Thursday, March 28, 2013

Slobblog: In the Garden

Do the Slobs belong here?

When it was announced that Slobfest would be taking their act to Talula's Garden, the response was overwhelmingly positive. As noted, we've already attended many a Stephen Starr run restaurant - to mixed reviews - but still, people were excited about the food, foodies were aggressively promoting the place, and after a month off we were all hangry (hungry + angry) for some Slobfest antics.

Upon arrival, however, there was some uncertainty among the group. Was Talula's really for us? Was it too nice or classy? Is it more of a date spot? Would there be enough food for Christ sake!?

To answer these questions, it's important first to pull back and get to know what Talula's Garden is all about. While Mr. Starr certainly is involved in the Washington Sq. Eden, the showrunner, if you will, of this enterprise is successful restaurateur Aimee Olexy. Her brioche bun and butter is her renown restaurant Talula's Table in Kennett Square, PA. The restaurant has become such a success and seats so few that if you're interested in checking out the farm to table tasting menu, make sure you have your calendar open around October as reservations are typically months and months and months out.

Sorry, Heisenberg. No use for you here.
It was Starr's ability to take a backseat and work with Olexy in Washington Square that in a way created a restaurant that is surprisingly non-Starr like. The food is the main attraction here. The drink menu would be dialed down, the menu would constantly change to reflect the fresh ingredients Olexy had available, and the ambiance would be rustic and real not make you feel like you're eating dinner just after hitting some of the best crystal meth of your life - with lights flashing and big bold art pieces everywhere. No, if you didn't know it going in, you'd hardly know it was a Stephen Starr establishment.

The food is a tick above many Starr joints, but with the lowered sensory experience and wow factor; Talula's Garden still gives off a fun atmosphere that everyone enjoys from Starr. The ambiance is fantastic. Inside the restaurant is nice to see, but there's also an outdoor seating area that I'm quite sure is excellent during warmer weather. Going out there for some brunch, wine, cheese, etc. will definitely be happening soon - however, that is certainly more of a date activity.

Seating can be a little tight (there was one two seat table set up to the left side of the bar in front of the coat rack ... I can't imagine why anyone would want to sit there). The visual aspect of Talula's was one of the best Slobfest had to offer, but it was a little too nice that it could make things initially uncomfortable. So in regards to if the Slobs belonged there, the answer is a hesitant yes.

One of many cheese plate offerings.
Needless to say, eventually we got over the hesitation. After one rip-roaring belch from one Slob we started rolling. Starting with drinks and a cheese plate we quickly moved on to catching up with everyone. Some haven't seen each other in months, others just a couple of weeks, but what makes Slobfest what it is is really just all of us getting together.

**A quick side note: All of the pictures I took were atrocious. I don't know what happened. All the pictures I'm using for Talula's is just from the Internet.

Sure the food plays a part, but when we start playing around with the idea of having a Slobfest at a Boston Market, it becomes clear that it's more the people and the place is basically window dressing.

The fast food talk did go on for quite some time. One Slob even owned up to not knowing that Burger King doesn't sell the quarter pounder with cheese. He had a craving for the burger and I guess just thought they served them everywhere. My how disconnected some have become with common paupers and vagrants. Even more weird was when he asked if BK had a similar alternative, they said no! What the fuck is a Whopper then? Of course, it's no Big Kahuna burger.


After we dismantled the World Travel cheese plate, it was on to the appetizers and entrees. The Slobs had all decided that this place was without a doubt an appetizer/entree per person place. There was no room for outright sharing, only a bite here or there if one was feeling generous.

We quickly transitioned to what everyone was checking out on TV. The Americans had certainly caught the attention of many a slob, as well as an increasing curiosity over The Bates Motel. Then a Slob raised a question as to how could TV possible load up Easter Sunday with the Season 3 Finale of The Walking Dead then have the season 3 premier of Game of Thrones on the same night? Have they no ability to give us some rest? Surely many of us would be in some kind of travel or drunkenness so as not to be able to focus on these important television events. However, after a quick deliberation session it was clear that Easter plans would be altered to accommodate the shows. In the final rank of things it went Dead and GoT in some order and Jesus Christ's resurrection a distant third.

Some of the apps that made their way to the table were kale cavatelli and veal, spicy curry tuna, the foie grais, the sweetbreads, and the fettuccine.

They were all engulfed.

