Archive for the ‘Fantasy Baseball’ Category

The Problem Is Choice

As we fast approach the 8th annual fantasy baseball draft, I’ve come across some difficult decisions in my prep work. A lot of players are frighteningly similar in average draft position, skill sets, and production. It’s on you to make the choice of who you want to be on your team. Sounds easy, right?

In a perfect world, all the players you’re considering drafting would have career seasons. The hitters would all hit .300 with 30 HRs and 115 RBI, and the pitchers would all win 15+ games. But of course that’s not the case. As we all have found out the hard way, one of the players you’re considering will have an MVP-type season. The other will spend 10 weeks on the DL. You have to navigate the minefield and make choices that won’t sink your season before the first pitch is thrown.

Three years ago, Dave wrote a post called Weapon Of Choice where he went into detail on this very problem. It’s time for a follow-up. Here are some of the choices that I’ve found myself facing.

Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw?

Who’s number one? That’s the decision facing Dennis and his October Boys as he secures the first overall pick for the 47th consecutive season. This choice boils down to your base philosophy in building a fantasy baseball team. Do you go with the best pitcher in the world, or the young phenom who finally secured his elusive first AL MVP last year? A year ago, this was a no-brainer. But Kershaw has put himself so far ahead of every other pitcher that you have to stop and consider the advantage he gives you over the field. Add in the fact that Trout seems to be regressing, as his OPS, OBP, batting average, and SBs have all plummeted, and you have a real decision to make. But at the end of the day, there are far fewer elite hitters than elite pitchers, and that makes Trout the pick here. But I can’t fault anyone for going the other way.

Felix Hernandez, David Price, or Chris Sale?

We all know what Clayton Kershaw brings to the table, but who’s the second pitcher off the board? All these guys are strong candidates, and all have things that set them apart. Felix Hernandez piles up the innings and strikeouts but has had trouble securing wins on a mediocre Mariners team. David Price is probably the best workhorse in MLB at this point, throwing an absurd 250 innings last year, while leading the majors in strikeouts and having an amazing walk rate. But he’s a little too hittable and seems to have trouble keeping his ERA down. Chris Sale is probably the most dominant of the three, but he can never seem to have a fully healthy season and has trouble piling up the innings needed to be an elite fantasy ace. If you’re willing to take a chance that Chris Sale could finally exceed 225+ innings, you could have the AL answer to Clayton Kershaw, but Felix Hernandez is the guy here. Safe, dependable, and more wins coming with an improved Mariners offense.

Andrew McCutchen or Giancarlo Stanton?

Again with a who’s number 2? This time it’s in the outfield. Nobody broke out in a bigger way than Stanton last year, cranking 37 jacks, 105 RBI, with a .290 batting average and a career-high 94 walks. Still just 25 years old, on an improving Marlins team, the sky is the limit, right? Maybe. He still has an issue staying healthy, only playing 150 games one time in his career. McCutchen, meanwhile, is an absolute rock, finishing in the top 5 in H2H points leagues for three straight years. Personal experience, last year I took Ryan Braun instead of McCutchen because I wanted Braun’s 40 HR, 30 SB, .315 BA upside. You know all the rest. McCutchen dominated, while Braun was a shell of his former self and was off my team by mid-May. Stanton has the upside to be the best hitter in fantasy baseball, but if you’re picking in the top 5, safety has value. McCutchen is who you want here.

Corey Kluber or Johnny Cueto?

Both these guys broke out in a big way last year and will be drafted in the mid 2nd round. But who can you trust? Can you trust either? The answer is yes… It’s Corey Kluber. This may be a bit of an upset, but Kluber is someone I’m targeting in all my mocks. He’s a 1st-round type arm with a 2nd-round price tag because people just can’t get behind “one-year wonders.” (See RA Dickey, 2012.) Kluber is no fluke. All his advanced numbers are legit. He’s a strikeout pitcher with supreme control who piles up innings. Maybe I’m biased here, but I just can’t get behind Johnny Cueto. He’s burned me before, multiple times, and I just keep waiting for that strained dreadlock or whatever stupid injury he misses six weeks with. Kluber and Cueto have nearly identical average draft position, and most people will lean Cueto. But trust me, you’re gonna regret it…

What decisions do you find yourself stuck with in your mock drafts? Let us know! Try not to pick the wrong guy on draft day (a talent I seem to have mastered), because it will leave you scrambling and making decisions that hurt your team in the long run to make up for short-term losses.

Like Neo said throughout the Matrix trilogy, “The Problem is Choice.”

The Game Has Changed

What kind of psychopathic fantasy baseball league tells its members their draft positions six weeks before the actual draft? Who would want its members to have that much time to evaluate, contemplate, and salivate over their potential players? Who in their right mind would give ten of the most committed, fanatical, dedicated, and loyal fantasy team owners that much time to prepare?

We must be talking about’s Seventh Annual Fantasy Baseball League!

It’s been an exciting offseason since the Yankeehaters removed the monkey from his back and won the championship. An offseason of the Red Sox cementing their place as America’s Team, multiple parades and festivals in my honor, and even a nicely written post by Dan “The #1 Rays Fan” were all fantastic and fully deserved! But, now it’s time to turn my focus to the 2014 season and try to go back to back.

Since Christmas, I have thrown myself into preparing for this season. I’ve read every article, player evaluation, sleeper, bust, hot rookie, and Top 400 list that ESPN, CBS, and the hundreds of fantasy experts on Twitter had to offer. My Sirius/XM radio has been to tuned to channel 87 for months, much to the chagrin of any passenger in my car. I had formulated my unflappable game plan consisting of just the right mix of fantasy studs, sleepers, and breakouts. I had my list of players that I was going to take. I was as ready as I could be. Once again, the Yankeehaters were playing chess, while everyone else was playing checkers! What could possibly go wrong?

Apparently, the other nine owners decided to do the same.

One quick sidebar I need to get off my chest. The CBS rankings consistently suck. That is a fact. But the level of suckiness of their rankings this year hit an all-time high of suck. It was damn near impossible to do a mock draft. Anywho, without further adieu, here’s draft day diary.

You are… on the clock!

On the night of our draft, I always get to the draft room early. I have the draft opened up on my laptop, iPad and phone, just to prevent any technical difficulties from occurring, leaving me autodrafting Grady Sizemore. Oops, no offense Allan. As I’m waiting in the room, who should appear? It’s SportsmanMike! And he’s awake!! After sleeping through his 2013 draft, it was nice to see him here so early!

The October Boys have been in the league for three seasons, and have had the top pick twice. How this happens, I have no idea. The fantasy gods must like them. This year, outfield and third base were the shallowest of the positions. How convenient that the two best players on the planet are Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. Both great players, but Trout was the the no-brainer of all no-brainers and goes #1.

Speaking of no-brainers, Miggy goes to WillisBeTheYear at #2.

Everyone in the league knows of The Hammer’s affection for early round pitchers. This year he lucks out and gets some guy named Clayton Kershaw.

While sucking down Dan’s free WiFi, Allan breaks character and actually picks a hitter! And a great one too… Goldschmidt is a stud!

Prior to the draft, Chefdick was the one guy I hadn’t heard where he was leaning for his first pick. Chef is a really good player, and a bit of an enigma. I know he likes the Rays, so I was thinking Longoria, but McCutchen and Cano would be great picks as well. He’s the one guy I can’t really get a read on. Well, since he couldn’t log in, he made his picks throughout the draft quite predictable. Autodraft it is, and Wainwright goes a bit too early. Thanks CBS and your skewed rankings!

Pick 6 goes to the LBCs. She shocks the world and takes Joey Votto!! zzzzz… I still think it’s weird for a grown man to be called Joey, but I’m all for getting a stud first baseman.

After finding out my draft position six weeks ago, I literally contemplated for 35 seconds before deciding on Prince Fielder. I like big butts, and I cannot lie. I also like that he’s playing in a hitter’s park, with Adrian Beltre slugging behind him.

I know RedRays really well. He’s an original league member and one of my best friends in the world. If there’s one thing I know about Fergie, it’s that he ALWAYS grabs a hitter and a pitcher with his first two picks. Ferg snags another quality first baseman in Chris Davis. He will be taking a pitcher in round 2. Guaranteed.

After losing in the playoffs last year, RTCs tries to performance enhance his team with know juicer Ryan Braun. Could be a great pick.

The word on the street was that Mike was going to take a hitter and Yu Darvish with the 10 & 11 picks. A bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Mike absolutely steals Andrew McCutchen at 10, and confirms the rumors by taking Yu at 11. Nice start to the draft for Mike!


Round Two

There are literally a million quality players that are available in Round 2. Ok, not literally, but there’s a lot. Going back to the beginning of this diary, I mentioned that elite outfielders were shallow. Once I settled on the fat man in Round 1, I knew I had to grab an OF in round two. This was tough, because it would mean that I would be passing up on guys like Longoria, Tulo, and Hanley, as well as a butt load of great pitching. What also made it difficult was that my love for Bryce Harper is probably the worst kept secret in the league. This led to a barrage of threatening texts from RedRays that he was going to take Harper right before me in round 2. But, everyone knows that RedRays always grabs pitching with one of his first two picks. I wasn’t that worried. (I can lie to myself now.) I know Dan had me pegged for Harper as well, but he was pretty upfront with me and guaranteed me that he was going Beltre or Longoria. Dan stayed true to his word and grabbed the always consistent Adrian Beltre.

This is where I started to sense that everyone in the league may have upped their games this year. Either that, or RedRays is confused and thinks Robinson Cano is now a pitcher. Either way, Ferg adds the best second baseman in the league, and I’m officially vexed. Fun fact: Fergie knows that Cano isn’t a pitcher.

I’m reunited with Bryce Harper with pick 14, and it feels so good!

LBCs makes a solid pick with Adam Jones, the elite 30 HR, 100 RBI guy, not the dirtbag from the NFL.

Chef autodrafts Justin Verlander. I don’t hate the pick, but I think an actual human being grabs a hitter here.

I begin to Believe the Hype a bit here, when he takes Evan Longoria. He’s got his corners covered by a combined 70 hr, 220 RBI pair. Not too shabby. One of these seasons, Longo is going to have that MVP year. I have a gut feeling it’s this year. Side note: I just barfed on my laptop.

Two things I know about Panda the Hammer. He loves pitchers, and he loves Red Sox players. I’m not surprised that he grabs Dustin Pedroia here. Pedroia played 159 games last year with a busted thumb. This season he’s healthy, and should have a return to some of his power numbers.

If there’s one guy in the league that scares me every year, it’s Willis. Sure, he’s set the league record with losses and crummy winning percentage the last couple of seasons, but he’s a crafty dude. He’s had a string of bad luck with injuries and sketchy trades. I think he’s locked and loaded this season. He adds Edwin Encarnacion to a team with Miggy already on the roster. Consider yourselves warned.

The two-headed Valentino monster is another team that concerns me. Dennis and Dave individually are baseball savants. Put them together, and they’re Good Will Hunting. I knew they wanted a pitcher in Round 2, and they had plenty of options. Scherzer, Lee, Price, and Jeremy Hellickson were all ripe for the taking. They go with King Felix, with a side of Troy Tulowitzki for picks 20 & 21. They now have the best player on the planet, the best shortstop in the league (until he misses six weeks with hair pain), and a top-five pitcher. The October Boys are looking tough.


3rd Round

In all of my prep work, I made the decision that I was taking a pitcher in Round 3. This is the earliest that I have ever taken pitching. This is partly due to wanting to grab an ace to anchor my staff, as well as the league trend to not load up on pitching early any more. (Autodrafting Chefdick excluded.) The good news for me is that there were several great starting pitchers left. The bad news is they were going quick.

After TOBs go Tulo with the first pick of Round 3, Willis told me that he went off script and panicked a little with his choice of Carlos Gonzalez. There were several top-line pitchers for his choosing, but he decided to add to his already potent offense.

And like clockwork, the next three picks are:

Panda: Scherzer

Believe the Hype: Lee

Cyborg Chefdick: Price

LBCs at this pick really liked Jose Fernandez, and planned on taking him here. But… with an elite bat like Hanley Ramirez sitting there, she couldn’t pass it up.  She rolls the dice in hopes of grabbing a big arm in Round 4.

The Champion (I like to refer to myself in the third person) planned all along to draft Madison Bumgarner here. I was planning this for two reasons: 1. He’s a legit ace going at a reasonable price. 2. I know Dan likes him, and I was hoping to screw him over. When this pick came to me however, Strasburg was also available. I started to get that twinge in my gut that maybe I should go off plan and take him instead of the MadBum, but then I remembered that I’m the champion of the world for a reason, and I should always trust my gut. Fingers crossed.

RedRays has to take a pitcher here. RedRays has to take a pitcher here. RedRays has to take a pitcher here. RedRays takes Jose Bautista here. What the what!!?? The fantasy world is officially upside down. Fergie’s drafting only hitters. Cats and dogs are living together! It’s crazy town!

Rays Those Cowbells take the nicest guy in baseball, Freddie Freeman. Solid pick all day long. He may come in second in the NL MVP, after Bryce Harper.

There was another rumor going around where sportsmanMike wanted Jacoby Ellsbury with the 10th pick of the first round. Mike, obviously knowing more than the rest of us, waits until pick 30 to grab him. I think I liked Mike a lot better when he slept through the draft.


Round 4…

With only a couple of aces left, Mike takes the skinniest guy in the league, Chris Sale.

I made a note to myself that second base was deep this year, and not to draft one early, but I do like me some Jason Kipnis. Legit power & speed guy. This pick made me reminisce about the good old days, when Dan would harp to all of us about the need for a staff full of aces. Psst… hey Dan… you still don’t have a pitcher.

RedRays and his lucky Irish ass back into Stephen Strasburg. Fergie has drafted a pitcher!!

Did I mention yet that I thought outfield was shallow this year? Anywho, I really wanted Jay Bruce this year. I know he can drive H2H owners a bit crazy with his inconsistencies, but he’s 27 years old this year, batting cleanup. He’ll have Billy Hamilton in scoring position 150 times a year, and I like any player that has two first names. That’s enough for me to take him earlier than his ADP called for.

LBCs takes the last of the ace-type pitchers and 2014 Cy Young winner Jose Fernandez.

