Friday, February 13, 2009

Fantasy Baseball Dossier 2.0

"Man, it don't bother me 'cause we're all on something."

(Editor's Note: The sidebar of music includes 120 songs that play for 30 seconds a piece...this is as close that I've been able to find to put up a "Power Hour" for y'all that I could find...hope you can enjoy in absolutely no moderation.)

So this is kind of unusual. The day before February vacation, I'm figuring that there would be tons of teaching openings, and basically, I would have my pick as to where and what I would do. Guess what? Not a thing...not one single opening in two towns! So, I'm here, it's fairly early in the morning, pitchers and catchers just reported...I figured a fantasy baseball column would be appropriate (also, something I'm beginning to figure out...Matthew Berry is just insufferable now...I was just listening to a podcast featuring him to prep for this article, and I had to stop because he is just brutal to listen to..."smugness is not a good quality"). First, a few things...

I was so close to nailing the H-O-R-S-E lineup. That was nearly one of the greatest predictions of the last least in my opinion (if you think this is bad, imagine if I got all of would not hear the end of it). So it's Kevin Durant, Joe Johnson, and O.J. Mayo competing...but no one's exactly sure when they are actually going to be doing this. The only info I could get is that it will take place during the "Block Party" feature on TNT (5:00-7:00 on Saturday)...but I don't want to sit through two hours of bad R&B acts, random "heart-warming" segments, and all that other junk...just tell me when they're playing! By the way, I'm taking Joe Johnson...he's the best shooter, he's the most experienced, he's actually an All-Star...and of course, he's a former Celtic.

A-Rod admitted to using steroids, which was the right thing, but something I didn't think he was capable of (actually I still don't think he is because I have a sneaking suspicion that someone told him to just admit to it before things spiraled out of control...I don't think he was acting alone...very much a "Lee Harvey Oswald single bullet-like" theory). Obviously the backlash has been well-chronicled. First, he can't remember who gave him the steroids? Okie dokie. I remember who gave me my first inhaler, my first retainer...that was like thirteen years ago. Are you saying that I have a better long-term memory about personal medical events than A-Rod (short-term memory is a landslide victory to Rodriguez, but that goes without saying)? You always remember your first...anything. So to tell me that he can't remember who gave him the stuff indicates he's lying about that. I understand not "diming" on people, but don't say you don't know, you just don't want to say who. Second, he felt pressure in Texas to perform and live up to his contract? So under that massive media circus of two reporters, A-Rod felt that the pressure was insurmountable and that he had to use, whereas in New York, where the media attention is endless, and with the richest contract in the history of baseball, he has been clean? What's funny is that he came out and admitted the truth, but I have more questions now than I did before. Where did he get it? Is he still using? Who are the other 103 players on that list? I thought that his admission of guilt would be a good thing, but for me to be asking a bunch of questions after the fact...that can't be good.

David Beckham appears to be heading back to Europe after "finding himself" while playing for Milan the past few months. What does this mean for soccer in the U.S.? Well, it basically means the same as it did before outside of the hoopla of Beckham going to the Galaxy, and probably his first two or three games...not a whole lot. There are plenty of kids that play soccer, plenty of people who like watching soccer...I am getting an overwhelming feeling that not only will soccer not work out in America, but the MLS will fold within the next decade, and any player who is of any good quality will be playing in Europe or South America for the foreseeable future. Again, I'm not going to say that people don't care about soccer in the U.S., it's just that there's not enough of them. When you watch European soccer and compare it to the MLS, it's like watching the NBA vs. the's just two totally different things. Across the pond, soccer is everything. Sure, they have basketball and cricket, and those are two big sports over there...but it's all about soccer. Everyone watches the game, everyone knows the players, people live and die by their squads...picture it like Red Sox Nation but encapturing a continent. To be totally honest, and you'll probably think I'm crazy, but I don't even think that we have a sport in the U.S. that is as big as soccer is in Europe. I don't even think the NFL or the MLB is bigger here than the UEFA and all the other different leagues are in Europe. I remember people believing that Beckham signing with the Galaxy would change everything in terms of the caliber of players that would be signing with the MLS, but his spring back to Milan proves that soccer just doesn't have it here. Think about it: If Beckham and Freddy Adu could not make it happen, who will?

