Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Stray Post

I needed to put this somewhere, but Facebook seemed like the wrong place. Probably because it would lead to people reading it.

The Argument for Health Care Paternalism

My problem with arguments for paternalism like this one is two-fold (or at least, these are the two folds I have worked out so far):

1) How do we distinguish consumers "making mistakes" from consumers "making choices that we don't like/we wouldn't make"? That is, how do we separate weird preferences from irrationality? Who determines how much discounting of future health risks is "excessive discounting of future health risks" and how much is "too much concentration on dimensions that allow easy comparisons"?

2) Supposing that consumers do make mistakes, the case for regulation rests on the assumption that the establishment will not make the same (or worse) mistakes, which is hugely questionable given that it is left up to political processes. Okay, subsidize preventative care: how much? It's easy to say that a small subsidy moves us towards efficiency, but are the efficiency gains worth the institutional costs?

Obviously the health care market is far from the Econ 101 benchmark, and all of the informational arguments made by Dr. McFadden are clearly apt. Improving information provision in the health care market is necessary. But I'm not sure that regulation of the kind currently being considered offers much improvement, given the flaws inherent in our policy-making processes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why don't he write? An abbreviated NFL Draft Preview

Christmas, the 4th of July, and Opening Day are all here! This year’s NFL draft post will be a lazy rendition of past versions but, this just in, blogs are a time suck. So without further disclaimer for mediocrity, below is a homeless version of Peter King’s things I think I think...
I think, fairly or unfairly, I'm fairly certain Nick Fairley would be my first pick and a fairly good player. Cam Newton was the quarterback of the National Champion, but Nick Fairley carried that team.

Seems Fairley obvious to me

I think Patrick Peterson is the safest pick, but I think no GM has the balls to take a corner #1 even if Darrelle Revis is the best defensive player in football.

I think Marcell Dareus was named after a store brand battery, and will be renting a campsite from Big Daddy Warren in three years.

Better start eating, kid

I think AJ Green is A LOT better than Julio Jones. A LOT.

I think I’m bored with the lockout already. I wish Johnnie Cochran was still with us.

I think Jake Locker will be the best quarterback in this class, though I’m not sure that’s saying much.

I think it’s an extremely weak top of draft if two players from the University of Missouri go in the top 11 picks.

I think Mike Pouncey should give half his signing bonus to his brother.

I think I forgot to put out the trash this morning.

I think Muhammad Wilkerson, the defensive lineman from Temple, is someone I have to like.

I think Blaine Gabbert will be one of the best quarterbacks in Argonauts history.

Rocket Ismail likes this

I think it’s been too long since I’ve had a slurpee.

I think Da'Quan Bowers, the pride of Bamberg (after my father-in-law), is a top 5 player that goes in the 20s.

I think Todd McShay was better in Wedding Crashers than he was in The Hangover.

I think Mark Ingram to the Pats hurts my dynasty fantasy team.

I think Deion Sanders should be the Charles Barkley of NFL telecasts.

I think NFL “draft experts” need to grow some balls. If Cam Newton is not worthy of the top pick do not make him your #6 overall prospect. If Nick Fairley has fallen because he only played one season of D-1 don’t make him your top player before “realizing” he played just one year. If Blaine Gabbert is not listed in your first round do not give him a top 10 ranking the day he declares because it is a weak QB class.

I think the Lions will fall into another great pick. I’d guess Prince Amukamara.

I think Phil Taylor from Baylor rhymes. I also think Phil Taylor has all-ugly hall of fame potential.

I think it’s funny that Brooks Reed from Arizona will go late in the first or early in the second because he reminds people of Clay Matthews but Casey Matthews, Clay’s brother, will go in round four or five.

I think Ryan Williams is going to be a fantasy monster.

I think no one is talking about the rookie wage scale. Doesn't your calculus change if Cam Newton costs $30M instead of $80M?

I think Ras-I Dowling is the only draft pick whose autographed picture is on my mantle. I think at worst he’s the best Ras-I not in the Blind Boys of Alabama (probably).

I think Brandon Harris from Miami makes up part of the best cornerback class I can remember.

I think to save time the NFL should start printing “Mallett” Raiders’ jerseys now.

I think Jonathan Baldwin is either good Antonio Bryant or bad Antonio Bryant.

I know I wish Ted Leonsis owned the Redskins.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Q and A

Throughout history, our singers and songwriters have asked countless questions through their works. I am here to answer those asinine questions...

(Who Wrote) The Book of Love
The Monotones

While I'm not sure it can be considered the definitive work on the subject, the Book of Love was written by William Kotzwinkle.
Hey, Hey What Can I Do?
Led Zeppelin

You've got a woman who refuses to be true, who is perpetually under the influence of alcohol, and who seemingly receives solicitations at church services. If I interpret your tale correctly, you, sir, are in love with a prostitute, and a pretty prolific one at that. The first thing you can and should do is get tested. After that, I would suggest you try to get your life back on track. Resist the urges to "keep a-searchin' all around / Lookin' for your street corner girl." Maybe you can meet someone nice at church? You know, someone who doesn't sell their body on street corners?

No... I'm asking you, isn't she?
Isn't She Lovely?
Stevie Wonder

She's alright, I guess. But how would you know?

Where have all the Cowboys gone
Paula Cole

If you mean these Cowboys, Aikman calls games with Joe Buck, Emmitt was on Monday Night Countdown, and Irvin is currently Dancing with the Stars (not to be confused with dancing on the star).

If you mean these Cowboys, Heath Ledger died of a drug overdose and Jake Gyllenhaal is starring in an upcoming, sure-to-be-terrible movie adaptation of The Prince of Persia video games and dating a very attractive woman.

If you mean these Cowboys, they eventually fell victim to the Earp Vendetta Ride, aka "The Last Charge of Wyatt Earp and his Immortals".

Greatest... Western... Ever...

Otherwise, the archetypal American "cowboy" died out when the advent of barbed wire made open range ranching a thing of the past, thus eliminating the need for long cattle drives.

Why Can't We Be Friends?
War/The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones/Smash Mouth

It probably has something to do with you being responsible for the song "Low Rider"/ that "knock on wood" song/the song "All Star"

Can You See Me?
The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Oh yes, Jimi, I can see you. I can even listen to you. But I can't hear you. Sidney Deane made that abundantly clear.

"Look man, you can listen to Jimi but you can't hear him. There's a difference man. Just because you're listening to him doesn't mean you're hearing him."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Of Sam Dalembert's Value, Cole's Thumbs, and Jeff's Doghouse

Srikant and I have been discussing the NBA draft since our teams were eliminated from contention, roughly November 3rd for me. Like the Super Draft, we’re going to go back and forth, and will critique each other’s selection. I’ve drawn the long fry and will pick first.

Jeff, Pick 1: Blake Griffin

Only a retard would pass on a 6’10” forward with equal parts production and projection. While Griffin is certainly a special player and an outright banger, the player comparables for him have gotten a bit out of control. One read “a more athletic Karl Malone”. Now I’d buy a “less fertile Karl Malone” or an “environmentally conscious Karl Malone”, but comparables are supposed to be a player’s most likely career path not their absolute upside. Chad Ford’s comparable is “Carlos Boozer meets Amar'e Stoudemire”. This projects roughly to:

Amare: “Hey Los, how’s Utah?”
Booz: “You know it sucks ‘Mar‘e. How’s the microfracture?”
Amare: “Small. Broken. Screw over any blind people today?”
Booz: “Yes, several. Thanks for asking.”
Amare: “Well, I gotta go add another apostrophe to my name; ahoy hoy.”

Srikant’s Take: There is no argument with this pick. He is the consensus number 1 and it’s not even close. It’s a shame that such a great talent has to go to a succubus like the LA Clippers (stupid lottery), but maybe he and Baron Davis develop chemistry. Maybe the Clippers are able to unload Zach Randolph to Isaiah Thomas and FIU. Maybe Marcus Camby accepts his role as a 6th man, and we see a front court of Chris Kaman and Griffin giving team’s fits. That’s only the start of the maybes, and I don’t believe any of them. Who’s the real loser in all this? Griffin? The NBA? I say it’s those two loveable ligaments, born and bred in Oklahoma, Blake’s ACL and Blake’s MCL. I would be astounded if Griffin plays 50 games this year. The poor kid and his millions of dollars…

Srikant, Pick 2: Ricky Rubio

In an ideal world Rubio goes number 2 (he won’t Thabeet will, and he will bust). He has tremendous upside, and is just scratching the surface of his talent. A simple look through youtube, and images of Pete Marovich are conjured. Yes he is young, yes he has questionable range, and yes Brandon Jennings could beat him one on one. Still when it comes to vision, anticipation, and basketball IQ, no one in this draft compares to him. He plays basketball like a soccer player would, seeing cuts and through balls before anyone else does. Plus he has been playing against pros for most of his basketball life, and as we learned last year, the difference between Europe and the NBA is a lot smaller than we all think.

Jeff’s Take: The best basketball playing Spanish teenager in this draft is yours. I actually don’t have any problem with the pick. I do have a problem with GMs saying a pass-first point guard performed mediocre in one-on-one or one-on-none workouts. In a related story, the Kings are implementing their new NBA Jam offense. Carril you magnificent bastard.

Jeff, Pick 3: James Harden

Number 3 is a toss-up for me between Tyreke Evans, the guy I want to pick, and the guy I should pick, Jimmy Harden. Safety wins out over potential. Despite bearing an uncanny resemblance to the bastard child of Elton Brand and my old neighbor Tim, Harden is a do everything-guard that will fill up a stat sheet and play a lot of years in this league. He might never be an all-star, but his game reminds me of a cheaply made American version of Manu Ginobilli: a tough lefty that can get to the basket and can take over down the stretch. Despite the fact that neighbor Tim spent one cruel summer living in my parent’s doghouse (like there was evidence this happened), I’d be ecstatic if Harden ends up on the Wizards. Plus, the commute from my parent’s backyard can be made in under an hour.

Srikant’s Take: I will disagree and say that I think Tyreke Evans belongs here. I can’t really say that I don’t like Harden as a player, because he was spectacular this past year in the PAC-10. I even would go as far as to say Harden is probably better than Evans right now. However, in 2-3 years I think Evans will be one of the best combo guards in the game. I would take Evans ahead of Harden slightly on potential (basically a toss-up between the two).

