I'm bored, weekends are slow, and I usually don't update on Sundays, but there's still like five and a half hours until The Sopranos is on, and the best thing I can find on TV is 13 Going On 30 (which is a perfectly cute movie, I'm not knocking it).
Anyway, I wound up having the second pick in what wound up being our 15-team league, meaning I had the second in the odd rounds, 14th in the evens. Here's what I came away with:
C: Ramon Hernandez, BAL (9th round)
I never carry two catchers, no matter how deep the league. Catchers taken before Ramon: Posada (2nd, bizarrely), Victor Martinez (2nd), Varitek (3rd), Mauer (5th), Javy (7th), Pudge (8th). I'm happy getting Ramon in the 9th round. If he stays healthy and gives me 400+ at-bats I expect good numbers. I generally wind up punting this position, and I also generally end up finishing sixth or seventh place thanks to things like that, so I took a different strategy and made sure I got an actual catcher that I can actually be comfortable starting.
1B: David Ortiz, BOS (1st round) ... Nick Johnson, WAS (17th round) ... Jeff Bagwell, HOU (20th round)
Yes, I took Ortiz second overall. Here are the reasons why:
- The first overall pick was Pujols. I took my entire minute and a half debating whether or not to draft Alex Rodriguez. The problems there are that he's a Yankee, which is reason enough to not draft him, but he's also the best player on the board, unquestionably so with Pujols off. I have always considered if I had a 1st or 2nd pick and A-Rod was there for me, I might draft him and then trade him for three players, something like a grouping of someone's 2nd, 5th and 6th rounders, if I could. But I just could not do it.
- I know you're probably thinking, "What about Vladimir Guerrero?" Vlad Guerrero is a great player, but have you ever really watched him? Not his playing, but just him, the way he moves. Something about Vladimir Guerrero makes me uncomfortable, the way he runs and the way he swings and the way he throws. I'm not trying to be offensive or anything, but he always looks like he's one overstride in any of those things away from throwing out his back or rolling his ankle and snapping the thing in half. The other reason I didn't take him is because Vlad Guerrero still has about zero lineup protection, and eventually teams might just give up on giving him much of anything to hit.
- "What about Mark Teixeira?" Mark Teixeira is a good player, a very good player, and he may well put up the same numbers as Ortiz again, more or less. What I worry about there is that Teixeira is a home park wonder, with 30 homers and 88 RBI and a 1.109 OPS at Arlington and 13, 56, .809 on the road. Unlike Blalock he's still a solid hitter on the road, but if he went cold at home for whatever reason, that's a hell of a wasted first round pick.
- I just like David Ortiz.
Johnson is there for total insurance, and I took Bagwell sentimentally, as I didn't need much of anything in the last round, I had no real sleeper to consider, and I wanted to pick Jeff Bagwell one last time. I dropped Bagwell today, because he's done.
2B: Chone Figgins, LAA (3rd round) ... Ian Kinsler, TEX (19th round)
I hate drafting players like Figgins this early, but back to the thing I was saying earlier: I generally punt stolen bases and it winds up hurting me badly. I didn't get a lot of speed but I'm hoping with Figgins and a couple other guys that I at least won't finish in the bottom two or three in steals. He'll hurt my OPS some, but the steals, runs and average will all be good. I hope. I'm now paranoid that finally drafting a Figgins-type player this early will wind up with Figgins gruesomely breaking his leg in May and me having wasted my time.
Kinsler is insurance in case Figgins gets hurt. He's not available at 2B yet but will qualify shortly into the season if he winds up starting, which I assume he will. He'll also be SS eligible all season, which is also not a bad place for me to have backup.
3B: Melvin Mora, BAL (6th round) ... Scott Rolen, STL (7th round) ... Joe Crede, CWS (FA)
Figgins and my starting shortstop are also 3B eligible, but this group here is going to give me options later, I hope. I took Melvin and then took Rolen three picks later. For one thing, if they're both healthy and they both hit, I'm glad to have them both starting every day, one of them in the utility spot. And if I need something desperately later on and they're both healthy and hitting, I can trade one of them maybe.
Crede I picked up for Bagwell because I think Crede has a really good shot at a breakout year. His numbers last year were nothing special, but he hit 22 homers. He also had a really good postseason, but that doesn't really factor into my thinking. His month-by-month splits from '05 do.
April: .304 AVG, .824 OPS, 2 HR, 9 RBI
May: .155 AVG, .496 OPS, 3 HR, 9 RBI
June: .275 AVG, .871 OPS, 6 HR, 17 RBI
July: .304 AVG, .893 OPS, 4 HR, 12 RBI
August: .103 AVG, .320 OPS, 1 HR, 1 RBI (58 AB, this wasn't just he played six games and this happened)
September: .379 AVG, 1.178 OPS, 6 HR, 13 RBI
So Crede produced every month last year except for May and August, which were both dreadfully awful and really dropped an anchor on his total numbers. Sure there's a good chance that he doesn't have the good months and he winds up every month being rather mediocre, but maybe he doesn't have those two awful months, hits .280 or so with 25-30 homers, and is totally useful as either a part of my lineup or as someone to deal later. For a last man on the roster guy, it's worthwhile I think.
SS: Nomar Garciaparra, LAD (8th round)
As I said, Kinsler is my insurance. I didn't really want to do this, but my options for SS at this point were Nomar, Renteria, and then the total scrubs. I mean even Julio Lugo had gone off the board, and I was very interested in him and his 40 steals. I don't think Nomar is going to hit much in Dodger Stadium, but maybe he can hit for a good average and give me 15-20 homers. I mean that beats using Angel Berroa or something. Plus hopefully at 1B his injury chances will go down some, although last year all he did was step out of the batter's box and his groin fell off. I really hope Kinsler is good even if I don't need him at 2B, because taking Nomar scares the hell out of me.
OF: Grady Sizemore, CLE (4th round) ... Jeremy Hermida, FLA (11th round) ... Trot Nixon, BOS (14th round) ... Moises Alou, SF (15th round)
My outfield is horribly weak but not without some potential. Sizemore could be even better, but if he just stays the same I'll be happy with that. Hermida is a serious stud prospect. Nixon and Alou were taken three picks apart like Mora and Rolen, but for a different reason. I'm just hoping one of them has one more big year. I don't think it's a great bet either way, but I really drafted my outfield for shit, to be totally honest. It would be a minor miracle if this group didn't wind up hurting my chances. See, this is where Mora or Rolen or Crede might come in later.
SP: Roy Halladay, TOR (2nd round) ... Rich Harden, OAK (5th round) ... Joe Blanton, OAK (13th round) ... Bruce Chen, BAL (16th round) ... Oliver Perez, PIT (18th round)
I like all of these guys this year. I consider Halladay and Harden both favorites for the AL Cy Young, I think Blanton's K totals will go up, I like Chen to have another good year, and Oliver Perez was a hell of a pitcher two years ago who can rack up some Ks. There are questions about, well, all of them, but I'm actually quite happy with this bunch.
RP: Tom Gordon, PHI (10th round) ... Ryan Dempster, CHC (12th round)
Closers are another place I always drag my feet, and I did it again this year. Dempster makes me queasy, but Gordon will be fine. This isn't the playoffs or anything, it's just Philadelphia. And as we all know, the Phillies don't make the playoffs.
At the end of it all, I wound up with the same damn team I always foolishly draft: Heavy on "ifs," low on numbers from last year. I'm mildly confident but I wouldn't say I'm content with what I've got. Sometimes I take this team and contend for a while before they all peter out or get hurt, but sometimes this team just craps the bed from the get-go.