Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Extended Review(ed): Andrew Wessley

Yesterday I posted a bland review of Andrew’s draft just to aggravate him. Here is a bit more extended version of my thoughts on Andrew’s draft.

A quick reminder of Andrew’s Top 10
1 – Miguel Cabrera (1)
2 – Carlos Lee (2)
3 – Brandon Philips (3)
4 – Carl Crawford (3)
5 – Bobby Abreu (5)
6 – Francisco Rodriguez (5)
7 – Torii Hunter (6)
8 – Derek Lowe (9)
9 – Gil Meche (14)
10 – Russell Martin (Kept)

I think Andrew got the sixth best player in the draft with his tenth pick, which is a nice deal for him. I think Kyle and Kimball will regret passing on him for Teixiera and Morneau respectively.

Andrew did whiff on his second round pick. Of all of the outfielders available, Carlos Beltran, Manny Ramirez and Nick Markakis were all better options than Carlos Lee. Lee will still be fine, I just think he could have had a better outfielder here.

I am also not a fan of the Torii Hunter pick. Again, I think Andrew would have been better served going Carlos Beltran in the second round and then Raul Ibanez in the seventh. That would have given him an outfield of Ibanez, Beltran and Abreu, which would be a far more productive fantasy outfield of Lee, Hunter and Abreu.

(Ed. Note: After the first week, an Abreu, Lee and Hunter tandem produced 53 fantasy points. Beltran, Ibanez and Abreu would have combined for 81. The difference in those points would have won Andrew his first week matchup. This is not to say it will maintain itself, but it at least made a difference in week one.)

As much as Andrew probably does not like his Lowe and Meche picks, I like them. The way the draft went, everyone was forced to reach on some pitchers. Reaching on Meche and Lowe is not a bad thing. Lowe pitches in a friendly park, with a solid offense and an excellent ability to keep the ball down and get strikeouts. It is not out of the question that Meche could be a 17 to 20 game winner this season if the Royals are able to come up with a league average offense (which I think they can). Meche was one of the better pitchers in the American League in the second half of the season in 2008 and was also in the top 10 in the AL for strikeouts. Given many of the reaches that occurred in the nether region that was the sixth through tenth rounds, Andrew faired pretty well.

Best Pick:

Gavin Floyd may end up being the best keeper prospect in the league when the season is over. A very nice pick in the twenty-first round.

Worst Pick:

I really, really, really do not like the Carlos Lee pick. I really don’t. Other candidates include: Hunter, Torii.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reviewed: Andrew Wessley

Team: I’m Bill James, Bitch
Owner: Andrew Wessley
Draft Pick Order: 10th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Miguel Cabrera (1)
2 – Carlos Lee (2)
3 – Brandon Philips (3)
4 – Carl Crawford (3)
5 – Bobby Abreu (5)
6 – Francisco Rodriguez (5)
7 – Torii Hunter (6)
8 – Derek Lowe (9)
9 – Gil Meche (14)
10 – Russell Martin (Kept)


It could have been worse, it could have been better.

Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Carlos Lee.

Carlos Lee.

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Russell Martin: He’s okay.

1B – Miguel Cabrera: He’s better.

2B – Brandon Philips: Not as good as Cabrera or Martin, but still okay.

3B – Ryan Zimmerman: He’ll be okay.

SS – Stephen Drew: I’ve seen worse.

LF – Carlos Lee: He’s better than Willie Bloomquist.

CF – Torii Hunter: Eh.

RF – Bobby Abreu: Mr. Consistent.

UT – Carl Crawford: It could be worse.

SP1 – CC Sabathia: Keeper.

SP2 – Derek Lowe: Drafted.

SP3 – Gil Meche: Drafted after Lowe.

FLEX – Gavin Floyd: Future keeper.

RP – Jonathan Broxton: Good closer.

RP – Francisco Rodriguez: Another good closer.

RP – Brian Wilson: An okay closer.

General Thoughts:


Sarcastic Statement:

There is too much to say about Andrew.

Final Statement

*Average Draft Position by Round via ESPN’s Live and Mock Drafts as of March 14, adjusted for keepers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Post Opening Week or Week Two

Week In Review

Final Scores*

Blue Springs Inoculators – 474.5
I’m Bill James, Bitch – 453

The Inoculators scored 307 of their 474.5 fantasy points via hitting. The Inoculators won despite being out-pitched by BJB, 216 to 167.5.

Krunk Smurfs – 354.5
Viva El Birdos – 456

Where in the world did the Birdos come from? Note to Adam: do not count on complete game shutouts from Kyle Lohse and 50-plus point weeks from Emilio Bonifacio all season. Chris Young posted 62 fantasy points this week, but was still 12.5 points behind Kyle Lohse’s output for the week.

The Zou – 267
Texas A-holes – 429.5

I do not enjoy talking about the A-holes or The Zou. Next!

Rolorado Cockies – 303
Polk County Homer-Hulks – 446.5

Consider me genuinely frightened by Kimball now. Sheesh. And Josh Johnson?! Holy sh…

San Antonio Saints – 282
Flying Monkeys – 435

Tony picked up right where he left off in basketball season. Roy Oswalt, Edinson Volquez and Chien-Ming Wang all had terrible weeks. Shockingly, Todd Wellemeyer sucked. I expect Oswalt and Wang to bounce back and for Harden to have a better week next week.

