Warning: You May Not Care

Yesterday marked the 7th annual draft of my most important and competitive fantasy baseball year. My life and happiness is based around waiting for this draft to happen and then the ensuing season. Every year I do a recap of the draft and each team. Most likely you out there in the internet do not care. That’s fine. But if you are interested in seeing how a 29 round incredibly deep draft is adjudged by me in 4000 words, read on. Enjoy.

In order of draft position:

Team Beach Day ’08? started out the draft drafting power power power; A-Rod, Maggs and El Caballo, Travis Hafner, Derrek Lee and Chris B. Young should provide more than a steady base of power and RBIs. The rest of the lineup rounds out pretty decently, Polanco provides batting average protection and the rest of the hitters are relatively complementary although average might be a concern with free-swingers like Theriot and Chris B. Young. Cuddyer was taken too early but should provide decent numbers and not hurt the overall draft. However, there is a real dearth of SBs, hopefully Carlos Gomez will come along and provide 20-25 steals to allow Beach Day ’08? to remain at least in the middle half of the category. However, if Coco Crisp gets traded to start somewhere else that pick might lessen the need for steals as the season progresses. The bench features some nice flexibility and decent options for subbing to help throughout the season.

The rotation however, is not as appealing as the hitting. John Smoltz and Fausto Carmona are both slight risks but should be as good as they were last year and provide strong numbers. The dropoff from there though is a little concerning, obviously the mistake pick of taking Kelvim Escobar is unfortunate (although he may bounce back and have quite the season), but while Ted Lilly, Derek Lowe, Jeremy Guthrie and Cliff Lee should all have decent enough stats, none of them will generate enough quality to help propel this staff to the top. The lack of any real strikeout pitcher after Smoltz is especially concerning. Granted it is possible that Carmona might take another step forward (particularly in strikeoutes but in my opinion he is more likely for a slight step backwards due to an increased workload from his excellent season last year.) The closer situation looks pretty solid with no superstar but serviceable options Huston Street and CJ Wilson, BJ Ryan may turn out to be a steal or a complete bust but the gamble was worth taking and he may return to his top closer status. Adding Joaquin Benoit for solid middle relief and handcuffing him to CJ Wilson should enable Beach Day ’08 to retain his hold on the Texas closer situation come what may. Someone please trade either AJ Burnett and DJ Houlton so that Beach Day ’08 can have an AJ, BJ, CJ, and DJ.

Best Pick: Alex Rodriguez (1)

Biggest Reach: Michael Cuddyer (9)

Worst Pick: Luis Castillo (27)

Biggest Gamble: BJ Ryan (16)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 7

Final Place 2007: 8th

Predicted Finish: 2th

Marmol If Shallowed bucked tradition this year only taking 3 pitchers in his first 5 picks as opposed to 4 or 5, much to the shock of the rest of the draft. It looks like only one of the hitters is likely to approach high 30s or 40s for HRs and that is Carlos Pena who could regress drastically or be just as solid as last year. No one else is likely to really top 30 HRs besides maybe Adrian Gonzalez who finished last year at an even 30. The outfield is full of questionable picks, with Vernon Wells, Jason Bay and Andruw Jones all big question marks in terms of their production. David Dejesus should be a solid 4th outfielder but Josh Fields is ticketed for AAA and depth appears to be an issue there. After Hanley Ramirez and Rickie Weeks there are not a lot of SB threats and that might become a worry, but trade opportunities should present themselves. The bench contains another player who has already been reassigned to AAA and Daric Barton whom probably will be a slightly better Scott Hatteberg, at best, Mark DeRosa provides lots of position flexibility at least.

As usual, Marmol If Swallowed has assembled one of the top pitching staffs in the league, but whether his offense can balance him enough remains to be seen. Peavy, Beckett, Haren is easily the best top 3 pitchers in the league. However, from there there is a drop off to the injured John Lackey, who isn’t expected back until May at the earliest and Tom Gorzelanny. Having 4 closers should be extremely beneficial for trading purposes although questions surround Brian Wilson’s ability to close out games (or whether he’ll get many opportunities.) Rafael Soriano’s elbow injury in spring training is worrisome but most likely he’ll be fine.

Marmol if Swallowed also had the single best line of the draft when in the 17th round he asked “What round is too early to take Billy Crystal?”

