Fantasy baseball: Draft report

OK, so I had my draft this past Saturday night. (And on the heels of that last blog, it was pretty clear that this particular hobby will be taking a back seat to many things once the twins are born.)

Anywho, these were my keepers:

C: Dioner Navarro, TB, $7; Taylor Teagarden, TEX, $0 (Prospect)

1B: Albert Pujols, STL, $40

2B: Kelly Johnson, ATL, $11; Emilio Bonafacio, FLA, $1

SS: Alexei Ramirez, CHW, $10

3B: Ryan Zimmerman, WAS, $13

OF: Matt Kemp, LA, $25; Colby Rasmus, STL, $0 (Prospect)

SP: Matt Cain, SF, $14; Jered Weaver, LAA, $9; Max Scherzer, ARZ, $8; Jonathan Sanchez, SF, $5; Ubaldo Jimenez, COL, $4; Joe Blanton, PHI, $1; Jordan Zimmermann, WAS, $1; Shaun Marcum, TOR, $1 (will go straight to DL); Scott Elbert, LA, $0 (Prospect)

RP: None

So the draft was its usual fast-and-furious auction bidding war, with plenty of good-natured ribbing and fun. At some point, we were discussing Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman’s anatomy, but such is the rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness mindset of the drafter.

As you can see above, I clearly needed help in the outfield, bench depth, an ace pitcher and an entire bullpen. Lemme know if you think I addressed those needs:

–Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP, BOS, $32

–Corey Hart, OF, MIL, $32

–Jonathan Papelbon, RP, BOS, $28

–Andre Ethier, OF, LA, $26

–Joakim Soria, RP, KC, $23

–Jose Lopez, 2B, SEA, $12

–Hong-Chih Kuo, RP, LA, $7

–Andrew Sonnanstine, SP, TB, $4

–Felipe Lopez, IF, ARZ, $3

–Ryan Madson, RP, PHI, $3

–Hideki Okajima, RP, BOS, $3

–Brandon Lyon, RP, DET, $2

–Jason Kubel, OF, MIN, $2

–Denard Span, OF, MIN, $2

–Chris Snyder, C, ARZ, $1

Since I haven’t blogged in a while, I never posted the results of our Prospect Draft (we get to carry six minor leaguers now):

–Elvis Andrus, SS, TEX

–Carlos Triunfel, SS, SEA

–Jesus Montero, C, NYY

My other three prospects were the keepers listed above.

And there’s a trade in the works for another guy’s Prospect – sending him $2 for next year’s MLB Auction Draft.

Fantasy geek out.

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Maybe he’s not such a genius after all

“Manager Joe Maddon heard Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton’s explanation that the curious dark splotch on the bill of his cap during Game 4 was “just dirt from the ball.” And, the day after raising the issue, Maddon said he wasn’t buying it. “Umm, I don’t think so,” Maddon said Monday. “That’s very unusual. How many guys have that mark on their hat?” — St. Petersburg Times

Um, Joe? How incredibly stupid would Blanton be to have an illegal substance RIGHT ON THE FRONT OF THE BILL OF HIS CAP?

And if you’re so skeptical, demand the umpires examine the hat.

Duh!

LiveBlog: World Series Game 4

10:40 p.m.: I guess I really don’t remember much about the 1980 win. I don’t even know if I was watching, for Pete Rose’s sake. But thanks to the magic of the InterWebs, my views on this World Series will last for generations…until Keanu Reeves and the robot aliens destroy our planet.

10:39 p.m.: 2-2 again, Romero chews his gum…Baldelli whiffs! A 3-1 lead in the freaking World Series!

10:38 p.m.: 2-2 pitch…kids waving towels…Romero’s pitch…fouled off.

10:37 p.m.: Rocco Baldelli, huh. Not “Rocky” Baldelli. Some kind of weird irony that Rocco Baldelli could be the last out in the town where Rocky Balboa rules (fictionally).

10:36 p.m.: Bartlett goes down looking. Run a lap, son. Two outs, one to go.

10:35 p.m.: Bartlett – he’s a scrappy young infielder. Kind of like a young me. (Hold your laughter.)

10:34 p.m.: Ah, fielder’s choice. One out.

10:33 p.m.: Jeez, crappy error by Romero. Oh well, Philadelphians know nothing comes easy.

