Thursday, March 23, 2006

THE PASTIME by wikkidpissah

Ain’t drafting a treat? I mean, to the real fantasy fan, fingering the “select” button with all one’s work, hopes & fears at play is probably a more pleasurable experience than claiming championships. Why? A new chance to be right will always beat having been so. It’s part of the human program that’s existed longer than walking on two legs. Eating’s necessary, but hunting’s fun. Nufced.

Maybe it’s cuz the Pastime has been in my heart longest of any sport, perhaps it’s because there are a lot more out-of-nowhere stories than the other sports, could be cuz it’s spring, but baseball is my favorite draft. Let’s see what I’ve come up with that might be of use to you. I’m breaking each position into its studs, duds, sleepers & snoozers. You’re likely familiar with the first three classes – snoozers are players with absolutely no glamour value, high ceilings or general Hubie Brown appeal, but who will ably man a position to your satisfaction without the muss & fuss. Let’s have a look:


STUDS – Al Pujols is probably the least famous superstar in any major sport. The man is soooo sickly competent that he’s off to the best start in baseball history (AVERAGING .330-40-125 his 1st 5 yrs) that nobody ever noticed. It’s just plain wrong that more people know Giambi that Albert…Ryan Howard will be a consensus 1-2 round draft pick in '07 and he’s going 5-10 now. Grab him – he’s Big Papi without the learning curve.
DUDS - I had a team last year in Fanball’s B2P league with Hafner (1B eligible), Sexson & Paul Konerko. The man had 40 homers & never made it into my lineup 'cept when the ChiSox played on Thursdays. And I never felt bad about it. This year, he'll go in as the object of pitching coaches attention & will suffer for it. And, if Jim Thome's back don't hold up, PK drops even more....Barry Bonds isn't the Bay Area steroid user I hate most. This previously-mentioned now-Yankee will be a Lambino in '06.
SLEEPERS - All the knowsters are picking Casey Kotchman (Pocoima Angels) as their sleeper this year, but I got a question: when nobody's picking Sean Casey or Lyle Overbay in the 1st 20 rds this season, why would anyone be excited about someone who aspires to be Sean Casey or Lyle Overbay?!....Conor Jackson (Az) is also mentioned as a more-contact-than-power guy, but he'll be a 25-30 homer guy almost out of the box. If he could only get ahead of Tony Clark at the position. Dan Johnson will have a better '06 than Prince Fielder
SNOOZERS: 1B is the most important position to have a good snoozer. As I mentioned in Monday's draft-theory column, the 25th 1B selected usually puts up better #s than the 3-4th 2B-C-SS. While they're being picked higher than I like for snoozers, Chad Tracy & Aubrey Huff's 1B-3B-OF eligibilities make them big value pix - don't let them get too far into the double-figure rds...Mike Sweeney is easily the best stick going in the 20+ rds. As usual, grab him & pray - he WILL be traded this year & could be huge if he is...Jay Gibbon will have the most invisible good season in baseball this year.


STUDS: Chase Utley will dominate his position like no one else in '06. Thanks to Creekie for putting me on him early last season...Rickie Weeks will be what Utley was in '05.
DUDS: Soriano's too easy, so I'll go for my best sleeper of '05, Jorge Cantu, to fall back to earth. Marcus Giles is also looking like he'll never deliver on his '04 promise. You may think that having Yankees as duds in the first two positions I analyze is the Bostonian in me breaking thru, but Robinson Cano is a bum who wouldn't merit discussion if he wasn't in that lineup.
SLEEPERS: Hopefully, Bagwell & Biggio will realize their Brokeback Baseball feelings for each other and run away to Montana together and give the others a chance. If they do, Chris Burke (Hou) could be your best WW pickup of the season...I put Burke in front of Jose Castillo (Pgh) cuz I had a joke there, but he's been knocking at the door and is my Cantu for '06.
SNOOZERS: Great position for snoozers this year. People think of right-handed sluggers when they get excited about players coming to Fenway, but I think contact hitters thrive even more. Mark Loretta will win the batting title this year. Not bad for a 15+ rounder. Mark Ellis (Oak)not only is multi-positional and a good source of cheap speed but was really tattooing the ball after he came back from injury late in '05...Luis Castillo (Min) is an interesting case. A top 2-3 selection among 2nd sackers last yr, his decrease in steals from 40-50 to 10 last season has him going undrafted this year. A change of scene could work wonders and would be a great choice if you're in the last round and realize you have nooo speed. Is there a steadier baseball player than Placido Polanco (Det)?


