Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bringing the Wood

To all the A Rod haters out there, this just isn’t your year. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not a fan of A Rod or the Yankees, but I recently found myself picking A Rod in my Baseball Fantasy League. It’s a 5-5 format with 12 teams and the draft order is determined “randomly” a couple of weeks before we draft. I say “randomly” because in all the years I’ve been playing in these leagues (Football, Basketball and Baseball) run by the same guys, I’ve yet to come within sniffing distance of the top of the order. I find bitterness to be a virtue, don’t you?

Anyway, I landed in the 8th spot this year. I’m pretty familiar with being stuck in the middle of the drafting order so I usually find myself being able to scoop up 2 solid offense players with my first two picks. I hate pitching and refuse to even think about picking up one before round 3. And then it’s most likely a stud closer.

As I do every year I wait to do my research until the last minute. This year – I did none at all. I had a Fantasy Baseball magazine (sucker purchase by the way) and looked up how others had drafted on ESPN.com. In a nutshell, I wasn’t prepared. What I really wasn’t prepared for was that my league was going to hand me the future 2007 AL MVP at slot 8. Alex Rodriguez.

What I can’t understand is how does A Rod fall to me at 8? And before you all start emailing me about how to get into this league let me run down the first 7 picks for you.

1. Albert Pujols. Can’t disagree with that pick. This guy has been a stud since breaking into the bigs. By the way, he was robbed of the MVP last year. He had more runs, more extra base hits, a higher average, higher OBP, higher slugging and higher OPS than Ryan Howard. He also struck out almost 4 times less than Howard (50 to 181). Oh, and I think his team one the World Series. He’ll get on track, so this was the pick at #1.

2. Johan Santana. Too high a slot for Johan. He’s a first round pick, but not at number 2. At this spot you need to find an offense player who is going to produce for you in at least 4 categories. An SP only helps you once a week, sometimes twice if the schedule lines up right. And taking him here, you’re waiting 20 more picks before you get a shot at your first offense producer. Minor bone.

3. Ryan Howard. Must be a pick by a Philly Homer. We have a lot of Philly guys in the league so I see where this could happen. However, he struggled through the spring and even commented that he had a lot to do with his swing, that it didn’t feel right. This was a guy I was thinking about at 8. Glad to see him go early so I didn’t have to roll the dice. Hap tip for saving me from myself.

4. Jose Reyes. Every year there is a trendy pick. And this was this year’s trend setter. I like his game, but with ARod and Ortiz out there, I’d have gone with one of them.

5. Alfonso Soriano. In a few words, he’s a Cub. Nothing good can come from that. And he’s already hurt. But hamstring injuries are rarely nagging.

Ok, at this point I’m thinking that these guys think this is a NL only league. Except for the guy who drafted Santana. But I’m worried. Two picks to go to me and I want A Rod or Ortiz and I’m thinking no way I get either. Do I start thinking Beltran or Cabrera? We’ll see.

6. David Ortiz. Crap. There goes one of my guys. Love this pick at 6. In other drafts I hadn’t seen him go this high and was hoping he was coming my way.

7. David Wright. WHAT? Is something wrong with my computer? Is something wrong with the computer of the owner who picked Wright? How many beers have I had? How does that happen? Are you telling me that David Wright is more valuable, at the same position, as A Rod? I’m ecstatic by this move. I think this owner thought it was a NL East only league. Major Bone.

Too many people have been lamenting about the “down” year A Rod had last year: 113 runs, 35 HR, 121 RBI, 15 SB and a .392 OBP. If that is a down year, I can’t wait to see what he does this year when he wins the AL MVP. So the lesson here is don’t do any draft prep. Just join a league where the other owners flub it up so you get A Rod with the 8th pick.

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