I started to chuckle when Mike Minor and his balky shoulder were autodrafted by Cyborg Chef. Who doesn’t check to see if they can log in to the draft room?!?

Allan believes in Jose Reyes. He’s a braver man than I.

Panda the Hammer is having a sneaky good draft. He takes possibly the most versatile player in the NL in Matt Carpenter. I don’t think Carpenter scores 126 runs again this season, but it’s hard to not like this pick.

WillisBeTheYear adds to his beer league softball lineup with another big bat. Yasiel Puig… you either love him or you hate him. I love him… on someone else’s team.

Here’s a fun fact: David Wright is really good. Here’s another fun fact: I’m starting to dislike The October Boys.


Rounds 5-10: It’s all going according to plan…

The October Boys: Tanaka, Santana, Wacha, Pujols, Matt Moore. I really like the Tanaka, Santana, and Wacha picks. This gives TOB a King Felix, Tanaka, Wacha for a 1, 2, 3. Solid. They might make us look stupid by grabbing a potentially rejuvenated Albert Pujols. I hate the Matt Moore pick. I think they had some better options, but they seem to know what they’re doing so maybe I’ll just shut the hell up. On second thought, nah. Moore sucks.

WillisBeTheYear: Stanton, Gio Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Cole Hamels, Ervin Santana. How the hell did Stanton last this long? This might be the year he puts it all together. Of course, with his surrounding lineup, I might intentionally walk him 200 times this season. Gio is not a bad choice for his first pitcher. He accidentally autodrafted Big Papi, but that guy is always on his team, so no big deal. I have faith in Hamels and Ervin Santana to be solid this year. Willis’s pitching is a little suspect, but his offense is ridiculous.

Panda the Hammer: Mauer, Zobrist, J.Upton, Lester, Hunter Pence. Panda just drafted the four whitest guys in the league, and Mr. April, Justin Upton. He got good value on all these guys, but I haven’t seen a group this white since the 1986 Boston Celtics.

Breaking News! We interrupt this diary to bring you the following trade. Believe the Hype and the Yankeehaters have agreed to trade Cliff Lee for Clay Buchholz & Allen Craig. Now back to our regularly scheduled draft day diary.

Believe the Hype: Posey, Grienke, Weaver, Myers, Dom Brown, CC Sabathia. It’s hard to argue when you land the best catcher in the draft. Posey will get a ton of ABs catching and playing first base. Dominic Brown needs to show that he can sustain his power numbers for an entire season. Wil Myers is a stud in the making, and I think Allan stole him in the 8th round, especially with all the Rays lovers in this league. I’m not crazy about the three pitchers, but they could all be useful. Chocolate Cake Sabathia looks determined to show that 2013 is a fluke, and he lost Julio Lugo’s bodyweight in the offseason, so that’s good.

Cyborg Chefdick: Latos, Kimbrel, Holland, Rios, Andrus. I’m trying my hardest to say something negative about these picks, because I’m still pissed that he autodrafted, but I can’t. Latos is a workhorse. Kimbrel and Holland are the two best closers. And he got great value with Rios and Andrus. Yay, autodraft.

Love Boat Captains: Choo, Bailey, Donaldson, Kinsler, Sanchez. I don’t even know what to say about the LBCs anymore. She hates the draft. She suffers through it. She does 1/100th of the prep I do. Then she has a run of picks like this. I’m not sure I like her anymore.

Yankeehaters (2013 champ): Desmond, Cobb, Prado, Craig, Gray, Carlos Gomez. I was targeting Ian Desmond as my shortstop. I think he’s the safest of the elite shortstops. He’s a 20/20 guy that doesn’t miss a day. I loved this pick. In every mock draft that I did, I was able to get James Shields as my #2 pitcher. This of course changed when that soulless jerk of a human being named Dan swiped him right in front of my nose. I settled on Alex Cobb, who I really like, but I really wanted Shields. Go to hell McKewen! Prado is a guy that put up great numbers last year, and I like his 4-position eligibility. And I know RedRays likes him, so I was trying to piss him off. I like Gray, and I’m counting on him being this year’s Matt Harvey. Craig was dealt to Allan a few hours ago so I’m sure he’ll win the MVP now. I think Carlos Gomez is the biggest dick on the planet, but I like the numbers he puts up, and I needed an outfielder.

RedRays: Holliday, Heyward, Cole, Alex Wood, Moustakas. Holliday is routinely under-appreciated, until he’s putting up 35 points against you when you’re playing against him. Heyward looked great last season batting out of the leadoff spot, until his jaw got busted. I think he has a good season. Of all the young pitchers, Wacha, Salazar, Ventura, Gray, Cingrani, etc., I think Cole has the nastiest stuff. I loved this pick for the RedRays. He got Wood a little early, but that’s always been a problem with Fergie. Hardy har har! RedRays was enamored with the numbers Moustakas has been putting up in the spring and is counting on them translating over to the regular season. I’m not sold.

Rays Those Cowbells: Teheren, Shields, Hosmer, Trumbo, Segura, Liriano. It pains me to compliment Dan for this stretch of his draft, but he friggin nailed it. Every one of these guys is a stud that he got at a good price. Of course, he sold his soul to the devil to get Shields, and I hope he burns in hell.  Teheren is the real deal. Hosmer had a great second half of 2013 and has looked good in spring. Trumbo is going to destroy Chase Field with his 40-home run potential. I’m not sure how Segura lasted until Round 9. And Liriano carried me to a title last year. Go eff yourself Dan! (Nice job.)

sportsmanMike: Cain, Zimmermann, Adrian Gonzalez, Zimmerman, Chapman, Hardy. Well, apparently Mike is still awake. I think due to CBS issues, he auto drafted Cain and Zimmermann. It could have been a lot worse. Cain will bounce back this year, and Zimmermann is a workhorse. I loved the Chapman pick, until he tried to catch a baseball off his face. That’s a huge loss. I feel terrible for Mike. He’s been drafting well. I’m not a Gonzalez or Hardy fan, but those spots were getting thin, and those two will put up decent numbers.


Stay with me gang, we’re in the home stretch!

Picks I Love, Rounds 11-22

Round 11: Yordano Ventura by TOB. I think he was on everyone’s radar. These guys had the balls to grab him early. Chris Archer by RedRays. This kid is a fearless stud in the making. Brian McCann & Jonathan Lucroy by RTC and Mike. These are the two guys I was targeting.

Round 12: Justin Masterson by RTC.  He was my next pick. Dan, you can suck it. Alex Gordon by RedRays. Gordon is solid, and in the 12th round it’s a bargain.

Round 13: Billy Hamilton TOB: I totally forgot about this guy. He may steal 200 bases. I feel shame. Danny Salazar by the RedRays. I’m sensing a theme here. Salazar throws easy 98-mph cheese. I have a man crush on him.

Round 14: This round is pretty blah. I took Buchholz, which pissed off Allan, which is always a highlight. Trading him today in a package for Cliff Lee is even better. I think Buchholz has a good season.

Round 15:  Joe Nathan by Willis is great! Doug Fister by the LBCs. Fister scared a lot of people away with his elbow issue. If he bounces back, he’s the steal of the draft. Jedd Gyorko by Yankeehaters. This guy was my sleeper pick for the draft. Forget about my Danny Salazar man crush, I’m all in on Gyorko!

