Defend The Title, Week One

I had it all figured out.

As I said in my last post, I was hell bent on building dominating pitching this year. I was going to draft ace after ace, and watch them strike hitters out and pile up the wins. Every owner in the league was going to count down my PSR’s like every single one of them was a nuclear bomb waiting to go off and drop 30+ points of mayhem and carnage. It was the perfect plan.

Until it wasn’t.

Let’s go ahead and get to some rankings before another Rays Those Cowbells pitcher walks in a run shall we?

Week One Power Rankings

1) WillisBeTheYear– The big bats carried the load for our highest scoring team of week one, as Paul Goldschmidt, Javy Baez and JD Martinez combined for 80 points and mashed 8 HRs between them. That kind of production will be par the course for this elite trio, but it was the surprise elite pitching of guys like Kyle Freeland and Brad Keller that really brought this performance all together. If one these mid-rotation guys can develop into a legit ace, this might be the team to beat.

2) RedRays– Just an absolutely BRUTAL loss. Anytime you score the second most points in a week and lose, it’s a devastating blow that can leave you reeling for a few weeks. He shouldn’t feel too badly though, Christian Yelich at #8 might end up being the steal of the draft, and his OF is easily the deepest and best in the entire league. It’ll carry him to quite a few victories this year.

3) sportsmanMike– A really impressive showing for the CBS draft recaps pick to win the championship, as he put up 200 points and dominated in a game where Andrew Bennintendi, Jose Ramirez and Blake Snell combined for like 9 points. You know those guys are going to be MUCH better going forward. But Mike, I love you, but for gods sake you gotta address your first base position. Sooner than later.

4) Love Boat Captains– A typical LBC performance, led by elite hitting. Cody Bellinger was the player of the week and if he gets back to rookie form, getting him in round 6 is going to be grand larceny. Speaking of draft steals, how did we all let Trea Turner fall to 30th overall? He’s going to have a prime Carl Crawford type season. I fully expect Ginger to rise up the rankings in the coming weeks, this is a really good team.

5) Yankeehaters– I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on Dave’s week one. His team didn’t play well and is much better than it showed and will obviously improve going forward, but the bottom line is, if his opponent set his lineup, he probably would’ve lost.

6) The October Boys– Got a solid start from Jake Arrieta and snuck by Allan at the last possible breath of Sunday Night Baseball. A one-two punch of Corey Kluber and Noah Syndergaard could be quite dangerous, and Aaron Judge will mash with the best of them. But per usual, this team still has too many Yankees on it.

7) Lou Brown– I like this team. Any lineup with Rizzo, Merrifield, Mookie and Tommy Pham is going to put up points, and Gerrit Cole is as good as anybody. Add in the best team name in our league, and you have a solid recipe for a good season.

8) Believe The Hype– The bats were BAD for Allan in week one, as this was the only team that didn’t hit a single home run. Things can’t be this bad going forward, but first base could become an issue as Miguel Cabrera looks like he’s 50 years old and is surrounded by an absolutely horrific Tigers lineup.

9) Rays Those Cowbells– Simply put, this was bad. Some hitters I was really banking on for great seasons did nothing, and most of the elite pitching I drafted got utterly pounded. Still, I’d hate to overreact. There’s simply no way that Chris Sale and Yu Darvish can be that bad going forward, right?

10) Stogies– I was going to put myself last in the power rankings, I deserve it. But when you lose by 15 points and start players on the DL and pitchers who didn’t have a start scheduled, you deserve the 10th spot just on principle. Gotta do better going forward.

Game of the Week

Love Boat Captains vs RedRays

The RedRays are off to a solid start tonight in trying to bounce back from a tough loss.

Thanks for reading, good luck in Week two!


The Champion of Ignorance

Hey gang, happy Spring Training!

If you hadn’t heard, and I seriously doubt it if you know me at all, I won my second fantasy baseball championship last season over a determined sportsmanMike squad. It was a wonderful season that ended in a wonderful result for me personally.

Unfortunately, that was about the only thing I got right in 2018. I made bad trade after trade, I played terribly, I made stupid drops, and it was only through pure luck that I manged to blindly flail my way into a title. But I know nobody wants to hear about the “poor little champion who thinks last year wasn’t up to his standards”. That’s arrogant, obnoxious and downright douchey. The real reason I’m writing this post is the biggest regret I have of last season, my horrible treatment of my beloved Tampa Bay Rays.

Last April, after a terrible start to the season, I wrote a downright scathing article on the Rays titled “Ray of Nope”. In said article, I destroyed my team, calling them a “disgrace” and “unwatchable”. I tried to tell you they had no young stars, no good players,and nobody had a jersey worth buying. I said they had no direction for the future, and specifically, I targeted CJ Cron, for some reason choosing to unleash my wrath on him in particular.

