Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sit and Reach

The following is a completely subjective, selective, and far too long review of last week's fantasy baseball draft.

Round 1
1 Jose Reyes - Ebner
2 David Wright - Wilson
3 Alex Rodriguez - Jay
4 Matt Holliday - Bri
5 Hanley Ramirez - Ryan
6 Chase Utley - Evan
7 Miguel Cabrera - Jeff
8 Jimmy Rollins - Jon
9 Prince Fielder - Paul
10 Ryan Howard – Emery

Notable Pick: We have to discuss A-Rod falling to 3 and Reyes going first. I guess I see the logic that with Joe Kings you win steals and do well in triples, but man… you can choose anyone and to get a guy with 12-15 homers, 60 ribs, and an OPS of less than 800 just doesn’t make sense to me. As for Wright I love the guy, we all do, but A-Rod just fell into your lap at #2 and besides a couple more steals (let’s not forgot A-Rod swiped 24 last year) what does Wright give you besides youth? A-Rod beat him by 24 homers and 50 rbis, even if that gap narrows won’t there still be a gap? A-Rod will probably regress, but it also seems like he’s getting more and more comfortable in New York. I like the bravery, but this may be an overthink?

One pick I love is Cecil’s boy going 9th. He gets unfairly grouped in with Howard and his 200 strikeouts, but it’s scary to think Prince's numbers should improve over last year, probably not homers, but everything else. This was a somewhat unconventional pick, but I really like it.

Ryan's Pick: I had Hanley at #2 on my draft board, so I was happy to see him still there at 5. I briefly considered taking Utley, but opted instead for one of the few legit 40/40 threats in the league (OK, more like 30/40). SS is not as thin as in years past, but the chasm separating the top tier from the second and third tiers is a huge one (although the same could be said of 2B—much more so, even, since it’s a top tier of one). I agree with the assessment that Hanley’s stolen base totals will likely drop this year while his power numbers will likely trend upward (particularly if he bats 3rd). Last year’s somewhat lofty .353 BABIP could portend a drop in BA this season, too, although his speed helps to blur the line between Lucky and Good.

Jeff's Pick: Miguel’s in a worse hitter’s park, but a significantly better lineup. I think those veterans keep him in line and he doesn’t have a month like August last year, especially since his team will be relevant late, unlike last year. I had Cabrera as fifth overall, ahead of Utley and Reyes, so I was happy it was him and not one of those two that fell to me at 7. I think he’ll win AL MVP this year. Plus, he’s still got Carmelo Anthony-like baby fat, which is something I’m always looking to add.

Round 2
11 Johan Santana - Emery
12 Grady Sizemore - Paul
13 Brandon Phillips - Jon
14 Albert Pujols - Jeff
15 Ryan Braun - Evan
16 Carl Crawford - Ryan
17 David Ortiz - Bri
18 Alfonso Soriano - Jay
19 Vladimir Guerrero - Wilson
20 Carlos Lee - Ebner

Notable Pick: I’m as big of a Sizemore fan as there is, OK, maybe that’s not true, but while he’s probably a first round pick in a real baseball draft, due to his age, leadership, and defensive ability, is he really a fantasy star? Eric Byrnes went 55 picks later, and while I think he’s due for a marked regression and Sizemore should improve, I just don’t see Sizemore as the fantasy stud he’s often labeled. So while I love Paul’s pick of Prince in Round 1, I’m not a fan of Grady at 12. Prince and Pujols or Braun would’ve been a scary one-two.

Ryan's Pick: I wanted Pujols. And then I wanted Braun. Turns out Carl Crawford was behind door #3. Not a bad consolation prize, though—particularly if this is the year of his long-awaited, oft foretold power surge. However, if Crawford merely repeats last year’s stats, then I effectively drafted Shane Victorino eight rounds too early.

Jeff's Pick: I debated between Pujols and Braun but in the end I thought that passing on Pujols could’ve been fatal. Braun’s 162 game projection based on what he did last year is silly, but if you figure Pujols’s basement is what he did last season, he’s still a second round pick. If he recaptures his 2003-2006 form, then I just picked the Tomlinson of fantasy baseball after Brandon Phillips. There’s the obvious chance he doesn’t finish the year due to his bum elbow, but I’ll cross my fingers and hope the scheduled off days get him to 140 games. I had Braun pre-ranked one spot ahead, but couldn’t pass on Albie, and in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t.

