As has now apparently been well advertised, Z and I drafted our Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) team Wednesday evening in Las Vegas. And, though we are indeed the defending champs of the league, the lottery gave us the #1 selection (it was karma).
So, for the record, a quick review of my take on who we took, and why. Z--whom we must all congratulate for winning the FSWA Web Baseball Article of the Year award--will likely comment here, or respond in his own space.
But, rest assured, we get on pretty well teaming in this way. Players are in selection order.
Mike Trout (#1): Z and I did not really discuss this, but when we knew where we were picking there was really no question.
Alex Rios (#2): It took a few discussions, well before the 1/15 draft, about Rios for Todd to molify the feeling that Rios was a lot more erratic than he actually is. We had our eyes on other players we thought would fall here, but none did. Z prefaced Rios' name to me with a rationale, but I cut him short and said it was no problem, I was well on board with Rios' skills on the Rangers. For those in the world who think it was early, well, if you care about numbers, look at them more closely. Rios is really good.
Ian Desmond (#3): Again, Z did not have to convince me about this selection at all. I must say that I am hoping Desmond can kick his game up even a little higher, but a repeat is also fine.
Chris Sale (#4): I wasn't so sure we needed a starter just yet, but were we to take one, this is who I would have wanted. Todd, OTOH, wanted a serious strikeout arm, and I understand needing a strong base for the rotation. So, pretty unanimous.
Ian Kinsler (#5): Again, we were both in sync that should Kinsler drop this low, as he had in other drafts, we were happy to have him show us his skill set is still strong.
Gio Gonzalez (#7): I like doubling picks at a slot when at a wheel spot, and this gave us a solid troika with some whiffs and great WHIP atop our staff.
Jose Abreu (#8): Former Cuban National, now a White Sox, again, Z and I both really like this guy, and as I will present in a column in a few weeks on emigres from the Island south of Florida who just seem to adjust to play at the Show more readily than any other like sample of players from any other venue, domestic or not.
Kyle Seager (#9): I was huge on Seager in 2012, to the doubt of the world, and Z was equally huge last year (I was not so certain). We are both huge now.
Glen Perkins (#11): ...Perkins were fine. Now the guys with no closers have to at least think about grabbing one before our next selection, and that clears the path a little for us elsewhere.
Drew Smyly (#12): Z and I both love our #4 starter and now Detroit's #5 on their depth chart so much more than the Tigers' #4 guy (Rick Porcello) it is sad. Smyly was deadly last year in the pen (6-0, 2.37, 81 K over 76 innings, with a 1.039 WHIP) that we see him taking a huge step in 2014.
Jason Castro (#13): Always been a fan, and with a full and solid season under his belt, and a team that looks to be a lot better, we both think Castro will step his game up.
Xander Bogaerts (#14): Obviously, Z loves--we can all be homers--but I have no problem. In fact, I like Bogaerts, who will have shortstop eligibility soon it appears, and well, I love having promising prospects picked this late. Though, I confess, even later would be better.
Dan Straily (#15): I was leaning towards Jarrod Parker, who was gone by the time the next pick came back to us, but Z's projections had Straily higher. I have seen a bunch of Straily myself, and consider him Jack Morris light, at least thus far in his career, in that Straily surrenders homers, but not too many baserunners.
Avisail Garcia (#17): We both love him, though I do worry about his plate discipline (12 walks to 69 strikeouts) but I think he can definitely whack the ball. Z too.
Alex Wood (#18): Wood's numbers suffered the second half as he became a starter, for though he was 3-1, 3.40, his WHIP went from 1.091 to 1.400. Still, 77 strikeouts over 77.6 innings bodes well for the guy.
Justin Masterson (#19): 14-10, 3.45, 195 punchouts over 193 innings, with a 1.202 WHIP in the 19th round? What the hell did Masterson do to piss off the rest of the league to this extent?
Nick Markakis (#20): Boy, has this guy fallen in the eyes of the world. Meaning he is a perfect gamble as a fourth outfielder. And, as low as Markakis' stock has fallen, he did still hit .271-10-59, and if he can up that just a little it should be profit city. It is hard to believe we trust Garcia more than Markakis, but, well...
Derek Norris (#21): I think Norris will get 400 at-bats this time, and hit Markakis numbers of last year (around .270-10-50) with ten steals. (Check it out: he has ten over his 158 major league games, and has only been caught once).
Kole Calhoun (#22): Again, both Todd and I were in sync with a hitter we think is a huge step-up from Peter Bourjos. Calhoun did post an .808 OPS last year over 195 at-bats, and in the Minors, Calhoun copped 45 swipes, so some speed is there as well.
Matt Joyce (#23): Joyce is streaky, but he has averaged 17 dingers a season over the past three years and this late in the fesitivities, he could pay off nicely.
Mike Zunino (#24): I like to have a back-up catcher in case one of them gets hurt, and Z likes Zunino.
Josh Rutledge (#25): Rutledge was a darling a year ago, so now we are eager to see if he can settle in. He did hit .371 at Colorado Springs after a demotion, meaning it is time to prove it at the big league level. And, we get some depth up the middle.
Brett Oberholtzer (#26): It is almost a running joke between Z and me at this juncture, although I am neither sure why, let alone how it started. Maybe there is something about "Oberholtzer" being a sort of "Steven Wright dead-pan sounding funny name for a jock" kind of surname. And, though not a huge strikeout machine (45 over 71.6 innings) but, 4-5, 2.76 over ten starts on a bad team suggests some Mark Buehrle-like numbers.
Brad Peacock (#27): Another Astro with some potential, I liked Peacock when the Athletics got him as part of the Gio Gonzalez deal, and was a little bummed when they traded him to get Jed Lowrie (though I liked the Lowrie acquisition). Again, some whiffs (77 over 83.3 innings) though the walks are a little high (37). But, we were both down with a strikeout gamble at this juncture.
Nate Schierholtz (#28): Like it or not still a platoon guy, but one with 20-homer capabilities, and to fill a slot or better pair with Joyce during hot-and-cold periods, Schierholtz could be a nice boost.
Hector Santiago (#29): If Santiago can control his walks (72 over 149 innings), he will be very good. He did whiff 137 and manages to keep his hits under innings (192 over 224.6 innings), and we both like that promise.