*These finals do not include the points from shutouts posted by, of all people: Kyle Lohse and Aaron Harang. It should be noted that none of these points affected the outcome of any of these matchups.

Week In Preview

Blue Springs Inoculators V San Antonio Saints

General Thought: Remember all of those things I said I expected to happen, Tony? I hope they don’t happen.

Specific Thought: Tony’s three starters set for Monday – Edinson Volquez, Chien-Ming Wang and Jamie Moyer – will dictate who wins this matchup. Nielsen has nobody countering them.

WTF Thought: What makes Budweiser’s “American Ale” an American Ale? Are they suggesting that all other American made ales are not, in fact, American? And isn’t Budweiser owned by a Belgian company? Anyway, I say all of this to say that the St. Louis Cardinals are un-American.

Krunk Smurfs V The Zou

General Thought: I want Jason to win.

Specific Thought: I want Jason to win because I do not like Erik.

WTF Thought: Jason, I think your team name is now outdated because the term “krunk” has to be dead by now. This is why you need to go with a bland, yet always timely name such as: The Blue Springs Inoculators. Boring, yet somewhat compelling because you don’t entirely know what it means.

I’m Bill James, Bitch V Rolorado Cockies

General Thought: I think now would be a good time to mention that my hitting alone outscored Joel, Erik and Tony’s entire team. Not to say this will ever happen again, but you know your team sucks when one facet of another team is outscoring your entire team. Ouch.

Specific Thought: Joel had precisely two hitters who posted more than 15 fantasy points last week. Two. Remember how I said hitting meant something? Joel received 159 fantasy points in a combined effort from Johan Santana, Armando Galarraga, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Marmol and James Shields… and still lost by almost 150 points. HITTING WINS MATCHUPS!!!!!

WTF Thought: Andrew, change your team name. Any name that requires a comma sucks. Bill James Bitches would suffice. Just anything without a comma please.

Texas A-holes V Polk County Homer-Hulks

General Thoughts: I want Kimball to win because I don’t like A-holes.

Specific Thoughts: On the other hand, I want Kimball to lose so I can sleep well at night. Seriously, I have no idea where you got those fantasy points from, Kimball. And you got them despite the fact that Alex Gordon, Jorge Posada, Ian Stewart and Pat Burrell all combined for a whopping 36 points. Honestly, I’m afraid to sleep at night.

WTF Thought: Josh Johnson?! Really???

Viva El Birdos V Flying Monkey

General Thought: Adam… hat tip to you, you lucky son of a crippled monkey.

Specific Thought: Kyle Lohse. Kyle. Fucking. Lohse. Line, please!

Lohse Career: 78-80, 4.67 ERA, 1.413 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 10 H/9, 5.6 K/9
Lohse Week One: 2-0, 1.13 ERA, 0.563 WHIP, .6 BB/9, 4.5 H/9, 4.5 K/9

Seriously? First, please note that Lohse had only eight strikeouts in 16 innings, but only gave up two runs and eight hits. This means 40 of his 48 outs were balls that were put in play. It also means 48 of the 57 batters he faced put the ball in play. You do understand how unbelievably lucky someone has to be to allow only two runs when 84-percent of the batters Lohse faced put the ball in play against him, right? For comparison sake…

Kyle Lohse Shutout: 30 batters faced, 26 balls in play. 86% BIP
Kyle Lohse Career: 5949 batters faced, 4618 balls in play. 78% BIP

Aaron Harang Shutout: 31 batters faced, 21 balls in play. 68% BIP
Johan Santana Sunday (0 ER, 7 IP): 25 batters faced, 11 balls in play. 44% BIP

If anybody here says Dave Duncan is a genious, I’m going to rip off your testicles. This was an unbelievably lucky week for Kyle Lohse. God, I hate St. Louis…

(I’m an angry elf, and slightly bitter.)

WTF Thought: Kyle Lohse?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Jeff, for everyone’s sanity, please kick Adam’s ass this week. Thank you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reviewed: Erik Johnson

Team: The Zou
Owner: Erik Johnson
Draft Pick Order: 9th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Chase Utley (1)
2 – Brandon Webb (2)
3 – Ichiro (2)
4 – Jon Lester (7)
5 – Chipper Jones (4)
6 – Yovani Gallardo (7)
7 – Connor Jackson (9)
8 – Chad Billingsley (Kept)
9 – Lastings Milledge (11)
10 – David Price (13)


Here is where I’m going to differ in evaluating Erik as opposed to everyone else: Erik did not draft enough pitching. Well, let me rephrase that: He didn’t draft the right pitching.

Here would have been my first five picks if I were Erik:

1 – Brandon Webb (also actual pick)
2 – Jake Peavy
3 – Ichiro (also actual pick)
4 – James Shields
5 – Francisco Rodriguez

As has been discussed, and will be discussed again and again, Erik was really the only team lined up to draft pitching heavy and still be in good shape. What Erik needed to supplement in his draft was reliable, red-flagless starting pitching. Now, of course, this does not mean that none of these pitchers will ever suffer from injury (see: Brandon Webb), but the amount of red flags laying around with Erik’s keeper selections is enough to make Wall Street jealous.