Round 3
21 Jake Peavy - Ebner
22 Ichiro Suzuki - Wilson
23 B.J. Upton - Jay
24 Mark Teixeira - Bri
25 Carlos Beltran - Ryan
26 Lance Berkman - Evan
27 Alex Rios - Jeff
28 Curtis Granderson - Jon
29 Erik Bedard - Paul
30 Derek Jeter - Emery

Notable Pick: This round pretty much went according to script. Granderson seems like the guy most likely to slip, and that was before his injury over the weekend, as his value is artificially propped up by those finicky triples. I’m sure Jon saw his three spring triples and four dongs and thought “Granderson and Rollins means I’m done worrying about triples” and pulled the trigger. I think he should’ve continued his sordid love affair with Magpipes.

Ryan's Pick: Classic panic pick. I’ve never been a Carlos Beltran fan. He’s a batting average liability, a perennial injury risk, and his speed numbers are overblown. Besides, after drafting Hanley and Carl, speed should not have been a consideration when I made this pick. I want a do-over.

Jeff's Pick: I really, really wanted Rios, although would’ve been forced to take Fat Elvis if Evan passed on him. I debated passing on Rios, and waiting for him in round 4, but he and Tulo were two players I targeted and knew I couldn’t get both if I passed on Alex here. This probably was a half round reach, but Magglio was the only other player I really considered here.

Round 4
31 Magglio Ordonez - Emery
32 Nick Markakis - Paul
33 Justin Morneau - Jon
34 Troy Tulowitzki - Jeff
35 Manny Ramirez - Evan
36 Travis Hafner - Ryan
37 Aramis Ramirez - Bri
38 Victor Martinez - Jay
39 Brian Roberts - Wilson
40 Derrek Lee - Ebner

Notable Pick: Derrek Lee quietly had a nice return from a devastating 2006 injury with an OPS of .913. Brian Roberts is going to steal 50+ bases; otherwise he may never see second base as a member of the worst O’s lineup since 1988.

Ryan's Pick: Risk/reward. His ceiling is 40/120 with a 1.000 OPS. His floor is Carlos Delgado, circa 2007.

Jeff's Pick: I always lean Coors-field heavy and it’s never bitten me back, unlike their beer. I think Tulo joins that list of top shortstops this season. Again, probably a half round reach, but he wasn’t making it back to me in Round 5.

Hey Ry, remember Eric’s theory that only famous people drank Coors (Bill Russell, Barry Sanders, Elway)? I wish Eric was still with us.

Round 5
41 Garrett Atkins - Ebner
42 Chipper Jones - Wilson
43 Cole Hamels - Jay
44 Corey Hart - Bri
45 Hunter Pence - Ryan
46 C.C. Sabathia - Evan
47 Chone Figgins - Jeff
48 Josh Beckett - Jon
49 Brandon Webb - Paul
50 Adam Dunn - Emery

Notable Pick: Chipper Jones had a season worthy of a late first round pick. I really like that pick. And Emery, way to pick the Number 1 Dunner. I’m not a fan, but honestly, you have Ryan Howard, so fuck it.

Ryan's Pick: I was on tilt after Bri apparently read my diary and nabbed Corey Hart one pick prior to mine. Still, Pence is a solid third outfielder. No complaints here. Pence has shown good plate discipline at all levels, he hits for some power, and he has decent speed. Plus dude walked through a glass door, which bumped him up like 17 spots on my draft board when I sorted it by Weird Injuries (Jermaine Dye will stay at the top of this list until a better player gets bitten by spiders). [and, on a side note, the Houston Chronicle’s web address is http://www.chron.com/??? I bet the folks over at High Times didn’t let that go without a fight]

Jeff's Pick: Hunter Pence to Jermaine Dye to Lionel Simmons, done. Homeless Ichiro has never been on my team before and I’m hoping I’ll be able to ride out his dry spell long enough to reach the rainy season (see May, then June). I needed speed with average and figured I could sacrifice some power. Homeless Ichiro might even be generous. To clarify I’m not talking harassing, somewhat together, still able to score the good shit homeless, I mean legless ‘Nam veteran that’s stooped to signs like “I could sure use a beer” homeless. The Chone Experiment is going to go swimmingly or end in tragedy like the Konerko Calamity of ’07, there’s no in between.

Round 6
51 Justin Verlander - Emery
52 Carlos Guillen - Paul
53 Adrian Gonzalez - Jon
54 Ryan Zimmerman - Jeff
55 Jonathan Papelbon - Evan
56 Howie Kendrick - Ryan
57 Torii Hunter - Bri
58 Carlos Pena - Jay
59 Chris Young (OF) - Wilson
60 Francisco Rodriguez - Ebner

Notable Pick: Chris Young was a classic Wilson pick. Raw player, scary in parts, but brimming with upside; 30/30 is a very real possibility. Carlos Guillen was a nice pick too. His numbers are eerily similar to Todd Helton’s but at a more power-scarce position.

