Posts Tagged ‘Jose Valverde’

Detroit Tigers Find Their Closer, Sign Jose Valverde

January 15, 2010

After last year’s closer Fernando Rodney and set-up man Brandon Lyon left the Detroit Tigers to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Houston Astros, the Tigers were in search of a closer. Instead of going with an in-house option like Ryan Perry, the Tigers went in a different direction.

The Tigers searched the free agent market for a closer and found Jose Valverde. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Tigers have signed Valverde to a two-year, $14 million contract with a $9 million option for a third year.

Valverde will be closing for the Tigers in 2010

Since Valverde was a Type-A free agent and was offered arbitration by the Astros, Houston will receive the Tigers first round pick (19th overall) in the 2010 June Draft.

This is quite the interesting signing by the Tigers. Weren’t they poor at the beginning of the free agency period?

Wasn’t the reason they traded Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson is because they wanted to trim payroll? The Tigers couldn’t afford to keep Granderson at a respectable $5.5 million for 2010, but they could afford a closer at $7 million?

On top of spending $7 million on Valverde, the Tigers have to surrender a first round pick in next year’s draft. On the surface, financially this signing makes no sense.

On the field, I get why the Tigers signed Valverde. As a closer, he is pretty good.

He is coming off a year where he had a 2.33 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Over the last three years, Valverde as a 2.84 ERA and has averaged 10.3 K/9. He has been one of the more consistent closers in the National League over that period.

However, Valverde did spend time on the DL last year (non-throwing arm related) and had the lowest K/9 ratio of his career at 9.3. That might be some cause for concern going into 2010.

The Tigers clearly did not feel comfortable giving the ball in the ninth inning to Ryan Perry and at this point, I don’t think they can trust Joel Zumaya to stay healthy over the course of a full season.

Again, I don’t mind the signing for what Valverde will bring on the field, but something is going on behind the scenes in Detroit where they have people like me scratching their heads.

It’s hard to sell your fans on why you traded one of your more popular players and then go ahead and sign a closer for more money than you were paying Granderson.

The Tigers have had one confusing offseason so far.

Valverde will be entering his eighth season in 2010 and has a career 3.17 ERA and 167 saves in 386 innings with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Astros.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Astros Add Bullpen Help, Acquire Matt Lindstrom

December 10, 2009

On a day when the Houston Astros lost relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to their division rival Milwaukee Brewers, the Astros moved quickly to replace him.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting the Astros have acquired RHP Matt Lindstrom from the Florida Marlins for minor leaguers RHP Robert Bono and INF Luis Bryan.

Lindstrom, who is 29 and made $410 thousand in 2009 is a first-year arbitration eligible player, which is why the Marlins were looking to trade him.

Lindstom was traded to the Astros

After posting solid seasons in 2007 and 2008, Lindstrom had a disastrous 2009. Lindstrom was hurt for over six weeks with elbow inflammation and posted a 5.89 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

Despite his dreadful 2009, I actually like this move for the Astros. I believe Lindstrom will have a bounce back year in an Astros’ uniform.

My reasoning? There is no World Baseball Classic in 2009.

Lindstrom pitched in the event and got hurt during the game with the Netherlands. For those of you who don’t remember, Lindstrom almost started a bench clearing brawl that game.

Lindstrom never recovered from that injury.

Now that Lindstrom will go back to his normal routine, I expect to have a similar year like he had in 07′ and 08′–low three’s ERA and a WHIP around 1.35.

What role Lindstrom will serve in with the Astros is still up in the air. The Astros have two roles to fill since Jose Valverde and Hawkins departed for free agency.

Lindstrom could fill Valverde’s role as the closer or if the Astros acquire another closer (they are in the mix for Rafael Soriano), Lindstrom could fill Hawkins’ role as the eighth inning set-up man.

The prospects the Marlins received for Lindstrom are nothing special. According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, via Twitter, both Bono and Bryan wouldn’t have made the Astros’ top-30 prospects in 2010.

It’s universally known across baseball that the Astros have the worst farm system in baseball. If you can’t crack the Astros top-30, I am not sure how much of a future you have in baseball.

