Monday, March 27, 2006

"Fantasy" Baseball

You know those stereotypes where they have a guy and a girl sitting there chatting about baseball, and the guy is going on and on about his fantasy team and the girl's sitting there bored and falling asleep? Well, if you'll pardon me for a minute, I'd like to be a girl and brag about my fantasy baseball team, which I drafted using my super-sekrit talent evaluation metrics to get the absolute optimal team with the players available during the draft.

This all started a couple of weeks ago when I was having a conversation with a few people about fantasy baseball. Because this is my first time actually playing in a fantasy league, I was mostly just trying to get an idea about how the whole thing works. It went something like this:
Guy #1: [talks about super-complex system he's using to draft players]

Guy #2: [talks about different but equally super-complex system HE'S using to draft players] How about you, Deanna?

Me, joking: I dunno, I think I'll just draft all the guys I think are cute, and worry later about how well they play. Math is hard.

Guy #1: I see that Deanna's taking a COMPLETELY different stance on the word "fantasy" here...

However, aside from being sniped the first round for Chase Utley, I actually managed to put together a kick-ass team out of guys I think are cute. No, really:

The 2006 Red Swinglines*

1. 3B David Wright, NYM
2. OF Jason Bay, PIT
3. C Joe Mauer, MIN
4. SP Felix Hernandez, SEA
5. CL Joe Nathan, MIN
6. SP Barry Zito, OAK
7. 2B Tadahito Iguchi, CHW
8. SP Zach Duke, PIT
9. OF Brian Giles, SDP
10. OF Randy Winn, SFG
11. SS Bobby Crosby, OAK
12. 1B Sean Casey, PIT
13. RP Ryan Madson, PHI
14. 1B/OF Nick Swisher, OAK
15. RP Scot Shields, ANA
16. OF Mark Kotsay, OAK
17. SP Aaron Heilman, NYM
18. C Brian Schneider, WSH
19. SP Jamie Moyer, SEA
20. OF Lew Ford, MIN

* clever team name credit goes to Josh Buergel, who came up with it for our softball team

For the record, the only move that goes strictly against my All-Cute policy was taking Jamie Moyer instead of Jarrod Washburn (shut UP, Paul), and at that point I didn't think it would matter. I probably should have taken Noah Lowry instead of Barry Zito, too - did you see that photoshoot with him and Joe Mauer and Ben Broussard and all in Travel & Leisure? Sigh.

Amazingly, King Felix was still available in the fourth round. I got the impression from Gomez and others that Felix is a top ten pick in most Mariners-fan-centric leagues, but not elsewhere, so I guess I lucked out by being in a non-Mariners-fan-centric league; infact I'm pretty sure I have more AL West players than anyone else. There was one round where a guy picked up Danny Haren and John Lackey and I had to applaud that, but I managed to get Scot Shields with my 15th round pick, and that's just crazy, especially after I sniped the same guy for Ryan Madson and Nick Swisher in the previous rounds. Heh heh.

Anyway, it seems to me that a lot of fantasy baseball may turn out to be pretty random anyway -- injuries, good seasons, bad seasons, etc, and in the end there's a decent amount of luck to it -- so while one may laugh at me for seriously picking my All-Cute Team here, I'm not actually sure it came up with any more or less valid a team than I would have picked if I'd actually tried doing something complex with crunching numbers, especially since I was picking 10th out of 14 anyway -- David Wright was ranked #11 by Yahoo, I think, but you can't fault me for taking him with a first-round pick, now can you?

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