A quick reminder of Erik’s keepers: Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett. All four of whom have serious injury or recession risks ahead of them. Again, this does not mean they will get hurt or injured, but if they do and Erik has nothing to back them up with, you can kiss his season goodbye.

Erik chose to supplement those four with Webb, Lester, Gallardo and Price. Outside of Webb, Lester is not the greatest fantasy player due to his strikeout rate and he already has some injury risk (though not severe). Gallardo is coming off major surgery and has never pitched a full major league season. David Price started the season in AAA and has about 18 innings of big league experience.

With the changes in pitching scoring, it favors the individual pitcher’s performance and not his team (10 pts for QS instead of 10 pts for W’s). With this in mind, Peavy becomes more valuable in this league than in other’s because his team’s performance isn’t so heavily weighted on his production. James Shields is a more proven and steady pitcher fantasy-wise than Lester and is less of an injury risk (and makes more sense being drafted in the fourth round than Lester). Francisco Rodriguez, while not high on Erik’s importance, was the best available arm in the fifth round. He will score about as many points as an above average starting pitcher and would add consistent points.

Personally, I’d rather go into a season backing up Erik’s big four with Webb, Peavy and Shields, than what he actually selected. Given how Erik’s roster is set up, he would have had a better chance at winning with Peavy on his roster than Utley or Shields over Lester.

Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Raul Ibanez. How this guy dropped to round 17 in unbelievable to me given some other team’s issues with left fielders. Anyway, it is an absolute bonus for Erik to get Ibanez for such little cost.

Lastings Milledge. So bad of a pick that it makes taking David Price in the 10th round look like a steal.

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Chris Iannetta: Let’s face it, after the big three there really isn’t much out there when it comes to catchers. Taking a flyer on a guy who plays in Colorado can’t be too bad of an idea can it?

1B – Prince Fielder: If he wants to, he could hit 50 homers, something Erik isn’t used to.

2B – Chase Utley: Even though I think Erik should have gone Peavy here, it doesn’t mean I think Utley sucks. The guy can rake.

3B – Chipper Jones: I have a hard time seeing Jones go a full season at the pace he set last year before he got hurt. If he does, it will help solidify a strong infield.

SS – Orlando Cabrera: Cabrera has a good shot at finishing in the middle of the pack for shortstops.

LF – Connor Jackson: Hits for a decent average, but he doesn’t hit for a lot of power.

CF – Lastings Milledge: Ouch.

RF – Ichiro Suzuki: When is this guy’s legs going to go? Isn’t he like 34 or something? (He’s 35.) Wow, they make’em differently in Japan don’t they?

UT – Raul Ibanez: You know, Erik took Connor Jackson over Ibanez in the seventh round. At the end of the season who do you think is going to be worth a seventh round pick, Ibanez or Jackson?

SP1 – Tim Lincecum: Strikeout machine that could break down at any moment.

SP2 – Brandon Webb: A stud who should see an added bonus more than others with the pitching changes.

SP3 – Cole Hamels: Will be on the DL in 5, 4, 3…

FLEX – Chad Billingsley: Will be meeting Lincecum and Hamels on the DL in 5, 4, 3…

RP – Kerry Wood: Eeeks!

RP – Chad Qualls: Double eeks!

RP – So Bad I Don’t Know Who To Put Here: That’s not good…

General Thoughts:

No one will rely on health more than Erik this season. If his pitching stays upright, he should be back in the playoffs.

Sarcastic Statement:

I like you, Erik.

Final Statement

Erik’s, Erik. What else is there to say. Erik is Erik. (Note: Only Andrew is going to get this joke… maybe.)

*Average Draft Position by Round via ESPN’s Live and Mock Drafts as of March 14, adjusted for keepers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reviewed: Jeff Kimball

Team: Polk County Homer-Hulks
Owner: Jeff Kimball
Draft Pick Order: 8th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Justin Morneau (2)
2 – Roy Halladay (2)
3 – Alex Gordon (10)
4 – Alex Rios (4)
5 – Robinson Cano (7)
6 – Joey Votto (6)
7 – John Danks (15)
8 – Yunel Escobar (n/a)
9 – Joe Saunders (15)
10 – J.J. Putz (n/a)


Excuse me, I’m going to need an adult beverage before I begin…

One didn’t work, I’m going to have to go back for another. Hold on…

[Eight drinks later…]



[Four days ago, in a small church room in Bolivar, Missouri, Jeff Kimball sits amongst several strangers at an "Overdraftaholics Annonymous" meeting and begins to pour out what has been ailing him for the last several days.]

Kimball: Hello, I’m Jeff Kimball and I’m an overdraftaholic. A few weeks ago, I drafted Alex Gordon at least seven rounds too high.

[Mutters from the rest of the group of “I’ve been there buddy.”]

Group Leader: I’m glad you can admit that, Jeff. Now for –

Kimball: Wait, I’m not done yet. I also took John Danks in the seventh round.

[A few glance from some of the members suggest that Kimball is a hard-core overdraftaholic.]