The Marlins in this deal also acquired the Astros’ pick in tomorrow’s Rule 5 Draft.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Arbitration Roundup

December 2, 2009

For those of you who are not aware, yesterday at 11:59 pm est was the last day at teams could offer their free agents arbitration. Once a team offers arbitration to a player, that player has until Dec. 7 to accept.

A team would offer arbitration to a player–especially to a Type A or a Type B free agent because that team then would receive draft compensation as a result of that player signing with a new team.

A great example of this is what we saw this morning.

Since Billy Wagner signed with the Atlanta Braves and he was a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration, the Boston Red Sox will receive the Braves’ first-round pick (20th overall) and a supplemental pick in 2010.

Here is a list of the players who were offered arbitration by their current clubs. This list is courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

Type A Free Agents (10 players)

Chone Figgins

Figgins was offered arbitration by the Angels

John Lackey
Jose Valverde
Marco Scutaro
Mike Gonzalez
Rafael Soriano
Matt Holliday
Billy Wagner
Jason Bay
Rafael Betancourt

Type B Free Agents (13 players)

Justin Duchscherer
Rod Barajas
Joel Pineiro
Mark DeRosa
Adrian Beltre
Ivan Rodriguez
Marlon Byrd
Brian Shouse
Gregg Zaun
Jason Marquis
Brandon Lyon
Fernando Rodney
Carl Pavano

Yesterday was a good day for guys like Bengie Molina, Jermaine Dye, LaTroy Hawkins, and Kevin Gregg, who are all Type A free agents. Since these players were not offered arbitration and will not cost a first-round draft pick, they become much more attractive for teams to sign.

My predictions are that Molina ends up with the New York Mets and Dye ends up with the San Francisco Giants.

Yesterday was a bad day for a player like Rafael Betancourt. With him being a Type A free agent and offered arbitration by the Colorado Rockies, he is going to have a hard time finding work.

It’s hard to justify giving up a first-round pick for a middle reliever, who has been up and down for much of his career. My guess is he ends up back with the Rockies in 2010.

After Dec. 7, we will start to see the dominoes start to fall in the free agent market.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Kerry Wood: What’s His Trade Market?

November 16, 2009

Yesterday, the MLB Network replayed Kerry Wood’s 20-strike out game against the Houston Astros in 1998. I have been watching baseball for almost 25 years and in my opinion, that was most dominating regular season performance I have ever seen.

The Astros didn’t have a chance that day.

Flash forward 11 years later and Wood is still throwing 97 mph in the major leagues. Did he become the pitcher everyone thought he would be after watching him pitch in 1998? No he didn’t.

Kerry Wood

Wood is a trade candidate this winter

But Wood has made a very nice career for himself. Because of injuries, Wood moved into a relief role in 2007 with the Chicago Cubs and became their closer in 2008.

Wood excelled as the closer in Chicago and in the winter of 2008, he signed a two-year, $20.5 million deal with the Cleveland Indians to be their closer.

The Indians signed Wood expecting to compete in 2009. Things really didn’t work out that way and now the Indians are in rebuilding mode yet again.

When a team is rebuilding, they really don’t have any use for a 32-year-old closer who will be making $10.5 million in 2010. We should be hearing Wood’s name in trade rumors this winter.

Let’s look at what a team would be getting with Wood. Here are the pros and cons of trading for Wood and the teams who might be interested in trading for the former Grand Prairie High School star.

Pros

Can you believe Wood is only 32-years-old? It seems like he has been around for 20 years. Even at 32 (not that old mom!!!), Wood can still throw 97 mph.

He can still blow the fastball by hitters when he needs to. Wood still struck out 10.3 hitters per nine innings last year.

Despite getting off to a rough start in April and May (6.08 ERA), Wood had a stellar second half of the year. In the second half, Wood was eight for 10 in save opportunities and had a 2.86 ERA.

And Wood is still better than half the closers in baseball. I would take Wood over a lot of the pitchers who are closing games for contending teams.

Cons

In the last 11 years, Wood’s arm has been through hell and back. He has had Tommy John surgery, a partially torn rotator cuff, a sore elbow, a strained triceps, and blisters on his fingers.

You name the arm injury, Wood has probably had it.

Health is the number one concern for any GM who is willing to trade for Wood. The other concern with Wood, would be his relatively down year in 2010.

His WHIP of 1.382 was his highest since 2000 (1.453), his strike out rate went from 11.4/9 to 10.3/9 in 2009, his walk rate almost doubled from 2.4 in 2008 to 4.6 in 2009 and threw more pitches per inning (17.6) than at any point of his career.

Has age and injuries finally caught up to Wood?

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of acquiring Wood, let’s look at the teams that might be interested in Wood.

Atlanta Braves: Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano are both free agents and if they leave, the Braves have no internal option to replace them. Wood would be a nice replacement for the Braves.

Chicago Cubs: Could the Cubs possibly bring Wood back? It’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Wood and the Cubs had a pretty clean break and the Cubs don’t have a closer going into 2010. Carlos Marmol is much better suited to be a set-up guy than a closer on a team trying to compete for a pennant.

Houston Astros: Wood would love to follow in his idol’s (Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan) footsteps by pitching for the Astros. Jose Valverde and Latroy Hawkins are both free agents and Wood would make sense.

With Wood making $10.5 million in 2010, I am not sure the Astros have the ability to take on the salary or the prospects to acquire Wood.

I would never count out Drayton McLane though.

Tampa Bay Rays: For me, the Rays are a match made in heaven for Wood. They have the surplus of mid-level prospects and they have the need to get a deal done.

The Rays can’t go into 2010 with JP Howell and Dan Wheeler as the closers. They caught lightning in a bottle in 2008 and it’s not going to happen again.

This team needs a closer and Wood would be a great fit.

Detroit Tigers: Trading Wood within the division isn’t as crazy as it sounds for the Indians. The Indians aren’t expected to compete this year and by the time the Indians are ready to compete, Wood will be long gone from the Tigers.

I know the Tigers have said they are in cost cutting mode right now, but saying it and doing it are completely two different things. Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon are free agents and I don’t think the Tigers feel Ryan Perry is ready to close.

On the surface, Wood makes sense for the Tigers.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angels are known to fix their mistakes rather quickly. Signing Torii Hunter to replace Gary Matthews Jr. is a perfect example of that.

The Angels found out first hand in the postseason Brian Fuentes might be a nice regular season closer, but he is not big time. Acquiring Wood would give Mike Scioscia options at the end of a game.

When acquiring Wood, a GM has to ask himself the tough question of which Wood am I getting? Am I getting the Wood who was rock solid in the second half of 2009 or am I getting the injury-prone closer who struggled for the first half of 2009.

My prediction is that Wood stays with the Indians through the winter and they trade him close to the July 31st trading deadline when teams are making one last playoff push.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Milwaukee Brewers Re-sign Trevor Hoffman

October 5, 2009

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Milwaukee Brewers have re-signed closer Trevor Hoffman to a one year, $8 million contract for 2010 with a mutual option for 2011.

When the Brewers signed Hoffman last offseason, I thought he would get his 30-40 saves and have an ERA around four. But despite his K/9 decreasing and his BB/9 increasing, Hoffman turned in one of his best statistical seasons in 2009.

Hoffman will be back with the Brewers

Hoffman will be back with the Brewers

Hoffman had 37 saves with a 1.83 ERA (lowest since 1998 – 1.48), 0.91 WHIP (lowest since 2004 – 0.91), and held hitters to a .193 batting avg. against (lowest since 1998 – .166).

Pretty impressive for a man who will be turning 42 next week.

The Brewers definitely got their value for Hoffman. They signed him last year to a one year, $6 million contract and according to Fangraphs, Hoffman was worth about $6.9 million this year.

Will Hoffman be worth the $8 million the Brewers are going to pay him next year? Logic says no. It’s hard for a 42-year-old at any position to make significant improvements year after year.

However, if you look at the Brewers options outside of Hoffman — this deal makes sense for the Brewers. Since the Brewers have no internal options to replace Hoffman, they would have had to go shopping on the free agent market or trade for a closer.

Look at the free agent closers this year – Billy Wagner, Fernando Rodney, Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Kevin Gregg, and Jose Valverde.

