We just had our fantasy draft. There are 16 teams in our league and I had the 11th pick. There are 25 spots on each roster. Before I list my team, here are the categories that we have in our league:
Hitting categories: R, H, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OPS
Pitching categories: W, CG, SHO, SV, K, HLD, ERA, WHIP
Round 1: Ian Kinsler 2B – Kinsler does it all and even drives in runs out of the leadoff spot (71 RBIs last season). He hits for a high average and steals bases.
Round 2: Lance Berkman 1B – He’s got a great bat as he can hit over .300 and get you over 100 RBIs and possibly 30 homeruns.
Round 3: Roy Halladay SP – The first starting pitcher I took. All the other studs were gone. I thought getting him was a bargain in the third round due to the fact our league uses complete games and shutouts as a category.
Round 4: Joe Mauer C – Catcher is a thin position. So I went with Mauer. Despite injury potential, you cannot argue with over a .300 batting average.
Round 5: Chris Davis 1B/3B – If you read my blog, you know that I’m all about this kid. He’s a big lefty and can hit and he had a great half a season last year. And especially in this lineup, he will drive in runs.
Round 6: Joakim Soria RP – I seemed to be at the end of the stud closer run and Soria was the last one left. I’m just hoping he can reproduce his 2008 totals.
Round 7: Rich Harden SP
Round 8: Chris Young OF – Young has that rare combo of power and speed.
Round 9: Mike Aviles SS – I’m hoping Aviles can build upon the great rookie campaign he had in Kansas City. (.325/10HR/51RBI)
Round 10: Josh Johnson SP – Did a nice job last season in his 14 starts (7-1).
Round 11: Clayton Kershaw SP – Would this be considered taking a gamble?
Round 12: Mike Gonzalez RP
Round 13: Adam Lind OF – This is another one of those players that, if you follow my blog, you know I like them. I assume he will be in the middle of this Blue Jays lineup this year.
Round 14: Joey Devine RP – Now, I’m hoping that Devine wins the closer job. Even if he doesn’t, we get points for holds — so I can’t be too concerned. I was suprised Devine went this late as well. Ziegler was drafted only a few picks before this.
Round 15: Jack Cust OF – I follow up one Oakland A with another. I needed some more power and production (even if Cust doesn’t post the average).
Round 16: Chris Dickerson OF – I’m hoping Dickerson will get at least some starts. He can steal and has been doing well this spring.
Round 17: Chase Headley 3B/OF
Round 18: Matt Thornton RP – He should help in the hold category (although I think the hold is a rediculous statistic — it exists).
Round 19: Casey Kotchman 1B
Round 20: Matt LaPorta 1B/OF – With so many roster spots — why not?
Round 21: Ryan Madson RP – The “bridge to Lidge” should get me some holds.
Round 22: Elvis Andrus SS
Round 23: Mark Teahen 1B/3B/OF – He’s eligible all over.
Round 24: Seth Smith OF – He probably isn’t drafted in some leagues but I like him.
Round 25: Josh Willingham OF – Finish this team off with “the hammer.”
I feel pretty good about my team considering the fact there are sixteen teams in the league. Last year I won, so let’s see if I can repeat.
I haven’t written in a little while, my apologies. I really need to kick it into high gear if I want to finish my team previews before the season starts. So I’ll type up this one as I watch Japan play the USA.
Team Preview: Chicago White Sox
Projected MLB Rank: 17th — AL Rank: 6th — AL Central Rank: 2nd — Record: (80-82)
The White Sox have a great mix of veteran stars and young talent. Most homes in America know of Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, and Jermaine Dye. I guess we’ll see how youngsters Josh Fields and Chris Getz pan out in the infield. But here are some of last year’s contributors to one of the best offenses in the AL, that may have flown under to the average fan.
Carlos Quentin had an unbelievable year and would have probably won the AL MVP award had he not gotten injured at the end of the season. He drove in 100 runs while crushing 37 homeruns and batting .288. He may not put up the same numbers as he did last season, but he will definately be a middle of the lineup contributor for the White Sox.
