Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dear Kelly Johnson


I am not entirely sure who you are or what portion of your livelihood you sold to what evil entity, but I ask that you continue to hold up your end of the bargain. It seems to be working out for you. Enjoy the comforts of Chase Field and the warm dry air of AZ-it is likely only slightly cooler than your impending final resting place, so you should be fine. If no deal was made, please wait til October to announce the results of you PED tests. Kelly Johnson--I love you and I am pulling for you.

Sincerely Yours,



Friday, April 23, 2010

A Centaur Marking his Territory

The whole league has been out of the posting habit lately--I will blame the recent stir caused by the birth of the starting SS for the 2032 Pittsburgh Pirates(if Bud Selig does not contract them for the good of the league by then.) But the whole Dallas Braden v. Alex Rodriguez in a celebrity deathmatch debacle has gotten me off track at work on a Friday afternoon. Obviously, not a difficult task. And discussing this issue gives me a great chance to link to this picture. I am not even entirely sure if I care if it is fake. But the Dallas Braden approach is more what fires me up. The A's don't really have anyone of note on their roster, excepting maybe Andrew Bailey and Brett Anderson, so it intrigues me that when the big bad Yankees come to town we see Braden stepping up to one of the more decorated players in the game.

Admittedly, not even a speck on A-Rod's radar--Braden took control of a commonly accepted "guideline" in baseball. Only pitchers get to touch the mound. And he let the whole world know that the Oakland Athletics are not going to lay down, even for the World Series Champs.

If you watch the video found here, you will see what the buzz is about.

I tried to cherry pick some great quotes, but the best I can do is the quote from Braden which summarizes the issue to me.

"After the double play, he was looking at me and [cupped] his ear like, 'What did you say?'" Braden explained. "I made sure he understood me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Crush Men

I have three Brian's on my team, three Yankees and three Braves so all is right in the world. I am sure the manliest-man-crushfest of all time, GIAMBI and me, will soon reunite but for now, he is cheering me on from the wire. (I swear if Helton gets hurt I get GIAMBI. I am keeping my waiver position just in case.)

Unlike Webb, my man-crush doesn't come along due to performance but rather something I cannot explain. I really only have one rule when it comes to a man-crush ... the dude has to be white. I ain't into the jungle fever thing.

If you read Webb's previous article, he mentioned the trade that nabbed him Justin Upton, his new man-crush. He assured me Ellsbury (my young man-crush) would be there for me later in the round. Royce picked him up a couple picks earlier. I could have squashed Webb like a bug. I love Ellsbury and for what reason? No idea. I even hate the Red Sox.

Anyway, back to my team. The three Brian's are Brian McCann, Brian Roberts and Brian Wilson. I care less about Wilson so he's out. McCann is a Brave which immediately earns brownie points. Roberts is the most beautiful man on the planet and I wept when I traded him last year (to Webb of all people). He is back on my team to stay. While I love McCann for multiple reasons, I don't have an official man-crush on him.

Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte ... two of my Yankees. Now we're talking. These guys have been staples on my teams for years and years. Jeter is untradable. He is the icon of the most historic team in the greatest city in the world.

I also have the new greatest player in the world, Jason Heyward, who I drafted 438 rounds before most people. But, refer back to my one rule.

Why the heck am I even naming all these players? I could have written a two word post. Everyone knows what is coming.

Derek Jeter ... white enough.

Man-Crush Time

Everyone has one. The guy that they HAVE to have no matter the price, whether it means drafting a 7th rounder in the 3rd or trading a 1st rounder to get a guy in the minors. Everyone has a man-crush... except me apparently.

Our league is known for recycling players from year to year, i.e. if a guy owned Chipper Jones one year, he is more likely to own him the following year than someone else. Maybe it is a coincidence. I am not sure. Regardless, it has happened for years with numerous players and teams.

I somehow drafted a team where the only players I have previously owned were Brad Lidge(back when he was Octavio Dotel's setup man in Houston), Francisco Liriano(the pre-TJ surgery, Cy Young candidate version), Alfonso Soriano(whom I owned for all of 1 week before sending him on his way for Doc Halladay) and Daniel Bard(the young-gun setup man for Boston). So as much as I would like to list Daniel Bard as a man-crush, I just can't in good conscience pick a setup guy as a man-crush. Sorry.

So, let's take a look at the contenders from this year's squad for my brand new man-crush. I have it narrowed down to the following: Ryan Braun, Justin Upton, and Stephen Strasburg.

Ryan Braun

Pro's: Pujols-lite. Crazy consistent. I had him on my MLB The Show team. Hated amongst members of our league (see nickname "Wide-Eyed Pixie Fuck"). Young. Progressing each year.

Con's: 1st rounder(it is more fun to own someone that is not as known a quantity). Hated amongst members of our league(I get enough shit as is). Plays for the Brewers(NL Central is for pussies).

Justin Upton

Pro's: To borrow from Jay Bilas, Upton has "tremendous upside potential". I had him on my MLB The Show team. Better than his brother, who is on Deuce's team. Still only 16 or something. He is getting the Yates treatment on my team, i.e. I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever trade him, even if it will help my team. I stole him from multiple teams by trading up to draft him. Said move was responded to with multiple expletives. I love him.

Con's: Not a proven quantity. Been on DL each of past 2 years. Plays in front of old people. Has been owned by Nathan before and he sucks at fantasy sports.

Stephen Strasburg

Pro's: Electric arm. Dominated in college. Played for Tony Gwynn at said college. Tony Gwynn was fat and hit over .300 for his career. Had nut-duster at one point. I have to keep him after reaching for him in the draft.

Con's: Never thrown a pitch in the Major Leagues. Had a nut-duster at one point. Not starting in Majors. Could be the next #1 overall MLB draft pick flop. Plays for a shitty-ass team that cannot even spell "Nationals" correctly.

In the end, it came down to Justin Upton and Stephen Strasburg, as I said earlier, it is more fun to crush on a not so known quantity. In the end, it was not that tough of a decision for me. Justin Upton is the clear winner. He will lead my team to victory for many years and piss everyone off in the process. That is all I need from my man-crush. Thanks again Bear. Enjoy Ellsbury and Heyward. Oh wait...

Man Crush Index

Side Note:I started writing this about a week ago. My life has been crazy with In-laws and baby anticipation etc since then. Pretend like it all just happened.

So I just traded for Pedro Alvarez. With him on the cover of every fantasy rookie preview(that does not have Jason Heyward) I had to take a stab at him. I am a Pirates fan and the most highly touted prospect since 1984 has quite a bit of interest in my mind, but likely more so in my heart.

Previous to today, Alvarez would have been my man crush, but Garrett "The LEGEND" Jones hit 2 home runs today(one well into the Allegheny River) and Carlos Gonzalez, the aforementioned "reach alert" pick, went 4-5, so I have to pick from those 2. I love opening day. Jones is on pace to break every HR record ever(PED era or drink til you puke era included) and I love my fantasy team. This will surely change in a week's time--much like the Pirates staying atop the NL Central, but when else in the past 17 years could a Pirates fan be so excited.

So that makes my Man Crush discussion short. It is Garrett Jones. He is a freak and has many doubters which makes it more fun to be in a fictional bromance with him. The guy has defied all odds. Drafted by Atlanta in 1999 in the 14th round, Jones has been with many organizations, spent an ordinate amount of time in the minors and basically had to fall to a team with no organizational depth to get a shot. But since appearing in the majors in 2007 with MIN, he has slugged his way to 25 HRs in under 400 at bats with a .276/.355/.522 triple slash. You take out the brief stint in MIN and the line looks more like .293/.372/.567--not including today's 2-4 day with 2 more homers. I have no idea how long he can keep this up, but I for one will enjoy it until it ends. Hopefully sometime in 2013 when the Pirates are respectable and my soon to be born child has just completed it's first no-hitter in T-ball.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Trades? We don't need no stinking Trades.

So I faced a terrible situation after the draft wrapped up. I had multiple pitchers in the first 10 rounds, I had 3 Braves on my team, and I basically had no 3B and no 2B. I could justify running Kelly Johnson out there at 2B every day for a couple of reasons. 1-he is no longer a Brave. 2-He can't actually be as bad as he was last year, right? 3-I have Jose Reyes as my middle infielder and Hanley Ramirez as my SS. So let's cross that problem off the list.

I must offer a little background. I am quickly approaching 27 years of age. The last time the Pirates were good, we lost to the Braves in the NLCS(circa 1992 for those of you still in High School who have no recollection of the Pirates being good.) Being a Pirates fan I have many teams that I love to cheer against--anyone who has had a winning season in 18 years--but the Braves have a special place in my mind for ripping out my heart with the dreaded Sid Bream rounding 3B on two surgically repaired knees(back when surgery on knees was a death sentence) and Barry Bonds rolling the ball halfway up the first base line to Mike "Spanky" Lavalliere. I was 9 years old at this time, and I can not get the images out of my head. Here's to 2012 bucco fans.

So back to my team. Right now I have too many pitchers and Chipper Jones at 3B. And the pitchers included are Tommy "wunderkind" Hanson and Jair "fresh off a breakout" Jurrjens. Notice the Braves theme? So I am in a position to start building a 3B, right?

The first trade included Chipper and Jair for Mike Young and Rick Porcello. I made this move mainly to get rid of a 3B who would likely play 120 games if I was lucky, and to take upside on the pitcher portion. I clearly lose the Jair/Porcello portion on the front end, but I also feel Jair's value will not be higher unless he repeats his 2009 performance. I put this at about a 33% possibility.