10:30 p.m.: 10-2 Phillies. What? No Lidge? Saving him, I guess. J.C. Romero is out there for the 9th. Guess it makes sense.

10:27 p.m.: We’re three outs from a 3-1 World Series lead. This is unbelievable.

10:25 p.m.: Ryan Howard. HUGE homer. Holy crap. Guess there won’t be too many more “choke”-related comments about him.

10:24 p.m.: It’s a magical night. And yet, I’m over at ESPN.com, reading their live blog, and I see Joe Maddon’s comments about Phillies fans:

Maddon’s only concern was with the treatment of his family members by the locals at Citizens Bank Park.

“If we could do something about that, throwing mustard packs at my granddaughter is not very cool. The other part about it I’m good with.”

And you wonder why I don’t always feel great when I claim to be a Philadelphia fan.

10:19 p.m.: Werth. Smack. Gone. There’s your insurance runs. 8-2, son.

10:17 p.m.: Rollins smokes a double. An insurance run or two would be nice…

10:02 p.m.: Not much has happened. Nice defensive play by Tampa Bay.

9:32 p.m.: Pat Burrell is slow, and he stinks. I will be glad to see him out of a Phillies uniform next year.

9:26 p.m.: Wow, McCarver just said something that was immediately proven true. Someone alert the Guinness people.

9:24 p.m.: 6-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th. Jayson Werth SMOKES a liner off the left-field wall for a double. YES!

9:21 p.m.: Joe Blanton f&*king rules. Great pitching and even the first homer by a pitcher since Jewish ace lefthander Ken Holtzman in 1974.

As we watch World Series Game 4…

…I’m reminded of how smart I am.

Just remember, fans, what I said about the Phillies’ starting pitching a few days back in my “Subjective Analysis”:

“STARTING PITCHER

PHI: Cole Hamels/Brett Myers/Jamie Moyer/Joe Blanton

TB: Scott Kazmir/Jamie Shields/Matt Garza/Andy Sonnanstine

ANALYSIS: The “experts” say Hamels is the best pitcher in the Series, and I agree. But I don’t agree with their assessments of the rest of these guys. They’re all over the Phils, saying they really have no depth beyond Hamels and that the Rays kids are flat-out awesome. Not taking anything away from them, they’re good and they faced tough competition all year in the AL East. I just think this matchup is closer than many might think – that there’s something to be said for Moyer’s experience and smarts, and Blanton’s ability to keep the ball down.

All that being said, I do have to give the Slight Edge to the RAYS.”

Pheelin’ Kinda Down: Game 2 Thoughts

–The Phillies REALLY need to get a hit with men in scoring position. This is ridiculous.

–The umpires have shown (and that Fox Trax or Trak or whatever has shown) that they are frequently wrong and totally replaceable. Weirdly enough, I think the Rays could have won Game 1 if the calls had been correct, while the Phillies had a shot at Game 2.

–I still hate Tim McCarver as an announcer. He may be a good guy or a decent family man or a soup kitchen volunteer, but he brings me no information or entertainment as a broadcaster.

–Didn’t Jimmy Rollins learn to bunt a couple years ago or so? How about being a sparkplug and getting on base?

–Pat Burrell’s next/last big contract is getting smaller with every at-bat.

–Maybe a sports psychologist needs to talk to the hitters.

–Brett Myers wasn’t good, but he wasn’t horrible.

–I really hope the home-field advantage works for us. If you’re reading this and going to one of the games, scream your head off. It’s your duty.

–I’d love to see Charlie Manuel do something crazy like Rays manager Joe Maddon does. Like bat Ryan Howard leadoff to get him more at-bats.

–I have a hard time believing that NL players who have “played” DH in the past few World Series have batted less than .100. What is up with that?

–I really like Joe Maddon’s postgame press conferences. He always has something interesting to say. I couldn’t believe he admitted he really didn’t know what the Phillies team was all about. Did he not watch any SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight ever? No game films after winning the ALCS? No scouting reports? And yet, he’s perfectly calm and cool about it.

–I think that if the Phils are to win this Series, they have to sweep all three at home. And I’m not sure they can do that.

–Jamie Moyer needs to step it up in what could be the biggest game of his career.