Well to recap:

-Blake Snell won the CY Young award and had the lowest AL ERA in nearly 20 years. I went out and purchased his jersey. “No young stars, no jerseys worth buying”

-The Rays traded for Tommy Pham and signed Charlie Morton for $30 plus million dollars. “No commitment to short term winning”

-The Rays dumped sorry Chris Archer on the Pirates for three elite young players, and now have a consensus top three farm system in the game. “No direction for the future”

-The “disgraceful and unwatchable” Rays went on to win 90 games in a division with two 100 plus win juggernauts, and have developed into one of the most interesting MLB teams to watch heading into 2019.

-And just for fun, CJ Cron hit 30+ home runs and became our most consistent hitter.

I’m not proud of the things I wrote, and it just piled onto a horrific 2018 where I threw out bad take after bad take. For somebody who loves and cherishes baseball, and takes great pride in his knowledge of the game, it was a very humbling experience.

This is “Dan The #1 Rays Fan’s” public apology letter to the Tampa Bay Rays. I promise to be more patient in the future. I’ll love you always and forever.

Dan’s Spring Quick Hits

-Year after year the pre-draft rumblings are the person with the #1 overall pick is leaning toward not taking Mike Trout.

-Year after year it continues to baffle me.

-I had a blast at a spring training game yesterday with most of thefoulline.com crew, and it was nice to finally meet Dylan and Trent after all these years. Everyone has crazy baseball knowledge, and getting together and talking about the game in the sunshine is rapidly becoming one of my favorite activities.

-I badly badly badly want Max Scherzer with the #4 overall pick.

-I don’t think Willis fully grasps how badly he’s owned me over the last few years. Nine straight wins at one point! Maybe he’s just too humble to rub it in. He’s a great dude and an even better fantasy baseball player.

-Dylan made a point of letting me know some of my trade offers are “bogus” and was quickly backed up by other league members. One of my biggest goals in 2019 is to change my apparent reputation around the league.

-Every single player in the league seems to have a different take on the state of certain positions, what’s deep and what’s not. This year is going to be fascinating.

-Charlotte Sports Park has the second best cheesesteak I’ve ever eaten.

-After getting nine beers handed to him from Dave, we had to pull over on the side of the highway so Allan could go to the bathroom on the way home.

-I totally support the “Lugo” and the “Drew” division this season. Two legends of thefoulline.com who will live forever.

-Draft day is my favorite day of the year, always. I can’t wait for Sunday.



Believe It or Not

In this guest post, Believe the Hype’s Allan shares his thoughts on Opening Day, analyzes a trade, and wishes a chicken pox epidemic on unsuspecting MLB players.


 

Well, the wait is finally over… for some. I have finally decided to go out of my way and write a post, on the clock of course, because I refuse to do this for free. I’m not much of a writer, so please bare with me as you get through what is about to look like an essay written by a 4th grader. That might be giving myself a little too much credit.

I like baseball, I really do. I may not love it is as much as the rest of you guys do, but there is some passion towards the game. I really do enjoy opening day though. Sitting there, wishing you were off work, trying to figure out if the team you drafted is going to live up to the expectation that your trash talk has given out to your friends. Hell, to even know that your team is so far away from even being considered a playoff contender, but inside you get to at least think about what it would be like to win, until your starter leaves in the 6th inning and your bullpen gets a lights-out prison surprise.

I think my favorite part about this year’s opening day was when I decided to trade Kris Bryant to my good buddy Dave for Carlos Martinez and Carlos “my step son” Correa. Of course when Dan found out I was talking to Dave about trading Bryant he gave me a bunch of crap about how “you never trade the #1 pick,” then went ahead and asked me what I’d like for him. Once the deal was in place with Dave he gave me the usual “I have to think about this so I can suck more out of you” talk. I was a little surprised he only gave me crap for about an hour. It usually lasts a few days. But with the season getting ready to start and us wanting these deals to go through before Sunday’s opener, we made it official.

I must say though, when I made the deal, this was the first time I never thought about whether I just flushed my season down the toilet. I was 100% sure I actually beat Dave on this deal. Carlos Martinez pretty much won me the day when he was blowing 99-100 mph pitches past Bryant and his neck was snapping with those swings like he was watching a bee fly past his face.

This is all I pretty much got for the moment and I need to get back to work before I find myself feeling as bad as Dave did Sunday night. Thank you for reading this, and I hope everyone’s team has an epic meltdown this week and the injury bug spreads like chicken pox.

Too Much Fun

The Red Sox came rumbling into town Tuesday, and I was preparing for disaster. After the three-game debacle against the Yankees, isn’t it just a perfect time to welcome one of the majors’ best offenses to St. Petersburg? Good times were to be had by all, as the Red Sox sent ball after ball into the seats, and Rays pitchers were left shaking their heads, looking for answers.

Well wouldn’t you know, the Rays give up 7 runs in 3 games, win the series, and do some of their best pitching of the young season. Baseball is a funny game sometimes. Nearing the end of April, I still have no idea if the Rays are contenders in the AL East or the division bottom-feeders.

