Intrepid blogger Curt Schilling posted an interview today. With himself. That he conducted in the first person. We don’t even need to think to make fun of Curt’s blog.
With Opening Day just around the corner, it’s nearing draft day for millions of fantasy players. Time to break out those Street and Smith magazines and the Baseball Prospectus annual that just arrived in the mail.
For me, this is my seventh draft day with the same core of players, and most years I manage two or three teams in various leagues. I’ve won a few leagues; I’ve finished in the top three in many others. While I don’t memorize 700 EqA numbers or K/BB ratios of the top starting pitchers, I do have a draft day strategy. But talking about draft strategy is boring, and everyone thinks their draft strategy is the best.
Instead, let’s look at a draft day conundrum that I know affects many fantasy players. I’ll use a friend of mine as an example.
Like me, my friends is a very big Yankee fan, but he’s not as experienced with fantasy baseball as I am. As he manages his team, he subsequently lets his emotions get in the way with his efforts to win the division. His cardinal rule, in this day and age, can be very damaging to the long-term prospects of his team. That rule? No Red Sox.
My roommate will not accept any Red Sox on his teams. If he does an auto-draft and lands a member of the hated team in Boston, he will trade the player in question in a lopsided deal. Conversely, he has a love affair with members of the Yankees.
Last season, said friend once tried to convince me that Bernie Williams was a viable fourth outfielder for a fantasy team. Now, I love Bernie, but he was hardly a viable fourth outfielder for the Yankees, let alone a fake team that largely depends on power and on-base percentage. Nevertheless, my friend loved his Yankees to the detriment of his team.
In the end, my friend won one of his leagues, but we’re not talking about an Ã¼ber-competitive league.
In fantasy baseball, this handicap, this blind love of the Yankees, can be very very damaging. Who wouldn’t want David Ortiz’s or Manny Ramirez’s slugging stats piling up points for his fantasy team? But if you’re anything like this obsessed Yankee fan, you can’t root for the Red Sox. You can’t bring yourself to ever cheer for David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez. And don’t eve get me started on Curt Schilling.
But to be a top-notch fantasy manager, you have to suck it up for the course of the season. If Manny Ramirez is available or David Ortiz lands in your lap early in the second round of the draft, take them. Root for the Red Sox to lose and hope they hit a bunch of inconsequential home runs and drive in a bunch of inconsequential RBIs.
Fantasy baseball really tests the limits of fandom, and sometimes, you just have to pick one over the other. To win your fantasy league, you may need to rely on players you hate. You may need that Barry Bonds, that Daisuke Matsuzaka, that Roy Halladay. And it hurts to watch them play your team. That’s just the bottom line, fan allegiances be damned.
For those of you watching at home (or the office), Kei Igawa’s Spring Training debut is about to begin. You can catch Igawa vs. the AL Champion Tigers on the YES Network or at MLB.tv.
Update by JP: Eh. Per Pete Abraham: one full inning, one batter into the second. Three strikeouts (two swinging), three walks, two hits, two runs, 40 pitches, 20 strikes. Could be worse, for certain. The interesting part will be seeing how he improves next time out.
It’s the first box score of the year. Baseball’s back.
In 1968, Neil Simon introduced the world to Felix Unger, a satirical portrayal of a hypochondriac. Well, ladies and gentlemen, the Yankees have their own hypochondriac earning nearly $10 million a season. That man is, of course, oft-injured pitcher Carl Pavano.
And wouldn’t you know it, the Rajah of Rehab is at it again. This time, he was the unfortunate recipient of a line drive off the bat of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during batting practice. While Brian Cashman says it’s just a bone bruise, LoHud’s Peter Abraham noted that bone bruises often take 18 months to heel (Just kidding).
Meanwhile, Pavano is indeed slated to pitch on Sunday against the Phillies during a Grapefruit League contest. Sadly, the game won’t be on TV, but many other games will be shown on the YES Network in the coming weeks. Glory days are here again.
But joking aside, the Yankees will be counting on Carl Pavano to pitch this year. I’m not sure we should really expect too much from him. Last week, Joseph took a look at Pavano’s numbers over his last few seasons on the mound. I want to look at what we should expect from him this year.
Let’s break it down by projection.
Boy, that 90-percentile PECOTA projection sure looks appealing, doesn’t it? Well, don’t get your hopes up. It’s hard to imagine Carl Pavano as an integral part of the Yankee rotation this summer. At best, Pavano may start around 20 games and throw 115-120 innings. That still leaves about 14 starts for the team’s 5th starter slot.
More discouraging – but not very surprising – is Pavano’s expected ERA. Pavano is set to deliver around 115 unspectacular innings of league-average ball. That 4.50 ERA is hardly comforting. Luckily, the Yankees are a team built to score runs. So Carl may actually win more than a handful of games. He most likely won’t be a dominate pitcher though.
Luckily for us though, the Yanks have ample back-up plans. They’ve got Darrell Rasner and Jeff Karstens. They’ve got Tyler Clippard and Humberto Sanchez. And they’ve always got Phil Hughes. These young guns all look a lot more appealing than one league-average Carl Pavano.
Image: Tony Randall, left, as Felix Unger. (Courtesy of Slate)
So said Tony Maserotti in in article in the Boston Herald. That’s some imagery.