Ryan's Pick: I know what you're thinking: Holy crap, can that be right??? Does that really say HOWIE KENDRICK in round 6?!? Shouldn't there be a 1 in front of that 6?!? Look, I know I took him too early. But I like Howie Kendrick this year, and when we dudes like someone, we tend to do irrational things in order to showcase our affection. We spend exorbitant amounts of money on temporary things, like flowers and chocolate. We venture bravely into stores like Papyrus and Victoria's Secret, unsure of our surroundings and equally unsure of what we're there to buy. We make mix tapes with songs like "Lay Lady, Lay" on them. We propose to our girlfriends on JumboTron. And we draft unproven one-category players many rounds too early. We do these things in the name of love. And, if we're lucky, we don't regret them later. And if Kendrick wins the batting title this year and hits 40+ doubles and goes 15/15, then let this blog post serve as your Save The Date for the Kendrick/Smith wedding in 2009. But if he gets hurt again, or he spends the entire year hitting in the seven spot, then I’ll rue the day that I gave my heart to Howie.

Jeff's Pick: Well I’ve been saying for three years that the Nats will be 10-15 games better and the offense will score 20% more runs the minute they move out of the Anacostia Cement Pond, so it’s time to put my money where my leagues is.

Round 7
61 Joe Mauer - Ebner
62 Brian McCann - Wilson
63 Miguel Tejada - Jay
64 Robinson Cano - Bri
65 Todd Helton - Ryan
66 Russell Martin - Evan
67 Eric Byrnes - Jeff
68 Vernon Wells - Jon
69 Bobby Abreu - Paul
70 Jorge Posada - Emery

Notable Pick: Vernon Wells was hurt all year last year, for all us Vernon fans, I hope he recovers because I have some reaching to do next year.

Ryan's Pick: In standard 5x5 roto leagues, Todd Helton’s value has plummeted over the past few years. He no longer hits for power, he’s never been a threat on the base paths, and his days of scoring 120+ runs are over. But in our league, I think he’s still worth a top-10 pick. Despite the decline in HRs, Helton’s OPS remained solid last year thanks to his 42 doubles and .434 OBP. Plus he’s a virtual lock to hit .300+. Still, a slight reach on my part.

Jeff's Pick: As detailed earlier his numbers were in line with a second rounder. I think a regression, perhaps significant, is likely, but I think he slipped a round too far and makes a great value pick here. Plus, as Bri says, he’s baseball’s Cooley.

Round 8
71 Brad Hawpe - Emery
72 Ian Kinsler - Paul
73 Jeff Francoeur - Jon
74 Aaron Harang - Jeff
75 Dan Haren - Evan
76 Michael Young - Ryan
77 Carlos Zambrano - Bri
78 J.J. Putz - Jay
79 John Smoltz - Wilson
80 Nick Swisher - Ebner

Notable Pick: Brad Hawpe was picked about 20 spots above his ADP and yet I love the pick. Look, Brad Hawpe’s a pretty good player that happens to play at the stat-inflating Coors Field, but like Cole and his thumbs, stats don’t care.

Ryan's Pick: I’ve always liked Michael Young. I can’t explain it. He’s like Ecto Cooler, or a particularly smelly wheel of Stilton cheese. There’s funk there. Discernable, detectable, downright sniffable funk. And yet here I am, sitting by my computer, munching away on some Stilton and crackers, thirsting for a cardboard box full of the Ecto, and staring at Michael Young’s name in my second UTIL spot. How did he steal my heart? Was it last year’s .783 OPS? Was it the drastic, Giambi-esque drop in HRs over the past three years? Whatever it was, I’m hoping for a bounce-back this season. And I think he’ll deliver.

Jeff's Pick: Surely a member of MLB’s All-Ugly team, Harang is the White Chocolate with almonds to Ty Hill’s Special Dark. I’ve wanted Harang for two years, and even moreso this season. I was happy the starters generally fell and I didn’t really overpay for him. I almost took Smoltz, but at 40 years old and already a little banged up, I thought Harang was the smarter play. I’m really going to need him to deliver on my questionable rotation.