Some of thefoulline.com gang got together Thursday night for the rubber-game of the set, and the trade talks (and the beer) started flowing instantly. By the end of the night, however, one had flowed quite a bit more than the other. My one mission heading into last night was to get Willis to deal me Corey Kluber. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning sans Kluber. After hearing rumors that team Yankeehaters has been pursuing him hard, I feel the need to step my game up. You might want to keep an eye on your inbox today, Willis!

Quick Hits:

– The crowds at the Trop are getting worse. It’s getting to the point where not even Red Sox and Yankees games can save them. We pretty much had section 131 all to ourselves.

– After watching a bigger crowd gather around the TVs in the hallway to watch the Lightning’s win in Detroit last night than there actually were watching the Rays, I now understand how truly low in the pecking order the Rays are in this region.

– Shout out to the rude Boston fan who was talking trash before I even got into the Trop. Everytime I talk to a Boston fan, I’m reinvigorated by my love of the game.

– Rays Those Cowbells is having a really great week! And I’m still down 50 points. The Love Boat Captains are the clear best team right now. Ginger wants #4.

– Nearly 3 full weeks in, and Allan and I haven’t made a deal together yet. Huh?

– Darn you all for getting me interested in Fanduel. I’m doing the research right now to get started. You’re all very bad influences.

– Is BJ Upton still in the major leagues?

 

Good luck to everyone. Finish Week 3 strong!

Dethroning Allan, Week Two

Well, that was interesting.

Parity was the name of the game in week two. Four of the five teams in the top five of the power rankings lost this week. Four of the five teams in the bottom five of the power rankings rebounded from bad first weeks and got huge wins to avoid starting 0-2. I don’t think anything speaks to the competitive nature of our league more than this. Any team can win, any given week. By the end of the season, it wouldn’t surprise me to see first place and last place be separated by only a game or two. Things are that tight!

Week Two Power Rankings

1) Love Boat Captains – The only 2-0 team in the league. I’ll have quite the game on my hands this week.

2) Yankeehaters – Dave put up a good game this week. It always sucks to put up 300 points and lose. But I think Rick Porcello owes him a beer. Or five.

3) RedRays – An offensive slump drops him from the #1 spot. Losing Carlos Gomez hurts, badly. Perhaps a trade for an OF coming soon?

4) WillisBeTheYear – Gut-check time for Willis. Trailing most of the week, he rallies and clips the Yankeehaters in the best game of the week. I like this team. They have good balance.

5) sportsmanMike – A balanced bounce-back effort from Mike vaults him up 3 spots. He absolutely smoked Panda The Hammer by 115+ points. This game was never close. How didn’t Goldschmidt go higher than fifth in the draft?

6) Rays Those Cowbells – Now that’s more like it. My team decides to play up to its potential this week and puts up the season’s highest total so far at 370. Rizzo and Donaldson are heating up, and Strasburg appears to be righting the ship. Alex Wood comes over from the Yankeehaters to provide a spark in the RP spot.

7) The October Boys – Dennis knocked off the #1 team in the power rankings and appears to have righted the ship from his season-low week one point total. Now who the hell is Shane Greene, this out of nowhere CY Young contender?

8) Stogies – This team has got to get more from its relievers. Fernando Rodney absolutely blows, and the Daniel Norris-in-the-major-leagues experiment isn’t working out great so far. Although I find it hard to believe Edwin Encarnacion will continue to bat .190 for very long. He’ll bounce back.

9) Panda The Hammer – An awful week, but is it a one-off, or a sign of things to come? Nobody on his team played well this week. Still, there’s talent here. We’ll see how things go in week three.

10) Believe The Hype – And we come to our champion. I know two things about Allan. There’s no way in hell that he’ll take this 0-2 start lying down, and losing to his two arch-rivals to begin the season will light a fire in his gut. I wouldn’t be shocked to see full-scale changes coming if the winning doesn’t start soon. He’ll be back with a vengeance, and pretty soon, we’ll all Believe The Hype again.

Game of the Week:

Yankeehaters vs sportsmanMike
This is a big game for Mike. Can he build off his good week? So many of his teams in the past could never put together winning streaks for very long.

Good luck to everyone in week three!

The Pick Is In

In the hours leading up to thefoulline.com’s 8th annual fantasy baseball draft, I tried all sorts of different things to relax and get into the right mindset for drafting. I watched the NCAA Tournament, I turned on some of the NASCAR race, I went out and washed my car, and I even went to the driving range and smacked some golf balls around. Turns out, it was useless.

I quickly realized that I could play in this league for 50 years, and I would always get pre-draft jitters watching that clock tick down. There’s nothing like knowing that nine other baseball savants have worked just as hard as you, for just as long as you, and would like nothing better than to steal the player you’ve been targeting all offseason. In fact, they probably revel in it.

I always try to have a backup plan in place for all my picks. Turns out it’s not enough. In this league, you need a backup plan for your backup plan for your backup plan. This year was no different. This might have been our most well executed draft ever. So let’s recap – it’s thefoulline.com draft diary!