Maybe you can argue that you would rather have Soriano or Valverde over Hoffman. But they are going to perhaps require multi-year deals  or would cost the Brewers drafts picks.  Draft picks are gold to a team like the Brewers.

On the trade front, a guy like Kerry Wood could be had, but I don’t think the Brewers want to trade prospects for a closer.

At the end of the day, there’s really nobody out there that is so much better than what Hoffman is at this point in his career. Definitely nobody worth giving up draft picks or prospects for.

The Brewers took care of their back-end of their bullpen today. Now they just need to take care of their starting rotation.

If they can do that, the Brewers will be contenders once again in 2010.

Fantasy Week In Review, August 17-23

August 24, 2009

Lot’s of big news in the world of fantasy baseball last week. A couple of potential Keeper League players were called up, there is a new closer in Chicago (about time), and everyone’s preseason man crush will be returning in Texas.

Here are the fantasy studs, the players who have had their fantasy value fall, and the potential pickups for the fantasy week that was August 17 – 23.

Fantasy Studs

Brian Roberts – .379/4/8/.471 with three SB’s. Roberts had a MONSTER week last week. Roberts remains one of the top fantasy second basemen in the game today.

David Ortiz – .400/3/10/.500. Ortiz was hitting the ball so hard last week that he had AJ Burnett talking to himself on the mound.

Hideki Matsui – .261/4/10. Matsui won’t give you average at this point in his career, but he will still hit the long ball and can drive in runs.

Jayson Werth – .440/5/9. Werth is starting to heat up again. When Werth is hot, he brings the Philadelphia Phillies’ lineup to a whole other level.

Adam LaRoche – .419/4/9. One of the most notorious second-half hitters in the game today, LaRoche’s 2009 is no different.

Your 2009 NL Cy Young winner?

Your 2009 NL Cy Young winner?

I still haven’t figured out the Adam LaRoche for Casey Kotchman trade for the Boston Red Sox.

Chris Carpenter – 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 14 K’s in 15 IP. Carpenter is making a serious run at the Cy Young award and I think if the season ended today, he just might win it.

Ubaldo Jimenez – 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 14 K’s in 16 IP. Jimenez outdueled Tim Lincecum yesterday and is clearly the Colorado Rockies’ ace heading down the stretch.

Jose Valverde – Four saves with a 0.00 ERA and six K’s in four IP. Valverde is making up for the time he missed in the first-half because of a calf injury.

Reasons for Concern

Francisco Liriano – Placed on the 15-day DL because of “left arm fatigue.” I put left arm fatigue in quotes because I just think the Minnesota Twins needed an excuse not to start him.

Liriano is 5-12 with a 5.80 ERA this season and has been one of the main reasons why the Twins are not where they are supposed to be in the AL Central.

Liriano hasn’t been the same since he had Tommy John surgery and has limited fantasy value until he can prove he can pitch effectively on a game to game basis.

Johnny Cueto – Placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. Cueto was terrible in his last eight starts before winding up on the DL.

Cueto was 0-6 with a Tim Stoddard-like ERA of 10.63. This is the second year in a row that Cueto has broken down in the second half.  This is something to consider when drafted Cueto next year.

Kevin Gregg – Who in the Chicago Cubs’ front office thought it was a good idea to make Kevin Gregg their closer? I thought this would be a disaster from the beginning.

After melting down in San Diego last week (Florida Marlin fans are all too familiar with this), the Cubs have removed Gregg from his closer duties.

Gregg has zero fantasy value going forward.

Potential Pickups

Matt LaPorta – LaPorta was called up for a second time by the Cleveland Indians last week and unlike the first time LaPorta got the call, he is actually playing.

LaPorta hit .333 in four games for the Indians last week. LaPorta has a ton of Keeper League potential, so picking him up now might pay off in the future.

Drew Stubbs – If you are looking for stolen bases, Stubbs might be your guy. Another player with Keeper League potential, Stubbs had 46 SB’s in Triple-A before being called up to the Cincinnati Reds.

He projects to be the Reds’ starting centerfielder for the future.

