After reading Dee’s write-up of his draft picks, I would like to add my own review of the Denslow Cup 2011 draft. Before we get into my picks and reasoning, let me tell you this: the league is filled with nerds, and playing in an OBP league drastically changes the way our draft goes as compared to other 5×5 leagues. The draft was highly competitive, and was fantastic. As Dee mentioned in his article, he and I gathered with a couple friends of the league, shared some suds and BBQ, and had our spring Christmas. Just as with Christmas, entering draft day you never know what you are going to get. By the end of it, you got a ton of stuff (or guys) and now it is time to see how it all works out. I am incredibly optimistic about this year’s squad, So Fresh ‘n So Sheen Sheen, and where we can finish. Last year was a debacle, with me finishing 13th out of 16 teams. This year we shaved 4 teams, and the rosters are representative of that. So, without further ado, I present to you a team flowing with tiger’s blood and bi-winning, and that is about to right all the wrongs of 2010: So Fresh ‘n So Sheen Sheen.
Round 1 (10th overall)- Joey Votto 1B
This was not the guy I expected to go with, at all. But, when you are given lemons, you make lemonade. With Votto being the OBP machine he is – plus he contributes across the board – this is not a bad 1st round pick. He will anchor my offense and there are no health concerns; both things you must have in your first overall pick.
Round 2 (15th overall)- Tim Lincecum SP
I have been saying since the last day of the fantasy season last year that I was going to take Lincecum, even if I had to do it in the first round. Now I have never ever drafted a pitcher before the 6th round in my life. Seriously. With the depth at SP this year you think I would have held strong to this practice. But, this is fantasy. If there is somebody you want on your team and he will not be there later, then go get him. Damnit! Lincecum is my favorite pitcher, with what I deem to be near perfect mechanics. He has stuff that makes hitters look dumb and he generates a ton of swings and misses. With two categories that depend on a pitcher’s ability to strike guys out, this ace of my staff works out perfectly.
Round 3 (34th overall)- Jason Heyward
This was not my plan. I am usually afraid to take sophomores coming off amazing rookie years. Heyward is different. Also, guys like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Ryan Braun, Justin Upton (JUpton), Matt Holliday, and Shin-Soo Choo were all off the board. When picking outfielders I always like to get a guy that can contribute across the board early. I still could have gone Andrew McCutchen or Jayson Werth here, but I don’t mind waiting until late in the draft to secure stolen bases, and I see Werth and Heyward as being nearly equal. Go with the higher upside of a younger guy.
Round 4 (39th overall)- Dan Uggla 2B
At this point in the draft I know that I am yet to sure up any of the talent-scarce positions on the field. With Uggla, I am making sure of 30 bombs and an average that I am sure will be .270+, and that makes me happy. Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia were already off the board, so I considered making a move for Brandon Phillips. Instead, I went with Uggla because I had Phillips last year and he left a salty taste in my mouth trying to play through that injury down the stretch and sending my team outside of the top 10 with him.
Round 5 (58th overall)- Michael Young 3B
3B is another position that I feel takes a huge drop off after the 2nd tier of guys. At this point in the draft almost all of the top two tiers of 3B were gone. Young is not a pretty guy, but he is on base all the time, and he’s never given me a reason to think he will throw a temper tantrum about his situation in Arlington – and I need a 3B bad. I sure up the hot corner with a consistent performer. I am happy.
Round 6 (63rd overall)- Andre Ethier OF
Normally this is where I go grab a pitcher. But after my 2nd round pick I did not really need one here. Instead, I opted for Ethier. I am a huge fan of the Dodgers’ right fielder, especially because he is a LH hitter who rakes against LHP. I also rode the Andre train until his injury last year. Lightning doesn’t strike the same spot twice, but it does hit very close. Here is to hoping that I catch the 2nd strike of lighting and bottle it up.
Round 7 (82nd overall)- Alexei Ramirez SS
Shortstop is obviously the shallowest talent pool this year. After Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki, there are a number of question marks. What will Jose Reyes and Derek Jeter be like this year? I had made sure to target Alexei around the 8th round, but with fellow writer (and ChiSox fan) Arlo needing a SS and picking before my 8th round pick, I decided not to risk it. The drop after Ramirez here was too great to take any chances.
Round 8 (87th overall)- Yovanni Gallardo SP
This might be the pick that wins me the league. To think that I got a pitcher who has a shot at 200 strikeouts and a 3.20 ERA (or lower) has me salivating. Plus he pitches in the NL Central, meaning he will have his fair share of opportunities to throw against the Pirates and the Astros. I like Gallardo better than Zack Grienke and feel like I acquired a legit number 1 in the 8th round. Go me.
Round 9 (106th overall)- Brett Gardner OF
By this point, I realize just how much speed my team is really lacking. I had my eyes on 3 guys to go after with my next 4 picks. Michael Bourn, my first choice, went the pick right before me. I took Gardner because he and Bourn are almost the same player; he will be hitting at the top of the Yankee lineup this year, and you know he is good for 40 SB’s and 100+ runs.
