Saturday, March 22, 2008

Welcome to Fantasy Island!

Ah, spring. The time when young men's fancy turns to...fantasy baseball, of course.

I just completed a draft in my 10-team Yahoo! League, and, like every fantasy sports owner immediately after his draft, I like the look of it. It's a pretty crazy league, weekly with lots of categories, so just about every type of player can find a home. But don't worry, unlike everyone else who drafts a fantasy team, I won't bore you with the details of my team, my shrewd picks, and other descriptions of how great I am and how I will own the rest of the league.


Oh, come on, you didn't really believe that, did you? :)

It's a weekly league, meaning we play against another team each week. The winner in each statistical category gets a point and at the end of the week, the team with the most points wins the matchup.

And my, what a lot of categories there are. On offense, it's R, HR, RBI, TB, Avg., OPS, Errors (fewest), and Net SB (SB - CS). On the pitching side, it's W, Saves, ERA, WHIP, Holds, Outs, and Ks. And rosters are huge. Our starting lineups are one each C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 4 OF, an extra IF, a Utility position, 5 SP, 4 RP, 2 flex P, and there are 5 bench slots and 3 DL spots.

With all that in mind, here's my team, with round selected. Bold indicates likely starters.

Joe Mauer (6)
Geovany Soto (24)

Adrian Gonzalez (8)
James Loney (20) (IF)

Ian Kinsler (7)
Asdrubal Cabrera (25)

Garrett Atkins (5)

Hanley Ramirez (1)

Nick Swisher (10)
Juan Pierre (11)
Pat Burrell (12)
Kosuke Fukudome (17)
Rick Ankiel (22)
Josh Willingham (27)

Jim Thome (14)
Frank Thomas (23)

Jake Peavy (2)
CC Sabathia (3)
Brandon Webb (4)
Matt Cain (13)
Mark Buehrle (19)

Billy Wagner (9)
Pat Neshek (15)
Joakim Soria (16)
Jeremy Accardo (18)

CJ Wilson (21)
Scott Baker (26)

I picked third overall, so I was thrilled to see Hanley Ramirez still available. Then I got not one, but both Cy Young winners in my next two picks, and they form the core of what looks like a very good pitching staff. Net SB should be mine most weeks, with Ramirez (51-65 SB), Ian Kinsler (23-25 SB in 2007), and Juan Pierre (64-79 SB) in the lineup most weeks, and I can sit Pierre for someone with more power against teams with poor SB numbers. My relievers include a couple of closer potentials in Pat Neshek and Jeremy Accardo, but until they take over, I'm happy to rack up the holds with each. And at least one of Jim Thome or Frank Thomas have to stay healthy; I got each very late, and they'll contribute mightily to my power categories and OPS.

The bad news is my potentially shaky outfield. I didn't even draft an OF until Nick Swisher in round 10, and Pierre's in danger of losing his job. Kosuke Fukudome and Rick Ankiel are unknowns, and Pat Burrell's sure to frustrate, so I took Josh Willingham -- a steady if unspectacular player -- with my last pick. I also made the error of filling my bench with position players and not taking a pitcher. If Thome or Thomas are hot the first few weeks of the season, I'll probably see about trading one or the other for another starter. Finally, there's a lot of kids out there -- Geovany Soto, Asdrubal Cabrera, Scott Baker, James Loney. Hopefully, one or more pans out. In fantasy, I figure it's always better to go with the unknown kid than the washed-up veteran. Why take a guy you know won't do better than about .270 with 15 home runs when you could wind up with someone who hits .300 and 25?

I'm also in another, far more complex league, GameDay Ritual, that wraps up its four-day draft event (yes, four days) tomorrow. I'll probably post about that one, too, so you can bask in my fantasy magnificence twice in one week. Aren't you lucky?

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