Best Pick: Jake Peavy (2)

Biggest Reach: None, no one was unreasonable

Worst Pick: Chris Carpenter (21)

Biggest Gamble: Rickie Weeks (11)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 6

Final Place 2007: 10th

Predicted Finish: 8th

Dibbes’ team, Chicago Chuds started out with speed, speed and speed. Between Jose Reyes, BJ Upton and Ichiro that category should never be a concern. Power bats in Adam Dunn and Justin Morneau should help balance out the team. Normally Dunn slips several rounds due to his terrible average, but with Ichiro there to balance him out, I like that pick in the 4th. Miguel Tejada and Hideki Matsui are both somewhat risky picks but should pan out. As much as I like Evan Longoria, the fact remains that he most likely will not start the season with the Rays and that leaves a now injured Scott Rolen or a dilapidated Melvin Mora as the only 3B options…not good. I don’t like Rowand to put up anything close to a comparable year and it looks like the outfield depth may be a big concern. That said, Jacoby Ellsbury should be a really good pick and only further the lead Chicago Chuds should have in steals. Many of the power threats are also injury risks or regression risks and that is a worry, but the flexibility from having so many steals should help alleviate that concern. The bench depth is a concern with Iguchi and Pierzynski as the only players there.

Long-time favorite of the Chicago Chuds Aaron Harang was the team’s first pitcher taken and his dominant strikeout numbers and solid peripherals should benefit the team nicely. The rest of the rotation however is a mess. Oliver Perez is nothing but risk and you never know what numbers he’s gonna give you. Bronson Arroyo as the third starter is ok, but Tom Glavine as the 4th starter is terrible, follow him up with Barry Zito and its become awful. Three strong closers is awesome and very valuable, but having picked 5 middle relievers doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season. Particularly when 2 of the relievers aren’t even going to play this year. Wasted picks.

Best Pick: BJ Upton (2)

Biggest Reach: Jacoby Ellsbury (11)

Worst Pick: Barry Zito (21)

Biggest Gamble: Jacoby Ellsbury (11), Oliver Perez (14)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 3

Final Place 2007: 11th

Predicted Finish: 12th

After two straight miserable bottom finishes, The Kazmir Sweaters are poised to break out of their slump and actually compete in the league this year. A break from last year’s draft strategy of assembling all possible A’s players should alone add 10 points in the standings. The early rounds were all really strong for The Kazmir Sweaters, obviously a lot rides on the flimsy elbow of Albert Pujols, but if he is healthy this team should contend. David Wright, Pujols, Russell Martin and Bobby Abreu provide a more than solid foundation for offensive production, and the benefit of having 50 SBs from the catcher and 3B slot cannot be understated. The corner and middle infielder slots are a bit weak and the overall depth of the team is a little worrisome, but the strong top slots should help balance somewhat. I like the quality of the 1-5 outfielders though and grabbing Jim Thome in the 9th was definitely great value and helps alleviate some of the imbalance in the weak CI slot. The bench is solid with some high-upside picks (Cameron Maybin) and a nice solid backup outfielder in Milton Bradley, but Felipe Lopez was a waste of a pick.

Aces Brandon Webb and Roy Oswalt are strong up top and Matt Cain and Jeremy Bonderman should provide some good quality and some frustrating starts as well. After that though the depth of the rotation is tested. Matt Garza, Orlando Hernandez and Ubaldo Jiminez are all risks and some careful stalking of the waiver wire is going to be necessary. Having Valverde and K-Rod as closers though at least means that that position should be pretty strong and they alone should allow The Kazmir Sweaters to remain middle of the pack in saves at least. Brandon Lyon may emerge as a strong closer as well to push the saves even higher.

Best Pick: Jim Thome (9)

Biggest Reach: Shane Victorino (8)

Worst Pick: Felipe Lopez (14)

Biggest Gamble: Ken Griffey (11)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 4

Final Place 2007: 12th

Predicted Finish: 5th

Big Top Peavy is a former champion of the league, but it doesn’t look like he will reclaim that mantle this season. Missing out on a power first baseman or corner infielder hurts a lot as those are deep positions for power and it seems Big Top Peavy missed out on all of them. The outfield strength is really nice although concerns exist about Beltran and Pierre is without a starting position. Jose Guillen however was a great late round pickup and the depth on the bench of OFs should help. The infield however is very underwhelming. Billy Butler at 1st? Jeter? There is not enough power or steals within that infield and it will most likely be the undoing of this team. As well, after Pierre (again, without a starting job) there are almost zero steals coming from this team and there are not a lot of strong categories from which a deal could be made. The hypy pick of Josh Hamilton could pay dividends or be giant waste, but I appreciate the gamble.

A starting rotation anchored by Daisuke Matsuzaka and Felix Hernandez is one that is counting on lots of up and down games but also on the sheer talent of those pitchers to come through. Whether that is realistic, no one knows. Chien-Mien Wang and Mark Buerhle provide some nice depth and then Kuroda and Dontrelle are both giant question marks. Saito is a strong closer but then risky picks in Percival and Eric Gagne are concerning. The overall depth of the rotation is poor and it looks like some waiver wire scouring is in the future.

