Fantasy Land


Time for some shameless promotion of my fantasy teams.

First off, I am currently beating Steve 9-2 in our fantasy bball semifinals, a league which he had won three years (!) in a row before the showstopper (me) came to town. Looks like Mamba, D-Howard, Sheed, Shaq and co. are about to end his reign. Odom is a big part of this, he was dropped just before playoffs, expected to be out for the season, then miraculously came back. What made him an even more important pickup is that it looks like Paul Pierce is done for the season. This week feels like the championship to me and I am thoroughly enjoying.

But now to that 14-team fantasy baseball draft I told you about. I’ll give you a rundown of my squad, where I got them, I why I like them. Steve will probably try to use this against me when (and if) our last league drafts late this weekend. As a note, the first three rounds were counted but they were our three keeper players, the draft started at round four. So without further ado, here is the squad known only as, Can I Draft Romo?

C Chris Ianetta (Col), 22nd Round – I usually never take a catcher until the final rounds because apart from the top two or three guys (Mauer, Martinez, Mcann), they are interchangeable and all go through similar hot and cold streaks. Ianetta bats in Coors Field and has .300 upside and about 20 homers, which is all I ask from a catcher, so to get him with the 5th to last pick was great.
1B Jason Giambi (NYY), 10th Round – Guys like Giambi and Sexson always drop because of their average, but they still give you great power numbers, especially important in an OPS league. Plus, I make it my goal every year to own either Jeter or Giambi, its always fun to own an important guy on your team.
2B Howie Kendrick (LAA), 8th Round – I knew there was no way a young, potential batting champ was dropping past this (quite a few experts in this league). Kendrick offers great upside (.285 in 72 games last season) and will steal more than a few in Scosia’s run-run-run offense.
SS Jose Reyes (NYM), 1st Round – Lucked into getting him as a keeper. Just like in real life, he can do pretty much anything possible to help your team win. Top-5 pick in every draft.
3B Mark Teahen (KC), 12th Round – Lost in the Alex Gordon for ROY fanfare is Teahen, a 25-year old batting third with 30 HR upside. Eligible for OF as well, so he helps with flexibility.
OF Vlad Guerrero (LAA), 2nd Round – Another keeper. Doesn’t hurt that he is ridiculously fun to watch, which is part of the fun of fantasy sports anyways.
OF Lance Berkman (Hou), 3rd Round – Topped 40 homers last year, and could be even better with Carlos Lee protecting him in the lineup. An especially valuable power source because he hits for a high average. My final keeper.
OF Brad Hawpe (Col), 14th Round – 30-100 potential in an underrated Rockies lineup. Batting sixth behind Garret Atkins, Todd Helton and Matt Holliday will give you plenty of RBI opportunities.
Util Conor Jackson (Ari), 15th Round – Young, high average hitting first baseman. Took alot of flack for this pick because it took me about 5 minutes to make. Hey, everyone runs into a wall at some point in a live draft. Solid value pick.
BN Morgan Ensberg (Hou), 21st Round – The forgotten third baseman. If an oft-injured player hits 30 homers in Houston, but nobody is listening, did it ever happen?
BN B.J. Upton (TB), 20th Round – Took Jorge Cantu’s spot with the Rays. Batting 8th now but could move up to second behind Carl Crawford. His problem has always been fielding, not offense. Can hit .300 and steal 40 if he gets enough AB’s. This year’s Chone Figgins.

Went with a fair amount of high-upside, good-value youthful picks for my lineup, which is always a recipe for success over taking a faceless veteran in the later rounds. Giambi was key to get a balanced power attack, and I have enough guys that could hit .300 that his average won’t hurt too bad.

SP Roy Oswalt (Hou), 4th Round – With my three keepers set in my lineup, I had planned on going pitching-pitching-pitching early on, so with the 5th pick I took Oswalt, who I was more than happy to pick up even though Atkins (who I had dropped) was avaliable.
SP Felix Hernandez (Sea), 5th Round – Solidified my K’s with the King after Oswalt. Some people thought this was too high for him. Those 12 k’s on opening day shut them up. I own him in every league I’m in.
SP Chris Young (SD), 6th Round – More young pitching. Had the lowest opposing BA of any pitcher in the majors last year. Struggled a bit in his first start giving up 3 in 5.2, but I’m confident in him.
RP Trevor Hoffman (SD), 9th Round – Wasn’t planning to go more early saves, but seeing Hoffman sitting there was more than I could resist, especially since guys like Mo Rivera went rounds earlier and K-Rod and Nathan were kept.
RP Chris Ray (Bal), 11th – Nothing special, but you can pencil him in for 30 saves, which is more than you can say for 75% of the closer crop.
P Matt Cain (SF), 7th Round – Was planning on going back to hitting 18 picks after Young, but with Cain just sitting there I had to take him. Could K 200 this year and win 15. One of the best young pitchers in the league, who I had honestly considered taking when I took Young. This pick solidified my rotation.
P Jake Westbrook (Cle), Undrafted – Took him soon after the draft just because I thought I should have a 5th starter until some of my other guys (you’ll see) become avaliable. If Cleveland finally comes through on potential he could win 13
P Bob Howry (ChC), Undrafted – Potential closer behind Dempster, never underestimate the ERA and WHIP fortifying of a good reliever, not to mention a bonus 60 K’s to your total. A completely and utterly underused strategy apart from people drafting Zumaya.
P Matt Capps (Pitt), Undrafted – Same as Howry, could easily become a closer. Great K’s.
P Homer Bailey (Cin), Round 16 – The best young pitching prospect in the majors. Probably won’t be called up till June but with my rotation I could afford to let him sit here for awhile. Should pay dividends come summer, especially in a H2H league where everything changes week to week.
P Phil Hughes (NYY), Round 17 – Same as above. Considering the health problems of Pavano, there’s no telling how early he could be called up. The kid’s ready.
DL Eric Gagne (Tex), Round 18 – Probably my worst pick of the draft, but expected back in mid-April and…who knows. Could be a steal, could be a bust.
DL Pedro Martinez (NYM), Round 19 – Ok, so the Bailey, Hughes, Gagne, Martinez picks might have been the result of a few too many consumed brews (not recommended on draft day) but fortunately I followed them up with the great upside picks of Upton, Ensberg, Ianetta. Pedro won’t be back till August, but again, who knows, all that rest could be great for the stretch run. He’s not hurting me here.

Very solid, balanced rotation. Some people differ on opinions about Young and Cain, but as my third and fourth starters in a league this deep they are great. My early pitching strategy worked out quite well. Some people may not think as highly of this squad as I do, but screw it, I like them, and that’s what is most important. See y’all in the playoffs. Oh and Steve, I’ll be expecting that trophy in the mail any day now.