The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

37° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Fantasy Baseball Prose-ings

    The Statesman Fantasy Challenge draft has come and gone. Here is the lowdown for the four dedicated readers of this column. Using a complicated system of emails, facebook tracking and begging we were able to nail down the final couple of spots right in time for the draft. I’ll give the thought process for my first five picks and then mention picks that stand out along with good and bad value picks made by other managers. I got the fourth pick in the draft which isn’t ideal in my mind. The first three spots present the opportunity to take a significant difference maker in A-Rod, Hanley Ramirez or Jose Reyes. Picks four through eight also have good players, but there is no definitive order for them and therein lies the problem.

    You might like David Wright’s 30/30 production and youth. You might salivate at the thought of 24-year old Miguel Cabrera, of the 34 home run, 119 RBI, and .320 average stat line going from terrible team to pennant contender. Maybe the Coors inflated stats(humidor schumidor) of Matt Holliday tickle your fancy. Or you’re a position scarcity fan and snatch up Chase Utley or clasp your grubby hands greedily when you can take the last of the elite shortstops in Jimmy Rollins. Either way, you’re taking a guy that isn’t the consensus fourth pick in the draft and missing out on some studs that go early in the second round.

    I like picks ten, eleven and twelve this year. You can take Prince Fielder or Ryan Howard and pencil in 50 home runs and 120 RBIs for your team and follow that up with Ryan Braun, last year’s wunderkind. His 34 home runs, 97 RBIs, .324 average and 15 steals in 450 at bats get many fantasy players all hot and bothered when they think of the damage that an improved Braun would inflict over 600 at bats this year.

    You may have noticed that I left out pick number nine. What of that draft slot? I hate it. With Albert Pujols elbow hanging by a thread and the players available from 15-20 being relatively interchangeable I prefer any other slot. When I got this draft spot in the most important of my leagues, I threw everybody a curveball with my picks. But that’s for next week’s column. Anyway with the fourth pick I took David Wright over Miguel Cabrera because of his stolen base production. Early on I like to take as many five category players as possible because the pool is decidedly thin later in the draft.

    On the way back it was between a falling Grady Sizemore, who publications fawn over, or Brandon Phillips. Phillips was a big-time prospect for the Indians that never panned out. He got traded to the Reds and fulfilled all his promise. His ability to replicate Wright’s production in homers and steals with the added bonus of being a second baseman gave him the edge over Sizemore.

    With two Statesman writers conveniently late and/or not attending the draft, the auto pick for one of them took the third round pick I wanted in Mark Teixeira. I settled for the large and in-charge Lance Berkman. Whenever a pudgy man throws in seven steals into his production, I’m buying what he’s selling. That’s in my fantasy manifesto.

    In the fourth round I took Nick Markakis, a young star for the Orioles. His line of 23 homers, 112 RBI, along with 18 steals and a .300 batting average made it an easy choice. For some it might be seen as early because of the trade of Miguel Tejada but he is young and can’t be pitched around for 600 at bats. That’s an important thing to remember. Look at Cabrera’s line above. Casual fans considered the players around him besides Ramirez to be terrible but he still got his numbers. Markakis has future star Adam Jones, added in the Erik Bedard trade with Seattle, and some solid veterans. He’ll produce the same stat line at minimum with the potential for better numbers.

    I rounded out my top five picks with a player I never get in drafts: Derek Jeter. It’s not that I don’t like him, I’m a Yankee fan after all. But he’s very overvalued in fantasy baseball. Looking at his stats he doesn’t come close to the production of the top three shortstops. I even left him and Carlos Guillen on the board with my fourth pick figuring someone would jump at Jeter and let me get Guillen, who will play a less demanding position in first base this season but who obviously has shortstop eligibility. Nonetheless, the guy with the last pick in the fourth round took Guillen and left me with one of the stars of my favorite team. I’ll take it.

    As you can see early on I like to round out my infield with elite players. You won’t see me rolling the dice on rookies in the infield because of how demanding the positions are. I want stars there. Lots of them. After that I began piecing together my rotation with Aaron Harang(an undervalued ace), Brett Myers(a lock for 15 wins), Francisco Liriano(a comeback candidate with so much potential you need an extra potential container to carry all the extra potential), Chad Billingsley (breakout candidate), Randy Johnson(solid production when healthy), Matt Garza(talked about below) and Manny Parra(breakout candidate).

    The draft is usually won with middle to late picks. I took Jeff Francoeur in the seventh round because of this little nugget of wisdom. He had 19 home runs last year but had 14?yes 14 doubles that bounced off the wall. He’s a year older and if he turns doubles into home runs this year he’s a solid 30/100 candidate. During the offseason the Twins and Rays dealt two players with attitude problems for each other. Delmon Young for Matt Garza. They’re both young, 22 and 24 respectively, and both will probably channel those attitude issues towards proving their former teams wrong. I opted to draft both and reap those rewards.

    The way I analyze other manager’s drafts is by looking at points where they left value on the board or grabbed great value later than it should have been available. The following are not bad picks necessarily, just a situation where the round merited a better player or the player merited being taken later. Bombastic Boars took Corey Hart with the first pick of the fourth round which struck me as early. Hart is 26 and entering his prime so his numbers of 24/81/23 should trend upwards. But by how much? I’ll take Markakis who’s younger and was better last year but I recognize that it’s not a huge difference since they were both fourth rounders.

    In rounds six and seven, a reader with team name T8ker Klosov took Carlos Pena and Nick Swisher with his bookend picks. I thought he got really solid value there. Pena did 46 and 121 at age 29 last year, obviously a career year but people are acting like he will fall off the face of the earth this season. He had over 100 walks so his patience is there and even if he loses stats I think he’s still good for 35 and 105. Swisher moves to US Cellular field in Chicago, a great hitter’s park where he is primed to hit 30-35 home runs.

    Back to back picks in round 10 make a good point about value as well. Reader, team name Slidrr, took Mariano Rivera with the fifth pick and Brian from the Statesman took Manny Corpas. Brian’s pick serves to show the strength of Slidrr’s pick. Corpas is a solid option this year but he has one year under his belt whereas Rivera should tack on another 30 saves to his sterling career numbers.

    There are more things to talk about from this draft. Maybe I can get to them in the next issue but this is running long. Which coincidentally also will describe my dominance in this league this year. Boo-ya. Let the games begin.

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *