I'd like to first apologize to all of you who aren't at all interested in sports and read only my stories while skipping the articles devoted to baseball. Just to forewarn you, as The Season is almost upon us my site will probably be saturated with more sports related writings, there will still be stories and stuff but those of you who know me are aware that baseball consumes a majority of my time from April-October.
The following post is (optimistically) probably interesting to about 3 people other than myself, but I wanted to put it up anyway. It is an account of my fantasy baseball draft from Wednesday night.
I'm not going to pretend that fantasy sports are not incredibly nerdy, because let's face it, they are. I don't care. I love doing it. It gives me an interesting perspective on the game and it's numbers while at the same time having characteristics completely unique unto itself. There are strategies and tricks like everything else and while an overwhelming knowledge of baseball is extremely helpful it won't stand up alone.
Our league, now in its second year, consists of ten teams:
Six, returning from last year:Fired for 'Roids
- Sean (Co-Commissioner and my arch rival in this)Bunch of Idiots
- Kevin (The Tampa Ray Devil Rays of Fantasy Baseball)More Chin Music 4U
- Chad (Last years surprise winner who snuck past me in the Championships after an entire season of shellackings at my hands) Skirt in the Dirt
- Victoria (The chick)Evil Empire
- Kenny (A die hard Yankees fan who can be tricked into
ridiculous trades as long as he is getting someone who is currently or once had an at bat in pinstripes)Killah Cam
- Me (the other Co-Commissioner. That's right, bitches,
And four new invitees:Alpha-Betas
- Cappy (Will talk more shit than anyone regardless of success)Sosa's Bitch
- Bucces (Has no idea what he's doing, just along for the ride)ChiSox
- Joe (I'm not sure if he knows either)Orihoes
- Dan (Kinda got roped into it because we needed a tenth and he happened to be there at the time)
We use Yahoo's fantasy league because it's free and easy and has customizable scoring. We use 17 different statistics (batting average, runs, hits, homeruns, RBI's, stolen bases, strikeouts, fielding percentage, and OPS for position players and innings pitched, wins, losses, saves, strike outs, holds and WHIP for the pitchers) A team consists of 23 players total: 8 starting position players 5 bench players 10 pitchers that can be any combination of starters, relievers and closers. Every day you start 8 position players, 2 starting pitchers 2 bullpen guys and 1 other pitcher that can be a starter or reliever.
Every week the teams compete head to head in each category every day. For every statistic in which a team scores higher than his opponent, he gets a win and vice versa. Standings are kept just like MLB and during the last few weeks of the season, there is a play-off/World Series-esque match up to determine who is the winner.
Other than pride and an off-season of bragging rights each manager puts in $50. Second place gets his money back and the winner gets $400 (plus his 50)
This year, in keeping with tradition, we are having a live draft at a bar. There are a few things that ALWAYS happen during this time, a ridiculous amount of shit talking and mind games designed to ruin peoples confidence and force them to make stupid picks, half the people insisting that it's moving too fast while the others complain that it's too slow both resulting in half-retarded picks fueled either by waning interest and the desire to speed things along or feeling like you are pressed
for time and throwing out names like Vinny Castillia or Paul Bako. By far my favorite aspect for the live draft is the inevitable late round, drunken, heart pick. This year my money is on Kenny falling for Tino Martinez way too early.
As I mentioned this is definitely dorky but there is $400 and the right to talk shit on the table so I have been preparing for weeks. Reading every early scouting report, spring training box scores and of course heading the infinite wisdom of Peter Gammons, a man who has consumed so much baseball knowledge in his life, he could take a shit that could bat .300 with 40 HR and 115 RBI's. I'm ready.
A few things one must remember when compiling a fantasy team: Offensive players are much more valuable than starting pitchers as they play every day as opposed to once a week. Catchers NEVER play 162 games so taking one early is a waste, sure everyone wants I-Rod but he's not worth passing up a regular position player because outside of injury he's playing probably 70-75% as many games. Players that are listed at multiple positions are awesomely valuable because on bye-weeks or in the event of
an injury it's nice to have several options. Another important thing is there are always a few stats that get overlooked, in our league it is stolen bases for position players and holds for pitchers. Get a soild guy here and you can steal more than a few games.