STUDS: I don't care if he's got the Swarthmore girls' softball team batting around him, Miggy Cabrera is the second best hitter in baseball (he moves ahead of ARod this year) and, if you pass on him at any point after the Big Four, you're an idiot. Nufced...David Wright is Scott Rolen with speed, Scott Rolen is David Wright on speed. Rolen is my pick for bargain (7-9th rd) of the year.
DUDS: This is a bad year for Duds, Sleepers & Snoozers at this position. Almost every middle-of-the-line 3b (and there's about a dozen) could sizzle or fizzle this year & I can't choose. Plus, Rolen's such a value this year I just can't imagine picking any of them over him. Since it would be chickenshit not to pick one, Morgan Ensberg's '04 was soooo bad that his excellent '05 doesn't yet have me convinced.
SLEEPERS: Edwin Encarnacion has nice power but a huuuge hole in his swing & is the Reds' Wily Mo for this season & Ryan Zimmerman is being rushed way too quickly and is the most overrated rookie so far. That's about it on prospects, so my sleeper will be the immensely frustrating Dallas McPherson who we and the Angels of West Covina may have given up on too quickly.
SNOOZERS: Odd to put a second year player who reminds me of George Brett (the best unjuiced hitter of the last quarter century) up as a Snoozer pick, but Garrett Atkins (Col) will make a great safety pick at the position. Could even challenge for the NL batting title.


STUDS: I am Fantasy Baseball's biggest fan of Miguel Tejada, as anyone who read one of my many "Miggy's jiggy & I'm not wiggy, ask Ziggy" post on Fanball last season. He was my first round pick in every draft he was available (even @ #1) last year. At the All-Star break, I was floating on the waterwings of my special genius. Then, the pool broke (damn above-grounders!). Dunno what happened to the O's in the 2nd half, but there was such intense malaise that you'd swear they were being managed by vintage 1979 Jimmy Carter. Do you realize that Michael Young produced 205 runs last year. Just checkin'...Jhonny Peralta scares me a little, but the speed with which the Indians moved him to 3rd in the batting order once he started hitting & how he thrived once they did was the best surprise of last season.
DUDS: Felipe Lopez comes back to earth bigtime this season - wouldnt take him in the 20th. Got a feeling Clint Barmes will do the same...Are Bobby Crosby & Khalil Greene the same person? They have the same skill set, faith of their teams and, at best, only one of them ever seems to be playing (due to injury) at any one time. If anyone has actually seen them together in one place, let me know.
SLEEPERS: JJHardy (Mil) - just a feeling. Dont like Adams, Hill, RCedeno, IKinsler or any other rookie middle infielders AT ALL! Maybe Seattle's JLo, but I just found out Yahoo has him eligible only at 2b for some reason. He came up with phenom written all over him & may be worth giving a 2nd chance - especially if he picks that SS eligibility back up.
SNOOZERS: Carlos Guillen. Suck it, Creekie!!


STUDS: CANNOT recommend to anyone another 1st half from VMart like last year, so Joe Mauer is my only unqualified stud at the position. Only player I'm over-drafting this year...IRod ain't giving up yet, so give up on him at your own risk. Second-best value pick of the season.
DUDS: National League catchers. All of 'em.
SLEEPERS: Everybody's picking Josh Willingham but, having been one of the first to give him out off watching him play here in Albuquerque, I gotta halfway back off him. I think he'll be fine eventually, but he's got a big, wild swing. My enthusiasm about him was because I thought he'd win a job in the Marlins' putrid outfield & have the Inge factor going for him there. Apparently, though, he's won the catching job. Dunno if he can both manage learning the position at the major league level & maintain control of that swing. Buyer beware!
SNOOZER: Answer me this - why is everyone so excited about Cano cuz he's in the awesome Spankee lineup, but downgrading Jorge Posada when he's been a vital part of it for years. I know he's older than Regis but, come on.