Srikant, Pick 4: Tyreke Evans

I distinctly remember Jeff and I coming to work on the Monday after the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, and both going “Man I love Tyreke Evans.” He just wows you with his ability to get to the rim at will, his speed, and his size (measurables in Kiper lingo). Like previous Memphis star Derrick Rose, he seems to be they type of uber athlete that could cause a matchup disaster for opponents (especially if he plays at the 1). As an aside, how great of a name is Tyreke. It allows you to go with the traditional moniker of Ty if you want, or if you what to be a free spirit you could go with Zeke or Eke, or even Reke. The possibilities are endless.

Jeff’s Take: Needless to say, I love this pick. While his basement is Larry Hughes, the Jerry Stackhomes comparison seems legit to me. I really have no problem with him going as high as #2. His defense and mid-range game will play immediately. I think an OJ Mayo rookie year is likely.

Jeff, Pick 5: Steph Curry

The best shooter since Ray Allen with range like Rocky Gorge. With the exception of Griffin, Curry seems least likely to bust, only because his shot will play, even if his ball handling prevents him from being an elite guard. Fun fact on Davidson, which makes me wonder why it’s not a better sporting school, all students get their laundry done at no additional charge.

Srikant’s Take: Dell’s kid? He can shoot the lights out, but so could J.J. Reddick. This is a tough call. He is a really likeable player, who just about lit up every team he played, but I have concerns about his size and handle. Still, I am not sure I like the other guards much better (Flynn, Jennings). I like the pick if he can make the transition to PG, otherwise I think you have to hope he turns into an effective set shooter in the Steve Kerr mold. One of my favorite comments in re Stephen Curry being a lottery pick came from a co-worker, “I once knew a kid who was the best player at Davidson (Ian Johnson)…he plays intermittently in Sweden.”

Srikant, Pick 6: Hasheem Thabeet

So I lose the contest of who breaks first and takes Thabeet. I am going to come out and say that I think Thabeet is one of the most over-rated prospects in years. DeJuan Blair, who was measured at 6’5 and played at 300+ pounds, absolutely dominated him. His main offensive move is to catch and dunk, and all he really did at UConn was just roam around and block shots. So why am I taking him here? It’s just that he is tall, seems adept at timing shot blocks, and is pretty athletic for a guy is size. So…I guess there is an outside chance he could be Dikembe Mutombo, a defensive stopper who rebounds, and gets you 10-15 a night. While I think he more likely will be like Sam Dalembert (which would be fine, except that Sam was picked 26th overall), I think you have to take a shot with him at 6. As low as I am on him, other people seem to be high on him, so everyone can’t be wrong, can they? (I wonder how many GM’s think this way…certainly Chris Wallace).

Jeff’s Take: It only makes sense that the president, founder, and lone member of the Samuel Dalembert Fan Club takes Thabeet. You argue against Steph Curry for being one dimensional, then take a seven footer from Dar Es Salaam because GMs of terrible teams that consistently have top 5 picks like the guy? Somewhere Manute Bol is plowing a field he doesn’t love…

Jeff, Pick 7: Ty Lawson, b*tches.

Why the most productive college point guard on the National Champion with pro-game is a mid-to-late first rounder is beyond me. John Hollinger confirmed what I thought all along, “his shooting numbers (47.1 percent on 3-pointers), strong assist rate and microscopic turnover ratio (9.1, first among point guard prospects) all point to him as an NBA keeper.” If you want a safe point guard, Lawson’s the pick. He’s a sure-fire NBA starting point guard. You have to love a league that criticizes players like Brandon Jennings and Jrue Holiday that had trouble earning consistent minutes and then put up mediocre numbers when they did play, and yet is so intrigued by their mystery and upside that they take them 10 spots ahead of player like Lawson. You know with three years of college there’s a good chance Brandon Jennings would’ve been the best point guard in college… sort of like Ty Lawson was this year. HUH?!

Srikant’s Take: Lawson is explosive, and would be great on a team like Philly or Golden State. I agree that for some reason teams don’t seem as high on him as they should be, especially considering that he had arguably the best year of any player in the NCAA last year. Quickly back to Sam Dalembert…how dare you! What’s not to like about a 6’11, 250 pound Canadian. He almost averages a double-double (8 and 8), and he runs the floor like a gazelle. I will not have you using this blog as a forum to disgrace his good name. No Sir.

Srikant, Pick 8: Brandon Jennings

I think Jennings and Johnny Flynn are pretty much in a dead heat at this point. Jennings gets the nod because I think that we can chalk up his struggles this year in Europe to growing pains, and I think he has the potential to be better than Flynn. I also respect the hell out of his decision to call out David Stern’s ridiculous rule regarding the entry of HS athletes into the draft (which has created a new era of 1 and done college hoops). As a player, Jennings is a bit flashy, and I think he could turn into a Stephon Marbury clone, which scares me. However, he is freakishly athletic, can play well above the rim, has great range, and when he is on, he can make the jaw dropping play. Another plus, he seems to be coachable, according to one scout, "In every area he's gotten better. You can't say the same thing about Jrue Holiday or Jonny Flynn or whoever you want to put up there. This kid's learning curve has been dramatic. The numbers are just a part of the story." So here is hoping that I didn’t just draft Jamal Crawford/Stephon Marbury/insert “I needs to get mine” guard.

Jeff’s Take: How can I knock a shit talker with a flat top this smooth that said FU to the NCAA? Look, the kid was smart to do what he did. He averages more fouls than assists per game in college and he goes undrafted, but in the Euroleague he’s mature. But dude couldn’t get on the floor in Italy, not sure how he does in the big league? He could be good, obviously, he’s a likely lottery pick, but it seems to me you’re talking three years before you start seeing anything from the kid. If you’re a GM living one season to the next, do you take that risk?

Jeff, Pick 9: Earl Clark

You know I’m taking Earl Clark. In five years Earl Clark is going to either be a unique NBA player in the Lamar Odom mold with unreal passing skills and a matchup nightmare or dominating midnight basketball versus his fellow janitors. Simply put: I like both of these scenarios. I love this kid’s low post game and even though he gets a little lazy at times, what midnight janitor doesn’t? Also, let me be the first to lobby for Earl Clark to put his full name on his jersey. EARL CLARK. Beautiful.

Srikant’s Take: Oh the glorious janitor’s game. I remember watching those back in college. The few times I had to play because there weren’t enough janitors, I stood in the corner and passed the ball. A noble end to humbled basketball dreams. Man those janitors could flat out ball. Earl Clark, hmmm…Well, Earl (saying Earl never gets old) is a bit of a turnover machine, and sometimes he can’t match the other team's physicality and toughness (oddly this happened to him in Louisville’s blow out loss at the hands of Notre Dame, where Luke Harangody outscored him 32-11). I am not even sure he is the best player on his college team (Terrance Williams?). He has a good deal of potential, but this seems awfully high for him. I would take Johnny Flynn, Terrance Williams, Gerald Henderson, Jrue Holiday, and Demar DeRozan ahead of him probably. Also, I am not sure I would take Earl Clark, with the guy I am about to select still on the board….

Srikant, Pick 10: DeJuan Blair

As a University of Pittsburgh fan, I watched a lot of DeJuan this year. This kid is a beast, end of story. He is relentless on the offensive glass, and he just out muscles everyone he plays. He basically had his way with players 6 or 7 inches taller than him. He has a long wingspan that makes up for his shorter height, and he has giant hands that act like “suction cups”( quoting Bill Raftery). Here are his splits against notable college big men:

Hasheem Thabeet: 22 and 23.
Derrick Brown: 10 and 17
Luke Harangody: 22 and 23
Lazar Hayword: 23 and 9
Dante Cunningham: 20 and 10

I really think Blair could be a lot like a combination of Paul Millsap and Chuck Hayes (or even better). Indications are that he has lost weight and is down to a sleek 275 (with a body fat % under 8%). Worst comes to worst, I think he ends up like Craig Smith. I realize this is high for Blair, as most mock drafts have him between 11-20, but aside from some concerns about his knees, I think he is one of the most productive and fierce players in the draft. Doesn't hurt that he comes from the City of Champions. In a related note, I am really glad the NBA has finally come to its senses, and realized that under-sized 4’s shouldn’t be automatically relegated to the FA pool. In recent years we have seen Glen Davis, Paul Milsap, and Chuck Hayes all succeed as shorter post players. I think with the pace of the game today, combined with the realization that girth, will and determination can trump height, we will see a lot more undersized 4’s coming into the league in coming years.

Jeff’s Take: You simple, predictable man. Jonny Flynn should be the pick here, but I love taking a 6’5” power forward with terrible knees and at pick 10. I know you just wanted to get a plug in for Blair, and I can’t fault you for that; heck, I took Harden over Evans because I today realized he looks like my old neighbor! One of the more enjoyable subplots for me during the draft process has been following DeJuan Blair's medical reports. In the past month it’s gone from tearing an ACL in high school to multiple ACL tears to “troubling knees” to “red-flag injury” to this most recent report “it's only come to light in recent days that those concerns have to do with the fact that doctors can't seem to find his ACLs in the MRIs they've taken”. Srikant, who am I to argue? As you mention, Blair DOMINATED your boy Thabeet, and let’s be honest, Cole don’t need thumbs.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Q and A

Throughout history, our singers and songwriters have asked countless questions through their works. I am here to answer those asinine questions...

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The Clash

Judging by your own calculations, if you go there will be trouble, but if you stay there will be twice as much trouble. So, clearly, you should go.

Why Don't We Do It In the Road?
The Beatles

Come on, The Beatles. Besides being really uncomfortable, you aren't going to be paying attention to the traffic on the road! The only way to pull it off is to either pick a really quiet road, or to do it on the median. Let's be reasonable. Sure, we'd like to be able to do it anywhere, but we live in a society, damn it.

You see, this is what roads are for.

What Is Love?

Well, Haddaway, crack open your Merriam-Webster Dictionary and you will find that "love" is "strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties" or "a score of zero (as in tennis)". I have to imagine that your cries of "Don't hurt me no more" were a result of your significant other hitting you repeatedly due to your incessant asking of that question. Not only is the answer readily available through any number of sources, but girlfriends typically don't like you to question the nature of love in their presence. It makes them feel less important.

Where Is My Mind?
The Pixies

It is in your brain, which is located inside your skull.

Who Are You?
The Who

These are your fans, Roger Daltrey. They have come to see you play rock music.

What Child Is This?

The child is Jesus. He is the infant founder and messiah of a new world religion that will take the world by storm! A more appropriate question might be, "What Song Is This?" since its religious content is delivered to the tune of "Greensleeves", which is widely (and wrongly) believed to have been written by one of the least religious men ever (Henry VIII) about one of the least religious topics ever (his abiding lust for his mistress, Natalie Portman).

