KEV KORNER ISSUE #1
ACE EDITORIAL WRITER SORIAMBI
Matchup Analysis: When Superpowers Collide
The Michigan Wolverines and NY Bombers are widely considered by most to be the front-runners in their respective divisions and even possibly to face off in the NYYFANS.COM League Championship Series ô. In this issue of Kevís Korner, weíll take a look at how these two teams match up, player by player, area by area just in case they do meet in the finals.
CATCHERS: Mike Lieberthal (Bombers) vs. Eli Marrero (Wolverines)
ADVANTAGE: WOLVERINES (slight-1 point)
Marrero, the catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, is a very interesting fantasy prospect. He qualifies at both Catcher and in the outfield and is by far the speediest player to qualify at catcher. He stole 14 bases last year (Lieberthal had 0) and hit 18 home runs to Lieberthalís 17. A catcher who can go 15-15 is most definitely a luxury in fantasy baseball at this thin position.
FIRST BASE: Derek Lee (Bombers) vs. Albert Pujols (Wolverines)
ADVANTAGE: WOLVERINES (large- 3 points)
While Derek Lee is a fine player in his own right and for my money one of the most underrated players in the game, he is simply no Albert Pujols. Pujols is one of the elite players in baseball and will be for years to come. Lee will have a solid year as always, but he will not come anywhere near Pujolsí stats.
SECOND BASE: Ray Durham (Bombers) vs. Roberto Alomar (Wolverines)
ADVANTAGE: WOLVERINES (slight-1 point)
While Durham definitely had the better stats last year, it was widely considered to just be an off year for Alomar, a product of switching teams and leagues among other things. I expect Alomar to bounce back this year and be better than Durham, but I have no evidence to suggest this. However, Alomar is a HOF player, Durham is not, so he gets the nod.
THIRD BASE: Tony Batista (Bombers) vs. Jose Valentin (Wolverines)
ADVANTAGE: BOMBERS (slight- 1 point)
Tony Batista has the potential to be a 40 HR man, and while Jose Valentin is one of the most overlooked but consistent 3B in the game, the same can not be said about him. Valentin is a very capable, solid ball player, but does not have the potential to have a .260-40-120 year like Batista does.
SHORTSTOP: Rich Aurilia (Bombers) vs. David Eckstein (Wolverines)
ADVANTAGE: WOLVERINES (significant- 2 points)
Eckstein edges out Aurilia in this category. It is unlikely that Aurilia will ever repeat what he did in 2001, hitting well over .300 with 37 homers, but we havenít seen Eckstein peak yet, I donít believe. He will be 28 this year, and age when some players enjoy their best season. Eckstein also has the edge over Aurilia in the category or speed, of which he has plenty and Aurilia has almost none.
OUTFIELD: Vladimir Guerrero, Luis Gonzalez, and Larry Walker (Bombers) vs. Brian Giles, Jay Payton, and Alex Sanchez. (Wolverines)
ADVANTAGE: BOMBERS (large- 9 points)
Vlad, Gonzalez, and Walker are three of the best players in the game. Each is a proven superstar who could make a run for the MVP in any given year if it werenít for Barry Bonds. While Giles is in this category as well, Sanchez and Payton are not. While I believe that Payton will have a fine season, it will by no means be Walker-like and Sanchezís season will not be Gonzalez-like.
STARTING PITCHING: Mark Buehrle, Hideo Nomo, Cory Lidle, Jason Jennings, and Russ Ortiz vs. Roy Oswalt, Wade Miller, Brad Radke, John Lackey and Carlos Zambrano (Wolverines)
ADVANTAGE: BOMBERS (significant-10 points)
While Oswalt and Miller are the two most talented of the ten in my opinion, the Bombers 1-5 is just mind-blowing. Each of their starters is a HIGH quality pitcher. Oswalt and Miller compare favorably to Buehrle and Nomo. but when you compare Lackey, Radke, and Zambrano to Ortiz, Lidle, and Jennings it gives the Bombers a clear advantage.
RELIEF PITCHERS: Matt Mantei, Scott Stewart, and Dave Veres(Bombers) vs. Billy Wagner, Francisco Rodriguez, and Steve Kline (Wolverines)
ADVANTAGE- WOLVERINES (significant-6 points)
Kline will most likely start in the closer role over the injured Jason Isringhausen for St. Louis. K-Rod and Kline should get plenty of holds as well, which count in this league. Billy Wagner is among the best closers in the game. Veres, Mantei, and Stewart are all solid to good, but not as good as this trio.
THE FINAL TALLY
BOMBERS- 20 WOLVERINES- 13
An End Note: While it might seem that some of the numbers are weird, I did it in a way that would make sense if I explained it, but I don't feel like it, so ha.