Monday, March 21, 2005

 

Fantasy Baseball

I plan on writing some sort of fantasy baseball article on a weekly basis, but since I still have one draft coming up on March 26th (as well as one of the other writers for the article) I will put that on hold for now.

For now, I will simply list my team and my aspirations for each player:

C - Jason Kendall. I expect some of his average, and therefore his OBP to decline in his move to Oakland, but he will be a member of a more potent lineup and the overall effects should not hurt his value. A staple on my fantasy teams at catcher for a good 4-5 years now.

1B - Todd Helton. Helton is another staple of my team (who I missed in 2003, but *settled* for Barry Bonds). The weaker his lineup is around him, the higher his walk totals become, with 127 last year. Even if his RBI totals take a hit, that OBP will keep me happy.

2B - Mark Bellhorn. .260/.370/.444 is great for a second basemen, especially when I nabbed him in the middle of the draft.

3B - Casey Blake. Blake won't be playing much at third base this year if Aaron Boone has anything to say about it, but I grabbed him after passing up on multiple third basemen in favor of pitchers. I don't expect him to match his 2004 production, but anything close would be nice. Blake shifts to the OF and eventually will give me a 3b/OF option...yay depth!

SS - Khalil Greene. Developing power and good enough rate stats, especially considering I picked him in the latter stages of the draft.

OF: Barry Bonds. I got Bonds and Helton as my 1-2 picks (I was last in the draft, go back to back selection) so I focused on pitching for a few rounds. Bonds will miss some time with that second knee operation, but hopefully my offense can carry my team before he comes back.

OF - Adam Dunn. I traded Brad Wilkerson and Glendon Rusch for Adam Dunn to shore up my offense, and then Bonds went down. I'm very happy I got Dunn now, since I was in need of another power threat to stabilize my hitting stats for a month or so.

OF - Brian Giles. Giles is in his decline phase, but as my third outfielder (and picked in the teen rounds) you can't go wrong. Another staple of my fantasy team for 4-5 years now. I used to take all the good players off of Pittsburgh that everyone ignored and succeed using that tactic. It worked until they had to go and get all famous and nationally exposed and the like...bastards.

Utility - Vernon Wells. I expect Wells to rebound from last year, and if he even averages out his 2003 and 2004 campaigns my utility spot is well used.

Bench: Todd Walker, Frank Thomas, Russell Branyan (free agents) and Austin Kearns (dropped Keith Ginter, Kearns picked up off waivers).

This is a pretty strong bench. If Bellhorn falls to 2003 levels I have Walker to replace him, and Branyan will provide a source of power if he keeps the starting job. With Helton and Bondsian averages in my lineup, I can afford the .230-.240 of Branyan with power. I hope Thomas comes back from his injury to slug .500 once again, as that will be a huge boost from the 21st round I got him in. Austin Kearns, when or if healthy, will contribute to my lineup if Wells is faltering.

Not the best lienup I've had, but stacked with depth. The pitching is my strong point:

SP - Ben Sheets, Oliver Perez, Jake Peavy, Rich Harden, Josh Beckett, Zach Greinke, Jeremy Bonderman, Orlando Hernandez. Now that is a rotation. I don't have any 20 game threats, except for maybe Rich Harden or Josh Beckett is the Fish catch fire, but the rate stats should be astounding.

RP: I didn't draft a closer for two reasons.

1) If I can't get Brad Lidge or Eric Gagne, I don't want a closer in the first 10 rounds. When round 10 came around, my guy for closer got selected, and I decided to go after relievers who will get my holds instead, and focus on picking up a poor closer who racks up saves at a later date, or hope for LaTroy Hawkins to regain the closer's job in Chicago.

2) I hope to secure a few other pitching categories with the starting pitchers I have, and forcing a closer pick seemed like a waste by the time I focused on it.

LaTroy Hawkins, Justin Duchscherer, Mike Gonzalez, and Brendan Donnelly are my relief pitchers. In that group are two possible closers (Hawkins and Gonzalez, if Jose Mesa is dealt or just plain sucks) and four extremely talented setup men. Holds galore I hope.

Overall, I think this is the best draft I've had in years, as I usually have a real good draft and build off of that via free agency and trades. I don't think I should have to do too much tinkering to my roster, unless of course no closer emerges from the group of four and I have a a few extra utility guys lying around. Barring injury (damn you 2004 season) I feel pretty confident in my ability to finish in the top 6 in the league, and maybe even pull out another championship season. I'd post my draft order, but I have another draft coming up, and that would just be bad for me, I've probably said too much already. Hopefully you guys think I'm stupid or something.

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