Ten more bold predictions

April, 10, 2008

You heard me.

For those of you who don't read ESPN the Magazine (or go to their online fantasy section), I do a column for them, and in the most recent issue, did my "You Heard Me" shtick. Some of the bold predictions I made that were not in my original "You Heard Me" column?

  1. Curt Schilling comes back in the second half and wins at least six games.
  2. Andruw Jones hits at least .265 along with 30 home runs this year.
  3. Scott Podsednik steals at least 30 bases this season as a backup outfielder.
  4. All of these current non-closers end up with double-digit saves: Carlos Marmol, Al Reyes, Tony Pena, Joey Devine, Jonathan Broxton and Derrick Turnbow.
  5. Orlando Hernandez wins at least 10 games.
  6. So does Shawn Hill for the Nationals.
  7. Mike Napoli of the Angels hits 20 home runs and steals at least 10 bases.
  8. Corey Hart ends the year with better numbers than Grady Sizemore.
  9. Randy Johnson gets his 300th win this season. (He needs 16 to get there.)
  10. Someone other than the Yankees or Red Sox wins the World Series this year.

I'm not gonna lie. I wrote it two weeks ago. Kinda regretting the Andruw Jones prediction.

As long as we are recycling stuff, here's the script I wrote for my appearance on today's "First Take":

Another day, another closer on the DL. Your Fantasy First Take today starts in Atlanta, where Rafael Soriano was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Which means you should grab setup man Peter Moylan. A 1.93 ERA and 1.29 WHIP this year, Moylan is first in the National League in holds and is available in pretty much every ESPN.com standard mixed league.

Let's move to offense now: If you're looking for some power or speed, I have some for you. Though he won't help your batting average, Mike Jacobs of the Marlins has four home runs and is top 10 in the National League in both homers and RBIs. If you need help at catcher, I've talked about Mike Napoli a lot, but he's hit a few homers -- No. 3 was last night -- and is still out there in 75 percent of ESPN standard leagues. If it's speed you crave, Joey Gathright stole his sixth base last night for the red-hot Royals. He is tied for the lead in steals in the major leagues and, unlike Michael Bourn, he's available in lots of mixed leagues. Finally, after his grand slam last night, Jason Kubel of the Twins now has two home runs and eight RBIs in his first 8 games. For more news, information and analysis every single day, check out our free fantasy section, only on ESPN.com.

Matty's mailbag

Lots of reactions to the New York Post article, my "Hate the picks, not the humor" column, more Anne Hathaway/Megan Fox debate and of course, some baseball questions. Let's dig in.

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Megan Good
Maury Phillips/WireImageMegan Good: put her on the hot prospect list.
Bernard (Milwaukee): Hey TMR, I'm younger and better-looking than you, with a hot/sane fiancÚ. But your TRUMs still have me living vicariously through you. Keep up the good work and don't worry about the haters. I was planning on going to Vegas next week, but I tore my Achilles tendon playing basketball, so now I'm not. Regarding the Hathaway/Fox thing? Anne has a bit of a mousy face a la Penelope Cruz. Fox has a nice face, but that's about it. Could we throw Megan Good into the debate? She blows those other two out of the water.

TMR: Four quick reactions:

  • Anyone else confused by the random info about his now-aborted Vegas plans?
  • Did he manage to insult me twice in the first sentence with a complimentary e-mail? Or does merely stating facts mean that it can't be construed as an insult?
  • Look, I'm all for scouting the minor leagues for the next Johnny Cueto of insanely hot women, but Megan Good, attractive though she is, is not major league ready.
  • She has a nice face but that's about it?!

    John (Philadelphia): In a public league that I am in, somebody just dropped Josh Hamilton to pick up Xavier Nady. Am I crazy, or is he stupid? OK, I grant that the answer could be both, but isn't it obvious that Hamilton has a heck of a lot more upside than Nady?

    Dave (Philadelphia): I shouldn't have to ask this, but I feel obligated to. Do you actually play fantasy baseball or did you hear about it through a friend? Xavier Nady is going to hit 30 home runs?!? Do you pay attention at all? Like to that fact that he always has a great first two to three weeks then ultimately falls off the face of the earth? Since you're a touted fantasy baseball expert, I'm sure not even that huge of a detail could have passed you by. I'll look out for the next up-and-coming players exclusively on my own from now on. Later.

