I think I've noted this before, but I've been a Red Sox fan since the mid-1980s. This, of course, is now sacrilege to many Royals fans who lump in the Red Sox with the real "Evil Empire" -- the Yankees. Are the Royals my number 1 team? Yes, obviously. But I'm also not the type of person to think you only root for one team and everybody else is the devil, either. Anyway, in the late 1990s I joined a Boston Red Sox listserv that I remain on to this day. Every year that list puts together a fantasy league or two and this year was no different, so I joined for the third or fourth straight year. Unlike my 12-team league, which I think is a good number because you still have a decent pool of free agents, this league is a 20-teamer and the draft is a siege. Some Royals fans like to comfort themselves by thinking Red Sox fans are all spoiled and don't really know what they're doing (I know, I heard a couple shots in last night's RoyalBoard league draft -- that's part of the inferiority complex some KC fans have) but that's not really true, especially in regards to the listserv. I agree that many, many Red Sox fans have become Yankee-fan like in the four years since the Sox won the World Series in 2004, and that the bandwagon has been overloaded since then. Unfortunately, it's not getting any better after they won it again in 2007. I'm not proud of the way some Sox fans act, but not everyone can handle success. I showed up to last night's 5 p.m. CT draft and found myself with the 15th pick. Luckily, the draft went quick and was over in 2 hours. Here's my haul:
|14.||(266)||Wily Mo Peña||LF,CF,RF|
"Hit Dogs" came from my favorite Sox player of the past, Mo Vaughn, incase you don't remember the reference. Mo had what Chris Farley woulda called "a little bit of a weight problem" but the man could hit. The first round went as expected, although Ryan Brewers Braun jumped up to #14, as we for some reason don't take defense into effect in this league. I went for speed plus power with Carl Crawford then picked up Upton on the way back to the front for the same reasons plus positional flexibility and despite the fact that gave me two Rays in two picks. After the long wait (pick-wise) for my third pick, I picked Haren, who I think is gonna be a stud in Arizona this season. Zimmerman will hopefully return to numbers closer to his 2006 marks (.280s BA, .820s OPS, close to 50 doubles, 20-some HRs and 100-plus RBIs with double-digit steals), which would make that a great pick in the fourth round. I was a little more strategic in regards to closers in this draft as opposed to my first draft, so grabbed Trevor Hoffman in the hopes he hears AC/DC's "Hells Bells" a lot in 2008. I probably passed up surer bets in round 6 when I grabbed Texas C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but all the sure-thing catchers were taken, and Salty is one of the second-tier guys I'm betting to step it up.
My first misstep is likely 7th rounder SP Yovani Gallardo, who I didn't know was coming back from knee surgery and would miss the first couple weeks. I probably should have taken Chien-Ming Wang (despite my desire each year to stay away from the Yankees), or even Ben Sheets, a better pitcher for the Brewers, but he has injury problems it seems like all the time. Loney was a kinda sleeper pick, as I also took him in my first draft and expect good things from as long as Torre allows him to play. Rolled the dice on B.J. Ryan returning to form as closer in Toronto then picked up B.J.'s brother Justin Upton for an outfield spot with hope he can build on his 2007 MLB debut. If you're wondering, yes I did see the ESPN the Magazine fantasy preview with B.J. and Justin on the cover, but it only minutely influenced my decision to get them both. They've both got multiple-tool talent. I also had a good feeling about Escobar, plus he can play multiple positions, so I snatched him up in round 11. Grabbed my first Royal in round 12 as Gil Meche was the fourth or fifth one taken -- I think Soria went first in round 8 with AG a couple picks after. I can't believe Meche lasted that long after last season, plus I think he may strike out more guys this year. Picked up my third closer in the next round in C.J. Wilson -- now I just have to hope he can hold on to the position with the Rangers. This was about the time I wasn't the only one taking some chances. I shoulda researched more to find out Wily Mo Pena has an oblique injury because I took him in round 14 when Casey Blake and Bill Hall were still on the board. I just figured I'd make up for it later somehow. I probably coulda done better than 3B Ian Stewart in the next round but that's one that may pay off by June or July if Stewart gets a break for the Rockies. Jurrjens was a sleeper pick at SP as he could provide good things for the Braves this season -- I woulda grabbed Brian Bannister here but I don't like to put a ton of trust in the Royals' rotation. Of course I contradicted this later with another team's rotation in my RoyalBoard draft but we'll get to that later. The dice kept rolling with Brandon Lyon, who is slated to be the Diamondbacks' closer to start the season and, with an eye on speed and some OBP, Randy Winn was my pick in round 18. Can you tell the pickings were getting slim? Invested in another Royal in Alberto Callaspo and now have to hope Trey Hillman gives him regular PT, then got what I feel is a nice late pick in Stros SP Wandy Rodriguez, who isn't really great in any any one category but still seems to pitch well all-around. Went for some more position flexibility with Mark Loretta in round 21 then picked up another Royal in round 22 in John Bale. I might as well see what he's got -- it's worth a shot. My steal of the draft was probably grabbing Cubs CF Felix Pie in round 23. In the last round I settled on Phillies OF Geoff Jenkins, who has had two straight mediocre seasons. but with the 466th pick of the draft what can you expect?