First Dive into “Live” Baseball Drafting

 

 


So there I was yesterday staring at the ball field beyond my laptop screen and wondering what the day will bring. I am I know I will see some great Rays baseball, but I also had a 3 pm “live draft on ESPN.com for the newly formed MLBloggers League. I man in the last week people in the league have been sending up all sorts of smoke signals that they ” did not know how to play”, or that they ” Were there just for fun. Well, I am not sure about the first and last part having much reality considering the first few draft rounds of the draft.

 

I mean I do have a few teams on ESPN.com, and I do play Fantasy games on there year round, but this is the first time I have participated in a “live” draft and a league setting. I usually go it alone, except for Fantasy Football, which I won my division for the fifth year in a row.  But I was note if I was up for the unsettling reality that the guy on my board might be picked right before me, and I would have less than 2 minutes to regroup and find another way to get it done.  So as I was sipping a cold Dr Pepper at the Rays complex in Port Charlotte, Florida waiting for the league’s time to come up, I watched the Rays versus the Pittsburgh Pirates game from a shady area near the Rays offices in right field.

 
 

I wanted to sit at the Miller Lite Tiki Bar, but decided that I might have too many armchair managers if I tried to even involve one person in my decision process. So I sat out by the Kid’s area among the young moms and their kids rambling around me like the Indians to Custer. I even had a few Rays officials strolling back to the office and locker rooms come on over and tell me a few sleepers picks they had on their minds. I have to be honest, I am using one of them tomorrow when the players come off waivers. I will explain it more a bit later in the blog.

 

So I wander on into the chat room segment of the draft and do my usual run around the room and see what the climate was like. Believe me, these people were set for a winner takes all poker challenge and no one really let their hand be known ahead of time. I mean I had two different lists of the top 4 guys for my selection next to me ready for the first pick. I was going for power ans steals in my offense, and wins and strikeouts on my pitching staff. I was getting more and more anxious as people were beginnig to bluff who they might want…or might be willing to trade for in the daily doings of the draft.


 

 
First Round
 

I mean we had the youngest member of our league picking first in Elizabeth of The Future Sox Blog. And considering we had 14 members in our two divisions of the league, I was too upset getting the eighth slot to start my draft. So as it gets hit the 3 pm hour, Elizabeth of course takes the top player on the board, Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins. But then we had the first pick of the day that mystified me, not because of the pick, but it was only the second pick of the draft. Mets Main Man decided to take Phillies starter Cole Hamels with the first selection. I am not sure if that was a wise decision, but if he goes and wins 20 games………..I will be the first to admire that pick.  Julia of “Julia’s Rants” picked Red Sox Kevin Youkilis with her pick, but that was not a huge shocker to anyone in the room.  the only thing that worried me was why she did not get Dustin Pedroia, who by far the best second baseman on the board.

 
 


My first selection was all power. Ryan Braun of the Brewers had a great second half, and I have the feeling he is now feeling more secure in his MLB skin. He is also having a great World Baseball Classic tourney, so he was a no brainer for me. The  we had the first controversy of the day. “Braves World” decided to mess with “Team Clemson” by drafting Grady Sizemore. I could feel the tension through the computer screen knowing that “Team Clemson” missed it by one draft spot of getting her man. But Melissa of “Team Clemson” rebounded nicely and acquired Dustin Pedroia with her first pick. That was actually one of the guys that I thought would never fall beyond the first 8 picks. Maybe people are believing that MLB2009 commercial.

 
 


The next two draftees went toward their team alliances when Jen, from “Team Diatribe” stayed true to her White Sox roots and took Alexi Ramirez, who will be getting a bulk of the time at shortstop in 2009. Then “How Bout Them Orangebirds” took his hometown hero, Nick Markakis with his first round pick. Was is interesting about Orangebird is the fact he dad was helping him in the selection process. I only mention this because he proudly admitted it in the chat room that he dad was awesome at Fantasy Baseball. So he might be the guy to watch today.

 

 

 


 

Second Round:

 
 
So we meander on to the second round and my first guy I was secretly wanting comes off the board when with the first pick of the round, “The Metsblog of Raleigh” take Tiger Miguel Cabrera. then Orangebird come rolling out of left field with a pick of catcher Matt Wieters. I am not sure if he is going to be with the big club come April, but for future consideration, and a possible chance at the Rookie of the Year honors, I think we might see him by May.  Then “Team Diatribe” get my third guy I coveted on my list when she stole Evan Longoria from me. I do not have to say anything else here do I Jenn?  With my second pick I took the guy who I respect and can call my friend, Josh Hamilton. There is no way I was going to have a team without him on my roster………..period.
 
