Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Twins Minor League Report
Weekend Wrap-Up &
Good morning everybody! A little something different today. I will have some Twins Thoughts, and a couple of other thoughts including on the Vikings. However, last night I participated in my second fantasy football draft, and thought that I would post on it. It is probably a good distraction after a very tough Twins loss last night.
I received a couple of e-mails in the past couple of days from people asking if I would again be posting the NFL "Expert" Picks this year. The answer is "Definitely!" I know I enjoy doing that and we have some fun with it. I also found out last year that a LOT of people use our selections to help make theirs! So, I hope to post Week 1's picks tomorrow because there is one game that night before the rest of the regular Sunday and Monday games. I would like to at least get our picks for Thursday night's game, but may have all of the picks. About half of last year's participants will be back including Aaron Gleeman who won it two years ago and was just two games back last year. There will also be a number of new people participating, including a couple of "celebrities" that I am happy were interested in taking part.
FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT #2
OK, as promised, I will now be posting the results of my second fantasy football draft. It is too bad that we didn't draft earlier so that people could use this for their cheat sheets, but it could still be fun for some to see. Let's get right to it.
Here are the particulars for this league:
15 rounds (serpentine drafting)
Must draft a balanced roster (2 QB, 4 RB, 5 WR/TE, 2 K, 2 DEF)
After Week 1, rosters can be unbalanced.
Weekly Play (QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, K, DEF)
Rushing and Receiving - 1 point for every 10 yards. 6 points per TD run or catch. 2 points for 2-pt. Conversions.
Passing - 1 point for every 25 yards passing. 4 points for TD pass.
Kickers - 1 point for extra-point. 3 pts for FG <=39. 4 pts for FG 40-49. 5 pts for FG >=50.
Defense/Spec. Teams - 6 points for TD. 1 point for sacks. 2 points per safety. 1 point for INT or Fumble Recovery.
I got pick #10 (which means I picked #15 second, then didn’t pick again until #34). I was happy with that spot. I was hoping to get back Julius Jones and Kevin Jones, or at least two quality, every down running backs. Here is the draft in its entirety, followed by the Best Pick, Most Risky Pick, Worst Pick and Seth’s pick in each round. Note these are simply my opinion on these things. They mean absolutely nothing, just fun to “judge” before any of the games are even played. I also have to point out that I have been in this league for four years. I won it three years ago; the other three years, I didn't even make the playoffs.
Antwain Randle El
New England Defense
Tampa Bay Defense
NY Jets Defense
San Diego Defense
Kansas City Defense
NY Giants Defense
Green Bay Defense
Round 1 -
Best pick - Deuce McAllister (at 9, could be a huge steal)
Most risky pick - Priest Holmes (at 5, with his injury history the past two years, it is a risk.)
Worst pick - Peyton Manning (I realize that he was amazing last year, but there's no way he scores that many TDs again in 2005. I think that "Edge" will get many more TDs this year. I like RBs in the first two rounds. I also personally rank Daunte Culpepper ahead of Manning)
Seth’s pick - Kevin Jones (I was deciding between Julius Jones and Kevin Jones. I was hoping that I could land both, having that late of a first round pick. If the Lions are going to be good this year, much will be because of Joey Harrington's ability to get the ball to his Trio of WRs. But I think that a lot of Harrington's success will be predicated by Jones being able to get 4.0 yards per carry.)
Round 2 -
Best pick - Stephen Jackson (He is taking over the main back role from Marshall Faulk. Of course, Faulk will still get some playing time too. But Jackson is built to be a feature running back and will shine this year.)
Most risky pick - LaMont Jordan (Jordan has been Curtis Martin's backup for years. He was always drafted, with people thinking that Martin would get hurt. Jordan did well in limited time. Now he will be the main back in Oakland. Oakland has gone with multiple backs the last few years. I do think that Jordan could be The Man, but it is risky. Can he handle that role?)
Worst pick - Curtis Martin (Last year was a fluke... again, and with Jordan now gone, this is the year that he will get hurt.
