This past weekend, I flew to Chicago for just over 24 hours in order to participate in an annual fantasy baseball draft auction.
Nobody cares about fantasy baseball, save for fantasy players, so I'd encourage most readers to skip this post. If you play the game, feel free to evaluate my team in comments. I'm not 100% happy with it...but I can explain my decisions.
To me, Billy Beane's handling of the Oakland A's epitomizes what I would do with a real major league baseball team -- if a rich owner named me General Manager.
So, naturally, I picked a number of prominent A's players for my team: new C Jason Kendall, 3B Eric Chavez (MVP candidate), young hard thrower P Rich Harden (a Cy Young candidate in the near future), and relief P Juan Cruz. I also retained P Kirk Saarloos, which means that I have 5 A's on my 23 man roster. Four of them are really good players.
Cleveland is a bit of a "Moneyball" team too, and I took DH Travis Hafner and retained from last year C Victor Martinez. another potential league MVP. Oh, I also kept P Bob Howry, on the chance that he might become a bullpen closer again.
Toronto's GM, JP Ricciardi used to work for Billy Beane...so I took one of his pitchers too, Ted Lilly.
I also picked a couple of guys on the reigning World Series Champs. These Red Sox, though, were NLers last season: SS Edgar Renteria and P Matt Clement. I think their prices were a bit low because their talents were mostly unknown in my AL-only league. Derek Jeter, for example, went for more cash in our draft (I finished second in the bidding). But look at these numbers for the two shortstops over the past 3 seasons:
Player Name ABs Rns Hts HR BI BB SB BAvg OBPct SLG
Derek Jeter 590 107 178 17 68 54 22 .302 0.370 0.446
Ed.Renteria 572 086 176 11 85 51 24 .308 0.362 0.439
In fantasy baseball terms, Renteria "wins" three of the four counting categories (we don't use runs). Jeter has a bit more HR power. That's it.
Other players of note on my roster: Twins OF Lew Ford and 2B Mike Cuddyer, along with Rangers OF Kevin Mench and (chair-throwing) relief P Frank Francisco were all retained from last season.
That's 15 players...and most of my draft cash. I took some chances: injured Devil Ray OF Rocco Baldelli , his teammate who missed most of last year, Travis Lee, new Angels 4th or 5th OFer Juan Rivera, young Tiger starting P Wil Ledezma , his OF teammate Nook Logan , and White Sox lefty reliever Damaso Marte.
My team name is Bolts from the Blue.
This virtually forced me to take Nook.
More of desperation than anything else, at the end of the draft, I bought a couple of guys from my favorite team, the lowly KC Royals: former Pirate OF prospect Emil Brown , who hasn't played in the majors since 2001, and injured 3B Chris Truby. Oh, and I selected raw Rule 5 flamethrower Andy Sisco in the last reserve round.
Summary: I have very few saves and not that much speed (I'm not counting on much from backup infielder Nick Punto). I should have plenty of power and I'm relying upon the starting pitching to provide wins and good ERA.
We'll see, eh?
I'll be back to more serious business tomorrow.