Carlos Marmol – Thanks to Kevin Gregg’s now annual August meltdown, Marmol takes over as the closer for the Cubs.

Marmol is a little too shaky for my liking, but he should be able to pick up a couple of saves down the stretch.

Back but better than ever?

Back but better than ever?

Chris Davis – After hitting .335 with six HR’s for the Oklahoma City Redhawks, Davis is expected to be called back up to the Texas Rangers this week.

The Rangers have tweaked Davis’ batting stance and now think his early season struggles are behind him. Davis is not guaranteed to start, but could potentially take AB’s away from Hank Blalock.

Fantasy Week In Review, June 15-21…

June 22, 2009

Last week was a week for the first baseman in the National League to shine. Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Derek Lee all had monster fantasy weeks.

We also saw the final straw for Daisuke Matsuzaka, a classic New York Mets injury situation and the possible end of everyone’s man crush in Texas.

As always, here are the fantasy studs, the players who have me concerned and the potential pickups for the fantasy week of June 15-21.

Fantasy Studs

Albert Pujols – .389/4/11/.522. If teams continue to pitch Pujols, then there is a good chance Pujols can compete for the triple crown in the National League.

Lee is finally getting hot

Lee is finally getting hot

Prince Fielder – .391/2/11/.483. Big Prince should start making travel plans for St. Louis in July.

Derek Lee – .364/4/9. Nice for Derek Lee to join us this year.

B.J. Upton – .429/2/9 with two SB’s. Bossman Junior turned into the Big Bossman last week. He also hit one of the longest homeruns in Citi Field so far on Sunday.

Josh Johnson – 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA with just 10 hits in 16 IP. Johnson is slowly but surely becoming one of the best pitchers not only in the NL, but in all of baseball.

AJ Burnett – 1-1 with a 0.68 ERA and 16 K’s in 13.1 IP. I guess last week was one of those “glimpses of greatness” that Burnett says he shows.

Jose Valverde – Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and four 4 K’s in four IP. Valverde is back and still remains one of the best closers in the NL.

David Aardsma – Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and seven K’s in three IP. David Aardsma is a serviceable fantasy closer in 2009. What is this world coming to?

Reasons for Concern

Jose Reyes – Here is all you need to know about the way the New York Mets handle injuries. On Friday Mets GM Omar Minaya said Reyes started “running on the treadmill.” On Saturday, Reyes said he has done nothing of the sort. Can you now see why there is concern about Reyes coming back?

For fantasy owners who have Reyes on their team, don’t expect a return anytime soon.

Reyes has been on the DL since May 26th.

Daisuke Matsuzaka – Two weeks ago, I wrote that me and my buddy Odie thought Dice-K was toast. After his last poor excuse for a start against the Braves, not only is Dice-K toast, but now is extremely burnt toast.

Dice-K was placed on the 15 Day DL with a mild right shoulder strain. I don’t expect to see Dice-K until August. Fantasy owners can thank Bud Selig’s marketing ploy, AKA: The World Baseball Classic for this.

Mr. Whiff

Mr. Whiff

Chris Davis – .050/1/1. Okay, sooner or later something has to give with everyone’s preseason fantasy man crush. Davis had one hit last week (a HR) and struck out 9 more times bringing his total to 101 in just 222 AB’s on the season.

Davis is batting .194 and with top prospect Justin Smoak tearing up Double A pitching to the tune of .325/6/25/.444 in 41 games, I am not sure how much longer the Texas Rangers can stay with Davis.

Gerardo Parra – .148/1/3 with 10 K’s. Parra got off to a red hot start hitting .319 in May. However, things have been different for this talented rookie in June. Parra is hitting just .212 and has only five extra base hits this month.

Have pitchers finally figured out Parra or is he in just a slump? July should tell us a lot about Parra. Keep an eye on him to see if he continues to struggle.

Potential Pickups

Jason Frasor – With BJ Ryan sucking and with Scott Downs going on the DL, Frasor becomes the defacto closer in Toronto. Frasor does have a 2.19 ERA on the season, so he should be in line for a couple of saves while Downs is out.

Twins Need 8th Inning Ace….