Round 10 (111th overall)- Drew Stubbs OF
Really? A 20 HR 30 SB guy in the 10th round? Yes please. Again, being starved for stolen bases, my need sort of dictated my pick here. Sure Stubbs is going to hurt my average, but that is not why you go get the guy. I have enough high average hitters already to help compensate there. And, what is not to like about a 20/30 guy right here?
Round 11 (130th overall)- J. J. Putz RP
My first closer off the board. After last years draft where I decided to try and bang (punt) saves altogether, I decided that I needed to leave this draft with two if not three closers. Putz has a relatively safe job out there in PHX, and I like his stuff. I was looking for bargains here and found one. 30+ saves with a K/9 of almost 10 has me liking this pick.
Round 12 (135th overall)- Ricky Nolasco SP
Nolasco was my pick to win the NL Cy Young last year. This year I have him as being right around the 10th best pitcher in the NL. With a K/BB ratio somewhere around 4, and approximately 185 K’s, I think I could have done much worse with my 12th round pick. I see Nolasco as being the type of 3rd starter that catapults my pitching staff into the top 3 of this league by the end of the season.
Round 13 (154th overall)- Josh Beckett SP
Having Lincecum and Gallardo as my 1 and 2 SP’s really allows me to take some risks with the rest of my staff. That is noticed here by my selection of Mr. Beckett. Again, I am thinking that Josh has a very high ceiling as a bounce-back candidate. He may be starting the season off as the number 4 in Boston’s rotation, but he will easily outperform that. 170 K’s and a chance at 13 wins is all I needed to pull the trigger on this one.
Round 14 (159th overall)- Brad Lidge RP
Now as an Astros fan, one would think that I would stay away from this guy. But, as I noted before, I wanted to get at least two closers that I could get for a bargain price. Lidge has truly dominant stuff. And to be honest, his place at the back end of the bullpen is pretty safe. (Note, now that I have heard about how much time Lidge is missing, I am kicking myself for taking him instead of Frank Francisco who went two picks later.)
Round 15 (178th overall)- Brandon Lyon RP
After first making this pick I was LMAO; I made jokes about him as a closer. But upon further review I think this is actually a pretty good pick up. He will get me about 28 saves with an ERA at about 3.55, has one of the safest jobs in the league, and he is a Houston Astro. (Being the diehard ‘Stros fan that I am, I always try to leave draft day with one guy from my hometown team. Bourn and Pence were obviously long gone.) His stuff is not very dominant, but I don’t care that much. He is my 3rd closer. Who knows, maybe he runs into a few more saves and even breaks 30.
Round 16 (183rd overall) Manny Ramirez OF/DH
Manny is my sleeper pick for the year. I think he will wind up top 3 in MVP balloting and hits 30+ jacks. Plus you know he is going to get on base. Also, he has Joe Maddon’s ear. What is also to like? He has one of the sweetest swings the game has ever seen. No matter how old Manny is, that swing will never leave him. It may be a tad slower, but it will still be there. Add on his pension for taking a walk and being an OBP mammoth, and I have a diamond in the rough. This is my second favorite pick of the entire draft.
Round 17 (202nd overall)- Chipper Jones
This is my favorite pick of the whole draft. Although, if it were not for the kindness of my man Barfy, I would have completely blown this pick. Not realizing that Dee still had a pick to go before my turn came up I immediately shouted out “Holy shit, dude! Chipper is still on the board. That’s who I am getting next.” Dee passed on Chipper purely out of the kindness of his heart. So, I am lucky enough to get a switch-hitting 3B with potential for .300 avg, 15-18 jacks, and an OPS of around .880. Talk about a deal. Add on to that the potential based upon Chipper’s Spring Training, and I think this might be the best pick of the draft.
Round 18 (207th overall)- Daniel Bard RP
This pick here was based on the fact that the guy throws Kenny Powers hard. Also, I have this inkling inside of me that says he somehow takes over the closer spot from Papelbon this year. Those two things combined are enough reason for me to take him here. Oh yeah, and having a K/9 around 10 and a K/BB ratio of 2.6 doesn’t hurt either.
Round 19 (226th overall)- Josh Willingham OF
This is another fantastic pick for me in our league. Willingham is an OBP monster. Yes his power numbers take a small hit in switching to Oakland, but not that much. I will always take a bat for my bench that can put up an .850 OPS with 20+ homer potential.
Round 20 (231st overall)- Jorge Posada C/DH
What a great pick. I always laugh at people who reach for a catcher. I never understood the point of placing so much value on a guy who is going to play only 130 games each year. So when Jorge was still around in the last round I snatched him up. The dude may suit up for 25 games behind the dish. Other than that, he is a DH. Gotta love the extra AB’s with that role. You figure he is going to hit about 20 homers, get on base at a .375 clip, and have an avg. around .275, what is not to love about that for your catcher?