 
 
The second round rolled along with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Manny Ramirez falling off the board. Then in a wild shocker, “Team Future Sox Blog” took Orlando Hudson of the L A Dodgers with her second pick.  I think it was a gutsy move, but truly , I do not see it as a huge plus right now, but the year has not even started yet. What I am seeing in this first two rounds is that most people have followed the common thread of getting the best possible athlete and player for the squads. Some of the picks might be out there, but in the end, it is going to be fun. that being said, I am going to just hit the third round, then I am going to highlight my picks and some insight into the MLBloggers League draft.

 

 
                        
 

Third Round
 
 
The first closer to come off the board is  a no-brainer, but “Bob’s Boston Green Sox” picked him with the fifth pick of the third round. Considering the highly motivated Red Sox bloggers in this league, that might have been a very wise decision to get him off the board early.  My pick was originally going to be Roy Halladay, but he was snatched up just prior to my pick by “Austin James Dreamers”. This would not be the first time today I thought he had a spy over my shoulder picking right before me. I instead took my second pitcher on the board, Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres. This team might not a huge boatload of wins this year, but Peavy will be like Scott Kazmir did for the last three years when the Rays were not winning. He is just going to go out there and pitch and hope his offense and defense can get him the wins.
 
 
 

I ponder back and forth if I should pick Cleveland ace Cliff Lee or Peavy. But considering the power that is coming to light in the American League Central, I decided that the National League West might be more compatible for wins this year.  That being said, two picks later team alliance again came to light as “Team Clemson” took Cliff Lee, and “Team Diatribe” put her faith in a full recovery for Carlos Quentin of the White Sox. Both are solid picks and should do great for them. The last pick of the third round did make me scratch my head. Joe Mauer of the Twins is going for a second opinion now about his back pain after having his off season operation on his kidneys. I am not seeing this as a positive reinforcement to take him so early in the draft. But, if he comes back soon ” The Metsblog of Raleigh” might have a beautiful sleeper pick.

 


 
 
Fourth Round:   Arizona Diamondback Starting Pitcher Dan Haren.
         Power pitcher who also gets a lot of strikeouts and limited walks 

Fifth Round:      Tampa Bay Rays Left Fielder Carl Crawford
          Increasing power and steals and triples are a bonus

Sixth Round:      Seattle Mariner Starting Pitcher Felix Hernandez
          He is power all day long, and his walks are decreasing finally. 

Seventh Round: Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol
          I am banking on him getting it done with a low Opponents B.A.

Eighth Round:    Baltimore Orioles 1B/3B/DH Aubrey Huff
          I think this one might have upset Orangebird a bit. Power and great numbers throughout his MLB career.

Ninth Round:     Los Angeles Angels closer Brian Fuentes
          First he is a leftie, plus a closer……….double whammy on hitters.

Tenth Round:      Chicago White Sox DH Jim Thome
          I always see power number from Thome, plus he is in a good lineup to see pitches every at bat. You can not walk him to get past any good hitters.

11th Round:         Tampa Bay Rays Left Fielder/ DH  Pat Burrell
         I just think he is the real deal. I also got a Trade Request to give him up for Josh Willingham…….Please…………
 
12th Round         Colorado Rockies  Outfielder Brad Hawpe
                            25 Homers, 85 RBI, .283 average

13th Round:           Florida Marlins Starting Pitcher  Ricky Nolasco
                             15 wins, 182 strikeouts, 1.10 WHIP

14th Round:           Cleveland Indians Shortstop Jhonny Peralta
                              23 homers, 83 RBIs and 104 runs scored last year

15th Round:           Detroit Tigers catcher Brandon Inge
                             I consider this one of my sleepers. He is due for another breakout year.

16th Round:          Colorado Rockies 1st Baseman Todd Helton
                            He might be hitting the twilight of his career, but he can still hit the ball. 

17th Round:          Milwaukee Brewer 2nd Baseman Rickie Weeks
                             I always thought the Rays should have drafted him. He is about to have a breakout year in 2009…………..Sleeper.

18th Round:          Tampa Bay Rays Set-up Man Jason Isringhausen
                           The guy has 283 saves and he fell to the 18th round. He pitched great in front of me why I was drafting him yesterday.  Nydol Sleeper Pick.

19th Round:         Tampa Bay Rays Reliever J P Howell
                            I love watching this guy pitch. He also got plugged by a Curtis Granderson B P ball and has not pitched since in the WBC.
 

20th Round:         Detroit Tigers Starting Pitcher Armando Gallerraga
                           Another sleeper. Had 13 wins and 126 strikeouts last year.
 
 
Rest of the picks:

Kahili Greene, SS, St Louis Cardinals. Change a scenery will do him good also at the plate. Could ne a light SLEEPER.

