Projected Standings:

1) Detroit Tigers
2) Cleveland Indians
3) Minnesota Twins
4) Chicago White Sox
5) Kansas City Royals

Projected Lineups: Projected Rotations:
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson
Placido Polanco
Gary Sheffield
Maguel Cabrera
Magglio Ordonez
Carlos Guillen
Edgar Renteria
Jacque Jones
Ivan Rodriguez
Justin Verlander
Jeremy Bonderman
Dontrelle Willis
Kenny Rogers
Nate Robertson
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore
Asdrubal Cabrera
Travis Hafner
Victor Martinez
Ryan Garko
Jhonny Peralta
Jason Michaels
David Delucci
Franklin Gutierrez
Casey Blake
C.C. Sabathia
Fausto Carmona
Jake Westbrook
Paul Byrd
Cliff Lee
Minnesota Twins
Jason Kubel
Branden Harris
Joe Mauer
Michael Cuddyer
Justin Morneau
Delmon Young
Mike Lamb
Jason Pridie
Adam Everett
Livan Hernandez
Francisco Liriano
Boof Bonser
Scott Baker
Kevin Slowey
Chicago White Sox
Orlando Cabrera
Nick Swisher
Jim Thome
Paul Konerko
Jermaine Dye
A.J. Pierzynski
Joe Crede
Carlos Quentin
Danny Richar
Mark Buehrle
Javier Vazquez
Jose Contreras
John Danks
Lance Broadway
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus
Mark Grudzielanek
Mark Teahen
Jose Guillen
Billy Butler
Alex Gordon
Joey Gathright
Miguel Olivo
Tony Pena, Jr.
Gil Meche
Brian Bannister
Zack Greinke
Brett Tomko
Hideo Nomo

Projected Standings:

1) Milwaukee Brewers
2) Chicago Cubs
3) St. Louis Cardinals
4) Houston Astros
5) Cincinnati Reds
6) Pittsburgh Pirates

Projected Lineups: Projected Rotations:
Milwaukee Brewers
Rickie Weeks
J.J. Hardy
Ryan Braun
Prince Fielder
Corey Hart
Mike Cameron
Bill Hall
Jason Kendall
Ben Sheets
Dave Bush
Jeff Suppan
Carlos Villanueva
Chris Capuano
Yovani Gallardo
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano
Kosuke Fukudome
Derrek Lee
Aramis Ramirez
Mark DeRosa
Felix Pie
Ryan Theriot
Geovany Soto
Carlos Zambrano
Ted Lilly
Rich Hill
Jason Marquis
Jon Lieber
St. Louis Cardinals
Cesar Izturis
Rick Ankiel
Albert Pujols
Chris Duncan
Troy Glaus
Yadier Molina
Brian Barton
Adam Kennedy
Adam Wainwright
Braden Looper
Joel Pineiro
Anthony Reyes
Mark Mulder
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn
Kaz Matsui
Miguel Tejada
Lance Berkman
Carlos Lee
Hunter Pence
Ty Wigginton
J.R. Towles
Roy Oswalt
Woody Williams
Wandy Rodriguez
Brandon Backe
Jack Cassel
Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel
Brandon Phillips
Ken Griffey Jr.
Adam Dunn
Edwin Encarnacion
Joey Votto
David Ross
Alex Gonzalez
Aaron Harang
Bronson Arroyo
Jeremy Affeldt
Homer Bailey
Matt Belisle
Pittsburgh Pirates
Nate McLouth
Freddy Sanchez
Adam LaRoche
Jason Bay
Xavier Nady
Jose Bautista
Ronny Paulino
Jack Wilson
Tom Gorzelanny
Ian Snell
Paul Maholm
Matt Morris
Sean Burnett

Projected Standings:

1) Boston Red Sox
2) New York Yankees
3) Toronto Blue Jays
4) Tampa Bay Rays
5) Baltimore Orioles

