Category: Dailies

Answering the Bell

Say what you want about the first couple of days of the NCAA tournament but the first day of baseball just flat out rocks (except for someone I know who is currently dating a major league player – she told me yesterday that Opening Day is the saddest day for her because it means her man will be traveling a lot).

Yesterday was all about MLB.TV Mosaic – flicking my eyes between six games faster than a rabbit getting "proper" chased in Snatch. While the day ended well for Yankee fans (hands in the air like we just don’t care) and not for Red Sox fans (sorry, honey) it was great to see the Boys of Summer (except Sammy Sosa) taking their cuts.

Even though after one day my team sits in 7th place (out of 12th) there is no need for panic – and my peace of mind comes as a result of Jose Contreras. Pitching like the White Sox just picked him up off waivers from the Tri-Village Little League, my boy Grady Super Sizemore led off the Indians season with an absolute smash to the right field bleechers. He added three runs to his MVP resume before the South Side finally saw the end yesterday. Travis "Krunk" Hafner also played Ike and Tine Turner with Contreras to the tune of three runs and an RBI.

The only poor showings for the team came from Erik Bedard (he’ll get better…actually he BETTER get better) and Brad Lidge (we may have to send to Tri-Village Little League to complete the Contreras deal). Thinking that Garner may be about to smash the gong on Lidge I picked up Dan Wheeler this afternoon as he would replace Brad "Is He On the" Lidge "Yet." To pick up Wheeler I dropped "I Play Every Position" Ty Wiggington, my 2007 Luis Gonzalez – a guy I will probably pick up and drop 79 times this year.

Speaking of picking up guys, here are the waiver wire wonders I have on my "Watch List." As it will help me keep track of them, we will also track their seasons on the blog.  So let’s give a warm round of applause to:

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (COL)

Matt Murton, OF (CHC)

Reed Johnson, OF (TOR)

Ty Wiggington, 1B, 2B, 3B, OF (TB)

Jose Lopez, 2B (SEA)

Mike Jacobs, 1B (FLA)

Corey Hart, OF (MIL)

J.J. Hardy, SS (MIL)

Matt Kemp, OF (LAD)

Pitchers to come tomorrow. Enjoy day two of season everyone!

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Uh Oh – Time to Check the Numbers

Okay, so last post I was riding high on my picks based on absolutely no statistical proof. And this started to worry. Worry me as greatly as fantasy baseball can -which is somewhere between "did I leave my gym lock at home?" and "do khaki pants and a hawaiian shirt match?"

So rather than start the season feeling like Charles in Charge, I thought it would be a good exercise to compare projected stats for my drafted players and compare them to the average winning totals from a series of leagues last year.

So let’s take a look…

Last year’s averages:

AVG – .294

Runs – 925

HR – 250

RBI – 900

SB – 166

W – 100

SV – 118

K – 1200

ERA – 3.67

WHIP – 1.21

My team:

Average Run HR RBI SB
Michael Barrett 0.292 57 17 62 0
Albert Pujols 0.331 127 47 125 9
Julio Lugo 0.292 85 9 58 22
Chad Tracy 0.286 81 21 79 4
Felipe Lopez 0.270 91 13 61 25
Grady Sizemore 0.287 118 27 88 19
Jermaine Dye 0.288 88 35 101 7
Alex Rios 0.286 70 16 73 14
Travis Hafner 0.302 98 39 112 1
Total: 0.293 815 224 759 101

Bench:

Alex Gordon 0.285 79 21 78 13
Willy Taveras 0.304 89 3 35 36
Josh Willingham 0.271 72 24 74 3

Pitching:

Wins Saves K ERA WHIP
Dan Haren 15 0 163 3.98 1.24
Erik Bedard 14 0 160 3.81 1.34
B.J. Ryan 4 40 93 2.25 1.06
J.J. Putz 4 39 77 3.08 1.13
Brad Lidge 4 32 100 3.35 1.20
Jon Garland 14 0 111 4.39 1.33
A.J. Burnett 12 0 146 3.72 1.28
Total: 67 111 850 3.51 1.23

Bench

Dave Bush 13 0 142 3.95 1.21
Jonathan Broxton 4 7 85 2.93 1.20

The numbers seem to indicate I am somewhere towards the top and leads me to think that I should stay with my team right now and make some adjustments once the season starts – picking up "breakout players" and trying to ride some hot streaks like Secretariat at Belmont.

I should note that while my pitcher number projections are considerably lower compared to last year’s winning numbers the reason for my lack of concern is that traditionally pitching projections are made on the conservative side.

So let me know what you think – what positions should I look to strengthen? Where are my strengths?

First Draft of the Season

Nothing like your first draft of the season being completely bizarre. I ended up with the third pick which I hate, especially on Yahoo, because they rank Johan Santana second leaving me with choices like Reyes, Rodriguez, Howard and Soriano for my selection.

Well, didn’t have to worry about that. The first guy picked Rodriguez and then the second picked Howard, leaving me with a huge gift, Albert Pujols.

