Roto Imbeciles
Fantasy Baseball for the Roto Enthusiast

Friday, March 24, 2017: Good time at our AL-only auction draft last night headed by the commissioner Robert "Stork" Klein. The great draft room was provided by our friend, Steve Nebesni who, when he wasn't working through a whole case of red wine, was calling out names in the reserve round that were already rostered. But that's the nature of the beast in these drafts. I came into the room already with Brian Dozier ($25), Mark Trumbo ($24), Kendrys Morales ($1), Kevin Pillar ($5), Luis Valbuena ($1), J.A. Happ ($5), and Ryan Madson ($1) as holdovers from my 2016 team. So I had some work to do. My team (that I drafted): C: Martin Maldonado (2), Curt Casali (1). COR: Jose Abreu (29), Josh Donaldson (38). MID: Dustin Pedroia (18), Jose Iglesias (4). OF: Kole Calhoun (17), J.D. Martinez (22), Brandon Moss (3). My pitching staff that I "put" together: Cole Hamels (29), Blake Snell (8), Jason Hammel (4), Ervin Santana (5), Mike Fiers (6), Kendall Graveman (1), Dellin Betances (8). It's not often you can say that your best pitcher is a set-up guy. After the auction part of the draft we have a "lightning" round which is anything but quick. I've seen marriages end quicker! My reserves (and you may want to sit down for this): Colby Rasmus (OF0, Matt Joyce (OF), Brock Holt (OF), Robinson Chirinos (C), Ricky Nolasco (SP), Darwin Barney (INF), Jeremy Jeffress (RP), Andrew Bailey (RP), Wade Miley (SP), Mark Canha (1B-OF), Chris Young (OF), Ryan Dull (RP), Cheslor Cuthbert (3B), Joe Kelly (RP), Roberto Perez (C). I'm already a man down as Luis Valbuena strained his right hamstring and will be MIA for 4-6 weeks. I had to scramble to get live bodies into my lineup. Matt Joyce will come off the bench and go to the OF while Brandon Moss will move from the OF to COR. I'm a little thin at 1B/3B but not like Commissioner Stork who has only one 3B (Joey Gallo) on his entire roster. What a blunder that was! In hindsight I should have offered Valbuena for Gallo at the draft.

The Mariners had given Dan Vogelbach a team high 57 AB this spring. Maybe they expected more than the 1 HR, 5 RBI, and 19 K's (he did walk 7 times). In my AL-only the other night Vogelbach went for $3 and I remember telling the owner that he made a great buy. Does that mean that Danny Valencia is the 1B? I had to run that draft for a while as the auctioneer while trying to draft my own team at the same time. I remember when Valencia's name came up I mentioned that there was a great song by the band The Decemberists called "O Valencia." By the by, Valencia went for $10 in that draft. At that point I didn't have enough money to hang in on him. I could have kept him for $5 but what do I know.

I remember the spring (maybe 2010 or 2011) that Jake Fox hit something like 11 HR in the spring for the O's. Everyone was excited, from manager Buck Showalter on down, including me, and I made him a part of my AL-only that season. And the rest was history. In looking at Greg Bird's stats so far this spring (5 for 12 with 2 doubles, 3 HR and 5 RBI). Bird, lest we forget, missed the whole of the major league season in '16 with a balky shoulder. I always remember what one of the elite fantasy players told me early on in my sojourn into this game 30 some years ago, never look at a players' stats in ST, Apr, and Sept. By the by, Jake Fox was out of the majors at the age of 28 with 20 career HR and 73 RBI.

I wonder if as a kid, Jacob, Ben Lively was ever given the business over his last name. Kids can be cruel. I'm sure there were lots of chants of "Step Lively." Those were fun times. I think the Phillies would be remiss in not giving Lively a chance. In his first foray to AAA, Lively had a 0.94 WHIP in 117 2/3 IP. His 90/27 K/BB wasn't too shabby either. Yes, Jacob, I can see Livley up for a little more than a cup of coffee. The Phillies' rotation of Hellickson, Veasquez, Eickhoff, Nola, and Buchholz (sounds like a law firm) may be surprisingly efficient. Or not! And injuries always have a way of rearing their ugly head. Think it's time for me to go have a Light 'n Lively.

I'm reading on other sites that the Rockies SP, Jon Gray, is ready to break out this season. One of the "experts" even has Gray being a top-10 pitcher in all of baseball by the end of the season. What I say to that, poppycock! Gray did put up a good 2016 while pitching half his games at Coors Field. He had a 4.61/1.26 ERA/WHIP, 153 HA, and a 185/59 K/BB in 168 IP. Great numbers for a Colorado SP but if you guys can take 30 seconds or so and come up with great Rockies starters over the years, it will be a very short list. I did have Ubaldo Jimenez in an NL-only back in 2010 when he was 3rd in the NL Cy Young voting but that was clearly an outlier. And he did walk 92 batters in that year of providence. After that season I could have gotten almost anyone in the league in a trade. But I drank the Kool-Aid. The rest of Jimenez's career has been mediocre/bad. I think if Jon Gray can shave a half a run off his ERA and maintain his K/BB rate from 2016, he could be a top 25 pitcher in NL-only but he's a guy that I will definitely be keeping an eye on this spring.
Long been a fan of James Loney. Like the Frank Sinatra song, Loney "did it his way." Not a lot of pomp and circumstance but a solid MLB player and citizen. He came up with a bang back in '07 for the Dodgers. He slugged 15 HR and 67 RBI with a .919 OPS and .331 BA in 344 AB. The 15 bombs, .331 BA, and .919 OPS were career highs for Loney. He never again lived up to those heights but did have a couple 90 RBI seasons and 6 of the 7 seasons from 2008-2014 Loney played in 155 or more games. One problem with Loney is that he only plays 1B. The Rangers can't throw him in the OF mix. If the Rangers don't go ahead and sign Mike Napoli I can see Loney not only making the team but getting a shot at the job against RHP. Let's just hope that Loney isn't facing his "final curtain!"
I'm hoping that somewhere Placido Polanco is still playing. It never came across my desk that he officially retired. Even in Zeist, Holland, home of Bert Blyleven. And I'll bet you a stack of 1959 Dick Groat cards (not in mint condition) that you didn't know Polanco had 2142 career hits. Kind of like longtime major league catcher, Jason Kendall. He was behind the plate for 5 big league clubs for what seemed like a million years and ended up with 2195 hits, 1030 runs, 189 SB, a damned good 686/721 K/BB, and a .288 lifetime BA. Where has the time gone?
What a difference a year makes! Last year the O's gifted Chris Davis with a 7 yr/$161-mil contract. He did hit 38 HR but only had 84 RBI, batted .221, and K'd a career high 219 times in 566 AB. I'm sure the O's would take something a little like his '13 season when he led the league wth 53 HR and 138 RBI while batting a career high .286 with a 1.004 OPS. Just yesterday the O's resigned Mark Trumbo to a 3 yr deal worth in the neighborhood of $37.5-mil. This came after Trumbo led the AL with 47 HR. He also had 94 runs and 108 RBI while batting .256 in 613 AB. Just seems to me that the Orioles got a great deal here, especially after you look at the contract that Davis signed just a year earlier.


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