Saturday, March 15, 2008

It's Just a Fantasy...Part II

I am currently enjoying the first day of my week long Spring Break. As in years past I marked the start of it by yelling "Spring Break!!" a la Milhouse after exiting my final class of the week. Anyone care to join me on a wild road trip to Knoxville? If we're lucky we may be able to swing by Reno to catch an Andy Williams show.

This is really one of the things I'll miss most if I ever actually end up getting "a job" and enter the "real world." Instead of spending a wide open week doing everything in my power to forget all the things I've learned this semester, I'd be...working and complaining about all the extra vacation traffic on my daily commutes; pretty depressing. Let's all just hope I won't have to deal with that sort of unpleasantness.

The coming of spring break also heralds the imminent return of baseball, now only a few weeks away. And with that awkward lead in, I present part two of my three part series on my upcoming fantasy season with exclusive round by round coverage:

League: Ah Me Gusta Beisbol
My Team: Team Korea All Stars
Draft order: 9th pick out of 10
Previous Year's Rank: 5 of 9

This is my other Yahoo! baseball draft with all the standard 5x5 roto rules and formats. It's the smallest of my three drafts, usually with ten or less teams competing. While the odds of winning the league are higher, I prefer as many teams as possible. With a small league like this there is a far deeper pool of players to go around which sort of takes a little bit of the fun out of mining for talent at the bottom of the draft or speculating on unproven prospects. On the other hand it is fun to have an arms race to see which stacked team of all stars can top the other and the devastating effect of a star getting injured (or being suspended for steroids) is mitigated by a deep waiver wire or trade block. My team last year, much like most of my fantasy teams had gaudy offensive numbers but was handcuffed by mediocre to awful starting pitching leading to another middle of the standings finish. What can I say, the chicks dig the long ball (and stolen bases). Hopefully, this year I'll try not to be a negligent father to my pitching concerns, while still remaining #1 Dad to my offense.

Rd.1 Jimmy Rollins SS - That's right Rollins again. He's almost always the best option available at the bottom of the first round. I hate the man and in reality if he had a miserable season it'd work out best for me; but alas in fantasy land he's the player that a majority of my fortunes now rest on. Let's go Phillies.

Rd.2 Ryan Braun 3B/OF - It's only his second year, he hasn't played a full season, I normally prefer established talent, and I still think Tulowitzki should have been Rookie of the Year but the monstrous upside was so great I couldn't pick over him. If his numbers last year extrapolate to a full season this out. Interesting how my first two picks were under such duress.

Rd.3 Magglio Ordonez OF - If it wasn't for A-Rod casually having another god-like year, Mags would have been the MVP. While I don't expect him to hit .363 again, barring injury I can't see how he won't put up another season of fat numbers in that juiced Tigers offense.

Rd.4 Russell Martin C - Yes, I was that guy at the draft who spent their early pick on one of the two elite catchers this year. It was a little compulsive of me, but for the rest of the draft I felt really good watching everyone else try to find a backstop that wouldn't hurt their team too much. The catcher position will actually be working for me rather than against me.

Rd.5 Bobby Abreu OF - He stopped hitting a lot of homers after his historic win at the Home Run Derby in 2005, but the man's still fantasy gold. He's the type of player that I'm always looking for in a draft, a proven guy who has put up consistent numbers in all the catagories. Although as with every time I draft a Yankee I still get a bad taste in my mouth.

Rd.6 Carlos Zambrano SP - I figured it was about time to pick up my ace. He can get a little wild sometimes but there's no denying the guy's a stud. He's extremely durable, strikes out a bunch, and gets a lot of wins. He's just got to keep that WHIP down.

Rd.7 Derrek Lee 1B - I still have lingering bad memories of 2006 when he derailed my season after breaking his wrist, but he seems like he bounced back pretty nicely last year. As long as he keeps eating his Frosted Flakes and avoids collisions with Rafael Furcal I don't think he will disappoint.