"Hmm, I can never keep them straight. What child is this?" -Henry VIII

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Law School Playlist

As I am presently studying for a Constitutional Law Exam, I should absolutely not be blogging. However, I very much enjoy novelty playlists, as I've indicated several times before on this site. Perhaps I'm carving out a niche for myself. Most importantly though, I wanted to use the collective knowledge of this blog to add songs to this list.

1. Heavy Metal (Is The Law) by Helloween

I wish this were true. I would be having a much easier time than I am with law school if it were.

"Heavy Metal is the law that keeps us all united free
A law that shatters earth and hell
Heavy Metal can't be beaten by any dynasty
We're all wizards fightin' with our spell"

As you can see, Heavy Metal is quite a formidable legal system. It is apparently full of wizards, fighting ones, and not even the 1990's Cowboys or the 1970's Steelers can defy it.

Moreover, the German band Helloween wants to be sure you know that Heavy Metal keeps us all "united free". In case you were wondering what was behind that.

2. Lawyers, Guns and Money by Warren Zevon

I can't tell you how many times I've made this call:

"I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this"

Further more, I can't wait to be the lawyer who has to work on this surely recurrent case. You probably have to fly down in a helicopter with a team of mercenaries and several bags with dollar signs on them. It's pretty much a dream of mine.

3. ...And Justice For All by Metallica

This song is 10 minutes long. It includes at least 6 minutes of pure insturmental. It's a bitch to play in Rock Band. It's as angry as anything Rage Against the Machine ever wrote. Yet somehow, Metallica have become the world's biggest tools, using lawyers to stomp all over the little guy who would dare threaten their intellectual property. I don't really get it.

If my client ever asks me a tough question about the law, I think he's in trouble, I will invariably have to go with this answer:

"Nothing can save you
Justice is lost
Justice is raped
Justice is gone!
Pulling your strings
Justice is done!"

4. The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath

So, my Constitutional law professor wants you all to know that several provisions of the Constitution are all about protecting people from 'mob rule'. Hence indirect election of senators, the electoral college, and justices appointed for life. I guess all I would have to say about that, is that Ronnie James Dio doesn't believe this works in practice.

You're all Fools! The Mob Rules!

5. Perry Mason by Ozzy Osbourne

OK. I think this song is hilarious. He was almost certainly high, sitting around watching television in 1995. The Perry Mason made for tv movie "The Case of the Jealous Jokester" had just come out as a made for TV movie. Now of course, as you know, this didn't actually star Perry Mason but his friend and collegue Bill McKenzie, solving the mystery of the murder of a sitcom star.

Surely inspired by this, and ironing out legal disputes with Tommi Iommi,he was looking for a good attorney. So he was inspired to write this:

Who can we get on the case?
We need Perry Mason
someone to put you in place
Calling Perry Mason again, again"

Also, this song was co-written by Aqua Teen Hunger Force guest star Zakk Wylde. So there's that.

6. Breaking the Law by Judas Priest

The laws of this state forbid me from giving any legal advice. But if Rob Halford were to have asked me, I would have told him that it is inadvisable from a defense standpoint to ever talk to the police, much less to admit to wrongdoing. It therefore is probably inadvisable to admit to it 32 times in a 2 minute period. Or if he is announcing his intention, it is still unwise. Given that 5 men are singing it, it is quite possibly conspiracy, even if they never end up doing anything.

I will also say that the activity in their video consists of only arguably illegal activity. I don't think you can assault someone with a guitar, no matter how threatening you are with your rocking. Moreover, given that all they took from the bank (after the power of their rocking opened the vault) was their OWN gold record, I think that might even be legal.

7. Sexx Laws by Beck

Contrary to what it appears, this song does not govern the rules that apply to sex, or even to "sexx". While I'm pretty sure it's at least 'about sex', like most Beck songs I can't make heads or tales of it. Thus in being only loosely related to law, it fits right in with this list.

"I want to defy
The logic of all sex laws
Let the handcuffs slip off your wrists
I'll let you be my chaperone
At the halfway home
I'm a full grown man
But I'm not afraid to cry"

8. Battery by Metallica

My Torts book defines "battery" as "Acting intend to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of another...and a harmful contact with the person of the other results."

Metallica, on the other hand, defines battery as

"Crushing all deceivers, mashing non-believers
never ending potency
Hungry violence seeker, feeding off the weaker
Breeding on insanity"

On the OTHER hand, Wikipedia defines it as "a combination of one or more electrochemical Galvanic cells which store chemical energy."

In summary, Metallica rules, law school sucks, and science is confusing.

9. Briefcase Full of Guts by Dethklok

This is more about business than law, per se (PER SE? See, I learned something in law school). It's actually more about murdering than it is about business, so there you go. We're already two degrees removed, but it's good enough.

"I'm an employee
I have a degree
I'll fulfill your need
I will make you bleed
I'll rise to the top
Best one on the team
Kill outside the box
Hold you as you scream "

That's right folks. Kill outside the box. That's the slogan of the forthcoming iGun.

After that awful joke, I am going to call it for now. I have a pile of studying to do. I always want to blog, but I'm pretty sure no one wants to hear about my fantasy woes, videogames, or law school and that's pretty much all that's on my mind lately.

Maybe more to come.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Things you should not believe in the days leading up to the draft

  1. Anything said by a representative of a team other than the Detroit Lions.
Seriously, the NFL Draft is a humongous cheap-talk signaling game and I wish that I was smart enough to model it and write a journal worthy paper about it. Among the things that we should not believe
The point is not that none of these things will actually happen; in all likelihood at least one probably will. The point is if these things are making it to the press, it's because a team wanted it to hit the press. And it's in every team's best interest to lie to the other teams about who they want and what they are willing to do to get the player they want. This is all posturing and positioning. Not that this is anything that the readers of this blog don't already know...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nary a Wieters to be Found

If the NBA has whittled down to its best 28 teams, Mike Cameron is currently on someone’s fantasy team, and you’ve just wikipedia’d “Patriots’ Day” then it must be April and draft season!

Let’s get this out right now: this is the worst draft since ‘Nam. Apart from the offensive tackle depth and some underrated running backs there isn’t a position that jumps out at you. Moreover, I can’t remember a draft with more question marks and fewer superstars.

As always, I can’t provide anything you haven’t read elsewhere apart from a gut feeling, some random insight (did you know Eugene Monroe has a 60 year old brother!) and the knowledge that comes with watching every draft since the age of nine, which pretty much gives me the same expertise as, say, Mel Kiper.

Unlike 2007, last year was an off-year with most TBD. Jeff Otah led a limited number of hits. The biggest misses were Ryan Clady and Chris Johnson. Smurf turf, who knew!? Onto 2009…

Top 5 Offensive Players

1) Jason Smith- from the school that produced Olympic sprinters Michael Johnson, Jeremy Wariner, and Olympic-level tax evader Willie Nelson, comes the best tackle in the draft. Wait, Willie Nelson went to college?! Apparently Willie studied agriculture for one year. Surely a liberal use of “studied” and an even more liberal use of “agriculture”, but even “attended” college is borderline earth-shattering. Willie Nelson: College Student. Anyway, Jason Smith is already really good and still pretty raw. Like Wilson’s boy Jason Peters, he’s a converted tight end with great quickness and mobility (those are different things, allegedly). Like my boy, Willie Nelson, Baylor attendee Smith has room to add bulk and strongly supports farm subsidies. Unlike Willie Nelson, Smith has no obvious off-the-field issues like accidentally smoking Waylon Jennings ashes one cold, dark night with Kris Kristofferson. I’d like to say “I like what I’ve seen from Smith”, but that’d be a lie. In fact, unless you lived in the greater-Dallas area, you’ve never seen Smith dominate live. Dude has never played a game on national television. He’ll become the first top-5 pick in the last 20 years to achieve this feat. Regardless, he was a top-5 pick based on playing ability, has only improved his stock during the combine process, and plays a position that most easily improves the entire offense. He’s the safest offensive player meaning the Lions should be looking at him, Aaron Curry, and no one else. In a related story the Lions have narrowed their search to Matthew Stafford and no one else. Take heart Lions fans, Willie understands.

2) Knowshon Moreno- Onto a player I’ve actually seen in person and countless times on TV. Why Knowshon is a mid-first round pick while Reggie Bush is wealthier than every under 25 year old except LeBron, is beyond me. Knowshon is a game-changing back that fits today’s NFL. A team, like Cleveland, with an aging trotter like Jamal Lewis, should be seriously considering Brother Know at pick 5; instead he’s projected to fall to pick 15 or later. Like Chris Johnson, Felix Jones, and Derrick Ward, Knowshon would be an ideal running back 1a) to run, catch out of the backfield, and help in the return game. The fact that teams in the top 10 are not considering him solely because of need shows you exactly why they’re picking in the top 10. Nevertheless, Knowshon will be a top 20 pick and my early favorite for rookie of the year. Not bad for a kid whose major at Georgia was “Housing”. What are you studying? Housing. Naa, I said studying? Housing. Well screw you then, Knowshon.

3) Eugene Monroe- The next in a long line of great Monroe’s from the Charlottesville-area, Eugene is another very safe, very smart pick. All you need to know: Branden Albert, the Chiefs rookie who had a solid year at LT, did not play the position at UVa when Monroe was healthy. A promising and legitimate NFL left tackle is worse than Monroe. What else is there to know? Oh right, dude has a 60 year old brother, one of Monroe's 15 siblings. Moving on.

4) Michael Crabtree- let’s get one thing straight: Michael Crabtree is not Larry Fitzgerald. No way, no how. That doesn’t mean he’s not good, even great, but to simply take the best wide receiver prospect and say he’s similar to the best current WR is just lazy. A more accurate comp in terms of playing style and physical dimensions is Brandon Marshall, but without the headaches. The question of his speed doesn’t concern me; the same was said of Fitzgerald, nor does the question of his injury risk or the comment that he’s a product of a pass-happy system. Anyone that has watched Texas Tech over the last two years knows how good this guy is. The Texas game last year was the best example. Everyone in the stadium knew dude was getting the ball. Didn’t matter.