The Clock Hits Zero

As I entered the draft room, I found myself knee deep in a discussion about which was better, the World Cup or the NCAA Tournament, As I was about to step in and give my opinion, Dave V. decided to put a stop to that conversation right away. It’s probably for the best. That debate would’ve lasted well into the 6th round. After some more idle small talk, the timer ticked down, and we were ready to go.

Surprise! Mike Trout goes #1 to The October Boys. There were some rumblings that Dennis has been bribing his way into the first pick year after year, and who knows, maybe they have some weight? I know I’d do just about anything to get Mike Trout, he’s a game-changer!

WillisBeTheYear grabs the best pitcher in the world after claiming he would do so last year and not following through. Clayton Kershaw goes #2, and our draft has a predictable start.

If there was one team I was completely unsure about, it was newcomer David Valentino. I’d heard rumblings he could go several different directions here. He settles on the best OF in the world, Andrew McCutchen. Great pick!

The Love Boat Captains grabs the best power hitter in the game, Giancarlo Stanton. Just move out of the way next time a fastball is heading for your face.

I know for a fact that Mike wanted Goldschmidt and only Goldschmidt with this pick. He gets his wish, and the best first baseman is off the board at pick #5.

If there was any pick in the first round I had pegged for sure, it was that Sam was taking a pitcher in round one. He doesn’t disappoint, and David Price goes to Panda the Hammer.

Believe The Hype grabs the second-best first baseman in the city of Chicago, Jose Abreu.

Is Miguel Cabrera fully healthy? If so, the RedRays just got the steal of the first round as Miggy goes #8.

The worst kept secret in the league was that I wanted Anthony Rizzo with my first pick this year. I get my way and Rizzo finds his way onto Rays Those Cowbells at #9.

Dave and I had been discussing our picks in the weeks leading up to the draft. He did a great job of pretending to give me information, but still not really letting me know who he was going to take. Adam Jones is the pick, and it’s a good one. He’s become so consistent it’s almost boring.

Round Two

I’d been preparing myself for a huge pitching run in round two. All the mock drafts that I did and all the pre-draft research suggested that this was the time to grab your ace. I thought as many as eight pitchers could go in this round. Well true to form, thefoulline.com goes away from conventional wisdom, and Dave grabs Robinson Cano at pick #11. I thought this was a bit of a reach, but I think Dave had some personal mission to get Cano on his team at least once before he retires.

Another pick I had pegged for weeks before the draft, AL MVP Josh Donaldson goes to Rays Those Cowbells at pick #12.

RedRays grabs Max Scherzer here, and I really like it. Moving from the AL to the NL is good. Moving to the best team in baseball is better.

Believe The Hype takes fantasy monster Felix Hernandez, and the pitching run has begun.

Panda the Hammer grabs the best catcher in the world, Buster Posey, and the pitching run stops as quickly as it started.

In a move that surprises nobody, Mike takes AL CY Young winner Chris Sale here. Like he does every year. Man crush!

The LBCs give Jose Altuve a home at pick #17, and I’m lukewarm on this pick. I see regression coming. Still, it’s 40 steals in the bank.

Team Stogies grabs my personal favorite pitcher in the game, Adam Wainwright, to anchor his pitching staff.

Willis steals Jose Bautista, who should’ve went 5 picks before this. The building of the infamous WillisBeTheYear beer league softball offense has begun.

As Dennis went on the clock, I told Allan that he would take a pitcher and Troy Tulowitzski with his next two picks. The first half the equation comes true as World Series hero Madison Bumgarner is the last pick of the 2nd round.

Round Three

I feel downright clairvoyant as The October Boys grab Troy Tulowitzki with this pick. Dennis loves Tulo!

Willis will keep building his stud offense, right? Nope. He takes Corey Kluber here. I love me some Kluber. This is a great pick.

I have no idea why, but for some reason Edwin Encarnacion sinks like a stone in the draft every year. He routinely puts up first round numbers, and are his injuries really that much bigger a deal than some of the other players that go before him? David V gets McCutchen and EE to anchor his offense. Dangerous.

The Love Boat Captains steal rising superstar Anthony Rendon, who I thought would go ten picks before this.

Mike must have seen a copy of MLB 15 The Show in a store somewhere, because he makes Yasiel Puig his #1 OF. It’s a great pick! Puig will break out this year.

I knew two things about Johnny Cueto heading into this draft. Somebody would take him early, and that somebody wouldn’t be me. Still, you can’t argue with his numbers last year, and Panda the Hammer adds a 2nd ace to his team.

Allan takes a 3rd baseman in the first three rounds every year. This year is no different, as the champ adds the ageless Adrian Beltre to his lineup.

Michael Brantley is a RedRays-type player. Solid, not flashy, gets the job done. He’ll put up huge points this year for team RedRays.

All along I wanted a pitcher here. I was targeting Jon Lester or Cole Hamels. Never in 100 years did I think I could land Stephen Strasburg at pick #29. I’m amazed this pick took me 25 seconds to make. Maybe I just wanted to be sure I didn’t click onto the wrong player.

Team Yankeehater thinks this is 2010 as he nabs Albert Pujols with the last pick of the 3rd round. I don’t hate the pick, but aren’t there younger, higher upside players available here?

