Rotoworld Top 250 MLB Fantasy Rankings

Rotoworld.com just released their July rankings of the top 250 fantasy baseball players. The rankings are based on how the site believes each player will perform in 5×5 leagues over the rest of the season.

Here’s their top 15:

1 Albert Pujols Cardinals
2 Hanley Ramirez Marlins
3 Tim Lincecum Giants
4 Carl Crawford Rays
5 Alex Rodriguez Yankees
6 David Wright Mets
7 Ian Kinsler Rangers
8 Ryan Braun Brewers
9 Chase Utley Phillies
10 Johan Santana Mets
11 Mark Teixeira Yankees
12 Roy Halladay Blue Jays
13 Joe Mauer Twins
14 Evan Longoria Rays
15 Miguel Cabrera Tigers

All in all, these rankings are extremely helpful for owners trying to project how players are going to do throughout the rest of the year. If you’re looking to trade before your league’s deadline, these rankings can be a useful tool.

That said, I’m a little surprised to see players like Dustin Pedroia (41), Josh Hamilton (49) and Pablo Sandoval (105) ranked so low. Pedroia should get his average back up over .300, he’s on pace to steal another 15-plus bases, and one would have to believe that his power numbers will be better in the second half as well. (He only has three dingers so far on the season, but hit 17 in his MVP season last year.)

Hamilton’s injury is a concern, but he hits in a great lineup and as long as he stays healthy, he should have at least another 12-15 home runs left in him with the RBI totals to match. And while Sandoval (who qualifies at 1B, 3B and C) plays in a weak offense, he’s already proven that he can flat out rake. He’s currently batting .332 with 13 home runs and 48 RBIs, which better David Wright’s .326/5/42 numbers. Plus, with the Giants in contention and looking to trade for a quality bat, Sandoval’s RBI and run totals could rise in the second half as well.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Team by team MLB draft rankings: Best drafts of the last 10 years

With the 2009 MLB Draft set to kickoff at 6:00 ET tonight on the MLB Network, SI.com did a cool feature in which they rated how each club has fared over the past 10 years when it comes to the draft.

The Brewers were rated number one and it’s hard to argue with the ranking after looking at the names Milwaukee has drafted over the years: Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, Manny Parra, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo. Amazingly, this club also drafted Hunter Pence (Astros), but couldn’t sign him.

The Red Sox were rated No. 2, with Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester and Manny Delcarmen leading the way, but the site left off a glaring omission: Jacoby Ellsbury. The Rays actually drafted Ellsbury in the 2002 draft, but never signed him. The Sox then nabbed him with the 23rd overall pick in 2005 and he’s currently their starting centerfielder.

Speaking of the Rays, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tampa ranked higher than No. 4 in the next couple of years. Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, James Shields, Andy Sonnanstine and David Price are just some of the names they’ve drafted in the past 10 years. Don’t forget that they were the team that also drafted Josh Hamilton before he got injured and then became the poster child of what not to do when you’re an inspiring ballplayer with loads of free time on your hands.

You look at a club like the Nationals ranked No. 8 and you wonder why they’ve been so awful over the years despite drafting so well. Then you realized they dealt Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips all in the same trade for Bartolo Colon and it all starts to make sense.

If you’re wondering whom SI had ranked last, it was the Astros; only Hunter Pence was worth noting of the players Houston drafted the past 10 years. The White Sox were second to last, although if Josh Fields, Chris Getz, Clayton Richard and Gordon Beckham develop like the club hopes, I highly doubt Chicago will be ranked that low again if SI does another ranking like this in the next couple of years.

MLB All-25 and Younger Team

There’s a different feel to baseball again – a good feeling.

Yeah, I know – there are probably still plenty of players who are cheating. But at least the league is (finally) making somewhat of an effort to clean up its image and for that, we as fans have hope that maybe someday the game will be juice-free again.

Those who have watched their fair share of baseball this season should be reveling in how the game is getting younger again. Instead of teams waiting for dingers in order to score runs, clubs are bunting, stealing and manufacturing scoring opportunities – the way the game is supposed to be played.

After watching how the Rays won last season, more and more teams are building their rosters by developing home grown talent rather than signing big-name free agents (save for the Yankees, of course) and it’s making the game exciting again. An onus has been made on youth and speed and for the first time in quite a while, baseball is once again a young man’s game.

