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If smart, you have been knee deep in early pitching and hitting reports since the Super Bowl ended with a 49er whimper. If procrastinating, now is the time to get serious about performance evaluations, who’s moving on up in value, on their downside, breaking out, bouncing back, in a more potent line-up, and who’s hurt and how bad.
Me, I almost always place little to no credence on statistical player projections. No one has a foolproof crystal ball, not even a Bill James or a Ron Shandler.
After all, you get only one chance at Draft Day. Pitchers and catchers reported this week, while position players trickled in during the following February days. Even the bad boys set to serve PEDs-induced suspensions. They are permitted to play minor league spring training exhibitions but forbidden to take part in Major League spring contests.
Right now, it’s all about research, research, research. Knowledge is key, and there’s already plenty of info out there in cyberspace. Because life always gets in the way, time management is critical.
Me, I’m always concerned about my auction performance. Will I make the same mistakes? Will I bid someone up to sucker a fellow fantasy leaguer only to be the one suckered, leaving me stuck with a player I paid too much for and didn’t really want?
Will I bid with my heart and not my head? Will I give too much credence to Spring Training performances? Will I get overly distracted by worrying about the amount of auction money I have left? Will I screw up the math?
Will I spend too much time talking smack and not enough time on critical last-minute decisions? Will I repeat the same mistakes? Will I pop open a brewski before I complete my roster?
Will I (fill in the blank )?
Admit it, you all have committed such elementary errors.
Often, the simple things are overlooked, like not bringing enough food to get through an eight-hour draft day and bringing too much information to sift through. Or deviate so far from the draft plan that internal chaos renders you ineffective. Our Blue Moon league draft will hold its auction March 30, a Saturday. Gives me close to eight precious weeks to be ready to dominate. Okay, I’ll settle for a draft performance that reaps respectable rewards come the October payout.
Blue Moon is a keeper league, and we draft from both the NL and AL. There are 14 league owners competing in a dozen categories, six offensive and six pitching. We maintain 23-man rosters and each have six players in reserve. Transactions are daily. Competition is serious.
Meanwhile, I have until March 15 to declare seven keepers, (includes two pitchers minimum), and it doesn’t look pretty. Two of them are dirt cheap to keep. That’s the good news. But circumstances beyond my control have both may start the season riding the bench, relegated to spot starts. The guys in question are outfielder Bret Gardner at $4 and middle infielder Jed Lowrie for a measly three bucks.
In the meantime, the so-called experts disagree on Lowrie. A sampling…ESPN, MLB.com, Rotoworld, and CBSsports.com have Gardner penciled in left field. Encouraging news. As for Lowrie, there is plenty of disagreement. ESPN predicts he’s starting at the hot corner, Rotoworld says he’s slotted for second, but MLB.com and CBS have Lowrie as a backup infielder.
Muddying the waters: MLB Tonight TV program figure Lowrie to start the season at third base. Huh?
Gardner is a virtual lock to steal 35-plus bags and believed to have sufficiently healed from elbow surgery, but there’s a future Hall of Famer named Ichiro that could stand in his way. The ageless Japanese import is now 39, and a full season as a Yankee should bump up his numbers across the board. Ichiro is also a box office draw at Yankee Stadium. Not to mention the right field porch is well suited for the lefty’s occasional home run swats. Gardner, 29, is powerless.
And then there’s Lowrie, who smacked 16 HRs in only 340 at bats for Houston. Impressive. He was an everyday player with his season cut short by injuries. Injury prone he is. To make matters worse, Lowrie was traded in January to Oakland, where management plans to use him as a backup infielder. Furthermore, Oakland’s cavernous coliseum is a far cry from hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park.
On the bright side, Lowrie is expected to eventually take over this season at short or second base, maybe even third. Lowrie’s advantage: the A’s proposed starting infielders leave much to be desired.
And what about the remaining five I plan to keep? So far, no problem. They are Cliff Lee, $11, Matt Harrison, $2, Mike Adams, $4, Adam Dunn, $8, and Joey Votto, $32. All at bargain prices, except Votto, but the elite first baseman is worth every auction dollar.
From where I sit, Lowrie and Gardner are worth such low-dollar risk. Otherwise, my options are bleak. The rest of my hitters are PED-suspended Yasmani Grandal, $11, Jesus Montero, $15, Logan Forsythe, $11, Kevin Youkilus, $24, Jhonny Peralta, $12, Justin Morneau, $14, Michael Brantley, $11,Michael Cuddyer, $28, Dexter Fowler, $11, Jeff Francouer, $11, Matt Joyce, $14, and Pedro Ciriaco, $11. Ugh.
My remaining pitching staff (keep in mind that we score Holds) includes Ogando, $11, Broxton, $5, Brett Myers, $4, Jake McGee, $11, Jon Rauch, $11, Dave Robertson, $11, Craig Stammen, $11, Pedro Strop, $11, Beckett, $13, and Jonathan Niese, $4.
What would you do? Do you see anyone in the above two paragraphs that I should keep in place of Lowrie and Gardner? Incidentally, I’ll avoid Beckett as much as Boston Red Sox fans would like to tar and feather Bobby Valentine.
Speaking of Valentine, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Better be prepared for V-Day, too…If I’m truly a wise guy.