STUDS: First off, since he's also OF eligible, go back and read my comment on Miggy Cabrera again, you stupid fuck...Carl Crawford is still only 24 years old. I predicted that he would be the biggest star in baseball last year. I am not predicting that for '06, but still like him to improve...Bobby Abreu is my favorite hitter. Not since Wade Boggs has there been a player who enjoyed hitting with two strikes as much as he. Seems like he WANTS to get to the edge before taking it seriously. Of course, he's getting to the age that, if his swing slows AT ALL, that tendency could put him in big trouble...Speaking of the insane, ManRam has been knocking in virtually a run a game for a decade. Nobody else has done that better in the 50 years I've been on this planet. He & Papi have now passed Mantle & Maris and Mays & McCovey as the most exciting 1-2 punch since Ruth & Gehrig...Lance Berkman is a pure stick who got waylayed a little by injury last season. There are a lot worse batters being drafted waaay ahead of him. Smarten up...Hideki started '05 like he was about to join the stratosphere but leveled off. I'm giving him one more chance...Ichiro comes back - except the steals...I'm still not sure about Grady Sizemore, but I'll be damned if I'll have the next 30-30 man happen without having mentioned him.
DUDS: No real duds in the outfield this year, but a couple worth mentioning. JayBay is being drafted in the 1st round by some this year. That's a mistake...I was going to announce that this is the year that Sheff goes bad, but he's sinking like a stone in avg draft position, so i guess you already know that. Never liked Andruw, never will.
SLEEPERS: I am flat freaking amazed that Jeff Francoeur is lasting to round 10 in many drafts. My boy Frenchy is Vlad Guerrero in the Montreal years, kids, simple as that...he's not really a sleeper because he was drafted pretty high last but, though Vernon Wells was overrated last year, he's underrated for '06 & the reason for both is the same. BEWARE when a hitter (who's not Miggy Cabrera) becomes the lone good hitter in a lineup. Pitchers can and do save their best stuff for that target player in those situations. When they don't have to worry about exhausting themselves for the rest of the order, they can pitch to one player at closer velocity without consequence. Mike Sweeney has been suffering this for years in the KC lineup & this was Wells' situation last year - easy to pitch to when Hillenbrand & Rios are hitting around him. Conversely, when a hitter returns to having some support he should be upgraded. Vern is a 3rd rd hitter who you can get in the 7th. Yum!...I didn't like the way Jeremy Hermida looked when he came up last year, but a look as his minor-league numbers convince me he was pressing and will do very nicely this season. His OBP & speed should take some of the pressure off my Miggy (maybe I'm just gay for the name Miggy) in the Marlin lineup.
SNOOZERS: Every year, Luis Gonzales (Az) puts up roughly the same excellent stats & each year he sinks further in draft position. Cracks me up! Gonzo is the very definition of the Snoozer. Same with Jim Edmonds...Maggs is being verrry overlooked this year...Brady Clark is virtually the same player as Coco Crisp. Why are they being drafted well over a hundred spots apart?

STUDS: Johan, of course. But remember - I don't believe in taking a starter in the 1st three rounds. So, forget Johan...Chris Carpenter was on every freakin team I had last year. I had a VERY good year last year...Jake Peavy & Roy Halladay are players you should salivate over should they last to the afore-referred fourth round...Rich Harden's shit is as filthy as Johan's - remember I said that...Jason Schmidt is nowhere near done...Josh Beckett reminds me of the Curt Schilling of the '90's - a huge talent who loooves the spotlight but hasn't the focus to find the stratosphere. Who better to mentor him then than Curt Schilling?
DUDS: Pedro has BMS - Baseball Munchhausen Syndrome. He LIKES having an injury situation goin on from which to frustrate the living bejeesus out of his owners for weeks on end & then rescue your opinion of him with 2-3 starts where he pitches as only Pedro can, then rinse & repeat. The toe gives him the perfect excuse for one of those years...I don't really have anything against Roy Oswalt. I just got a feeling that everybody on the Astros but Berkman is gonna suck this year...Dontrelle Willis is the Marlin who suffers most from the roster dump. He doesn't have the makeup to survive the pressure of having to shut out the opposition game after game....All fat pitchers...By the way, Carlos Zambrano is the Andruw of pitchers.
SLEEPERS: Ervin Santana is my SLEEPER OF THE YEAR. He has the same filthy stuff, filthy attitude & filthy sneer as the young Pedro. That pays off in spades for him in '06.....I really should have put John Patterson in the Studs section off his promising '05, but it's only in the last couple of days that word of his new changeup has me convinced this kid could be the Chris Carpenter for this season...the Baltimore Orioles pitching staff - add the best pitching coach in baseball history to some of the sickest ballthrowers in the game & summin's GOTTA happen.
SNOOZERS: Don't like snoozers as starting pitchers. They're all perfectly competent at everything but striking people out. You know who they are. If strikeouts are fascist, then I'm Benito Mussolini. Nufced.

STUDS: Mo fo sho, mofo....Closers are, by nature, studs so it's harder to refine this category....Huston Street enters the Pantheon this year...BJRyan dont miss a beat...Nate, Waggs, several Corderos all deliver the goods. Forget the talk of lost velocity - Bobby Jenks is a bring-the-women-inside monster.
DUDS: Brad Lidge has the very best stuff in baseball. I say his '05 post-season failures mess up his head...this is the year KRod's arm blows up & we lose him for a year-and-a-half...Brian Fuentes returns to pre-'05 levels of obscurity very quickly.
SLEEPERS: Haven't seen him pitch, but I hear Chris Ray has all the ingredients...the most ungodly pitches i saw from a young pitcher last season were thrown by new Royals' closer Ambiorix Burgos. He don't know where they're going, though...Bobby Cox should be smart enough to put Joey Devine into the closer role sooner rather than later. Grab him off the WW the very second you hear he might be thinking of doing that. You're welcome.
SNOOZERS: Again, snoozers don't close. So my snoozers will be every setup man whose due for a shot.

There you go. One last piece of advise - do all your studying up as you should before any draft, but then dont read anything the last coupla days before. Gotta let the head process information into knowledge. Only then can one turn knowledge into wisdom. Play hard -

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now see, how hard was that? I send you an e mail looking for draft tips and you tell me to join a mock draft.

Better late than never I suppose.
Henry Snippett