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The 2010 Angels with Crystal Balls

The Irrational League held its annual April fantasy-baseball draft. I think I did OK, although my starting pitching makes me queasy. I was expecting Hiroki Kuroda to be on the table a few rounds in, but he was snapped up sooner than I had anticipated, probably because we held our draft after his first start, a masterpiece. I took some risks – rather, I took what most people would consider risks. I, however, am confident that Adam Laroche will thrive in Arizona’s home-run environment. Jay Bruce will bounce back. He has too much talent for last year and the first week of this year to be the norm. Mat Latos has a live arm in a forgiving ballpark. I have two good starting catchers. Every hitter brings something to the table, much like my team last year. In fact, I think I have more than last year.

My hitters and projections:

C: Yadier Molina: .280, 5 HR, 55 RBI, 5 SB
C: Miguel Olivo: .260, 15 HR, 50 RBI, 5 SB
1B: Adam LaRoche: .260, 25 HR, 90 RBI
2B: Kelly Johnson: .275, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 10 SB
SS: Ryan Theriot: .280, 5 HR, 55 RBI, 20 SB
3B: David Wright: .305, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 25 SB
CI: Adam Kennedy: .280, 10 HR, 55 RBI, 15 SB
MI: Freddy Sanchez: .290, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 5 SB
OF: Matt Holliday: .300, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 10 SB
OF: Matt Kemp: .290, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 30 SB
OF: Jay Bruce: .290, 35 HR, 95 RBI, 10 SB
OF: Nate McClouth: .265, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 20 SB
OF: Ryan Ludwick: .270, 25 HR, 80 RBI, 5 SB
UT: Melvin Mora: .280, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 5 SB
UT: Lastings Milledge: .275, 10 HR, 60 RBI, 20 SB

On my bench, I have Jeff Baker to sub until Freddy Sanchez comes back from an injury. Greg Zaun also has a seat there.

I figure my final hitting stats will come out to something like .280, 250 HR, 1015 RBI, and 180 SB. It’s more or less what I expected last year, with an extra 40 SB tacked on for the loss of 20 RBI. I guessed second or third in batting average and homers, first in RBI, and third or fourth in stolen bases. I think my first three categories hold, but if my team gets 180 stolen bases, I will win that outright – let’s conservatively predict a second-place finish there. That’s 36 points in hitting.

Those 36 points better be enough to buoy my pitching.

SP: Chris Carpenter: 14 W, 3.40 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
SP: Ted Lilly: 11 W, 3.75 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
SP: Mat Latos: 10 W, 3.60 ERA; 1.20 WHIP
SP: Kevin Correia: 11 W, 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
P: Jason Marquis: 11 W, 4.05 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
P: Kyle Lohse: 12 W, 4.25 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
RP: Trevor Hoffman: 30 Sv, 2 W, 3.15 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
RP: Billy Wagner: 25 Sv, 2 W, 3.10 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
RP: Latroy Hawkins: 3 Sv, 3 W, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
RP: Danys Baez: 4 Sv, 3 W, 3.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

I do not like three of my six starters, who are consistently league average. They have no upside. Fortunately, starting pitching is unpredictable and the most available commodity. Also, I have Pedro Martinez and Ben Sheets on my reserve list….

I figure I’ll get roughly 60 saves (good for fifth), 80 wins (good for fifth), but come in strong with an ERA of 3.80 (third) and a WHIP of 1.25 (first). That’s 30 points to total, with the hitting, 66 points – more than enough for the 60 points usually needed to win.

Let’s see how this all shakes out. I know I’ll be shaking when Lohse, Correia, and Marquis toe the rubber.

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