Thursday March 11, 2004
TWINS BEAT YANKEES
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
FANTASY TEAM #1
I have mentioned in the past how much I enjoy fantasy sports. I was in two fantasy football leagues, two fantasy basketball leagues, made up fantasy Survivor and American Idol league and even participated in a fantasy NASCAR league last year. In the past couple of years, I have been in two fantasy baseball leagues, both locally. This year, I will be in both of those again, but I will be in two other leagues as well. One is with a bunch of baseball bloggers from across the country. It was set up by Ben Jacobs of Universal Baseball Blog. It will be a 5x5 rotisserie league and have 14 teams, all done on cnnsi.com.
But the league that I am most excited about and think will spend much of my time thinking about is a league called the Donít Think Just Throw Dynasty Baseball League where the commissioner is David Bergner, The Baseball Savant. JD Arney of Reds Daily is also in the league. The other 12 members of the league are from all around the country as well. It is a 5x5 rotisserie league. The categories are R, HR, RBI, AVG, SB, W, SV, ERA, WHIP and K. The reason I think it is so fun is because there is a lot of strategy involved. It is a keeper league based on contracts. You team can have up to 80 years of contracts. For instance, I drafted Player X in the first round. I need to designate him a contract for Y number of years. I have that player on my team until his contract years run out, I trade him, or I release him (in which case, I still need to count his contract into my total of 80 years). In other words, it is a league that tries to be as close to the real thing as possible. I know Iím explaining this quickly and you donít need to understand the specifics. If you have further questions, please feel free to e-mail me.
With participants all over the place, our draft has been going on for about four weeks via e-mail. League rosters are 29 players so the number of draft picks you have depends on how many players you keep. I chose to keep 19 players, so I drafted 10 rounds. Others drafted as few as three or as many as 15. (Note- when the major league portion of the draft is complete, we will be having a 10 round minor league draft, which I am really looking forward to!)
Finally a weekly active roster consists of the following: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, OF, CI, MI, UTIL, SP, SP, SP, SP, P, P, P, P, P, P. There will then be six players in reserve.
So, that is enough set up, right? Letís get to the team! I inherited/took over a team that finished in 7th place last year, so it does have some quality players. Here is the list of players I inherited (with contract years in parentheses):
Albert Pujols (5), Kevin Millwood (4), Tim Hudson (4), Cliff Floyd (3), Jacque Jones (3), Mike Williams (3), Danys Baez (3), Kris Benson (3), Cory Lidle (3), Jeff Kent (2), Mike Cameron (2), Raul Ibanez (2), Mike Lowell (2), Luis Rivas (2), Chris Woodward (2), Larry Walker (1), Al Leiter (1), John Lackey (1), Cliff Pollite (1), Dan Wright (1).
Minor League players do not count against your Contract Years. However, when they lose their rookie eligibility, you must let them go or give them a contract. I chose to give Laynce Nix a 3 year contract. My Minor League roster consists of:
Boof Bonser (Twins, SP), Scott Kazmir (Mets, SP), Prince Fielder (Brewers, 1B), Macay McBride (Braves, P), Felix Pie (Cubs, OF), Angel Guzman (Cubs, SP), Russ Adams (Blue Jays, SS), JR House (Pirates, C), Choo Freeman (Rockies, OF).
Before even drafting, I made a few transactions. The first thing I did was go through my roster and see who I wanted to get rid of. I was able to make one trade. I traded Jeff Kent and Raul Ibanez for Jose Contreras and Brad Wilkerson. Because I probably got the short-end of that trade, I also asked that the other team take the 3 year contract of Danys Baez, a contract I was looking to rid myself of. Unable to pull off any other trades, I decided to drop reliever Cliff Pollite so that I would get another draft pick.
Then came the draft. You have to remember that about 275 players were kept, so the pickings in the draft were pretty slim. I drafted 9th in the first round. Here are my 10 picks:
First Round - Edwin Jackson, RHP - Los Angeles Dodgers - The 20 year old flame-thrower was called up to the big leagues last September and out dueled Randy Johnson in his major league debut. He throws in the upper-90s, with pinpoint control. He will definitely warrant a long-term contract.