Seth’s pick - Randy Moss (I hate not getting two top running backs in the first two rounds. But I also figured that it was late enough to take the best WR in the game. He had 13 TDs in a "bad" year last year. I just think that he could really be ready to have a huge year with his new team. There were a couple of starting RBs that I maybe should have taken, but I am happy with Moss at this point.)
Round 3 -
Best pick - Cedric Benson (the rookie RB will be the Bears starter in Week 1. His only competition is probably Thomas Jones. Benson is big and strong, and a high pick, meaning that they will let him play.)
Most risky pick - Brett Favre (way too early for the old man. Sure, we hear about him coming to camp in great shape and such, but he could have been had a couple rounds later.)
Worst pick - McNabb/Owens (How do I pick between these two. I mean, the easy choice would be Owens because if he messed up again, he could be suspended and miss time. However, if that happens, then McNabb's value is pretty much non-existent too. So, I'll say that both are high risk, high reward possibilities.)
Seth’s pick - Reggie Wayne (showed last year how good he can be. 77 catches, 1,210 yards, and 12 TDs. Harrison and Stokely are back, as are Manning and James, so a repeat is certainly possible. )
Round 4 -
Best pick - Kerry Collins (he has always been a decent fantasy quarterback. He seems to always throw for a lot of yards. Now he has Randy Moss to go with Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry. He should have a very good year.)
Most risky pick - Kevan Barlow (Last year, he lost a lot of playing time because he did very little. Of course, he did very little because the 49ers are really bad and have no passing game at all. So, Barlow will have to play well to keep playing and the passing game isn't any better.)
Worst pick - Darrell Jackson (has to be one of the most frustrating WRs in the league. One game, he'll have 200 yards receiving, he will have 200 yards and 15 drops over the next four games. Huge potential though.)
Seth’s pick - Andre Johnson (a third WR before I even have a second RB? That's crazy. OF course, all three are possible of 1,300 yards and double-digit TD receptions. I just don't see any RBs with better value at this point.)
Round 5 -
Best pick - Fred Taylor (I suppose the first pick in the round should be the best, right? The concern around Taylor is his knee, and his injury history. But he has been healthy all of the last two years. That is a pretty good track record. He did have offseason knee surgery, but has done well and remained healthy during camp.)
Most risky pick - Mike Anderson (He will be the Broncos starter in Week 1, but Tatum Bell, Quentin Griffen and even Ron Dayne are still in the picture.)
Worst pick - Chris Chambers (who is going to throw him the ball?)
Seth’s pick - Warrick Dunn (I don't like this pick. Dunn is good for yardage though usually, and as long as he stays healthy, he should rack up some yards. He just will lose TD rushes to both TJ Duckett and Michael Vick.)
Round 6 -
Best pick - Derrick Mason (He has been consistently good the last four seasons. He's probably good for 80 catches and 1,100 yards again this year. To get someone like that with the last pick in the sixth round is great!)
Most risky pick - Michael Bennett (He will start in Week 1, but he doesn't seem to ever stay healthy, and Mewelde Moore is in the picture as well. But he has huge big play potential.)
Worst pick - Not a bad pick in the round.
Seth’s pick - Michael Vick (another pick that I really don't like. I mentioned when discussing my previous draft that Vick was not good for that format. In this format, he is solid, with the possibility of being spectacular is he gets decent rushing yards. Very inconsistent though in the past. If he ever could be counted on for passing yards, he would be a fantasy stud. As soon as I picked him, I was planning to take a backup soon after as insurance.)
Round 7 -
Best pick - Jerome Bettis (yup, he's even older now and will miss at least Week 1, and will likely lose out on carries to Staley, when healthy, and Willie Parker. However, if nothing else, Bettis is still a guy who will get goal line situations, and TDs are still worth 6 points!)
Most risky pick - Marshall Faulk (how much will he play? What will his role be? Unless Jackson is hurt, will he ever be worth starting? However, if Jackson is hurt, getting Faulk in the 7th round is great!)