Round Four

I always consider round four to be the game-changer round. There are a ton of high quality players available in the first 30 picks, and it’s pretty hard to make a mistake, outside of unforeseen injuries. But in round four you have to start taking gambles and making decisions. When to pass on the player getting older, and when to reach a little and grab the up-and-coming young stud. Dave makes just such a decision and takes Nolan Arenado #31. I like this pick, a lot! Great home ballpark, elite prospect pedigree. He may hit 30 HRs this year.

If there was one player in the whole draft I had to have, it was Matt Harvey. He’s throwing 99 MPH in spring training, and his breaking stuff looks sharp. He may throw 185 innings, but those 185 innings will be the best for a pitcher not named Kershaw.

The RedRays commit downright larceny as they snatch Carlos Gomez at pick #33. Gomez is a mid-2nd round player who had no business being on the board here.

Allan grabs his boy Julio Teheran. Can’t argue with this pick. He’s young and getting better. I just worry about his win total after Atlanta completely bottomed out this offseason.

Panda the Hammer takes only 10 seconds to select Jordan Zimmerman, and once again, he’s building the best pitching staff in the league.

sportsmanMike nabs Carlos Santana with this pick. Can’t hate it. He set career-highs across the board and has multiple position eligibility.

Ginger takes the least likeable pitcher in the game, Zack Greinke. You couldn’t pay me enough to take this dude.

In a move that shocks nobody, one of our Yankees fans takes only 9 seconds to draft Masahiro Tanaka. With Wainwright and Tanaka leading his pitching staff, team Stogies better pray the Tommy John fairy doesn’t come knocking.

WillisBeTheYear grabs Jose Reyes. He’ll steal 30 bases and score a ton of runs atop the major’s best lineup, and he plays at a horribly weak SS position.

Dennis grabs Jon Lester with pick #40. I was willing to take him at pick #29. See how this draft can ruin a man?

Rounds 5-10: Where Championships Are Won

The October Boys: Bryce Harper, Matt Kemp, Michael Wacha, Jered Weaver, Chris Davis, David Ortiz.

It’s hard not to like these picks. Dennis resists the urge to grab Harper early and gets him in a much better spot here. The problem with Harper is you always have to overpay to get him, but if you can get him at a reasonable price, the value is there. Matt Kemp looked back to normal in the 2nd half last year, and I think the big dimensions at Petco Park play well to his gap power. Wacha has one of the best arms in the majors, and Weaver is always a solid guy to fill out your rotation. I think he reached on Chris Davis, but I think a bounce back and 40 HRs could be possible. I have no idea how Ortiz lasted until round 10.

WillisBeTheYear: Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez, Victor Martinez, Dallas Keuchel, Ian Kinsler, Evan Gattis.

Wow. Runs of picks like this should be illegal. This is an amazing run for Willis. He got three stud first baseman here, all at amazing value. Freeman and Gonzalez mash, and V-Mart in round 7 is robbery. Dallas Keuchel was one of my targets. With a 63% ground ball rate, he’s Brandon Webb in his prime and will be this season’s breakout ace. Ian Kinsler still has something left, and Evan Gattis will hit 30 HRs moving from behind the plate and into Minute Maid Park. I’m REALLY glad they moved Willis out of my division.

Stogies: Hanley Ramirez, George Springer, Kris Bryant, Justin Verlander, Taijuan Walker, Dee Gordon.

Our newcomer means business. I saw Hanley Ramirez go mid-2nd round in some of my mocks; he gets him in round 5. I cried a little bit when he took Springer, I’ll admit it. I really wanted him! He may hit 45 HRs this year. Someone finally takes the plunge and takes super rookie Kris Bryant! It’s a good pick. But then the dreaded autodraft kicks in and grabs Verlander and Walker. I’m not crazy about those picks, but they are high-upside arms. At this stage in the draft, you could do a lot worse. Dave V. returns and grabs Dee Gordon, who should steal 50 bases leading off for the Marlins. This was a good run for team Stogies.

Love Boat Captains: Ian Desmond, Joey Votto, Carlos Carrasco, Jake Arrieta, Devin Mesoraco, Christian Yelich.

This is such a Ginger run. The last of the elite shortstops go off the board, and surprise! Joey Votto goes to the LBCs. At this point I honestly just want someone else to take him, just so she can’t get him. Carrasco and Arrieta are high-upside mid-rotation arms who have the talent to pitch like aces, and are typical LBC pitchers. Mesoraco may be the best power hitting catcher in the majors. He’ll make a run at 30 HRs. If there was one person I was sure was going to take Christian Yelich, it was Ginger. Yelich has huge breakout written all over him. It’s runs like this that have the LBCs in contention every year.

sportsmanMike: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jacob deGrom, Corey Dickerson, Jason Kipnis, Zach Britton, Alex Cobb.