5) Andre “Manssiere” Smith- On talent Smith is the best player in this draft. There’s not much question about that. He and Percy Harvin were universally considered the two best players in high school in this class. He started at left tackle in the SEC from Day 1 and started every game of his three-year career prior to his suspension for the 2009 Sugar Bowl. And that’s the rub: his character concerns are so great that some teams have apparently removed him from their draft board. Leonard Little killed a lady in 1998 while driving drunk, won the Superbowl two years later, was arrested again for drunk driving in 2004, and yet remains in the league. Andre Smith: seems lazy + hired an agent while an amateur = Adolf Jeter. I heard a great quote by Manny Acta after the Ryan Zimmerman resigning “We all know you can't win with only a bunch of straight-A students, good Boy Scouts”. Not said, but implied, was “which is why we acquired crazy assed Elijah- text a picture of a gun to the mother of some of his children- Dukes”. You have to balance the crazy, but crazy talented, with strong and positive locker room leaders. It’s tough to roll the dice, but I guess I’d rather roll the dice on an unquestionably talented but troubled player than a boy scout with major on-field weaknesses. That said, if, rather, when Cincinnati takes him, we’ll never know how good he could’ve been. One more thing to mention about ‘Dre: according to official Alabama team website: his full name is Andre D. Smith. Yup, his full name has an initial. Love this kid.

Top 5 Defensive Players

1) Aaron Maybin- (the following is an attempt to remain as objective as possible about a player that is custom made for the draft process and today's league and went to Penn State and is from my hometown.) Simply put: Aaron Maybin is the next Gandhi.

In all seriousness I believe Aaron Maybin can be the next Shawne Merriman, the good and the bad. From his ability to get to the quarterback and constantly disrupt the game to his ability to mysteriously and quickly add 25 pounds of muscle and his propensity for getting injured. Like Merriman, Maybin is the kind of edge rusher that can also drop back in coverage. I’ve heard experts say his closest comparison is T-Sizzle. Like Suggs falling to the Ravens, an ideal situation for Maybin would be a veteran defense with solid linebackers that would allow him to focus on his best attribute - getting to the quarterback (like say, I don’t know, any team in the greater PG county area would be just fine). It’s worth mentioning that one of Maybin’s professors at Penn State was my Uncle Don. For those not lucky enough to have met Uncle Don, picture a theatre-loving, 5-foot nothing, mustached man that would know everything about Aaron Copeland but nothing about Aaron Maybin. Having Uncle Don as a prof doesn’t bode particularly well for young Aaron as Uncle Don’s previous celebrity student was uber bust Courtney Brown. I’m going to ignore this for now, but should Aaron flounder I predict “Uncle Don’s student” will be mentioned alongside 40-time, Wonderlic, and hired Master P as an agent when measuring prospects.

2) Aaron Curry- The NFL is nothing if not a copycat league. So when six straight linebackers are defensive rookie of the year, even the bad teams take notice. With that said, all I’ve heard for three months is how good and how safe Aaron Curry is. While I’m not completely disagreeing I do wonder about his upside. The good: he’s is a sure tackler with great instincts and a non-stop motor. The indifferent: Curry’s a mediocre pass rusher which raises questions about playing in a 3-4. I know I’ve used this space to advocate for the top linebacker (see ROY stat above), and I continue to hold that if you’re going to outlay tens of millions of guaranteed dollars at a minimum make sure you’re drafting an above average starter that plays early. But with Curry I’ve heard that his closest comparable is D.J. Williams. As you google D.J. Williams let me tell you about this year’s Eagle Bank Bowl. Wake played Navy, which literally starts 250 pound offensive linemen. The fifth year senior finished the game with three solo tackles, one for a loss, and one assisted tackle. Now maybe it was an off game and surely an inadequate sample size on which to judge, but to muster four tackles against dudes that are currently trolling for pirates in the Gulf of Aden seems like weak sauce. Now you can do a lot worse than a basement of D.J. Williams, a solid and dependable linebacker that started as a rookie. For instance you could be Andre Smith, whose basement is hiding out in D.J. Williams's basement as the SWAT team moves in. But I’m not putting Curry in the “sure Pro-bowler” category as others have. I think part of the love affair with Curry is his unquestionably high character and the fact that linebackers pay instant returns. Tough to fault that strategy, but at pick 3, don’t you want a superstar? (I’m told by a Chiefs fan that in fact No, they don’t want a superstar, they just want someone (anyone) that can make a tackle and maybe force a turnover every now and again. Then Curry’s your man. He’s sure to have a long and productive NFL career. You could do worse.)

3) B.J. Raji- Six months ago googling “BJ Raji” returned the kind of weird Indian porn you can’t send through the mail, now it returns the best defensive tackle in the draft. Raji dominated the senior bowl, always a good sign, and plays an undervalued position that makes the entire defense better. He’s far and away the best run stopper in the draft and should be considered by all teams in the top 10. If he falls to the Broncos at 12 perhaps we can finally close the Cleveland to Denver “bad DT” pipeline that’s provided false optimism to so many over the past few years?

4) Malcolm Jenkins- All Malcolm Jenkins did was dominate in college at a school that should be known as Cornerback U. Like Shawn Springs, Nate Clements, Chris Gamble, and Antoine Winfield before him Malcolm Jenkins is the next shutdown corner from Ohio State. His speed leaves teams questioning his transition to the league, but Jenkins plays fast and is a great open field tackler that can line-up at safety and corner. In a pass-happy league where good corners now command $60M+ contracts drafting a player that can start early at a cost of $15M over 6 years seems like a smart strategy.

5) Tyson Jackson/ Larry English- I’ve watched enough drafts to know that 5-technique dude named Tyson Jackson from LSU is going to be a good and safe pick; expect a Marcus Spears type career. Larry English strikes me as this year’s small conference DE that has a productive (10+ sack) rookie season. His multiple knee injuries scare me some, but he’s a steal at the back of Round 1.

Other Notables (in no particular order):

Matthew Stafford- I’ve seen nothing to dispute my contention for the last two years that Matthew Stafford is Jay Cutler. Not much else to add that hasn’t been said about the kid: cannon arm, makes questionable decisions, surely a NFL starter that will put up good numbers. So depending what you think about Jay Cutler, that’s what Stafford can be. My ranking, or rather lack thereof, pretty much sums up my feelings toward Cutler. I suppose I generally fall into Kamp Kiper. Jay Cutler: great fantasy QB, but there are at least 8 other QBs I’d rather have on my team. Like Cutler with Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson will prevent Stafford from being a complete bust, but if I were the Lions I’d stop trying to hit a home run and get on base go with a sturdy left tackle.

Brian Orakpo- Fool me once, shame on Vernon Gholston; fool me twice, shame on Vernon Davis; fool me three times shame on Vernon Maxwell.

Mark Sanchez- Sanchez absolutely carved up a good Penn State defense with his accuracy and quick release. As always, it depends on the system, but Sanchez seems a much better fit in today’s NFL than Stafford. In a West Coast offense this kid has superstar potential. His inexperience, he probably needs two years with the clipboard, is the only thing keeping him from the Top 5 above. Sanchez to Seattle makes a ton of sense.

LeSean McCoy- Depending on where he goes, LeSean might be 2nd to Knowshon in my rookie of the year pick. A durable back that carried Pitt’s offense for the last two years and the reason Dave Wandstat still has a job.

Donald Brown- Another under-appreciated back that reminds me a lot of Thomas Jones: a patient runner with adequate speed and a boring name. Seems like a Patriots’ pick to me.

Josh Freeman- The classic “3rd quarterback getting overvalued in a draft with only two legitimate NFL starters”. Scouting report reads: Struggled in bigger games versus faster defenses. So Freeman should do great in “unimportant games versus slower NFL defenses”. Good luck with that, Jets fans.

Jeremy Maclin- Look, I like Ted Ginn too, but at least concede he’s no Top 10 pick.

Brandon Pettigrew- An allegedly “great athlete” that ran 4.85 40 and didn’t catch a TD last season? Best Case: Crumpler Zone, Likely Case: Daniel Graham. Jermaine Gresham was the only first round tight end this past season, but he stayed in school.

James Laurinaitis- Laurinaitis is quite simply wrestling royalty. Dad Joe was Animal from the tag-team The Road Warriors. His uncle John was wrestler “Johnny Ace” and currently works for the WWE. Uncle Marcus was “The Terminator” half of the tag team The Wrecking Crew. Frankly I have no idea what any of that means for James’s future. On the one hand he grew up among muscle-bound professional “athletes”, which seems good in the same way the sons of baseball players are often good pros themselves (except you Prince Fielder and your .200 batting average that I drafted in round 3). On the other hand, perhaps wrestling gives Laurinaitis an easy out should his NFL career not turn out as planned. Maybe pro wrestling is the Barney-Guarding Job of the Laurinaitis family? I’m going with the former. I think Laurinaitis is like many solid productive college LBs that slip to round 2 due to lack of upside and end up being reliably good pros.

Mohamed Massaquoi- So Matthew Stafford is the consensus #1, but the wideout that caught all his laser, rocket, errant passes is a third rounder? Massaquoi is a productive college wideout (nearly 1,000 yards and 8 TDs in 13 games last year) that played in a pro-system with a pro-caliber QB. To me he’s the number 2 or 3 wideout in this draft, not the 10th. I love this guy and would leap at the chance to take him in round 2.

Rhett Bomar- If there’s a late round QB that has NFL starter potential it’s Bomar. As a 6th or 7th round pick he’s a great gamble for a team with an entrenched but older starter (like the Bengals or Colts). I remember watching his as a freshman at OU and thinking he looked the part. Obviously his internship at Bill Tempchin Motors was an egregious error in judgment, but some team willing to roll the dice on him at the end of the draft could get a steal.

Ramses Barden- another small school projected in the 6th round that is more than worth the gamble. While his speed is marginal, a 6'6" wideout with great hands should be able to find a place on an NFL roster. Plaxico Burress, a 6'6" receiver with average speed and an equally preposterous name, enjoyed a great pro career, until this past season’s run-in with himself. Far and away the best Ramses in the draft.

Herman Johnson- Over the years I've made it uncomfortably clear how much I love athletes with baby fat. Well no one exemplifies baby fat like Herman Johnson. Big Herm weighed 15 pounds and 14 ounces at birth, one of the largest babies in Louisiana history. As we say a quick prayer for his poor mother, realize that the 370 pound Herm lost 40 pounds in college. If that's not upside, then what is?

Anyway, that's all that's in me for 2009. May all your teams end up with rangy blue collar players with football intelligence, upside potential and length that play well in space and faster with pads on. May the Redskins defy all the critics and actually improve their line play. And may the wandering Oakland Raiders someday find a home. Can I get an amen???