    TMR: Apparently, the City of Brotherly Love is the city of Nady hate. Well, Nady is currently on pace for 61 home runs. And last year he hit 20 home runs in 431 at-bats. That's a pace of one every 21 at-bats. If he gets 600 at-bats this year, he'll hit 28 at that rate. I really like Josh Hamilton, but he's certainly more of an injury risk than Nady and, in public leagues, which tend to be shallow, this isn't a crazy move at all. I actually like Nady a little more than Hamilton myself as well, because of the injury concern.

    David M. (unknown): Matthew, I read your dream job column and our lives are really similar. I love my job as a youth pastor now but I find myself consumed with fantasy football and baseball. The only thing is that I don't have a four-year degree. I don't think that should matter because there isn't one person who knows me who doesn't say I should work for ESPN.

    TMR: Everyone? Even God?

    Mark C. (unknown): You are an arrogant, not-too-bright, peach-fuzz-headed little man. Just saying.

    TMR: Hey, come on now. I'm 6'1, 200 pounds with size 12 feet. I'm not little.

    Sam (Tucson, Ariz.): Dear TMR, one of my fantasy teams was woefully short of pitching until I came to the following (patting myself on the back) brilliant solution: just start anyone playing the Giants. I mean, short of Jeff Weaver or the Ghost of Jose Lima, is there anyone you wouldn't start against SF and their Quadruple-A lineup? So far, the approach is working beautifully. Your thoughts?

    TMR: Love the strategy. And to answer your question, no, probably the only guy I wouldn't start against the Giants is Barry Zito. Hah! I can't! He's on the Giants, too. Man, that team is terrible.

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    Alex Gordon and Joakim Soria
    Getty ImagesGordon/Soria face-off! Tom Jankiewicz, of ESPN Photo Imaging, thinks it's only fair to note that the original proof shows that the sun was in Soria's eyes. But what's Gordon's excuse?
    Henry (Darien): You seem to be an expert on beauty (I agree, Hathaway is hotter than Fox) so I was wondering if you could settle an argument I'm having with one of my league mates. Who is uglier in the ESPN photo on his player card, Joakim Soria or Alex Gordon?

    TMR: First, welcome aboard the Hathaway bandwagon! Second, it's Alex Gordon and it's not even close. I don't think Soria looks that bad in the picture. Kind of like a low-rent, trying-to-be-tough-guy hoodlum you'd see hanging out on the beach as a bad guy on "The O.C." Gordon looks bloated and like he's about to revisit his lunch.

    Rob (Hoboken): I agree with Nosh. God knows that we don't need another Bill Simmons, so please stop trying to knock off his style. You are a solid fantasy columnist, but your writing style is not suitable for the pop culture banter. Please just stick with the fantasy guidance from now on and leave the rest to Simmons. Thanks.

    TMR: Bill's a fantastic writer and rightfully very popular, but for whatever it's worth, I wrote a humor column in college a long, long time ago and my style has been the same for much longer than Bill has been at ESPN. We're both about the same age with somewhat similar backgrounds, so it's natural that we'd have a lot of the same reference points and that we both use humor to make our points, but that's about it. Neither he, nor I, is the first person to do a mailbag column. And besides, I think Ben just wants me to talk about pop culture. …

    Ben (Boston): Lest you have any doubts that a lot of us really do enjoy reading about your personal life and pop culture references, I am here to tell you that I don't even play fantasy baseball and I still read your columns precisely for those morsels. I started reading your column during football season (I do play fantasy football), and I've kept reading your column ever since. I can't think of higher praise than that, and I hope you keep it coming!

    TMR: I can think of higher praise than that. It's all I do. I have a huge ego that needs to be fed. Bring me 20 virgins to feed me grapes while Jude plays in the background, Erik Bedard plays soft toss with Corey Hart and Anne Hathaway massages my scalp. Wearing nothing but a Redskins jersey. And saying "I would have benched Adrian Peterson, too."

    Chris (Mahwah, N.J.): Matt, I love your columns, though you screwed me on Deuce McAllister for football this year. Anne Hathaway is a goddess, so I'm with you on that. I'm a big fan of Corey Hart; thanks for inflating his draft value for me. Not cool.