This is a nice run for team sportsmanMike. He gets good value with Ellsbury, who always seems to be overdrafted one way or another. deGrom was one of the nice surprises in the league last year. His stuff is legit. He’ll be a strong #2 on this pitching staff. Dickerson tears up Coors Field, and Mike makes his best pick of the draft getting Kipnis this late. He has 20 HR, 30 SB upside. I can’t say that I like the Britton pick. There were better closers available with later price tags. But he makes up for it with a high upside arm in Alex Cobb. If Mike can ride out April, he’ll have a borderline ace at a round-10 price tag.

Panda the Hammer: Greg Holland, Jonathan Lucroy, Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, Aroldis Chapman, Ben Zobrist.

If there’s one team in the league who laughs in the face of conventional wisdom, it’s the Hammer. He takes a catcher in round two, grabs two elite closers before round 10, and piles up on the early pitching. Everything the experts tell you not to do. Holland and Chapman form a dynamic closing duo. Lucroy is an elite catcher. Dozier was a revelation at 2nd base last year. He’ll put up points for this team. Todd Frazier is legit. He’s not flashy, but he could go 20/20 this year. Zobrist can play everywhere and is fairly predictable in his stat lines. These are the types of runs of picks Sam makes every year.

Believe The Hype: Cole Hamels, Phil Hughes, Tyson Ross, Nelson Cruz, Carlos Gonzalez, Mat Latos.

As Allan and I watched Cole Hamels tumble down the boards, I knew Allan would grab him here. It might be the steal of the draft. Allan’s laptop then proceeds to crap out on him, and Phil Hughes is autodrafted to BTH, leading to a string of obscenities being screamed throughout the RTC/BTH war room. You could’ve done worse! Hughes might be the most underrated pitcher in MLB. Or maybe it’s Tyson Ross, whose playing for San Diego was the only thing holding him back from being among baseball’s top tier pitchers. Nelly Cruz will swat 30 HRs, and I admit, I completely forgot about Carlos Gonzalez. I think Allan might have too, until he saw him sitting there for the taking. If he plays 120 games, it’s a steal. Latos moving to a more pitcher-friendly ballpark is good value. This was a nice run for our champion.

RedRays: Jeff Samardzija, Hisashi Iwakuma, Evan Longoria, Craig Kimbrel, Dustin Pedroia, Salvador Perez.

This is an awesome string of picks. Samardzija and Iwakuma are excellent pitchers to fill out the middle of a rotation. Longoria is GREAT value this late. He’s always drafted too high every year. I guess this is the over compensation as he tumbles down the draft boards. Kimbrel is the game’s best closer, although I’m concerned about the Braves win totals dropping this year, limiting his save chances. I’m not sure how in a league full of Red Sox fans, Pedroia lasts until round 9. It’s a great pick. Perez has power at a position where power is scarce. This run could get the RedRays back into the playoffs.

Rays Those Cowbells: Ryan Braun, Gerrit Cole, Prince Fielder, Matt Holliday, Jay Bruce, Garrett Richards.

Is Braun’s thumb healthy? I sure hope so, I’m counting on him to be my #1 OF. I had two preferences for this round 6 pick. I wanted Alex Wood, and if I couldn’t get him, I wanted Gerrit Cole. Wood goes to team Yankeehater right before I could get him, so I settle on Cole, who I really like, a lot! I like a 30-HR bounceback from a healthy Fielder, and Holliday is somebody I’ve always wanted but could never get. He’s as solid as they come. There’s no pick in my draft I regret more than Bruce. I should’ve taken Christian Yelich with this pick. I make up for it by snatching my #1 mid-round target, Garrett Richards. He’s a top-tier ace, going in round 10, because he’ll miss two weeks? Sign me up! This run of picks was okay, with Richards being my favorite and Fielder a close runner-up.

Yankeehaters: Alex Wood, James Shields, Justin Upton, Sonny Gray, Jorge Soler, Doug Fister.

This is a really good run for Dave. As mentioned, Wood was somebody I really wanted. His 200 K potential and RP eligibility are worth their weight in gold. Dave double dips on new Padres, with Shields moving to the best pitcher’s park in the majors really helping him, and Upton being downgraded for the same reason. But he’ll serve nicely as a #2 OF. Sonny Gray is somebody I really like. He’ll take that final step and be a true ace as he leads Oakland’s staff. Soler is kind of like a George Springer light. It’s rare you find 30-HR potential in the late rounds. Fister is a solid mid-rotation arm who always gets underrated for some reason.

Picks I Really Love, Rounds 11-22

Round 11: Dellin Betances by Stogies. I WANTED this guy. He’ll dominate for the Yankees this year.

Round 12: Kolten Wong by RTC. My #1 target at 2nd base. He’ll hit 15 HRs and have 30 SBs. Mark Trumbo by TOB. Now healthy, he’ll follow through on last years promise of 35 HRs.

Round 13: Yordano Ventura by BTH. Does anyone in baseball have a better arm? Why is he still on the board here? Gio Gonzalez by PTH. He’s slipped from his peak, but he’s not round 13 kinda bad.