Best Pick: Joe Mauer (8)

Biggest Reach: Daisuke Matsuzaka (5)

Worst Pick: Juan Pierre (14),

Biggest Gamble: Daisuke Matsuzaka (5), Felix Hernandez (6)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 2

Final Place 2007: 6th

Predicted Finish: 11th

Family CirCust is the home team of the SlanchReport and is fraught with concern. A strong base of Utley and Ortiz would have been balanced strongly by Lance Berkman but instead Family CirCust opted for an injured Curtis Granderson, taking a risk like that in the 3rd round is simply inadvisable and most likely going to be the biggest regret of the draft. Missing out on Berkman meant that the outfield is missing that one big bopper and the overall strength of the team will suffer. That said, the infield is extremely powerful and should be one of the best performing in the league. If Ortiz regains his 40+ homer pace plus a full season of Utley should go a long ways. Throw in Garrett Atkins, Carlos Guillen and hopefully JJ Hardy and the makings are all there. The outfield needs one more big hitter but there are some options for trading possibilities due to some depth in steals. JD Drew is going to surprise and have a 20HR 90 RBI season. There is a lot of risk in the outfield but hopefully talent will come out in the end and Adam Jones, Nate McLouth and Justin Upton provide the stats that Family CirCust is counting on. The bench depth is not great but not terrible and allows for some flexibility.

With no single ace, this pitching staff is built on a glut of solid to strong young pitchers, hopefully some of whom will continue on their leaps forward. Javier Vazquez provides lots of strikeouts and decent peripherals, although wins are a concern. Liriano obviously is a gigantic gamble and the choice of John Maine over Brad Penny may come back to haunt. Dustin McGowan and Chad Billingsley should both make strong steps forward and if they both develop as expected could catapault this team into the top half, if they don’t it is doomed. Joe Nathan was drafted again, for the third straight year and he shouldn’t disappoint, but only one other closer, albeit a decent option in Joakim Soria is another concern. Look for some grabbing of closers as injuries happen. The depth of the rotation looks pretty strong, with even the bench pitchers good chances for some good stretches. The pick of Mark Prior to close out the draft is a sad tale for the man that Family CirCust stupidly took in the first round of the 2004 draft, but who knows yet it was a worthwhile flier.

Best Pick: David Ortiz (2)

Biggest Reach: Francisco Liriano (10)

Worst Pick: Curtis Granderson (3)

Biggest Gamble: Curtis Granderson (3), Francisco Liriano (10)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 3

Final Place 2007: 4th

Predicted Finish: 6th

Three-time consecutive champion HazMatsuiti made a number of questionable picks and it looks likely his team will not defend its title this year. Alex Rios in the 3rd was completely ill-advised and the passing on Lance Berkman will also be regretted. Looking at the hitting there is no position of strength. Brandon Phillips and Miguel Cabrera are the offense. After that, some 20 HR guys in Rios, Markakis, and Willingham are solid but no one stands out as exemplary. Eric Brynes is likely to take a step backwards and is NOT likely to repeat his 50 SB season. Todd Helton and Ryan Garko are not strong CI options and the missing power there will be regretted. Fortunately there are lots of steals on this team, although Kaz Matsui should be terrible this year based off his home/road splits from last year. The bench has nice risk with Richie Sexson and Bill Hall, and Travis Buck and Luke Scott are solid bench players as well.

For the pitching staff, the starters are anchored by Carlos Zambrano and Roy Halladay–whose dropping K rates are especially disconcerting. James Shields is poised for a strong season and was one of the better picks for HazMatSuiti. Throw in Brad Penny, strong peripherals Gil Meche and the makings of a decent staff are there. A whole bunch of risk/reward picks in Clay Buchholz (albeit taken too early), Andrew Miller and Edison Volquez are intriguing and could either pan out or completely doom the team. 2 closers in Hoffman and Chad Cordero provide decent depth but nothing extraordinary. Overall, a disappointing draft from someone who talks as much trash as HazMatSuiti does.

