Fantasy Draft Numero Dos

This year, I also took on the commish role for a second league. It’s a standard head-to-head points league, with some nonstandard rules and points. The draft went OK, but not great for me. Here’s a recap draft in order of round (plus the thoughts I put down just after I drafted each, in some cases censored, as this is a family blog :) ):

  1. Hanley Ramirez (2): With the second pick, this was tough. Mauer or Hanley? (Pujols was the first pick). I ended up going with Hanley, on the off chance that Mauer either gets hurt or has a major reversion to the mean.
  2. Ian Kinsler (23): To my mind the best 2B in the draft. He’s hurt, which is why he fell to me. With some extra DL slots in the league, it can’t hurt to wait on him.
  3. Matt Holliday (26): Holliday raked in the NL last year, and he should do as good or better. I’d expect him to have fewer steals, but man, I’d take 117 RBIs and 15 HRs any day from a guy who’ll hit .310+.
  4. Scott Baker (47): This was my biggest reach of the night, but he was the next on my draft list that hadn’t been taken. Also, he was significantly better last year than the next best pitcher when the rules of the league were taken into account.
  5. Derrek Lee (50): Lee scares me a bit, because he’s getting a bit old and he has been sort of fragile. However, he’s still a top-10 first baseman, and should be good for almost .300 with high 20’s home runs.
  6. Matt Cain (71): I had no honest idea going into the draft of the value of Matt Cain, especially given the weakness of the Giants’ offense this season. However, he’s still a top-20 pitcher who averages about 8 k/9. I’ll sure take it.
  7. Denard Sapn (83): Span has eligibility for LF, CF, and RF this season, which adds a ton of value, since I can fill any of the spots with him. Also, will hit for a ton of average and hopefully the steals will go up again this season.
  8. Jair Jurrjens (95): Did anyone think Jurrjens would be left until the 8th round? I really didn’t, but I was quite pleasantly surprised that he was still available when my turn rolled around again.
  9. Asdrubal Cabrera (98): He was much lower than this on my draft order, but I realized I was gonna need a decent player that I could put in for Kinsler until he got of the DL. Cabrera has the positional flexibility to help long past his usefulness as a backup.
  10. Chipper Jones (119): I’ll take the chance that the brutal slump at the end of last season was just an aberration. Chipper is one of the best when he’s on, and he should be on again this season.
  11. Kevin Slowey (122): I took Slowey only 115 spots lower than Thrylos98 took him at the first draft.  I agree that Slowey, if he stays healthy, could be a legit Cy Young candidate.
  12. James Shields (143): Banking on a bounce-back year by one of the best in the Majors in 2008. 2009 was certainly a down year, but he should improve across the board this year. Or so I hope.
  13. Chad Qualls (146): Qualls is one of the few constants between my two fantasy teams this season. If he stays healthy, he’ll be probably my best saves-getter.
  14. Jeff Francoeur (167): I had a good reason for making this pick, but I can’t remember what it was in hindsight. I must have been betting on the fact that he simply couldn’t do worse this year with the Mets than he did the first part of last year with the Braves.
  15. Brian Fuentes (170): I needed another closer, and they were going very fast.
  16. Kurt Suzuki (191): I’m happy with what’s probably the worst of the second-tier catchers in this year’s draft. My strengths are elsewhere on this team.
  17. Chase Headley (194): For the record, I don’t know what exactly I was thinking with this pick.
  18. Garrett Jones (215): I think this one will prop up the Total Awesomeness Factor of the team and fill my “Ex-Twins Players” quota. Yeah, that’s right, I believe in quotas.
  19. Marlon Byrd (218): Byrd’s stats of last year had better not have been totally due to the band box at Arlington. If so, I’ll be sad.
  20. Mike Gonzales (239): Underappreciated. Assuming the Orioles ever win, he should pick up enough saves to make my numbers in that area not terrible.
  21. Miguel Tejada (242): This was the first of two picks that I was attempting to use to corner the market on the remaining decent SSs. I did this because I noticed that two of the teams hadn’t yet selected a starting SS. Maybe I can prompt a trade for something decent.
  22. Brian Matusz (263): Wow. He fell a lot. Again, expecting him to go in the 15-18th rounds. I think Matusz is my new bicycle: I plan to ride him to the playoffs.
  23. Alcides Escobar (266): More cornering of the SS market. I think he will eventually be something special. The question is whether eventually happens this year or later.
  24. Adam Kenned (287): Positional flexibility and a good value for the round.
  25. Anthony Slama (290): Well, I’ll be honest. Slama was a placeholder/good luck charm. I think I’m going to drop him for Branyan, who I will throw straight onto the DL and then fill the spot with Podsednik.

That’s that! This is a great group of friends and bloggers in the league, and everyone should go visit the bloggers’ sites, if you haven’t already:

Louie Schuth – Hitting the Eephus

Jordan Tuwiner – Oriole Prospects

Ben Collin – That’s Twins Baseball

Andrew Bryz-Gornia – Off the Mark

Good luck to all of the above, plus non-bloggers Kyle, Bobby, Jeff, Nathan, Taylor, Adam, and Megan.


