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Monday, April 05, 2010

2010 Bolts from the Blue

For some years, I've been posting the roster of my entry in the Hardy House fantasy baseball league. On Saturday, April 3, on Singer Island in West Palm Beach, FL, I attended my 22nd consecutive auction draft. Three owners had to participate by phone, but the rest of us enjoyed the weather, scenery, seafood, and camaraderie.

My 2009 squad finished fifth in the league, though it spent the second half of the season in steady decline from a June peak when the team was in second for about a month. I was not especially hopeful going into the draft because my retained players seemed somewhat overpriced. Unfortunately, I had few good alternative choices, so I kept mostly star-level players who promise to produce a lot of value.

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 third 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 2010 Bolts from the Blue (6 retained players in blue)

C Mike Redmond (CLE) $1
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (TEX) $7
1B Billy Butler (KC) $27
2B Orlando Hudson (MIN) $12
3B Evan Longoria (TB) $37
SS Derek Jeter (NYY) $25
MI Alex Gonzalez (TB) $3
CR Alex Gordon (KC) $10
OF Vernon Wells (Tor) $16
OF J.D. Drew (BOS) $10
OF Jeremy Hermida (BOS) $3
OF Travis Snider (TOR) $12
DH Hideki Matsui (KC) $11
Hitting $174

P Felix Hernandez (SEA) $29
P Jered Weaver (LAA) $17
P Kerry Wood (CLE) $14 (DL)
P Brian Matusz (BAL) $9
P Joel Piniero (LAA) $3
P Brandon League (SEA) $3
P David Robertson (NYY) $3
P Shane Kelley (SEA) $3
P Joey Devine (OAK) $3 (DL)
P Grant Balfour (TB) $1
Pitching $85

I left $1 on the table, but I had some extra cash in the endgame and spent some of it trying to find a relief pitcher with an outside shot at saves. Oakland's bullpen has been riddled with injuries, Tampa's Rafael Soriano has been a poor health risk throughout his career, and David Aardsma of Seattle has long-time control problems. Thus, I targeted those bullpens.

Balfour was on my 2009 team and I bought him again for a lower salary.

To replace Gordon, Devine, and Wood on my active roster, I am seeking various free agents. Hopefully, all of those guys will get healthy soon and contribute to their teams.

Clearly, I believe 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. Gordon, Snider, and Saltalamacchia are my main post-hype picks, though Devine may belong in this category too.

As usual, I didn't pay full cost 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. Closers at this year's draft again went for $30 and up.

Here are my reserve picks this year:

1. DH Randy Ruiz (TOR) $3
2. P Jeremy Accardo (Tor) $2
3. SS Jed Lowrie (Bos) $1

If Ruiz plays a few games at firstbase, he could take Gordon's spot in my lineup and hit a few homers. He's also insurance against a Matsui (or Wells or Snider) injury. Accardo paid big dividends as a reserve pick for me in 2007 when he saved 30 games. Toronto's bullpen is again somewhat uncertain. Lowrie is another post-hype player, currently sidelined with mono after losing virtually all of 2009 to other injuries.

You can find posts about the 2005, 2007 , 2008, and 2009 drafts elsewhere on this blog.

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