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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bolts from the Blue 2009

For the past few seasons, I've been posting the roster of my entry in the Hardy House fantasy baseball league. On Saturday, April 4, in Lexington, KY, I attended my 21st consecutive auction draft. We rarely pick rosters before opening day, but the season started a week late this year because of the World Baseball Classic.

My 2008 squad finished second in the league and I was hopeful going into the draft because my retained players seemed fairly strong to me.

As a reminder: the league has 12 teams and uses American League players exclusively to accumulate statistics in the traditional 8 categories (HR, RBI, SBs, BA, Wins, Saves, ERA and WHIP). One roster quirk now in its second year: we added a 10th pitcher and subtracted an outfielder. We thought this better reflected a change that real baseball teams made over the past 20 years.

The 2009 Bolts from the Blue (7 retained players in blue)

C Chad Moeller (BAL) $1
C Kelly Shoppach (CLE) $5
1B Billy Butler (KC) $23
2B Alexei Ramirez (CHX) $13
3B Scott Rolen (TOR) $7
SS Derek Jeter (NYY) $21
MI Akinora Iwamura (TB) $11
CR Jed Lowrie (BOS) $10
OF Grady Sizemore (CLE) $40
OF Ben Francisco (CLE) $13
OF Felix Pie (BAL) $5
OF Delmon Young (MIN) $20
DH Mark Teahan (KC) $11
Hitting $180

P Roy Halladay (TOR) $28
P Felix Hernandez (SEA) $25
P James Shields (TB) $8
P Rich Hill (BAL) $1 (DL)
P Gio Gonzalez (OAK) $1 (AAA the next day)
P Grant Balfour (TB) $6
P Jerry Blevins (OAK) $5
P Jose Arredondo (LAA) $3
P Joe Smith (CLE) $1
P Ramon Ramirez (BOS) $1
Pitching $79

I left only $1 on the table, but I had some extra cash in the endgame and clearly overpaid for Jerry Blevins when I was trying to find a relief pitcher with an outside shot at saves. Oakland's Joey Devine had just been placed on the 60-day DL and most of the A's bullpen sold at inflated prices.

Butler, Jeter and Sizemore were on my 2008 team and I drafted them again.

To replace Hill and Gonzalez on my active roster, I picked up free agent relievers Joe Nelson (TB) and Robinson Tejeda (KC). Hopefully, Hill can find his control and return to form and Gonzalez will either get a shot at Oakland's rotation or closer job (a common spot for failed starters).

Clearly, I'm a big believer in drafting players John Hunt used to call "post-hype." Those are guys who are still young, but their disappointing performance to-date has caused their value to decline. Young and Pie are my main post-hype picks, though Teahan may belong in this category too.

As usual, I didn't pay for a "proven closer" at the draft. I last paid big bucks for a closer in 2007. Hours later, $34 Blue Jay B.J. Ryan pitched his last game of the season. Luckily, I had picked teammate Jeremy Accardo in the final round of the reserve draft.

Here are my reserve picks this year:

1. OF Matt Joyce (TB) $3
2. OF Gabe Gross (TB) $2
3. UT Jose Bautista (Tor) $1

Gross will be active this coming week thanks to the Lowrie injury, which moves Teahan to the infield.

You can find posts about the 2005, 2007 and 2008 drafts elsewhere on this blog.

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