Round 9
81 Joe Nathan - Ebner
82 Huston Street - Wilson
83 Billy Wagner - Jay
84 Takashi Saito - Bri
85 Tim Lincecum - Ryan
86 Jason Bay - Evan
87 Delmon Young - Jeff
88 Scott Kazmir - Jon
89 Francisco Cordero - Paul
90 Bobby Jenks - Emery

Notable Pick: Here's what stands out the most to me about the demise of Jason Bay:

2005: 101 walks and 21 steals
2006: 109 walks and 11 swipes
2007: 59 walks and 4 steals

Until proven otherwise, the Jason Bay Project is on hold.

Ryan's Pick: I managed to hold off until round 9 to draft a pitcher, and I think my patience was well-acquitted here. Lincecum had two brutal months last year, but he otherwise pitched like a future star. And, based on his Yahoo picture, he’s 12 years old. Wait, this is a keeper league, right?

Jeff's Pick: I really didn’t think I’d land Lil’ Meat Hook, but his upside was too intriguing at the end of round 9. I think his power and speed really improve this year and hopefully his plate discipline will as well. He’s gonna get every chance to put up numbers on the worst Twins team in years. He also strikes me as the guy most likely to fill the troubled athlete void that’s never been properly satisfied since Latrell and Randy Moss sailed out of town.

Round 10
91 Roy Halladay - Emery
92 Matt Kemp - Paul
93 Mike Lowell - Jon
94 Shane Victorino - Jeff
95 Rafael Furcal - Evan
96 Chris Young (P) - Ryan
97 Fausto Carmona - Bri
98 Felix Hernandez - Jay
99 Jacoby Ellsbury - Wilson
100 Javier Vazquez - Ebner

Notable Pick: He’s slated for a platoon, but if the Dodgers trade Pierre or Ethier, Kemp will slide into a full time role and straight-up MASH. And while we’re here, a quick note on Juan Pierre: He’s a somewhat serviceable later-round fantasy player, and that’s really where my interest begins and ends with him. Still, it’s positively insane that the Dodgers willfully refuse to play their best players. Kemp is illmatic. Next year, after Juan Pierre gets kidnapped by Junior and Kemp is assured a starting spot in the OF, I’m totally reaching on him. Kendrick-style.

Ryan's Pick: I’ve clearly entered the “load up on pitchers” phase of my draft strategy. Not much to say about Chris Young that hasn’t already been said: when he’s healthy, he’s solid. Great home park, really tall, went to Princeton, blahdee blahdee blah.

Jeff's Pick: Does the Flying Fruit Fantasy do anything that Byrnes and Figgo don’t do? Probably not. But this speed guy doesn’t strike out and could be great trade bait come June. So while he’s slightly redundant, he was the top player on my board and I stuck to it. Plus Hawaiians have been doing well lately; one might win the presidency and my buddy Nelson (born in Honolulu) received five free car washes with the purchase of his ’05 Corolla.

Round 11
101 Daisuke Matsuzaka - Ebner
102 Yovani Gallardo - Wilson
103 James Shields - Jay
104 Francisco Liriano - Bri
105 Roy Oswalt - Ryan
106 Jose Valverde - Evan
107 Adrian Beltre - Jeff
108 Kenji Johjima - Jon
109 Ben Sheets - Paul
110 Placido Polanco - Emery

Notable Pick: I really love Shields. Polanco was a solid pick, but I probably would’ve gone with Kelly Johnson at 2B instead. Valverde seems due for a major regression. Mr. Sparkle is gonna be a lucky best pitcher for you Ebner.

Ryan's Pick: Oswalt’s K totals have declined in each of the past three seasons. He posted the highest WHIP of his career in 2007, and he now has Miguel Tejada roaming around at shortstop instead of Adam Everett, which is the defensive equivalent of replacing a Porsche 911 with the Trojan Horse. Still, I’ll happily take Roy as my #3 starter. Why? Well, he’s good. Not great anymore, but good. Even in an off year, his numbers were still solid. He’s dependable. And dependability in a pitcher is tough to find. And, on a side note, have you ever taken a look at his career line against the Cincinnati Reds? The Reds are the Washington Generals and Roy is Meadowlark Lemon:

Jeff's Pick: We meet again Adrian. Two years after swearing off Bats in the Beltre I’m back on the wagon. Look, I’m not expecting anything better than 25-100-.280, but I’m not expecting anything worse than 20-85-.270. He was a safe pick, but necessary insurance with my third basemen playing in Southeast with Frank Lucas and Bumpy Johnson.