Best Pick: James Shields (9)

Biggest Reach: Alex Rios (3)

Worst Pick: Ryan Garko (13), Clay Buchholz (14)

Biggest Gamble: Clay Buchholz (14)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 6

Final Place 2007: 1st

Predicted Finish: 3rd

B.A. Barajas drafted a number of favorites early on in and assembled a team with some nice depth, some risks and a whole lot of potential. Howie Kendrick in the 6th is a risk, but should be fine, if a little early, Delmon Young is going to make or break this team. If he progresses and starts hitting like everyone expects him to and the power is real, then he will help take this team to new heights, if not, a bottom half finish is not ridiculous. The outfield depth in general is decent but not extraordinary and combined with a decently strong hitting infield should be OK. Counting on Corey Patterson is a giant concern for steals and other than him and Jimmy Rollins there aren’t a lot of steals to come on this team. The bench depth is pretty good and the pick of Chase Headley should particularly provide a boost.

Starting a pitching rotation with a young ace who had arm troubles is concerning, throw in Rich Hill another injury concern and someone who has been getting shelled in spring training and you’re off to a bad start. Jeff Francis and Tim Hudson though help balance out the rotation somewhat and the upside of Adam Wainwright should be good enough to aid the team. John Danks is a question mark, but he’s at the end of the rotation so a worthwhile one. Only one closer is another concern, although it looks like Jeremy Accardo will begin the season as the Jays’ closer so that should help. Overall, unfortunately, it looks like hype picks in Delmon Young, Kendrick and Alex Gordon will be regretted when more established, more consistent players were still on the board.

Best Pick: Matt Kemp (9)

Biggest Reach: Howie Kendrick (6), Delmon Young (8)

Worst Pick: Rich Hill (10)

Biggest Gamble: Delmon Young (8)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 5

Final Place 2007: 9th

Predicted Finish: 10th

Two-time former champion and one-time Yahoo hacker Tuck EverLastings scored big by being able to grab Ryan Braun in the second round. While the infield is pretty good, especially with poised-for-a-big-year Tulowitzki, the outfield leaves a lot to be desired, particularly one great player. Pence might continue forward, or he might stumble, Hermida is a risk (although I do like that pick), Burrell is Burrell and Lastings, well, sometimes fandom gets in the way. Beyond Brian Roberts there are almost no stolen base threats and that is a big concern. As well, counting on Troy Glaus and Ty Wiggington for starting power numbers is a big mistake. The bench depth is ok and should help out somewhat.

While the hitting is disappointing, it is difficult to argue when someone scores the single best starting pitcher and the single best closer in the same draft. Anchoring a staff with Johan just allows so much flexibility for risky picks. If you only consider AJ Burnett and Ben Sheets as one complete pitcher, which based on their DL pasts is a pretty reasonable thought, they are pretty solid. Add in Brett Myers and the makings of a pretty good rotation are there. After Putz, the closer situation is murky with Kerry Wood not guaranteed the job but the handcuff of Tom Gordon might pay dividends. Randy Johnson was another decent risk/reward pick late in the draft.

Best Pick: Ryan Braun (2)

Biggest Reach: Lastings Milledge (15)

Worst Pick: Joba Chamberlain (16)

Biggest Gamble: Brett Myers (9)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 8

Final Place 2007: 7th

Predicted Finish: 4th

League commissioner Genital Wuertz regularly finishes the draft with what seems to be a strong team and then it all collapses during the season. However, this year that might not be the case. Drafting Ian Kinsler and Michael Young were mistakes but not drastic ones as both will provide value, even though there were better options available. A foundation of Vlad and Prince Fielder and Aramis Ramirez though is a nice one to build off. The decision to draft Michael Bourn in the 9th has been much derided by the SlanchReport and is going to be a colossal mistake when all is said and done, but is consistent with previous drafts from Genital Wuertz this season. Jeff Francouer was a great pick and the overall outfield depth is pretty solid. The bench has three decent players for spot duty and should help the team a fair amount. Beyond Bourn though, there aren’t a lot of speed options and unless Bourn comes out and steals 50 this team is in trouble.

Co-aces Justin Verlander and Chris Young provide strength up top and the rest of the rotation has some risks but might just pan out. Pedro Martinez is an interesting pick as no one knows exactly how many innings he’ll go, but he should be solid when he is out there. With Joe Blanton you know what you’re gonna get and it’s pretty useful. Rich Harden is of course a risk pick but who knows, maybe this is the year for him. It isn’t, but maybe…Only two solid closers in Brad Lidge and Francisco Cordero is nice and it is still possible Marmol gets the call which would help. This team looks strong but there are a lot of concerns that will need to be answered as the season progresses.