Round 16: This is another ugly round. I can’t get excited about anyone. Sorry!

Round 17: Nelson Cruz by Willis. This ‘roider will smash in Baltimore. Corey Kluber by Panda is a sneaky solid pick. The Rays have a knack for turning out great closers, Balfour to RTCs should be no exception.  I meant to grab him here and accidentally picked Steve Cishek. Screw you, Dan!

Round 18: Brandon Phillips by Willis. Reports of Phillips’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. This proves my point about the depth at 2B.

Round 19: Salvador Perez by Willis. Perez will be a top-5 catcher this year. I really wish I waited on catcher!

Round 20: I would like the Brian Dozier pick by ChefDick, but he didn’t really make that choice, so screw it.

Round 21: Brandon Belt by Mike. This guy needs 550 at bats this year. If he gets them, he’ll rake. And no Dan, I’m not liking your Josh Johnson pick here! So suck it!

Are we done yet?

I usually do the same as above, but with the picks I really didn’t like. Let’s keep this positive, everyone worked really hard preparing and did a great job on the draft. Except for Chefdick of course.

In closing, I want to thank everyone for supporting the site and playing in OUR league again. I really do look forward to it every year. Let’s all try to remember that this is just a game. and that the important thing is to enjoy each other’s company, appreciate the baseball being played, have some friendly discussions, and keep the focus on the friendly competition. There’s a reason that this is the best fantasy baseball league around. We have ten owners that know their baseball and are savvy with their teams. Let’s make this the best year yet!

And now for the part you’ve been waiting for!

Playoff Predictions

This was the most difficult prediction yet. Everyone drafted their faces off! But there can only be four.

Love Boat Captains

Rays Those Cowbells





It’s About Time

We couldn’t let Dave write his own champion’s post, so thanks to Dan the #1 Rays Fan for stepping up with this guest post.

Destiny Fulfilled

There is no better, more competitive, more challenging and harder fantasy league to win than

I believe this with all of my heart, and you’ll never convince me otherwise. We have ten of the most committed and competitive owners in all of fantasy baseball. Every year, the gap between last place and first place seems to shrink more and more. Every owner in the league seems to get smarter and smarter with each passing season, and just making the playoffs has become the ultimate grind.

As you look around the league, you can see as owners mature over the years and improve their game. I was a brash, determined young rookie in 2009 who had all the talent in the world, and was looking to come into this league and do damage. What I quickly found out, was that this game has a very cruel learning curve. I lost my last two games, and missed the playoffs, because I wasn’t ready. I needed to feel out this game, and realize the tricks of the trade. I realized this learning curve affected everyone, and felt much better about my rookie season afterward. I’ve come to realize over the years that I was dead wrong.

There was no learning curve, no growing pains for our 2013 Fantasy Baseball Champion, Dave Ingalls.

I’ve never told him this until now, but I’ve always marveled at Dave’s ability to walk in right away and dominate this game. His first season playing fantasy baseball in 2008, he finished with the best record in the league, and as he likes to call it, it seemed like “he was playing chess while everyone else was playing checkers.” He made the right moves, mastered the waiver wire, and seemed well on his way to fantasy glory. I can say this now, but I never really understood how he could do that. He seemed to know what he was doing, right from day one, while the rest of us slowly came along and figured this game out. It all came so easily to him!  However, he finished just short in the playoffs, losing to Dave McLaughlin and his Boston Braves in the finals. It wouldn’t be the last time the Yankeehaters would suffer a crushing playoff defeat over the years.

Since I entered the league in year two in 2009, Dave and I have gone head to head many times over the years, and for me, they’re always the biggest games of the season. Yet for so frustratingly long, he was usually on top at the end of the day. It went this way for the majority of the league, as Dave almost entered the playoffs as the favorite to bring home the title. It always seemed like he had the best team. Yet he had to sit back and watch his wife go on her legendary three-peat, beating Dave twice in the finals. Ginger’s great teams would step up and play their best ball in the playoffs, while time after time Dave watched great seasons crumble.

I can’t imagine how this must have felt. Doing everything right, building elite teams, and falling short over and over again. It became a running joke around the league, and Dave himself even got in on it after awhile. But I’ve always known it bothered him. He wanted to win the ultimate prize more than anything.

Over the years, we’ve begun to look to Dave as our leader. He writes the posts, he’s the most active and runs website. Ginger is a big part of that, but she’s never really been vocal enough to establish a presence other than the legendary champion. Dave is always there, and we’ve all begun to look at it as being “his league.”

That’s why we’ve all felt that if somebody should win their first championship, it should be him. It felt like some sort of cloud over the league, that its most committed and focal player had yet to win it. We all want to win of course, but it just seemed so strange that Dave couldn’t close the deal.

That all changed in 2013. As usual, Dave built up his great team, and finished the season as the #1 seed. But this time, there was a happy ending for him. He beat me, the defending champion, in the first round, and was able to get the by the RedRays in the championship game.  After 5 agonizing seasons, 3 championship game losses, 5 playoff losses, and a whole lot of jokes at his expense, Dave finally had his championship.

I can honestly say that I’m happy for you. You deserve this. You’ve had the best team consistently over the years, and it’s about time you got to join the champions club with Ginger and me. As the champion the previous year, I officially pass the title of defending champion over to you. Wear it proudly.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the best fantasy baseball league in the world. I’m glad you chose me to write your champion’s post.

Dave Ingalls, the 2013 Fantasy Baseball Champion

You’re the Best

There are a few things I would rather be doing today. Getting a root canal, finding a jury summons in the mail, passing a kidney stone, stepping on a Lego… Any of those would be preferable to this… Having to to write the 2012 fantasy baseball champion post for Dan Mckewen and his Rays those Cowbells.

For some strange reason, our league doesn’t award a trophy to each year’s winner. Instead, you get a few paragraphs noting your great accomplishment. But I will tell you this: if Dan wins back-to-back titles, I may hijack the Lord Stanley Cup trophy to hand out to him. It might be easier than having to write this two years in a row.

In spring of 2008, things were going great on The Red Sox had just won another World Series title, and we had a loyal following and a steady stream of new posts. But despite all of the positives on the site, we were missing something. Everyone who commented on the site was a Red Sox fan. I appreciated their insight, but we all shared similar opinions. We were in desperate need of someone with a different perspective. We needed a villain.

This all changed on May 18th, on a post titled Like the Weather. A young, brash, opinionated Dan Mckewen had randomly Googled, “awesome baseball blogs written by really cool guys” and stumbled upon This was a post written in a derogatory manner that Dan did not appreciate, and he came out guns blazing in the comments section. Like Batman & the Joker, Rocky & Drago, and Buzz Lightyear & Zurg, it was vs. Dan the #1 Rays Fan. We had our bad guy.

For a long time, no matter what Dan commented on, he received a bunch of abuse. He was pro-Rays on a Red Sox-dominated site. We were relentless on him. But no matter what we said to him, Dan kept coming back to the site and stating his opinions. We couldn’t get rid of him.