–People are still sleepin’ on Joe Blanton. I have faith in Big Joe.

–Philadelphia is getting a nor’easter this Saturday. (Here in Texas, we’re getting 80 and sunny. Just so you know.)

Subjective Analysis: Phils/Rays in the WORLD SERIES.

Here it is. Could be another of the biggest moments in Philadelphia sports history, or just another colossal failure. (You’ll have to excuse me, Phillies fans have had their fill of futility. And yes, the alliteration is amazing.)

Once more into the Phray:

CATCHER

PHI: Carlos Ruiz

TB: Dioner Navarro

ANALYSIS: I’m especially biased on this, because I “owned” Navarro a few years back – BEFORE he began living up to his potential. (The guy’s only 24, I should have been easier on him.) Offensively, he is far superior to Ruiz. Defensively, they’re both pretty solid. Navarro and the RAYS get the edge here.

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FIRST BASE

PHI: Ryan Howard

TB: Carlos Pena

ANALYSIS: I have a feeling Howard will hit some BOMBS. Of course, at the two ballparks in question, many bombs are hit. Overall, these guys had kinda similar numbers…except for the Bombs, where Howard beats him handily. Howard gets the nod here for the PHILS.

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SECOND BASE

PHI: Chase Utley

TB: Akinori Iwamura

ANALYSIS: Although I love saying his name (or any other Japanese player’s name) out loud in a deep, booming voice, Iwamura just is not even close to the offensive force that Utley can be. Utley wins hands-down. Go PHILS.

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THIRD BASE

PHI: Pedro Feliz/Greg Dobbs

TB: Evan Longoria

ANALYSIS: I’d love to try to make the argument that the Feliz/Dobbs combo can almost equal Longoria, or that Longoria is due for a letdown. But I can’t. Advantage RAYS.

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SHORTSTOP

PHI: Jimmy Rollins

TB: Jason Bartlett

ANALYSIS: It was in this space of my Phils/Dodgers analysis that I picked Rollins over Furcal. Of course, I really didn’t foresee Furcal’s three errors in one inning that basically cost them the NLCS. Although Jimmy Rollins is a far better player, all the “experts” believe that Bartlett is the kind of guy who can/will make a crucial play or get a clutch hit to carry his team. Still, the PHILS have the edge here.

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LEFT FIELD

PHI: Pat Burrell

TB: Carl Crawford

ANALYSIS: CC wears my number (13), and he is one of the ultimate seven-tool players. (Not just the typical “five tools” that scouts love – Carl does it all and then some.) He was banged up near the end of the season, but he’s still better on many levels than Pat the Bat. RAYS win this one.

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CENTER FIELD

PHI: Shane Victorino

TB: B.J. Upton

ANALYSIS: Upton is also a seven-tool guy, whose power numbers this year were hurt by a lingering injury. But Victorino has had a magical ride the past month or so, and it’s hard to just say “Upton is superior.” He is, talent-wise, but when it comes to getting the j-o-b done, Shane-O-Vic is right there with him. Argh, this one hurts me physically, but Upton and the RAYS get the call here.

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RIGHT FIELD

PHI: Jayson Werth

TB: Rocco Baldelli/Gabe Gross

ANALYSIS: I’m a Werth-believer. I’m not Werth-y. I enjoy Werth-er’s Butterscotch Candies. (Enough!) I’ve got to take the 20/20 guy over a platoon including a guy battling a strange and awful disease (mitochondrial disorder?) and a guy whose offense doesn’t exactly scare people (.242 batting average with TB). Give this one to the PHILS.

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DESIGNATED HITTER

PHI: ??? (Dobbs, Jenkins, Stairs?)

TB: Willy Aybar/Cliff Floyd/Eric Hinske

ANALYSIS: Phils manager Charlie Manuel is not announcing his DH until the actual game, but it’ll likely be one of those guys above (or maybe Burrell, with Eric Bruntlett or Dobbs in left field). Aybar has been playing out of his mind for the past few weeks, and Floyd and Hinske are nice veteran role players who have some pop. This category has too many question marks, though, so I call it a TIE.