Round 12
111 Gary Sheffield - Emery
112 Jim Thome - Paul
113 Raul Ibanez - Jon
114 Dustin Pedroia - Jeff
115 Paul Konerko - Evan
116 Alex Gordon - Ryan
117 Kelly Johnson - Bri
118 Jermaine Dye - Jay
119 Joakim Soria - Wilson
120 Hideki Matsui - Ebner

Notable Pick: Great picks by Paul, Evan, Bri, and Ebner. Johnson and Konerko in particular. Ebner, we appreciate the Matsui pick, he was moving too close to the top of our queues for comfort.

Ryan's Pick: Yep, I waited too long to get a third baseman. Gordon’s projections are all over the map, and the odds of him improving drastically on last year’s sub-par numbers seem slim. Still, he showed improvement in the second half last year, and, um, he hit the hell out of AA ball… and that counts for something, right? Right???

Jeff's Pick: First egregious reach on my part, but a guy I was dying to have. BP had him as the 43rd player overall and that, coupled with his scrappiness, clearly led to my irrational exuberance. Irrational or not, I’m still going to somewhat justify this pick with the fact that he struck out just 42 times last year in 520 ABs and the likelihood that he’s going to lead-off for a scary offense. Sure the pick was a reach, one I didn’t need to make in this round, but I get the feeling that I won’t regret drafting Pedroia.

Round 13
121 Dan Uggla - Ebner
122 James Loney - Wilson
123 Mariano Rivera - Jay
124 Andruw Jones - Bri
125 Rickie Weeks - Ryan
126 Kosuke Fukudome - Evan
127 Chad Cordero - Jeff
128 Rafael Soriano - Jon
129 Evan Longoria - Paul
130 Aaron Heilman - Emery

Notable Pick: Rafael Soriano is illmatic. His sore elbow is a concern, but his upside makes him worth the risk here. I like Loney a lot, too. Tough luck on Evan Longoria-Parker getting sent down, but still—round 13 was far too early.

Ryan's Pick: If Keith Law and the good folks over at BP are right and 2008 turns out to be Midnight Rickie's breakout year, then I'll look back on this pick and smile. Otherwise, I’m looking at a .250 avg and a bunch of missed games.

Jeff's Pick: Prediction: the Nats win 10-15 more games and Cordero’s save numbers approach his ’05 total. Plus, with Robert Parish no longer Relief Pitcher eligible, he was the best Chief on my board.

Round 14
131 Kevin Youkilis - Emery
132 Matt Capps - Paul
133 Manny Corpas - Jon
134 John Lackey - Jeff
135 Aaron Rowand - Evan
136 Matt Cain - Ryan
137 Trevor Hoffman - Bri
138 Brett Myers - Jay
139 Joba Chamberlain - Wilson
140 Edwin Encarnacion - Ebner

Notable Pick: If Myers makes a smooth transition back into the rotation, then Jay likely got a 200 K pitcher at a solid discount. I’m not an Aaron Rowand fan. He’s Randy Winn, only ten rounds earlier.

Ryan's Pick: Solid, by-the-book pick. It came down to Cain or Rich Hill, so I naturally went with the guy with the higher WHIP who happens to play for a team that could conceivably lose 100 games this year. MONEYBALL!

Jeff's Pick: He’s out until May, I probably don’t start him until June, but the guy is an ace and would’ve been my AL Cy Young pick pre-injury. I’m happy stashing him until the solstice.

Round 15
141 Johnny Damon - Ebner
142 Jeremy Hermida - Wilson
143 Rafael Betancourt - Jay
144 Carlos Marmol - Bri
145 Brad Lidge - Ryan
146 Rich Hill - Evan
147 Josh Hamilton - Jeff
148 Heath Bell - Jon
149 Jonathan Broxton - Paul
150 Josh Fields - Emery

Notable Pick: Rich Hill could be a top-10 pitcher this year. Betancourt, Marmol, and Lidge will not. No matter how well they pitch.

Ryan's Pick: I avoided the temptation to take a middle reliever here, opting instead to roll the dice on Lidge. At first glance, Philly seems like the wrong place for a homer-prone guy like Lidge to pitch, but Minute Maid ain’t exactly Petco, and he thrived there for years. And when he eventually manages to limp his way to the mound this year, he’ll be a good source of Ks. His K/9 numbers stayed solid in ’06 and ’07 even as everything else blew up around him, and his WHIP dropped considerably last year. If he’s healthy, he’ll be fine. I see no reason why he can’t save 30+ and strike out 100+, which would make him an outright steal this late in the draft.

Jeff's Pick: I was on tilt from the Rich Hill pick, a guy I was dying to have, but I have to admit, I love Hamilton. The injury question mark looms like Captain Bringdown after an acid-induced trip down the yellow-brick road, but I see Hamilton and Texas meshing like weed and cheese curls or ecstasy and hypercolor. Count ‘em: five drug references.