So here are my picks and some reasoning on takng them:

1. Albert Pujols, 1B – Top-ranked player in baseball. Easiest pick of the draft.

2. Grady Sizemore, OF – Five-category superstar and current man-crush 🙂

3. Travis Hafner, DH/UTIL – The Indians are primed for a big season and he is probably the team’s top masher. 40HR/110RBIs almost a given.

4. BJ Ryan, RP – A flame-thrower who even though showed a slight drop in Ks last season showed more control (fewer walks and hits) should have more opportunity on an improving team.

5. Jermaine Dye, OF – Least favorite pick of the draft but was top player available and thought could be good trade bait for guys that may be in love with last year’s numbers.

6. Julio Lugo, 2B – Ugh, the guy before me grabbed Brian Roberts and didn’t want to get caught picking from the third tier of 2Bs. The change of scene to Boston and at the top of a great lineup could make him a really lucky (and good) pick.

7. JJ Putz, RP – The only position where I got both of my "guys." Should probably be worried about loving a guy whose last name opens up too many jokes.

8. Alex Rios, OF – This is one of my "guys" in all the draft this year. Has five-tool capabilities and at 26 years old is coming into his breakout prime as a pitcher.

9. Dan Haren, SP – Exactly the guy I wanted, in the round I wanted. At 26, he is coming into the pitcher "prime age." He has also shown great durability (a rare feat recently for A’s pitchers) while putting up great K numbers (163, 176 last two years) and lowering the walks (53, 45).

10. Erik Bedard, SP – Had a great second half last year and continued to show great K/BB ratios. Also pitching for another ’07 improving team. Is it just me or does the AL East look like an absolute beast this year?

11. Brad Lidge, SP – Two reasons for taking a third RP – will probably have a good bounce-back season in ’07 and more importantly trade bait. If he starts well I can possible grab some of the guys I missed drafting.

12. Michael Barrett, C – Was focusing on Piazza as my C pick but waiting too long. With Lee healthy and Soriano in the lineup, the offense should click pretty well this year. That’s my story at least.

13. Willy Taveras, OF – Was good in ’05, stunk it up last year but a move to Colorado should help him and with Atkins, Holliday and Hawpe batting behind him there could be a lot of SportsCenter highlights of Taveras crossing homeplate.

14. Jon Garland, SP – 18 wins in each of the last two seasons and good K/BB splits. Turns 27 this year, prime year for pitchers, especially those on good teams.

15. Josh Willingham, OF – All the predictions I’ve read have him at 24HR/90RBI. Good addition for late rounds.

16. A.J. Burnett, SP – Taking a flier on a oft-injured pitcher that showed good promise in the second half of last year.

17. Felipe Lopez, SS – Great stolen base numbers and consistently posted 90+ runs. Great value for late rounds.

18. Chad Tracy, 3B – Was a sexy mid-round pick last year but struggling with power and average. Plays in a great offense park on a rapidly-improving team. Numbers should be there for him to impress.

19. Dave Bush, SP – Have you seen his K/BB ratios? Last year Bush had 166Ks to 38BBs. Couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab a future star.

20. Alex Gordon, 3B – Top-rated prospect in baseball.

21. Jonathan Broxton, RP – Literally throws fireballs. A simple call to Tonya Harding and he’s the Dodgers closer.

Overall I am pretty happy with my team. Think I need to strengthen the middle of the infield. Stay tuned, trade offers going out tonight.

My First Draft

So tomorrow morning is my first draft of the season. Having done some mock drafts at www.mockdraftcentral.com and listening to the Cory and Mike on the Fantasy 411, two approaches I will be implementing are:

1. I am not going to pick a starting pitcher until probably the 8th or 9th round. Enough research has been done to show how erratic pitching can be from year-to-year and the value of pitchers available in the 8th/9th round is pretty incredible.

2. I am hoping to get a beginning/end of round starting pick which will allow me to pick two relievers relatively back-to-back and those guys will be hard-throwing guys (i.e. B.J. Ryan, Putz) not low strikeout guys but still studs like Mariano.

I will post my draft results tomorrow afternoon along with the link to the league so hopefully you can follow along with my adventures.

Why Am I Doing This?

Baseball cards taught me how to read. Seriously. My grandfather taught me how to read using baseball cards.

I grew up, like many young kids, memorizing box scores and league leaders and then sometime after college baseball and I lost each other.

I still rooted for my hometown Yankees and at the time adopted hometown Cubs but not until last year (2006) did it hit me how much I missed being really into baseball.

So I started playing Fantasy Baseball – and listening to Corey and Mike on MLBRadio’s Fantasy 411 and watching every game I could on MLB.tv and reading Baseball Prospectus. And because of all this I fell in love with the game again and cheering for players that aren’t necessarily on my favorite teams but are on my "teams."

And so I thought in the spirit of Sam Walker, Corey "Stats" Schwartz, Mike Schiano, Jeffery "Coco" Ma, Going Postal, Jeanne in Hollywood and every player that is DTM or YPNM that this blog could chronicle my second year trip through fantasy baseball.

My plan is chronicle it all – my pre-draft thoughts, how the drafts turn out, the players I like and those that I don’t like, the advice I read and hear and the mistakes I will make. I will be playing in four Yahoo leagues and will share those league links and my team rosters on this site.

So wish me luck and here we go…