For those of you watching on Saturday be sure to check out my buddy Thomas's Draft Day Bingo cards. Lots of time was wasted coming up with those beauties.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Draft Grades

In anticipation of the looming NFL draft, I was going to make a post about all of the shitty draft pundits that post approximately 10 billion different mock drafts in the months prior to the draft and then grade the drafts before any of the players even see an NFL football field. Then I read this post by Mike Florio at PFT and discovered that he did all my work for me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Danks, but no Danks

The following is this year's completely subjective, selective, and far too long review of our fantasy baseball draft. Since only Jay and Wilson will actually read it, you'll notice it's 41% crazier than last year's post. Enjoy fellas.

Round 1
1. José Reyes-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Hanley Ramírez-Downward Fogg
3. Albert Pujols-A-Roid Liars
4. David Wright-Nolan on the River
5. Ryan Braun-Big Red
6. Miguel Cabrera-Doumit Lips
7. Grady Sizemore-Voldemort Oreos
8. Chase Utley-Bife Wieters
9. Ryan Howard-Green Monkeys
10. Tim Lincecum-Harden of Eaton

Worst Pick: I subscribe to the theory that there are no good picks in round 1—only bad ones. And to that end, drafting Ryan Howard here is indefensible. Sure, he’s a mortal lock for 40/140, but he’ll kill you everywhere else. Until Ryan Howard is second base eligible, he doesn’t belong in the first four rounds. In related news, Adam Dunn and Chris Davis were drafted five and seven rounds later, respectively.

Best pick: I like Jay taking Lincecum in Round 1 and Rollins in Round 2, only because I feel Rollins, like Billy Hoyle, plays well angry.

Ryan’s Pick: Unless either Ryan Braun or Miguel Cabrera fell to me, I was set on taking Utley here. I’m not worried about his hip.

Jeff’s Pick: I actually thought Ebner might go Rollins. I probably would’ve taken Cabrera above Braun, mainly because of position and Braun’s lack of baby fat. I know Sizemore was generally going ahead of Cabrera, but outfield was just so damn deep. Plus I’m not obsessed with Grady, unlike, ahem, some people.

Round 2
1. Jimmy Rollins-Harden of Eaton
2. Ian Kinsler-Green Monkeys
3. Alfonso Soriano-Bife Wieters
4. Josh Hamilton-Voldemort Oreos
5. Johan Santana-Doumit Lips
6. Mark Teixeira-Big Red
7. Dustin Pedroia-Nolan on the River
8. Evan Longoria-A-Roid Liars
9. Carlos Beltrán-Downward Fogg
10. Lance Berkman-Stairway to Blyleven

Worst Pick: Not only is Mark Teixeira a traitor and a mouth breather, he’s an overrated fantasy player. And while I don’t love the picks immediately following Teixeira, really until Berkman, I guess I’d rather wait six rounds and get similar numbers, and more upside, from Joey Votto.

I Have No Idea Pick: Pedroia to Pecota: Fuck and You.

Ryan’s Pick: My hope was that Rollins or Kinsler would still be available, but Soriano was behind door number 3, and I don’t think I’ll regret it. (Although I’d be a little happier if Lou would bat him third this year, instead of at the top of the order. I need the RsBI, and I can take the inevitable hit in steals).

Jeff: Not in a million mocks would I have ever expected to draft Santana. At the time I was on tilt, juggling two drafts. I asked myself: am I really about to draft a pitcher at pick 15? As I said re Teixeira, I didn’t love the other options on the board at the point. I gave some thought to Berkman, but went with what I thought was the best player available. In hindsight the pick made my team much more balanced than usual. Plus, come August, there’s usually not a more fun player to own than Johan.

Round 3
1. B.J. Upton-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Matt Holliday-Downward Fogg
3. Manny Ramírez-A-Roid Liars
4. Carlos Lee-Nolan on the River
5. Álex Rodríguez-Big Red
6. Prince Fielder-Doumit Lips
7. Carlos Quentin-Voldemort Oreos
8. Brian Roberts-Bife Wieters
9. Curtis Granderson-Green Monkeys
10. Brandon Phillips-Harden of Eaton

Best Pick: I don’t give a fuck if he’s hitting in Coors or in Oakland or on the outer rings of Saturn—Matt Holliday is a steal in round 3. I like Ebner’s balls-out A-Rod pick here, too. Ebner’s all “what up Labrum?” and Labrum’s all like “not much, sir” and Ebner’s all “that’s right bitch, now get on the field and hit me some dongs”.

Worst Pick: Why does Curtis Granderson keep getting drafted before, like, the 8th round? Sure, he hits triples—and he’ll score 100+ runs as long as he’s batting leadoff—but if you wanted 20 home runs, 15 steals, 25 doubles, and a .280 average, Torii “Replacement Player” Hunter was waiting for you in Round 19.

Ryan’s Pick: Is this yet another classic example of an Oriole fan drafting with his heart over his head? (Jeff's comment: hell and yes) No way. Our league was tailor-made for a guy like Brian Roberts. He’s a doubles-smashin’, base-stealin’, hittin’ machine (Canyanero!) who plays in the middle infield—where two of the thinnest positions in fantasy baseball reside. And we start two middle infielders. And mine are Chase Fucking Utley and Brian God Damn Roberts. Sometimes I want to jump up and kiss myself.

Jeff’s Pick: Cecil’s boy has baby fat for days and is a player I always wanted to own. I gave some thought to Markakis and Kemp, but thought one or both would be there in Round 4. I suppose the Votto six rounds later comment could be applied here, but Prince is one of the few guys that has 50 dong potential while not whiffing nearly as much as the other mashers. I don’t love this pick, but frankly, he was the best Rock ‘n Jock alum on the board and those twenty run homers off the Pepsi sign are leagues platinum.

Round 4
1. Nick Markakis-Harden of Eaton
2. Carl Crawford-Green Monkeys
3. Chipper Jones-Bife Wieters
4. CC Sabathia-Voldemort Oreos
5. Matt Kemp-Doumit Lips
6. Ichiro Suzuki-Big Red
7. Justin Morneau-Nolan on the River
8. Vladimir Guerrero-A-Roid Liars
9. Aramis Ramírez-Downward Fogg
10. Brian McCann-Stairway to Blyleven

Best pick: Surprising to C C.C. fall this far. I guess I didn’t even realize that? While he got hit hard on opening day, that’s great value 20 picks after Johan, I guess?

Worst Pick: This was a pretty good round, actually. I’d be happy with any of these guys on my team—except, maybe, for Vlad. Round 4 isn’t a bad spot to take him, but I think he’ll continue his decline this year. Too early for Carl Crawford as well. Jacoby Ellsbury is 25 picks away and guys like Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp were there for the taking.

Jeff and Ryan Banter:
Jeff: What’s your take on Morneau at pick 37? I like him as a player, but he’s overrated leagues-wise.

Ryan: He’s great for team names, but not as good as Joey Votto, who went 41 picks later.

Jeff: Can we have one conversation that doesn’t involve Joey Votto?


Jeff: And yet, no Jay Bruce.

Ryan: I will bite your forearm.

Ryan’s Pick: Of Chipper Jones, three things are certain:

He rakes like Groundskeeper Willie.
Were it humanly possible, Wilson would father his children.
He’ll miss some games this year.

Regarding #1, all I can say is that I was wildly excited to get Pujols Lite in round 4.

Regarding #2, all I can say is: Step aside, Wilson. He may have been your man first, but he’s my man now.

#3 troubles me, however. Third Base is awfully thin this year, and when Chipper sits, I’ll be forced to go dumpster diving to find an even halfway decent replacement.

Jeff’s pick: Matt Kemp is like the exact opposite of Jeff Kent: black, clean-shaven, not on Roach’s list of people he’d wish AIDS on. He fills up a box score and is tailor made for our format. He’s like the way better, and safer, version of Curtis Granderson. Strikeouts are a concern, but I fully expect them to go down this year.

More Jeff and Ryan Banter:

Ryan: You don’t like Carl Crawford in the 4th round? I think that’s great value. When he’s healthy, he plays well in our league.

Jeff: Dude is an athlete, and if I were putting together a neighborhood kickball team, he’d be my first pick. But in the 4th round? With Matt Kemp still on the board? No way.

Ryan: Tony Meola would be my first pick for kickball.

Jeff: Well, you certainly wouldn’t run into any availability issues there.

Ryan: Actually, I’m not sure if he’s even allowed to leave New Jersey. Anyway, I stand by my support of Carl Crawford. 15/50 has a lot of value. Especially if it comes with 100 runs, a .300 average, and 15 triples.

Jeff: I’ll take the triples. I can find everything else much later in the draft.

Ryan: Can’t you just admit that Carl Crawford gives you stats that are at least somewhat comparable to the Almighty Jose Reyes—at a much deeper position, of course, but at a slightly cheaper price? Carl Crawford in Round 2? Terrible. Carl Crawford in Round 4? Not bad at all.

Jeff: Can’t you just admit that Carl Crawford is a slightly wealthier man’s Randy Winn?

Ryan: You shut your pretty little mouth about Randy Winn. You shut it now.

Jeff: It’s shameless the way we flirt.

Ryan: It really is.

Round 5
1. Brandon Webb-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Adrián González-Downward Fogg
3. Russell Martin-A-Roid Liars
4. Jake Peavy-Nolan on the River
5. Cole Hamels-Big Red
6. Nate McLouth-Doumit Lips
7. Jason Bay-Voldemort Oreos
8. Álex Ríos-Bife Wieters
9. Alexei Ramírez-Green Monkeys
10. Adam Dunn-Harden of Eaton

Worst Pick: Does that say Adam Dunn? In round 5? We’re counting strikeouts this year, right? Wait, is he playing short for the Nats?

Ryan’s Pick: Ah, Alex Rios. Who are you? Are you a home run hitter? Are you a base-stealer? Can you be both… in the same season? Much was made of your sharp decline in power last year, but you seemed to recover your home run stroke in the second half, when you slugged .542 (vs. .401 in the first half) and hit 11 dongs (vs. 4). Plus you hit 47 doubles last year, and I’m willing to bet that some of those doubles will be home runs this year.

Jeff’s Pick: McLouth is high on the Byrned by Eric scale, but dude will probably still go 20/20. So while I generally expect Nate’s numbers to fall across the board, I mean, dude ain’t gonna score 113 runs again, he’s the type of deceptively powerful and deceptively quick players that win in our format. They allow you to win in categories like triples and steals without trying. This wasn’t a sexy pick, but consistent with my strategy.