Most importantly though, you have to be prepared. Everyone wants the same 15 players. Everyone wants Vlad, Pujols, Teajada, and Beltran most people want Bonds and A-Rod (I personally REFUSE to put them on my team). You need to know the best options behind the superstars. For example I will not draft anyone not on the list below (except a few late round pitchers and OF). Every position is ordered by who I want down to who I will settle for, this minimizes the chances that the drinking and shit talking will cause me to make bad picks:Starters:
Oliver Perez - Pit
Trevor Hoffman Catchers:
Paul Lo Duca1B:
Tony Womack 3B:
Troy Glaus SS:
Khalil Greene OF:
Yes, I made an excel file and printed it out and will bring it with me. I also have three different lists of the top 100 projected players in every position for next year, just incase. And of course my notebook to record the draft. I don't necessarily need all of this but it couldn't hurt and it's another subtle mind game.
Originally I planned to keep a running journal of the draft but, unfortunately, as Co-Commissioner, I had certain responsibilities like crossing names of the master list as well as my wish list, drinking about a dozen beers, drafting for Joe who was unable to attend at the last minute, eating a burger, and making condescending comments about other peoples picks.
The draft was set to begin at 6:00 PM, we decided the over/under for actual start time at 7:30. Amazingly, we were under way at 6:03. Once everyone was assembled we annexed the back room and began.
Everyone's name was put in a hat and the draft order was set. Sean, much to his chagrin got the first pick, he announced that he would trade with either Kenny or Kevin but they got picks 2 and 3 respectively and he saw no advantage to that. I ended up 4th which isn't terrible and the rest of the group fell as Joe, Dan, Cappy, Bucces, Chad and Victoria.
In the first round, Pujols went first to Sean. Kenny, predictably drafted A-Rod and Kevin, not surprisingly, took Manny. I got Vlad and was happy to do so since he was my second choice over all and this way I didn't have to actually root for a Cardinal. I gave Joe Bonds because I am somewhat altruistic and no one really wanted that scumbag on their team anyway. Dan chose Carlos Beltran because he, like the Mets, believes that Beltran is the juggernaut everyone saw in the post-season, not the .284/27/104 guy his career numbers dictate. Cappy, in a surprise move, picked up Johan Santana I openly mock him for taking a pitcher, but secretly commend his choice as Santana is arguably one of the best in the game in one of the worst divisions in baseball. Bucces went with Bobby Abreu, a solid, albeit strange, 1st pick. Chad took Alfonso Soriano which was the best possible choice at that point and Vic grabbed Tejada and Gagne on the comeback both good picks.
Rather than bore the last two people still reading this with 22 more paragraphs of round by round coverage I'll just hit a few highlights and provide you with the like to the site if you want to check it out.
As the draft went on I realized that Cappy and I had similar game plans and in consecutive rounds he stole two of my sleeper picks (Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford) then started drafting middle relievers to lock up the hold category. That evil bastard. Luckily his first two picks were pitchers and that is more than likely going to fuck him in the end. Plus I got a few of the picks he wanted, too. This should be interesting.
Kenny, either because he was shit-faced or because he wanted to surprise us not only drafted as many Cubs as Yankees but he also took Tim Wakefield from the Red Sox. (Also I was wrong about the drunken heart pick with Kenny it turned out to be Giambi not Martinez)
Kevin was so hammered by the 5th round that it took him roughly 4 years to make every pick. Someone would nudge him or offer advice and he would drift into a 5 minute diatribe about how everyone need to stop trying to fuck with him. So that was fun. Then every time someone else drafted a player from the Red Sox, he would yell at them despite the fact that he drafted someone else instead mere moments ago.
Chad was not drinking because he had a mid-term on Thursday and with each passing round of picks and beers he was becoming increasingly more furious with the drunken monkeys by whom he was surrounded. Luckily, since EVERYONE is afraid of Chad one loud profanity from him and the draft would move smoothly for at least 2 rounds.
Dan took Vinny Castilla. Granted it was in the 22nd round but he still looked at the 500 or so remaining players and said to himself "You know what? Vinny's gonna be my guy." That was my favorite moment of the draft.
3 hours and 23 rounds and a $300 bar tab later we were finally finished. All in all I like my team especially since I was able to stuff it with trade bait to bolster the pitcher/outfield positions which as of right now are sorely lacking.
Anyway here's the link to the league if by some chance anyone is still reading this and at all interested.