Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I play Fantasy Baseball

Because I have to do something when football's out of season.

First things first: I've got four openings left in my Yahoo league that drafts on Saturday at 3:30 Eastern. Mostly basic stuff, six batting/pitching categories, weekly head-to-head, etc. We'd really like to fill it up before the draft, so if you're looking for another league with me and five guys you probably don't know, sign up here. The league ID is 147568 and the password is 99mphfastball. I won the league last year, so I'll be looking for some actual competition this time around :)

(No, it's never too early to trash talk.)

* Now, please grant me the indulgence of talking about my fantasy baseball team. Because everyone does it, and this team is the culmination of three years of planning. Yes, I'm a nut.

Then there's this other league I'm in, on GameDayRitual. It's the most hardcore league I've ever been a part of, with salaries, multi-year contracts, minors, prospects, lineups (i.e., you need a 1-9 setup that sort of mimics a real team: speedy guys on top, power in 3-4-5, etc.), lefty-righty matchups -- the works.

Last year was my second in the 14-team league, and I missed the playoffs by one game. But it was also the last year after taking over for the guy who ran my team (into the ground) when the league formed. He signed some players to ridiculous three-year (the longest allowed in the game) contracts, like Josh Willingham (who became nearly useless when he wasn't catcher-eligible) and Cliff Floyd(!), as well as Cris Carpenter, who I can't blame him for. Once I got out from under those onerous deals, I thought I'd finally have the cash to put together a killer team, and it looks like I've done just that, many for reasonable prices. Here's my projected lineup, along with salaries and years. The league has a $100 million maximum:

1. Carl Crawford (OF) $5.5 million/3 years
2. Johnny Damon (OF) $3.5/1
3. Kevin Youkilis (1B) $5/1
4. David Wright (3B) $9.5/1
5. Josh Hamilton (OF) $5.5/2

After this it gets a little dicey, but at least most of the guys have solid potential and come cheap:

6. Hideki Matsui or Elijah Dukes (DH) $3/1 or $0.5/1
7. Yunel Escobar (SS) $4/2
8. Asdrubal Cabrera (2B) $1/2
9. Kurt Suzuki (C) $2/2

My other possible DH options until mid-May include Adam Lind ($0.5/1), Todd Helton ($1/1), and Travis Hafner ($1/1). After that, I think I'll put Alex Rodriguez ($10.5/3) in the lineup. And just for kicks, I've got Jed Lowrie ($2/1), Placido Polanco ($3.5/1), and David Eckstein ($0.5/1) for infield depth.

Then there's the pitching staff. My first two starters are pretty good.

1. Johan Santana ($13/1)
2. Jake Peavy ($9/3)

The rest of the staff will come from whoever stands out among:

3. Mark Buehrle ($4.5/1)
4. Kevin Slowey ($0.5/2)
5. Andy Sonnanstine ($1.5/3)
6. Armando Galarraga ($1/2)
7. Randy Wolf ($2/1)
8. Fausto Carmona ($0.5/1)

Right now, I'm thinking Wolf and Carmona will go to my minor-league team and I'll rotate in the other four based on matchups.

My bullpen might be a little shaky, but quality relievers are easily available throughout the year. Unless you have a lights-out guy (think Carlos Marmol the last few years), you don't want to pay virtually anything for non-closers. The MR and SU guys need holds more than anything, and closers live (obviously) on saves:

Latroy Hawkins ($1/1)
Scott Downs ($2.5/1)
Taylor Buchholz ($1.5/1)

Kerry Wood ($0.5/1)
Matt Lindstrom ($1.5/1)

And just to top it all off, I've got Matt LaPorta in my minor leagues.

Overall, through shrewd money management, I think I've stockpiled enough talent to compete for the title this year and have the depth to make some trades if I need to. Thanks for reading this far, and if you leave a comment, I promise to slog through your boring post about your fantasy team, too!

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