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STARTING PITCHER

PHI: Cole Hamels/Brett Myers/Jamie Moyer/Joe Blanton

TB: Scott Kazmir/Jamie Shields/Matt Garza/Andy Sonnanstine

ANALYSIS: The “experts” say Hamels is the best pitcher in the Series, and I agree. But I don’t agree with their assessments of the rest of these guys. They’re all over the Phils, saying they really have no depth beyond Hamels and that the Rays kids are flat-out awesome. Not taking anything away from them, they’re good and they faced tough competition all year in the AL East. I just think this matchup is closer than many might think – that there’s something to be said for Moyer’s experience and smarts, and Blanton’s ability to keep the ball down.

All that being said, I do have to give the Slight Edge to the RAYS.

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RELIEF PITCHER

PHI: Brad Lidge/Ryan Madson/J.C. Romero/Chad Durbin/Clay Condrey/J.A. Happ/Scott Eyre

TB: Troy Percival/Dan Wheeler/Trever Miller/J.P. Howell/Grant Balfour/Jason Hammel/David Price

ANALYSIS: Again, the “experts” are loving the fact that the Rays have three lefties, who will allegedly shut down the big lefty bats of Philly (Utley and Howard). And Price is this amazing wild card who will likely have an amazing career. But the Phillies’ bullpen has been and will be a great strength here, and deserves respect. PHILS get this one.

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BENCH

PHI: Greg Dobbs/Matt Stairs/Geoff Jenkins/Eric Bruntlett/So Taguchi/Chris Coste

TB: Floyd/Hinske/Aybar/Ben Zobrist/Jonny Gomes/Shawn Riggans/Fernando Perez

ANALYSIS: Dobbs is playing so well, there are people who want the Phils to let Burrell go away via free agency and play him every day in left. Stairs could be a great DH against righties (and so could Jenkins). But there is plenty of pop on the Rays bench, and some amazing speed in Perez. This one goes to the RAYS in a very close race.

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MANAGER

PHI: Charlie Manuel

TB: Joe Maddon

ANALYSIS: Uncle Cholly’s recently-passed mom is watching over this team, and he’s somehow managed to keep it all together and get to the Series. Maddon’s mom is watching from upstate Pennsylvania, and her boy is regarded as this kind of mad genius or rare intellectual who somehow completely inspires his young team. (Oh my, he drinks wine instead of beer! He reads books instead of magazines! Heavens to Murgatroyd!)

But seriously, this one is a TIE because each guy has done an amazing job this year, and Manuel’s occasional mistakes cancel out Maddon’s occasional crazy-looking moves (like a bases-loaded intentional walk).

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FINAL SCORE: Rays 6, Phillies 5, one tie.

FINAL ANALYSIS: I think it goes 6 or 7, and I think the RAYS win.

(P.S.: Reverse-jinx accomplished!)

“Subjective” Analysis: Phillies vs. Dodgers

Well, I was pretty dead-on with my Phils/Brewers blog. (Whodathunkit?)

So on we go to the National League Championship Series, facing the Los Angeles Dodgers – who incidentally are another of those teams that moved but kept the name, even though the name was used for a geographically-specific reason. (“Dodgers” had something to do with dodging trolleys in Brooklyn, the New Orleans Jazz made sense but not necessarily the Utah Jazz, etc.)

Anyway, here we go:

CATCHER

PHI: Carlos Ruiz/Chris Coste

LA: Russell Martin

ANALYSIS: Martin wins in a runaway landslide crush. He hits, he’s got power, he steals bases, he plays solid defense, and one of his middle names is Coltrane. Our boys lose this one to the DODGERS.

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FIRST BASE

PHI: Ryan Howard

LA: James Loney

ANALYSIS: Loney is a really good young player, but isn’t in the same league as Howard right now. PHILLIES get this one.

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SECOND BASE

PHI: Chase Utley

LA: Blake DeWitt (Jeff Kent?)

ANALYSIS: Even if you could somehow fuse Blake DeWitt and Jeff Kent together, you wouldn’t have half of Chase Utley. PHILLIES. (Of course, you’d have Bleff DeKent.)

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THIRD BASE

PHI: Pedro Feliz

LA: Casey Blake

ANALYSIS: Blake is a slightly better hitter, and I mean SLIGHTLY. Feliz is a much better defender. I’m feeling objective, so I’ll call this one a TIE. (Even though the Feliz/Greg Dobbs package is probably superior.)