Worst pick - Brandon Lloyd (Best receiver on the 49ers! Of course, what does that mean? Who is going to throw him the ball? Will the team ever score, much less a WR from said team?)
Seth’s pick - Travis Henry (at this point, he's splitting time with Chris Brown. However, Henry did not play poorly to lose his job. Willis McGahee just took it over. I just have a gut feeling that Henry could be starting for the Titans within the first couple of weeks.)
Round 8 -
Best pick - Tom Brady (An excellent backup QB. He rarely puts up huge numbers, but then again, he is very consistent and you can count on him for points every week.)
Most risky pick - Muhsin Muhammed (Last year with the Panthers, he caught 93 balls for over 1,400 yards and 16 TDs. And now he plays for the Chicago Bears whose starting QB is Kyle Orton. I just can't see him getting nearly as many opportunities.)
Worst pick - LaBrandon Toefield (the pick is made with the hopes the Fred Taylor will get injured. That is certainly possible. However, I think Toefield could have been available two or three rounds later.)
Seth’s pick - Reuben Droughns (Had a great second half with the Broncos last year before being traded to Cleveland in the offseason. I think he'll share some time with Lee Suggs, but I would guess that they'll want one of the two to get the majority of the time. Here's hoping the Droughns gets that time!)
Round 9 -
Best pick - Jason Witten (In this league, WRs and TEs are combined. I generally don't like taking TEs, but I do like Witten. In my personal rankings, I had him 45th overall and here he went 108th. Also, the Cowboys QB is Drew Bledsoe who will not have a lot of time and will have to dump the ball off to Witten frequently.)
Most risky pick - Marcus Robinson (Could get some leaping TDs. Frequently gets injured. Travis Taylor has made himself the team's #2, and what will Koren Robinson's role with the team be?)
Worst pick - Jason Elam (if you're going to take a kicker this early, it should at least be one of the top 3 or 4.)
Seth’s pick - Mike Williams (I took him in my other league too. If I believe that Kevin Jones is going to have a big year, it should result in a lot of red zone chances for the Lions. That could mean TD opportunities for Williams, a big target. I guess we'll see.)
Round 10 -
Best pick - Adam Vinitieri (he went one pick before I went. Clearly the #1 kicker. The Patriots offense is solid, but they don't' always score TDs and frequently settle for FGs.)
Most risky pick - Drew Brees (had a huge season in his contract year. Can he do it again? Where does Philip Rivers fit into their equation? Also, his best receiver is a tight end who held out way too long.)
Worst pick - David Givens (the Patriots have so many offensive options that all get a chance. They have Branch, Patten, Andre Davis, as well as Kevin Faulk out of the backfield.)
Seth’s pick - New England Defense (I hate taking defenses and kickers before the final rounds. But, at this point, I figured that I could still get the 5th WR and backup QB that I wanted later in the draft, so I went with the #1 ranked defense.)
Round 11 -
Best pick - Eric Moulds (Is he hurt? I couldn't believe that he was around a few rounds earlier and still now. I figured he must be hurt or there was something causing him to fall this far. Maybe it's a fear of JP Losman?)
Most risky pick - Steve McNair (he has long been a greatly underrated fantasy QB, but how much does he have left. His body has taken such a beating in his excellent career.)
Worst pick - Eric Parker (only because I think he would have been available at the end of the draft too.)
Seth’s pick - Jeff Reed (I think that Reed could be a good fantasy kicker because I don't think that the Steelers offense - or their QB for that matter - is very good. Hopefully good enough to get plenty of field goal opportunities. Drafting kickers is totally just a crapshoot.)
Round 12 -
Best pick - None really
Most risky pick - Carlos Rogers (so much talent, but he has broken his collarbone the past two seasons. If he can be healthy, the Lions may have the best three receiver combo in the league.)
Worst pick - Koren Robinson (So, the Vikings get rid of Moss because of his problems. Robinson has far more issues than Moss. He showed up last spring drunk to his court hearing for, you guessed it, drunk driving. What will his role be?)
