March 28, 2005

Andy Vogel Experience Preview

I've never played fantasy baseball before, but I'm giving it a go with some friends this year. Our draft just finished last night, and I like my team so far. I probably put more time into it than anyone else, so I guess I'd better like it. Anyhow, here is my analysis of how everyone's picks went off, keeping in mind that we did an autopick draft where each person made a preferred list of players and then the computer did the rest for us. Also, since the season hasn't started yet, pretty much anything can happen between now and September, so take these predictions with a shaker full of salt.

Group 1 - The Contenders - I predict the overall winner comes from this group, though they aren't in any order

South Side Steroids (Andy Vogel) - I ended up with most of my first or second choice hitters. Pujols, Rolen, Tejada, Dunn, Morneau, and H. Matsui should be good for a lot of fantasy points, with Nomar, Junior Griffey, and the Greene/Crosby combo solid on the bench. For pitching, Prior is a big question mark, but the best NL pitcher (Schmidt) and a likely AL saves leader (Nathan) are both on my team. Morneau was the 17th round pick and the absolute steal of this draft, but just watch him outhit 3/4 of the players picked ahead of him.

Mighty Smalls (Amy Hall) - A-Rod, Beltran, and Chavez are all potential MVPs, though Boone's decline and Mauer's shaky knee may end up derailing things. Pierre and Ichiro! will add plenty of hits, which is underrated to most people, though it is important. For the pitchers, the super tandem of Lidge and K-Rod is downright nasty, and Sheets is K machine, though the rest of the starters are adequate if not spectacular.

Man Eating Squirrel (James Barley) - They could win this thing or fall completely and utterly apart. Johnson and Perez get lots of Ks, while Bonderman and Maddux don't. Dotel and Everyday Eddie need to bounce back for the Captain this season. For hitting, was Beltre's 2004 a fluke? It says yes here, but I've been wrong before. Can Thome, Alou, and Edmonds beat back Father Time for another year? The main downside on this team is the general suck of Podsednik, but he can be benched.

Rally Monkeys (Janet Vogel) - As the Sox go, so go the Monkeys. If Manny and Big Papi repeat last year, she's in the thick of it. Abreu and Teixeira should have big seasons as well. The only signs of concern for the hitters are generale weakness at 2B (Vidro and Womack), as well as questions about the last outfield spot (Chipper or Giles). As for pitching, she's got Clemens and possibly the best closer in each league (Gagne and Foulke). The back of the staff is a little thin, relying on the likes of Vazquez and Wright, while counting on bouncebacks from Hoffman and Wagner.

Group 2 - If All Goes Well - If any of these teams win, I'll be surprised, but not too surprised

Mystery, Inc. (Tim Romanoski) - The outfield is flat out bad (Roberts, Rowand, Crawford) with one bright spot (Cabrera), especially since steals don't count. Helton anchors a strong infield, along with the 2B I wish I had (Giles). Javy Lopez was an inspired first overall pick for the draft, but curious considering who was available (that would be everybody). If Lopez stays good, it might not matter for this Maryland boy. The pitching, she scares me. Harden could break out, and Hudson should stay good, but Smoltz will have to adjust to starting again, Percival, Sabathia, and Buehrle are injury risks, and Pavano may or may not be a good pitcher. That said, this group could put it all together and make me look bad.

The $10 Bet (Katie Kennett) - The pitching is unspectacular, but no one on the staff is a big risk, with the possible exception of Wood, but he also has the highest upside. The Bet shouldn't give up or score too much with pitching. The outfield depends entirely on Sheffield and his bad shoulder, which may or may not be a problem. If he goes down the Bet goes down. The two Cleveland mashers (Hafner and Martinez) were players I coveted, and Pudge should have at least one good year left. I put this team's chances a peg below Mystery, but that's why they play the games.

The Arbiters (Ryan Bedell) - This team has the best chance to jump into the top group and even win this thing, but for now, there are a truckload of injury questions. For the hitters, Ordonez, Bonds, and Berkman all have knee issues, and the latter two will not be playing for at least the first month or two. Drew and Guillen are likely to get hurt and regress, respectively. The pitchers feature Schilling, Pedro, and Affeldt if you like injury risks, and Santana, Rivera, and Izzy if you want good bets. You can see by this list that health is the big thing for the Arbiters. If they have it, look out world, if not, look out below!

Group 3 - Oops - This team had a definite strategy, it just didn't work out, and if they win with this roster, never listen to me again

Stuckeybowl Sluggers (Vikki Bol) - How you can try to stock your team with Red Sox yet miss out on both of their best hitters is beyond me. Not only did the Vikster not get Big Papi or Manny, the same person got both. Mueller and Millar aren't that good, unfortunately, and Johnny Damon's hair is the best outfielder, unless Finley can find the fountain of youth one last time. You can tell I'm not big on the hitters. The pitchers, however, I like a lot. Burnett, Mulder, Zito, Beckett, and Clement are all solid choices. Saves may be hard to find, but that's only one stat. Some prudent trades with for better hitters, as well as watching the waivers/free agents, could help pull this team into contention. At least they have the best team name in the league.

No comments: