The annual list of lists
The season is just over three days old. The kind of sample sizes that small sample sizes call small sample sizes. But a column is still due and baseball is nothing if not all about tradition. People love Mom, they love apple pie and they love the lists. So here are 10 of them. Ten lists & of 10.
List 1: 10 pitchers who are not currently the official closer on their team but who have a shot at 10 or more saves this year and are available in at least 60 percent of leagues.
2. Al Alburquerque, Tigers (98 percent): Considered to have the best "stuff" of anyone in the Tigers bullpen, he hasn't earned Jim Leyland's confidence. Yet. Phil Coke's struggles versus right-handed batters is a real concern.
3. Jim Henderson, Brewers (99 percent): The guess here isn't that Axford will lose his job, rather it's about who gets it when he does. I'm saying Henderson, who closed some last year, gets the first shot. Don't believe Axford hangs on all year.
5. Ryan Cook, A's (95 percent): It's not an official trade deadline until Oakland deals its closer.
10. Mark Melancon, Pirates (99 percent): I actually really like Jason Grilli, but he is unproven, Melancon has done it before, and the Pirates have been known to sell at the deadline. Grilli is 36 years old, so if the year doesn't go the way the Pirates want &
List 2: 10 prospects not in the majors who will be at some point and help your team, in the order I think they will get called up.
1. Wil Myers, OF, Rays
2. Chris Archer, SP, Rays
3. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals
4. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies
5. Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates
6. Danny Hultzen, SP, Mariners
7. Billy Hamilton, SS/OF, Reds
8. Travis d'Arnaud, C, Mets
9. Jurickson Profar, 2B/SS, Rangers
10. Dylan Bundy, SP, Orioles (this assumes that the elbow thing isn't all that serious).
List 3: 10 non-pitchers available in over 80 percent of leagues who would be the first guy I would pick up at that position if I had a need.
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1. C - Tyler Flowers, White Sox (99 percent): The average isn't legit, but the power is.
2. 1B - Mitch Moreland, Rangers (97 percent): Finally playing every day; the hits will come.
3. 2B - Brian Roberts, Orioles (92 percent): Hey, he's healthy now.
5. 3B - Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians (97 percent): Not a lot of great options at third base that are over 80 percent available but I do sort of like Chisenhall as a post-hype sleeper to hit for some power and not kill you average-wise.
6. OF - Lorenzo Cain, Royals (81 percent): Just sneaks in under the threshold. Power and speed.
7. OF - Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks (96 percent): If you're unsure about him, just ask Nate Ravitz. He loves him.
8. OF - Michael Brantley, Indians (90 percent): Off to a hot start.
9. OF - Matt Joyce, Rays (92 percent avail): Cheap power. Have always had a soft spot for him.
10. UT - Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners (95 percent available): Won't help your average, will help everything else.
List 4: 10 of the best (printable!) and/or most popular fantasy baseball team names shared with me on Twitter and on Facebook that I hadn't heard before.
1. How I Met Your Motte (@thegalan)
2. Philadelphia Cliffs of Insanit-Lee (@swordinthesound)
3. Everyday I'm ShuffLYNN (@t_dub2)
4. Knights Who Say Niese! (@garrett15will)
5. Warning Track Power (@theraab1)
6. Bryce'aroni (@pe4me123)
7. Smell the Glove (@sambolsays)
8. Big League Choo (@KJR_Sports)
9. Zero Mark Buehrle (@agentronoc)
10. Annie are you Aoki (@travissounders)
List 5: 10 interesting stats about the upcoming season from the ESPN Stats & Information group.
1. 79.2 percent of home runs hit by the Yankees last year are not available to them (Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are hurt; Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones no longer on team).
2. The longest streak of seasons with fewer than 90 wins? The Royals for 23 straight years. Then the Pirates with 20. And the Blue Jays are third, with 19 straight seasons.
3. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have spent almost $500 million on free agents the last two years, the most in MLB.
4. Jered Weaver has lost 90 strikeouts of his total the last two years and his fastball velocity has gone down each year since 2010.
5. The addition of the Houston Astros to the AL West adds an average of 3.2 projected wins to the other four teams, according to AccuScore.
6. The loss of the Houston Astros causes an average of 2.7 fewer wins projected for NL Central teams.
7. Josh Beckett's average fastball velocity has dropped from 94.1 to 91.3 since 2009; his maximum velocity has dropped from 97.7 to 94.0 over the same span.
