Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Soloist

After watching Danny Gokey and Jamie Foxx tonight on American Idol I don't have to go see the Soloist.

Colonial League supplementary May draft

We had the supplementary May draft today in the Colonial League. I had slipped to sixth (from a recent third) out of nine, so I had the fourth pick. Here was my plan going in:

Drop Andrew Miller, add Brandon Jones
Drop Jonny Gomes, add Chad Gaudin
Drop Seth McClung, add Omar Infante

I thought Jones had the most upside potential of the guys available. (Scott Hairston had the best stats.) I wanted Infante for my reserves because of his position flexibility (eligible everywhere but 1B and Catcher). I wanted Gaudin because I really like him and I think he's got a lot of potential. Pitching in PETCO should help, but pitching for the Pads probably won't.

Here's how it went:

1st round: Drop Miller, add Jones
2nd round: Drop Gomes, add Kawakami
3rd round: Drop McClung, add Gaudin

Another team dropped Kawakami. I'm not going to start him this week, but the Braves have a lot invested in him and he's going to get every chance to succeed. I'm hoping for a bounce-back while he's on my reserves. It means that I missed out on Infante, but he was a luxury anyway. Another team grabbed him to start the 4th round or I would have had to decide if he was worth dropping another player. Probably not.

I did add two outfielders to my utility spots, subsituting for pitchers. So I have Jones and Schierholtz playing in the utility spots, and Kawakami, Oliver Perez, Joe Blanton, and Daniel Cabrera on reserve. Gaudin (two starts) is active.

I also have McCann in reserve, with Jesus Flores replacing him on the active roster.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pat Burrell

I guy named Anonymous posted a comment on my "Walks will haunt" post. I guess anonymous is another way to say, "Combsy." Combsy does bring up a very good point about Pat Burrell. I guess my reluctance in touting Burrel for the Reds is his terrible defense. He's basically Adam Dunn from the right side. With the Reds' new empahsis on pitching and defense, he didn't seem like a good fit. I chose to tout Juan Rivera, instead. But the Angels way overpaid for Rivera (in the current market), so he was out of the question.

Burrel signed for two years and $16 mil. with the Rays. More than Rivera total (3 yrs., $12.75 mil.) but for a more established player and a shorter commitment. But you have to assume the Rays got a better deal than the Reds could have because of there in-the-hunt-ness and the fact that he won't have to play the field very much (he hasn't played in the field yet this season). Assuming we could have gotten Burrell, however, how good would this line-up look:


And what would we have lost on defense? Neither Hairston, who's just not an everyday player, nor Dickerson, who is truly struggling, have played very well defensively. I expect Dickerson to get sent down shortly (he really looks lost) and either Nix to take his spot, or Gomes to get the call. (Gomes is basically Burrell without the track record of success.)

My hope is that the Reds figured they'd give Dickerson a shot, figuring if he fails and they're in the hunt, they trade for a big bat during the season. If he fails and they're not in the hunt, they haven't taken on a big contract. Here's hoping they don't wait too long with that plan.

But what they really should have done is signed Bobby Abreu, who went for 1 yr. and $5 mil. and is tearing it up with the Angels.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Walks will haunt

Earlier this week we asked if walks always haunt. They certainly did last night. The first hit Volquez gave up last night was a solo home run to Jeff Francoeur in the fifth. Unfortunately, he had already given up two runs and the lead by issuing five walks in the fourth, including two with the bases loaded, the first of the two to the pitcher. Volquez obviously has good stuff, but he only managed to last five innings because of the high walks total. He was actually lucky to go five. He came to bat in the bottom of the fourth in a 2-2 game with 2 on and 2 out. Even though he actually had a no-hitter going I thought Dusty should have pinch hit for him. We needed the runs, and Volquez clearly couldn't find the plate. He did get through the fifth, but he gave up another run on the Francoeur home run. That was a great chance to score for the Reds but, predictably, Volquez struck out with two in scoring position to end the threat. All told, he walked 7 and hit a batter, which lead to the benches clearing and the bullpens emptying, but no fireworks (until after the game).

That hit by pitch last night lead to Votto getting drilled today and both teams being warned. But again, no fireworks unless you count the Braves lighting up Arroyo to the tune of a 10-2 beat down. (Lowe did get the win to help the Legends.)

Chris Dickerson looks lost. He blew two plays in left today before making a nice diving catch. And he went 0-5 in the lead off spot and struck out 4 times. leaving 6 guys on base. Worse, he looked clueless out there. I thought he was a steal in the Colonial League draft, but I'm afraid he needs to go down to Louisville to get straightened out. Hopefully, he can turn it around and prove that last year's stint in the majors wasn't a fluke.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Road Hogs

The Reds took seven of ten on the road trip, which was very encouraging. They did it with pitching: good starts and great work out of the pen. I'm not too worried about guys like Rhodes and Weathers being over worked, either. These are veteran guys who can pile up the innings until they ultimately get hurt. Right now, it seems like the Reds have some depth and could stand an injury or two. More than that, or if Cordero goes down, it could be trouble.

But we're supposed to be upbeat and optimistic with a winning record and tied for second in the division. The Cards are off to a hot start and have the lead.