As time passed, we began to appreciate Dan’s loyalty to the site, even awarding him a coveted spot in our fantasy league (after his incessant begging). For four seasons, Dan has been all-in. He is arguably the most passionate owner in the league. The first couple of seasons, some may even say he was too passionate. Young Dan drove us a little nuts his first couple of seasons, and he will admit that his buttons were easily pushed. He was frustrated when trades didn’t go in his favor, or when Grady Sizemore got injured. He complained when he missed the playoffs. Then, after finally making the playoffs, he complained about losing in the finals in what is known in the league as “Tulo-gate.” He had a million excuses.

But here’s what I finally realized about Dan: He knows his baseball.

As much as it pains me, I have to admit Dan has matured. He’s a super-smart baseball mind, a tough competitor, and a loyal Rays fan. He has the only team in the league that has gotten better every year, finally culminating in his first and well-deserved baseball championship.

I’ve said a million times how hard it is just to make the playoffs in our league. To win a title is unreal (not that I know), and to dethrone the three-time champ while doing so is ridiculous.

We appreciate all of your support to the site. You’re our most loyal contributor and a great ambassador to thefoulline. Thanks for spreading the word about our little blog. I’m glad we didn’t run you off in 2008!

Congratulations on winning the title, Daniel-san. You really are the best around.

We Used to Wait

The premium league (not that we paid for it) is worth it for the early draft positions alone…

Draft Pick Order

  1. chefdicks
  2. Yankeehaters
  3. sportsmanMike
  4. The October Boys
  5. Love Boat Captains
  6. Panda the Hammer
  7. Rays Those Cowbells
  8. RedRays
  9. WillisBeTheYear
  10. King of Controversy

Der Kommissar

Ginger here.

We have the opportunity to switch from the usual free fantasy league to a CBS Commissioner League at no cost to any of you fine fantasy losers (and Dan). The main differences with the premium league are that every detail (roster requirements, point values, transaction rules…) can be customized and everyone gets free access to MLB Gameday Audio (home and away radio feeds for every regular season game). If we use the Commissioner league in future seasons (no promises), we’ll also have league history details maintained on the CBS site, which will be sad, because it won’t include my championships.

It is not our intention to change any of the scoring, roster, or transaction rules. If anyone thinks any of these details should change, let’s chat about it in the comments and see what everyone else thinks.

All this customization would allow us to add an 11th team for our pal Dave (brother of October Boys’ Dennis). Obviously, changing the league to 11 teams is no small thing, so please share your thoughts about it. We think he would be an enthusiastic and attentive team owner who would fit in well with our group. On the other hand, we discussed a 12-team league a few weeks ago, and there were concerns about spreading the talent too thin. Personally, I don’t buy this argument. Sure, you’ll have fewer studs on your team, but so will everyone else. I like the challenge of having to dig deeper to fill out your team. But if you’re scared…

I’ve set up the new league, but everyone will need to join again. If anyone has any concerns or doesn’t want to make the change, let us know. Otherwise, you’ll find the new league at Please go sign up! Nothing will change as far as rules or league size without plenty of discussion here. For now, you’re just signing up for our usual game with the Gameday Audio perk.

If you run into any trouble signing up, send me your email address and I’ll send you an invite with the direct signup link.

The Pick of Destiny

I feel like I should start this post, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Everyone prepares for a fantasy baseball draft differently. For me, as soon as January rolls around, I start checking out player rankings, do a few mock drafts, and read everything that Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell, Scott White, Ray Flowers and the rest of the so-called fantasy experts put out. In mid-February, I ramp up the mock drafts, listen to ESPN Baseball Fantasy Focus daily podcasts and begin creating my position tiers. I spend way too much time reading articles, comparing tiers and evaluating ADP’s. Does it help? I’m not sure. But it’s fun to read, and I enjoy preparing for the draft.

Ginger, on the other hand, waits to find out her draft position before the draft, does a few mocks, and subsequently wins the league every year.

This year’s preparation was no different. Doing my research, I made the determination that first base was really thin. I wanted Cabrera, Pujols, Votto, Gonazalez, or Fielder. I wasn’t interested in anyone else, so my first-round pick was going to be one of those five, even if I had to reach a little. I also thought that there were only a handful of truly “elite” outfielders: Kemp, Braun, Ellsbury, J. Upton, Carlos Gonzalez, Granderson, and Bautista. I wanted to grab at least one of those guys, with my strong preference being Justin Upton or Carlos Gonzalez (hopefully both). Those were the two positions I was going to fill first. There was no way in hell that I was going to take a pitcher in the first two rounds. Doing my mock drafts, I was always able to land a first baseman in the first and Justin Upton in the second. I did 10 mocks the week of the draft, and this was always the way it played out.

But something funny happened on my final practice draft, three hours before the live draft. I changed my game plan. Was it going to have a negative effect on how my draft was going to turn out?

Let’s check out the running diary from draft night.

You are… on the clock!

Prior to the draft, rumors circulated that Mike and The Hammer might not make it for the beginning of the draft. The other eight owners waited patiently in the draft room with some idle chitchat. But as the countdown clock finally hit 00:00, we had nine owners present as well as Mike ready to draft away via the iPhone.

It’s finally time to see who the new guy decided to go with at #1.

Miggy Cabrera with his soon-to-be third-base eligibility goes #1!

I know for a fact that Dennis mulled this decision all day long. He initially thought that he should grab an elite arm and shore up his rotation. Then he considered taking the best shortstop on the planet, Troy Tulowitzki. After conducting several mocks, taking Verlander or Cabrera first, Dennis goes for the bat. Great pick. Solid start for the October Boys.

  • Second pick was the easiest decision in the world for Mike – Albert Pujols
  • Pick three sucks. I really think it’s the absolute worst one to have. With that being said, I chuckled a little to myself when I saw that Ginger had drawn the short straw and got the third pick. With this pick, you hope someone takes a pitcher and leaves Cabrera or Pujols to fall to you. With the rumor of Mike making picks from his iPhone, this was a possibility.

    Unfortunately for the LBC’s, the two big guns went with the first two picks. So what’s the game plan? Ginger hates taking pitchers early, doesn’t care for Jose Bautista or Matt Kemp, and knows Tulo gets hurt every year, which means one thing… Joey Effing Votto, LBC mainstay and alleged voodoo leader of the three-time champ.

    As we approached the weeks before the draft, threats of taking Votto before Ginger could grab him were echoed by WillisBeTheYear, RedRays and myself. Our hopes were that without Joey V., the LBC’s would be sunk. No such luck.

    And I guess we’re all playing for second place again.

  • believe the hype (sundae-free) takes Jose Bautista (whose production, I predict, falls way off this year).
  • Boston bad boys picks Adrian Gonzalez with the fifth pick. That’s four of the top-five first basemen off the board, and my plan is working.
  • Rays Those Cowbells grabs Tulo
  • Halladay goes to WillisBeTheYear
  • Verlander goes to RedRays
  • chefdick again reaches a little on Longoria
  • The Hammer nabs 2011 NL Cy Young-winner Clayton Kershaw

So far a solid start for everyone.

Round Two

I have a well publicized man-crush on Dustin Pedoria. Dan loves Longoria, Dennis idolizes Jeter, and the RedRays always grabs Martin Prado. But there’s no bigger love affair in the league than the one between The Hammer and Cliff Lee. Last year he took him with the 5th pick, and this year he snags him with the 11th. Lee is a great pitcher, but it may be time for an intervention for Sam.