Round 14: David Wright by Stogies. Yea okay, he’s not in his prime anymore. But the guy isn’t dead. Kyle Seager by Willis. .270 average and 25 HRs in round 14?

Round 15: Chris Archer by RedRays. High upside arms are always good late. Yan Gomes by Yankeehaters. He was going to be my starting catcher with my next pick. Suck it Dave.

Round 16: Marcell Ozuna by SM. Sneaky power. Could make a run at 30 HRs. Kevin Gausman by LBC. Could be this season’s Garrett Richards. Guy throws HARD.

Round 17: Hunter Pence by Willis. I can wait the two months if I get him in round 17. Drew Hutchison by RedRays. 184 Ks in 184 innings. A strikeout per inning can’t be ignored.

Round 18: Danny Salazar by Yankeehaters. He can’t be as bad as last year, can he? The stuff is still electric. Matt Adams by SM. At some point, the breakout is coming.

Round 19: Lucas Duda by RedRays. The most silent 30 HR season ever.

Round 20: Shelby Miller by Yankeehaters. A flyball pitcher moving to a flyball park. Daniel Norris by Stogies. 15.1 strikeouts per 9 at AAA last year! That’s insane. The best pitching prospect nobody has heard of.

Round 21: Homer Bailey by RTC. I still love the talent level. He’ll bounce back from last year.

Picks I Really Hate, Rounds 11-22

Round 11: Steven Souza by TOB. This was a terrible pick. He might’ve gone undrafted.

Round 12: Jose Fernandez by Willis. Love the player, hate the fact that he might not pitch until July.

Round 13: This was a good round for everyone!

Round 14: Another top notch round!

Round 15: David Robertson by TOB. Simply because his suckage gifted Allan a championship.

Round 16: Jessie Hahn by BTH. Not a bad player, but he probably wouldn’t have been drafted.

Round 17: Drew Storen by LBC. A talented arm , but I just can’t trust this guy. Everytime I turn around he’s given up 3 ERs.

Round 18: Brian McCann by RTC. This is an absolutely awful pick that had no business being made. McCann is garbage.

Round 19: Alex Rodriguez by Willis. A-Rod sucks and so does this pick. Retire already. Matt Wieters by BTH. Allan will need to drop him for a catcher who won’t start the season on the DL.

Round 20: Jean Segura by BTH. Only because I was begging him to draft Asdrubal Cabrera. Pablo Sandoval by PTH. He’s fat and his regular season numbers are mediocre.

Round 21: Brett Cecil by BTH. I think Allan gave up at this point and autodrafted a middle reliever. Cliff Lee by Yankeehaters. Isn’t he out for the year?
If you’ve stuck with me this long, I just wanna thank you for reading. This is the best fantasy baseball league in the world, and I’ve had a blast writing for the site these last two months. I have a lot of exciting stuff coming, including the weekly fantasy reviews. Stay tuned!

And now we dip into the magic 8-ball and see who will be in our final four….

Playoff Predictions

The October Boys
RedRays
WillisBeTheYear
Love Boat Captains

Draft Day

As we approach the final hours before thefoulline.com’s 8th annual fantasy baseball draft, I feel like I’m in a pretty good place.

I’ve ramped up the prep work and I’ve assembled my strategy. I’ve taken the necessary electronic precautions after my infamous “computer meltdown” of 2012, and I’ve checked the weather forecast for possible thunderstorm-related power outages. I’m good to go.

I absolutely love draft day. It’s the only time of the year where all 10 owners get together at the same time and chat. It’s the thrill of being on the clock, wondering if the team in front of you is going to swipe the player you desperately wanted, but never thought would be there for the taking in the first place. It’s fresh beginnings, and a chance to erase the previous season’s mistakes.

This will be our first draft with this set of 10, and I hope we can play together for many years. Since I started in 2009, we’ve had a lot of roster turnover, and sometimes I miss the old gang. Dylan and his gaggle of Shortstops, the McLaughlins, Matt and Dave, our Canadian friend Less Than Zero, and of course Dave’s father and his Bostobadboys, misspelled and all. It was really fun playing and trading barbs with all those guys.

But now we have new blood in the league, and draft day is about looking forward, not backward. And I’m more focused and determined than ever before. But I know you all will be too. I’m ready.

Just leave Anthony Rizzo for me, okay?

And Who Might You Be?

I’ve noticed over the years that every single owner in our league has developed their own personality. You have a basic idea who they’ll target in the first round, what players they’d be willing to give up in trades, and if they’d even trade with you at all. It’s this diversity and clashing of ideas that make us the best fantasy baseball league in the world.

But do real life teams go through this? Are8/ there certain teams they have pegged for certain ideas? Are there other GM’s that they just can’t, or won’t, make deals with? It really got me thinking, who in our league tends to gravitate toward the tendencies of real MLB teams? So here is the first thefoulline.com fantasy GM comparison list!

