So there are a bunch of us who play in this long-running keeper league, 14 teams, 34 slots, 5x5 of course. I've been a sole owner from the beginning but this year I decided to partner up with my lawyer friend from New York (legal issues keep his real name out of this; we'll refer to him as "Zack"). Saturday we got together for
seven hours of absolute hell the draft and below I'll discuss what transpired. (I know, I know, a draft out of context isn't the greatest story to tell, but that's what you're getting today. At least I know my peeps will read it. Come on, get happy.)
Our keepers going in: Brian Fuentes (cost us our seventh-round pick), Shane Victorino (9), Ubaldo Jimenez (16), Coco Crisp (17), Chris Carpenter (20), Adam Jones (25), Cliff Lee (29), Chris Iannetta (31), Matt Wieters (32; it's a two-catcher league). No one selected in the Top 70 overall can be kept, year to year.
Round 1: Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, David Wright and Grady Sizemore fell in front of us. Hanley Ramirez is already gone as a keeper, somewhere. We would have liked one of the Mets (Zack's transplanted from New England, the Mets are his mistress), but Miguel Cabrera's monster second half sings a siren song that's hard to ignore. Done. We considered Ryan Howard for a moment, but not that seriously.
Round 2: Round opens with Alfonso Soriano (fine), C.C. Sabathia (fine), Carlos Lee and B.J. Upton (our target). It's a little too early to take a pitcher (for our taste) so the hell with it, let's toss the dice: Alex Rodriguez. Interestingly, we took the same 1-2 start (Cabrera/Rodriguez) that Gene McCaffrey did at the NFBC.
Round 3: A top-flight am would be nice here but we miss out on all of them, with Brandon Webb falling three picks in front of us. We probably need a heavy power source more than the profile that Curtis Granderson brings, but I know a .295-130-25-80-30 season is within his reach now that he's improved against lefties. Grandy it is.
Round 4: We hate paying a premium for closers, but in this league the rules get thrown out, everyone attacks the stat aggressively (with early picks or keeper slots) and to even think about winning you need three solid save options through the year. Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, Joakim Soria (keeper), and Brad Lidge (keeper) are off the board when we step up to the plate here, and with that, we go for Francisco Rodriguez. To further illustrate the closer marketplace here, consider that Trevor Hoffman went in the fifth round, Jason Motte went in the seventh and Huston Street (whee, whee, whee) went in the eighth.
Round 5: We've got nothing in the middle and Dan Uggla is sitting all alone on our 2B sheet (we almost took him over K-Rod the previous pass). Uggla might be a three-category guy, but we won't miss his speed and at least he goes heavy with the stats he does provide.
Round 6: We're still looking for a legitimate ace at the front of our staff (Webb would have been nice), but there's no obvious answer from the names remaining. A.J. Burnett scares me for 500 different reasons, Erik Bedard comes with his own fleas, Derek Lowe isn't dominant enough. Eventually it comes down to Ricky Nolasco versus Josh Johnson, and that nasty Nolasco whip breaks the tie. It's an expectant price, but Nolasco's upside intrigued us the most.
Round 8: No pick in Round 7 (we kept Fuentes, who can't get anyone out this month). The perennially underrated Lowe is still sitting there when we get back to the podium, and it's nice to slot him somewhere in the middle of our rotation, not at the front. Then again, does anyone really get excited to draft Derek Lowe?
Round 9: A third closer makes sense here and it comes down to Brandon Lyon, Kevin Gregg or Joey Devine. Lyon's path to the job looks the clearest but he's the worst pitcher of the three; Devine has the highest upside but he's nicked up; Gregg might have a leg up on Carlos Marmol but everyone knows how ridiculous Marmol's ceiling is. I don't buy into Lyon's competition in Detroit (I refuse to take Fernando Rodney seriously), and I push for Lyon. We take him, about 48 hours before Monday's meltdown (four homers allowed to the Red Sox), but these games don't count, right?
Round 10: Devine and Gregg are still on the board, and again, this is a currency position. Devine's upside breaks the tie.
Round 11: Zack has always been a Khalil Greene fan, and I agree there's a lot to like here. The .802 career OPS on the road (goodbye Petco), the 27 homers and 97 RBIs he posted two years ago, his card-carrying membership in the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars. We've played chicken at shortstop long enough, time to plug someone in.
Round 12: We were targeting someone from the Mets rotation here, feeling the park will play big and you can get a reasonable value on their less-sexy guys. Surprisingly, John Maine (Round 9) and Mike Pelfrey (Round 11) were already gone, so we took the best leftover in Oliver Perez.
Round 13: My teams always seem to be short in the power department, so the reliable 25-85 that Adam LaRoche provides makes sense here. But when another owner has some immediate Pablo Sandoval remorse (he doesn't qualify at catcher in our rules), we quickly swap LaRoche for Sandy.
Round 14: For years and years I hated Mark Buehrle, avoided him like the plague, called for his demise. Now, it's a case of "if you can't beat him, join him." Gotta give some props to anyone who can throw 200-plus innings for eight straight seasons, and his ERA has been sub-4 in six of those years. We don't need him to be great for our rotation; it's really just a depth pick. Inadvertently, this selection wound up frosting one of our competitors who (unbeknownst to us) brought a Buehrle bobblehead to the draft. Zack is a trading legend in our league, so don't expect us to own Buehrle all year.
Round 15: Maybe we don't need another Crisp type in Fred Lewis, but we'll gather value now and worry about balance later. We get a second pick in this round and play the agnostic card, taking forever-untrustable Jeremy Hermida. I suppose his upside is 30 homers, and we still need power.
Round 16: Is this really where we took Cristian Guzman? Maybe it's time to wrap this post up. Zack gets no blame, I pushed for it.
Speed Round for the rest of our picks:
Round 17: Kept Crisp at this price. Just get him, you'll be happy.
Round 18: Follow the money and talk yourself into Kenshin Kawakami.
Round 19: Joe Crede gets a good laugh from the room, which notes that I killed him in the Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball Magazine (it's no fun drafting when half the room knows exactly how you feel about every player). We're still chasing for a possible 25 homers.
Round 20: Kept Carpenter, who's been surprisingly good this spring.
Round 21: I read somewhere that Mark Ellis has 15-15 upside. Okay, so I wrote it, doesn't make it any less true. We had a second pick here and decided to vulture Kerry Wood with Jensen Lewis (the way Lewis finished last year, I would have spent that Wood money somewhere else, Cleveland).
Round 22: I'm a Ty Wigginton apologist, not that I see where the at-bats will come from.
Round 23: Can Dave Duncan keep Kyle Lohse useful for another year? This late in the draft, let's take a shot. Depth play.
Round 24: I've always liked Travis Buck and I wish I knew why.
Round 25: Kept Adam Jones here. I can no longer be rational about him.
Round 26: We needed a stand-in catcher while we wait for Wieters; surely Kenji Johjima can't be as bad as he was last year, right? It's a two-catcher league with 14 teams, so there wasn't a lot left.
That's our last pick on Saturday, but we have three other reasons to smile:
Round 29: Kept Cliff Lee (who actually got some people out in his last start).
Round 31: Kept Iannetta.
Round 32: Kept Wieters.
I think I've bored you enough for today. The blog-league draft review will be more interesting. In the meantime, here's a rock song.