It seems appropriate, in a poetic kind of way, to link today's Valentines Celebration with the Rookie Draft the MidWest Strat-O-Matic League is currently processing.
Although, the truth is for most of us "older" - and older means enough experience to no longer believe in Santa Claus - fantasy players anticipate our auctions and drafts with that same Pavlovian anxious joy that the Christmas presents under the tree delivered.
Of course, drafts will further the metaphor, for hoping to nab Matt Moore in the eighth round only to have him snatched in the seventh is not unlike wishing for a guitar and being given a trumpet.
It is not the end of the world, and the trumpet is fine, just like Cory Luebke in the eighth round instead of Moore can pay off handsomely. Still, it is not exactly the same, learning brass instead of wailing on a Telecaster.
Just missed out on future 2B
So, right now, as the MidWest Strat-O-Matic League rookie draft is wielding its way through the American League rookies, and I wait for the National League to start later in the week, I do keep thinking about that player prize under the tree.
Actually, my year started in the AL Draft because during the 2011 season, I swapped my 2012 #1 pick for Aubrey Huff and a third rounder this year, and I just made that selection (the 14 American League teams are drafting this at present, but we are allowed as much interleague trading as we can get away with, including trading of future draft selections).
To remind, only players who made their debut appearance in the majors during the 2011 season are available in the league where we can freeze 24 players from the previous year.
So, with 30 teams, no matter how the split, the draft is quite a chess match, and as I was awaiting my chance for pick #36 (part of those Huff spoils), I started to get hopeful for that Tele. For, after two rounds, and 28 picks, Aaron Crow, Johnny Giavotella, and Trayvon Robinson were all still out there.
Now, I covet all three of these guys, for I think Crow will end up back in the Kansas City rotation (the #1 pick was a starter only in the minors), and Giavotella is the Royals' future second baseman (and I think the future is now). Well, as in any league, you can never have too much pitching, and taking potential good arms is good, and since my current second baseman is Mark Ellis, I do need to start thinking about a new keystone player in a year or so. Ideally, just when Giavotella gets good.
But my pal Dean Peterson snatched Crow with pick #30, and two players later Tom O'Donnell grabbed my "new" second baseman for his South Side Irish squad.
I got Robinson, which is fair enough, for since I traded away my first and third round picks in the National League draft, along with Jose Tabata, Shane Victorino, Laynce Nix, Andruw Jones, and Bill Hall, I probably have a fly chaser to trade.
So, I am now shopping around one to get a couple of picks back between the second and fourth rounds, for though I have a good team, there is no way the Berkeley Liberators will win in 2012. Too many injuries (Tabata, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman, Ike Davis) and down years (Hanley Ramirez again, Ubaldo Jimenez, Carlos Marmol, Jeff Niemann) mean I have to play the waiting game.
So, I have my list of wants in the National League now, as I am trying to chart out returns to form with astute picks so that 2013 provides a chance at a title. There are second basemen out there, and an arm I think I can land, and maybe even a shortstop, for though I have Ramirez, next year third base will be a log jam with both Hanley and Zimmerman, but short will be dry.
So, I plotted out just who I might realistically acquire after a trade, and it all seems to work out, at least on paper and in my mind.
Now the question is will those players be in the queue when my turn comes up, or will it be Valentine's Day with a broken heart, and Christmas with a trumpet?
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Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.
Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.