The only sign of distress came from one of our more voracious Slobs who ordered the foie grais. Now, I'm a big fan of the food, but he was displeased with the portion. Perhaps this is more what he had in mind for where the berry stuffed liver would end up.

At this point, while we had been assimilating to the "niceness" of the restaurant, it became clear that the food, while excellent and undoubtedly fresh, may not be enough to satiate all of us. Well, thanks to the entrees as well as a hearty serving of vegetables we were on our way to maximum capacity.

There was a nice sampling of the entrees available. The swordfish was proclaimed as the best swordfish one Slob has ever tasted. The brisket, snapper, and pork loin were all paired wonderfully with the fresh vegetables on the plate as well as an assortment of oven roasted brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and sweet and regular potatoes.

Let's face it there is no goddamn better way to cook vegetables than roasting them. If I had to break it down, it's as follows:

  1. Roasting
  2. Grilling
  3. Boiling (fresh)
  4. Steamed
  5. Boiling (canned)
And I'll tell you what, 3-5 are a long ways away, daddio.

For our reactions to the food, well the cumulative thoughts of the Slobs were tantamount to a private act that Cyndi Lauper and The Vapors (and I'm sure millions of others) wrote a song about. Yes, if we did anything this past Slobfest it was consume more vegetables than probably at any other Slobfest combined as well as make reference to masturbating. It was a varying array of banging the table, mentioning 1 1/4" jokes, judging the social acceptability of taking care of yourself right then and there. Oh, we were a delight. There was a brunette the next table over that was thoroughly enjoying our conversation ... or trying not thrust the cheese knife down her ear canal to rupture her eardrum so she didn't have to listen to our filth any longer. 

Either or, we didn't care. We were all pretty stuffed at that point, but that never holds us back. Especially with a fantastic dessert menu and french press coffee (that they actually bring out in mini-french presses). While the warm banana crepes (with the same sauce the dump on their pancakes they serve at brunch) weren't nearly that of the chocolate and peanut butter crepe at Max Brenner, many seemed pleased with that as it was the runaway dessert pick. The coffee was really fantastic. I own a similar french press to the mini ones they served, and I was even able to get info as to how much coffee beans need to go into a regular size press to get such good coffee. 10 scoops the waiter tells me. 10! That's like half a pound of coffee beans. Suddenly french press, while delicious seemed less economical.

When the bill came, we were all slightly surprised at the cost. It wasn't nearly as expensive as our record setter (which took place in January and will be written up soon), but we thought our server was trying to TAKE MY MONEY. Although he did treat himself to a 20% tip for slow and meandering service. What a gold digger. 

Overall, Talula's served as a fine meal for us Slobs. Did we acclimate to Talula's or vice versa? I don't know. We came, we ate veggies, and we mimicked jerking off. All in a night's work. 


-Slobs Out.

Talula's Garden
210 W. Washington Square
Philadelphia, PA
215.592.7787


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fantasy Funkhouser: Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

Man crushes are more than OK in fantasy baseball. Not that there's anything wrong with them in real life. (UnderArmour)
With the fantasy season about to kick off, I wanted to list some players I've had my eye on heading into drafts. These aren't necessarily sleepers, just undervalued players. I don't think any rank in the top 40 or so of standard Yahoo! leagues, which is fine as I've mentioned Bryce Harper enough and pegged Joey Votto as my NL MVP. I guess the best way to look at these players is that I think they can produce a lot of upside compared to where they are being drafted. They're guys that I want on my team, not that there's anything wrong with that. I did something similar about a year ago minus the cool title.

One interesting note, I do tend to like a fair amount of Mariners, Brewers, and Mets. I know it's just fantasy sports, but that has to mean something for their real life chances, no?

Anyways, onward!

Looking good with that firstbase glove, Mike. (espn.com)
C - Mike Napoli, BOS: I don't understand the fear/hate out there for Napoli.  A lot of people are saying, "Oh you'll never get his 2011 year." And I agree with them. I'm not expecting a .330 AVG, but the power is real, and Napoli has my favorite caveat of any catcher ... he plays 1B. Best part is that unlike Carlos Santana or Joe Mauer he'll be playing 1B all the time. That's mucho at bats in a small home park. If he doesn't lead all "catchers" in homers this year I'll be surprised.

Also, for his degenerative hip injury that cost him his initial 3 year contract with Boston; he's always had this. It was just diagnosed when he underwent his physical. It's in the very early stages, and may even be controlled with proper medication. I understand Boston being hesitant committing to him for three years, but I'm only involved in the Mike Napoli business for one.

He'll do - Jesus Montero, SEA: Speaking of guys that used to be "catchers," Montero no longer has this luxury. However, I do like his bat. His ADP has him going way at the end of the draft. Definitely worth it if you want to wait.

I can't see too good. Is that Adrian Gonzalez over there? (cbssports.com)
1B - Allen Craig, STL: For first basemen that actually are listed as such, Craig is a great pick for this year. He had a solid 2012 posting .307/.354/.522 in 119 games. Craig does carry injury concerns with him, but stuck at first for the upcoming season, I see him putting up comparable numbers to Adrian Gonzalez in 2013.

He'll do - Chris Davis, BAL: Crush broke a lot of hearts back in 2009. He seemed destined to be a third base masher who would hit 30 homers in his sleep. Well, that didn't happen. Davis finally broke the 30-HR plateau in Baltimore, and he's no longer a 3B. Davis might be a post-hype sleeper, but there are concerns about his career high strike out rate he posted last year, so he'll definitely be hit or miss. The power is real, and he'll have regular playing time. Just a matter if you can deal with the ups and downs.

I'll be seeing you on my bench.

2B - Kyle Seager, SEA: Out of all second basemen last year, Seager ranked 2nd in RBI and T-4th in homers. That is all.

He'll do - Rickie Weeks, MIL: Many have written off Rickie Weeks, and I don't blame any of you. However, it is a thin position, and while Weeks will never have a 2010 season again, he is able to fill out 4 of 5 fantasy categories pretty well. Injuries always loom, so I wouldn't be comfortable with him as my only available 2B on the roster.


Plouffe dropping bombs. (Getty)
3B - Will Middlebrooks, BOS: Early projections in 2013 made Middlebrooks look like a monster. He has power, but limited walks and high K's can always spell disaster. He is coming off a broken wrist, so if he shows he's healthy, 20 homers is in the bank.

He'll do - Trevor Plouffe, MIN: Similar to Middlebrooks in the power department, Plouffe can be streaky, but with Minny's home park being more friendly to righties than lefties, he has a Josh Willingham-ish year in him somewhere. Just needs the plate appearances.

Prado still rocking the chain with the D'Backs. (si.com)

SS - Martin Prado, ARZ: The former Atlanta Brave added another trick to his goodie bag, shortstop eligibility. Prado's stats underwhelmed if placed at 3B or OF, but at SS, his high average, moderate pop, and run scoring acumen fit nicely. Along with some flexibility, his value takes a big jump.

He'll do - Andrelton Simmons, ATL: Responsible for replacing the SS portion of Martin Prado is the young Simmons. The defensive whiz has shown some pop late last season into this year's World Baseball Classic. It's possible he gets overwhelmed and while his glove is good enough to keep him in the line-up, he may drop lower in the batting order if his lumber struggles. Still though, I'd give him a shot at the 15/15 season many are projecting the super hyped Josh Rutledge to get.

Time for more running in the Motor City. (Getty)
OF - Austin Jackson, DET: Jackson will either be dynamite this year or take a couple steps back. That's the risk in taking him. He was also the nameless OF I mentioned a week ago. After playing ping pong with the idea in my brain, I'm going with breakout. His swing alterations appear to be legit, and if Jim Leyland removes the parking boot from Jackson's right leg, then his value can really take off. If only his park was a little smaller, I could see him hitting 20 homers. If there's a guy poised to make a big jump into the Top 25 players, he'd be my pick.

They'll do - 
Norichika Aoki, MIL: Had a fantastic rookie year. The Japanese hitman didn't forget to pack his skills on his way to Brewers camp last year. Brought in as insurance for Ryan Braun possibly being suspended, an early season injury to Corey Hart led to Aoki getting 151 games in. Hart moved to 1B and now Aoki is the everyday leadoff hitter/RF. I can easily see his entire stat line take a bump up in 2013.

Adam Eaton, ARZ: Injuries; boooooo!

Starling Marte, PIT: It was pointed out to me that Marte barely eclipsed the number of at bats last year to no longer be considered a rookie. If he hadn't, he'd be my NL Rookie of the Year pick. Strikeouts are an issue for this young OF, but he manages to make it work.