May 18, 2009

After watching the first 3 games of the Yankees and Twins series, it is blatantly obvious the Twins need a better bridge to Joe Nathan and a power arm in their pen. The Twins are lacking that guy you give the ball to in the 8th that just comes in, throws 95 and just blows people away. They are missing their version of Ryan Madson, Scot Shields (pre 2009), Carlos Marmol or Octavio Dotel.

The Twins have a nice bullpen. It’s probably good enough to win the division, but it’s not a championship caliber bullpen. Jose Mijares has a power fastball from the left side and has stuck out a batter per inning this year (12 IP/12 K’s). Other than Mijares, the Twins have average arms in Matt Guerrier, Luis Ayala, Craig Breslow and Jesse Crain. They would be great in a league of 85 mph pitchers, but baseball is a game of 95 mph pitchers.

The guy the Twins should have made a move for in the offseason was Juan Cruz. I know they wouldn’t have signed Cruz to a free agent contract because they would have had to have surrendered a 1st round pick. However, there were rumors of them pursuing an NBA-like sign-and-trade with the Diamondbacks. Cruz would have been a perfect fit for the Twins. As we all know, Cruz went on to sign with the Royals and is pitching quite well for them.

The Twins could use Valverde

The Twins could use Valverde

So how do the Twins get their power arm? Well, they have a couple of options. First, they can try to go internally. Anthony Swarzak, one of the Twins top pitching prospects (#6 by Baseball America) is off to a good start in Triple A. In 7 starts he has a 2.25 era and has struck out 32 in 44 innings. Swarzak has a fastball in the low 90’s and perhaps they can use him like they used some guy named Santana years ago. That is, put him in the bullpen, let him get his feet wet and let him dominate for an inning or two. I think that strategy worked out pretty well for Santana.

The second option they have is to make a trade. Peter Gammons in his latest article had a list of some relievers who might be on the market. Huston Street, John Grabow and Russ Springer wouldn’t make much sense for the Twins because in my opinion they aren’t much different from what they already have. A guy like Jose Valverde from the Astros would make a lot of sense. Valverde throws gas (high 90’s) and would make a great 1-2 punch with Nathan.

Hopefully the Twins can find a better bridge to Nathan because right now they are in desperate need of an 8th inning ace.

You Can Never Have Too Much Depth….

April 29, 2009

In my super competitive fantasy league I thought I had the ultimate bullpen. I had drafted Joakim Soria, Jose Valverde and Joel Hanrahan. Then I picked up Jason Motte because he was getting the majority of saves in spring training and he could be used as trade bait during the season. I was figuring with these 4 closers I would have somewhere in the neighborhood of 125-130 saves. I also figured that this was one area of my team that I would not have to worry about throughout the season. Boy was I wrong.

My fantasy closer. Oy Vey

My fantasy closer. Oy Vey

Motte lost his closer’s role seemingly on Opening Day, Hanrahan has a 8.64 era, Soria has a shoulder injury and has pitched once in the last 2 weeks and now Jose Valverde just landed on the DL because of a strained calf. Soria worries me the most because he has a shoulder injury. You never know if that is the start of something more serious down the road.

So what I thought would be a strength at the beginning of the season is now a weakness. My 2 closers are now Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins. Awesome!!! My point of this post is not to complain about my closer situation but to make a point that you can never have too much depth at any position on your fantasy team. What you think is a strength could turn into a weakness overnight. Injuries and poor performance can kill a fantasy team in split second.

So go out and pick up an extra OF, pick up a Phil Hughes, or pick up a Dexter Fowler. Get yourself some depth so you don’t get stuck with Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins as your closer.

Recapping My Fantasy Draft….

March 14, 2009

I play in 2 fantasy baseball leagues. One league is mediocre at best and my other league is about as solid as you can get. 12 teams, 12 owners who know the game and it is very competitive. I try to play in no more than 2 because after that players start to really overlap and things get confusing.

So with the completion of my solid league draft, I thought I would give a recap of my team and here what your thoughts were on how I did.