This thinking could be a direct result of my Braves hatred, but it hinges on the idea that shoulder soreness has already shown its ugly face, he does not have a history of stats to support his breakout(drastic drops in BABIP, drastic increase in LOB%, and did I mention--he is a Brave)--Honestly I expect i pretty good year from Jurrjens, but I wanted to give Porcello a try while he was not on the short leash the Tigers had him on last year. I expect his K numbers to increase as he looks to get guys out on his own rather than pitching to contact due to pretty strict pitch restrictions.

The Mike Young for Chipper portion was basically a quick easy and justifiable way to get rid of the face of the Braves franchise for all the years that they could have been the Pirates and vice versa if it was not for that one sequence. I get consistency and possibly give up a little on power upside, but both these guys have left their best years in the past.

So now, I have a slight upgrade at 3B who supplies average, hits in a good park and has a solid supporting cast. A younger pitcher(hard to do with my staff) with more upside who is poised for a true fantasy breakout to follow up a sparkling real-life rookie campaign. And the guy plays for who else, Jim Leyland. But I have to ask myself, is Mike Young going to be my everyday 3B?

I made several stabs at perennial first/second rounders Evan Longoria and David Wright with varying levels of interest and decided to table my search. I was not particularly happy with the idea of moving Felix right after he melted fantasy hearts last year and the defense in SEA is going to make any pitcher better than they are. So after a day or two sitting on my options, someone offers a trade. Tommy Hanson and Mike Young for David Wright and Scott Baker.

This trade caught me totally off guard. I had to actually go look and see who Scott Baker was. It turns out, he is one of the most underrated SP out there. His ERA is not great. His win total is not great. His Ks are not great. but he goes out there, pitches within himself and will be the perfect compliment to my younger more erratic arms. I worry about Wright and his power numbers but feel he is a shoe-in to hit 300 and get close to 100 RBI and Runs even on an off year, and I gain about 15 Steals. Wright had an historic breakdown last year and still went for .307 88 10 72 and 27. I take the deal.

As soon as I take the deal, I hate myself for trading away a pitcher who has the promise of a Tim Lincecum in 2008. Could he run off several Cy Young's in a row? Could he be the man in ATL for years to come? Could he single-handedly make me regret trading(I swore off trading a few years ago, but then decided to do it again because I hate being that guy?) Check back in June, and I will let you know how I feel, but I am generally happy with my team. Now I need pitching.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Anyone Can Play Guitar....or Blog

first, i want to thank the academy, pookie, ray ray, my parents, tim tebow, al gore for the internet, and my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for making this blog possible. moving right ahead to team lollygaggers picks: teixeira, wright, a-gonz (great value), aaron hill, v-mart, choo. he obviously has a solid start with a strong foundation at the corners and a little position scarcity sprinkled in too. side note: i'm a position scarcity junkie so extra points for having a top flight catcher and middle infielder

josh johnson

i know we're focusing on 8-12 but this was a really solid pick in the 7th. most of the room was still applauding the picks of hanson and hamels earlier in the round, but johnson was the better of them last year and likely this year as well. johnson finished ahead of lester on our player rater last year, but was selected 30 picks after him in this draft. 5 gold stars for this pick or wrecks on white

chad billingsley

first, i'm not a general fan of bills. he's consistently had issues with walks and control, as evidenced by a career walk rate of 4bb/9, elevated pitch counts, and posted an era on the wrong side of 5 in the second half last season. as a pitcher who relies on stuff, eras that high over a prolonged period lead me to believe his elbow may have been hurting. my personal preference would have been to see wandy go here instead of bills. 3 meatball subs or checkmarks

yunel escobar

at this point, shortstops are starting to be pretty thin. no one wants to face the decision between yuniesky betancourt and jack wilson. escobar was slated to go almost exactly here, and it was a nice need-fill pick. 4 lenny's italian subs or smiley face stickers

scott baker

if you are a family member of team lollygaggers, i encourage you to look away and scroll down to the next pick. there's no other way to say it. i hated this pick. he is a control artist with stuff that is too "short" to ever push his k/9 north of 7. at times, he can buoy your whip but with brett anderson, lackey, garza, and jurrjens still on board, this pick sucked. 1 flaming bag of shit or a kick in the nuts

brian fuentes

fuentes is a solid pick if only for the fact that team lollygaggers made sure to not get left out in the cold on closers before its too late. 3 smiley face stickers or meatball subs

alex rios

fortunately, there is no penalty in our league for a player having one of the worst contracts in baseball. fiscal concerns aside, rios is a bounce-back candidate. the potential is still there for 20-20 and if he's going to find it any park, its in comiskey (i refuse to call it us cellular). after going on a bit of a pitcher binge, team lollygaggers found itself with only 1 outfielder. my personal rankings had mclouth for power/speed, quentin & ludwick for power, or speed merchants morgan, bourn, & davis (who was later drafted by lollygaggers) ahead of the directionless rios but the pick is certainly justifiable. 2 turkey and cheese sandwiches or a participation certificate

overall, i like lollygaggers draft. his middle rounds ran into a bit of a speed bump, though, with a personal run on limited upside starting pitching.