Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Shields For Errors

Today was our fantasy baseball draft, and Rea is walking away pretty happy, having come away with a very good draft. I'm slightly more concerned, but overall I'm in better shape than most teams, coming away with four closers in a 14-team league and a very solid lineup. I had the third pick in the draft, and not being a fan of Reyes, took David Wright; here's my entire team, with round and pick:
Pos. /Pos. Player TEAM [Round/Pick]

C Victor Martinez CLE [7/87]
1B Lance Berkman HOU [2/26]
2B /SS Mike Aviles KC [9/115]
SS Michael Young TEX [8/110]
3B David Wright NYM [1/3]
OF Jason Bay BOS [3/31], Alex Rios TOR [5/59], Andre Ethier LAD [11/143]
Util 1B-3B Jorge Cantu FLA [12/166], OF David Murphy TEX [20/278]

CL Brad Lidge PHI [4/54], Carlos Marmol CHC [6/82], Frank Francisco TEX [10/138], Troy Percival TB [13/171]
RP Hong-Chi Kuo LAD [17/227], Jensen Lewis CLE [18/250], Grant Balfour TB [19/255]
SP Fausto Carmona CLE [14/194], John Maine NYM [15/199], Jeremy Guthrie BAL [16/222], Carl Pavano CLE [21/283], and Jesse Litsch TOR (undrafted - replaced Asdrubal Cabrera [22/306])
Before I get slammed for the lack of starting pitching... I knew I'd be getting Wright at #3, and thought I'd have a chance to take Cole Hamels at 26. He was taken early in the second round, however, and with Berkman on the board, I couldn't pass him up. Unfortunately Manny and Brandon Phillips were picked on the turn, so I took Jason Bay, giving me a nice hitting core of Wright, Berkman, and Bay.

Weirdly, people started taking closers near the end of the third round. I'd been hoping to start a run with my 4th round pick by taking Papelbon at 54 and Lidge at 59. Instead, I took Lidge at 54 and with no other top-line closers left, took Rios at 59. That's about when things started to get a little nuts, with marginal SSs like Jeter and Peralta getting taken through the 5th and 6th rounds. I took Marmol near the end of the 6th and, after being forced to decide when the guy on the end passed on Mauer, decided to take Martinez (who should play more and have more power) over Mauer. I also knew I had plenty of time to get the pitchers I was targeting or thinking about: Kazmir perhaps not, but certainly Shields, Cliff Lee, even Oswalt was still there. Right? RIGHT?

Wrong! Kazmir was the next pick. Two picks after that, to my shock and dismay, went Shields. Gallardo, Oswalt, and Lee were taken later in the round. By the time we got back to my 8th round pick, I had nobody worth picking besides Michael Young (as I needed a SS), and then took Aviles to start the 9th to finish my infield. The next set of pitchers I had any interest in I still had plenty of time to get - most drafts had them going between Rounds 14 and 18 - so I took a third closer in Francisco and chose Ethier (with Manny in the lineup) over Hawpe (without Holliday) in the 11th. Then, halfway into Round 12, Rea - already with Santana AND Peavy - takes Chris Young, the pitcher. A couple of players later goes Ricky Nolasco. My next two picks were gone, and I still had NO starting pitchers.

By now I was screwed, so there was no point in reaching for unwanted starters - I took Cantu and Percival, giving me a strong utility and good insurance at 1b and 3b, and putting me ahead of the league with four closers. After that, it was just finding possible steals and relievers with low WHIPs and high K rates or people who could close potentially. Lastly, I wanted a 4th OF to be my other Util and I wanted Kelly Shoppach as insurance for Martinez. Of course, Yahoo glitched right at my pick and automatically took Pavano, and Rea picked up Shoppach a few picks later.

All in all, my hitting is probably among the most solid in the league, and my bullpen is far and away the strongest. My starting pitching is on the weaker side, though with selectivity it can be good enough to get by until people need to trade for a closer or two or until an up-and-comer appears. Last year I had some of the best pitching despite injuries to Carmona and Young by picking up guys to spot start (Cliff Lee, Jorge Campillo, etc.) and then trading those for other players. As we've seen many times in our league, the draft is far less meaningful than the in-season moves, so we'll see what happens...! It'd be nice to take first this year after coming in a distant second last year.


  1. Don't be fooled by Ezzie's logic. By the way he drafted, not taking pitchers, he SHOULD have far and away the best hitting team - he doesn't.
    As mentioned, I actually spent many early picks on pitching (Santana, Peavy, Young) and still have probably the best IF in the league (Mauer, Dunn, Utley, Stephen Drew, Zimmerman) and an OF with very high risk-high potential (Kemp, Burrell, Adam Jones, Maybin, Dukes, Cruz).
    Truth is, Zvi probably has better hitting than both of we do, but he suffers from the same dearth of pitching as you.
    Your yearly 'rack up saves and then trade the closers in the summer' will not work. You think you can hold down the fort until then with Pavano, Main, Guthrie, and Carmona? That's balderdash! Your ERA and WHIP will be so far gone after 500 innings that no amount of aces you trade for will fix it.
    Just sayin'.

  2. Firstly, show me a full ten from any team that's better than mine. Zvi is the only one, I think, and with a risky OF; Kosta is the only other.

    My IF is better than yours, sorry.

    Last year, with Victor being nutty in 1/3 of a season and Aviles playing in 2/3 of a season:


    vs. your Zimmerman in 2/3 of a season but otherwise everyone normal:


    That's a pretty nice advantage my way, considering the extra output from Martinez and Aviles should be far more than whatever increases you'd get from Zimmerman and even Drew, since you think he's up for a tremendous gain. (I'm assuming similar to typical outputs from Mauer, Dunn, Utley, Berkman, Young, Wright.)

    More importantly, my OF is eons ahead of yours, even if you do get two studs out of the group. Bay/Rios/Ethier vs. Kemp + any two?

    And finally, I have two solid Utils and you have zero, unless you got ridiculously lucky and ALL the upside guys pay off.

    Zvi's really got a lot of risks, whether injury or consistency, though if they can avoid injuries and show consistency it's a great lineup. His pitching is worse than mine.

    And I don't understand why I can't hold down the fort spot-starting my guys - how will my WHIP and ERA get blown by them?

    Guthrie in the past two full seasons: 3.70/1.21 and 3.63/1.23. Carmona in his full season was at 3.06/1.21. Maine is on/off - 4.18/1.31 career - but that's a lot better than almost anyone else in the league, and will be nicely offset by my relievers. Litsch 3.58/1.23 last year, and 3.67/1.29 for his career.

    I can guarantee you now that I'll be in the top half of the league in ERA and WHIP from a month and a half in and onward.

    BTW, you said the same thing last year about the closers. :)

  3. Kosta is the only other that's close*

    And your IF group had 200 more ABs than mine, in case the comparison wasn't clear, yet just +3R, +9 RBI, -30SB, and -.014 AVG. You'd have a few more HRs but that would be more than made up for by the SBs, Rs, RBIs, and AVG.