Round 6
1. David Ortiz-Harden of Eaton
2. Francisco Rodríguez-Green Monkeys
3. Corey Hart-Bife Wieters
4. Kevin Youkilis-Voldemort Oreos
5. Jacoby Ellsbury-Doumit Lips
6. Jonathan Papelbon-Big Red
7. Geovany Soto-Nolan on the River
8. Rafael Furcal-A-Roid Liars
9. Magglio Ordóñez-Downward Fogg
10. Hunter Pence-Stairway to Blyleven

Best Pick: Hart and Ellsbury stand out in an otherwise unspectacular round. I like Jay’s gamble on David Ortiz here, too.

Worst Pick: Rafael Furcal. Yeah, Rafael Furcal was the worst pick.

Ryan’s Pick: If Corey Hart does, in fact, wear his sunglasses at night, then that might explain why he continues to show about as much patience at the plate as my 19-month-old daughter does during dinner.

Nevertheless, I was happy to get Hart in the 6th round. I’m hoping for a 25/25 season with a bunch of doubles and an average around .290. Anything more would be icing on an already delicious sundae. (And no, I’m not confusing my metaphors. You should try putting cake frosting on your ice cream. It’s a bit of a mindfuck, but it’s delicious).

On a side note, Yahoo apparently lives in Southie, speaks with a grating accent, had a moustache in the 5th grade, and grew up with a poster of Jim Rice on its wall. I’m not sure how else to explain the fact that Kevin Youkilis was ranked 37th overall in the pre-draft rankings. I guess he hits a lot of doubles, and, with his solid OBP, the Greek God of Walks plays fairly well in our league format—but if he hits anything close to 29 home runs this year, I will eat Wilson’s hat (and according to those who study these things—home runs, not hat eating—last year’s power surge was, well, a giant bucket of bullshit).

Jeff’s Pick: Frankly, he was best Native American out there. Ignore my previous one dimensional players will kill you comment. Too many one dimensional players kill you. This pick was partly to offset guys like Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. Players like Ellsbury only get more valuable as the season goes on. Plus, the lead-off man in that lineup is gonna score a shit bunch of runs. Have I effectively rationalized picking a single-digit homerun hitter in round 6 yet?

Round 7
1. Josh Beckett-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Víctor Martínez-Downward Fogg
3. Roy Halladay-A-Roid Liars
4. Garrett Atkins-Nolan on the River
5. Joe Mauer-Big Red
6. Dan Haren-Doumit Lips
7. Shane Victorino-Voldemort Oreos
8. Joey Votto-Bife Wieters
9. Joe Nathan-Green Monkeys
10. Stephen Drew-Harden of Eaton

Best Pick: The fact that Josh Beckett and Roy Halladay were drafted before Dan Haren is slightly insane to me. Halladay was unbelievable last year, but if you’re betting on 20 more wins and 200+ Ks, then you might want to cancel that trip to Vegas and set your sights on something a little more pedestrian. Beckett should have a fine year, but Haren has been better than him in just about every category over the past few years—even if he does shit the proverbial mittens in the second half every year. (Shit-filled mittens seem way more disgusting than a shit-filled bed to me. You can always change the sheets on a shit-filled bed, right? But if your mittens are full of feces, you’d be well-advised to throw those motherfuckers out). Anyway, nice pick by Jeff there.

Worst Pick: Yeah, Victor Martinez is a bounce-back candidate at a pretty thin position. And maybe you really, really wanted him and you were willing to take him a few rounds early just to make sure you got him. I know what that’s like. Trust me, I know. But Round 7 is way, way too early—especially with Joe Mauer still on the board. They’re both injury risks, right? So why not take the guy who’s, um, a lot better?

Ryan’s Pick: Joey Votto is a prince of a man.

Jeff’s Pick: No one wants Dan Haren? Fine then, fuck y’all.

Round 8
1. Chris Davis-Harden of Eaton
2. Brad Lidge-Green Monkeys
3. Troy Tulowitzki-Bife Wieters
4. Ryan Zimmerman-Voldemort Oreos
5. Mariano Rivera-Doumit Lips
6. Michael Young-Big Red
7. John Lackey-Nolan on the River
8. Dan Uggla-A-Roid Liars
9. Chone Figgins-Downward Fogg
10. Chad Billingsley-Stairway to Blyleven

Best Pick: Chad Billingsley had one of the quietest 200+ K seasons in recent memory. He plays in a great pitcher’s park in a terrible division for a team that should provide him with plenty of run support. And sure, he’ll walk a few guys here and there, but his K:BB actually improved last year. Also, he’s just, like, a really great guy. He’s an amazing listener, and when he walks into the room I just sort of smile, you know? He’s really, like, deep, and he has his own car, too. Hiroki Kuroda’s totally gonna ask him out for me. I wish I had drafted him when I had the chance, but I was too nervous.

Worst Pick: Brad Lidge went before Mariano Rivera. If your metric for drafting a reliever is saves and saves alone, then OK, maybe I could see it. But if the good folks at McDonald’s ever thought up a blown saves for sick kids sweepstakes, Brad Lidge could build a fucking hospital in three-weeks. And when that dude inevitably goes on his WHIP killing bender Mariano Rivera will just be mowing fools down, night in, night out, like a cash register. Brad Lidge before Mariano Rivera is an underrated terrible pick.

Ryan’s Pick: Not a whole lot to discuss here, really. I needed a SS and Tulo was the top guy on my list. Nevertheless, he's a bit of an unknown. His health concerns me, and I’m really not sure what I’m going to get out of him this year. 25/100 with a decent OPS, 100+ runs, and some doubles? Or was the Tulo of 2007 a bright, shining lie? We shall see.

Jeff’s Pick: At least to me, Mariano Rivera quietly had one of the best relief pitcher seasons ever last year. In 70 innings he allowed just 47 base runners, 11 of them scored, while fanning 77. Even the most ardent Orioles supporter can recognize his greatness. While some regression seems likely, I mean those numbers are preposterous, the Yanks should win more which will drive his saves higher. I actually think Rivera is the best reliever, over Papelbon, by some distance. Papelbon might have more dominating stuff, but Rivera is always there and always lights out.

Jeff and Ryan Banter:

Jeff: I can’t figure out if Michael Young is a good or terrible pick here? It’s one or the other.

Ryan: The rest of the league can’t figure out how Michael Young keeps passing piss tests.

Jeff: What do you think HGH tastes like? Pepto? Fun-Dip? Tussin?

Ryan: I’ve always assumed it tastes like Vapo-rub. Could that be wrong?

Jeff: Tell me you’re not on an “Icy-Hot cures cancer” kick again?

Ryan: Bitch, that shit is right. ‘Course, Beth’s not letting me near our child these days, especially when I’m on one of my ’Hot binges. “Voodoo,” she calls it.

Jeff: Dude, I don’t blame her. We weren’t allowed back to that pool for, like, six years.

Ryan: For the last time: 'Adult Swim' is a dangerously misleading term.

Round 9
1. Justin Upton-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Cliff Lee-Downward Fogg
3. Ryan Ludwick-A-Roid Liars
4. Derrek Lee-Nolan on the River
5. Francisco Liriano-Big Red
6. Jay Bruce-Doumit Lips
7. Aubrey Huff-Voldemort Oreos
8. Rich Harden-Bife Wieters
9. Roy Oswalt-Green Monkeys
10. Félix Hernández-Harden of Eaton

Best Pick(s): Upton and Bruce could be two of the best picks of the draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both get picked 5-6 rounds earlier next year. D-Leagues in Round 9 is solid as well.

Worst Pick: I’m sorry but Cliff Lee before Harden and Félix just doesn’t make sense. How many white dudes named Cliff have ever repeated those kinds of numbers?

Ryan’s Pick: Owning Rich Harden will be an exercise in unease. If he’s healthy, then I just drafted Johan Santana in the 9th round. But we all know that Rich Harden will not be healthy. I’ll consider myself lucky if I get 150 innings out of him. (And they’ll be 150 of the most beautiful innings you’ve ever seen).

Jeff’s Pick: Jay Bruce is like another Gandhi, only Gandhi never went 30/100 with a dozen steals sprinkled in. Of course Gandhi got buried on Dusty Baker’s bench, so who knows, really?

Round 10
1. Lastings Milledge-Harden of Eaton
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka-Green Monkeys
3. Matt Wieters-Bife Wieters
4. J.J. Hardy-Voldemort Oreos
5. Yovani Gallardo-Doumit Lips
6. Robinson Canó-Big Red
7. Vernon Wells-Nolan on the River
8. Ervin Santana-A-Roid Liars
9. José López-Downward Fogg
10. Edwin Encarnación-Stairway to Blyleven

Worst pick: I’ll take this one, Jeff. The worst pick in Round 10? Matt Wieters. Fuck it. I’ll admit it. I explain this at length below, but here are the basics: Sure, he could—and probably will—be good. But the fact remains: He’s not helping my team. At least not yet. I don’t think I’ll regret drafting him, but for now, I’m getting nothing from him.

I’m glad he’s on my team, though, and when he finally gets called up, it will be a glorious day in the Smith household—and in the households of all Orioles fans. So maybe he’s not quite the worst pick of Round 10, but he’s not a great pick, either—yet.

Other bad picks from Round 10: Dice-K was a reach here. And A-Roid won’t get much out of Magic Santana—I wouldn’t have touched a healthy Santana in Round 10 this year. And as much as it pains me to admit it, Vernon Wells, while a hell of a painter, is terrible at baseball.

Best Pick: I realize that drafting on upside can be a nerve-wracking and potentially dangerous approach, but would you really rather have Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, or Dice-K over Yovani Gallardo? When I’m drafting pitchers, I pay for Ks—and Gallardo should have plenty of those this year. Nice pick by Jeff.

Ryan’s Pick: I got Wieters! I got Wieters! I got Wieters!

(Easy there, son. Steady now. Breathe, son, breathe...)

Was round 10 a little early to take a largely unproven rookie who will begin the year in Triple-A? Of course it was. But let’s not lose sight of what truly matters here: I have Matt Wieters. On my team. (All of the Orioles fans in the league are nodding wistfully).

But for those non-believers who are chalking this up, once again, to a starry-eyed Oriole fan drafting with his heart instead of his head, allow me to show you what my dear friend PECOTA thinks of Mr. Wieters this year:

649 105 33 2 31 102 77 102 4 .311 .395 .544

Now, he may not come close to accumulating 649 PAs (and therein lies the rub), but even if you tone down the counting stats accordingly, you’re still looking at some unbelievable numbers at a position filled with fantasy league uncertainty.

