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Draft Night, 2009: Yes, Another Fantasy Baseball Post

April 3rd, 2009 · 3 Comments · Angels, Baseball, Dodgers, Fantasy Baseball, Lists

We had the 28th annual Sun Baseball League draft the other night. And before I go any further, I am reminded of a comment I overheard while covering the 2006 Winter Olympics at Turin — and may even have had on this blog somewhere, sometimes.

I’m not exactly sure who said this, but I believe it was by a thirtysomething with a multisyllabic surname who covers the Olympics for a Colorado newspaper, and if you know sports journalism a little and care enough to want to know the ID of the person I believe said it … you probably can figure it out.

Anyway, we were in a bus heading to some venue … and I overheard her telling a colleague, speaking generally, “There are two things in the world I don’t care about: Your dreams and your fantasy team.”

Which seemed harsh, but is pretty much a rule of thumb for most sentient beings. We really can’t be bothered to listen to someone describe their utterly random nightmares … or their angst over picking the wrong guy at shortstop in the third round of their utterly random fantasy sports world. It is dull. It has nothing to do with the real. Any people who actually seem to listen to us talk about this stuff … are just good fakers.

But, knowing doesn’t stop us, does it? We still blather on about this.

And here I go. But only after this note. One of the owners at the draft did a live blog on who was being picked, and he later told me he got more hits for that item than for any he has ever done. So somebody was looking; among fantasy ballers there is a teeny bit of curiousity over someone else’s top 10/20. But, then, it also could have been two people constantly refreshing the screen, pushing up the hits number.

Anyway, here is the link to the Dennis Pope blog with all but the last few of the 300 players we picked in five hours. Yes, five hours.

And now to my fantasy ball team …

Up front: I like my team. Well, kinda. I always like my teams, when I draft them. (Which makes sense; I picked these guys, right?) But I have exactly one championship in the previous 28 seasons. One. By random chance I ought to have won at least two, and more like four or five because the league began with only five teams before working up (OK, fairly quickly) to the current 12. But no. I have one title. In the strike-shortened 1994 season, so my one championship is even a little bogus.

A little backdrop. I was late. It was set to begin at 6 and I got there at 7, so I entered a room where the draft had already begun, where more than a few people were a little peeved at me and where I had no surface upon which to write, which is important because I do the official roster — or think I do; the commissioner now does his own.

So, I’m frazzled, and I know I haven’t prepared nearly enough. My prep, actually, is just two enormous wads of paper, one printed out from, the other from, and the 10 pounds of pulp that is the 2009 Baseball Prospectus. And the latter came into use almost solely as the writing surface on my lap.

Luckily, as it was my turn, when I walked in, and found out I had the No. 4 overall pick, no one had taken Albert Pujols. Yes. Hanley Ramirez at No. 1, that I can see. He steals bases and Albert doesn’t. But David Wright and Grady Sizemore ahead of Pujols? Those two picks either are some sort of prescient genius or just overthinking the matter. So I was, like, “Pujols is available?” And I took him, instantaneously.

Now I was into record-keeping mode, while trying to organize my wads of paper, separated into positions and held together by staples. All sitting on my lap. And by the time we got to the second round I already was discombobulated — and would be, for several rounds.

Second pick, No. 17 overall (one owner per round gets two picks, beginning with the guys drafting 12 and moving up one slot each round) … I knew I wanted one of those rare guys who can help across the board in our six offensive stats — OBP, runs, RBI, 2B+3B, HR and steals. And I figured he would be an outfielder.

Carlos Beltran was out there. Guys really good in 3-4 of those stats were out there. But I just was frozen, like a deer in the headlights. There was impatience with me in the room, already, and I felt pressured to hurry the hell up … and I blurted out, “Nick Markakis.”

Now, Markakis is a nice young player, but he probably represented the first “reach” of the draft (unless you count Sizemore). I have no recollection of the thought processes that led me to Nick Markakis, who I didn’t even know I liked. I’m looking at my reference material now, and had him listed as the seventh-best outfielder (and three of them, Carlos Lee, Josh Hamilton and Ichiro Suzuki, were still on the board) … and had him listed as the 15th best outfielder … and Sports Illustrated rated him only the 83rd best hitter in ball.

So why did I take Nick Markakis? Maybe it went something like this: I want a top OF. He has to be versatile. And since we’ve just this year ditched BA as a stat and replaced it with OBP, I want someone who walks a lot … and Markakis had a great OBP of .406 last year while hitting 20 homers and scoring more than 100 runs … and “boom,” his name came out of my mouth as one or two fellow owners quietly sniggered.