Projected Lineups: Projected Rotations:
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury
Dustin Pedroia
David Ortiz
Manny Ramirez
Mike Lowell
Kevin Youkilis
J.D. Drew
Jason Varitek
Julio Lugo
Josh Beckett
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Curt Schilling
Clay Buchholz
Jon Lester
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez
Bobby Abreu
Hideki Matsui
Jorge Posada
Jason Giambi
Robinson Cano
Melky Cabrera
Chien-Ming Wang
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes
Mike Mussina
Ian Kennedy
Toronto Blue Jays
David Eckstein
Lyle Overbay
Alex Rios
Frank Thomas
Vernon Wells
Scott Rolen
Aaron Hill
Adam Lind
Gregg Zaun
Roy Halladay
A.J. Burnett
Dustin McGowan
Shaun Marcum
Gustavo Chacin
Tampa Bay Rays
Akinori Iwamura
Carl Crawford
Carlos Pena
B.J. Upton
Rocco Baldelli
Jonny Gomes
Evan Longoria
Dioner Navarro
Jason Bartlett
Scott Kazmir
James Shields
Matt Garza
Edwin Jackson
Brian Anderson
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts
Melvin Mora
Nick Markakis
Kevin Millar
Aubrey Huff
Ramon Hernandez
Luke Scott
Jay Payton
Luis Hernandez
Jeremy Guthrie
Daniel Cabrera
Adam Loewen
Matt Albers
Radhames Liz

Projected Standings:

1) New York Mets
2) Philadelphia Phillies
3) Atlanta Braves
4) Florida Marlins
5) Washington Nationals

Projected Lineups: Projected Rotations:
New York Mets
Jose Reyes
Luis Castillo
David Wright
Carlos Beltran
Carlos Delgado
Moises Alou
Brian Schneider
Ryan Church
Johan Santana
Pedro Martinez
John Maine
Oliver Perez
Orlando Hernandez
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins
Shane Victorino
Chase Utley
Ryan Howard
Pat Burrell
Geoff Jenkins
Pedro Feliz
Carlos Ruiz
Cole Hamels
Brett Myers
Kyle Kendrick
Jamie Moyer
Chad Durbin
Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson
Matt Diaz
Chipper Jones
Mark Teixeira
Brian McCann
Jeff Francoeur
Yunel Escobar
Mark Kotsay
John Smoltz
Tim Hudson
Tom Glavine
Chuck James
Jair Jurrjens
Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez
Dan Uggla
Jeremy Hermida
Josh Willingham
Mike Jacobs
Dallas McPherson
Cameron Maybin
Matt Treanor
Scott Olsen
Sergio Mitre
Andrew Miller
Mark Hendrickson
Ricky Nolasco
Washington Nationals
Felipe Lopez
Paul Lo Duca
Ryan Zimmerman
Nick Johnson
Austin Kearns
Lastings Milledge
Wily Mo Pena
Cristian Guzman
Shawn Hill
John Patterson
Jason Bergmann
Joel Hanrahan
Tyler Clippard

Erik Bedard’s trade to the Seattle Mariners seems to have finally been completed. This deal has been in talks for a couple of months now and has been announced as on & off several times. The Orioles are expected to acquire Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Kam Mickolio and Tony Butler for Bedard. Bedard took and apparently passed his physical Thursday, so an official announcement should be coming shortly.

Bedard is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but will turn 29 years old before Opening Day, has yet to throw 200 innings in a season and can become a free agent following the 2009 season. He’ll form a fantastic one-two punch atop the Mariners’ rotation alongside Felix Hernandez, but Seattle paid a huge price to acquire him and may regret the move if they aren’t able to sign him to a long-term contract extension. The move to Seattle’s pitcher-friendly ballpark should help Bedard and with Johan Santana gone he’s now the top fantasy pitcher in the AL. Bedard’s arrival knocks Horacio Ramirez out of the rotation and makes it likely that Brandon Morrow will remain in the bullpen.

After months of discussion about whether or not the Minnesota Twins would trade the highly sought after ace, Johan Santana, and if so, where would he land, the New York Mets landed the south paw. The Mets and Twins agreed to swap Santana for outfielder Carlos Gomez and minor-league pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey. Gomez, who batted .232 for the Mets in 58 games in his debut season, will look to replace Torii Hunter in center field for the Twins. Humber, who seems to have the most promise of the new Twins, was selected as the 3rd overall pick by the Mets in the 2004 amateur draft. Santana, who currently stands to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2008 season, and the Mets need to agree to a contract extension within a 72-hour window to complete the deal.

This deal slides the Mets into the driver seat in the National League East. This trade should put last year’s catastrophic collapse to lose the NL East Title to the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Brave’s previous stranglehold atop the division in the past for Met’s fans. A potential 1-2 punch of Johan Santana and Pedro Martinez (barring injuries) could propel even a poor offensive team to many victories. Though with a strong lineup including Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, and Carlos Delgado, Willie Randolph should pilot the Mets to an easy first place finish and compete for a World Series.

As we approach the completion of May, Major League Baseball completes the first third of the 2007 season. Lots of baseball remains, but yet the standings are beginning to shape up and we begin to see who are contenders and who aren’t.

