Fantasy Baseball: World Baseball Classic offers sneak peak at players

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    The World Baseball Classic is officially underway after Japan knocked off China 4-0 early Thursday morning.

    These games might not really matter to your fantasy leagues, but you do get a chance to see some of your favorite players face off against some live pitching with something on the line.

    Seeing Ichiro Suzuki go 0-5 was a little disheartening, but it was just the first game of the Classic and he hadn’t played at all for the Mariners in spring training yet, so don’t freak out owners. I think Ichiro will still hit .310, score 100 runs and steal 40 bags.

    Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura went 0-4 in his Classic debut. Odds are you won’t be drafting him, unless you are desperate for a second baseman in the really late rounds, but if you get stuck with this import expect him to hit about .260 and score 70 runs. But that run total could dip if he bats seventh and not at the top of the order.

    Chicago Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome is an interesting prospect and had an interesting game against China. He went 0-0 in four plate appearances with four walks and scored a run. Nobody knew what to expect out of the outfielder when he came into the league last season, but fans and owners were delighted for the first half of the year when he hit .288, with five home runs and 31 RBIs from opening day through June. But from July on he hit just .207 with four home runs and 24 RBIs. Overall, I don’t want Fukudome on my teams and neither should you. Look for a .260 average with eight home runs and 40 RBIs in a crowded Cubs outfield.

    So now you know a couple of guys I don’t want, but those aren’t surprises. Here are a couple guys I don’t want on my team that may surprise you:

    David Ortiz (DH-Boston Red Sox)- Not only is he beginning to come back down to earth after a couple of monster years – from 2005-2006 he hit .294 with 102 home runs and 285 RBIs and from 2007-2008 he hit .299 with 58 home runs and 206 RBIs – he is starting to become injury prone and will be hurt by the loss of Manny Ramirez.

    CC Sabathia (SP-New York Yankees)- I think he will have a good year. Look for him to win 18 games and get 240 or more strikeouts. But the reason I don’t want him on my team is because of where he will go in drafts. He will go way too early, or cost way too much, for me to consider picking him up.

    The Skiff fantasy baseball league, Go Frogs, is officially full. Thanks for all of you who joined and I will be sure to give you some plugs in the paper if you do well.

    Next week I will tell you about some guys that I do like and talk more about the WBC.

    Billy Wessels is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Waxahachie.