Group Leader: I’m glad for your honesty, Jeff. Now –

Kimball: I also took two 15th round projected picks with my seventh and ninth round picks.

[One group member begins to cry, another man curses aloud. The Group Leader is starting to feel over-burdened and starts to sweat a little.]

Group Leader (voice trembling): Good… good, Jeff. We’re going… we’re… work thru this... we will.

Kimball (his face devoid of emotion): I also took two players in the top 10 rounds who were not even drafted in the top 21 rounds of normal, non-keeper drafts.

[Mass suicide occurs.]

Kimball (amongst the carnage): What? What did I say? Aw, come on guys!


Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Um… Jorge Posada. Yeah, Posada could be a steal in round twenty-three. He could…

Let’s go with rounds one thru 25 (minus round 23 of course). Look, I’m just going to assume that Kimball had a list of guys he wanted and just went with it no matter the round. I’m sure that’s what he did. Positive. I hope…

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Jorge Posada: Well, it was either him or Bengie Molina…

1B – Justin Morneau: I would like him a lot more if I knew Joe Mauer was healthy and that Carlos Gomez was going to take the necessary steps to be a good leadoff hitter this season. Alas, I don’t know either of those things.

2B – Robinson Cano: It could be worse. A mid-range second baseman at best.

3B – Alex Gordon: For Kimball’s sake, the Royals season’s sake and for my sanity, I hope Alex Gordon goes off this season. Oh Lord, I hope.

SS – Ryan Theriot: Theriot is an excellent mid-range option at shortstop. Theriot will split time with Yunel Escobar for Kimball. Escobar is another mid-range guy. Kimball has a lot of those mid-range kind of guys on his team.

LF – Pat Burrell: I suspect a drop off from Burrell this season from last. I also don’t like all the good pitching he is going to see in the AL East.

CF – Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian is an excellent gel guy in a lineup full of gel guys.

RF – Alex Rios: Has a high ceiling, but you have to wonder if he’ll ever reach it. His strikeouts and lack of power concern me.

UT – Joey Votto: A good prospect for a breakout season in a hitter’s park.

SP1 – Cliff Lee: Massive drop-off forthcoming in a fortnight. Just wanted to say “fortnight” that’s all…

SP2 – Roy Halladay: One of only three pitchers I felt could reasonably be picked in the top three rounds. Oh, and he’s really good.

SP3 – Scott Baker: DL’d for the moment. Solid pitcher, but you’ve got to worry about his strikeout rate in relation to fantasy.

FLEX – Josh Johnson: Supposedly, he’s going to win the NL Cy Young… and so are half the other pitchers in the National League. I hate preseason predictions.

RP – Jonathan Papelbon: Stud. Health is an issue, though.

RP – J.J. Putz: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… It could be worse I suppose…

RP – Kevin Gregg: Oh God, it got worse.

General Thoughts:

I’d rather not talk about it…

Sarcastic Statement:


Final Statement

I’d still rather not talk about it. Really, I don’t want to. Seriously, shut up, I don’t want to talk about it!

*Average Draft Position by Round via ESPN’s Live and Mock Drafts as of March 14, adjusted for keepers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reviewed: Joel Schilb

Team: Rolorado Cockies
Owner: Joel Schilb
Draft Pick Order: 6th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Johan Santana (1)
2 – Francisco Liriano (5)
3 – Derrek Lee (4)
4 – James Shields (5)
5 – Matt Hilliday (Kept)
6 – Chris Davis (5)
7 – Corey Hart (5)
8 – Carlos Marmol (6)
9 – Javier Vasquez (11)
10 – Milton Bradley (10)


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? What the hell was Joel thinking for the first 30 minutes of the draft? And that was a rhetorical question, Joel, so please do not answer so as to not make the rest of us dumber for trying to desifer the ill fated logic that was flowing thru that organ some of us refer to as a “brain”.

Let’s start with this: Having Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano, James Shields and Javier Vazquez on one’s team is not a bad thing – it is most certainly a good thing. But this is not a player evaluation, this is a draft evaluation. And key to a draft evaluation is a little thing called “value”. V-a-l-u-e. For instance, if one is looking for an iPod and the average cost is $150 and a store is selling a brand new one for $135, than one is getting a $15 value. If one buys the same iPod for $1000, than they are either doing it for charity or they are just flat out desperate to own an iPod. I think the latter reflects Joel’s pitching strategy.

Francisco Liriano is a very good pitcher when healthy. But the problem with Liriano is that you have to add the whole “when healthy” tag to him whenever one speaks of him because, you know, he has health issues. This is why he was going in the seventh round in real drafts and was valued as a fifth rounder in our draft. Additionally, it was the appeal of keeping Liriano that made him a more interesting player. This will be his first full season of being in the big leagues since his rookie year. Expecting him to produce at a second round pick is asking a lot. And lets also not forget that Liriano cannot be kept now because he was taken in the second round – what good was there taking him there?

Here’s my suggestion: If you are hell bent on pitching, take Jake Peavy in round two. Is it a reach? Yeah, a little, but it is way less risky than Liriano. If you really want Lirano, wait for him in the fourth round. It’s still a minor reach, but you have the added bonus of keeping him and if he’s not there you still have Peavy. Additionally, as you know, Shields was still there at four. A threesome of Santana, Peavy and Shields is far more enticing than Santana, Liriano and Shields.