In the American League East, the Boston Red Sox are in control and hold a 11 1/2 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles. Though Red Sox ace, Josh Beckett, is mid-way through a DL stint for blister problems on his throwing hand, he still is close to the major league lead in wins with 7, just trailing Los Angeles Angels’ John Lackey who just won his 8th game.
Yankee third baseman, Alex Rodriguez’s hot April, where he hit a record tying 14 home runs, didn’t lift the team as high as he would have hopes. Though the Yankee’s will vastly improve their rotation with the addition of aging ace, Roger Clemens, who may start as soon as June 4th against the Chicago White Sox.

For Baltimore, Erik Bedard has been brilliant, racking up 83 strikeouts in only 68 innings pitched. Poor run support and a poor bullpen has been costly for Bedard, who’s record is a dismal 3-3. Baltimore, 11 1/2 games back from Boston, is holding onto second place in the division by a mere half game over Toronto.

It’s been a long time since I’ve wrote an article and my, my there’s alot to be writing about. The Buffalo Sabres are making their way through the playoffs in route of their goal of winning the Stanley Cup, the 2007 NFL Draft just came to a close, the Kentucky Derby is rapidly approaching, and the first month of the baseball season is coming to a close. Unfortunately, I am writing about none of these.

Early Sunday morning, pitcher Josh Hancock, of the St. Louis Cardinals died in a car accident on Interstate 64 in St. Louis. According to the St. Louis Police Dept., Hancock’s 2007 Ford Explorer hit a tow truck at approximately 12:35 a.m. CT and he died at the scene, possibly at the moment of impact. It’s the second time in only a five-year span that the Cardinals have lost an active player. Darryl Kile passed away on June 22, 2002. Hancock was just 29 years old and previously pitched for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and Cincinnati Reds.

Josh Hancock

Sunday night’s Cardinals-Cubs game, scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT, was postponed. “The pain our organization feels today is unspeakable,” said Cardinals principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr.. “Josh was a great competitor with a strong will to win. His fellow Cardinals will tell you that Josh was a consummate teammate with a terrific spirit that served him well on the mound and in the clubhouse.”

Team Manager Tony La Russa said, “The respect that we all had for his ability to take the significant or the save-our-staff type of role was a real measure of him personally and professionally. He was a lot of fun and a terrific teammate. So trust me when I tell you this is brutal to go through.”

“Josh had a lot of friends in that clubhouse,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “You talk about it being a family, and it is a family. And it’s very difficult.”

St. Louis Police Chief Joseph Mokwa said that police are attempting to establish the details of both the accident and the last several hours of Hancock’s life. He said it appears likely that Hancock was not driving at an excessive speed, and that no alcoholic beverage containers were found in the vehicle.

Something like this puts everything else into perspective. A baseball game is simply that, a game, and has few everlasting consequences. A person’s life is important and should be valued every chance you get. Please say a prayer for Josh’s friends and family as they cope with this tragic loss.

Well with the loom of the upcoming baseball season, I am anxious to start talking about baseball, but there hasn’t been any news worth writing about as of yet. So in preparation for the season I would like to highlight my life as a baseball fan and how I came to where I am today.

My father was a huge baseball fan and a huge New York Yankee fan. Was I simply to follow in his footsteps? Anybody who knows the relationship between me and my father would tell you no. Either way it turned out I was most likely to have a small rivalry between our two favorite teams, but my favorite team was to be decided by fate, not by genes.

It started way back in 1986. My first baseball memory wasn’t a game, but a single play. It happened in Game 6 of the World Series in the bottom of the 10th inning. With Met’s left fielder Mookie Wilson at the plate and Boston was 1 out away from breaking the “Curse of the Bambino” and becoming World Series champions for the first time since 1918, Boston pitcher Bob Stanley threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score blowing Boston’s 2-run extra innings lead and moving third baseman Ray Knight into scoring position with the winning run. Wilson hit a slow rolling ground ball up the first base line that appeared to be easy to field. In the few seconds that the ball rolled down the line, the most important question was whether the heavy-footer Bill Buckner, with his chronic bad ankles and knees, would be able to beat the speedy Wilson to first base to move on to the 11th inning. That question would never be answered as the ball somehow rolled between his legs, under his glove, and slowly rolled into right field. Shea Stadium erupted and the Mets’ players and fans couldn’t contain themselves. Knight tried to hold his helmet on while jumping up and down towards home plate with the winning run in a scene that many Mets fans (this one included) would never forget.