Michael Saunders, SEA: 19 HR, 27 SB, 71 R. Those are impressive numbers for a guy drowining under the radar. If Seattle's offense picks it up this year, we could see a lot more out of the 27 year-old Canadian.

Domonic Brown, PHI: Yes, spring training stats don't matter, we all know this. Dom Brown has the pedigree through, and now - apparently/finally - an everyday spot in the line-up. He may never reach the highest heights that scouts and fans wanted him to, but he can bump over 15 baseballs over the wall to go along with double digit steals.


A Matt Harvey fastball coming at you. (northjersey.com)
SP - Max Scherzer, DET: Needs to keep the pitch count down. Scherzer is erratic, but appeared to put things together last year. All signs point to a big year.

They'll do -
Matt Harvey, NYM: This is a total mancrush pick. I have two thoughts on young pitchers. They take at least 2-4 years to fully develop and that learning curve is steeper than you think. This applies 95% of the time. Do I think Harvey is in that other 5%? I do. Also, I don't think he'll have an innings limit this season. Between the 59.1 IP he threw in a Mets uniform, he also threw an additional 110 IN in the minors. As a college grad his arm can take him to 200 IP, and at that K rate - oh, boy!

Josh Johnson, TOR: This doesn't have anything to do with his spring training, but more his overall health. Johnson looks good. Johnson is in that weird realm where 1-2 years ago he was being drafted as the Johnson of old, which he's not. Now, that lingering after taste is giving us all a bitter beer face about him, thus underrating him. Johnson could be primed for a major bounce back year.

Alexi Ogando, TEX: Back in the rotation after he pitched like an all-star in his first go around, Ogando is a great late round pick. The confines he pitches in as well as his slightly depressing K total can undercut him from reaching the heights of great value, but he's a starter, no doubt.

Tommy Milone, OAK & Alex Cobb, TB: Milone and Cobb kept crossing paths as I reviewed potential sleepers. Initially, I really liked Milone. He started gaining some sleeper steam until that was derailed by Cobb who has unquestionably become the sleeper darling of 2013. All the while I was jostling Milone's rank around as I like him as much as Cobb. I'd be happy riding into the season with either of these pitchers.

Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA: Had a sneaky good second half after he was converted into a starter. The strikeouts are low, but the rest is solid.

Wandy Rodriguez, PIT: Kind of a dull pick, but he hasn't been bad in Pittsburgh.

Andrew Cashner, SD: Big K's, Big GB%, Big Park.

If ... (Getty)

RP - Sergio Romo, SF: There are a lot of if's with Romo. Obviously, closers are far from a sure thing - so with Romo carrying around a few more ? than the average closer, I'm not taking him over Craig Kimbrel or Jonathan Papelbon, but if he's healthy he can be one of the nastiest closers in baseball.

They'll do -
Addison Reed, CHA: Reed didn't have great numbers last year outside of his K's, but he's a young pitcher, and I think he'll find his zone in 2013.

Glen Perkins, MIN: Perkins is solid, and unless he gets traded to a non-closer role, he's one of the least threatened closers you'll find this far down in the daft.

Kenley Jansen, LAD: The icing on the cake for Jansen is if he takes over closing duties from Brandon League. I don't think he will, but he's still a K machine and valuable in week to week formats.

Carlos Marmol, CHN: This just has the feel of a good Marmol year. This is without a doubt the least confident player I have listed on here, but with everyone just assuming Marmol blows up, I can see him holding steady. He only blew one save over the second half of the year last year.

The Funkman is on vacation this week.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fantasy Funkhouser: Fantasy Baseball 2013 Ranks - Round 8

At what point does Gallardo's value and risk intersect to maximize value? (eog.com)

Fantasy Funkhouser will review all things Fantasy Baseball. After all, life is a small sample size.

Adam Carolla has a theory. Well, this is one of his many theories. He says that at a certain point as he began to gain celebrity from Loveline, The Man Show, Crank Yankers, and now his eponymous podcast at the same time, somewhere there was a famous person subsequently losing their celebrity. One person is rising; the other falling. At one point, their star paths would cross, and he'd be able to have sex with this (presumably female) celebrity. His reference point is Cheryl Ladd from the hit TV series Charlie's Angels. When Charlie's Angels was on TV Carolla was but a child. Ladd, on the other hand, was a 20-something bombshell. As time and fame altered course, there was a point - so the theory goes - where Carolla not only surpassed Ladd's fading star power, but also when age was factored in - became the more appealing portion of the duo which would allow him to easily bed the fair maiden.

