Posted by DAN
I return from my long hiatus, to tell the tale of my fantasy baseball draft, 2008 edition. This was a 10 team draft, standard 5×5 league, with the exception of OPS replacing AVG. Here goes:
(5) David Wright– I drew the 5th pick, and this was pretty much a no-brainer to me. I considered Miguel Cabrera in the stacked Detroit lineup, but Wright’s 5 category contribution put me over the top. I hate having to plug in someone as a source of steals who is not going to help me in any of the other 4 offensive categories.
(16) David Ortiz — This guy is a steal in the second round of an OPS league. His lowest OPS in the past three seasons is 1.001 and his lowest HR total is last years 35. He’s getting older but I can’t resist a lock for 30+ HR, 110+ RBI and a 1.000+ OPS here.
(25) Lance Berkman — My strategy (as always) is load up on offense early as its safer and more consistent than pitching, and I stick with it here. Berkman has a bit of a down year last year, but still put up an .896 OPS with 34 HR. He owns a .971 career OPS and I’m willing to bet he bounces back this year.
(36) Adam Dunn — This guy has been hitting 40 HRs a season since I was in the womb (I had a LOT of potential phrases to go here). His .940 OPS last year is also studly. Let’s hope Dusty doesn’t force him to start hacking.
(45) Robinson Cano — As much as I hate the Yankee hype machine, Cano is starting to look legit. Improving power numbers over the past three seasons (14 HRs, 15, 19) including 82 doubles over the last two years and OPS’s of .890 and .842 make me think a 20 HR, .860 OPS season is pretty likely, as he gets closer to his prime. He is also the last of the top tier of second basemen left when I make this pick.
(56) Brian McCann — I wasn’t wild about this pick. On one hand, he was the last catcher I felt comfortable taking, and there was a substabtial drop off to the next tier. No one left really presented great value in my book, so I made this pick. McCann is not as good as his .961 OPS in 2006 indicates (2005 BABIP: .332) but should be likely to post an .800 OPS with 20 HRs in 2008.
(65)Justin Verlander — This is why I wait for pitching. 65 picks in and I get an 18 game winner on one of baseball’s best teams who struck out 183 guys last season.
(76) Jason Bay — had a downright bad year last year, but who left at this time has as much upside? In a smaller league I should have no trouble finding a replacement if he maintains his form from last season.
(85) (96) (105) Roy Oswalt, Adrian Gonzalez, and Ben Sheets — I take two more pitchers in these rounds. Oswalt is durable, but I worry about his declining K numbers and increasing WHIP (1.33). Either way, he should post 200 IP and 150 K which is more than you can say about the rest of pitcher’s in his immediate tier. Adrian Gonzalez quietly conquered Petco to the tune of 30 HR’s last season. Ben Sheets I took for the same reason as Bay: upside. He’s definitely the only guy left in Round 11 who could win a Cy Young award. If he stays healthy, he’ll likely be my ace.
(116) (125) (136) Pat Burrell, AJ Burnett, Joakim Soria — Here are Pat Burrell’s HR totals the past three seasons: 29, 32, 30. His OPSs? .890, .892, .902. (There’s no way that is the proper way to word that) This guy is silly consistent and a big time sleeper in an OPS league. AJ Burnett (see Sheets, Ben) is solid, even if it is only for 130 IP. I also take my first closer Kansas City’s Soria. His peripheral numbers last year were sick, including 75 K to just 19 BB. Soria should pick up 25 saves no matter how bad KC plays.
No big names left. I take Todd Jones, not because I think he is good, but because Detroit should win 90 games at least and Jones should close all year. Josh Hamilton could stay healthy and be a steal if he repeats last years numbers. Khalil Greene hit 27 HRs last year and his .250 AVG won’t killme inthis league. I (as usual) round out my pitching staff with setup men: Neshek, Bell, Betancourt and Sherrill (who was rumored to be, and has since been named Baltimore’s closer). I take a late round flyer on Rich Harden in case he stays healthy this year. After the draft I dropped Bourn and picked up Ryan Theriot, and dropped Wigginton and picked up Jack Cust (.912 OPS last year with 26 HR). I like Bourn as a full time player, but with all my slugger outfielders I can’t see actually playing him. I can see sitting Greene, so I don’t mind plugging in the 1-dimensional Theriot.
All in all, I like my team. I feel like I should easily be top 3 in all the offensive categories, except SB. That said, I should have enough offense to have no problems making a trade for steals if I need them in June. As far as pitching, I have a lot of potential. I should remain competitive in SV with Soria, Jones, and Sherrill without spending a pick in the first 13 rounds on a closer. If I can get lucky in the Wins department, I feel like my team should be very competitive in this league. I also don’t see any way I don’t win this league if I get 400 IP out of Harden and Sheets, even though that seems incredibely unlikely.