Will Carroll is Smarter than Me

Sure, it wasn’t in the best light, but I take what I can get. Anyway, in the early morning hours of March 31, I had a long discussion with Will Carroll, aka @injuryexpert, on Twitter. The subject was on the recovery time for Jose Morales, with differing levels of performance. The conclusion? I’ll let you read it for yourself. He made a mention of our conversation in his “Under the Knife” Column for Baseball Prospectus (subscription only, unfortunately). I’ll let you read the two sentences or so for yourself:

I had a nice chat with @calltothepen on Twitter about Jose Morales. He’s a replaceable backup catcher, so his starting the year on the DL is never going to be that big a deal. Sure the wrist injury will sap his power and might have some effect on his throws, but the Twins have other options at the position and Joe Mauer gets most of the time there anyway. Sometimes a team’s fan base will obsess over little things and while I don’t mean to demean fandom or Morales, it’s barely worth the pixels to discuss it.

Will eliminates the entire debate around Ramos vs. Morales vs. Butera in three sentences, while reminding us how dumb the argument was in the first place. And that’s why he’s so smart.

Last week in spring training and Fantasy Draft

So… the Twins haven’t been playing so well the last week or so. In all honesty, I have no idea why. I think it has something to do with the starters generally pitching rather poorly, a select few relievers pitching even more poorly, and a generally stymied offense. For a great breakdown of all the numbers from all the players so far, check out this post over at the Tenth Inning Stretch.

Of course, yesterday was the exception, where the Twins eked out an 11-6 win against a mostly no-name Blue Jays team. Baker was again rough, but didn’t give up a home run.

Position battles:

  • I know the front office and Gardy were telling the media that Jose Mijares didn’t have a roster spot locked up in spring training, but he effectively did. All he had to do was to show up for ST and not do… exactly what he has done. With an ERA of Twelve-point-something ugly, Mijares has never not given up runs during a spring training outing. His stuff is up in the zone and doesn’t have any real bite to it. Yesterday, he pitched .2 innings before getting spiked on a weird play at first. He is expected to be fine, but he really needs to pick it up. I would be shocked if he begins the season in Minnesota.
  • I will continue to advocate for RA Dickey. Quick, who do these numbers belong to: (1) ERA 5.63, WHIP 1.13, 0 BB, 2 K, or (2) ERA 5.42, WHIP 1.20, 1 BB, 4 K? If you guessed Phil Humber and Brian Bass, in that order, you’d be right. I just have no attraction to Humber whatsoever. If he does break in big with the Twins, I’ll be happy to eat crow, but he seems like a much worse option than Dickey. Humber is just not that great. He’ll make the club, because he is out of options. If it were me, I’d put him on waivers and if he were claimed, I’d be just fine with it. Humber is very close to being a road block on some of the Twins’ good young starters, like Mulvey, Duensing, and Swarzak. It is his time to put up or shut up.
  • For the last bullpen slot, I would love to see Dickey, but I doubt the Twins would carry two long relievers, so what they will likely be looking for is a situational LOOGY. The top candidate for this right now is Brian Duensing, but I think that is a terrible idea. It wouldn’t help his development as a mid-quality starter/long reliever to throw a half-dozen pitches three times a week. Not only that, I just don’t think his stuff is good enough against lefties in order for him to be counted on to get the lefty outs. We’ll see what happens on this front.
  • I am a total agnostic on the Buscher v. Tolbert v. Harris battle. Someone will win, and the other will be tossed down to AAA for a month until the inevitable thumb injury occurs. Well, hopefully not, but I’m trying to be a realist. If I had to choose, I’d take Buscher and Harris.

I also wanted to briefly throw out a link to Travis Talks, where Travis Aune is kicking out a ridiculous amount of content. Very impressive indeed, and it is all more than worth reading.

Finally, there will actually be some changes to the blog over the next couple weeks, despite the warning to the right that has been there for weeks with no change. If you look above, I added a separate page for “on my list” players and personalities. There is only one member of that prestigious list at the moment. It will be updated throughout the season with the names of others that deserve mention; I’ll mention updates in posts like this one.

In other news, I am part of a fantasy baseball league this season, located here. Last night was our draft, and I had the first overall pick. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Hanley Ramirez – SS – Marlins
  2. Chase Utley – 2b – Phillies
  3. Evan Longoria – 3b – Rays
  4. Mike Napoli – C – Angels
  5. Jason Bay – OF – Red Sox
  6. Brad Lidge – RP – Phillies
  7. Adrian Gonzalez – 1b – Padres
  8. Daisuke Matsuzaka – SP – Red Sox
  9. Scott Baker – SP – Twins
  10. Scott Kazmir – SP – Rays
  11. Shane Victorino – OF – Phillies
  12. Rich Harden – SP – Cubs
  13. Ryan Ludwick – OF – Cardinals
  14. Huston Street – RP – Rockies
  15. Chad Qualls – RP – D-Backs
  16. John Danks – SP – White Sox
  17. Gil Meche – SP – Royals
  18. Denard Span – OF – Twins
  19. Mike Aviles – IF – Royals
  20. Carlos Guillen – IF – Tigers
  21. Shin-Soo Choo – OF – Indians
  22. David DeJesus – UTIL – Royals
  23. Bengie Molina – C – Giants
  24. Kyle Lohse – SP – Cardinals
  25. Casey Blake – 3b/1b – Dodgers

