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.

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