But if we can place my massive Wieters Man Crush aside for a minute (careful, it’s heavy), I’ll address the real concern here: Sure, it’s great to look at my lineup and see Wieters’s name there. It makes me feel all warm inside, like whiskey. But I’ve read a few reports that say that he might stay down in Triple-A until July, and until he gets called up, I’ll be forced to start a stop-gap solution at Catcher—and stop-gap, thy name is Ramon Fucking Hernandez. And while Ramon probably won’t be much worse than any of the other second-tier catchers employed by most teams in our league—he’s a batting average liability who might hit 15-20 home runs—the key difference is: Most other catchers did not cost their owners a tenth round pick and a 25th round pick. And if this all reads like a tale of regret, I can assure you that it’s not. I’m just trying to be somewhat rational here, and it’s hard for me to be rational when the subject is Matt Wieters.

Matt Wieters’s senior yearbook photo:

Jeff’s Pick: Santana’s and Haren’s consistency made Gallardo’s uncertain upside easy to stomach. I love this pick and was surprised he was there.

Round 11
1. Andre Ethier-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Joakim Soria-Downward Fogg
3. Jermaine Dye-A-Roid Liars
4. Jhonny Peralta-Nolan on the River
5. Bobby Abreu-Big Red
6. Kelly Johnson-Doumit Lips
7. Derek Jeter-Voldemort Oreos
8. Scott Kazmir-Bife Wieters
9. Raúl Ibañez-Green Monkeys
10. Joba Chamberlain-Harden of Eaton

The only thing saving Raul Ibanez from being the worst pick is the fact that Jhonny Peralta went five picks ahead of him. Once again, well played, Raul.

Best Pick: This is way too late for Abreu. I’d like to think I would’ve taken him had he fallen to me here, but in reality I probably would’ve just tried to draft Wieters again.

Ryan’s Pick: This was a bit of a panic pick. I was still basking in the Wieters lovefest from round 10 when the clock started ticking on my 11th round selection. I almost let it get down to zero before I pulled the trigger on Kazmir, a talented pitcher surrounded by questions about his health—and I already have one injury-prone pitcher… why roll the dice on another this early in the draft? Zack Greinke went four rounds later, and what would you rather have this year? 150 innings of Kazmir in the 11th round? Or 200 innings of Greinke in the 15th?

Jeff’s pick: Kelly Johnson is the next in a long line of great Baseball Kellys: Kelly Gruber, Kelly Leak, Roberto Kelly. And when round 11 came around and I had no one up the middle with three holes to fill I had to reach a bit on Johnson. I like Johnson almost as much as Nate Silver.

Round 12
1. Carlos Mármol-Harden of Eaton
2. B.J. Ryan-Green Monkeys
3. Javier Vázquez-Bife Wieters
4. Ryan Doumit-Voldemort Oreos
5. Jonathan Broxton-Doumit Lips
6. A.J. Burnett-Big Red
7. James Shields-Nolan on the River
8. Bobby Jenks-A-Roid Liars
9. Mark DeRosa-Downward Fogg
10. Ricky Nolasco-Stairway to Blyleven

Ryan’s Pick: I decided to draft a pitcher who might throw more than 150 innings this year. You know, for the kids. Vazquez is a strikeout machine who should have no problem continuing his streak of 200+ Ks now that he’s in a weaker league.

Jeff’s Pick: Jonathan Broxton is an elite (top 5) closer this year. So yeah, I’ll take him after the Cubs setup man and the perpetually injured B.J. Ryan all fucking day.

Round 13
1. Carlos Delgado-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Plácido Polanco-Downward Fogg
3. Jon Lester-A-Roid Liars
4. Edinson Vólquez-Nolan on the River
5. Howie Kendrick-Big Red
6. Chris Young-Doumit Lips
7. Carlos Zambrano-Voldemort Oreos
8. Kerry Wood-Bife Wieters
9. José Valverde-Green Monkeys
10. Adrián Béltre-Harden of Eaton

Best Pick: When we look back at this year’s draft, I think Chris Young will stand out not just as the best pick in Round 13, but as one of the best picks of the entire draft. But right now, coming off a 22/14 .248/.315/.443 season, he’s Mike Cameron with an even lower OPS. Prove it to me, Chris. I own you in another league. Prove it to me…

Old Man Delgado is a nice pick here as well. Dude raked last year.

Ryan’s Pick: I’m throwing my two closers, Kerry Wood and Francisco Cordero, together here. I waited to draft closers again this year, and I ended up selecting two pitchers who carry with them an inordinate amount of risk. This is in line with my strategy of drafting lots of starting pitchers who carry with them an inordinate amount of risk. Eh, it's a terrible strategy…

When we’re handing out leagues trophies at our end-of-the-year leagues picnic, I’ll be sure to thank Kerry and ‘Cisco when I’m accepting the award for having the most pitchers on the DL. In conclusion, I’m going to need a lot of cheap saves this year.

Jeff’s Pick: you heard Ryan, I just got homeless Mike Cameron. Suck it, bitches.

Round 14
1. Chris Iannetta-Harden of Eaton
2. Brad Penny-Green Monkeys
3. Jayson Werth-Bife Wieters
4. Matt Cain-Voldemort Oreos
5. Brian Fuentes-Doumit Lips
6. Johnny Damon-Big Red
7. Matt Capps-Nolan on the River
8. Brad Hawpe-A-Roid Liars
9. Conor Jackson-Downward Fogg
10. Cristian Guzmán-Stairway to Blyleven

Worst Pick: Well, Brad Penny is off the board—and not a moment too soon. You can put the gun down now, Mrs. Penny. Your son has been drafted.

Ryan’s Pick: I’m torn on Jayson Werth. He struggled mightily against right-handers last year, and he could be headed for a platoon. Nevertheless, he’s a somewhat patient hitter, and as long as he’s playing in Philly’s bandbox, 20+ home runs are a distinct possibility. Throw in 15 or 20 steals, and I might be looking at a homeless man’s Grady Sizemore, 13 rounds after the real Grady Sizemore—who’s really nothing more than a poor man’s Alfonso Soriano—was drafted.

Jeff’s Pick: Brian Fuentes’s stuff continues to be underrated. Throw in the fact he goes from Coors to the most save-friendly team in the majors and I was ecstatic with this pick. I was hoping to get Brad Lidge here, but he went 87 picks before.

Round 15
1. Milton Bradley-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Justin Verlander-Downward Fogg
3. Jorge Cantú-A-Roid Liars
4. Heath Bell-Nolan on the River
5. Carlos Peña-Big Red
6. Pablo Sandoval-Doumit Lips
7. Mike Aviles-Voldemort Oreos
8. Francisco Cordero-Bife Wieters
9. Mike Pelfrey-Green Monkeys
10. Zack Greinke-Harden of Eaton

Worst Pick: I actually kind of like Mike Pelfrey this year, but he went about ten rounds too early here. Pelfrey is the ideal 26th round John Maine flyer pick, kind of like Zack Greinke before last year’s great season. So best case: last year’s Zack Greinke before Zack Greinke got better. But really, who else was available with that pick?

Ryan’s Pick: Francisco Cordero (see Kerry Wood, Round 13)

Jeff’s Pick: I needed a catcher and Yahoo’s positional availability is kind. To play a first baseman in that spot is huge. To get 150+ games out of your catcher is even bigger. In hindsight, if I didn’t get Sandoval my team would’ve been markedly worse.

Round 16
1. Chad Qualls-Harden of Eaton
2. Mark Reynolds-Green Monkeys
3. Aaron Harang-Bife Wieters
4. David Price-Voldemort Oreos
5. Derek Lowe-Doumit Lips
6. Mike González-Big Red
7. Miguel Tejada-Nolan on the River
8. Brian Wilson-A-Roid Liars
9. Chris Young-Downward Fogg
10. Alex Gordon-Stairway to Blyleven

Worst Pick: not a ton, actually. I suppose Mark Reynolds and his Ks are the easy answer, but dude drafted Ryan Howard, so fuck it.

Ryan’s Pick: If Harang was pronounced like Da Nang, it would open up a whole new world of team names.

Aaron Harang was an under-the-radar fantasy ace until he got hurt last year. (I may be a little fuzzy on the details of his injury, but apparently Dusty Baker snuck up on him in the locker room and stabbed him in his pitching arm with a shiv made from a toothbrush. So it was a freakish injury, and not one of those chronic things. Whew!)

And despite the fact that Harang’s fate is still in Dusty’s Lennie-esque hands, I think he’s going to bounce back nicely this year and revert back to his pre-injury form.

Jeff’s Pick: D-Lowe is an innings eating horse with low Ks but great everything else. See Opening Day.

Round 17
1. Frank Francisco-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Clayton Kershaw-Downward Fogg
3. Ryan Dempster-A-Roid Liars
4. Billy Butler-Nolan on the River
5. Trevor Hoffman-Big Red
6. Rickie Weeks-Doumit Lips
7. Adam Wainwright-Voldemort Oreos
8. James Loney-Bife Wieters
9. Pat Burrell-Green Monkeys
10. Nelson Cruz-Harden of Eaton

Worst Pick: Pat Burrell?! See Mark Reynolds.

Ryan’s Pick: That’s how you fight Loney-ness… I don’t really like James Loney. Oh, I’m sure he’s a nice enough fellow, who does his work and hasn’t much to say and always laughs at other people’s jokes because he hasn’t any of his own. But I wanted to fill my CI spot with some cheap power, and instead I drafted a guy who might—might—hit 15 dongs this year. He won’t hurt my batting average, and he’ll hit some doubles, and he’ll temper my team’s strikeouts a little bit—but it’s power I need here, and power he lacks. That’s how you fight it…

(But with that said, if he starts going by Jimmy Loney, then all bets are off. Triple. Fucking. Crown. Believe it.)

Jeff’s Pick: What is there to say about Rickie Weeks that hasn’t been said about the Washington Generals, the Canadian Oil Sands, and pretty much all of Africa? He’s duuuuuuue.