Seth’s pick - Jake Delhomme (he was far and away the top remaining QB on my draft board. A few backup QBs were being taken, and I wanted my best insurance possible with Vick as my primary QB.)
Round 13 -
Best pick - none, I just can't call a kicker or a defense a good pick. It's just something that has to be taken.
Most risky pick - Kyle Orton (He is the Bears starter. He does have Muhsin Muhammed to throw to. But he is a rookie, and could be overmatched especially early in the year.)
Worst pick - Ryan Moats (Westbrook is the top guy there, and the Eagles brought in Lamar Gordon, so Moats is probably the 3rd RB option)
Seth’s pick - John Kasay (a kicker. I picked out 12 kickers that I could live with. Mare was #10 on that list)
Round 14 -
All 12 picks were either kickers or a defense, and I think that a lot of those points are strictly lucky. The Colts scored the most points. However Mike Vanderjagt was only 5th or 6th among kickers in points because most of his kicks were just one-point extra points. It is hard to know which team will kick a lot of field goals. So, I don't want to judge any of those picks.
Round 15 -
Best pick - Brad Johnson (This team had also taken Daunte Culpepper, so they secured his backup. You may think that isn't good for the bye weeks. However, in this league, we are able to go to an open roster after week 1, so the assumption is that by Week 5, when the Vikings have their bye, this team will pick up a 3rd QB.)
Most risky pick - Kevin Curtis (you never know for sure what you can expect from a 3rd WR. Curtis is the Rams #3 WR, and that has been a good thing for years!)
Worst pick - just kickers and defenses aside from the above two.
Seth’s pick - Kevin Curtis (I didn't think that anyone would take Curtis, and he's the guy I had been considering for 3 or 4 rounds, so I could take other things earlier. It worked out.)
So, there you have it. Draft #2 in its entirety, plus some quick analysis.
How did I do? Which team will dominate? E-mail me.
Any thoughts on this, e-mail me.
Alright, I hate to do it, but the time has come to start talking a little football, specifically a little Vikings football. The preseason is over. The team has been cut down to 53. And on Sunday at noon, the Vikings will play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
I will likely post a mini-preview/prediction article on Friday before the opener. But before then, just a couple of thoughts on the team.
Yesterday, the Vikings signed Koren Robinson. Robinson had 78 catches for over 1,200 yards three seasons ago. However, after that, he was an enigma, and completely inconsistent. Last year, he was suspended for four games for a drug program violation, and kept out longer by the Seahawks. Clearly, Robinson has a lot of potential, and he's still young, so he can be good. But part of the reason that the Vikings got rid of Moss was because of his problems and issues. Robinson has more issues and less talent and history to be worth it.
Of course, the team had to release someone in order to sign Robinson. The person released was Kelly Campbell, who had his own felonious issues over the offseason and was hurt all of training camp. So I guess it is a case of replacing one bad apple with another; a bigger, stronger, faster, more talented apple who was willing to sign for cheap making this a relatively low-risk move with huge potential. I guess we'll see how he is used. Nate Burleson is the big receiver, and Travis Taylor has captured the #2 spot. Marcus Robinson can be solid, but is also an injury risk, and the team seems to be willing to move Troy Williamson along slowly.
Anyway, I got the following in an e-mail from a friend, Nick, from work yesterday:
Do you think the Vikings have the team to win it all this year? I do! I just think Daunte is going to have a phenomenal year, and the defense has to be better than it was last year. I’ve always been a Viking’s fan, but this year feels a lot better than previous years. I can feel it. Let’s just say that we have a bet ($50), on who’s going to win the NFC. I have the Vikings, you get any team in the NFC, would you take that bet? I’d even let you have San Francisco!
I would love to hear your thoughts and responses to it. So, if you would like to comment, please e-mail me. Responses could be posted on Friday.