    TMR: You saw the picture of me in the Post. You should know I'm not cool.

    Ben (New Hampshire): TMR, I have to say that the picture of you in the N.Y. Post article is hysterically lame. Was the thumbs-in-the-pockets your idea or the photographer's?

    TMR: Yeah, I know. Nate called me The Fonz all day. I honestly don't know whose idea it was. I'm terrible at taking pictures. I'm just not comfortable with it, I always appear stiff or have a weird smile or something. We shot for close to a half hour at the ESPN Zone in New York, many different places. The tournament was going on, it was packed, I'm just trying to give the guy a shot he likes. And he definitely said "casual, more casual," so I was trying anything I could think of that was "casual." I suggested a shot of me in the bathroom, reading the sports section, but that got shot down.

    Matt (Washington, D.C.): Hi, Matt. I drank the Kool-Aid on Matt Kemp (great first name). Now I am watching the guy go from hitting third in the lineup to sitting on the bench for Juan "Crazy Legs" Pierre. He's killing me. I got him 125th overall in the 11th round and thought I got a great value. I know it's early yet, but I was expecting close to 500 at-bats. TMR, put my mind to ease!

    TMR: I love Matt Kemp as a buy-low right now. Tons of folks are panicking on him, and it's premature. First, through the first eight games of the year, he's on pace for 523 at-bats. So he's playing more than you think. Second, he hit .342 with 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases last year in fewer than 300 at-bats. I wasn't as high on him in the preseason as some (Pete Becker was swooning about him at the rankings meeting), but I do think he's legit. I'm concerned that he hasn't drawn a walk yet this year, but the power and speed will come, if not the average. Patience, young padawan, especially as Andruw Jones continues to fail to get away from the Mendoza line.

    Aurelius (Stamford, Conn.): Matt, just listened to the podcast about your recent return to our beloved alma mater. (Editor's note: It's the same podcast as linked above in reference to The Fonz). Wondering what "house" you went to, if you remember. I was a founding member of one of the houses there, and it would be sweet to know you stopped by. Gym Class Heroes used to play our parties, so you would be only the second-most famous celebrity to party there, but it would still be cool nonetheless.

    TMR: Yeah, I had a lot of fun at Syracuse University, talking to kids, giving them advice, beating them at beer pong. Dude, I owned that table. Four straight! People think it's in the wrist, it's actually about the arm. And it was a house party, not a fraternity. And come on. I'm not famous, but I'm more well-known than Gym Class Heroes, dammit. Didn't you see the picture of me in the New York Post looking like The Fonz?

    Nathan (Scottsdale, Ariz.): I agree with you on Anne Hathaway and Megan Fox. Think of this statement like you would a draft: You can't tell the outcome right away, and only time will tell if you chose well. For example, I never jumped on the Britney Spears bandwagon and instead opted for Mandy Moore. Just sayin'.

    TMR: Exactly. It's about the big picture. Mandy Moore is also sneaky hot.

    John (Jonesboro, Ga.): I must say I'm a little obsessed with David Murphy, too. I am in three 20-team mixed leagues and picked him up in all three the morning after Opening Day. Of course, you're the only guy on the Net who has even breathed his name, from what I have read. And I read lots of fantasy. Your "Fonzie"-like skills may be intact despite a poor wardrobe choice or two.

    TMR: Yeah, he continues to get no love, and all he does is hit. He's hitting .385 through his first seven games. One home run and two steals. He'll finish with 15 and 15 while hitting better than .300.

    Aaron (Raleigh, N.C.): Boy, I wish you had mentioned that Googling Anne Hathaway and Havoc isn't necessarily safe for work. Still love your work, though.

    TMR: Dude, I'm not convinced I'm safe for work.

    Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is ESPN's senior director of fantasy. He was just as surprised as you to find out it's a real job. He is a multiple award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He has been playing fantasy sports for more than 20 years, writing about it professionally for more than 10. He currently appears on or in ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN the Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile TV and, as soon as he learns to say "ground-ball/fly-ball ratio" in Spanish, ESPN Deportes.

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  • Matthew Berry | email

    ESPN Senior Writer
    • Senior Fantasy analyst for ESPN
    • Member, FSWA and FSTA Halls of Fame
    • Best-selling author of "Fantasy Life"



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