The league is a 12 team, total points, keeper league. The draft is 26 rounds (yes, it’s a long one) and you keep 5 players. When you keep a player, you lose that pick in next years draft. For example, if I decide to keep my first round pick from this year, I lose my first round pick in our 2010 draft. So we added a little strategy to the keeper format.

Here is my team with the round I picked the player and his ESPN fantasy position ranking. I had the 8th pick. And oh, one last thing. I won this league by 1/2 a point last year. Yes, a 1/2 of a point because Joe Mauer struck out (K’s = -.5 points) in the 1 game playoff against the White Sox. Sorry Odie, had to bring it up.

Catchers

Chris Iannetta – 8th round. #9 ranked C

1st Basemen

Albert Pujols – 1st round. #1 ranked 1B

2nd Basemen

Brian Roberts – 5th round. #5 ranked 2B

Shortstops

Miguel Tejeda – 13 round. #12 ranked SS

Elvis Andrus – 26th round. #16 ranked SS

3rd Basemen

Evan Longoria – 2nd round. #2 ranked 3B

I am hoping Gordon can break out

I am hoping Gordon can break out

Adrian Beltre – 17th round. #9 ranked 3B

Alex Gordon – 15th round. #13 ranked 3B

Outfielders

Nick Markakis – 4th round. #7 ranked OF

Nate McLouth – 6th round. #17 ranked OF

Jay Bruce – 9th round. #27 ranked OF

Jayson Werth – 19th round. #39 ranked OF

Rick Ankiel – 15th round. #46 ranked OF

Cameron Maybin – 21st round. #48 ranked OF

Starting Pitchers

Lackey leads my rotation

Lackey leads my rotation

John Lackey – 3rd round. #10 ranked SP

Aaron Harang – 14th round. #40 ranked SP

Clayton Kershaw – 10th round. #47 ranked SP

John Danks – 11th round. #48th ranked SP

Jeremy Guthrie – 22nd round. #60 ranked SP

Manny Parra – 18 round. 64th ranked SP

Dana Eveland – 24th round. 92nd ranked SP

Paul Maholm – 20 round. 97th ranked SP

Kyle Davies – 25th round. 118th ranked SP

Relief Pitchers

Joakim Soria – 7th round. #4 ranked RP

Jose Valverde – 12th round. #6 ranked RP

Joel Hanrahan – 23rd round. #21 ranked RP

My goal was to get at least one top-10 player at each position and I accomplished that with every position except for shortstop. I reached a little for Iannetta in the 9th round but I think I got steals with Maybin (21st round) and Jayson Werth (19th round).

Strengths – Corner IF’s, OF’s and RP’s

I think I did very well at the corner IF spots with Pujols, Longoria, Gordon and Beltre. I am hoping for a nice season out of Gordon. If I can get a .275/20/80 with 10 steals out of Gordon, he would be a steal in the 15th round.

I should be all set with the closer situation with Soria and Valervde. If one of them falters or should get injured, I drafted Hanrahan who will be closing for an improved Nationals team for insurance. Between Soria and Valverde, I am expecting 80+ saves.

My OF might be the best part of my team led by Markakis, McLouth, Bruce and Ankiel. Maybe McLouth takes a step back, but the expected solid seasons from Bruce and Ankiel should make up for it. I like Ankiel this year due to his impending free agency after the season. Boras will have him ready for the season. I was also able to nab a ROY candidate in Maybin in the 21st round. That might be a steal.

Weaknesses – Starting Rotation and Backup IF’s

I went with the Billy Beane philosophy when it comes to starting pitching… Buy in bulk and hope that one breaks through. I am really banking on the progression of Kershaw and a bounce back season from Harang. If neither of those happen, I will be in big trouble. I am also hoping that out of the Maholm, Davies, Parra and Eveland foursome, one of them have a breakout season. Davies is having a tremendous spring (0.71 era in 4 outings) so maybe that will carry over to the regular season. Fingers are crossed.

With so many starting pitchers and outfielders I fell a little short on backup infielders. My only back up middle infielder is Elvis Andrus who is a 20 year old rookie. I am going to need to address this during the season. If Roberts, Pujols or Tejeda go down at any point during the season, I could be in trouble.

So how do you think my draft went? Who did I reach for and who may be a bust?