Jason Giambi, DH Oakland A’s.    I got him in the 22nd round. He might not a great fielder, but 32 homer and 96 RBI’s for the 22nd round is a STEAL.

Jeff Niemann, SP Tampa Bay Rays.   I might be going out on a limb, but I am picking him to be the winner of the fifth rotation spot for the Rays in 2009.

Bronson Arroyo, SP, Cincinnati Reds.    I am still shaking my head as to why he fell to the 24th round, but I am predicting a come back year.

Willy Aybar, Utility Guru, Tampa Bay Rays. To me he is the best super utility guy in the league. He hit 10 homers and 33 RBI in less than 330 at bats.

Frankiln Gutierrez, OF, Seattle Mariners.    Another great young outfielder that was traded in the off season and maybe people forgot where he went.

Aaron Heilman, RP, Chicago Cubs.  I have had this guy on my teams for three years and he has always given me good numbers. Stabilizing career, no big highs or lows.

Ryan Church, OF ,Washington Nationals.    He was the best available player, but 12 homers and 49 RBI’s was during an injury plagued season.

Edwin Jackson, SP, Detroit Tigers.     I have made no secret I am a “Action Jackson” fan. His 14 wins in 2009 was not a fluke… Mild SLEEPER.

David Purcey, SP, Toronto Blue Jays.   With the flux in the Blue Jay rotation this guy will be the number 3 guy, and no one knows him. The Rays faced him twice last year and he held them to a .196 batting average…MAJOR SLEEPER.
 

 
 
My last eight picks after that were to fill my roster and most will not even start the season on my team. When the waiver period ends tomorrow I am going to go on a hunt for a few hidden gems. I know of a few that were not picked, including one pitcher who is coming off an injury-filled 2009, but rumors are he is throwing harder than  he did in 2007 when he was totally healthy. I am not going to tell you his name, because you will then just go out and scam him for yourselves. But he was a starting 5 pitcher for a division leading team. That is all I will give you.
 

 
Now come the time where people are going to evaluate and re-evaluate their teams in the next few days and trades will be passed along by the league members. I only have three concerns, and they are not huge ones with my squad. I have gotten a few trade requests, but I have declined both of them so far. I have designated my three “keepers“, or players I want to retain again in 2010. If you really must know, they are pitcher Jake Peavy , outfielder Josh Hamilton, and Carl Crawford. I did get a bit of a surprise today when I went into the message boards on the league site. So far I have 3 votes as the Draft Champion. The total votes are only up to 6 right now, and that could change, but I am happy with my draft and only missed out on maybe 4 guys I wanted.
 

 
I do have to admit, sitting in the shade with the Rays baseball game going on right beyond me made me a bit flustered and nervous at time, but I was able to track the outs and also do my draft without only one incident. My last two picks were fast picks because my touch pad on my laptop began to act funny and did not work correctly. So I just drafted whoever was up on my draft board in the left side of the page. They are drops anyways, so it was no biggie. Well, I hope everyone else had fun. Now it is time to read just and fine tune all our rosters and look forward to the 22 match ups during the season. In advance, everyone I wish you luck, great waiver pick-ups and no crying in baseball.  It is almost time to PLAY BALL!!!!

 

 

 

Photo credits for today’s blog: 1) WelcometotheWitze’sWorld@Flickr.com

                                                 2) Edgarlin@Flickr.com

                                                 3) www.Bleacherreport.com

                                                 4) www.Brunosdraftkits.com

                                                 5) www.Rotolabs.com

 

 

 
 

20 Comments

I was talking about this draft with Julia earier. Looks like you guys are up for a fierce “friendly” season! Oh, and as someone who got mocked last year when I picked Dustin Pedroia in the first round of my draft – you never know who’s gonna come through for you! And you’re right can’t have a team without Hamilton! Good Luck!
Canuck

I am not worried, like I said, I have two sleeper picks coming off waivers tomorrow that no one even thought about drafting since they were not on the top 200. But he was a number 3 starter for his team last year, so he does have talent and ability. And he used to be a member of the Yankees staff years ago and people loved him then……….enough clues for now.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Rays – you have NO idea who intimidated and confused I was by that whole draft! I don’t even have this whole wavier things figured out AND within an hour of the draft I had trade requests! Ugh! This is such a learning curve for me! My goal – NOT TO COME IN LAST!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Nice work Rays. If anyone could break down a draft and a fantasy draft at that it was you! If I had time to be rocking a draft I would have signed up but there was no way I could do a good job so I’ll just have to watch the MLB pros go at it and read the updates! I think Hawpe and Helton will do right by you.
Tom
http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com

Just think about 3 things before you trade with someone.