The theory seems implausible, but the tenets are resolute. Weighing in different factors can draw two separate entities together. The further development or recession of these traits gradually tend to flip the value where the escalating individual will surpass the more tenured track record of the other. Now, while this may be a great lead in to discuss Albert Pujols next year, I want to tweak Carolla's theory for fantasy purposes.

Instead of the end game being sex; let's make it something much less appealing. Weighing fantasy baseball player values.

One of the best things and more difficult things I've started to do when looking at player values is try to let the player's name not matter as much as the stats. Looking at the numbers provides reasonable comps for a higher rated player you may be able to get later in the draft. Uncovering this value is very helpful, but as you look at comparisons and keep searching for the best value player you can find; this trip down the rabbit hole can also misguide you. 

Going back to Carolla's theory - I'm looking not at celebrity and age, but rather relative value and risk to see where fantasy baseball players' values intersect to give the best value relative to draft position and risk involved taking the less "valuable" player. I know this is confusing, and may only make sense in my mind right now, so I'd like to present an example por favor. Using a tide and true methodology, please see the below blind test for two players from 2012.

Player A: 16 wins, 3.66 ERA, 204 K's, 9.0 K/9, 2.52 K/BB
Player B: 15 wins, 3.48 ERA, 200 K's, 8.5 K/9, 3.7 K/BB

Pretty close. 

Player A: Yovani Gallardo (Rank: 85)
Player B: Zack Greinke (Pre-injury Rank: 43)

Not close. Pre-Greinke's elbow trouble this spring, there were almost 3.5 rounds that separated both pitchers in my rankings. Now, two things - this example worked better when Greinke wasn't hurt. His wonky elbow has placed his name in red highlight for injury. Also, if it's my rankings, well then, why don't I have these guys closer?

The luxury that blind tests give you is picking and choosing certain stats. While I will admit I was surprised to see Gallardo (a notorious free bagger) to have a lower K/BB than Greinke, that certainly caught my attention. However, with that you're also ignoring park factors, team factors, upside, other advanced stats that shine brightly on Greinke, and the general instability that has plagued Gallardo in the past.

The point of this is more to making notes of similarities among players with differing draft ranks and seeing if it makes sense to wait for and take on the risk of a Gallardo instead of going for the similar, but more reliable Greinke. For me, again pre-injury, I think it is.

In the one draft I had (standard Y! snake) that I could reference, Greinke went with the last pick in the 3rd Round. Not that he was a particular target of mine in that round, but I had the first pick in R3 and took Dustin Pedroia. My last pick in R4 was Madison Bumgarner, and later in R9 when I selected Gallardo, the position players around that selection were Carlos Santana, Freddie Freeman, Paul Konerko, Shane Victorino, Desmond Jennings, Willin Rosario, and Carlos Beltran to name a few.

After the dust settled - waiting on Gallardo as my SP3 (Bumgarner, Chris Sale) netted me Pedroia. While if I was bullish on Greinke, I would have been left with a far less valuable position player in the OF, 1B, or C selected. I take that as a win. That is an acceptable cross section of risk compared to reward for me to make this move.

Now, the second part of weighing player value tends to get a bit more self-destructive. Comparing two or three players is all well and good, but when you focus on multiple players it's easy to lose your bearings between value and risk. 

Let's look at Asdrubal Cabrera and the shortstop position. Cabrera had a down year coming off of his breakout 2012 when he smacked a healthy 25 homers and drove in 92 RBI. His 2013 though is nothing to sneer at. He went 70/16/68/9/.270. So while he may have that disappointment stink on him, he still was an above average option at SS. 