Second Round - Rickie Weeks, 2B - Milwaukee Brewers - The 2nd overall pick in the 2003 draft out of Southern University, Weeks made his major league debut last September, which made him eligible for this draft. Weeks has done well this spring, but probably will start the season in the minor leagues. He should be up for good by mid-season. Iíll give him a long-term deal.
Third Round - Jody Gerut, OF - Cleveland Indians - I was surprised that Gerut was still around at this point in the draft. He came up to the Indians early in the season, but ended up being one of the best, most productive rookies in 2003. His shoulder injury is a question, but he has been DHing for the Indians this spring and hit a home run yesterday. I think that I will offer him a mid-range contract, probably three years.
Fourth Round - Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B - Minnesota Twins - I had a couple of outfielders that I could have played at 1B, but I felt Mientkiewicz was the best available player at the time, so I took him. I needed a corner infielder anyway. I plan on giving Mientkiewicz a two year deal. He could be a very solid, unspectacular contributor to the Twins the next two or three years, or he and his reasonable contract could be traded to a contender. Either way, I am happy heís on my team.
Fifth Round - Justin Speier - RP - Toronto Blue Jays - I had no relief pitchers, and I think that Speier has a chance to be the Blue Jays closer this season, providing my team with some saves. Even if he ends up setting up, his number should be helpful to me. I think I will give him a one year contract because Aquilino Lopez will probably be the closer in the near future.
Sixth Round - Guillermo Mota - RP - Los Angeles Dodgers - Wonít provide Saves unless Eric Gagne is hurt or dealt, but Mota is filthy and will help my ERA and WHIP numbers. Because of his dominance, I will be giving him a two, maybe three, year contract.
Seventh Round - Bengie Molina - C - Anaheim Angels - I did not have a catcher yet, and every day catchers were getting pretty slim. Molina had a very solid 2003 season with the bat. He also needs to have a quality season because super-prospect Jeff Mathis should be ready by 2005! That is why Molina will get just a one year contract from me.
Eighth Round - Alex Gonzalez - SS - Florida Marlins - I felt I needed an every day shortstop because I donít know how much Chris Woodward will play for Toronto this season. Gonzalez is anything but good, but could hit some home runs. I need to trade for a real shortstop, but Gonzalez will be ok for the year.
Ninth Round - Zach Day - SP - Montreal Expos - I had Day on a fantasy team last year and he was very good. I think this is a pretty safe pick this late in the draft. He has the ability and potential to be really, really good, so I think I will give him a three year contract too.
Tenth Round - Carlos Silva - RP - Minnesota Twins - Yes, this may have been a homer pick. However, it appears Silva will be given every opportunity to be in the Twins starting rotation when the season begins. Could be a high-reward pick. I think that even if he is in the bullpen, he can be a solid contributor to my team. Because of the possible reward, I will give him a two year contract.
So, there you have it, my 29 man roster. I need to finalize my contract situation. I would love to hear any feedback you may have on any of the players on my roster. You may have noticed that the parts of my 13 part fantasy preview are now on the left side of this screen, under the blog links. So, if you have any fantasy baseball questions as the season approaches, feel free to e-mail me and ask anything.
Be sure to check out the Will Carroll Website. He wrote a great posting called Blogger Burnout. It is about how hard it is to write a quality entry every day. It makes suggestions about how to help out your favorite bloggers. Also, check out the Comments, where I contributed my thoughts to the subject. The general consensus is just that reader feedback is what makes us tick. I completely agree with that. Whether you agree or disagree with what I or others write, feel free to e-mail me and let me know what you think.
Also, be sure to take some time and read the division roundtable discussions found on the All-Baseball.com Index page. Dig into the minds of some of the best baseball writers in the world!
As you know, I share some of my postings with Baseball Interactive. Beginning this weekend, there will be a weekly question asked of those of us who contribute to Baseball Interactive regularly. This weekís question was "Which team made the right moves to improve themselves the most this season?" Be sure to check those out as I know they should be interesting.
The Baseball Savant discusses something about SABRmetrics that I hadnít thought about before. What happens when the On-Base Percentage guys are no longer undervalued? It is a great read.