Alexei Ramirez is a five tool player who was born in Cuba. He had a great rookie campaign hitting over 20 homers and driving in over 70 runs. He should only blossom this season and improve upon those numbers. Outfielder Dewayne Wise should have the starting centerfield spot this season after he filled in nicely when Quentin went down last season. He has a good combo of power and speed but really hasn’t found his average in the MLB.
The rotation is lead by southpaw veteran Mark Buerhle who has become a staple at the top of the White Sox rotation. He is followed by young arms Gavin Floyd and John Danks. Floyd was awarded for his great 2008 when he scored a big contract extension today. We will see if he can match his 3.84 ERA and 17 wins in 2009. Danks is a great young lefty who kept a 3.32 ERA in 33 starts last season. They are followed by aging injury-ridden righties Bartolo Colon and Jose Contreras. They are 35 and 37 respectively and may not start the season in the rotation but will get their shot to work their way in when they become fully healthy.
Bobby Jenks and Matt Thornton are the highlights of the southside’s bullpen. Jenks had 30 saves last season with a ERA under 3.00 and has become a very good closer in this league. Thornton, a team USA member, had a great 2008 with an ERA around Jenks in over 70 appearences. Octavio Dotel, who is 35 years old, assumes the setup role as he is a big time strikeout pitcher. Scott Linebrink also had a nice year last season with a 3.69 ERA in 50 games.
This division is weak and I seriously think that any team can win it. I’m projecting the White Sox second behind (use the process of elimination and you’ll see who I think will win it). Some of the players on this team are getting older and if the younger ones don’t pick up the slack, the White Sox may not repeat as division champions.
The World Baseball Classic rosters are set. The United States roster looks more promising than last time. The US is in Pool C with Canada, Venezula, and Italy and opens up the tournament playing in Toronto.
The tournament runs from March 5th-23rd in anywhere from Tokyo to San Juan and ending in Los Angeles. (http://mlb.mlb.com/wbc/2009/schedule/brackets.jsp) You can find the official WBC bracket there.
The US roster consists of players from 21 different MLB teams and is one of only two rosters that are made up of all MLB players. Here is how I think the lineup should be:
SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Grady Sizemore
LF Ryan Braun
DH Chipper Jones
1B Kevin Youkilis
RF Brad Hawpe
3B David Wright
C Brian McCann
2B Dustin Pedrioa
However, I am not Davey Johnson and I’m almost positive that Derek Jeter will start at shortstop. Curtis Granderson would be the first pinch runner most likely and Mark DeRosa looks like he will be the infield utility guy. Chris Iannetta backs up McCann behind the dish. The starting pitchers featured on the roster are Jeremy Guthrie, Ted Lilly, Roy Oswalt, and Jake Peavy. The rotation may shape up to look something along the lines of Peavy, Oswalt, Lilly, then Guthrie.
The bullpen is probably one of the strongest in the whole classic. The US boasts established closers like Brian Fuentes, Joe Nathan, JJ Putz, and BJ Ryan. The bullpen features emerging closers like Jonathan Broxton, Matt Lindstrom, and Brad Ziegler. It also contains guys like JP Howell, Scot Shields, and Matt Thornton. In the ninth I would hand the ball to Fuentes to face lefthanded hitters and Nathan to face righties.
I am most excited to watch the US play and to see how Brad Hawpe plays among all stars and how Johnson utilizes the extremely talented bullpen he has.
In other notes, how great is it to see mlb.com with the games of the day on the left side bar again? I am so relieved to hear that everyday we are getting closer to the season. The first spring training games start tomorrow with most of them at 1pm or 3pm. However at 7pm the Twins take on the Red Sox as Tim Wakefield takes the mound.
In honor of the first spring training games, I will start to release my projections for this season (as I mentioned in the previous post). I will start from who I think will finish last in the league working my way up to the best record previewing the teams’ seasons along the way. Tomorrow I’ll release who I think will be at the bottom of the barrel and here’s a clue, it’s one of these four teams…