including a steal.
4. Troy Tulowitzki's home runs.
5. Travis Ishikawa's (3 percent) RBI potential.
6. Ubaldo Jimenez' (30 percent) eight strikeouts.
7. Justin Verlander getting rocked.
8. David Purcey (2 percent) pitching well.
9. Derek Lowe being dominant, and Joe Blanton getting rocked.
10. Erik Bedard striking out eight in five innings.
List 2: Ten interesting lineup observations I made from things that happened Sunday through Tuesday
1. David Freese not having started a game for the Cardinals.
2. Daniel Murphy (20 percent) batting second for the Mets.
3. Ivan Rodriguez (25 percent) hitting second for the Astros.
4. Alexei Ramirez batting eighth on Opening Day.
5. Mike Aviles batting ninth.
6. And Mark Teahen (3 percent) playing second base and batting third.
7. Nomar Garciaparra (3 percent) starting at first base the first two games.
8. Eric Byrnes (62 percent) starting two of the first three games for Arizona.
9. Khalil Greene (33 percent) batting fourth and then fifth in the lineup in the first two games.
10. John Baker (11 percent) batting second in two of three games (counting Wednesday's game) against the Nats.
List 3: Ten random people you can connect me to using the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game, using only things in which I have appeared on TV (not using any of my credits as a script writer), as suggested by folks on Twitter (where I'm on as TheRealTMR).
1. I was in an ESPN fantasy baseball commercial with Alyssa Milano, who was in "Dickie Roberts: Child Star" with Mary McCormack, who was in "Private Parts" with Howard Stern.
2. I did "Sunday NFL Countdown" with Chris Berman, who was in "Kingpin" with Woody Harrelson, who was in "Management" with Fred Ward, who was in "The Price of Life" with Dustin Diamond.
3. I was in "One Life to Live" with Andrea Evans, who was in "A Low Down Dirty Shame" with Keenen Ivory Wayans, who was in "Star 80" with David Cameron, who was in "Loving You" with Elvis Presley.
4. I was on "Baseball Tonight" with Peter Gammons, who was in "Fever Pitch" with Drew Barrymore, who was in "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" with Piper Perabo, who was in "Edison" with Cary Elwes, who was in "The Princess Bride" with Andre the Giant.
5. I was in "One Life to Live" with Christopher Cousins, who was in "For Love of the Game" with Kelly Preston, who was in "Holy Man" with Eddie Murphy, who was "Bowfinger" with Steve Martin, who was in "The Muppet Movie" with Kermit the Frog. And Orson Welles.
6. I was in an ESPN fantasy baseball commercial with Alyssa Milano, who was in "Hugo Pool" with Robert Downey Jr., who was in "Tropic Thunder" with Tom Cruise, who was in "Cocktail" with James Eckhouse, and the "Eck" was on the original "Beverly Hills, 90210."
7. I was in an ESPN fantasy baseball "Endless Drama" commercial with Rebecca Budig, who was in "Batman Forever" with Jim Carrey, who was in "Yes Man" with Luis Guzman, who was in "Carlito's Way" with Al Pacino, who was in "Righteous Kill" with 50 Cent.
8. I was in an ESPN fantasy baseball "It's Free and it Rocks!" commercial with Geddy Lee, who was in the documentary "Ringers: Lord of the Fans" with Elijah Wood, who was in "North" with Dan Aykroyd, who was in "Ghostbusters" with Ron Jeremy.
9. I was in a Geico Caveman fantasy football commercial with John Lehr (he's the caveman), who was in "The Sweetest Thing" with John Turturro, who was in "Transformers" with Megan Fox.
10. I started my television career on "Cold Pizza" with Dana Jacobson, who was in "Rocky Balboa" with Sylvester Stallone, who was in "Spy Kids 3-D" with Alan Cumming, who was in "Nicholas Nickleby" with Anne Hathaway.
Thanks goes to oracleofbacon.org for a lot of these. It's a great time-waster, incidentally.
List 4: Ten spring stats that I actually think will translate to the regular season.
1. Dexter Fowler (3 percent) had eight stolen bases and hit .291.
2. Adam Jones (95 percent) had three home runs, seven stolen bases and hit .333.
3. For you deep NL-only leaguers, Micah Hoffpauir (1 percent) hit six home runs and was second in RBIs with 26.
4. Russell Branyan (3 percent) hit seven home runs and earned the starting first base job for the Mariners.
5. Chris Duncan (3 percent) of St. Louis hit .302 with four home runs and 19 RBIs.
6. One more for deep NL-only leagues: San Francisco's Andres Torres (1 percent) hit .400 with 23 runs scored and five stolen bases.
