Fantasy Baseball

I had my annual fantasy draft last night and I really only bothered to do about 20 minutes of research, not because I’m cocky, but rather because I am always doing baseball research. I already have a pretty clear idea of what I think each player will do in 2008. So my only real fantasy research is comparing the average draft position of a player with where I think they deserve to be drafted. The ones that are being drafted “too low,” I take note of.

Here is the list I compiled before the draft of players I like (players I subsequently was able to draft are in bold):

Catcher:

Jorge Posada (A case where everyone knows he is bound for regression, so he slips more than he should)
Bengie Molina (Much better numbers than people realize)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Catcher eligible and should be a force this year, at first or catcher)

1st Base:

Adrian Gonzalez
Carlos Pena (A top 15 fantasy peformer last season in pretty much every league)
James Loney (Despite having Torre at the helm, due to breakout)
Jason Giambi

2nd Base:

Brandon Phillips (I got him after the draft as a FA last year – trust me, he does it all)
Placido Polanco (Though I’m not a Polanco fan, his batting average and runs scored will be solid)
Aaron Hill (Decent numbers across the board last year and improving)
Mark Ellis (Goes undrafted a lot despite being a decent option)

Shortstop:

JJ Hardy
Johnny Peralta (Probably my favorite of the group, still improving after a poor 2006)
Khalil Greene

3rd Base:

Chipper Jones (Often overlooked elite performer)
Garret Atkins
Evan Longoria (Yes, I’m buying into the hype on this one, even if he starts in the minors)

Outfield:

Matt Holliday
Carlos Lee
Curtis Granderson (Does it all)
Magglio Ordonez (See Posada, Jorge)
Bobby Abreu (His numbers were better last year than people realize and he was out of shape)
Eric Byrnes
Nick Markakis (My favorite pick, he’s going to be a force and you can get him 5th round and later)
Brad Hawpe (Often overlooked Coors hitter)
Hideki Matsui
Jeff Francouer
Mike Cameron (Once back from suspension, he puts up numbers across the board)

Starting Pitchers:

Jake Peavy
Brandon Webb
C.C Sabathia (I have mixed feelings on this one – he pitched so many innings last year – thus I went with Webb)
John Lackey
Dan Haren
John Smoltz
Aaron Harang (Often overlooked and the Reds should be improved, too)
Javier Vazquez (My favorite pick – look at his numbers. He really has become close to what the Yankees thought they were getting back in the day. Too bad the ’04 ALCS happened.)
James Shields
Brad Penny
Chad Billingsley
Ted Lilly
Tim Hudson

Relief Pitchers:

Rafael Betancourt (How long until he’s a closer?)
Joakim Soria
Huston Street (Should be healthy)
Rafael Soriano
Brian Wilson (Was ’07 a fluke? In SF he’ll get the opportunity)

I also took the two young Royals (Gordon and Butler) hoping one of them pans out and Carlos Marmol, who I expect to hold down the closer role in Chicago.

I drafted 4th in the first round, and hoped to get either A-Rod (yeah, right), Hanley Ramirez (unlikely), or David Wright (quite possible). Well, Wright went 2nd, and all three were gone when I came up. So it came down to Pujols’ elbow (um, no), Rollins (in my mind coming off a career year), Holliday (statistically the best, but I know I can get other OFs), or Reyes (who I’ve never been a huge fan of). Well I went with Reyes, as I think he is the one with the best chance to have a better season this year than last. Plus, I didn’t really love the shortstop group this year.

I would have liked to have grabbed at least one Yankee (Hughes?), but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. But Ian Kennedy, I’m watching you. You’ll also notice I took no Red Sox. For some reason, Boston players don’t fare very well in my projection system. For example, I project David Ortiz to hit less than .200, with a couple pulled hamstrings, and a couple hundred visits to the clubhouse buffet. Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling aren’t far behind.

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