I was able to make it up to Wondercon only for Saturday last weekend because my fantasy baseball league decided to hold our annual draft on Sunday. 5 of our local owners gathered in a conference room at Apple and spent close to 10 hours drafting our teams. I probably put less effort into this draft than any one I’d ever done before.
My strategy, such as it was, mainly involved drafting younger. Last year’s team was awful, though not so much due to age as due to a lot of marginal players with low upside. I think I did well drafting for youth and guys with upside (but I did draft a few old players; I think some old guys are worth picking in the right spots). Secondarily I wanted to avoid drafting hitters in pitchers’ parks and pitchers in hitters’ parks. I didn’t do a great job at that, although I think any choices were fairly defensible.
Here’s the team I ended up with:
|C||Miguel Montero||ARI||4/56||28||I’ve been a big fan of Montero for years now, and I’m happy to have him now that he’s got the starting job in Arizona.|
|2B||Neil Walker||PIT||5/65||25||I’m not so comfortable relying on a young second baseman for the second year in a row (last year’s guy, Scott Sizemore, was a bust). But many people seem to think he’ll be fine, and a few think he’ll be very good. He’s off to a hot start.|
|SS||Rafael Furcal||LAN||7/112||33||Old hitter in a pitchers’ park. Not really what I wanted, but shortstops has really dried up by now.|
|OF||Carlos Quentin||CHA||6/88||28||Pretty happy with this pick. He has breakout potential, but of course he also has bust potential.|
|OF||Adam Jones||BAL||7/104||25||This guy was a top prospect just a few years ago. And he’s only 25! He still has a chance to be a star, I think.|
|C||Miguel Olivo||SEA||12/184||32||The perfect backup catcher: Gets a lot of playing time and has impressive power. But, an old guy in a pitchers’ park.|
|C||Ryan Lavarnway||BOS||11/342||23||Top catching prospect in the Red Sox’ system – and they need a catcher.|
|1B||Daric Barton||OAK||10/152||25||Another “was a top prospect just a few years ago”, and maybe this year he’ll add some power. Another hitter in a pitchers’ park.|
|3B/SS||Jhonny Peralta||DET||8/120||29||The perfect infield backup: Qualifies at two positions, doesn’t kill you on average, and has power.|
|SS||Zach Cozart||CIN||23/368||25||Cozart has a weird performance history, alternating average with power. If either one shows up, he could make the Majors this year and be a quality shortstop.|
|OF||Pat Burrell||SFN||14/216||34||Old guy in a pitchers’ park. But also a guy guaranteed playing time and who has power. In the 14th round, this is the kind of guy you want.|
|OF||Kosuke Fukudome||CHN||18/280||34||Probably the first guy I’ll cut when someone better comes along. But he has some hitting skills which ain’t bad for a 5th outfielder.|
|OF||Domonic Brown||PHI||Kept||25||Top hitting prospect starting the season on the DL due to a broken bone in his hand. I’m not sure I entirely believe in his ability, but certainly the potential for stardom is there; it seems like he has to put a lot of things together to achieve it, though.|
|OF||Matt Dominguez||FLO||24/380||21||20-year-olds who hit well at AA are worth taking a flyer on. Unfortunately he got hurt before the season.|
|SP||Cliff Lee||PHI||1/8||32||I was surprised he fell to me with the 8th pick. Taking him was a no-brainer, as Halladay and Sabathia had already been picked.|
|SP||James Shields||TBA||Kept||28||I agonized over keeping Shields or Zack Greinke. Shields has great peripherals but a serious problem with home runs. Greinke is a little more expensive, has moved to the NL, but is on a team (Milwaukee) with brutal defense, and will miss the first 4-6 weeks of the season with a broken rib. And who knows how long it will take him to be back to his normal self after that. Ultimately, Shields’ peripherals made me decide to go with him.|
|SP||Derek Lowe||ATL||5/72||38||Probably an overdraft. And he’s the oldest guy on my team. But, he’s been reliable for a long time and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.|
|SP||Ricky Nolasco||FLO||6/83||28||Nolasco is a lot like Shields, and plays for the other Florida team. Again, I was sold on his peripherals.|
|SP||Jorge de la Rosa||COL||11/168||30||Pitcher in a hitters’ park!|
|SP||A.J. Burnett||NYA||11/76||34||If he stays healthy and is anywhere near his usual numbers, then this could be a steal.|
|SP||Homer Bailey||CIN||17/264||25||Frustrating prospect who’s struggled for a few years and is starting the season on the DL. But he’s only 25! Seemed worth taking a flyer.|
|SP||Julio Teheran||ATL||Kept||20||Best pitching prospect in baseball.|
|SP||Jacob Turner||DET||Kept||20||Second-best pitching prospect in baseball? That may be overstating things, but the difference between him and whoever’s above him is not huge.|
Overall I think I executed fairly well. I’d really like to have a better shortstop, and to have found someone less risky than Lowe and de la Rosa to rely on. The outfield has a lot of potential but might not realize it. Otherwise I don’t have many complaints.
Last year’s team was a disaster – I finished next-to-last in the league – and I think this is clearly a better team. But our league is intensely competitive, so finishing in the money (among the top 7 of 16 teams) is not guaranteed.
I’ve been getting burned out on fantasy baseball, so this might be my last season in the league. Then again, I’m more excited about this team than I have been for a couple of years, so maybe I’ll be back. Especially if my prospects start developing.