Per Andy Behrens at Yahoo!, the average output for the Top 20 6's over the past 3 years has been:

2012 – 74.9 R, 14.2 HR, 63.3 RBIs, 18.9 SB, .271 AVG
2011 – 74.9 R, 12.3 HR, 61.3 RBIs, 17.8 SB, .280 AVG
2010 – 75.3 R, 13.1 HR, 64.2 RBIs, 13.8 SB, .274 AVG
While no one will be reaching for him (ADP: 101) he can very much boost those numbers up a tick towards his 2012 total in Cleveland's new fashioned offense. He seems to be a good middle point for how weighing the value of a player can lead you down a rabbit hole of indecision - that ultimately makes you make the wrong decision. Let's bring out another blind test for SS, but let's use projections for 2013.
Cabrera: 77 R, 16 HR, 73 RBIs, 11 SB, .273 AVG
Player V: 67 R, 17 HR, 68 RBIs, 19 SB, .268 AVG
Player W: 70 R, 15 HR, 62 RBIs, 14 SB, .291 AVG
Player X: 66 R, 13 HR, 65 RBIs, 12 SB, .274 AVG
Player Y: 81 R, 12 HR, 69 RBIs, 9 SB, .292 AVG
Player Z: 73 R, 11 HR, 69 RBIs, 19 SB, .290 AVG
With Cabrera serving as a baseline for average starting SS in a standard fantasy league, the other players on the list seem pretty comparable. Player Y's runs certainly stand out, but other than that, it appears ADP will have a big role in discovering who is worth taking. By just looking at the numbers, it's easy to continue down, down, down the rankings where you become so obsessed with value, that you either can't register who is most valuable out of this group, or you begin devaluing everyone. 
Out of the group of SS's I've selected (a noted shallow position this year) all of the above would fit the criteria for an average fantasy SS. However, once the names are revealed, they all range in ADP from 37 to 221.

Do you want this man as your starting fantasy SS? (GETTY)

Player V: Ian Desmond (ADP: 65)
Player W: Josh Rutledge (ADP: 197 )
Player X: Alexi Ramirez (ADP: 221)
Player Y: Martin Prado (ADP: 112 )
Player Z: Starlin Castro (ADP: 37)
Pretty wide range of players there. Now, as I mentioned the caveat that makes the blind test so wonderful is that it focuses on a limited number of factors. Those projections are in line (and yes, I'm just as shocked at Castro's line as you are, but I don't make projections) but you'd clearly rather have the high floor of a Castro over the complete unknown that is Josh Rutledge. Nor would you be happy coasting past Ian Desmond so you can secure Alexi Ramirez in the last round.
Maybe seeing these projections heightens the value of Hanley Ramirez or Troy Tulowitzki, but ultimately it's important to know when to say enough is enough. The risk is no worth the reward. If I strike out on Rutledge in a thin position, then I'm completely stuck. 
I recently found myself going through this with an outfielder, who as of now will remain nameless. He projects outside the top 100, but when I looked at comps for him, I saw guys ranked much earlier as well as much later. Soon enough I found myself saying, well he only looks to get x more runs and y more RBI so why not wait? That's exactly the kind of question that leads to find value, but if you start stretching it too far the risk you're taking on is high.
For better or worse, players are ranked not on projections, but their names (i.e. track records). Some times this can lead to overvaluing players. If you can keep your focus and find that perfect intersection point, it's a great way to get some steals in your draft.


RANK NAME POSITION
84 YOVANI GALLARDO SP
85 JAMES SHIELDS SP
86 JONATHAN PAPELBON RP
87 ELVIS ANDRUS SS
88 JORDAN ZIMMERMANN SP
89 CARLOS SANTANA C
90 MARTIN PRADO 2B/3B/OF
91 SERGIO ROMO RP
92 FERNANDO RODNEY RP
93 CHASE HEADLEY 3B
94 ASDRUBAL CABRERA SS
95 ALEX RIOS OF
96 JOSE ALTUVE 2B


On Deck: Ike Davis, Ryan Howard, Brandon Morrow, Ian Kennedy



OVERALL RANKINGS THUS FAR

Injury bug reigns supreme again this week. Roy Halladay, Chase Headley, and Mark Teixiera all drop down. Tex is barely worth owning with possible season ending surgery looming. Headley was looking to be a steady contributor, but a broken thumb will delay his opening day by about a month. 

Also, Halladay has looked shaky at best with his velocity and more importantly his control. As optimistic as I was about him, I'm starting to drop back a bit - even though I hate focusing on spring training stats, he has raised questions in key areas that will carry over into the regular season. As for David Wright's injury, I'm waiting to hear more. It's not going to alter my value on him just yet as several players under him have questions as well.

Finally, Greinke's elbow is scary. As Buster Olney reported, elbow inflammation doesn't just happen, it's usually a by product of something else. The most recent reports seem encouraging, but you have to be hesitant going in for Greinke.