This is another top notch round for The Foul Line league. Chefdick grabs another elite bat in Matt Kemp. RedRays takes Prince Fielder, the last of the great first baseman. He had planned on the elite arm/elite bat for the first two rounds. So far so good. WillisBeTheYear lands Ryan Braun with the 14th pick, which is downright robbery. Rays Those Cowbells takes my advice and snags Robinson Cano. And here is where I change my strategy.

Maybe I should have gone with the game plan and picked Justin Upton. It served me well in a lot of my mock drafts, so why mess with it? OF is shallow, so take one of the five remaining sure things, right? Nah, I’m taking Hanley Ramirez. RedRays gave me a WTF? on the chat. He later told me that he would have bet his house that I was going to take Pedroia. Nope, I take Hanley, the same guy that I picked two season ago at #2. The same guy that quit on his teammates last year. The same guy that had shoulder and back injuries in 2011. This might come back to haunt me… or I’m the smartest guy in the league. We shall see!

Believethehype picks Jose Reyes, the last of the upper-tier shortstops and guaranteed to miss 30 games at some point this season. LBC’s wanted Ellsbury with this pick, and of course she got him. Mike reached a little on Adrian Beltre, but I love this pick. Beltre is a monster, and I believe he is the safest 3B option. October Boys follows his first round gem by grabbing CC Sabathia. We may need to keep an eye on the rookie.

3rd Round, and the gloves are off!

Dustin Pedroia is a very good player, but he is definitely not worthy of a 2nd round pick. 3rd round is perfect.

I hate Felix Hernandez. Mike can have him. He plays on an awful team with no run support, and he misses out on a ton of wins every season.

LBC’s scoops up another of the great OF’s in Granderson.

I knew if anyone was going to pick Justin Upton is was going to be Allan. He traded him to me last season, and I knew he regretted it. Of course, Allan gives me an eff-you and takes the 2012 NL MVP. Nice pick! I’m left with the consolation prize, Carlos Gonzalez, and the outfield has just got incredibly thin.

Dan vowed to follow the LBC’s lead and wait on pitching. It lasted all of three rounds, and Jered Weaver is a RTC. Dan loves pitchers. It’s a fact!

Hamels, McCutchen, and Lincecum all get snagged. This draft is going as planned. It appears that everyone has been doing their homework.

Round three ends with The Hammer picking relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel. I’m not one to tell someone who to pick for their team… but this one was CRAZY.

Round 4… My plan is working!

I am definitely taking a pitcher this round. I really wanted Dan Haren, David Price, or Zack Grienke with this pick. Of the four, Grienke was my top choice. Of course, Chefdick starts off the round from hell by snagging Price. Willis sticks it in my ear and takes Haren. At this point the only thing in the way of Grienke becoming a Boston Bad boy is Dan’s pick. Having played with Dan for a few seasons, I know that he hates Zack Grienke. There’s no way that he takes him here. No freakin’ way!

And suddenly Dan is out of the draft room. I’m not a religious man, but I’m praying that Dan has loaded up his draft queue with non-Greinke players.

Tick… tick… tick…

Allan gets on the chat and says that he talked to Dan and that his computer died. How does this happen?!? At the end of last season, we all had to hear Dan complain that he would have taken down the LBC’s in the playoffs if only Troy Tulowitzki had played mediocre… blah, blah, blah. He vowed that 2012 was gonna be his year! He was dominating his mocks and ready to wreak havoc on the league. Dan talked all kinds of smack on how this was his year, and he didn’t take the time to make sure his computer was working?

Tick… tick… tick…

In the minutes leading up to the draft I made sure my computer was plugged in securely. I had my iPad on standby, iPhone loaded up to the CBS site. All contingencies were in place. So how does Dan forget to defrag his hard drive, or whatever crappy excuse he has? Now, if he winds up with a lousy, computer-generated team, we’re all gonna hear about it for the rest of the season. This is bad.

Tick… tick… tick…

And as the clock hits zero, Dan’s broken computer picks Grienke, and my perfectly constructed plan has its first problem. Thanks, Dan! A wise person once told me, “The thing about the fantasy draft is that you hope to get the player you want, but you should expect that he won’t be there.” Ok, that person was the Love Boat Captains, but she’s right. You need contingency after contingency. It can wear you down. So, I miss out on my top four pitchers and take C.J. Wilson. I’m ok with the pick. Wilson is not pitching in the Texas bandbox anymore and has had a 2.56 ERA on the road over the past two seasons. Is he an ace? Close…

Allan follows this pick by doing Dan a favor and taking Josh Hamilton. It’s well documented that I absolutely would never take this guy in a draft. He will break down at some point in the season. LBC’s, Mike, and October Boys finish the round taking great value picks Hudson, Shields, and Teixeira.

Four rounds completed, 1600 words and counting. This recap may never end!

Is it just me, or does it seem like this year there are 25 great players, followed by 25 really good players, a handful of decent guys and then garbage the rest of the way?

