Fantasy Baseball 2010

I turned a new page in fantasy baseball for this year. In addition to a league with friends, I decided to join a 20-team league of competitive players from one of the Yankee blogs that I frequently visit.

Before this year, I’ve never participated in a league with more than twelve teams, so this is a new experience for me. The scoring system was set up with six offensive categories and six defensive categories. Runs, homers, RBIs, stolen bases, average and on-base percentage for the offense and wins, saves, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP and quality starts for pitchers.

The draft took place the week before the season started and lasted a grueling three hours. Out of twenty teams, I held the twentieth pick. The draft snaked, so by having the last pick in the first round, I also had the first pick of the second round. Meaning I picked twice in a row and then waited close to twenty minutes before I did it all over again.

I named my team “Morales in Wonderland” working off the player Kendry Morales and the recent blockbuster remake of “Alice in Wonderland” and went into the draft without a set strategy. Having never partook in such a deep league, I didn’t really know how everything was going to unfold. When my first picks came up, most of the best players were obviously gone. So I took what I thought was the best hitter available (Adrián González) and the best pitcher available (Félix Hernández).

By the time my second pair of picks came around, most of the true impact hitters were gone, but there were still plenty of Top 15 pitchers left on the board. And so that’s where my draft strategy formed. I decided then, with the 60th and 61st picks in the draft to stockpile great pitching and trust to my ability to find some quality hitters lower in the draft. My reasoning was that there are more average hitters than their are average pitchers. So my third pick went to Adam Wainwright and my fourth to Josh Johnson.

With Jorge Posada still available my next time around, I made him my catcher with the 100th, figuring if he stayed healthy, I’d get above-average offense out of the catcher’s spot. But pitching was to be my forte so with pick number 101, I grabbed Matt Garza. Garza has never really been all that spectacular, but I liked his peripheral stats and in a stat-geek type league like this one, I think he’ll end up being a steal.

In the seventh and eighth rounds, I started putting together my outfield, grabbing some speed (Nyjer Morgan) and some power (Nick Swisher) with the 140th and 141st picks. I grabbed Chris Davis to fill my empty 3B slot in the ninth round and then moved back to pitching in the tenth, selecting Tim Hudson and expecting a solid bounceback year having successfully underwent Tommy John surgery.

My eleventh and twelfth round picks were both closers. Normally I don’t place too high of a value on closers, but in a 20-team league, I assumed with two reliable closers, I could expect to win saves each week. While guys like Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Broxton and Jonathan Papelbon were taken in round four, I managed to grab Ryan Franklin and David Aardsma with the 220th and 221st overall picks. I expect the difference in value to be marginal at best between my two guys and the top-line starters. Plus, I had two of them.

To this point I had completely ignored my middle infield situation and addressed it here, taking Alberto Callaspo and Clint Barmes in rounds thirteen and fourteen respectively. Troy Glaus and Scott Rolen came to me in rounds fifteen and sixteen to provide some corner infield depth. Atlanta’s lefty-masher Matt Diaz became my seventeenth round pick to help fill out my shallow outfield.

I believe I got tremendous value with the 341st overall pick, Barry Zito. Zito finished the 2009 season with a very strong second half and at a place in the draft when most managers were drafting middle relievers of platoon players, I managed to get a team’s third starter who should remain very durable and provide my team with great value or decent trade bait.

I finished off my draft taking Lyle Overbay, Jesus Montero, Gaby Sanchez and Robinson Tejada.

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Since the draft, I have shuffled my team up a little. While the pitching remains one of the best in the league, my hitting needed addressing. I am currently shopping around one of my top three starters for a slugger to compliment Adrián González. Haven’t found a deal to my liking yet, but it’s very early. I think I can withstand my somewhat-shabby offense until a team becomes desperate for some pitching help and comes crawling back to me with an offer I like.

Gone from my original team are Chris Davis (9th round), Troy Glaus (15th) Matt Diaz (17th), Lyle Overbay (19th), Jesus Montero (20th) and Robinson Tejada (22nd). I found that my team was overly populated with first basemen and I had only two regular outfielders.

So in came SS Edgar Renteria who somehow went completely undrafted and outfielders Ryan Sweeney (Oakland) and Scott Hairston (SD). I also picked up Washington catcher Ivan Rodgriguez to give me some numbers on the days that Jorge Posada got off. I also picked up outfielder Coco Crisp and stashed him on the DL, hoping to eventually get some stolen base value out of him when he returned.

The last two adds for me were starting pitchers that I was impressed with during the spring. Florida’s Chris Volstad
and St. Louis’ Jamie Garcia.

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So the first week of games came and went almost exactly how I would have scripted it. My pitching dominated, sweeping all six categories, but my weak afterthought offense held its’ own against a lineup that featured six 20-home run guys from last year, against my three. It held up so well in fact, that I won five of the six hitting categories and scraped a tie in stolen bases, to finish the week an impressive 11-0-1.

Week 1 Matchup against Brandon's Bombers

Adrián González and Jorge Posada, my two highest picked hitters each hit me two home runs, and I got surprising contributions from Edgar Renteria (undrafted, .583 average, 5 RBI) and Gaby Sanchez (1 HR, 4RBI). My speed guy, Nyjer Morgan stole two bases, which was just enough for me to tie my opponent in that category.

Most impressive to me was the fact that of the nine starts my starters made, seven of them qualified as Quality Starts. I doubt that I’ll sustain that 78% rate, but if I can stay around 60%, that will keep me well above the 2009 league average of 49%.

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Up next for me is team Albany Diamond Dogs (10-1-1, 1st place in Division 1). It will be an early season matchup of the two top-ranked teams.

League Standings following Week 1

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Posted on April 12, 2010, in Sports. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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