TWINS 5, YANKEES 3
Yesterday, the Twins hosted a split squad version of the New York Yankees in Fort Myers. Rick Helling got the start and did pretty well. He went three innings, giving up just one run on two hits. He struck out two. The Twins brought Jesse Crain in against the heart of the Yankees lineup. He started by fooling Jason Giambi on a curveball for a strikeout. But then he walked Ruben Sierra before giving up a home run to Hideki Matsui. He came back well with a pop up and another strike out. I think Gardy probably wanted to see him early in the game, against some proven big leaguers, just to see how he reacts. Now it will be interesting to see how he comes back from an off-performance. After that inning, the Twins got scoreless innings of relief from JC Romero, Juan Rincon, Pete Munro, Colby Miller and Brian Wolfe.
Not much on the offensive side of things. Corey Koskie went 2-3. Nick Punto had a double. Jacque Jones was 2-2, with a double and a home run that gave the Twins the lead for good.
Today, the Twins will play the Florida Marlins.
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, Spring Training, potential lineups, baseball, or anything, e-mail me.
Lots of former Twins got some spring training playing time yesterday. Hereís the rundown:
∑ David Ortiz - DH - Boston Red Sox (1-2, 2 RBI)
∑ Dave McCarty - 1B - Boston Red Sox (2-4)
∑ Mike Lincoln - RP - St. Louis Cardinals (1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 R)
∑ Casey Blake - 3B - Cleveland Indians (2-3, HR, 3 RBI)
∑ Rick Reed - SP - Pittsburgh Pirates (3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 ER)
∑ Mark Guthrie - RP - Pittsburgh Pirates (2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 4 ER)
∑ Warren Morris - 2B - Detroit Tigers (1-3)
∑ John Barnes - LF - Los Angeles Dodgers (1-4)
∑ Javy Valentin - C - Cincinnati Reds (0-1)
∑ Greg Myers - DH - Toronto Blue Jays (3-4, 2 RBI)
∑ Matt Lawton - LF - Cleveland Indians (1-3)
∑ Jack Cressand - RP - Cleveland Indians (2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, L)
∑ Quinton McCracken - CF - Seattle Mariners (0-3)
∑ Todd Walker - 2B - Chicago Cubs (0-2)
∑ Greg Swindell - RP - Kansas City Royals (1 IP, 2 K)
∑ Brian Buchanan - 1B - San Diego Padres (1-4)
∑ Bobby Kielty - RF - Oakland Aís (2-3, 2B)
∑ Chad Allen - LF - Texas Rangers (0-1)
∑ Danny Ardoin - C - Texas Rangers (0-1)
∑ Dustan Mohr - LF - San Francisco Giants (0-2)
∑ Scott Erickson - P - New York Mets (3 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 ER)
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
The Upset of the Evening??? How did Suzy Vulaca not make the final 12 of American Idol? She was, by far, the best singer on Tuesday night, yet did not advance. Here is what I wrote yesterday:
Who Seth would vote to advance? With all apologies to my girl, Katie (Webber), I would definitely take Suzy Vulaca into the finals.
Who I think America will vote to advance? I think that they will chose Suzy Vulaca, but that Jon Peter Lewis and George Huff will be close.
Then the judges will have to pick three people to advance. Somehow Randy and Paula thought Leah was good, which baffled me, so she will be chosen by one of them. George Huff will be chosen by the other. Simon will then pick Jennifer Hudson to advance.
Please note that these are just my opinions followed by my guesses. I know nothing!
Well, apparently I do know nothing!! America chose Jon Peter Lewis. Randy Jackson selected Jennifer Hudson. Paula Abdul went with Leah Labelle (Who sounded even worse last night than she did on Tuesday!). Finally, Simon Cowell chose George Huff to finish up the twelve person group. I may have been wrong with who selected whom, but I was correct on picking who three of the four finalists would be. But, my choice, Suzy Vulaca, was not chosen.
Ruben Studdard performed his single, Sorry 2004, last night. I like the Soulful album, but Iím not a big fan of that particular song. It really doesnít work in that type of performance. It was fun to see Ricky Smith again! He was one of my favorites from last season! Ruben mentioned that he saw Kimberly Locke and she has a great new single out. I completely agree. It is called "8th World Wonder" and it is a good song.
Those are my American Idol thoughts for this week. I canít wait until the Final 12 start next week! Should be fun! Do you have any thoughts on the show? If so, e-mail me.
And on that note, I will call it a day. If you have any questions or comments for me, please be sure to send me an e-mail and let me know what you think. Have a great Thursday!
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