Round 18
1. Elijah Dukes-Harden of Eaton
2. Kazuo Matsui-Green Monkeys
3. Erik Bedard-Bife Wieters
4. Brett Myers-Voldemort Oreos
5. Joel Hanrahan-Doumit Lips
6. Brad Ziegler-Big Red
7. Matt Lindstrom-Nolan on the River
8. Yunel Escobar-A-Roid Liars
9. Dan Wheeler-Downward Fogg
10. Max Scherzer-Stairway to Blyleven

Ryan: Those who know me are well aware of the fact that I have a special place in my heart for Troubled Athletes. The Doc Goodens, Darryl Strawberrys, and Dimitrius Underwoods of the world are near and dear to me. Their tales of excess, anguish, and squandered talent are unfathomably sad and yet strangely captivating. These virtuosos of self-destruction fascinate me with their prodigious athletic exploits, their grand-scale ambitions, and their seemingly innate ability to fuck it all up on an equally colossal scale.

Anyway, this is all just a long-winded way of saying that I really like Jay’s Elijah Dukes pick here. Elijah Dukes is troubled. Lord, is. he. troubled. (Also, I’m fairly certain that he’ll put up better numbers than Jayson Werth, whom I drafted four rounds earlier). I bet Jeff and Jon are shocked that I didn’t reach on him.

Jeff: In a related story Elijah Dukes is fifth in the Nationals outfield rotation.

Ryan: That won’t last long. He’s too talented to sit.

Jeff: There you go again, overhyping someone just because he texted pictures of a gun to the mother of some of his children.

Ryan: You may be right. But sufficed to say, Elijah is beyond troubled. He’s downright crazy. And we both love crazy athletes, don’t we, Mr. “I own a LaVar Arrington jersey”?

Jeff: You own a LaVar jersey, too.

Ryan: Yes. Yes, I do.

(We hug)

Jeff: Did you see Tank Johnson signed with the Bengals?

Ryan: Love that acquisition.


Ryan's Pick: Bedard in round 18 could be one of the steals of the draft. His health is a concern, but he seems to be feeling pretty good this spring. Plus he’s in a contract year. I like this pick almost as much as I like the trade that sent him to Seattle.

Jeff’s Pick: Joel Hanrahan ran game at the WBC, and I irrationally wanted at least one National. Seemed like the best I could do.

Round 19
1. Joey Devine-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Brandon Morrow-Downward Fogg
3. Torii Hunter-A-Roid Liars
4. Daniel Murphy-Nolan on the River
5. Randy Johnson-Big Red
6. Felipe López-Doumit Lips
7. Huston Street-Voldemort Oreos
8. Adam Jones-Bife Wieters
9. Troy Glaus-Green Monkeys
10. Shin-Soo Choo-Harden of Eaton

Worst Pick: Is Troy Glaus still in the league? Seriously, I thought he was out for the year. Note: According to Yahoo, Troy’s shoulder was operated on by Dr. Lewis Yocum. I have but one question here: Is someone trying to steal food off of James Andrews’s glass-bottomed, gold festooned, kettle korn-covered table?

Ryan’s Pick: I like Adam Jones, partly because he wears the orange and black, partly because he shares the same name as the Scourge of the Strip Clubs, partly because he’s one of Keith Law’s 2009 Breakout Players, and partly because seeing him in the Oriole lineup is a constant and pleasant reminder of the time the Orioles pillaged the fuck out of Seattle. Nevertheless, he carries with him just enough uncertainty this year that I’d be a little bit more comfortable if he were my top bench player, rather than a starter.

Jeff’s Pick: After years of unfulfilled promise, this is Felipe López’s year.

The thing is, Ryan, I’m not ready for that joke to die.

Round 20
1. Chris Ray-Harden of Eaton
2. Carlos González-Green Monkeys
3. John Danks-Bife Wieters
4. Fernando Rodney-Voldemort Oreos
5. Matt Garza-Doumit Lips
6. Khalil Greene-Big Red
7. Carlos Guillén-Nolan on the River
8. George Sherrill-A-Roid Liars
9. Scot Shields-Downward Fogg
10. Jason Motte-Stairway to Blyleven

Ryan's Pick: Not much to say about John Danks. He was quietly effective last year, and while he won’t give me much of a bump in Ks, he’ll help my team’s peripherals immensely. I’m actually surprised he was still there in round 20. I’d rather have Danks this year than guys like Carlos Zambrano or Clayton Kershaw. (I’d actually rather have the Clap than Carlos Zambrano).

Jeff’s Pick: I needed a starter and always like guys that do work during the post-season to have breakout seasons. ALCS MVP Matt Garza’s projected numbers are solid, but if he can beat them than this is a steal.

Round 21
1. Delmon Young-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Bengie Molina-Downward Fogg
3. Carlos Gómez-A-Roid Liars
4. Chris Carpenter-Nolan on the River
5. Jeff Francoeur-Big Red
6. Cameron Maybin-Doumit Lips
7. Troy Percival-Voldemort Oreos
8. J.J. Putz-Bife Wieters
9. Kelly Shoppach-Green Monkeys
10. Jose Arredondo-Harden of Eaton

Ryan’s Pick: I’m hoping J.J., eh, ‘Putz’ it all back together this year. DY-NO-MITE.

Jeff’s Pick: Cameron Maybin has upside like only a black dude on Florida named Cameron Maybin could. I love him on my bench.

Round 22
1. Rick Ankiel-Harden of Eaton
2. Mike Lowell-Green Monkeys
3. Melvin Mora-Bife Wieters
4. Jorge Posada-Voldemort Oreos
5. Kevin Kouzmanoff-Doumit Lips
6. Hank Blalock-Big Red
7. Willy Taveras-Nolan on the River
8. Gavin Floyd-A-Roid Liars
9. Travis Hafner-Downward Fogg
10. Hong-Chih Kuo-Stairway to Blyleven

Ryan's Pick: Why did I take Melvin Mora over the Brothers Kouzmanoff? I’m not sure. Maybe I thought that Mora would be motivated by the fact that he has, like, 137 mouths to feed. I’ll probably regret this decision when Chipper gets hurt and I find myself staring down the barrel of Joe Crede. Yup, silver and gold.

Jeff’s Pick: I fully expected Ryan to take Beef Kouzmanoff. He’s not a guy I want to have to start, but he should put up Adrian Beltre non-contract year numbers.

Round 23
1. Adam LaRoche-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Jonathan Sánchez-Downward Fogg
3. Brandon Lyon-A-Roid Liars
4. Justin Duchscherer-Nolan on the River
5. Todd Helton-Big Red
6. Jeff Clement-Doumit Lips
7. Ben Sheets-Voldemort Oreos
8. Jim Thome-Bife Wieters
9. Ryan Theriot-Green Monkeys
10. Elvis Andrus-Harden of Eaton

Ryan’s Pick: When round 23 started, I apparently jumped into a time machine and set it for 2002. I’m not sure how else to explain the fact that I drafted Jim Thome here. Jim Thome is, like, 137 years old. He has a bad back that requires “periodic rest.” He wears a monocle. He uses one of those ear horn things. When he’s drunk, he tells endless, aimless stories about charging up San Juan Hill with Teddy and the Rough Riders. He has “Remember the Maine!” tattooed on his shoulder. In short, he’s old.

Now, I know that Round 23 is Throwaway Territory—and Thome actually put up some impressive power stats last year—but I should’ve gone after cheap saves and holds here, not Old Man power and a Mendoza-like batting average from a guy who only qualifies at the Util spot.

Jeff’s Pick: I still like Jeff Clement but I got no time to cater to the enigmatic whims of Seattle’s front office. I seriously have no idea what that means. Umm hmm.

Round 24
1. Tommy Hanson-Harden of Eaton
2. Brandon Moss-Green Monkeys
3. Scott Baker-Bife Wieters
4. Josh Johnson-Voldemort Oreos
5. Hideki Okajima-Doumit Lips
6. Matt Thornton-Big Red
7. Orlando Hudson-Nolan on the River
8. Jeff Samardzija-A-Roid Liars
9. J.D. Drew-Downward Fogg
10. Freddy Sánchez-Stairway to Blyleven

Worst Pick: Bri was clearly chasing after Notre Dame alums here, and after the bloody and tragic Arnaz Battle debacle in Round 8, Samardzija was the best available.

Best Pick: J.D. Drew is currently (relatively) healthy and batting fifth, that could be a nice pick if you have the stomach and bench to ride out the inevitable troughs and nagging injuries.

Ryan’s Pick: Scott Baker? In Round 24? Say, that sounds like a lark. Wait, he's already on the DL? Crap.

Jeff’s Pick: Hideki Okajima is guaranteed to stay on my team (at least I thought he was). I couldn’t say the same of anyone else available.

Round 25
1. Takashi Saito-Stairway to Blyleven
2. Gil Meche-Downward Fogg
3. Orlando Cabrera-A-Roid Liars
4. Rafael Soriano-Nolan on the River
5. Jon Rauch-Big Red
6. Édgar Rentería-Doumit Lips
7. Mike Napoli-Voldemort Oreos
8. Grant Balfour-Bife Wieters
9. Kosuke Fukudome-Green Monkeys
10. Kevin Gregg-Harden of Eaton

Best Pick: Kevin Gregg. Obviously hindsight is MD 20/20 but nabbing the closer on a 90+ win team in round 25 is enough to induce morning wood. I think I stayed away because Kevin and Greg are like the two whitest names going.

Worst Pick: Kosuke Fukudome is on waivers in 20-team NL-Central Asian Players Only leagues. No, seriously.

Ryan's Pick: Grant Balfour is a solid 10 on the aptonym scale, joining the ranks of such luminaries as Soo-Mi Lee and Dr. Byron Bonebreak.

Also, he’s pretty filthy. At least he was last year. The only problem is, in Tampa’s “everyone lends a hand” bullpen, Balfour is neither the closer-in-waiting nor the primary setup guy, so the stats that I need most from him—holds and saves—may be few and far between.

Jeff’s Pick: I’m always looking to reach on an aging backup shortstop to drop before the season starts. Édgar Rentería beat out Orlando Cabrera primarily due to his unheard of first letter accent.

Round 26
1. Jeremy Hermida-Harden of Eaton
2. John Maine-Green Monkeys
3. Ramón Hernández-Bife Wieters
4. Xavier Nady-Voldemort Oreos
5. Chris Dickerson-Doumit Lips
6. Jered Weaver-Big Red
7. Chris Pérez-Nolan on the River
8. Billy Wagner-A-Roid Liars
9. Randy Winn-Downward Fogg
10. Ubaldo Jiménez-Stairway to Blyleven

Good to see John Maine get picked as someone’s John Maine flyer pick.

Ryan's Pick: Please come up soon, Matt Wieters. Please.

Jeff’s Pick: Chris Dickerson: this year’s (questionably pigmented) Nate McLouth. Surely calls dudes “bro”.

-A Ryan and Jeff Joint.