College basketball is heating up and we have about a month left in the regular season. So, what to make of everything right now? Well, here's a little bit of a breakdown as to what I'm thinking:
  • The Juggernauts:
1. North Carolina
2. Oklahoma
3. UConn
  • Teams Fighting For The Last #1 Seed:
4. Duke
5. Pittsburgh
6. Memphis
  • Big Names With Big Potential:
7. Michigan State
8. Wake Forest
  • Big Names With Not-So-Big Potential:
9. Louisville
10. UCLA
  • New To The Big Time:
11. Clemson
12. Missouri
  • Teams That Are Destined To Fizzle:
13. Villanova
14. Illinois
15. Purdue
  • Teams That Deserve The Praise:
16. West Virginia
17. Marquette
18. Xavier
19. Arizona State
20. Washington
  • Teams That Were Cinderella, And Now That They're Not, I Hate Their Chances:
21. Butler
22. BYU
23. Gonzaga
24. Davidson
  • Really Big Names That Are Surprisingly Low In The Rankings:
25. Texas
26. Syracuse
27. Kansas
28. Wisconsin
29. Tennessee
  • Teams That Will Be #7 Seeds That I Don't See Making A Run:
30. Dayton
31. California
32. Kentucky
33. Utah
  • Teams That Will Be #10 Seeds That I See Making A Run:
34. Utah State
35. Washington State
  • Teams That People Know About From Football And Will Pick Because Of That:
36. Miami
37. Florida State
38. Florida
39. Ohio State
40. Notre Dame
41. LSU
  • Mid-Range Sleepers:
42. San Diego State
43. Baylor
44. Houston
45. Tulsa
46. Kansas State
  • Teams That People Think Will Be Sleepers, But We Know Better:
47. UAB
48. Cincinnati
49. Creighton
50. Stanford
  • Teams No One See Because They're On Way Too Freggin' Late, And They're Actually Not Too Bad:
51. Arizona
52. UNLV
53. St. Mary's
  • The New England Sleepers:
54. Boston College
55. Providence
  • Teams I'm Completely On The Fence About:
56. Temple
57. Michigan
58. Nebraska
59. Minnesota
  • Alumni Pick:
60. South Carolina
  • Super-Duper Mega Sleepers:
61. Siena
62. Cleveland State
63. North Dakota State
  • The Last Teams In (Which, In Case You Were Not Aware, Means They're Really Dangerous):
64. Virginia Tech
65. Northern Iowa

So, there's a little college basketball for you, something that, again, for whatever reason, I haven't really touched on very much in the last couple of months (the NFL will do that to you).

Okay, now on to the main event. Of course, if you've been reading my column for any amount of time, you are completely aware that I'm a big dork, and in going along with this dorkiness comes a ton of time spent in mock draft lobbies for pre-draft practice. ESPN continues to be the staple for all of your mock draft needs (and new this year is the mock auction drafts, which are just great if you've never taken part in an auction draft before). So, I have done a few of these, and of course, afterwards, I'm thinking that I came up roses. So, in hopes that I know what I'm talking about, and that I can get the same types of teams, and that people who potentially will be competing against me do not read this, I give you the Fantasy Baseball Dossier (because Manifesto was taken) 2.0:

First Round:
If you've gotten the #1 overall pick, are now about to set the pace for the entire draft. Don't believe me? Think about the kind of trickle down effect that you could potentially have in choosing between A-Rod, Hanley Ramirez, or Albert Pujols. Either way you look at it, they are the #1 guy at their respective positions, and getting one of those guys alleviates any concern you could possibly have had about that certain position on your roster. Let me first break down the positions by how deep they are, meaning the higher the position is on the list, the deeper the position is:
  1. Starting Pitcher
  2. First Base
  3. Relief Pitchers
  4. Outfield
  5. Third Base
  6. Shortstop
  7. Catcher
  8. Second Base
So, getting a guy like A-Rod or Ramirez would probably be more valuable at the #1 or #2 spot than a guy like Pujols. Not saying that you absolutely shouldn't draft Pujols, but be aware of how deep that position is. If you can't get Pujols, it's okay. There are about five guys who put up numbers that are very comparable to Pujols.

