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.
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.
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.
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.
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