MLB All Stars 2009

It is that All-Star time of year, so I thought I’d be ahead of the curve and post my AL and NL All Star picks for 2009. Now, mind you there is no equation I follow or anything like that. Just who I think deserves the accolade here at the midpoint of 2009. Anyway, 32 players per team and 1 player (at least) from each team. A couple players are injured (marked with an *), so I’ve also designated their replacements on the squads.

American League

Starters

  • C: Joe Mauer – MIN
  • 1B: Mark Teixiera – NYY
  • 2B: Ian Kinsler – TEX
  • 3B: Evan Longoria – TAM
  • SS: Derek Jeter – NYY
  • RF: Ichiro Suzuki – SEA
  • CF: Torii Hunter – LAA
  • LF: Jason Bay – BOS

Reserves

  • C: Victor Martinez – CLE; Kurt Suzuki – OAK
  • 1B: Kevin Youkilis – BOS; Justin Morneau – MIN
  • 2B: Aaron Hill – TOR
  • 3B: Brandon Inge – DET
  • SS: Marco Scutaro – TOR; Jason Bartlett – TAM
  • OF: Shin-soo Choo – CLE; Ben Zobrist – TAM; Jermaine Dye – CHW

Pitchers

  • SP: Cliff Lee – CLE; Zack Grienke – KCR; Tim Wakefield – BOS; Roy Halladay – TOR; Josh Beckett – BOS; Edwin Jackson – DET; Felix Hernandez – SEA
  • RP: Joe Nathan – MIN; Jonathan Papelbon – BOS; Mariano Rivera – NYY; David Aardsma – SEA; Hideki Okajima – BOS; Jonathan Johnson – BAL

National League

Starters

  • C: Brian McCann – ATL
  • 1B: Albert Pujols – STL
  • 2B: Chase Utley – PHI
  • 3B: David Wright – NYM
  • SS: Hanley Ramirez – FLA
  • RF: Justin Upton – ARI
  • CF: Carlos Beltran* – NYM (replacement: Matt Kemp – LAD)
  • LF: Ryan Braun – MIL

Reserves

  • C: Yadier Molina – STL
  • 1B: Prince Fielder – MIL; Adrian Gonzalez – SD; Adam LaRoche – PIT
  • 2B: Orlando Hudson – LAD
  • 3B: Pablo Sandoval – SFG; Ryan Zimmerman – WAS
  • SS: Miguel Tejada – HOU
  • OF: Raul Ibanez* – PHI (replacement: Hunter Pence – HOU); Brad Hawpe – COL

Pitchers:

  • SP: Dan Haren – ARI; Josh Johnson – FLA; Johan Santana – NYM; Matt Cain – SFG; Chad Billingsley – LAD; Tim Lincecum – SFG; Javier Vazquez – ATL; Ted Lilly – CHC
  • RP: Heath Bell – SD; Francisco Rodriguez – NYM; Ryan Franklin – STL; Huston Street – COL; Ryan Madson – PHI; Francisco Cordero – CIN

There you have it! Enjoy!

Pre-season picks revisited.

UmpBump is doing it, so why don’t I?

My preseason picks:

  • AL East: Boston – Feeling pretty good about this one. Solid team, little drama, lots of depth. Good for them
  • AL Central: Minnesota – The Twins are 4 games back (2nd) of the Tigers … and to my knowledge, the Tigers have an outfield of replacement players right now. I’m thinking the Twins will pull this out yet.
  • AL West: Oakland – My predicted full season win% for the A’s: .512. Current win%: .449. Yet only 6 games out. Still, in 4th. Not a great pick, but the AL West is a mess.
  • NL East: Philadelphia – 1.5 games up on the Mets … and we all know that means that Phils will win the division by 10 games.
  • NL Central: St. Louis – They are winning the division! Up by 1 game over Milwaukee. Take that, Cubs fans (not that I have anything against you).
  • NL West: Arizona – Unlike the A’s miss, the D-Backs not only suck, but also reside in the division with the MLB leader in wins (Dodgers). That leaves the D-Backs in 5th … down by 17 games … in mid June. Oops.
  • AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay – The Rays are 2 games back of a very crowded wild card. Anybody’s guess how it will end up, but the Rays still have a very good shot.
  • NL Wild Card: Chicago – See, I don’t hold anything against the Cubbies. It also helps they’re only 1.5 games back of the wild card lead as well.