Now, and this is something I will be doing for every round, I'm going to list the players I believe have a grade that puts them in each of the given rounds. Just because a guy has a first round grade does not necessarily preclude him from being taken in the first round, and likewise, a guy with a third round grade could go in the first. That is the beauty of drafts...people sometimes do inexplicable things either because they want someone, or they want to exude psychological warfare upon you, or both. Also, the ranking is based on a median as to where I think they should get drafted. I will also note guys with a non-steroid * that you can reach for because they are just really good, and just because they are ranked a certain way, that doesn't mean that you can't take them 5-10 spots ahead of "where you're supposed to.":
  1. Hanley Ramirez, SS, FLA
  2. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY
  3. Albert Pujols, 1B, STL
  4. David Wright, 3B, NYM
  5. Ryan Braun, OF, MIL*
  6. Grady Sizemore, OF, CLE*
  7. Jose Reyes, SS, NYM
  8. Miguel Cabrera, OF, DET
  9. Tim Lincecum, SP, SF
  10. Lance Berkman, OF, HOU
  11. Johan Santana, SP, NYM
  12. Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX*
  13. Jimmy Rollins, SS, PHI
  14. Carlos Lee, OF, HOU
  15. Chase Utley, 2B, PHI*
Second Round:
At this point, the positions are not too important in terms of what you absolutely have to get. Right now, and for the next two to three rounds, position is completely irrelevant. Honestly, you could just load up on one position and it won't hurt you. Most likely, you will be playing in a format like this: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 1B/3B, 2B/SS, 5 OF's, UTIL, 9 P's, 4 BN. So, you absolutely can draft three first basemen in the first three rounds because there are three slots you can fill with those guys (1B, 1B/3B, UTIL). Again, at this point, you have to take the best guy available.

16. Mark Teixeira, OF, NYY
17. Prince Fielder, 1B, MIL
18. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS
19. Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI
20. Nick Markakis, OF, BAL
21. Alfonso Soriano, OF, CHC
22. Carlos Beltran, OF, NYM
23. Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX
24. C.C. Sabathia, SP, NYY
25. Roy Halladay, SP, TOR
26. Matt Holliday, OF, OAK*
27. Jason Bay, OF, BOS*
28. Justin Morneau, 1B, MIN
29. Ichiro Suzuki, OF, SEA
30. Brandon Webb, SP, ARI*

Third Round:
This round is just hopelessly barren. I'm looking at this's getting kind of scary. Outside of the top couple of guys (after Cole Hamels), this is almost an untouchable list. Feel free to be reaching for fourth rounders here.

31. Evan Longoria, 3B, TB*
32. Matt Kemp, OF, LAD
33. Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B, BOS
34. Cole Hamels, SP, PHI
35. Brandon Phillips, 2B, CIN
36. Jake Peavy, SP, SD
37. Manny Ramirez, OF, FA
38. Brian Roberts, 2B, BAL
39. Dan Haren, SP, ARI
40. Carl Crawford, OF, TB*
41. Aramis Ramirez, 3B, CHC
42. Alex Rios, OF, TOR
43. John Lackey, SP, ANA
44. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, BOS
45. B.J. Upton, OF, TB

Fourth Round:
Okay, at this point, you may want to start considering what kinds of things you will be favoring in terms of your overall strategy. In terms of hitting, there are guys still available who can get you power, and there are guys that can get you steals, but the guys who can do both is a very small list right now. So, are you favoring power or speed? Right now, I'm favoring power because the quality of big bats continues to get worse as the rounds tick away...let me re-phrase...the amount of sure thing power bats starts to fade. With pitching, this is around the time where the rest of the "aces" are going to be gone, so are you going to jump on one here, or wait for the bargain basements to come along? Personally, I think the addage "don't pay for saves" is especially prevalent in this year's draft because there are about fifteen teams that are in basically the same position..."we're going to throw a guy in the ninth inning, if he does good, awesome, but if he starts stinking, he's gone." So, to me, if I'm going pitching, I'm going starters before I start taking relievers.