(Though I could note, in my defense, that had Markakis as the 21st best player in ball, and I took him 17, so maybe it’s not too crazy …)

It went sorta downhill from there. I took Jonathan Papelbon with my third-round pick, which is too soon for a reliever (even with saves as one of our 11 overall stats), and I should have taken Lidge or Nathan ahead of him, anyway, because they strike out more people … and I felt as if I were behind the curve the whole night.

I watched the top infielders get taken, and then put off bothering with 2B (and especially), 3B and shortstop for far too long, and have marginal players at all three positions.

I had far too many moments of “oh, I forgot completely about that guy!” as others made picks of people who somehow I had not thought of or had overlooked.

Ugh. It was kinda ugly.

So, now we play the games.  I fear I lack the requisite run production to be a contender, and three of my top four pitchers have recent and serious injury issues (Francisco Liriano, Yovani Gallardo and Randy Johnson), and there’s at least a decent chance I will suck.

I like the Mike team, the Derek team, the Andy team … and two of those guys are in my division, unfortunately. As is Brian, who sometimes has a sketchy team on draft night but fixes it with trades and astute free agent pickups as the season goes along.

I will win only if Pujols is at least as big as usual, and at least two of my outfielders hit close to 30 homers, and a few of my infielders are at least decent and my pitchers don’t break down, and Mariano Rivera doesn’t choose this year to show his age and … well, you get the drift.

So, anyway, I will spare you a recounting of my dreams. At least you’ve got that going for you.

Below, is another collection of our picks, arranged by team. Thanks to the commissioner for e-mailing this:
C: Napoli (118), YMolina (261)
1B: Ortiz (27), Loney (235)
2B: Kendrick (131), Schumaker (287)
SS: HRamirez (1), Lowrie (248)
3B: Atkins (53), Reynolds (183)
OF: ASoriano (14), Ludwick (40), Nady (170), Span (196), Thames (274), DeJesus (300)
SP: Harden (79), Nolasco (105), Lester (144), CYoung (157), KEscobar (209)
Taxi: OPerez (1), Lohse (24)
RP: Soria (66), FCordero (92), Percival (145), Rodney (222)

C: VMartinez (106), Barajas (288)
1B: Berkman (15), Huff (133)
2B: KJohnson (171), Fontenot (289)
SS: Furcal (54), OCabrera (210)
3B: DWright (2), Glaus (197)
OF: Quentin (41), Hunter (119), Hawpe (158), Dukes (223), JGuillen (249), Cust (262)
SP: Lincecum (28), ClLee (93), Matsuzaka (132), Kazmir (146), Saunders (236)
Taxi: Hansen (2), Penny (23)
RP: FRodriguez (67), Fuentes (80), Hanrahan (184), Rauch (275)

C: BMolina (159), Snyder (250)
1B: CPena (94), Helton (237)
2B: Uggla (29), Ellis (263)
SS: AlRamirez (68), YBetancourt (276)
3B: Figgins (120), DeRosa (185)
OF: Sizemore (3), Hamilton (16), BUpton (42), Choo (224), Hermida (277), Fukudome (290)
SP: Price (107), Cain (121), Kershaw (172), UJimenez (198), Scherzer (211)
Taxi: Kawakami (3), Pelfry (22)
RP: Lidge (55) Jenks (81), Capps (134), Marmol (147)

C: Ianetta (109), KSuzuki (264)
1B: Pujols (4), Giambi (173)
2B: Weeks (108), Hudson (225)
SS: Renteria (212), CGuzman (238)
3B: Kouzmanoff (199), Blalock (251)
OF: Markakis (17), Granderson (43), Ordonez (56), Wells (160), Cameron (278), Lind (291)
SP: Liriano (82), FHernandez (95), Gallardo (135), RJohnson (186), Kuroda (265)
Taxi: JerWeaver (4), Arroyo (21)
RP: Papelbon (30) MRivera (69), Street (122), Bell (148)

C: McCann (57), Pierzynski (226)
1B: Howard (5), Votto (70)
2B: Pedroia (18), Barmes (213)
SS: Hardy (96), Aybar (279)
3B: AGordon (123), Lowell (187)
OF: Rios (44), Burrell (110), Bruce (136), Werth (161), Griffey (239), Wigginton (292)
SP: JSantana (31), Chamberlain (83), Danks (149), Jurrjens (174), Carmona (253)
Taxi: Meche (5), Moyer (20)
RP: Morrow (97), Downs (200), SShields (252), Kuo (266)