1) Love Boat Captains: St Louis Cardinals

I’ve heard rumblings over the years that Ginger is partial to the Cincinnati Reds, so this one may sting a bit, but this one fits like a glove. The three-time champion is the very definition of quiet excellence. She contends every single year, wins championships, and does it without the noise and flash of some of the other owners in the league. When was the last time you heard any noise from the Cardinals? They develop right, draft right, and rarely make big splashes on the trade market. Sound like Ginger to you? Yea, me too.

2) Yankeehaters: Detroit Tigers

I can hear Dave now. “You gotta make me the Red Sox!” Well, I considered it, but in the spirit of keeping this post friendly, I will be omitting any references to the evil empires of the northeast. Dave contends every year, has teams loaded with superstars, and is never afraid to make a deal. The Tigers felt right here. Swinging blockbuster deals for Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer and David Price just really seems like a Dave thing to do. Plus I know Dave’s dad was a big Sparky Anderson fan.

3) Believe The Hype: Los Angeles Dodgers

Loud, flashy, treats players like rentals. This one was easy. If we had payrolls in our league, Allan’s would easily be the highest. Committed to winning and never afraid to make a deal, I’ve literally seen Allan trade for a player, then offer him to me later that night. It reminded me of what the Dodgers did earlier this offseason with Andrew Heaney. Whether he’s winning games, losing games, making trades or hitting the waiver wire, The Champ will be the talk of the league this year.

4) RedRays: Oakland Athletics

There is no team in the league that is more money in the bank than the RedRays. Every year you can pencil them in for a solid draft, a solid season, minimal mistakes, and between 11 to 14 wins. One way or the other, this team will be in contention for a spot in the final four during the last week of the season. Another easy choice, Trent’s steadiness and consistent winning are a mirror image of what the Athletics have built in Oakland.

5) The October Boys: Washington Nationals

My team got better every year, and I won my first championship in year four. Allan’s team got better every year, and he won his first championship in year four. Dennis’ team has gotten better every year, and he’s entering… year four. We seem to have found the secret formula for newcomers to the league. It’s worth noting that the Nationals are in year four of their contending window that started in 2012. The Nationals will be stacked this year, and are my pick to win the World Series. And I think The October Boys will be stacked this year and I’m picking them to win the league championship. He’s ready. I also considered making Dennis’S team the Houston Astros, seeing as he gets the #1 overall pick every year.

6) WillisBeTheYear: Texas Rangers

I don’t know how he does it, but every single year, Willis builds a team that simply crushes the ball. He makes promises to take pitching early, then loads up on the bats and destroys us all in most offensive categories. Last year he had a murderer’s row of Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Yasiel Puig, David Ortiz, and Giancarlo Stanton. There’s no team that scares me more on draft day. Every hitter he takes is going to break out, and it makes me wish I had taken them myself. His beer league softball teams remind me most of the Texas Rangers. I’ll have to have a discussion with him about offensive sleepers this year…

7) Panda The Hammer: Seattle Mariners

Nobody in the league likes pitching more than Sam. He takes a pitcher in the first round every year, and last year made the playoffs with a pitching staff anchored by Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber. His commitment to the arms race leaves him a little short offensively at times, but if you face him in a week where his two-start pitchers line up…. You already lost. His pitching-heavy teams resemble the Mariners most, and I’m smelling Felix Hernandez to Panda The Hammer at 6th overall this year. Call it an educated guess.

8) sportsmanMike: Toronto Blue Jays

Mike is a little short in the playoff appearances department, having yet to make one as he enters his 6th season. But 2015 is as good a year as any, right? I know Mike is putting in extra work this year, as he’s already purchased fantasy baseball magazines and is really trying hard to figure out what to do with his 5th overall pick. He reminds me of the Blue Jays, who haven’t had a playoff appearance in years but always have promise and put together good years. The Blue Jays enter the season as AL East favorites, and I think this may be the year that they, and Mike, break through and enter the postseason party.

9) Rays Those Cowbells: Philadelphia Phillies

This one was the easiest one of all. My team sucks. I started off great, entering the league with a bang and contending for years, finishing it off with a championship. But like the Phillies, I’ve taken a nose dive in the seasons since my title, capping off my free fall with a full-on last place finish last year. Will I rebound? Can I rebound? I’m sure trying. Confidence is really shaken in the RTC camp, and if I get off to a bad start this year, I might start making silly Rubén Amaro, Jr. type trades that lead to full on implosion. Ugh!

10) Stogies: To be determined

I feel it would be a little silly to make a call on our newcomer Dave Valentino right now, as I’ve never played with him before and know next to nothing about him. But if the five minutes I spent talking baseball with him two years ago in Port Charlotte are any indication, next year I’ll be putting “San Francisco Giants” into this slot. He really seems to know his stuff! Welcome to our league. You’re going to have a blast.

Draft day is fast approaching this year, and I know all of you will be doing your homework and preparing for the upcoming season in a way that only our league can. This is the most competitive fantasy baseball league around, and it’s a real joy playing with all of you. Let me know what you think!

The Problem Is Choice

As we fast approach the 8th annual thefoulline.com 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 thefoulline.com’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 thefoulline.com 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

Yankeehaters

WillisBeTheYear