A group of writers and readers got together this past Wednesday and kicked off the inaugural RotoRob’s Regulars season. My hats off to all the participants: 15 teams, 23 players per team and done like dinner in two hours flat. It just doesn’t get any better. Somewhere in the mid to late rounds this crew actually managed to get a good ten picks off in less than 30 seconds. It is always a pleasure drafting with a group that knows their stuff and this crew qualified without a doubt.
I’ve been a very big proponent this year of drafting and filling those outfield slots early and wanted to give myself an opportunity to see how the other half lived. Drafting in the ninth slot gave me the perfect chance to try a new strategy and, with no hesitation, I chose Johan Santana and we were off.
Here’s my round-by-round picks with the overall number of the selection in parenthesis:
1. Johan Santana (9) – Time to move outside my comfort zone and draft the best starting pitcher in the game.
2. B.J. Upton (22) – Power/speed combo at both 2B and outfield was just too tough to pass on.
3. Adam Dunn (39) – The last of the big power outfielders available.
4. Eric Byrnes (52) – Stolen bases flying off the board and had to get me some. I didn’t want to have to click on Juan Pierre in about four rounds.
5. Carlos Zambrano (69) – New contract, new attitude = top ten starting pitcher in 2008.
6. Adrian Beltre (82) – Did I mention yet that I really like Beltre for 2008?
7. Ryan Zimmerman (99) – Okay, let’s shorten up third base a bit. We are using two Utility slots so why not?
8. Kosuke Fukudome (112) – A little early for Kosuke, but I was beginning to see all those former NPB guys going off the board and nary one heading my way. The thought of having to try and defend a Kei Igawa pick at the end forced my hand a bit here.
9. Kenji Johjima (129) – Okay, a trend is developing, but with using only one catcher slot, I might as well get a decent one. Note to self: Kaz Matsui is way beyond a reach for Round Ten.
10. Matt Capps (142) – Just about the right time to acquire that first closer. How many went this round, only seven? Getting just a bit too close to Joe Borowski time for my liking.
11. Billy Butler (159) – I’m hoping to be able to say “The Butler did It” in about five months. 1B and OF qualifier for 2008 is a nice bonus.
12. Ian Snell (172) – Decent WHIP, ERA and stikeouts. Wins? Hmmm, a bit shaky in Steeltown.
13. Brandon Lyon (189) – Has the job for now and still avoiding the Joe Borowski button.
14. Aaron Hill (202) – I now have room to slide Upton into my outfield. Hill is a very underrated pick heading into 2008. I really wanted Khalil Greene as my shortstop here, but my friend Andy took care of that one for me.
15. Stephen Drew (219) – The batting average better climb or my lack of middle infield could be ugly.
16. Mark Buehrle (232) – Steady as she goes. Nothing spectacular, but he’s a steady contributor across the board.
17. Franklin Gutierrez (249) – One of my favourite late round sleeper picks. I’ll take a 20-80 dude with 15 stolen base potential in Round 17.
18. Carlos Villanueva (262) – He will win the gig and contribute 15 wins with a sub-4.00 ERA. Yes, the meds have now kicked in!
19. Masahide Kobayashi (279) – One of several reasons I didn’t want to be picking Borowski.
20. Scott Rolen (292) – I’m betting on a rebound in Hogtown.
21. Nick Johnson (309) – With Butler slotted in at first base, a back-up plan is not a bad idea.
22. Jon Garland (322) – With the ongoing injuries in the Anaheim rotation, Garland could be the ace by the time this gets to print.
23. Chris Ray (339) – Purely a strategic move here. We have a DL slot and I plan on using it early to get me an extra pick as soon as the season is underway.
All things considered I’m relatively happy with my results. My starting pitching is solid and the bullpen should leave me mid-pack in the saves category. By acquring Hill and Johnson late and the flexibility offered in both Upton and Butler, my outfield has a bit of depth and the stolen bases should be adequate.
Good fortunes to all this year and again my thanks for a great draft!