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Fantasy Baseball!

April 3rd, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Baseball, Fantasy Baseball

I know. I know. I could hardly put up a headline worse than that, in terms of enticing people to read.

“Don’t read this” would do far, far better.

But this won’t take long. And you some tiny fraction of you might find it interesting to see who went in the first round of one of the oldest fantasy baseball leagues (est. 1983), one with its own peculiar set of rules. One that developed independently, and about the same time, as the famous Rotisserie League.

The draft began at 6:30 p.m., which is 5:30 a.m. in Abu Dhabi, which is way before my bedtime has ended. I was not quite awake for the first three rounds. Putting me at a disadvantage. Again. Which I will cite if my team falls flat, and it might.

OK. Top 12 picks, or the 11 made after Mike Trout, that is:

2. Miguel Cabrera

3. Paul Goldschmidt

4. Giancarlo Stanton (my pick, thank you … even though that stupefying contract, 13 years for $325 million, and his getting hit in the face to end his breakout 2014 season, give me pause)

5. Jose Bautista

6. Clayton Kershaw

7. Andrew McCutchen

8. Felix Hernandez

9. Jose Abreu

10. Troy Tulowitzki

11. Adam Jones

12. Carlos Gomez

You may wonder about five owners passing up Kershaw, but starting pitchers influence only four of the 11 statistics we use. ERA, whip, strikeouts and won-lost … and yes, we know won-lost is not considered a good indicator of a pitcher’s season, but we’ve had that stat for 33 seasons now.

The other “well, hmmm” picks of the first round probably are the last two. Adam Jones is not particularly well known, because of his surname and because he plays for the Baltimore Orioles, but he’s does everything but steal bases, and Carlos Gomez presents that rare blend of speed and power (23 homers, 34 steals last year), and that is valuable in a league which persists in using steals as one of its six offensive stats.

(Don’t blame me; I’ve tried to change it time and again, only to be shouted down, even when I advocated at least modifying it to include “caught stealing” so as to 1) bring more numbers to the stat and 2) reflect the damage done by guys who are thrown out.)

I’m sure I made numerous mistakes. That’s why I’ve won the league only once since 1994. Brian Dozier as my starting 2B, and with the 56th pick, after one good season? The ancient and perhaps platooned Adam Lind as backup 1B? Adam Moss as my No. 3 outfielder? Brad Boxberger as my first reliever — when it’s not at all clear he will be the closer (and yes, we still use “saves” as a category, too).

My starting rotation is a bit shaky, considering we draft 60 SPs, collectively — though we have 24 more, for a taxi squad, necessary¬† because pitchers are so often hurt, these days.

One owner, who drafted via a list that apparently rewards pitching, with his first four picks took Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale, Cory Kluber and David Price, which made the whole SP category a little weird.

Anyway, I have Cueto (like him), Carlos Carrasco (really raw), Michael Pineda (making a return, and a great spring, but still), Ian Kennedy (already bracing for the ERA of 3.50-plus) and Scott Kazmir (does he have another twilit year in him?). And my taxi squad is Derek Holland and A.J. Burnett. I will need at least one of them to be good, I think.

Last pick among the 300 taken? Torii Hunter of the Twins. I hope he doesn’t mind. He’s a pretty good guy, from what I can tell.

Perhaps the biggest event of the evening? When the guy who has won more championships (nine of the 32) than anyone got the No. 1 pick. Trout. This owner doesn’t need that kind of help, and I feel like we’re all already about six games behind.

Now, this takes over our lives for only the next six months.

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