But here’s my bigger problem: the hellish idea that starting pitching wins this league. In 2008, only 10 pitchers scored more than 600 points. Ten. And of those 11, only five scored more than 700 points. To put that in prospective, 10 hitters scored more than 800 points last season and 62 hitters scored more than 600 points last season. And it’s not like hitters totally out-weigh pitchers in terms of roster space. Generally, a team carries 12 to 13 pitchers on their 25 man roster and there are at least 150 starting pitchers in the league at any given time – three times more than any other position on the field.

But here it comes, the counterargument: But if there are only 10 elite pitchers and a half a billion hitters, than pitchers have more value because there are not as many of them. And furthermore, if there are only ten pitchers worth having, one should spend high picks on them to get those players. WRONG! But I don’t want to go into this yet, I’m saving that for another blog and my head is about to explode out of anger and frustration.

Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Kelly Shoppach. A lot of people are very high on Kelly (I’m not one of them), but many would point to this pick as an absolute steal in the 19th round. Since I’m not high on him, this is probably a good sign for Joel.

75% of his draft. Honestly, I hate this draft from on so many levels, I don’t know where to begin. But with that said, Joel made the playoffs last season and I didn’t so I’ll leave it there.

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Geovany Soto: There is some risk of regression this season, but I think he’ll end up being the second best catcher (behind Brian McCann) this season.

1B – Derrek Lee: An excellent producing first baseman in a high-octane lineup. Injuries are an issue with Lee as is the fact that he plays for a cursed team.

2B – Alexei Ramirez: Still have no idea why he was kept and I think he is more likely to suffer from a sophomore jinx as opposed to having a breakout season.

3B – Chris Davis: A very risky pick in that he strikes out a lot, but does hit for a lot of power in a hitter friendly ballpark. I had him on my team at the end of the season last year and noticed he was a very streaky hitter. Joel needs to hope Davis times his slumps for weeks that won’t hurt him.

SS – Jhonny Peralta: Ugh. I suppose it could be worse. I would mind this if 1) he wasn’t a keeper and 2) he had a stronger lineup around him.

LF – Matt Holliday: Holliday is a great hitter, but I do expect some of his power to decrease in a not so friendly park for hitters. There is also not much around Holliday, besides Jason Giambi, in terms of possible RBI situations or run scoring opportunities. It will be interesting to see how much he falls off – I don’t expect it to be too much, though.

CF – Chris B. Young: Yikes. Nice power potential, but his strikeouts are a killer. Young will have to see great improvement in this area if he wants to be fantasy relevant.

This seems like a good time to note how terribly awful Joel’s lineup is. This may also be a good time to point out that only three of these players scored more than 600 points last season. That is an unbelievable feat to build such a terrible lineup. But when you see Joel’s draft, it makes sense. Joel is going to regret this.

RF – Corey Hart: Corey. Hart. Wow. I should mention that Raul Ibanez was still on the board when Joel took Hart in the seventh round.

UT – Milton Bradley: Will give you 75 solid games this season, and will be hurt for the rest.

SP1 – Johan Santana: One of five pitchers to score more than 700 points last season.

SP2 – Francisco Liriano: Who knows what you’ll get from him in terms of a full season. If he stays healthy he should be solid.

SP3 – James Shields: I expect him, and the Rays as a whole, to regress a little this season. Call it a World Series hangover. With that said, he should still be a top 30 pitcher.

FLEX – Javier Vazquez: A consistent guy who will not light the world on fire, but will not kill your chances of winning a matchup.

RP – Carlos Marmol: He won’t start the season as the closer, but I do expect him to finish it there.

RP – George Sherrill: I question how many save opportunities he will have with the Orioles this year. Very much so.

RP – Huston Street: Streaky, talented, injury-prone, fantasy nightmare.

General Thoughts:

Joel ignored his lineup so much that it has almost rendered his top starters useless. I’m very skeptical of Ryan Dempster, Manny Parra, Armando Galarraga and Francisco Liriano being the guys Joel thinks they will be and think Joel has completely ignored the core of what makes up a great fantasy team. Add in his difficult division and I do not see a repeat trip to the playoffs in his future.

Sarcastic Statement:

Joel’s lineup is right up there with 1927 Yankees. If only he had some pitching…

Final Statement

Now would be a good time to start determining who you’re going to take with your top three overall pick, Joel.

*Average Draft Position by Round via ESPN’s Live and Mock Drafts as of March 14, adjusted for keepers.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Week One: On My Signal, Unleash Hell

Baseball: Where people get excited about John Kruk being in their living-rooms and bedrooms late at night.

Let the Fantasy Begin!!!

Oh Fantasy Baseball, how I’ve missed you so. And to think, this year I have a reasonable shot at winning simply because I’m in the same division as Jason, Jeff W., Adam and, uh, that other guy who is no good… Tony!

I want to start by thanking you guys for totally #@$%ing up the draft. It gave me renewed hope, something I desperately needed. I especially want to thank everyone who bought into this idea that starting pitching wins fantasy leagues. I also want to thank Erik for leading these stupid souls on a path of despair and loneliness by giving them false hope with your array of starting pitchers and back-to-back championship game appearances. Oh you fools…

Here’s to the worst of luck for everyone and may the baseball gods have mercy on your souls in a way that benefits me.

A Few Predictions

90% of the league is going to suck. I won’t tell you who the 10% who isn’t is, but I think you’ve got a good idea who it’s going to be.

We are all going to be mad we didn’t take Alex Gordon in the third round. Consequently, most of you will be mad made you took a pitcher instead.

There will be another steroid scandal in The League this year, but it won’t be the biggest scandal of the year. Yeah, I don’t know what that means either.

Matt Weiters, David Price and Cameron Maybin will all suck this year. The Rookie of the Year Award will go to someone none of us (except for Erik of course) have heard of before.

Jesus Christ will not return to earth during the baseball season.

The Royals will not be out of it by August; the Cardinals will be out of it by late July.

Cole Hamels and Tim Lincecum will each spend time on the DL this season. Lincecum will also fail to pitch in the All-Star Game again this season because he will, again, contract the “flu.”*

*He’ll be too hung-over to pitch.

I will not go on a single date this summer; you can take that to the bank.

The Week In Preview

Inoculators V I’m Bill James, Bitch

General Thought: I own Andrew in matchups that don’t matter.

Specific Thought: I will win by one point, guaranteed.

WTF Thought: Fact: Carrots taste like unsalted, de-moistened, hardened peanuts.

Krunk Smurfs V Viva El Birdos

General Thought: If you really want to know how Jason’s draft went, just see how he ends up at the end of the season. I set the over/under at 3.5 total moves he makes this season.

Specific Thought: Adam’s team is not stacked and, as a result, he will lose to Jason. And Jason sucks, too.

WTF Thought: Would “Lime-Lemon Soda” taste different than “Lemon-Lime Soda”?

San Antonio Saints V Flying Monkeys

General Thought: I’d like Jeff’s team name if he got rid of the “flying” part and replaced it with “Feces Throwing”. Or something to that affect. I do like monkeys, though. Excellent mascot choice.

Specific Thought: I hope Tony pays more attention to this team than he did his basketball team. I fear he won’t. Jeff will win on the grounds that Tony doesn’t realize the season started yet.

WTF Thought: The world would truly be a better place if monkeys could fly. I believe this whole-heartedly.

The Zou V Texas A-Roids

General Thought: The “Texas A-Roids” will here to forth be known as the “Texas A-holes.” One, because I hate the state of Texas, and two, because I’m tired of steroid-related names. And Kyle is a two-time offender of this rule. Change your name A-hole(s).

Specific Thought: The Zou and the A-holes will finish in a tie, because I hate mizzou and Texas equally.

WTF Thought: Which is worse: Being called an “ass” or being called an “asshole”? And if you chose “asshole,” why? Would an “ass” include the asshole in addition to the ugliness around it? Just sayin’…

Rolorado Cockies V Polk County Homer-Hulks

General Thought: Wow, this is a matchup I’d like to avoid thinking about. So, I’ll stop now.

Specific Thought: Kimball’s team mascot picture is the best team mascot picture in all of fantasy.

WFT Thought: Do you think Homer could do equally as good of job at pitching as Sidney Ponson? In addition, I’d like to think he’d be a better golfer than John Daily (though I’m convinced John Daily IS Homer Simpson) and Homer would be a better center than Greg Ostertag. I believe everything I just wrote. Seriously.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Opening Week - Reviewed: Ben Nielsen (via Erik)

It's about time: Baseball is here. Good luck to all. An Opening Day post comes out tomorrow with the rest of the draft reviews coming out Tuesday through Friday (I promise).

For now, here is Erik's review of my draft. Enjoy.


Team: Inoculators
Owner: Ben Nielsen
Draft Pick Order: 5th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Grady Sizemore (1)
2 – Nick Markakis (2)
3 – Brian Roberts (3)
4 – Brian McCann(3)
5 – Joe Nathan (4)
6 – Mariano Rivera (5)
7 – Carlos Pena (6)
8 – Troy Tulowitzki (7)
9 – Jose Valverde (8)
10 – Brett Myers (14)