Rd.8 John Smoltz SP - This is another strange fantasy bedfellow. Along with Chipper Jones, Smoltz has been the consistent face of everything I hate about the Atlanta Braves. However, now he's my number two man and I'll have to cheer him on as he continues his stellar pitching into his forties, usually against the Mets.

Rd.9 Mariano Rivera RP - Normally he's taken a lot higher than Rd. 9 but I guess many see the beginning of the end after last year's good but not great season. Sure he's only getting pretty old, but he's still going to get a mess of saves without the Joe Borowski ERA. He's still elite in my book. There's that taste again though.

Rd.10 Dan Uggla 2B - I learned my lesson from the previous draft about holding out for second basemen in the post-Utley part of the draft. So, I turned to my good friend Dan Uggla who came out of nowhere to help out my team in 2006. He still provides top tier offense for the position, but please for the love of god, improve that .245 average!!

Rd.11 Kelvim Escobar SP - He's always been consistent but unspectacular. I am hoping that he might be able to repeat something close to the career year he had last year. He'll always maintain some degree of default quality and he's on a good team.

Rd.12 Delmon Young OF - Here's another guy who goes against my "proven veterans with established ceilings" drafting tendencies. Here's one of those immensely talented young stars (younger than me) with fantastic five category fantasy potential that may or may strike. I figured I'd do a little gambling. Although I thought I'd never see him in baseball after that umpire incident.

Rd.13 John Maine SP - I think he's a solid starter who's only going to post better numbers this year on an improved Mets team. Of course this is all through the slightly rose colored frames of a Met fan.

Rd.14 Chad Cordero RP - "The Chief" provides me with a steady no nonsense source of saves. Although a repeat of that amazing 2005 campaign would be nice though. I think the best saves sources are on bad teams. They don't blow out teams much so things are close and even the worst teams will have roughly 60 -70 wins.

Rd.15 - Mike Lowell 3B - Aside from 2005, when his talent inexplicably disappeared for that one season, Lowell has been steady to (for example last year) great. I double he'll hit .324 and have 120 rbi but in that prolific Boston line up the numbers should be pretty tasty; especially for a guy I'll probably be switching in and out of the utility slot.

Rd.16 - Oliver Perez SP - He's another repeat from my earlier draft; he actually fell three rounds here. Like I said before he'll many times throw a gem or not get out of the first inning. Hopefully he'll pick up a thing or two from fellow lefty Johan and hit his potential.

Rd.17 Ken Griffey Jr. OF - Hopefully I'll reap some of those 30 HRs and 90 RBIs until his arm falls off or his leg explodes sometime in late July.

Rd.18 - Bronson Arroyo SP - A recent Victor fantasy favorite. Not a year has gone by since he broke out with Boston, where I didn't draft him on one of my teams. While not amazing, he's definitely was not as bad most people think; pitching for the Reds should be judged on a different standard.

Rd.19 Tony Pena RP - Apparently he's got the inside track on the closer spot on the Diamondbacks, if not it's only a 19th round pick.

Rd.20 Kelly Johnson 2B - The likely lead off guy for Atlanta so there's a lot of potential for runs there. If I get too disgusted by Uggla's batting average I just may stick him in. It'd be even better if I could trade him to my other team that's forced to start Felipe Lopez.

Rd.21 - Joey Votto 1B - Decided to blow my throw away final spot on the hot prospect. I know it'll take a lot of faith in the Reds to put him over "superstar" Scott Hatterburg, but if they decide to pull the trigger and reap whatever benefits of the hype...or I'll just immediately cut him now.

Overall, I'm feeling good about this one. If I can just get average to good numbers from the starting pitchers I think I'll be competing for the top spot. I don't have that many doubts that the offense will be doing their part. Again I must emphasize that predicting anything in fantasy baseball however is a futile task so it'll be interesting to see how different this roster will be mid season.

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