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Fantasy Baseball 2010

Yesterday we performed our annual ritual of picking real baseball players to join fake teams. Last year was a disappointing year for me as I had a really good team, traded my 3rd-round pick in 2010 for Jason Bay, and then my whole team decided to take June and half of July off. I struggled my way back and finished in 4th place, which ain’t bad (the top 7 spots out of 16 teams pay), but I failed yet again to beat my 1999 performance, when I finished 3rd. Frustrating.

I headed into the draft with the best hitter in baseball, one of the 5 best pitchers, a top third baseman, and another good pitcher. But also down one pick, and with no true prospects in development. So here’s how the draft shook out for me:

`

Pos Player Team Round/
Pick
Age Comments
C Kurt Suzuki OAK 6/93 26 Victor Martinez was the first pick in the league. Suzuki has a little upside and is sure to play every day.
1B Albert Pujols SLN Kept 30
2B Scott Sizemore DET 7/109 25 A bit of a risky pick, as it’s by no means clear the Tigers will stick with him, even though he should be a decent hitter. And unfortunately I have no backup plan at second base.
3B Ryan Zimmerman WAS Kept 25
SS Yunel Escobar ATL 1/13 27
OF Josh Willingham WAS 5/77 31
OF Mike Cameron BOS 8/125 37
OF Conor Jackson ARI 10/157 27
OF Juan Rivera LAA 13/205 31
C Nick Hundley SDN 19/301 26
C Jonathan LuCroy MIL 20/317 24 LuCroy and Exposito are both catching prospects. LuCroy is probably close, Exposito is at least a year away – assuming he keeps hitting.
C Luis Exposito BOS 26/405 23
3B Casey Blake LAN 16/253 36
SS Cliff Pennington OAK 23/363 25
2B/SS/3B Craig Counsell MIL 25/397 39 My one multiposition backup – such as he is, at age 39.
OF Luke Scott BAL 12/189 21
OF Rick Ankiel KCA 28/418 20
OF Domonic Brown PHI 15/237 22 A perhaps-slightly-overrated prospect for the Phillies.
SP Zack Greinke KCA Kept 26
SP James Shields TBA Kept 27
SP John Lackey BOS 2/29 31
SP Scott Baker MIN 4/61 28
SP Justin Masterson CLE Kept 25
SP Charlie Morton PIT 14/221 26
SP Ross Ohlendorf PIT 18/281 27
SP Tom Gorzelanny CHN 22/349 27
SP Daniel McCutchen PIT 24/376 27 Having 3/5ths of the Pirates rotation could be my key to victory!
RP Jose Valverde DET 11/173 30
RP Chris Perez CLE 17/267 24
RP Sergio Romo SFN 21/333 27
RP Hideki Okajima BOS 27/412 34
SP Jacob Turner DET 9/141 19 This year’s “out on a limb” prospect pick, he was the Tigers’ first-round pick in 2009 and has yet to pitch in the minors, but is very highly regarded.
SP Julio Teheran ATL 29/422 19 Another very young, highly-regarded pitcher, but he hasn’t yet shown his potential yet.
SP Cory Luebke SDN 30/425 25 And another prospect, but this one may well be up this year.

I hoped to go back to taking a big bopper with my first-round pick, but there weren’t many left when my 13th-overall pick came around, thanks to our deep keeper rules, so instead I took Yunel Escobar, who is a strong-hitting shortstop who has additional upside. I used my 4th round pick to take Josh Willingham, who can rake when he’s healthy. And I beefed up my rotation with John Lackey and Scott Baker, which should make it quite good.

The first ten rounds of my draft went pretty well, I thought. As I said, my main regret was not having a better plan in case Scott Sizemore doesn’t work out, and not having a quality multiposition backup. Otherwise I have a pretty balanced team, albeit with my usual less-than-dominating bullpen. And I’ve restocked with some high-upside prospects.

Our league continues to get more competitive, as once again I was scrounging for guys to pick with my last few picks. But my list of prospects was very deep this year.

And as always I have no idea whether I’ll truly compete. I have some injury risks here and there (Lackey, Willingham, a couple of old guys), but I’m by no means relying on everyone being completely healthy. I’m just hoping I can come out of the gate strong, since struggling to get back in the hunt after a slow start always sucks.