It has been said that you cannot win a fantasy league with your first two picks, but you can definitely lose it (just ask me and my second-round Troy Tulowitzki pick last year). It is for this reason that I like Ben’s first two picks. They are both solid and steady, but yet young enough were some growth could take place this year. The only issue here is that Ben took two outfielders when he had already kept Ryan Braun (LF), Josh Hamilton (CF, RF) and Carlos Quentin (LF). So, this essentially means that Ben filled his utility spot with his first pick (in theory filling the CF spot with Sizemore and moving Quentin to the utility spot) and then proceeded to fill a bench spot with his second pick (with that pick, Markaksi filled the utility spot and Quentin was moved to the bench). And while I am a proponent for taking the best available player, it was Ben who so adamantly disliked Adam’s pick of Jose Reyes with the number four pick because he was drafting his utility spot with his first pick. I think a strong case could be made for taking Miguel Cabrera with the fifth pick, which would be a big upgrade over Carlos Pena, and then selecting Markakis (or any other top-level CF or RF) in the second round to fill his RF spot and move Quentin to the Utility role. While Ben had no guarantee that Markakis would be there to fill his RF spot in the second round, Hamilton is eligible in CF and RF so there was a very strong possibility that Sizemore, Markakis, Beltran OR Ichiro would have been there for the taking with his second pick and filled out his outfield nicely. Having said all of that, Ben now possesses solid trade bait with his wealth of stud outfielders.
While Ben got very solid values in the first three rounds, I am not a fan of the Brian McCann pick. I know the values that Ben uses say it was a “steal,” but I don’t particularly like those values. The ADP’s are based on other drafts where the scoring system does not mirror our unique league. I think the fourth round is too early to take a catcher with all the possible injuries that they may face. McCann has been one of the most durable backstops in the game for his first three years and yet he has played an average of 135 games per season. I think in the fourth round, I would prefer to draft somebody who might exceed 140 games, which McCann will not.
In drafting Tulowitzki, Ben took the last shortstop that could really separate himself from the pack. After the “big three” of Ramirez, Reyes and Rollins, there was a big drop-off to the next shortstops, Michael Young and Orlando Cabrera. In Tulowitzki, Ben got an undervalued player who can bridge that wide gap.

Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Kelvim Escobar and John Smoltz. I am not going to say that either of these pitchers will be relevant in fantasy baseball this year, but they both have the potential to be and Ben got them for near nothing in the 24th and 25th rounds. Reports are good on Escobar so far and Ben needs a solid season from one of these players to offset his very shaky starting pitching.

Jair Jurrjens, Andy Sonnastine and Elvis Andrus. Jurrjens and Sonnastine are nice #4 or 5 starters in real baseball, but they don’t miss enough bats to be taken in the 13th and 16th rounds. Especially when you consider that players like Paul Maholm weren’t even drafted (Maholm outperformed both Jurrjens and Sonnastine last year and has an outstanding spring – nice pick-up Kimball). As for Andrus, he is a great prospect, but what makes him so great is his glove. Diving plays don’t count for much in fantasy. Because of his speed, he will become relevant playing in that line-up, but not this year … plus Ben already dropped him.

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Brian McCann: Very solid catcher. Should be one of the top-three catchers in fantasy this season.

1B – Carlos Pena: Struck out 166 times last year. Combine that with a sub .250 batting average and I am not a fan. As an example of our odd scoring system taking effect, Conor Jackson outscored Pena by nearly 60 points last year, but has an ADP that is about six rounds lower … go figure.

2B – Brian Roberts: Great player who does not seem to get the attention of Utley and Kinsler because he plays for the Orioles and does not hit a ton of homers. Great value in the third round.

3B – Evan Longoria: A great talent, it will be interesting to see how the league adjusts to him with a full offseason to study the film.

SS – Troy Tulowitzki: Big-time upside. We will see how he bounces back from the first real struggles he has faced in professional baseball.

LF – Ryan Braun: One of the best hitters in the game. However, it is interesting to note that he was only the eighth best LF in the league last season. Very odd, and not good for a 10-team league if it repeats.

CF – Grady Sizemore: The only thing that could mess this pick up is injuries. Sizemore is one of my favorite players to watch because of the reckless nature with which he plays. Injuries are definitely a risk here, although his back-up would be …

RF – Josh Hamilton: Another injury risk who is a top-10 player if healthy. If Hamilton can keep his head straight and body intact, he gives Ben another great bat in the outfield.

UT – Nick Markakis: Outside of Jose Reyes, this has to be the best Utility player in the league. Markakis continues to get better and that should continue into 2009 as long as he can get some protection in the line-up.

SP1 – ummmm …. Mark Buehrle?: Consistent and aging, Buehrle will need a solid year in a hitter-friendly park to anchor down Ben’s weak staff.

SP2 – Brett Myers: A strikeout pitcher in a contract year. You have to love that. A fly-ball pitcher with a tendency to give up the homer pitching in Philadelphia. You cannot like that. Who knows what Ben will get out of the first starting pitcher he took.

SP3 – Joba Chamberlain: Great strikeout pitcher. If he’s healthy and in the rotation all year, will be Ben’s ace. Injuries and Phil Hughes scare me here. Good value though for the upside.

FLEX – Kelvim Escobar: Supposedly the velocity is coming back nicely. Generally the location takes awhile to return though.

RP – Joe Nathan: Consistent and a stud.

RP – Mariano Rivera: Aging and coming off surgery. Will this be the year he finally struggles?

RP – Jose Valverde: Throws gas and gets strikeouts, but lives on the edge with his control.

General Thoughts

Ben has a great line-up and a solid core of relievers. He will need to make a deal or some nice free-agent acquisitions to sure up his starting rotation though. He has a lot of guys with good potential, but I’m guessing between Smoltz, Escobar, Chamberlain, Buchholz and Myers that at least two don’t make a significant contribution this season.

Sarcastic Statement

According to Ben, the most intelligent thing to do in this league is fill your utility spot with your first pick.