Rounds 5-10 – Things are getting interesting now

  • The October Boys: Matt Cain, Michael Pineda, Jay Bruce, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jayson Werth and Big Sexy Alexei Ramirez. I love the Cain pick. He’s a sure thing and a great #2 on Dennis’s staff. Pineda is going to get crushed under the pressure of playing in NY. His second-half stats last year were pretty mediocre. The short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium is going to turn last year’s lazy fly balls at Safeco into home runs. Bruce is a solid pick. As for Ubaldo and Werth? Good players coming off bad years. Dennis is counting on a bounce-back.
  • sportsmanMike: Yovani Gallardo, Rickie Weeks, Hunter Pence, Alex Gordon, Ervin Santana, and Asdrubal Cabrera. I’m trying to find something that I don’t like about these picks..but it seems like Mike did his homework, executed his plan and landed the players that he was targeting. Ok, Weeks was a little early, and Asdrubal will not be putting up the same numbers as his fluky 2011 season. I feel better now.
  • Love Boat Captains: Carlos Santana, Mat Latos, Starlin Castro, Emilio Bonifacio, Dustin Ackley, and Justin Masterson. This is typical LBC draft. Fills two holes with elite players, then grabs a couple of sleeper picks. Bonifacio may steal 200 bases this year. It makes it even more enjoyable of a pick when Dan types “Bonifacio is it. That nobody player that damn near wins the MVP for the Love Boat Captains every year? That’s it right there!” Coupled with Dennis saying “Shit, I really wanted him too!” I look across the table to see Ginger do her little “I know more about fantasy baseball then you do” smirk, and I realize that we’re all screwed, again! It’s also fun when I tell her that I think Ackley isn’t going to be any good, and he starts off the season with a home run and the game-winning RBI. I don’t particularly like the Latos and Masterson picks, but these are the kind of pitchers Ginger rides to a championship.
  • believe the hype: Giancarlo “Don’t Call Me Mike” Stanton, Tommy Hanson, David Ortiz, Michael Young, Yu Darvish, and Johnny Cueto. I really like Stanton a lot! He adds to a really impressive OF for Allan. Yu Darvish has looked good in the spring, but I’m still leery of a pitcher from Japan making the transition to American baseball. Hanson may be a steal… or a giant bust. I’m hoping for the latter.
  • Boston bad boys: Dan Uggla, Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Moore, Shin-Soo Choo, and Max Scherzer. I’m all in on Uggla. He had a great second half last season and is mashing the ball in spring training. He was a guy I targeted in every mock. I followed by making a very un-Dave-like run on young arms. Bumgarner will break out this year, Strasburg has lived up to the hype, and Moore has three great pitches and may be the best of the three. I was absolutely shocked that he fell to me. Thanks, Rays fans. I had to take an ourfielder at this point, since I only had one. I am counting on Choo to return to form after a horrendous 2011. In the 9th round, I figured he was worth the chance. I ended with my good friend Max Scherzer. Not entirely sure why I like him – I just do. Here’s hoping for a another 15-win season.
  • Rays Those Cowbells: Jon Lester, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Wainwright, Lance Berman, Andre Ethier, and Josh Beckett. Dan confirmed what I already knew: he loves pitchers. He grabbed three really good ones here. This was a good run for Dan… or was it Allan at this point? It’s hard to tell. These are pretty good picks, so I’m leaning towards Allan on his Nook. If Zimmerman can stay healthy, he’s as solid as they come. Not an Ethier or Berkman fan, but at this point of the draft it’s getting to be slim pickings.
  • WillisBeTheYear: Matt Holliday, Josh Johnson, Ricky Romero, Shane Victorino, Eric Hosmer, and Alex Rodriguez. Prior to the draft starting, I made the statement that Willis was the one player that scared me this season. These six picks are the reason why. With the exception of the adulterous steroid user, Willis got great value with every one of these picks. At this point of the draft, Willis has Halladay, Hamels, Haren, Johnson and Romero. To mess with his mojo, I like to remind Willis that he traded me Josh Johnson two seasons ago for Mark Reynolds. Johnson pitched lights out the rest of the season, while Mark Reynolds was, well, Mark Reynolds.
  • RedRays: Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings, Pablo Sandoval, Chris Young, Anibal Sanchez, and John Axford. Solid run by the RedRays. It’s hard to argue with any of these picks, so it’s time for a little game I like to call “Guess the Player Stats.”
    • Player A: .333, 23 runs, 8 HRs, 20 RBIs, 14 SB
    • Player B: .160, 21 runs, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 6 SB.

    Player A is Desmond Jennings over his first 141 at-bats last season. Player B is Jennings over the next, and final, 106 at-bats. It poses the question, is Desmond Jennings a flash in the pan? (4/1/12 update: Jennings hit 3 bombs in one game.)

  • Chefdick again: Brandon Phillips, Michael Morse, Matt Garza, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, and Mike Napoli. Chefdick is clearly sick and tired of finishing in second place. He grabbed the best remaining players at their positions with each of these picks, and I think he nailed every one! (Except Garza. He sucks.) The Texas triumvirate 8-9-10 was money. Chefdick, without a doubt, had the best draft.
  • the Hammer: Kevin Youkilis, Alex Avila, Jimmy Rollins, Paul Konerko, Gio Gonzalez, and Drew Storen. The Hammer has assembled a pretty good team, but with the exception of perennial 30-HR, 100-RBI guy Konerko, I think he reached on every one of these picks. With that being said, these rounds were tough, and he did add some solid players.

10 rounds in, it’s time to stock up on the mediocre pitchers!

Picks I Love, Rounds 11-22

  • Round 11: Brett Lawrie by LBC. David Wright by BBB.
  • Round 12: Jonathan Papelbon by RTC. Pap is going to dominate in the NL. Carl Crawford by Willis. This guy does not suck, this guy does not suck (repeat 100 times).
  • Round 13: Matt Wieters by TOB. This is the season that Wieters lives up to the hype.
  • Round 14: Brandon McCarthy by LBC. Breakout candidate. Pitched great on opening day in Japan.
  • Round 15: Francisco Liriano by BBB. I picked Liriano based on one stat: He has a 26/4 K/BB rate in the spring. His control is there. I look forward to a huge bounce-back season. Jesus Montero by Willis. I like a guy that’s eligible at catcher but is playing primarily DH. He’ll get a lot of AB’s. This kid is something special.
  • Round 16: Howie Kendrick by RR. Hitting in front of Pujols is going to lead to great numbers. Add 2B/OF eligibility, and this guy is a bargain. I was going to take him with this pick, and the RedRays stick it to me for the 3rd time in the draft.
  • Round 17: Kendrys Morales by Chefdick. Another guy I was targeting, before Chefdick swooped in and grabbed him. After missing the last season and a half, this guy was totally worth the gamble. Another good pick by Chef.
  • Round 18: Not Applicable. We all picked garbage.
  • Round 19: Brennan Boesch by RR. Solid player having a good spring. Hitting in front of Cabrera and Fielder is only going to help this year.
  • Round 20: Erick Aybar by The October Boys. If you’re going to wait on shortstop, you can do a lot worse than Aybar.
  • Round 21: Ryan Roberts by The October Boys. A versatile player who’ll steal some bases and hit some home runs. The rest of this round was pretty ugly.

Picks I Hate, Rounds 11-22

  • Round 11: BJ Upton by Chefdick. The outfield position got thin early, but I think this is a gamble that he could have waited a few rounds for.
  • Round 12: Chris Carpenter by Chefdick. If he were healthy, I wouldn’t have taken him this high. He had a mediocre 2011 with a great run in the playoffs. He’s not a guy you can count on, especially when he’s all banged up.
  • Round 13: Andrew Bailey by Chefdick. Round 13 is early for a middle-of-the-road reliever. Add the nagging injuries, strained lat, and hurt thumb, and this could be total waste of a pick. That’s three turds in a row for Chefdick. Didn’t I say he had the best draft? I may need to reevaluate.
  • Round 14: Joe Nathan by RedRays. Big name, bad arm. 10.79 ERA in the spring.
  • Round 15: Jair Jurrjens by Chefdick. Not a fan.
  • Round 16: Mike Leake by The October Boys. This t-shirt shoplifter is un-draftable. The fact is that he’s just not very good.
  • Round 17: Matt Joyce by unsportsmanMike. This guy is good for one month a season. Which month? That’s a good question. PASS!
  • Round 18: Adam Lind by BBB. This guy and his damn back issues. I picked him and dropped him. Believe the hype can have him! He’ll drive you crazy this year. I traded Ian Kennedy for this bum last season. I am a moron.
  • Round 19: Alfredo Aceves by The October Boys. Long relievers hold absolutely no value in fantasy baseball.
  • Round 20: David Freese by RTC. World Series MVP does not translate to good fantasy player. Stats are mediocre.
  • Round 21: Chase Utley by the Hammer. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Utley went from top-5 pick to Mr. Irrelevant.

If anyone is still with me, I really appreciate you reading this monster of a post. I hope you remember that this is just one guy’s opinion. Drafting a team is a fickle business. Do you draft a team of players that you enjoy watching, or the players that put up big numbers but play for a team you hate? After all, we are only playing for bragging rights, so we should just try and have fun.

In closing, I want to thank everyone for supporting the site and playing in OUR league again. I really do look forward to it every year. Let’s all try to remember that this is just a game. and that the important thing is to enjoy each other’s company, appreciate the baseball being played, have some friendly discussions, and keep the focus on the friendly competition. There’s a reason that this is the best fantasy baseball league around. We have ten owners that know their baseball and are savvy with their teams. Let’s make this the best year yet!