Round 16
151 Jon Rauch - Emery
152 Chad Billingsley - Paul
153 Hideki Okajima - Jon
154 Dustin McGowan - Jeff
155 Jason Isringhausen - Evan
156 B.J. Ryan - Ryan
157 Kevin Gregg - Bri
158 Ryan Garko - Jay
159 Eric Gagne - Wilson
160 A.J. Burnett - Ebner

Notable Pick: AJ Burnett is in a contract year. He’s coming off a solid, if somewhat-quiet, season in which he posted more than a K per inning and a 1.19 WHIP. He’s always had talent. If he can stay off the DL—and it’s a big IF—then look out.

Ryan's Pick: Again, risk/reward. BJ’s a potential steal here. Or, he’ll be a total bust and I’ll regret passing on Burnett, and, six months from now you’ll find me slumped over my couch with an empty bottle of whiskey in my hand, mumbling about what might’ve been. I could’ve drafted AJ Burnett and, a few rounds later, I could’ve drafted BJ Ryan and CJ Wilson. And then, in the football league, I could’ve drafted DJ Hackett and EJ Henderson while wearing my FootJoys and reading the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. But you’ll punch me in the mouth before I get to HJ Fong.

Jeff's Pick: I suppose it’s time to draft pitchers that will start before June, eh? Employ the 100% guaranteed underrated break-out pitcher draft-a-tron 2000 (sample size: 1). Last year Shane’s sober brother held opponents to an OPS of .644 (!) and righties hit just .198 off him (1.02 WHIP). Post All-Star break he was filthy, especially since ’07 was his first year as a starter. I love him versus any number 3 in the majors.

Round 17
161 George Sherrill - Ebner
162 Pat Neshek - Wilson
163 Juan Pierre - Jay
164 John Maine - Bri
165 Geovany Soto - Ryan
166 Carlos Delgado - Evan
167 Orlando Cabrera - Jeff
168 Pedro Martinez - Jon
169 Jeremy Accardo - Paul
170 Tim Hudson – Emery

Notable Pick: An unglamorous round, Pedro could get off to a sneaky star before breaking down. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the All-Star game. John Maine is having a ridiculous spring, I like that pick as well. Neshek is lights-out, and he'll step seamlessly into the closer's role if the Twins trade Nathan.

Ryan's Pick: Not much to say. PECOTA loves Soto, and I’m somewhat fond of the guy, too. I targeted him going in, and managed to get him without reaching too much.

Jeff's Pick: I felt like I could wait on a couple of my undervalued pitchers so I decided to buffer against a sophomore slump from Tulo. Cabrera and Renteria lasted far too long, and while both have limited upside, I really like Cabrera in the underrated hitter’s park of New Comiskey. 20 steals, nearly 200 hits, and less of an injury risk than Renteria made him an unglamorous but solid pick. Cabrera really never hurts you.

Round 18
171 Aubrey Huff - Emery
172 Jarrod Saltalamacchia - Paul
173 Oliver Perez - Jon
174 Ian Snell - Jeff
175 Clay Buchholz - Evan
176 Kelvim Escobar - Ryan
177 Yunel Escobar - Bri
178 Willy Taveras - Jay
179 Jeremy Bonderman - Wilson
180 Michael Cuddyer – Ebner

Notable Pick: Escobar could provide a nice return here for Bri, and his position flexibility is key (Escobar's position flexibility, I mean. Not Bri's. Bri can play anywhere on the diamond). And as much as I love to see Orioles get drafted early and often, Aubrey Huff does not belong on anyone’s fantasy team, not even in an AL East-only league.

Ryan's Pick: Good value, and Kelvim’s injury doesn’t seem to be particularly serious. I wanted Snell, though.

Jeff's Pick: On the one hand I see the 2007 Jeremy Bonderman, on the other I see Erik Bedard. Snell has improved each year and while the Pirates don’t exactly inspire confidence, I love his upside and could see him contributing for me on a bad team like Bedard last year. Until he proves it I probably won’t pitch him as much as some of the older pitchers I’ll take later, but he strikes me as the type of pitcher that could flourish as the ace of a team like Bedard.

Round 19
181 Joaquin Benoit - Ebner
182 Kerry Wood - Wilson
183 Adam LaRoche - Jay
184 Adam Jones - Bri
185 Justin Upton - Ryan
186 Tony Pena - Evan
187 Troy Percival - Jeff
188 Adam Wainwright - Jon
189 Brian Wilson - Paul
190 Brandon Lyon - Emery

Notable Pick: Tony Pena belongs with the elite holds/peripheral pitchers like Betancourt, Okajima, and Heath Bell. Nice pick by Evan. Adam Jones's speed coupled with the fact he’ll get every opportunity to shine, makes him only a modest Orioles reach, which is always the goal; well done Bri.