Some player awards:

  • AL MVP: Grady Sizemore – The bad elbow hasn’t really helped the cause.
  • AL Cy Young: Daisuke Matsuzaka – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHA. I think I just died a little inside.
  • AL Rookie of the Year: Matt Wieters – He may have to defer this award to teammate Nolan Reimold.
  • NL MVP: Aramis Ramirez – Call Aramis’ and Grady’s injury “the curse of Erik’s MVP picks”.
  • NL Cy Young: Rich Harden – I’m guessing I won’t be getting any calls from ESPN on my baseball picking prowess.
  • NL Rookie of the Year: Jordan Schafer – If he hit the ball, this would be much easier.

Where did it all go wrong?

Last year, my team, the Oncoming Storm, won my fantasy baseball league. This is no small feat. The league is a 14-team 7×7 head-to-head league with huge rosters and very competitive owners. Somehow, the Oncoming Storm snuck by the favored opponent in the championship game and I won my first championship in the league’s six year history.

So, how have I followed this up? By sucking. It is mid June and my team currently sitting in 5th in the 7-team Laramide Division with a winning percentage of .489. Where has this season gone off the tracks? Let us try to find out.

First off, my seven keepers:

The Keepers:

  1. Grady Sizemore – CLE/OF – This is a great starting point. Grady’s terrible season and DL trip has almost single-handedly brought the team’s fortunes with it.
  2. Nick Markakis – BAL/OF – Nick hasn’t been hurt, but so far he’s only hit 7 HR, a disappointment by most accounts.
  3. Josh Hamilton – TEX/OF – The last of my great OF trinity, and another injury-plagued, disappointing season. It is hard to recover from this trio’s maladies.
  4. Justin Morneau – MIN/1B – A good keeper, but see Alex Gordon (below).
  5. Dan Haren – ARI/SP – One of the few unmitigated successes in my keepers.
  6. Joakim Soria – KC/RP – My first foray into keeper a closer in a few years. Soria’s injuries and KC’s ineptitude is making this hard to swallow.
  7. Daisuke Matsuzaka – BOS/SP – This is the killer. Daisuke has been terrible this year. Amongst the other players I could have kept: James Shields, Matt Garza, Edinson Volquez and the real killer, Victor f&%king Martinez. I was counting on Daisuke to be my #2 SP. Lately I’ve been pondering releasing him outright. Ugly.

The Draft Picks

I had the #12 pick in a snake-style live draft.