7. Micah Owings (3 percent) was 3-1 with a 1.52 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 23.2 innings.
8. Mark DiFelice (0 percent) had a 3.86 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 16.1 innings.
9. Jordan Zimmermann (9 percent) was 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 14.1 innings.
10. Chan Ho Park (4 percent) was 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA and a 25-to-2 strikeout to walk ratio (in just 21.1 innings).
List 5: Ten preseason predictions I wish I could take back
1. Ian Snell will finish as a top-30 pitcher on our Player Rater. I keep getting sucked in by that K rate.
2. Putting Mark Teahen on my "Hate" list. I didn't think he'd get the second base gig. I corrected this prediction in my "You Heard Me!" column but still
3. Being as down as I am on Carlos Zambrano. I still don't like him, but for where he went in drafts, he's a decent value.
4. Not being lower on Mark Teixeira. I think he will struggle in New York more than I initially thought.
5. Using this stat on Joba Chamberlain in my last Ten lists of 10: "Joba Chamberlain has never pitched more than 112 innings in a single season in his professional career."
6. Predicting Jason Isringhausen will have double-digit saves this year.
7. That I will date just one crazy chick.
8. Saying I would take James Shields over Felix Hernandez in my "Diamond Debate" with Eric Karabell.
9. Taking Memphis to win it all on my college hoops bracket.
10. Not being higher on Clayton Kershaw. I said I liked his skills but felt he was a year away. I no longer think that after talking with a bunch of insiders.
List 6: Ten guys I wasn't able to get in any of my leagues, which I am angry about. (People know who I love, and they go and steal my guys.)
List 7: Ten celebs that were suggested to me to try and do the Kevin Bacon game with, but whom I didn't have time or room for
1. The RGX Girl
2. Randy "Macho Man" Savage
3. Paul Hogan
4. Macaulay Culkin
5. Condoleeza Rice
6. The voice of C3PO
7. Dame Judi Dench
8. Mandy Patinkin
9. Lamb Chop
10. O.J. Simpson
List 8: Ten hitters who will start slow in April but who you should not panic about, and maybe even try to trade for in two weeks. (Note: Numbers are March/April trends from 2006-2008.)
1. Adam LaRoche: Has a .168 average in 244 March/April at-bats over the past three seasons.
2. Mike Cameron: Has a .201 average and no homers in 139 at-bats.
3. Carlos Delgado: A .227 average in 286 at-bats.
4. Ryan Howard: A .230 average in 261 at-bats.
5. Robinson Cano: A .237 average in 274 at-bats.
6. Kenji Johjima has only four home runs in 206 at-bats.
7. Kevin Youkilis has only five home runs in 275 at-bats.
8. Alfonso Soriano has only 21 RBIs in 235 at-bats.
9. Nick Markakis has only 31 RBIs in 267 at-bats.
10. Mark Teixeira has only 36 RBIs (along with a .267 average) in 300 at bats.
List 9: Ten pitchers who will start slow in April but who you should not panic about, and maybe even try to trade for in two weeks. (Note: Numbers are March/April trends from 2006-2008.)
1. CC Sabathia: Has a 5.66 ERA in 68 innings over the past three seasons.
2. Randy Johnson: Has a 5.03 ERA in 68 innings over the past three seasons.
3. Brett Myers: A 4.86 ERA in 90 innings.
4. Doug Davis: A 4.59 ERA in 62 innings.
5. Chien-Ming Wang: A 4.20 ERA in 81.1 innings.
6. Randy Wolf: A 4.43 ERA in 65 innings.
7. Fausto Carmona: A 4.15 ERA in 78 innings. I'm still not a fan, but better days are ahead.
8. Francisco Cordero: Five blown saves, 4.32 ERA.
9. Jose Valverde: Five blown saves, 4.18 ERA.
10. Trevor Hoffman: Four blown saves, 4.97 ERA, and that was when he was healthy.
List 10: Ten things that make a great breakfast
2. French toast.
3. Really well-done hash browns.
4. The company of Megan Joy from "American Idol."
5. Box scores.
6. Really fresh and ice-cold orange juice.
7. A toasted English muffin.
8. And the company of Anne Hathaway.
9. Scrambled eggs.
10. A photographer to take pictures of it all.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is heading to Texas for the 25th annual auction of his first-ever fantasy baseball league this weekend. He is a five-time award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He is also the creator of RotoPass.com, a Web site that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his Cyberfriend
13mTristan H. Cockcroft