Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fantasy Baseball

So my 1st fantasy baseball draft of the season is done. It was a private, customized deeeep league (10 players, but not quite your traditional 5X5 categories). I got the 1st overall pick, which was just sweet. Here it is:

*NOTE: This wasn't very characteristic of me, but I did leave the draft about 2/3 through (it was 27 rounds and many of the other owners had already left) so many of my latter picks were autopicked unfortunately.

C: Geovany Soto (15)
C: Jason Varitek (19)
1B: Garrett Atkins (5)
2B: BJ Upton (2)
3B: Alex Rodriguez (1)
SS: Michael Young (8)
CI: Kevin Youkilis (16)
MI: Dan Uggla (13)
LF: Chris Duncan (14)
CF: Ichiro (3)
RF: Bobby Abreu (6)
OF: Hunter Pence (7)
OF: Corey Hart (9)
UTIL: Ryan Doumit (20)
Bench: 1B - Carlos Delgado (21)
Bench: CF - Gary Matthews Jr. (24)
Bench: CF - Mike Cameron (25)

SP: Cole Hamels (4)
SP: Roy Oswalt (10)
SP: Ben Sheets (12)
SP: John Maine (17)
RP: Billy Wagner (11)
RP: Kevin Gregg (23)
P: SP - Jeff Francis (18)
P: SP - Ian Snell (22)
Bench: SP - Curt Schilling (26)
Bench: SP - Bronson Arroyo (27)

(#) - Round I drafted this player. Autopick was in effect after round 19 (Jason Varitek was my last pick.

Here are the league categories (some are a bit ridiculous):

Runs, Hits, 1B, 2B. 3B, HR, RBI, SB, BB, K's and Batting Average for offense
IP, Wins, CG's, Saves, Hits, Total Earned Runs, K's, Holds, ERA and WHIP for Pitching

So as you can see, there are quite a few players that I'll be looking to drop for other guys. For starters, I need to get a couple of more relievers for everyday type production for guys like Schilling (out until at least the ASB in July) and relatively useless OF's like Matthews Jr. and Cameron. I felt like my draft was relatively solid until the autopicking kicked in. One thing I did regret was taking the point of drafting catchers late too far. This league plays 2 starters and I maybe should have reached a bit earlier and gotten a guy like Joe Mauer so the position would have at least have been somewhat solidified. Getting the 1st pick was also nice since this will be the 2nd year in a row I'll have A-Rod in this exact league (last year I "reached" for him at the 3rd overall pick). I'm relatively satisfied with this team and if some of my post-draft waiver moves go through, my team should be fine to start the season. It was a good way to get a feel for future drafts though. I'll probably be in 3 or 4 leagues when it's said and done. I'm not as big on baseball as basketball and football, but it's definitely something to do in the long summer when no other sports are going on.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

It's March Madness BAAABY!!

That's my best attempt at a mimic of Dick Vitale (on computer of course). Even though this man seems irksome to the general public while they watch college basketball's best games every week on ESPN, he's still one of the personalities who defines college basketball, and although I admittedly find him quite annoying and having way too much of an ACC and east coast bias, his spirit and good nature at 69 years old for college basketball is needed and it will be a big loss for the sport when/if he retires and leaves the game in all.

Now onto what this is actually about, and that is "Championship Week" and the last of the games proceeding. Last night was a beautiful thing for UNC fans, including myself. They clicked on every level and showed how good they can be with a healthy Ty Lawson. They went into one of the toughest places in the country, Cameron Indoor, in Durham, NC and just took a game from 2nd place Duke. Earlier in the season, Duke shot lights out from beyond the arc in a close game in Chapel Hill, but UNC got it all back with their performance last night, capped off with a great defensive stand to keep the Blue Devils scoreless in the last 5 minutes of the game. The game was a sweet way for Tar Heel fans to head into the ACC tournament as the 1 seed and potentially the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, the bracket for which is released a week from today. This is generally the most exciting time of the year for fanatic sports fans like myself. The NCAA tournament bracket is always fun to fill out and around the end of the tournament, the MLB Baseball season kicks off, the NFL draft is in April as well and PGA's 1st major, The Masters are around this time too. 2008 is finally getting started and it's gonna be fun.

A couple other random basketball notes I'd like to point out. It seems as the college season is coming to a close, people are starting to paint their picture of this summer's NBA draft, which I make an event every year because it's so exciting to see potential future stars and discuss such ideas with friends. From what I've read, there's a consensus top 5 for this year and those guys are (in this order):

1. Michael Beasley - SF/PF - I can't say much about this one. It's completely deserved, as he's been a man among boys in the Big 12 conference, putting ridiculous numbers and literally carrying that Kansas State team on his back. He's gotten them to a NCAA tournament berth and he should leave after one season. Not only did he keep his word and still attended K-State when the man who recruited him, Bob Huggins, left for a better job, a job he never would have gotten had Kansas State not given him an opportunity when so many other passed (that's another story though), but he's put up astronomical numbers while leading this team. I would say he's similar to Kevin Durant of last season in terms of freshman impact, but Beasley's been better IMHO. Durant was magnificent, but Beasley basically has one teammate (Bill Walker) who helps him out, while Durant had quite a bit of talent around him, albeit they were all young. The numbers are similar, but their games are quite different.

2. Derrick Rose - PG - He's the consensus #2 on just about everyone's list. The only thing I could argue against Rose going at the 2 spot is that it's a deep pool for point guard in this '08 draft class (Jerryd Bayless, Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, DJ Augustin, OJ Mayo... the list goes on and on), but that's no knock on Rose. He's without a doubt the #1 floor general prospect. He's got the size at 6'3" and he's got all the tools to become at least an All-Star on the next level.

3/4. Depending on needs, I've seen Jerryd Bayless, PG out of Arizona, and Eric Gordon, combo guard out of IU. So far, all 4 guys I've thrown out here have been freshman and it's with good reason. All these guys have been putting up ridiculous numbers as 1st year players and will be scouted a ton over the next month. I like Bayless a bit more than Gordon since Bayless comes from a rich history of guard-producers with his position at 'Zona. Arizona's also got a 5 star point guard recruit coming in next season in Brandon Jennings. From what I've seen, he's going to be a "one-and-done" guy as well - ubertalented and has all the potential in the world to be great. With Gordon, I see him being an undersized, but athletic 2. He's a great talent, but has to work on quite a few areas of his game, including decision making, ball handling and defense. He's a great prospect, but I wouldn't say he's as much a lock as the other top 3.

5. This pick isn't quite as set in stone. I could see 3 different guys in this 5th spot. Between bigs Brook Lopez (Stanford) and DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M) and guard OJ Mayo, I like this pick a lot because you have a few choices who are all great. I love Lopez' all-around game at Stanford and think he's athletic and big enough to make a difference on the NBA level. With Jordan, I don't know as much about him, but he's real long and big, which is a need for more than few NBA teams. I actually like Mayo the most out of these 3 (and perhaps even more than Gordon and Bayless) because I think he's got the highest ceiling to grow and develop. He's got so much talent and ability that given the right situation and motivation, he could become a top 10 NBA player some day.

The coming weeks will tell basketball fans so much about these players and it will be on what is IMHO the most exciting stage of them all, a single elimination tournament in which anything can happen. It's gonna be a fun ride. Just for the record before the brackets come out, my 4 #1 seeds are UNC, Memphis, UCLA and Kansas - in that order, and my 2 favorites have been UCLA and UNC all season. Those two teams are the most complete and play the best when they're on their games, which is more often than not.