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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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!
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.
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:
- 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.
- Nick Markakis – BAL/OF – Nick hasn’t been hurt, but so far he’s only hit 7 HR, a disappointment by most accounts.
- 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.
- Justin Morneau – MIN/1B – A good keeper, but see Alex Gordon (below).
- Dan Haren – ARI/SP – One of the few unmitigated successes in my keepers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- J.J. Hardy – MIL/SS – Again, excited to get him, but his 2009 has been a disaster.
- Scott Baker – MIN/SP – The start of 2009 was rough for Baker, but he’s rebounded nicely.
- Mariano Rivera – NYY/RP – Mo has been very up and down, but still is one of the league’s leaders in saves.
- Kevin Slowey – MIN/SP – Slowey’s season has been solid so far, albeit a little inconsistent.
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia – TEX/C – A bit of a disappointment so far, with only 5 HR and an OBP of .300
- 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.
- 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.
- Mike Gonzalez – ATL/RP – Solid especially considering our league counts both saves and holds.
- Mike Cameron – MIL/OF – Good start, but cooled off significantly lately. Can’t complain about the 12 HR and .360 OBP though.
- Kurt Suzuki – OAK/C – He’s had his ups and downs, but generally pretty solid as one of my 2 starting catchers.
- Edgar Renteria – SF/SS – Injuries and weak bat has not returned my optimism for the Colombian SS.
- 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).
- 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.
- Felix Pie – BAL/OF – Fail.
- 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.
- Jeremy Guthrie – BAL/SP – Danced on the edge of mediocrity until he took the full plunged. Released.
- Jon Rauch – ARI/RP – See Howell, except a failure. Released.
- Ryan Sweeney – OAK/OF – Huh? Released.
- 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.
- Cody Ross – FLA/OF – His brutal start led me to release him. However, I might have been hasty.
- Junichi Tazawa – BOS/SP – Minor league flyer. Still sitting in one of my two minor league roster slots.
- Nomar Garciaparra – OAK/1B-3B – Injuries made this a bad pick. Released.
- Yuniesky Betancourt – SEA/SS – Bad season, but I released him before the season anyway.
- Aaron Rowand – SFG/OF – Traded in the preseason for
- Yusmiero Petit – ARI/SP – Eh. Last round flyer that didn’t work out.
- 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 …