C: Doumit (111), Saltalamacchia (254)
1B: Fielder (32), Delgado (98)
2B: Cano (84), FSanchez (227)
SS: JReyes (6), Theriot (188)
3B: RZimmerman (124), Crede (240)
OF: Holliday (19), Ellsbury (58), Bradley (85), JUpton (162), Maybin (201), CJackson (267)
SP: Halladay (45), Haren (71), Wainwright (137), Verlander (175), Wang (241)
Taxi: Floyd (6), Glavine (19)
RP: Sherrill (150), Arredondo (214), Saito (280), Delcarmen (293)

C: JBaker (189), IRodriguez (242)
1B: CDavis (46), Cantu (176)
2B: JLopez (86), FLopez (229)
SS: Tulowitzki (59), Andrus (255)
3B: Longoria (20), Rolen (294)
OF: Braun (7), Bay (33), Dye (112), Damon (151), Francoeur (215), Spilborghs (268)
SP: Hamels (72), Beckett (72), Carpenter (138) JJohnson (163), WRodriguez (228)
Taxi: JZimmerman (7), Wellemeyer (18)
RP: Broxton (99), MGonzalez (125), Putz (202), Dotel (281)

C: Mauer (100), Shoppach (230)
1B: MiCabrera (8), AdLaRoche (177)
2B: BRoberts (47), Getz (295)
SS: Jeter (87), Bartlett (256)
3B: Beltre (113), Mora (190)
OF: CaLee (21), Guerrero (60), Pence (126), Crisp (203), Winn (217), CaGomez (269)
SP: Sabathia (34), Webb (61), SBaker (139), Lowe (164), Harang (216)
Taxi: Sonnanstine (8), Wolf (17)
RP: Valverde (74), FFrancisco (152), Devine (243), RBetancourt (282)

C: Soto (62), Flores (270)
1B: Teixeira (9), Konerko (205)
2B: Polanco (178), Iwamura (231)
SS: SDrew (49), Hairston (296)
3B: CJones (48), Sandoval (88)
OF: Beltran (22), ISuzuki (35), Ibanez (101), Ethier (153), AdJones (218), Lewis (257)
SP: Greinke (114), Burnett (165), Porcello (191), Volstad (204), Buchholz (244)
Taxi: Anderson (9), Gallagher (16)
RP: BWilson (75), Motte (127), Qualls (140), Corpas (283)

C: Martin (37), Wieters (193)
1B: Morneau (23), Thome (166)
2B: Utley (10), Velez (297)
SS: YEscobar (128), Aviles (206)
3B: MYoung (63), Blake (284)
OF: Abreu (50), Victorino (76), CGuillen (102), DeYoung (232), Kubel (245), JDrew (271)
SP: JShields (115), Slowey (179), ESantana (192), Garza (219), Bedard (258)
Taxi: Cueto (10), Maholm (15)
RP: Nathan (36), Gregg (89), Ziegler (141), Lindstrom (154)

C: RHernandez (194), Navarro (272)
1B: AdGonzalez (77), DLee (129)
2B: BPhillips (51) KMatsui (233)
SS: Rollins (11), Greene (259)
3B: ARodriguez (24), Encarnacion (181)
OF: Kemp (25), Crawford (38), Hart (90), Milledge (167), Ankiel (207), JRivera (285)
SP: Peavy (64), Oswalt (103), Lackey (116), JVazquez (155), Myers (180)
Taxi: Maine (11), JSanchez (14)
RP: Ryan (142), Lyon (220), Balfour (246), Villanueva (298)

C: Posada (234), Laird (286)
1B: Youkilis (39), KMorales (299)
2B: Kinsler (13), Teahen (221)
SS: Peralta (65), Tejada (208)
3B: ArRamirez (26), Fields (247)
OF: MRamirez (12), McLouth (52), Dunn (78), CYoung (130), NCruz (156), HMatsui (260)
SP: Dempster (104), Billingsley (117), Volquez (143), Zambrano (156), Lilly (168)
Taxi: Smoltz (12), Lannan (13)
RP: Wood (91), Ray (169), Hoffman (182), Wheeler (273)


3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chuck Hickey // Apr 3, 2009 at 4:16 PM

    The best gathering of the year.

    And you might like the Mike team, but I guarantee you, Mike does not like the Mike team.

    Of course, he’ll then win the thing.

  • 2 Derek Rich // Apr 10, 2009 at 12:11 AM

    Pope’s numbers were definitely inflated.

    His blog was my portal into the war room. I refreshed the thing at least once every 5 minutes. Easily 60+ hits.

  • 3 Dennis Pope // Apr 10, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    Derek’s head is definitely inflated.

    I had more than 300 hits that night so his 60-plus hits were but a fraction of my blog’s popularity that evening.

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