Well, as Bert Blyleven said, the Twins did everything they could to win that game last night after getting down 5-0. Once they got caught up, they got great relief work. Matt Guerrier, Terry Mulholland, Jesse Crain and Juan Rincon did great, throwing six innings and heading into the 9th inning with a 7-6 lead. After being almost perfect since the All-Star break, Joe Nathan had given up runs in two straight games. He gave up four runs in one inning last night to blow the save for Crain and take the loss.
I keep hearing how much the Twins miss Doug Mientkiewicz. We are hearing that because Justin Morneau has really struggled with the bat this year. However, Mientkiewicz has done nothing offensively while still playing solid defense. But believe me, the Mets are regretting trading for him already. And I think that Morneau's defense is something worth talking about. We constantly were told how bad he was defensively, and he has come so far. Mientkiewicz was very good at picking balls in the dirt. I think we have seen the Morneau is almost his equal with balls in the dirt. Stretching - well, Mientkiewicz could stretch/dive all over to catch the ball, frequently completely flopping for show. Morneau doesn't have to dive as much but has shown a very good stretching ability. Mientkiewicz was probably a better groundball fielder with more range. Of course, I also think that got him into trouble at times, moving far too far to his right, making a difficult play for the 2B and pitcher coving the bag. I'm not taking anything away from Mientkiewicz, but does anyone else think that he dove too much, clearly just trying to make plays look difficult. Also, there is one area in which Justin Morneau is far better than Mientkiewicz ever was. The other night, he turned two 3-6-3 double plays. He fields the ball, turns and throws to 2B very well. Mientkiewicz never threw the ball to 2B. So for people who were expecting some major 1B defensive dropoff, I think you have to now admit that Morneau is just fine. Now if his offense comes along like we all hope and believe he can, the Twins and their fans will be very happy!
One other thing is that Mientkiewicz had to scoop a lot of balls in the dirt because of poor throws by Cristian Guzman and Corey Koskie. Juan Castro, Nick Punto, Jason Bartlett and Michael Cuddyer have all been much better at making strong, accurate throws to 1B.
By the way, do any Twins fans still think that the team would be better off with Cristian Guzman at SS than Jason Bartlett. It has been a joy to watch Bartlett play the past month. He puts together great at bats. He has been hitting some doubles. We have seen his speed. We have also seen his defense improve drastically. He is making the routine plays. He is also showing some great range, and a strong arm!
It was interesting seeing Jason Tyner playing in right field with Lew Ford in center. Remember that when Jason Tyner and Lew Ford both went to Texas A&M at the same time and the coach just gave the CF job to Tyner. Of course, Tyner was a great college player, and deserved the playing time. Ford transferred to Dallas Baptist to play. However, the major leagues are about taking advantage of opportunities when you get to play, and it is now Lew Ford who is The Man with Tyner trying to fit in and find a niche.
It was Augie Ojeda who was removed from the Twins 40 man roster when Chris Heintz was called up to the Twins. Ojeda did alright when he played with the Twins in 2004, but he got off to a horrible start at Rochester this year. As infielder after infielder moved up to the Twins, Ojeda spent the whole season at AAA. So, that was an easy choice.
Yesterday, Carlos Silva apologized for negative comments he made regarding the effort of some of his teammates. It didn't go over so well. I think that questioning effort is tough to do and shouldn't be done. However, I have no problem with Silva airing his concerns. Brad Radke made some comments a few days earlier about the frustration of not getting any run support for the whole pitching staff. How he worded it was just better than how Silva did. Either way, I wish someone would have said something to rattle the offense a couple of months ago. Maybe it would have helped.
At 12:10 this afternoon, the Twins and Rangers will play the third and final game of this series. Brad Radke will take on Chris Young.
Any thoughts on the Twins, please e-mail me.
Well, I guess I was wrong. One of the Twins affiliates did make the playoffs. The Beloit Snappers won a Wild Card berth and will now take on Wisconsin in a best 2 of 3 series starting tonight.
That is it for me for today. If you have any questions or comments, or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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