Final Statement

Ben will have a completely different team than this when the season is over. It happens every year. The only question is whether it will be better or not.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reviewed: Kyle Morris

Team: A-Roids
Owner: Kyle Morris
Draft Pick Order: 5th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Mark Teixeira (1)
2 – Manny Ramirez (2)
3 – John Lackey (4)
4 – B.J. Upton (3)
5 – Alfonso Soriano (Kept)
6 – Rafael Furcal (5)
7 – Scott Kazmir (7)
8 – Matt Cain (10)
9 – Matt Garza (11)
10 – Adrian Beltre (8)


Mark Teixeira over Miguel Cabrera was a bad decision in my opinion. I’m going to avoid the statistical comparisons and simplify the argument with this: One does not take risks with their first round pick. Why was the Teixeira pick a risk? The beast that is the New York Yankees.

Look, one knows the upside and down side of drafting Miguel Cabrera. In his first full year in Detroit, Cabrera set career highs in home runs and runs batted in and in the second half of the season hit 21 homers and posted a .951OPS. He has clearly has figured out the learning curve of the league and proven he can hit in the large confines of Comerica Park. Teixeira has proven nothing in terms of how he’ll handle the New York pressure. And with AROD out the first six weeks, all the pressure will be on him to produce. I don’t know what is going to happen to him if the Yankees get off to a slow start.

I’m not saying Teixeira sucks or that he won’t be good this season. The problem is that I don’t know how good he’ll be, but I know I have a solid idea of what Cabrera will do. That’s why I would have picked Cabrera there and avoided the risk.

With that said, I do like the Manny, Upton and Kazmir picks. I’m most impressed that he managed to get Kazmir in the round he was supposed to get him. I figured Kazmir must have gone in round two the way pitching was coming off the board. Kazmir could become an interesting keeper prospect if he continues to improve and as he enters the prime of his career. The kid led the Rays in strike outs despite pitching 60 fewer innings than James Shields for crying out loud.

Matt Cain is an interesting pick to me just because of the devaluation of losses this season. He strikes out (and walks) a ton, but has the worst luck ever. Trust me on this, I’ve had him at some point the last two seasons.

With this said, Kyle managed to navigate the horrific 6 through 10 rounds without making too many disastrous picks. While Cain and Garza were overvalued, their question marks are far fewer than what some of the other decisions made around The League.

Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Fausto Carmona, Andy Pettitte and Matt Weiters. Carmona: A steal in round 20 if he returns to 2007 status; If not, it was a worthwhile risk. Pettitte: Should pad his stats as the fourth starter in that rotation and will outplay his round 22 value. Weiters: Because Kyle may be the only person in fantasy this year to not overdraft him.

Rafael Furcal: Two words for him: Mike Sweeney. I do not trust people with back issues and I certainly don’t trust them in the sixth round (even if he was taken bellow value there).

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Ryan Doumit: I do not see him being the guy he was last year, but, given what was available, it wasn’t a terrible pick and he didn’t overvalue him.

1B – Mark Teixeira: Already said my peace on him.

2B – Mike Aviles: He will drop off from last season, the question is how much? He is an intriguing keeper prospect though if he puts together another nice season. I’d rather have him than Dan Uggla.

3B – Adrian Beltre: Strikeouts and injuries have caused me to not be a very big fan of Beltre. I would have gone a different direction in round 10 and taken a third baseman latter in the draft. There wouldn’t much difference between that guy and what Beltre will do this season anyway.

SS – Rafael Furcal:
Mike Sweeney…..

LF – Manny Ramirez: I’m curious to see how happy he will be after the way this offseason went down.

CF – B.J. Upton: Upton was more valuable last season because he qualified at second base. He is not so valuable this year stuck in centerfield. The x-factor in that is if he carries over his power from October into this season.

RF – Magglio Ordonez: I gave my thoughts about him in the keeper blog. Something to add is the possibility he gets traded mid-season. Stating the obvious: A trade will clearly have a big impact on his value depending on where he goes.

UT – Alfonso Soriano: I imagine Jason Bay will see more time here as the season progresses.

SP1 – John Lackey: DL’ed.

SP2 – Matt Cain: The kid will flirt with 200 strikeouts this season and maybe 250 if he can figure out a way to manage his pitch count.

SP3 – Matt Garza: He has mediocre strikeout numbers, but will put up consistent fantasy points, which is more than I can say about most of the guys taken in rounds 6 through 10.

FLEX – Scott Kazmir: If he can go a full 32 starts and get around 200 innings, I’m convinced he will reach 275 strikeouts.

RP – Joakim Soria: The Mexicutioner!!!

RP – Heath Bell: The guy being executed by the Mexicutioner!!!

RP – Matt Lindstrom: So bad (at fantasy) he’s not even worth being executed.

General Thoughts:

Kyle did a good job of staying within value and putting together some good pieces. But a bad set of keepers, some bad early luck (Ervin Santana and John Lackey) and too many question marks leaves him staring down a .500 season.

Sarcastic Statement:

Kyle must be soooo glad he reached for John Lackey in the third round. Oh well, at least he has Ervin Santana!

Final Statement

Matt Weiters will have a below average rookie season, prompting Kyle to not keep him for 2010. Weiters will then be taken in the 22 round by someone and become an absolute fantasy stud. Or maybe not…

*Average Draft Position by Round via ESPN’s Live and Mock Drafts as of March 14, adjusted for keepers.