Category: Sports

Meet Yanni Hufnagel – The Energizer Bunny of DI Recruiting

Yanni Hufnagel worked for many years as a Division I Men’s Basketball Coach. His peers regarded him as one who was most likely to succeed due to his high level of energy. In 2012-2013, CBS Sports included him on their “dream team” of assistant coaches due to his relentless recruiting style.


In May of 2013, when asked him about his career and how he maintained his passion, he had already worked as an assistant coach for four years at Harvard University and was part of the staff when they won their first NCAA tournament game. When he received a similar position with Vanderbilt, he stated that the career move was difficult to pass up. That was because Vanderbilt was also an elite academic institution that had assembled the staff and athletes to be successful. The beautiful campus and weather and the SEC conference were additional attractions. But for all the positives, he did admit that leaving Harvard and all of the players he had recruited was very difficult.


Coach Hufnagel believed that there were no secret formulas for recruiting. He did, however, provide an inside look into his unique style. He focuses on what the player is like as a person and how they describe their priorities. He tries to gauge their level of competitive fire, if they are willing to work to improve their game, and if they are someone with whom you might want to socialize. Finally, he shows his passion for the game and hopes that it is contagious.


He commented that as the game progresses and more college players move to the NBA, statistics and quantitative measurements will become more important. But, in terms of scouting and recruiting players of equal talent, it becomes a very subjective process. When he was asked about his own basketball talent, he said that he had a great shot as long as his feet were set and no one was guarding him so he would rather have one of his recruits be the star.

Bolstering Your Fantasy Baseball Bats to Keep From Fizzling Down the Backstretch

Your fantasy baseball league is coming around the final turn, preparing to head down the backstretch. If you’ve found your MLB lineups aren’t putting up productive numbers, it’s time to scour the waiver wire for potential replacements.



Even if your league playoff prospects are waning fast, you can still snag some quality stats to remain competitive. If you are in the playoff hunt, these players have a low percentage of ownership and may produce the stats you need to make a run at your fantasy baseball league crown.



Second Basemen


Back in May, with one full month of play in the books, there were a handful of hitters floating around on the free agent board in over 90% of the leagues. Some of the best sticks fizzled before Memorial Day, while others have had their weaknesses exposed by major league pitching.



With second base being an oft-difficult spot to fill with productive numbers, Jed Lowrie and rookie Ryan Schimph showed possibilities after April’s slate of games. Schimph seemed to be the Padre’s first choice at the 2-bag, and Lowrie was beginning to meet the expectations the fantasy world had for him in Oakland. Lowrie has continued to produce serviceable numbers, but holes in Schimph’s bat were exposed, as he struck out so often he was sent packing back to AAA.



First Basemen


Two 1st baseman were mentioned with low ownership potential as well. Kennys Vargas has yet to give the Minnesota Twins the type of power numbers they expected. He has a feeble 8 round trippers on the year to go with a woeful 30 runs batted in. Add to that the fact he also is prone to miss pitches has devastated his fantasy usefulness. Some leagues also restrict Vargas to the DH spot, so his fantasy league ownership has remained justifiably low.



Rhys Hoskins is in an intriguing situation going forward. He has yet to swing at a major league pitch in 2017, sitting behind another young prospect Tommy Joseph. Joseph has played just well enough to keep Hoskins at Lehigh Valley. No one can figure out why he’s still in the minor leagues, if not for the contract prevalence, the once highly touted Joseph has over him.



Even when rosters expand in September, there will be a question of how the Phillies fit two first basemen in their future plans. One may be trade bait going forward, but with all his proven power and RBI potential, Hoskins seems stuck in the Philadelphia numbers game.





Major League Baseball is loaded with talent in the outfield, but every good fantasy baseball team owner knows difference makers can win titles. Jorge Soler was traded from the defending world champion Cubs to Kansas City.



He had a spot penciled in the Royals everyday lineup. The results were disappointing similar to his time in the Windy City. The power wasn’t sufficient to offset a nearly 33% strikeout rate and an inability to hit in the clutch. Soler saw the big club dugout for a short stay around the all star break, but is back in Omaha “chasing storms”.



The one player in the May report that has put up consistent numbers may be the biggest surprise at all. During his time in the Yankees organization, Ben Gamel wasn’t tagged as having superstar potential. He actually remained behind higher rated players when the Bronx Bombers sent him to the Silicone Valley.



With the Seattle Mariners, Gamel seemed to find skills and talents that the New York scouts missed. He started hitting like he’d been with the big club for a few seasons, producing runs, hitting for average, and giving the M’s a pleasant problem with an outfield full of young potential.



There have even been weeks when he has been worthy of top-tier fantasy consideration among all the outfielders. For those who grabbed him early, he has provided steady production. He may be currently running into the rookie wall, the hot steamy summer beginning to wear on his numbers, but he has shown enough promise to worthy a far higher level of fantasy ownership than his paltry 25%.



Since the Daily News projected potential pitchers and hitters in early May, only a couple of the arms reviewed, and one bat, have actually produced anything worthy of fantasy ownership. A couple failed at the big league level, while others are still squandering away in the farm system.


To keep your MLB lineups producing the kind of fantasy numbers you need to remain competitive, keep an eye on up and coming prospects who are floundering under the free agent radar. Navigate to the MLB fantasy news at for current news on all things MLB baseball. Remember, the right free agent pick up could be the difference between finishing the 2017 fantasy baseball strong, and fizzling down the backstretch.