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SHORTSTOP

PHI: Jimmy Rollins

LA: Rafael Furcal/Angel Berroa

ANALYSIS: If Furcal is at the top of his game, this is close. But he’s coming off a major injury, and I’m feeling subjective. I predict a PHILLIES win in this category for Jimmy, The Great Prognosticator.

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LEFT FIELD

PHI: Pat Burrell

LA: Manny Ramirez

ANALYSIS: Pat, I truly thank you for the two-homer day you had that helped defeat the Brewers. But I owned Manny Ramirez (fantasy-wise), and you, sir, are no Manny Ramirez. DODGERS get this one because Manny, in L.A., only batted .396 with 17 HR and 53 RBI in 53 games. Oh, and his OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) was over 1200, which is just plain sick.

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CENTER FIELD

PHI: Shane Victorino

LA: Matt Kemp

ANALYSIS: I root for Victorino. In fantasy, I own Kemp. And in reality, Kemp has more power and is probably a better hitter in general. Slight edge here to the DODGERS.

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RIGHT FIELD

PHI: Jayson Werth

LA: Andre Ethier

ANALYSIS: Werth showed off some big power with a couple homers in the NLDS, but Ethier is another great young Dodger outfielder who took his game up like 57 notches this year. He doesn’t run like Werth, but his on-base is an excellent .375. Another slight edge to the DODGERS.

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STARTING PITCHER

PHI: Cole Hamels/Brett Myers/Jamie Moyer/Joe Blanton

LA: Derek Lowe/Chad Billingsley/Hiroki Kuroda/Greg Maddux?

ANALYSIS: The Phillies’ starters did an unbelievable job (Hamels), a very good job (Myers), a solid job (Moyer), and an excellent job (Blanton) against the Brewers. The Dodgers’ starting pitching is a mixed bag: Lowe is the wily veteran who’s been there and back; Billingsley is the young power pitcher who was prone to walks as recently as last season (and kind of this season, with 80 BB); and Kuroda is the Japanese import (makes him sound like a car) who put up very solid numbers and is the kind of guy who kills the Phillies. I don’t know if Maddux is available, on the roster, or already back home in San Diego. If he’s there and somehow pitches, I’m sure he’ll shut down the Phillies with his mind-bending wizardry. Or they’ll pound him for seven runs.

All in all, I give a slight edge to the PHILLIES here.

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RELIEF PITCHER

PHI: Brad Lidge/Ryan Madson/J.C. Romero/Chad Durbin/Clay Condrey/J.A. Happ/Scott Eyre

LA: Takashi Saito/Jonathan Broxton/Joe Beimel/Cory Wade/Scott Proctor/Hong-Chih Kuo/Clayton Kershaw

ANALYSIS: Each team has some really good talent in the bullpen. And although Lidge is just plain dominant, he’s almost matched by the Saito/Broxton combination (Broxton should be an elite closer in a year or two). The Dodgers have some very good ERAs in Saito, (2.49), Beimel (2.02), Wade (2.27), Kuo (2.14) and some great strikeout arms in Saito (60K/47IP), Broxton (88K/69IP), Kuo (96K/80IP), and Kershaw (100K/107IP). Strikeout arms against a Phillies squad that likes to strike out = edge to the DODGERS. I just trust those last few names more than I trust Durbin/Condrey/Happ.

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BENCH

PHI: Greg Dobbs/Matt Stairs/Geoff Jenkins/Eric Bruntlett/So Taguchi/Coste (see Catchers above)

LA: Angel Berroa/Andruw Jones/Nomar Garciaparra/Delwyn Young/Chin-Lung Hu/Mark Sweeney

ANALYSIS: Seriously, this LA bench might be the worst bench in the history of benches – despite having (or because of?) huge names like Andruw and Nomar. PHILLIES in a runaway victory. If I’m Joe Torre, I pray every night that my lineup stays healthy.

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MANAGER

PHI: Charlie Manuel

LA: Joe Torre

ANALYSIS: Torre, hands-down. Both of these guys are loved by their teams, but Torre knows how to run a game and probably of more importance, has been to 674 World Series with the Yankees. DODGERS get the nod here.

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FINAL SCORE: Dodgers 5, Phillies 4, one tie.

Yikes, this will be a close one.