Thursday, March 31, 2005

Fantasy League Opening Day Roster

Evan and I are in a Fantasy Baseball league with a bunch of whip-smart college kids from Vassar (read: heckling, trash-talkin', shysters who love beating up on poor, defenseless old guys like us) , as well as a father of one of the league members (he's in something like a dozen fantasy leagues) and a friend of another. The league was set up by Evan's nephew Andrew whose other genes must have come from the Selig family. After all, he decided to change the rules after the draft. He's like a little Bud in the making...

In any case, here is my opening day lineup, complete with commentary. There are a few guys who I picked up after the draft and a few I jettisoned. I'll discuss this too.

Albert Pujols (StL - 1B): I got first pick in the draft. To be honest, I was torn between Randy Johnson, A-Rod, and Pujols. I decided on this pick because (a) I wanted youth, (b) I didn't want a pitcher, (c) I didn't want an outfielder, and (d) I didn't want a Yankee.

Adrian Beltre (Sea - 3B): This goes along with my drafting strategy of getting the good hitting infielders first and worrying about the outfield later, since I believe there's more parity out there. I was torn between Beltre and Rolen, mostly because Beltre had only one good year and he switched leagues. However, I stuck with Beltre because of his youth and I truly feel that last year was his breakout year, and not a flash in the pan season.

Derek Jeter (NYY - SS): Another infielder. Tejada was already gone. And, because of our scoring system, Jeter fit better than the other top shortstops. He's going to get me points in hits, runs, stolen bases, OPS, avg, and, because of his limited range, he'll have relatively few errors!

Ben Sheets (Mil - SP): This is where I got scared. The draft order dictated that with 10 fantasy league members, I had to wait for 18 players to go between picks (I picked 1st, 20th, 21st, 40th, 41st, 60th, 61st, etc), and here I was, last to pick in the 4th round with NO pitchers. What to do? Well, here's what you do: Get the best damn pitcher that is left. Oh, and get the second best that is left (see below).

Tim Hudson (Atl - SP): See above. Also, he's going to be even better now that there's no DH. He'll win 17 this year. Just watch.

Armando Benítez (SF - RP): Now, it's the 6th round and I'm stuck with no relief. What to do? Get the best reliever that's left. By the way, I think Benitez can definitely compete on the same level as Gagne and Rivera. Just as long as he's not facing the Yankees or Red Sox, he'll be fine and will get me a solid 40-50 save season with a low ERA and WHIP and a high strikeout total.

Billy Wagner (Phi - RP): The second best closer left in the draft and I had to get him. I like 100 mph. I like southpaws. Am concerned with his location, but he should still be good for 40 saves or so and a whole mess of strikeouts...

Bret Boone (Sea - 2B): Boone is a tough one. Part of getting him was my theory about getting good hitting infielders. However, Boone had a crap season last year. Hmmm, steroid withdrawal? Or, maybe it was just an off-year. In any case, he's got some good protection with Beltre and Sexton. I have high hopes for Bret.

Jorge Posada (NYY - C): Ugh. I might have screwed up on this one. In retrospect, I think I should have taken Varitek, Joe Mauer, or Jason Kendall. I pretty much got blinded by the fact that he's hitting in a lineup that has Jeter, A-Rod, Gary Sheffield, Jason (Comeback Kid) Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, and Tony Womack, which means runs and RBI's galore. And, I panicked. We'll just have to wait and see how this turns out. Who knows, maybe those other guys will have mediocre seasons or, better yet, will get hurt (I'm talking 'bout you, Mauer!!!)...

Sammy Sosa (Bal - OF): Time to get an outfielder or two. Sammy was the highest ranked and last year, a year in which he got lambasted for not achieving, he still popped a mess of HRs while spending some time on the DL. Now, he's hitting in Camden Yards which should be even more conducive to his stupid little first hop and stupid finger kissing. Yeah, I hate that showboating, but I think Sammy will do me good. Particularly smack dab in the middle of Mora, Tejada, Javy Lopez, and Palmiero.

OF D. Roberts (SD - OF): I'm on the fence about this one. No, I didn't get him because he put the stake in the Yankees heart last year. I got him because he can have 70+ steals this year playing every day and leading off for the Padres. That is, if he can keep his groin in check. He may start off the season on the DL, and that makes me mad.

Torii Hunter (Min - OF): Torii and I are having issues. His numbers aren't spectacular and defense doesn't really help in the fantasy scoring (errors only count). However, he can hit some dingers, steals a bit, and will be consistent. I think he'll end up being an everyday guy and will rarely be on my bench. Just as soon as I get used to the fact that he isn't a big bopper and he's not an offensive machine.

Freddie García (CWS - SP): Needed more pitching and Freddie has the Strikeouts, Innings, and Wins. Plus, there wasn't any other better starting pitcher out there.

Ken Griffey Jr. (Cin - OF): High risk. High reward. Maybe I'll donate a hammy (or two) to him. If he goes on the DL, I may have to go out and get another outfielder. Arrgh.

Larry Walker (StL - OF): High risk. High reward. He's getting old. But, he can hit and his OPS is over 1. And, he's got Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds right behind him. That's gotta work out, right? Of course, if he slumps, he's getting the bench or the boot.

David Wells (Bos - SP): I love Boomer. I think he'll get consistent strikeouts, his WHIP will be low, and he has the Boston Boppers helping him get wins. He just has to stay healthy. And sober.

Miguel Batista (Tor - SP, RP): Originally drafted Lyle Overbay, but decided that he just wasn't a good fit. Dropped him and got Frank Thomas. But, I realized I couldn't just put him on the DL and wait for him to come around. So, I decided to lose him and pick up a reliever. Got Mike Gonzalez of the Pirates and found out that he had a dead arm in spring training. Too big of a risk for too little reward. So, here I am with Batista. He's the new Toronto closer. Should be good for 40 saves or so. His big problem as a starter wasn't the first 3 innings, it was 4th - 7th. So, this should be a good fit for him. Hopefully.

Erubiel Durazo (Oak - Util): Originally got Milton Bradley. Didn't want to deal with those high/low swings that he always brings to the field. And, Erubiel hit .322 last year with 20+ dingers. Should be strong. Will NOT play the bench. He's my everyday utility man.

Orlando Hernandez (CWS - SP) : I originally got Kevin Brown. But, Brown is a head case. I don't like head cases. He's gone. El Duque could be a really nice acquisition, as long as his control is good. Hopefully he and Jose Contrares will become good buddies and he'll work out just fine. And, hopefully he'll stay healthy. If not, I'm dropping him. Fast.

Yhency Brazoban (LAD - RP): Yhency is MONEY. People made fun of me for this one. Maybe it's because he was ranked 716th. But, they're just ignorant and that's ok. I guarantee that he's going to be Tom Gordon's equivalent (without the playoff yarfing/meltdown). In fact, if Gagne gets hurt, Yhency is the Dodger's closer. He's money. He will get me holds and/or saves, strikeouts, and maybe a few wins. His ERA and WHIP are small, too. Yhency is my ace in the hole.


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