8. Jon Lester's strikeouts per nine since 2009: 10.0; 9.7; 8.5; 7.3.
9. Ryan Howard has lost over 350 points of OPS since 2006, bottoming out at a career-worst .718 last season.
10. Nine catchers hit 20-plus home runs last season, the most in a single MLB season.
List 6: 10 guys available in over 80 percent of leagues who can provide instant speed.
1. Juan Pierre, OF, Marlins (84 percent)
2. Jean Segura, SS, Brewers (89 percent) Made this article twice. You think I like him a little?
3. Rajai Davis, OF, Blue Jays (98 percent)
4. Eduardo Nunez, SS, Yankees (97 percent)
5. Aaron Hicks, OF, Twins (89 percent)
6. Eric Young Jr., OF, Rockies (99 percent)
7. Justin Ruggiano, OF, Marlins (87 percent)
8. Denard Span, OF, Nationals (91 percent)
9. Starling Marte, OF, Pirates (83 percent)
10. Craig Gentry, OF, Rangers (99 percent)
List 7: 10 more (printable) team names.
1. Porno Moustakas (@machine4life)
2. Wookie of the Year (@harlow_jack)
3. Uggla Gangnam Style (@heimy25)
4. All Upton Your Face (@grant_zep)
5. The Rhythmless Nation (@misterspike)
6. Bourn Mediocrity (@DomWareHam)
7. Deer Antler Spray (multiple submissions)
8. Pardon the InterUptons (Justin Kaspar)
9. Moustakas and Squirrel (Tim O'Brien)
10. Teheran Up My Heart (@ZachPrieston)
List 8: 10 widely available starting pitchers I believe will end the season "above the Wandy Line."
1. Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners (74 percent): As discussed in "Love/Hate" in the preseason.
2. Jason Hammel, Orioles (90 percent): Takes the next step this year.
3. Ricky Nolasco, Marlins (98 percent): Buying the spring and first start. Fantasy Kryptonite.
4. Ross Detwiler, Nationals (89 percent): Better than you think, and you can't argue with the team or bullpen.
6. Felix Doubront, Red Sox (96 percent): Another year in the majors, like the strikeout potential here.
7. A.J. Griffin, A's (99 percent): Can't go wrong with a guy pitching in O.co, and I think he keeps his rotation spot all year.
8. Andrew Cashner, Padres (99 percent): Will get into the rotation sooner rather than later and will crush once there.
9. Brandon Beachy, Braves (96 percent): Why not stash him in your DL spot?
10. Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles (78 percent): The AL East is no longer "The AL East."
List 9: 10 players, currently owned in over 80 percent of leagues, whom I am totally comfortable dropping to pick up a free agent.
1. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees (94 percent owned): If I need that DL spot for literally anyone else. Didn't rank him in my top 200 preseason.
2. Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays (89 percent): Not a believer. Rajai Davis will take more of his time than you think.
3. Daniel Murphy, 2B, Mets (88 percent): He's fine, but whatever. Nothing special.
4. Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles (95 percent): He doesn't run anymore and doesn't have a lot of pop. Never understood the appeal.
5. Ryan Dempster, SP, Red Sox (90 percent): I've never liked him.
6. Matt Garza, SP, Cubs (79 percent): I'm cheating, since it's just under 80 percent, but come on.
7. Edwin Jackson, SP, Cubs (96 percent) In a 10- team mixed league, he is a spot starter/replacement-level guy with no upside.
8. Marco Scutaro, SS, Giants (100): Same as Murphy. He's fine, he won't hurt, but in a 10-team mixed league I'm not sure how much he's helping, either. No issue dropping him.
9. Derek Holland, SP, Rangers (100 percent): He's a streaming option sometimes, but that's about it in mixed leagues. Safer pitchers with more upside are readily available.
10. Jeff Keppinger, 2B/3B/1B, White Sox (68 percent): Including him because he's one of the most added players in the ESPN player pool. Multi-position flexibility helps, but he's Jeff Keppinger. Nothing to see here, kids. Nothing to see.
List 10: One more list of names.
1. Angels in the Troutfield (multiple)
2. Viciedo Killed the Radio Star (Keith Knight)
3. If not for those Medlen Kids (multiple)
4. Jurickson Park (Anthony DeNicola)
5. Defensive Indifference (Mike Naglieri)
6. It's not delivery, It's Deduno (Andrew Jacoby)
7. Silent but Headley (Brian Gell)
8. Tape a Jeter to her back (multiple)
9. The Balking Dead (David Gasper)
10. And by far, the most submitted name this year& Book of Biogenesis.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- wishes he could print all of the team names. Berry is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off.
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