  1. Alex Gordon – KCR/3B – I was so excited by this pick and thought he could anchor my offense with the OF trinity. Then he started out terribly. And then got injured. I had very little depth at 3B when he went down (to be specific, Nick Punto), so I hastily traded Justin Morneau for Adrian Beltre and Matt Garza. Up until very recently, the trade was a disaster. Now, it is closer to a mixed bag. Still, hard to recover from this.
  2. J.J. Hardy – MIL/SS – Again, excited to get him, but his 2009 has been a disaster.
  3. Scott Baker – MIN/SP – The start of 2009 was rough for Baker, but he’s rebounded nicely.
  4. Mariano Rivera – NYY/RP – Mo has been very up and down, but still is one of the league’s leaders in saves.
  5. Kevin Slowey – MIN/SP – Slowey’s season has been solid so far, albeit a little inconsistent.
  6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – TEX/C – A bit of a disappointment so far, with only 5 HR and an OBP of .300
  7. Howie Kendrick – LAA/2B – He’s been terrible, but I luckily traded him (and Elvis Andrus) for Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf. That trade turned out well for me.
  8. Chien-Ming Wang – NYY/SP – You know, at the time, I was excited to have snagged Wang at this point in the draft. He seemed to be recovered from his foot injury, but like Daisuke, Wang has been horrific.
  9. Mike Gonzalez – ATL/RP – Solid especially considering our league counts both saves and holds.
  10. Mike Cameron – MIL/OF – Good start, but cooled off significantly lately. Can’t complain about the 12 HR and .360 OBP though.
  11. Kurt Suzuki – OAK/C – He’s had his ups and downs, but generally pretty solid as one of my 2 starting catchers.
  12. Edgar Renteria – SF/SS – Injuries and weak bat has not returned my optimism for the Colombian SS.
  13. Paul Konerko – CHW/1B – 8 HR/41 RBI/.347 OBP, a strong comeback for Konerko (but not enough to come close to replacing Morneau at starting 1B).
  14. Wandy Rodriguez – HOU/SP – A month ago, I would have been singing Wandy’s praises. Since then, he’s 0-4 with an ERA to match. I hope he can figure out how to pitch again.
  15. Felix Pie – BAL/OF – Fail.
  16. J.P. Howell – TAM/RP – I told myself to not draft non-closer RPs in the draft, but I did anyway. He’s been solid. Traded away with Garza for Clay Buchholz and Nolan Reimold in the rebuilding phase.
  17. Jeremy Guthrie – BAL/SP – Danced on the edge of mediocrity until he took the full plunged. Released.
  18. Jon Rauch – ARI/RP – See Howell, except a failure. Released.
  19. Ryan Sweeney – OAK/OF – Huh? Released.
  20. Jeff Neimann – TAM/SP – I hung onto him until he began to suck. Released, but then watched him get his act together for a few starts. Now he’s bad again. Ah well.
  21. Cody Ross – FLA/OF – His brutal start led me to release him. However, I might have been hasty.
  22. Junichi Tazawa – BOS/SP – Minor league flyer. Still sitting in one of my two minor league roster slots.
  23. Nomar Garciaparra – OAK/1B-3B – Injuries made this a bad pick. Released.
  24. Yuniesky Betancourt – SEA/SS – Bad season, but I released him before the season anyway.
  25. Aaron Rowand – SFG/OF – Traded in the preseason for
  26. Yusmiero Petit – ARI/SP – Eh. Last round flyer that didn’t work out.

Trades

  • Aaron Rowand SFG/OF for Andy Sonnanstine TAM/SP – Rowand has been better than I assumed (pre-season trade). Sonny didn’t last long on my roster.
  • Andy Sonnanstine TAM/SP for David DeJesus KC/OF – DeJesus was a nice acquisition for Sonny, but DeJesus didn’t last long on the roster either.
  • David DeJesus KC/OF for Casey Kotchman ATL/1B – Kotchman has been a solid CI for me. The injury wasn’t well-timed, though.
  • Elvis Andrus TEX/SS & Howie Kendrick LAA/2B for Orlando Hudson LAD/2B & Randy Wolf LAD/SP – This one has been a pretty solid win for me.
  • Justin Morneau MIN/1B for Adrian Beltre SEA/3B & Matt Garza TAM/SP – Not good. See above.
  • Clay Buchholz BOS/SP & Nolan Reimold BAL/OF for Matt Garza TAM/SP and J.P. Howell TAM/RP – First trade in rebuilding.

Key Free Agent pickups

Currently on Roster

  • Add: Adam Kennedy – OAK/2B – His hot streak gave the season some hope.
  • Add: Scott Podsednik – CHW/OF – Who’da thunk it?
  • Add: Luke Scott – BAL/OF – Now, this is a FA signing that was a masterstroke so far. We’ll see if Scott keeps it up.
  • Add: Carl Pavano – CLE/SP – Up and down, but to get any up from Pavano is a plus.
  • Add: Scott Feldman – TEX/SP – Surprisingly solid so far.
  • Add: Angel Guzman – CHC/RP – Solid MR.
  • Add: Brian Bruney¬† – NYY/RP – When he hasn’t been hurt, he’s been a great MR.
  • Add: Mark DiFelice – MIL/RP – Solid MR.

No longer on roster

  • Gary Sheffield – NYM/OF – Maybe gave up on him too quickly.
  • Willie Aybar – TAM/UT – Good while Bartlett was out.
  • Alberto Callaspo – KCR/2B – Had a good run with him.
  • Josh Outman – OAK/SP – Again, I might have released him too quickly.

The long-and-short seems to be that my pitching has not worked out and injuries have really hurt my offense. Hard to get a long way when most of your keepers end up hurt or duds. Add that your first two draft picks being terrible/hurt and some poor panic trades, it becomes a recipe for losing. So now the rebuilding has begun …