46. Nate McClouth, OF, PIT*
47. Curtis Granderson, OF, DET
48. Brian McCann, C, ATL
49. Magglio Ordonez, OF, DET
50. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, SD*
51. Vladimir Guerrero, OF, ANA
52. Roy Oswalt, SP, HOU
53. Chipper Jones, 3B, ATL
54. Russell Martin, C, LAD
55. Corey Hart, OF, MIL
56. Chris Davis, 1B/3B, TEX*
57. Felix Hernandez, SP, SEA
58. Joe Mauer, C, MIN
59. James Shields, SP, TB
60. Joe Nathan, RP, MIN

Fifth Round:
After determining your strategy, this is when it really starts to veer off. This is definitely a hodge-podge round full of guys that can answer a lot of questions. After this round, you're pretty much on your own, but I will continue to list my top 15 for each round.

61. Alexei Ramirez, 2B, CHW
62. Geovany Soto, C, CHC*
63. Cliff Lee, SP, CLE*
64. Carlos Pena, 1B, TB
65. Carlos Quentin, OF, CHW
66. Francisco Liriano, SP, MIN
67. Joakim Soria, RP, KC*
68. Brad Lidge, RP, PHI
69. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, BOS
70. Ervin Santana, SP, ANA
71. Stephen Drew, SS, ARI
72. David Ortiz, DH, BOS
73. Bobby Abreu, OF, ANA
74. Rafael Furcal, SS, LAD
75. Joey Votto, 1B, CIN*

Sixth Round:

76. Derek Jeter, SS, NYY
77. Hunter Pence, OF, HOU
78. Josh Beckett, SP, BOS
79. Zack Greinke, SP, KC*
80. Mariano Rivera, RP, NYY
81. Torii Hunter, OF, ANA
82. Aubrey Huff, 1B/3B, BAL
83. Chad Billingsley, SP, LAD
84. Jay Bruce, OF, CIN*
85. Francisco Rodriguez, RP, NYM
86. Jermaine Dye, OF, CHW
87. Yovani Gallardo, SP, MIL
88. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COL
89. Johnny Damon, OF, NYY
90. Shane Victorino, OF, PHI

Seventh Round:

91. Raul Ibanez, OF, PHI
92. Ryan Doumit, C, PIT
93. Michael Young, SS, TEX
94. Adam Dunn, OF, WAS*
95. Jonathan Broxton, RP, LAD
96. Carlos Marmol, RP, CHC
97. Ryan Ludwick, OF, STL*
98. Dan Uggla, 2B, FLA
99. Jon Lester, SP, BOS*
100. Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP, BOS
101. Adam Wainwright, SP, STL
102. Scott Kazmir, SP, TB
103. Garrett Atkins, 1B/3B, COL
104. Vernon Wells, OF, TOR
105. Victor Martinez, C, CLE

Eighth Round:

106. Brian Fuentes, RP, ANA
107. Robinson Cano, 2B, NYY
108. Andre Ethier, OF, LAD
109. Adrian Beltre, 3B, SEA
110. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, WAS
111. Chris Young, OF, ARI
112. Jose Valverde, RP, HOU
113. Conor Jackson, 1B/OF, ARI
114. Rich Harden, SP, CHC
115. B.J. Ryan, RP, TOR*
116. Justin Upton, OF, ARI
117. Derek Lowe, SP, ATL
118. Brad Hawpe, OF, COL
119. Jayson Werth, OF, PHI
120. Howie Kendrick, 2B, ANA

Ninth Round:

121. Joba Chamberlain, SP, NYY
122. Chone Figgins, 3B, ANA
123. Kerry Wood, RP, CLE
124. Alex Gordon, 3B, KC*
125. Scott Baker, SP, MIN
126. Bobby Jenks, RP, CHW
127. Lastings Milledge, OF, WAS*
128. Francisco Cordero, RP, CIN*
129. Max Scherzer, SP, ARI*
130. Placido Polanco, 2B, DET
131. Pablo Sandoval, 1B, SF
132. Matt Garza, SP, TB
133. J.J. Hardy, SS, MIL
134. Matt Capps, RP, PIT
135. Carlos Zambrano, SP, CHC*

Tenth Round:

136. Mike Napoli, C, ANA
137. Adam Jones, OF, BAL
138. Mike Aviles, 2B, KC*
139. Matt Cain, SP, SF
140. Jose Lopez, 2B, SEA
141. Milton Bradley, OF, CHC
142. Edinson Volquez, SP, CIN*
143. James Loney, 1B, LAD
144. Chris Ianetta, C, COL
145. Brian Wilson, RP, SF*
146. Jhonny Peralta, SS, CLE
147. Mark Derosa, 2B/3B/OF, CLE
148. Cameron Maybin, OF, FLA
149. Erik Bedard, SP, SEA
150. Rick Ankiel, OF, STL