As a note - I only intended to run about my first 100 ranks. I may publish as much as I have in the coming weeks, but I'll try to get one more out before the regular season. After my keeper league draft on Saturday I definitely want to put out a team of guys I want on my team this year. Not necessarily sleepers, but a mixture of guys I have a keen eye on. Might do a draft wrap as well, but that's debatable as there's already enough going on during the draft along with copious amounts of beer flowing at the Tilted Kilt.

RANK NAME POSITION CHANGE PREVIOUSLY
1 MIGUEL CABRERA 3B
2 RYAN BRAUN OF
3 MIKE TROUT OF
4 JOEY VOTTO 1B
5 ANDREW MCCUTCHEN OF
6 MATT KEMP OF
7 ROBINSON CANO 2B
8 ALBERT PUJOLS 1B
9 CARLOS GONZALEZ OF
10 JUSTIN VERLANDER SP
11 PRINCE FIELDER 1B
12 CLAYTON KERSHAW SP
13 JASON HEYWARD OF
14 GIANCARLO STANTON OF
15 DAVID WRIGHT 3B
16 FELIX HERNANDEZ SP
17 JUSTIN UPTON OF
18 JOSE BAUTISTA OF
19 EVAN LONGORIA 3B
20 STEPHEN STRASBURG SP
21 ADRIAN BELTRE 3B
22 HANLEY RAMIREZ 3B/SS
23 JOSH HAMILTON OF
24 BUSTER POSEY C/1B
25 ADAM JONES OF
26 DAVID PRICE SP
27 TROY TULOWITZKI SS
28 EDWIN ENCARNACION 1B/DH
29 IAN KINSLER 2B
30 MATT CAIN SP
31 COLE HAMELS SP
32 STARLIN CASTRO SS
33 DUSTIN PEDROIA 2B
34 JAY BRUCE OF
35 JOSE REYES SS
36 CLIFF LEE SP
37 ADRIAN GONZALEZ 1B/OF
38 MATT HOLLIDAY OF
39 RYAN ZIMMERMAN 3B
40 JACOBY ELLSBURY OF
41 ADAM WAINWRIGHT SP
42 MADISON BUMGARNER SP
43 BRYCE HARPER OF
44 JERED WEAVER SP
45 BRANDON PHILLIPS 2B
46 ALLEN CRAIG 1B/OF
47 YU DARVISH SP
48 YOENIS CESPEDES OF
49 BILLY BUTLER 1B
50 BEN ZOBRIST 2B/SS/OF
51 PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT 1B
52 GIO GONZALEZ SP
53 R.A. DICKEY SP 56
54 B.J. UPTON OF 59
55 ARAMIS RAMIREZ 3B 66
56 ZACK GREINKE SP 43
57 CRAIG KIMBREL RP
58 CC SABATHIA SP
59 IAN DESMOND SS
60 YADIER MOLINA C
61 AUSTIN JACKSON OF 67
62 AROLDIS CHAPMAN SP/RP
63 MAT LATOS SP
64 JASON KIPNIS  2B
65 PABLO SANDOVAL 3B 54
66 KRIS MEDLEN SP
67 DESMOND JENNINGS OF
68 JOHNY CUETO SP
69 BRETT LAWRIE 3B
70 JIMMY ROLLINS SS
71 CHRIS SALE SP
72 ALEX GORDON OF 78
73 MAX SCHERZER SP
74 AARON HILL 2B
75 JOE MAUER C/1B
76 MATT MOORE SP
77 MICHAEL BOURN OF 73
78 SHIN-SOO CHOO OF
79 ANTHONY RIZZO 1B
80 FREDDIE FREEMAN 1B
81 ROY HALLADAY SP 62
82 JASON MOTTE RP
83 MATT WIETERS C
84 YOVANI GALLARDO SP
85 JAMES SHIELDS SP
86 JONATHAN PAPELBON RP
87 ELVIS ANDRUS SS
88 JORDAN ZIMMERMANN SP
89 CARLOS SANTANA C
90 MARTIN PRADO 2B/3B/OF
91 SERGIO ROMO RP
92 FERNANDO RODNEY RP
93 CHASE HEADLEY 3B 71
94 ASDRUBAL CABRERA SS
95 ALEX RIOS OF
96 JOSE ALTUVE 2B






The Funkman says: The only holes I go down are when I'm golfing.