Playoff Predictions

Chefdick again
Boston bad boys

Thanks for reading… PLAY BALL!

Bad Boys

I can’t believe we are on the verge of our 5th Fantasy Baseball League. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Five years ago, when Matt McLaughlin proposed that we start a fantasy league, my first thought was that I’d try it out for a season, but I wasn’t optimistic that I would enjoy it.  As much as I love baseball, I thought fantasy baseball was for nerds. I signed up begrudgingly, cajoled my dad and a couple of friends to join, and was able to get nine teams signed up. Unfortunately, we needed ten.

As the clock ticked down to draft time, I got desperate. I asked my wife to bail me out and sign up. She said, “No, thanks.” I promised that I would help her draft a team and assist her along the way during the season. Knowing what we know now, that last sentence sounds really stupid. She finally agreed, and the rest is history.

I never thought I would enjoy this league as much as I do. I get excited when the season is approaching and I can start looking at players and formulating my draft strategy. But as I wrote last year, my favorite part was the constant fantasy baseball talk between Ginger, the Bostonbadboy and myself. We were all hooked… hard.

The Badboy lived 500 miles away, and we would talk three times a week about teams, our opponents and what players we could trade away. These conversations were the best.

We always hoped that we would have all three Ingalls members in the playoffs, but it never came to be. As much as my dad liked to play, he wasn’t very good at it. I think we all salivated a little when we were number one in the waiver wire order, anticipating which superstar the Badboy was going to drop after they may have had a mediocre week. He managed his fantasy team like he used to manage my Little League team. He didn’t care if he won or lost. He just wanted everyone to have a good time.  The Badboy used two resources to help him assemble his team: the USA Today and his gut. Neither served him too well during a long season. The funny thing is, he really didn’t care if he lost. I know he enjoyed following baseball, talking trash, and busting balls, and I think it made him feel young to be playing with people half his age.

We’ve had people come and go during our five years of playing, but I always thought the Love Boat Captains, Boston Badboys and the Yankeehaters – three of the original ten teams – would stay playing together for many years.

The reason for writing this is that the Boston Badboy got sick in June 2011, and passed away in November. I miss him a lot. I know that I’m going to miss him much more when baseball season rolls around. In the weeks after he died, I thought that I would be done with fantasy baseball. In my mind, there was no way it was going to be nearly as fun. How could it be? But as time moved on, I remembered how much my dad enjoyed reading, interacting with everyone, and using strange names for his comments (Albert Desalvo, Clark Kent, Old Man River, Lucky Larry, to name a few), all written in the same nearly incomprehensible style that was my dad’s.

I know that he would want me to keep playing,  just to keep kicking Dan the #1 Rays Fan’s butt!  But how do I replace one of the original members? Especially someone who I enjoyed playing with so much?

I originally thought it should be another family member, but although my brothers enjoy sports, they are not as rabid about baseball as my dad and I. I had criteria for a potential new player. He had to be involved all year. I can’t stand part-time players that don’t keep up with their team. Our league is too good and deserves ten committed owners. The new owner had to know baseball and be familiar with the players. He had to be passionate about his team.

After careful consideration, my choice was obvious – my longtime friend, Dennis. Ginger and I met Dennis for lunch a few weeks ago to pitch to him the idea of replacing my dad and joining our league, and he accepted. Dennis was honored and maybe a little intimidated, as he had heard stories over the years about the tough competition in our league. I think he’s going to do great. Although he’s a damn Yankee fan, Dennis knows baseball and is a tough negotiator. He has chosen his team name to the be the “October Boys.” I’ve already warned him about most of you, so please try to make him feel welcome.

While we are on the subject of team names, I am retiring the Yankeehaters name. Although it has treated me well over the past four seasons, it’s time for a change.

I wanted a name that would strike fear in the hearts of the owners.  A name rich in fantasy baseball tradition. So from here on out, I’m the Boston Badboys. But unlike my dad, I’m going to spell it the right way, I’m going to make the playoffs… and I’m going to win the league!

Consider yourselves warned.

Everything’s Not Lost

Fantasy baseball is a fickle mistress. You spend hours researching players to draft a quality team. There are a select few elite players that you want to grab with your first round pick to form a solid base for your roster. Your pick comes, you get your guy, and BAM! he hits the disabled list with a pulled oblique flexor tendon or some other bizarre injury.

Your season is officially over, right? Wrong! Good news — having your first round pick get hurt is actually a blessing in disguise. Crazy talk, you say? Consider this: Two seasons ago, the Love Boat Captains lost her first-round pick for the year just  two weeks into the season. Needless to say, she made the adjustment and won the league. Last year, the LBCs lost 4 of her first 5 picks for significant time due to injury, and we all know how that worked out for her. One more example: Two seasons ago, Dan competed his ass off after the “curse of Grady Sizemore” almost sunk his season.

The reality is that every pick is important. But it’s more important to stay up on the players in the league and make the changes necessary to make your team competitive. Losing your first pick doesn’t need to be the season-killer we all make it out to be. And anyway, is there anything more enjoyable than scouting an obscure player and having him turn into this year’s Jose Bautista?

So keep your chin up, Allan. Longoria going out may have booked you a ticket to The Foul Line playoffs.

Power rankings

  1. Rays Those Cowbells – An unstoppable force that has absolutely no chance of being defeated this year
  2. Yankeehaters — Soon to be 3-1
  3. RedRays – Showed resolve last week and pulled out a tough win
  4. chefdicks11 – Tough schedule to start the year. He’ll bounce back with this team
  5. bostobadboys – The little engine that could keeps plugging away
  6. Love Boat Captains — Always scary
  7. ToPpIn Da ChArTz — First of many wins this week. Nice job Allan!
  8. UNsportsmanMike
  9. WILLIS Be The Year
  10. Sam’s Baseball Train

Sorry 8,9, and 10. My dad always told me that if didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Thanks everyone for playing. This is a league of smart players that really know baseball. It’s fun to be a part of. Let’s keep it enjoyable.

Good luck to all this week.

I’ll Be Brief

Week two of our season is in the books, and the competition is as fierce as ever. I have never started a fantasy season 1-0, so to be one of only 3 teams to be 2-0 after two weeks is blowing my mind.

So far this season there have been a few interesting trades. I really liked WILLIS Be The Year going against conventional wisdom and trading Hanley for stud pitcher and chronic mound-sprinter Cliff Lee. I think this trade is a good deal for both teams, unlike the shellacking I gave Allan in the Gallardo/VMart deal. Keep throwing those 90-mph fastballs Yovani!

I’m going to keep this post short. The Boston Bad Boy is in town for a couple of days and we’re heading to the Trop to see Edwin Jackson outduel David Price. So without further adieu… here are your Week 2 power rankings.

  1. Yankeehaters
  2. Rays Those Cowbells
  3. bostobadboys
  4. chefdicks11
  5. Love Boat Captains
  6. RedRays
  7. WILLIS Be The Year
  8. Sam’s Baseball Train
  9. UNsportsmanMike
  10. ToPpIn Da ChArTz


Go Sox!