Ryan's Pick: I actually love this pick. In hindsight, I probably should’ve drafted Milledge or another closer, but Upton’s upside (my band) made him tough to ignore. He’s probably a year or two away from fully contributing, but round 19 is “I’m five beers deep so I’m gonna pull the trigger” country, meaning that Justin Upton has officially replaced LaTroy Hawkins as everyone’s favorite “I’m five beers deep so I’m gonna pull the trigger” draft pick.

Jeff's Pick: I agree with PECOTA that the “Rays” show a monster improvement in 2008 (22-wins more? Perhaps) which makes Percival the classic OK pitcher with gaudy save numbers, see Joe Valverde in 2007. He’s boom or bust, but I’m thinking/hoping the former.

Round 20
191 Ken Griffey Jr. - Emery
192 Phil Hughes - Paul
193 Bob Howry - Jon
194 Ivan Rodriguez - Jeff
195 Brad Penny - Evan
196 Ted Lilly - Ryan
197 Rich Harden - Bri
198 Scot Shields - Jay
199 Lastings Milledge - Wilson
200 C.J. Wilson - Ebner

Notable Pick: Rich Harden has filthy stuff; and I think either he or Ben Sheets will be a Top 10 pitcher next year. Milledge has the CF job all to himself and should benefit from the move from Shea to a (presumably) better hitter's park. Nice pick. And call me Dutch Daulton, but I think Phil Hughes is the only draftable Yankees starter.

Ryan's Pick: Potentially one of my best picks of the entire draft. Lilly’s BABIP was .270 last year, compared to .292 in 2006 and .296 in 2005, so he’s likely due for a slight regression. But he posted solid K totals and a ridonkulous WHIP, and when I saw that he was still there on my draft board in round 20, I felt the same way that OJ must’ve felt when he saw this woman on the jury: everything’s gonna be alright.

Jeff's Pick: Despite approaching his 75th birthday I actually don’t see a regression out of Pudge and think the addition of Renteria and Cabrera makes him even more valuable, especially when he hits from the top of the order versus lefties and while Granderson is out. OK, if I’m being honest I couldn’t justify my annual reach on Leo Gomez making Pudge the best 1991 Topps All-Star Rookie available.
Round 21
201 Billy Butler - Ebner
202 Nick Johnson - Wilson
203 Frank Thomas - Jay
204 Edgar Renteria - Bri
205 Kevin Kouzmanoff - Ryan
206 J.J. Hardy - Evan
207 Joe Blanton - Jeff
208 Jeff Kent - Jon
209 Akinori Iwamura - Paul
210 Pat Burrell - Emery

Notable Pick: Aside from the player Philly fans, um, cleverly refer to as Patricia Burrell I thought this was a great round. The first two picks: Nick Johnson and Billy Butler could end up being key contributors for good teams. With Nick likely securing the first base job, I get the feeling if we did this draft again, he’d go 7 rounds higher. Regardless of whether that’s justified, Wilson just arbitraged a mid-round pick in round 21.

Ryan's Pick: This was my “Oh crap, Alex Gordon is my starting third baseman?!?” pick. I happen to like Kouzmanoff a lot this year. Last season, after an abysmal April, he redeemed himself with solid production the rest of the way. Plus he raked in the minors. Also, it’s worth noting that Kouzmanoff has already locked up the award for this year’s Most Useless Yahoo Fantasy Note. After the draft, my internal monologue went like this: Should I hold onto Kouzmanoff? Or should I drop him for some holds, or for a guy like Garret Anderson? I wish I had some sort of note or piece of information to help me make an informed decision here… And then Yahoo stepped up and dropped some motherfuckin’ knowledge on me in the form of this little chestnut:

Mar 20 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff was back in the air Wednesday afternoon three days after returning from China. But instead of spending 13 hours on a commercial airliner, Kouzmanoff went for a flight with former World Aerobatic champion and 2006 Red Bull Air Races champion Kirby Chambliss in Casa Grande, Ariz.

Thanks, Yahoo. Decision made.

Jeff's Pick: Joe Blanton was a guy I knew I’d get. Not my typical high K/IP pitcher, but a horse who is stepping up to the #1 starter spot in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. Call me Carl Everett, but I really don’t think that a Dan Haren type year is out of the question. Along with M. Cabrera and my closers, my squad is shaping up to be the most rotund since my ballyhooed Fernando’s Fat Friends team of 1996.