Best Pick: Jeff Francouer (8)

Biggest Reach: Michael Bourn (9)

Worst Pick: Michael Bourn (9)

Biggest Gamble: Rich Harden (13), Pedro Martinez (11)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 5

Final Place 2007: 2th

Predicted Finish: 1st

Yabuta Believe It! drafted generally solidly, but there were several early risks that might backfire. Ryan Howard and Alfonso Soriano are nice options up top, Chone Figgins was taken a little early, but his steals ability does somewhat justify the pick. I dislike Torii Hunter and think he’s likely to drop off from last year but where he was taken was about right. Carlos Delgado is done, but in the utility slot isn’t awful and the team did need a Met so…It’d be nice to see some more power coming out of the infield, (or the outfield) but this team is pretty well rounded so it could be OK. Beyond Figgins there aren’t a lot of speed burners but enough 10-15 SB guys to possibly vie for middle of the pack. We have no idea what Fukudome might do so that pick has to be regarded with questions. The bench has lots of OF depth and not much else. I did like the late pick of Jason Giambi though as the value there was pretty good.

CC Sabathia is a horse. After that though the rotation concerns me. Kazmir is beginning the season on the DL, Snell plays for the Pirates and as much as I like Shaun Marcum and Micah Owings, it would be nice to see a stronger pitcher up in the mix. However, having Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Corpas means that the closer situation is pretty solid and Jonathan Broxton is always a good middle relief option. The rotation depth is concerning and the hitting depth is concerning. Overall, a lot of questions wait to be answered.

Best Pick: CC Sabathia (3)

Biggest Reach: Kosuke Fukudome (11)

Worst Pick: Carlos Delgado (16)

Biggest Gamble: Kosuke Fukudome (11)

Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 5

Final Place 2007: 5th

Predicted Finish: 9th

Last year the SlanchReport predicted a 12th place finish for Guided by Moises and he responded by nearly winning the league save for a late season pitching collapse. It was truly epic. This year, I’d like to see some more power on the team, the early selections of Carl Crawford and Grady Sizemore were good picks, but meant missing out on one of the big power bats early. A Vlad/Sizemore tandem might have been a little better, but that said, its hard to argue with Crawford’s many steals. Manny Ramirez is poised for a giant season and Corey Hart is a nice breakout candidate. Overall the outfield is clearly the strength of this team. That’s even more evident when looking at the infield and seeing only one player likely to reach or top 30 homers (Konerko), otherwise there is a need for some power. Who knows though, maybe James Loney hits 25 HRs, although 17-20 is more likely. Add in Hart’s steals and that category should be reasonably safe for Guided By Moises. The bench doesn’t look to add much in the way of help as Davis is a waste of a pick and Feliz while he will hit in Philly will also hit .240 so…

Erik Bedard and Tim Lincecum headline this starting staff and so strikeout shouldn’t be much of a concern. Tabbing Phil Hughes for the #3 starter though is really worrisome. Follow him up with Jon Lester, Boof Bonser, Ervin Santana (although I did like the late round value in him) and an injured Yovani Gallardo and it looks like this pitching staff is a giant problem for this team. Even Lincecum as good a strikeout pitcher as he is is not going to provide a lot of solid peripherals and so there is a lot of risk in this rotation. Having 3 closers is a nice luxury, and Wagner, Sherrill and Borowski should provide good value in the saves category. Eddie Guardado, why? Hopefully this team will compete and move forward like last year, but based on this draft I don’t feel comfortable saying it will.

Best Pick: Manny Ramirez (4)

Biggest Reach: Phil Hughes (13)

Worst Pick: Jeff Kent (18)

Biggest Gamble: Tim Lincecum (8), Yovani Gallardo (11)
Number of players hitting 270 or below (minimum 200 AB): 6

Final Place 2007: 3th

Predicted Finish: 7th

3 Responses to “Warning: You May Not Care”

  1. March 24, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  2. 2 shatraw
    March 24, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    wow, slanch, where do i even begin?

    at least you realize your team sucks. because you conceded that, i won’t point out your myopic musings on my fantasy team.

    i will agree with you on a few things:

    1-. cockcroft is the best out of the gate. if harden is healthy all year (or even for 180IP), cock will be hard to stop.

    2. shanks has assembled a team to be reckoned with. cary has not.

    i disagree with your assertion that lucas has a top 3 team on his hands. sorry, ruca. also, eick’s pitching is terrible. terrible. terrible. santana, great. after that, crap.

  3. 3 the roomate
    March 24, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    shatraw: $40 side bet?

    My team is a little troubled, but I am in a good position to trade power for K’s if need be, and I’m willing to sacrifice some wins for good ERA and WHIP (i.e. having a small, solid staff and good relievers)

    My offense is one of the top 3 in our league, I drafted a bunch of my target sleepers and break-out candidates, and my speed is well-balanced. My big regret is Kelvin Escobar, which was a yahoo-based jones, I had another player selected for the pick, I’d feel better having a lead-off type or Pedro instead of Escobar, but overall, its the best team I’ve started with in a while…

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