Alright, there is your top 150. Of course, the draft extends anywhere from 21-23 rounds, so you're going to need even more guys to keep an eye on. That's where the "best of the rest" comes in. These are guys who are extremely undervalued, and if they are still available in the latter rounds, you could find some major steals here. The top 150 are your "meat and potatoes" guys...these guys are the gravy, the garnish, the guys that will make your team complete.

Best Of The Rest:
  • Matt Wieters, C, BAL
  • Joel Hanrahan, RP, WAS
  • Brad Ziegler/Joey Devine, OAK
  • Chad Qualls, RP, ARI
  • Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD
  • Brandon Lyon, RP, DET
  • Mike Gonzalez, RP, ATL
  • Justin Duchscherer, SP, OAK
  • Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee
  • Ramon Hernandez, C, CIN
  • Kelly Johnson, 2B, ATL
  • Chase Headley, OF, SD
  • Carlos Guillen, 1B/3B, DET
  • Kelly Shoppach, C, CLE
  • Carlos Delgado, 1B, NYM
  • Yunel Escobar, SS, ATL
  • Chris Perez, RP, STL
  • Jair Jurrjens, SP, ATL
  • Manny Parra, SP, MIL
  • Gavin Floyd, SP, CHW
  • Jorge Cantu, 3B/OF, FLA
  • Josh Johnson, SP, FLA
  • George Sherill, RP, BAL
  • Chris Carpenter, SP, STL
  • Ben Sheets, SP, FA
  • Jose Guillen, OF, KC
  • Ian Stewart, 3B, COL
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, SD
  • Kyle Lohse, SP, STL
  • Jed Lowrie, 2B/SS, BOS
  • Mark Ellis, 2B, OAK
  • Jeff Clement, C, SEA
  • Justin Verlander, SP, DET
  • Mike Jacobs, 1B, KC
  • Jason Giambi, 1B, OAK
  • Mike Lowell, 3B, BOS
  • Casey Blake, 1B/3B, LAD
  • Travis Snider, OF, TOR
  • Colby Rasmus, OF, STL
  • Brad Penny, SP, BOS
  • Clint Barnes, 2B/SS, COL
  • Gary Sheffield, DH, DET
  • Joe Saunders, SP, ANA
  • Dustin McGowan, SP, TOR
So there's about 200 guys that you definitely need to consider on draft day. I've done a few of these now, and I think I've figured out the kind of team that I am look for when the real thing happens. This is a list of guys I pretty much have to get, and it's also a list that shows a full team that can plausibly be produced through the draft:
  • C: Ramon Hernandez (22)
  • 1B: Prince Fielder (2)
  • 2B: Mike Aviles (15)
  • 3B: Chris Davis (6)
  • SS: Yunel Escobar (24)
  • 1B/3B: Adrian Gonzalez (5)
  • 2B/SS: Kelly Johnson (21)
  • OF: Ryan Braun (1)
  • OF: Jason Bay (3)
  • OF: Nate McClouth (4)
  • OF: Adam Dunn (10)
  • OF: Lastings Milledge (14)
  • UTIL: Chase Headley (23)
  • P: Cliff Lee (7)
  • P: Zack Greinke (8)
  • P: Josh Beckett (9)
  • P: Jon Lester (11)
  • P: Jose Valverde (12)
  • P: B.J. Ryan (13)
  • P: Carlos Zambrano (16)
  • P: Joel Hanrahan (18)
  • P: Clayton Kershaw (19)
  • BN: Matt Wieters (17)
  • BN: Justin Duchscherer (20)
  • BN: Travis Snider (25)
This was actually a mock draft I did earlier this morning. In my opinion, I probably could not have done better than this. On this team, you are looking at an ideal situation with the offense and pitching. On offense, it is obvious that I am favoring power this year. Chris Davis, who I picked up in the 6th round, is great because he is eligible at both first and third, and third base is a position that there is not too much depth in. So basically you're getting a guy who hits at a first baseman's clip and is eligible at third. This is tremendous. I am huge on Davis. What changed the draft for me was when Stephen Drew went before I could take him. He is one of those guys who I like, but yet I know when it's too early. I have Drew ranked at #71, meaning that he's a sixth-seventh round guy. However, if a guy like Davis is available in the sixth, I'm taking him because I can fill a spot, and I think Davis will put up better numbers than Drew this year. Now, I'm thinking about who I can get in the late rounds that will help me a shortstop, because that position is not deep at all. A nice thing