1)Think what that player missing from you roster will do to your team.
2) Is the other player a upgrade on my current roster or an even trade.
3) Is that enough value or players for this one guy, plau does the player coming to my team fit in well with my team set-up (Power, Pitching, Stolen bases, WHIP).

After that it is just what you mind things is right. Like I said, I had someone thinking I would trade Pat Burrell for Josh Willingham. Burrell is a stud, but Willingham is fighting to even have a job with the Nationals in the outfield.

No brainer……………….tossed the trade into the wind.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I think anytime you can get a guy who lead the league in batting average, you go for it.
His injuries last year might not be an indication of his age, but I did have that in the back of my mind. But I took him based on a hunch he is due to have a great year. Brad Hawpe, I have liked him since I came out to Denver the last time the Rays played the Rockies.

I am not a draft guru, but I do take into account a bit more than surface stats sometimes. I still have a few cards to play before Opening Day

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I would have loved to have got in that pool, but I’m in an intense one on CBS that has being going on before the internet, believe it or not!! I wasn’t in the pool then, but I’ve heard stories. I love fantasy baseball, except for the fact that I get alligences to players that I normally would want to fail. Last year Bobby Abreu was tough to have on my team because the Jays battled the Yankees for third spot in the division throughout the year. Its good now that he is on the Angels. That was a big part of me keeping him!
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Best of luck to ya, RR! My drafts are at the end of the month so I know how you feel. Hope to see Brad Hawpe find his stroke again. Sad to see a guy like that fall off so quickly.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Hey Homer,
Yeah, I am going to try and do the three I have this year, but I am not sure how it will turn out. I did go and get my two guys this morning I was hiding on the waiver wire. They are: Jose Contreras, the White Sox pitcher who is coming back from an injury and pitched great the other day in Arizona. The toher is a former Tiger who fell out with a bad performance last year, but he has already hit 6 homers this spring……Craib Monroe, now with Pittsburgh.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

How do you guys like Pat the Bat so far down there?

http://southbroadst.mlblogs.com/

Yeah Jeff,
It was fun most of all. But I do know what I will not do next time. When I think about a guy, I will not hesitate after the 10th round now.

Guys like that make these drafts fun tho. I mean who would have thought you would find a 30-homer guy in the 22nd round. Or a pitcher who threw a no hitter and 15 wins in the 24th round.

I found a few steals, and I made sure to take them when I could.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

He left my voicemail message on my cellphone at Fan Fest. I actually like the guy more for what he will do for us off the field too. His celebrity as a cook and as a dog lover will go far down here in a region that loves both a lot.

No one else on the team cooks or has a known passion in the kitchen. That will be a huge charity offering at some point. Also the local ASPCA can always use a friend in their local effort to help animals. I also got to pet Elvis, and he did not seem to mind I rooted against his master in October.

He will be a great player to watch all year long. I am so curious to see how the reaction is April 3rd and 4th in Philly for his first time back home.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I must not have got any good players, cause I wasn’t mentioned in your blog. lol jk I had a blast. I can’t wait to see how we all do.

~ King of Cali
http://kingofcali.mlblogs.com/

Sometimes it is great to run under the radar. You got some of the main pieces I wanted, but we all know we can’t have every guy we cherish.
I did not mention you and a few others in the league to not give out any false sense of predictability here. I drafted a certain way until the 15th round then it went free for all. I am in it to win it at a certain level because I have a bad case of competitive spirit, but I am slso not going to die if I sail to the bottom of it all.

Fun, pure fun is what I love about it all……………hopefully.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I think the fans in Philly will give him an amazing welcome. He was really loved there. I can’t see them doing anything less, unless he blasts a grand slam on his first at bat…then they have to hate him for a customary few minutes. He did take a full page ad to thank the fans in Philly for all their support during his years there. He’s a really classy guy. Glad he’s a Ray now.
Canuck

He actually did it in two daily offering of fish wraps up in Philly.
I have lauded this signing since the first day, and I will be the first person to stand at the home Opener and cheer for him.

We are luck to have him as a player and as a human being on this squad. I think he will do wonders with the chemistry and the overall feel of the young squad. 20 days until the glove come out for real…………………

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I picked up Kendall to compensate… I didn’t want Cabrera, trade??
http://thewrightway.mlblogs.com/

Let me think about it for a day.

I might just take you up on it.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

My plan was to get Pedroia, then Johan, so thank Team Clemson for not getting Cabrera.

http://thewrightway.mlblogs.com/

I was not going to give up a big bat like Braun and Niemann for Miguel Cabrera and a guy I would have put on the waiver wire the next day.
I know the worth of both those guys. One will hit 30 plus homers, and the other will be a reliver out of the Bullpen for the Rays.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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