Saturday, February 18, 2006

Finally...some baseball

With the end of the football season came the dreaded portion of the year that can best be described as "the worst two months of sports" or "the fantasy sports black hole". You see, no one should ever be involved in a fantasy basketball or hockey league, and especially not fantasy NASCAR or golf (Dave!), so that pretty much just leaves Football and Baseball. Thankfully, baseball takes up most of the year, and football picks up right as baseball is wrapping up...but then there's the gap.

And that gap has finally come to an end. My days of going onto the internet and having no sports news to care about (except Redskins offseason news, which is grim given their salary cap issues) are over. Today I drafted my first fantasy baseball team of the year.

You see, every year, I celebrate the reintroduction of baseball by signing up for a free Yahoo public fantasy baseball league, as soon as they are offered. I picked the earliest draft date I could find, and this morning at 10:30, I wasted an excellent hour and a half (which never happens in my other leagues) drafting my new squad. In two more weeks, I will painfully spend close to 7-9 hours having my keeper league auction, and when the stars align and all the owners can agree, I will even more painfully spend 5-7 hours drafting my league with my friends. Yes, three fantasy leagues. Two for money. It's about the only thing that makes me want to wake up in the morning during the Summer, when work is so hard I forget what day of the week it is. That's why I love it.

And with the completion of my first draft comes my first fantasy baseball commentary of the year. Am I an expert, worth reading? No, but we're in the "gap" what else do you have to read?

So here's what I ended up with:

C Rod Barajas, TEX: I grabbed this guy in the second to last round after I missed out on the top few quality catchers. This year I decided to treat catchers like I treat tight ends in fantasy football. If I don't grab one of the top 3, I'll pick one up at the end...because they're all crap after the top guys. I could have done worse. Barajas should be good for 20 HR playing in Texas.

1B Derek Lee, CHC: This is my first round pick. I ended up with the 7th overall pick, and I just couldn't pass up on him. He's continued to get better each year and last year, he was just silly.

2B Marcus Giles, ATL: I was very happy to grab this guy in the 5th round. Definitely a good value, especially since he plays second.

3B Melvin Mora, BAL: He slipped til late in the draft and I'm hoping he'll bounce back to the kind of stats he put up two years ago. I'm not holding my breath, but he's above average.

SS Jimmy Rollins, PHI: I love this guy and I was able to grab him in the 3rd round. He should provide me with the SB boost I need, even though he's no Jose Reyes.

OF Bobby Abreu, PHI: My second round pick. Not much to say here. He's always a 30-30 threat...plug and play.

OF Cliff Floyd, NYM: I don't know what it is about Floyd. I always seem to end up with him on my squads because everyone else is afraid of his injury risk. He served me well in my Yahoo League last year (which I won), so he deserves to return to at least one of my teams.

OF Preston Wilson, HOU: I swear he and Floyd are the same guy. He got a bad rap last year because he played in Washington, where everyone sucks. Hopefully the shift to Houston will help him out.

UT Richie Sexson, SEA: Another J-Man favorite. I can't go wrong with a 40-50 HR threat who has Ichiro batting in front of him.

SP John Lackey, LAA: Something had to give to provide me with a solid offense, but I feel OK with Lackey as my #1 starter. I'm definitely weak here, but he's a 200 K style pitcher on a good team, so he's got a high ceiling.

SP Doug Davis, MIL: Milwaukee has a really good pitching coach (see Capuano, Kolb and Turnbow) and Davis really flies under the radar for a 200 K possibility. I'd rather have him as my third or fourth starter, but we've already gone over that.

RP Brad Lidge, HOU: He's nasty. Plain and simple.

RP Trevor Hoffman, SD: He's getting older, but Petco is still a pitcher's park and that team is gonna keep winning in the NL West.

P Zach Duke, PIT: I'm not sold on this kid, but he was the best available when I took him. Hopefully, he keeps the magic from last year going.

P Oliver Perez, PIT: Two starting pitchers from the Pirates, that can't be good. He was solid two years ago and always has a good K/IP, so hopefully last year was a result of injuries.

P Ryan Dempster, CHC: I stole him late in the draft (sandwiched between Mike Mussina and Chris Ray) and I feel pretty happy with a Cubs closer as my third reliever when some of the teams have only one on their squad.

Jonny Gomes, TB: He was decent last year as I had him in all my leagues at one point, so why not see if he can keep it up for those times when Floyd and Wilson are hurt.

Mike Jacobs, FLA: I accidentally took this guy thinking he was still eligible for catcher. Unfortunately, he's only a 1B, but there's really no one else on Florida except Cabrera, so someone's got to get RBI's

Kenny Rogers, DET: Yes, I took the gambler.

Daniel Cabrera, BAL: Leo Mazzone better be the pitching genius every makes him out to be, or it's gonna be a long year of me debating whether I should cut this guy with a sick K/IP.

Shawn Chacon, NYY: I had to grab a Yankee, my last pick of the draft.

Overall, I like my squad. Based on the other 11 teams, I'd put my squad around 3-5, with the chance at the title if some of these pitchers put it all together.


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