Round 22
211 Dontrelle Willis - Emery
212 Brian Fuentes - Paul
213 Gary Matthews Jr. - Jon
214 Derrick Turnbow - Jeff
215 Derek Lowe - Evan
216 Kazuo Fukumori - Ryan
217 Colby Rasmus - Bri
218 Hank Blalock - Jay
219 Jered Weaver - Wilson
220 Randy Johnson - Ebner

Notable Pick: This was a pretty ugly round. I’ll begrudgingly give Jered Weaver, the Angles opening day starter, the nod here.

An aside, is anyone else mad that Dontrelle didn’t invite Meat Hook to his wedding? I mean how else do you explain that he still needs a gravy boat?

Ryan's Pick: Fukumori is in line to get some saves, and I don’t trust CJ Wilson, Benoit, or Guardado. But upon closer inspection, it appears that Fukumori had, like, one good year in Japan. My prediction? He’ll be on waivers by Memorial Day.

Jeff's Pick: I know Turnbow, um, turns the stomach, but I trust Gagne as much as I’d trust any 32 year old French Canadian steroid user coming off of second half with a 6.57 ERA and WHIP of 1.8. The Brewers will be good and Turnbow is going to get a lot of saves or hold chances. I love his K/9 and, to be honest, Brynesie need a smoking partner.

Round 23
221 Conor Jackson - Ebner
222 Jay Bruce - Wilson
223 Joey Votto - Jay
224 Andy Pettitte - Bri
225 Randy Winn - Ryan
226 J.D. Drew - Evan
227 Josh Willingham - Jeff
228 Ryan Spilborghs - Jon
229 Zack Greinke - Paul
230 Elijah Dukes – Emery

Notable Pick: Conor Jackson and Greinke are the best of the bunch, but Bruce and Votto could contribute this year. For what it’s worth, Elijah Dukes has homeless Chris B. Young potential.

Ryan's Pick: Decent late-round value, I guess, but c’mon—he’s Randy Winn. There are a dozen guys just like him on waivers. I should’ve taken Greinke or Borowski.

Jeff's Pick: Didn’t really like the pick when I made it, I almost took Greinke, and should have. Willingham is undistinguishable from about five other Marlins. I’ve already sent him packing for holds.

Round 24
231 Joel Zumaya - Emery
232 Austin Kearns - Paul
233 Dmitri Young - Jon
234 Joe Borowski - Jeff
235 Chien Ming Wang - Evan
236 Mark Teahen - Ryan
237 Russ Springer - Bri
238 Rick Ankiel - Jay
239 Tom Gorzelanny - Wilson
240 Manny Delcarmen - Ebner

Notable Pick: Ankiel. 30-HR potential. Not bad in round 24.

Ryan's Pick: I like Teahen. Heck, I liked him enough last year to draft him in the 13th round. He was a trendy breakout pick back then. He’s not even remotely trendy now. Some sleepers are best described as hibernators.

Jeff's Pick: JoBo adds to my ever expanding roster. I went in with a buy cheap saves strategy and stuck with it. I trust the guy as much as I’d trust any one named Borowski, but he’s the closer (for now) on a 90-win team; good value in my opinion.

Round 25
241 Matt Lindstrom - Ebner
242 Stephen Drew - Wilson
243 Ryan Theriot - Jay
244 Bengie Molina - Bri
245 Felipe Lopez - Ryan
246 Henry Owens - Evan
247 Todd Jones - Jeff
248 Jeremy Guthrie - Jon
249 Aaron Hill - Paul
250 Ryan Freel – Emery

Notable Pick: This was actually one of the better final rounds in recent memory. Aaron Hill and Todd Jones could’ve gone 3-4 rounds earlier. Lindstrom and Drew are serviceable. Guthrie had a few moments of brilliance last year.

Ryan's Pick: Heh Heh. Heh. Waivers.

Jeff's Pick: Ditto re: Borowski.

-A Ryan and Jeff Joint.


Wilson said...

Awesome. I will reply tomorrow.

Timothy said...

My robot told me take Reyes, so I did it. Actually, it told me to take Wright at #1, but SS is shallower, so I went there. I don't love it, in fact, I don't like most of my picks. I was obeying the robot, we'll see how it plays out.

Jay Z said...

Awww. I already hated my draft. I hate it even more after reading this. But I like the post!!! Oh, and Round 22? I say Randy Johnson over Jered Weaver.