I think this went alright. The one big mistake I have was drafting Napoli so high, I had forgotten that he is injured with little timeline. I also think that I got one of the steals of the draft, with Shin-Soo Choo in the 21st round (the other big steal (not by me) involved Chris Carpenter in the 22nd round). I found it a little bit strange (to say the least) to have to draft twice in a row (i.e. I had the first overall pick, then the 20th, then the 21st, then the 40th, and so on), but Andrew Kneeland had to do the same, and pulled it off just fine.

Let me take a moment at the end to promote the other bloggers’ sites that are participating in this league. They are, in no particular order:

Thrylos98 of The Tenth Inning Stretch

Seth Stohs of

John Bonnes of Twins Geek

John Hageman of Over the Baggy

Josh Johnson of Josh’s Thoughts

Andrew Kneeland of Twins Fix

Nick Nelson of Nick and Nick’s Twins Blog

John Meyer of Twins MVB

John Marthaler of TNABACG

Quick Notes

First, I wanted to share something I discovered recently. I hope everyone knows what “Gameday” is on MLB.COM. Well, right now it is going through beta-testing for the 2009 season, and I came across how to access it. Take the following link:**_mlb_&&&mlb_1

… and substitute the following:
## = the month (03, right now)
** = the day (two-digit)
^^^ = the visiting team’s MLB abbreviation (look to the front page scoreboard for the abbreviation, some aren’t what you’d expect)
&&& = the home team’s MLB abbbreviation

It is a little dodgy right now, but it works alright. The one problem is that it doesn’t get pitch counts right for individual batters; it just shows three strikes for a K, four balls for a BB and one pitch for a Ball put in play. But better than nothing. (Hat Tip to user CCTwinsFan over on Twinkie Town)

Second, I have recently started up a new online project. It is a book review site, and I hope to add other reviewers to it as time goes by. It is located here: There is only one review up at the moment, but I hope to get two more up in the next 24 hours.

Check it out!

Thanks for humoring my occasional silence, all.


…and THAT is how to manage a bullpen. (Game Notes)

*I went happily along with everyone else the other day when we all were bashing Gardenhire for giving Bass a shot in a tie game in the bottom of the eighth. Brian Bass throws slightly better than my dog, Milan, but she edges him out in the end, since she has the ability to catch a ball in her mouth and look adorable at the same time (although, to be fair, if Bass wants to try, I would be happy to watch).

But to me, Gardy did a great job of managing the pen tonight. It actually seemed like it might be a really sticky situation, since Slowey couldn’t get through the fourth, and most of the relievers worked yesterday. Gardy brought in the reliever I actually trust the most right now to save him (Breslow), and then was able to march the bullpen through a perfect, well, rest of the game.

*Matty, you are forgiven. Please continue being a good reliever, though maybe not as a setup man.

*Mr. Slowey, I take full responsibility for your meltdown. I was listening to the game at work and heard you get Guillen and Raburn, and figured that it was safe to go attend the meeting I was late for. My jaw hit my shoes when I saw the score when I got back. I owe you a drink… but you owe a drink to those bullpen fellows. You get paid more than me, so you can afford it.

*Who is this Breslow character, and why did I ever doubt him? He made it a bit interesting, but that was nothing compared to…

*Joe Nathan. For an extremely well-paid and talented closer, he will make my hair go gray really early. I swear, this afternoon, listening on the radio, I lost about a day off my life because he suddenly forgot how to throw strikes. He remembered in the end, and got out of his jam, but I would posit this (and Breslow’s outing on Wednesday) as a cautionary tale next time Gardy wants to give players a “rest.”

*Justin. Need I say more? It appears Mauer might have some competition for the batting title. The current AL top three: (BA/OBP/SLG)

  • Kinsler: .333/.393/.544
  • Mauer: .328/.420/.455
  • Morneau: .324/.387/.515

*Span continues to impress. A. Whole. Effing. Lot.

*The lineup needs some changes. More later.

*Note to the Tigers TV announcers: Guerrier’s name is not pronounced with “rear” at the end. It is hard enough to listen to them without them pronouncing names wrong. Last year, they also pronounced Neshek’s name “Neh-sheek.” That caused me pain.

Tonight’s Link Dumpage:

Seth wants Liriano back in the Majors. I concur, but his reasoning is much better than mine, which pretty much revolves around the fact that we don’t have any good nicknames in the starting rotation anymore. There is more there, but I must be entertained.

Andrew Kneeland asks: Is Livan Hernandez who we thought he is? Apparently, hopes, wishes, and a Bugs Bunny Curve might not an ace make.

Poor Matt Joyce. People no likey him anymore.