To this day I couldn’t tell you how I came to see or even hear about it. Did I watch the game with my father? Possibly, neither of us would be able to remember, but let’s face it, probably not, I was 5 years old. Did I watch it on SportsCenter? Did ESPN even exist yet? Or did I overhear my Uncle Tom muttering under his breath (yes folks, he is a Red Sox fan) of how close the Red Sox came to winning the Series? This is the most likely the scenario.

Though this only brought the series to a 3 game to 3 game tie, forcing Game 7 in Shea Stadium, this was the only memory that stuck with me. Even so, Game 7 of the series went according to plan. The Mets won and I became a Mets fan for life … or did I?

Over the next few years, I was still a die hard Mets fan and my favorite players included Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, & David Cone. Since I was such a die hard Mets fan, my father decided to take me on a weekend trip to Pittsburgh to catch a series between the Mets and division rival Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh top players were a young Barry Bonds, a similarly young Bobby Bonilla, Golden Glover & speedy Andy Van Slyke, and young aces Doug Drabek & John Smiley. My father & I made this same trip several years in a row. Being the young starry eyed kid that I was, I just wanted to be as close to these stars as possible, trying to get autographs as I did so. This became my downfall as a Mets fan. After being ignored by one two players, I became enraged with my favorite team (yea, I was enraged & no older than 9). At this point I ceased to be a Met’s fan. I was officially a free agent.

The next few years of my life I consider to be the “bandwagon years” of my life as a baseball fan because my interest in baseball teams was more determined by the success of that team than just picking a team and sticking by them. In 1989, I became fascinated with the Bash Brothers of the Oakland Athletics, Mark McGuire and Jose Canseco, who also won back-to-back American League Rookie of the Year awards in 1987 & 1988. Later in life, I realized that most of their homers were due to steroids. While I don’t condone this activity and think it needs to be cleaned up in baseball, I commend Canseco on his honesty (not on his self-proclaimed role as “The Godfather of Steroids”) and I despise McGuire for his holier than thou attitude until he was in front of the Supreme Court and refused to answer any questions.

After jumping off of the Oakland bandwagon, I promptly jumped on the Toronto Blue Jays winning efforts. These were the first years I recall staying up for the entire World Series night games, despite not being allowed to stay up for the game. I remember staying awake in bed listening to Game 6 of the 1992 World Series on my Sony Walkman radio right down to the final play when Joe Carter hit a walk-off 3-run homer, with Rickey Henderson & Paul Molitor on base, to win back-to-back World Series Championships for Toronto.

After realizing what a bandwagon jumper I had become, I was steadfast to pick a team and stick with them to the end. Again fate played a part. It was the winter before the expansion of the Florida Marlins and the Colorado Rockies, and after a vacation to Florida, I decided my new favorite team would be the Florida Marlins. Gary Sheffield quickly became my favorite player, right up until the Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series. Promptly after winning the World Series, team owner Wayne Huizenga claimed massive financial losses and dismantled the team by trading away most of the team’s most talented players that had won them the Series to lower the team payroll. This began a few short months after the World Series victory when he traded Moises Alou to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later, Manuel Barrios, and Oscar Henriquez. The Astros later sent Mark J. Johnson to the Marlins to complete the deal. Team ace, Kevin Brown was traded to the San Diego Padres for Derrek Lee, Rafael Medina, and Steve Hoff. A week after the Alou deal, the Marlins traded team closer Robb Nen to the San Francisco Giants for Joe Fontenot, Mike Pageler, & Mike Villano and dealt outfielder Devon White to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Jesus Martinez. Jeff Conine, who was drafted in the expansion draft from the Kansas City Royals in 1992, was traded back to his original team for Blaine Mull. Al Leiter was packaged with Ralph Milliard to the New York Mets for A.J. Burnett, Jesus Sanchez, and Robert Stratton. Shortly into the 1998 season, Sheffield, with catcher Charles Johnson, Manuel Barrios, Bobby Bonilla, and Jim Eisenreich were all sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Mike Piazza & Todd Zeile. After only 5 games, Piazza was traded to the New York Mets for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnel, & Geoff Goetz. Later in the season Todd Zeile was sent to the Texas Rangers for Daniel DeYoung and Jose Santo. Edgar Renteria was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals mid-season for Armando Almanza, Braden Looper, and Pablo Ozuna. After all was said and done the only positional starter from the 1997 World Series Championship that remained on the team was second baseman Luis Castillo. At this point, I could no longer be a fan of the Florida Marlins and again became a free agent. I decided to settle back on my original team, the New York Mets. I’ve been a strong supporter of the Mets ever since.