First Real Team of 2011
When we last left off, it was hours before drafting at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) 2011 baseball draft, part of the festivities that accompany the organizations's winter conference.
And, though I shudder at the thought of being designated an expert - for though I do play well, my real skill is in the writing about how I play - I do love drafting in these. I really only play in a handful of leagues, for too many guarantees mediocre results, but usually I draft with the same collection of industry friends. And, that is really fun: as much fun as anyone drafting in their local league.
So, last Wednesday evening, ensconced between my buds Ron Shandler (who picked second) and the tandem of Rick Wolf and Glenn Colton (who picked fourth), I drafted.
I'll gladly ... for a Han-Ram today
Now, earlier in the evening, I wrote my column for this space, and sent it off for Tuesday publishing. In that tome, I conjectured who might fall to me, in which round, and what kind of team I thought I would collect. In addition, I listed back-up selections.
So, this time I will reveal what I wound up with. A couple of other thoughts. First, I listed my top 23 picks last week, but we actually selected 29 rounds, so my final six picks just have what I was thinking at the time (my last week thoughts are parenthetical, after each selection). Finally, the league does allow for weekly free agent selections, but, no trades. Mastersball wizard Todd Zola (of Lord Zola fame) served as an occasional sounding board.
So, with that in mind, here goes:
- Hanley Ramirez (Troy Tulowitzki: or Hanley, if available) Love Troy, but love Hanley more.
- Matt Holliday (Ryan Zimmerman: or Youk, but want to cover the hot corner) Zimm was long gone, but Holiday hung around. Todd was hot for him, as were Ron Shandler and Charlie Wiegert, who were hoping he would slide to them to end the second round.
- Tim Lincecum (Tim Lincecum: or Sabbathia, but want a serious starter here) Right on schedule.
- Clayton Kershaw (CC Sabbathia: or Clayton Kershaw, or someone like) I actually am even happier with Kershaw, who with Timmy gives me a formidable one-two punch atop my rotation.
- Kendry Morales (Brandon Phillips: or Ian Kinsler, but a second sacker with some pop, means my tough infield spots are covered) Both Phillips and Kinsler were gone. I have a fear of Kendry, but Todd kept reminding me his accident was a freak one. I hope.
- Martin Prado (Brian Wilson: or Heath Bell, or a dominant closer) Ron followed me, and had two selections before my next pick, and I knew he would take Prado with one pick.
- Brian Wilson (Nick Swisher: nice pop. Markakis would suffice as well) A round later than I thought, and I hoped to start a run of closers. I did get Wilson: I did not start a run.
- Kurt Suzuki (Gordon Beckham: takes care of the corner. If gone, Mark Ellis or Erick Aybar, later, and I can take either a closer or third big pitcher) The big backstops were gone, and I feared being too weak at the spot.
- Drew Stubbs (Denard Span: power speed combo will hopefully drop) A Zola favorite, I worried a bit about whiffs, but walks are not terrible, and well, a fun gamble.
- Nick Swisher (Jonathan Sanchez: third/fourth potentially dominant starter) Surprised Swish was still there, for I had my eye on him three rounds earlier.
- Ted Lilly (Matt Garza: pitcher #4 or #5, with whiffs, and if I get Garza, watch his numbers improve in the NL) Though Lilly has had a killer WHIP the last two years, I have my fears about repeating and durability. Not Todd, who was sure of the pick. So I went with it.
- Matt Garza (Matt Wieters: if he is still there, otherwise will look to Ike Davis/Gaby Sanchez) Got him a round later. Todd was skeptical here, but I think a strikeout pitcher now in the NL will do well.
- Jason Kubel (Jason Kubel: more pop) Right on schedule.
- Ryan Franklin (John Lackey: #5 starter) Suddenly the big closers were gone, so it was time to grab a #2.
- Coco Crisp (Andrew Bailey: #2 closer, and if not Bailey, someone) Bailey was long gone, and Crisp, if he can stay healthy, in the nice Oakland OBP squad, he could be a monster. Just look at his steals-to-at-bats last year.
- John Lackey (Coco Crisp: again, power/speed outfielder I think will slide) Still there. Todd had reservations, but I think he is now settled in Boston, and will be back to form, on a better team.
- John Jaso (A.J. Pierzynski: #2 catcher, anyway, as don't want to wait too long) I love A.J., but Jaso presented better number possibilities (if each repeats last year, anyway).
- Ervin Santana (Dallas Braden: #6 starter) Should have been taken earlier.
- Jose Lopez (Kevin Kouzmanoff: corner with 15 homers) Lopez will give flexibility when he goes back to second base, and he will do better than last year.
- Kevin Kouzmanoff (Cody Ross: late power. Pat Burrell or Magglio Ordonez will suffice) One round later, extra corner pop.
- Tim Stauffer (Michael Cuddyer: late first base grab) Surprised again Stauffer was still out there. And, cannot have enough arms. Ever.
- Dallas Braden (Manny Ramirez: or Johnny Damon or Vlady or Jack Cust, all viable DH's) Good ratio, and great back-up arm, for again, cannot have too many.
- Hank Conger (Michael Wuertz: or Jason Motte, or third closer if out there) Catcher insurance. I always like to have one on my reserve squad for if I have to fish in the free agent pool, it would be Paul Bako.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka Todd liked him, but I am not so sure about import infielders from the Far East. He is fast, though, and should steal some bags.
- James McDonald: A Pedro-type body and arm, McDonald has some upside, for sure. Not to mention one more arm hidden away.
- Jason Motte: Insurance against Franklin.
- Alex Gordon: A gamble, but not a huge one this late. And, he should qualify at the corners and in the outfield.
- Mark Ellis: More infield insurance.
- Jack Cust: Extra power on the bench, and as long as he gets 400-plus at-bats, Cust will bang 20 homers. Average won't hurt, either.
About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com
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.
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