about getting a guy like Mike Aviles in the 15th round is that he is eligible at both second and short, so I can go with the best available second baseman or shortstop. If I am outside the top 2, I am taking Ryan Braun. I took him #3 overall, and I really think that he will be worth taking over Pujols and David Wright. I think Nate McClouth will have a similar, if not better season this year compared to his breakout performance last year. Adam Dunn just signed on to play with the Nats, so I'm not sure if he will be available in the 10th round like he was in this draft (the 10th round is absurdly low for Dunn...I don't care if he hits under .200, he should be going somewhere in the 6th to 7th rounds). In keeping with the Nats, I think one of the big sleepers this year will be Lastings Milledge. Like Scott Kazmir before him, he was the top Mets' prospect and New York refused to trade him anywhere. Then, for whatever reason, they buckled, and traded him for much less than his actual value. Now Milledge, who will be going into his second full year in the bigs, is on the fast track to getting 20 homers and 30-35 steals this season, and could potentially be one of the better leadoff hitters in baseball. With Milledge, Aviles is my other sleeper who I absolutely have to get. Aviles was named the MVP of the Royals last year, and while that may not sound all that impressive, he got called up in May, hit .325, 10 HR, 51 RBIs, 8 SB. When you space it out over a full season, it looks something like .325, 16 HR, 81 RBI, 13 SB. Tell me you're not liking that in the 15th round! I am infatuated with the Royals this year. I love Aviles, and I think that offense is starting to take shape with Jose Guillen, Mark Teahen, Billy Butler, and the recent additions of Coco and Mike Jacobs. Again, knowing that another one of my sleepers, Yunel Escobar, was looming in the late rounds, I chose to hold off on going after a shortstop, and instead, I drafted Kelly Johnson to play my 2B/SS role. Johnson is entering his third major league season, and does a real nice job putting the ball in play, going for 16 and 12 homers his last two years with 68 and 69 RBIs respectfully. Everything in Johnson's game is pointing that he has not hit his ceiling yet and that there is a very good chance of improvement this year...and this is a guy I got in the 21st round. Ramon Hernandez is yet another sleeper for me. I love Matt Wieters, but there's a good chance that he won't be playing on a regular basis until about mid-to-late May, when I think he may have an Evan Longoria-like impact on the O's (say what you will, if you have seen this guy play, you would be agreeing with me right now). So, in the meantime, I need another catcher to hold the fort down...enter Hernandez. Hernandez is in a contract year and just got traded to the Reds, who boast one of the better "hitters" parks in the majors. This will be his eleventh season, but he's only 33 (allegedly), meaning that his 162-game averages (.263, 19 HR, 82 RBI) are definitely marks he can hit. Finally, I wrap it up with Escobar in the 24th. In his first full year, he hit .288 with 10 HR and 60 RBI, very respectable numbers for a shortstop. With my last two offensive picks, I took two young outfielders. Chase Headley and Travis Snider very well could be on track for two "breakout" seasons this year. For right now, I pencilled Headley in as my utility guy, but that could change with Wieters being called up, or if Snider has a quicker start than Headley. In any event, I am real happy I ended up with both Headley and Snider. I know that it probably doesn't help my infield depth too much, but for right now, in those late rounds, I'm looking for production from any place I can. So, here is how my team would project in 2009 on offense (brought to you by the Red Sox' very own Bill James!):


  • Matt Wieters: .311/24/85/2/68
  • Ramon Hernandez: .261/16/55/0/55
  • Prince Fielder: .281/40/110/4/97
  • Adrian Gonzalez: .277/31/106/0/95
  • Mike Aviles: .288/14/72/10/78
  • Kelly Johnson: .284/15/67/10/84
  • Chris Davis: .302/40/118/8/107
  • Yunel Escobar: .300/9/63/5/78
  • Ryan Braun: .310/44/120/16/112
  • Jason Bay: .280/30/102/9/100
  • Nate McClouth: .275/21/72/22/103
  • Adam Dunn: .246/42/103/4/100
  • Lastings Milledge: .281/15/67/22/71
  • Chase Headley: .288/16/64/3/67
  • Travis Snider: .270/19/83/2/69
With the pitching, I felt like I needed to have balance in terms of relievers and starters. Of course, given what I said earlier about nearly fifteen teams all with shaky closer situations, meaning that it is very possible that you can pick up saves through the waiver wire. Therefore, I definitely emphasized starting pitching. With Cliff Lee, you have a guy fresh off a Cy Young winning season who is in the option year of his contract. There's a good chance that he is going to produce this year. Also in an option year is Josh Beckett, who I think will be back to '07 form this season. You add in Greinke, my favorite for breakout pitcher this year, and you're looking at a top-notch 1-2-3. Then, I compliment them with Lester, who many think is the best pitcher the Sox have, Zambrano, who is wildly underpriced this season, Kershaw, who the Dodgers think can put up 15-17 wins, and Duchscherer, who is available in the last rounds despite the fact that he had a 2.54 ERA in 22 starts last season. With the relievers, I saw a great chance to pick Valverde and Ryan back-to-back. Both of those pitchers are cemented in their jobs, and both can be counted on for at least 30 saves. Hanrahan is a bit of a wild card. He has some job security, but it's not rock solid. However, he doesn't have the kind of heavy competition that exists in a place like Oakland (Ziegler vs. Devine) or Atlanta (Gonzalez vs. Soriano). So, I think 25 saves is a reasonable number to expect. Here's how the pitching sorts out:


  • Cliff Lee: 14-9/3.90/1.23/146
  • Zack Greinke: 12-10/3.98/1.28/156
  • Josh Beckett: 13-8/3.57/1.22/176
  • Jon Lester: 12-11/4.02/1.40/168
  • Carlos Zambrano: 13-9/3.56/1.29/163
  • Clayton Kershaw: 13-10/3.97/1.34/171
  • Justin Duchscherer: 10-6/3.12/1.11/105
  • Jose Valverde: 43/3.42/1.21/87
  • B.J. Ryan: 38/3.02/1.20/72
  • Joel Hanrahan: 25/4.00/1.40/70
Alright, now as I mentioned before, ESPN has put up a mock auction lobby as well. I had never participated in one before, so it was definitely an interesting experience to say the least. What's great about the auction drafts are that you have a chance at every single player, and you can get whoever you want as long as you have the high bid. The auction process also makes you use a budget for 23 players, so strategy definitely comes into play. One little piece of advice if you do an online auction draft: Make sure you go to the bathroom before hand, because it's a really fast process and you might miss out on who you want. I thought I did amazing, but that's probably a biased opinion huh? Anyway, here are the results (budget was $260 by the way):
  • C: Ramon Hernandez $1
  • 1B: Joey Votto $11
  • 2B: Mike Aviles $5
  • 3B: Chris Davis $13
  • SS: Stephen Drew $14
  • 2B/SS: Jose Lopez $7
  • 1B/3B: Kevin Kouzmanoff $3
  • OF: Ryan Braun $29
  • OF: Grady Sizemore $28
  • OF: Jason Bay $22
  • OF: Nate McLouth $16
  • OF: Adam Dunn $12
  • UTIL: Ryan Ludwick $9
  • P: Zack Greinke $13
  • P: B.J. Ryan $13
  • P: Edinson Volquez $11
  • P: Francisco Cordero $11
  • P: Carlos Zambrano $8
  • P: Jair Jurrjens $6
  • P: Joe Saunders $3
  • P: Brad Ziegler $2
  • BN: Lastings Milledge $9
  • BN: Cameron Maybin $6
  • BN: Matt Wieters $4
So, there's kind of a glimpse as to how to construct a real nice team in my opinion. Of course, everyone's will vary...mine will probably vary a little depending on where my pick is. In any event, you've been informed. I've done my job. I hope everyone enjoys All Star Weekend and the Daytona 500 (my pick is Kyle Busch by the way). Take care. Peace.


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