That said, I’ve decided to have a little fun by constructing an entire 25-man baseball roster (I’ve named the team “Team Youthful Exuberance”) by using only players who are 25 years of age and younger. Rules and guidelines for the roster are below so enjoy and as always, feel free to make an argument for any players that I might have missed.

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Dice-K falls to 0-3 on the season, sets record for wild pitches

The 2009 season has not been kind so far to Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, who dropped to 0-3 on the season after setting a record for wild pitches in a 4-2 loss to the Twins on Wednesday.

Daisuke Matsuzaka and the rest of the Red Sox righties tied a modern-day record with six wild pitches while Twins starter Kevin Slowey was the picture of control in Minnesota’s 4-2 victory over Boston.

Matsuzaka (0-3) tied a franchise record set 80 years ago with four wild pitches, while relievers Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson also sent Kottaras scrambling. It was just the fifth time since 1900 that a team threw six wild pitches in a game.

Boston’s slumping slugger, David Ortiz, batted sixth again and continued to look slow with the stick. He struck out on three pitches in his first at-bat, the last an 89 mph fastball that Slowey left up and over the middle of the plate.

It’s amazing how some of the key components that helped Boston win a World Series just two seasons ago can’t get it together this year. (Or are serving a 50-game suspension for another team.)

Big Papi is hitting a flabbergasting .193 with just one home run and 18 RBI, Dice-K is currently 0-3 with an eye-popping 8.82 ERA and 2.33 WHIP, and Jason Varitek is only hitting…okay well, Jason Varitek could never hit.

The good thing is that Kevin Youkilis is hitting almost .380 this year, Dustin Pedroia hasn’t cooled off since winning the AL MVP Award last season and Jason Bay is currently playing out of his mind. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if guys like Dice-K and Big Papi can turn it around at some point this year. You have to wonder if Big Papi is still hurt or if not having Manny in the lineup is killing his production. (Or as some people speculate, whether or not he’s still on the juice.)

10 MLB players to root for in the steroid era

When I was growing up, my friends and I used to walk down to an open field next to a church and play baseball with four rubber bases, one aluminum bat and a tennis ball.

On the way to the field, we used to have mock drafts where we pretended we were general managers picking players for our lineup. When we got to the field, we had to do our best to simulate what each player’s batting stance looked like and then hit like that player.

My favorite player growing up was Giants’ first baseman Will Clark, so after I drafted him I always had to bat lefty (which was a bit problematic since I was right handed and never mastered the art of switch hitting) and stick my right leg straight out in front of me in order to impersonate his stance. And just like “The Thrill,” I had to wear thick eye black and stick a wad of chewing tobacco (well, he had chewing tobacco, I had Big League Chew) in one of my cheeks.

Those are the memories that always make me laugh at myself as a kid. It’s also memories like those that also make me wonder what I would have done if I were a young baseball fan growing up in what should be known as “the steroid era.”

If I drafted Mark McGwire, I guess I would have had to put pillow cushions in each of my sleeves to replicate his big, steroid-enhanced arms. If I drafted Roger Clemens, I guess I would have had to mimic taking HGH before I took the mound and then subsequently pretend to give my girlfriend an injection just as the Rocket did to his wife. (And then lie about everything if I was questioned later about the allegations.)

And I guess if I had drafted Alex Rodriguez, I would have had to not only mimic the steroid use, but also tip one of my friends off about what pitch was coming so that he could pad his stats.

I feel bad for young baseball fans these days. Chances are that their favorite player is/was on the juice and therefore their sports heroes are cheating in order to gain a competitive edge. As it turns out, Will Clark was kind of a dick. But as far as we all know, he played the game the right way and never tried to gain an edge over his fellow players. And unlike A-Fraud, Clark would have rather cut off both his arms than tip an opponent to what pitch was coming.

In effort to help out the young fans across this fine nation, I’ve compiled a list of 10 MLB players (in no particular order) that people can root for as we drudge our way through the steroid era. As far as we know, none of these players have ever taken performance-enhancers, nor have they disrespected the game by playing solely for stats, money or anything else. These aren’t only good guys, but they’re also tremendous ball players that probably don’t get enough credit for staying clean in an unclean baseball fraternity.

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