Rachel and I are headed down to the park tonight for Volquez v. Vazquez (sounds like a UFC title fight on pay-per-view) and I'll provide a full report on the game tomorrow.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blue Sox roster update

I put Josh Beckett on reserve (because of his suspension -- we're not allowed to just reserve guys (thus my problem with Wang)) and picked up Jose Contreras, who was dropped yesterday. He's got two starts this week, so I thought I'd take a chance. I can wipe out his second start if it sucks when Beckett is reinstated on Saturday. What I can't do is get both Beckett's Saturday start and Contreras's second start so I'll pick the best one. What I should have done was picked up Carl Pavano who was just dropped, but I didn't see that move (the owner didn't post it to the league). I don't want to make a free agent move on Pavano, so I'll just bide time and see if the Yanks make a move with Wang. Ideally, they would send him to the minors, but I'm not even sure they can do that. The D/L would be okay, but the minors would send him back to $1 and first year salary status. Right now, he's 4 years and $3.10.

Do walks always haunt?

Are the Reds smarter than they look? The Reds are walking about 5 batters per game. (53 total in 11 games, but in one game, Harang's shutout, they had no free passes.) That seems like a lot to me, but 30% (16) of those walks have been to the #3 hitter in the line-up. This includes 6 walks to Lance Berkman, 5 walks each to David Wright and Ryan Braun, and 2 to Nate McClouth. I noticed that these guys were walking a lot and I wondered if the Reds were simply pitching around the opposing team's best hitter. Not a bad idea if you ask me, and not the kind of strategy that you want to announce.

To make this work, however, you have to have good control. For one thing, if you walk the #3 hitter you can't really afford to walk anyone else. (As I'm typing this, Arroyo just gave up a game-tying bomb to Berkman -- they should have walked him.) Plus you can't "miss" inside the strike zone because the #3 hitter can hammer you. (Lee just went yard, back-to-back, so even if Arroyo walked Berkman, the game would still be tied.) Something to watch as this season, in which we are relying heavily on our pitching staff, unfolds.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reds win

The Reds don't seem to be very good this year. It's the same old poor defense, lack of hitting, and general lackadaisical play that has driven us crazy over the last couple of years. The difference this year? The Reds are actually winning. They can't hit a lick, but the starters have been solid and the bullpen has been lights out. Volquez has been maddening, but kept us in games, Arroyo has been solid, and Harang is even showing some emotion! But boy has the bullpen been good. The formula seems to be 6 IP from the starter, Rhodes, Weathers, and Cordero, who hasn't blown a save yet.

On this ten game road trip, they're now 4 and 2. Most of us probably would have taken four wins for the whole road trip based on last year's record on the road and in the division. Maybe this is the year we've got the 'Stros number? If the Reds start to hit (besides Owings, that is) the Reds could actually start looking good as a contender. One more with Houston, then on to Chicago for three with the Cubs (weather permitting). How we do against the Cubs may be a good indicator of our chances this year.

Blue Sox hit hard by injuries...and just plain hit hard

The Blue Sox are in third place in the bgal, 3 1/2 games out of second and 8 points ahead of fourth. 14 points out of first. The biggest problem, era. I'm last in era by more than 2.5 runs from ninth, and almost five runs out of first. "Leading" the way is Chien-Ming Wang, with a 34.50 era (not a typo). I've got a lot invested in him, but at some point I'll have to cut him loose. Right now, I'm hoping he either turns it around or gets put on the D/L so I can replace him.

My relievers also stink in era, with Fuentes at 9.00 (2 saves, one blown), Ray at 7.71 (in limited work, but not really making the case to move into the closer role as I had hoped), and Percival at 6.75 (2 saves, one loss).

Brad Penny's at 11.00 era, and Jessie Litsch, before he went on the D/L, had a 9.00 era. I picked up Andrew Bailey (based on a tip from Advanced Fantasy Baseball) who has a zero era with 2 wins and 11 k's in over 8 innings of relief. He's not likely to keep up with his wins pace, but should provide some filler innings. Who knows, now that he's a Blue Sock maybe he'll start sucking.

Even my good starters are bad, with Kevin Slowey posting a 5.89 era so far. He does have two wins and 12 k's. Beckett does have an era under 4.00 (3.79) and has won 2 games with 20 k's.

The problem here is that I don't see any good way to improve my standing in era other than hope that my guys turn it around. There is no one of note available on the waiver wire (even Ryan Perry just got picked up) and I don't really want to pursue a trade right now unless it's giving up minor leaguers for starters and I think other owners will be reluctant to do that. Maybe I'll have to throw top prospects at mediocre pitchers. But in a keeper league, I really don't want to do that.

Regarding injuries, besides the aforementioned Litsch, Alex Gordon went on the D/L with the same hip problem that has sidelined A-Rod. The current prediction is 10-12 weeks. He was on fire in spring training, but again started slowly out of the gate, batting .095 with 1 home run, 3 rbi's, and a stolen base. I added Melky Cabrera to replace Gordon (moving Branyan from DH to CI) and he promptly hit a home run. DeWayne Wise was also D/L'ed, which was no big loss. I added Felix Pie, but he hasn't done much. With my current era, I'm going to have to do well in every other category. I know you've heard of punting a category, like saves or steals, but have you ever heard of punting era?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Grand Slam

Edwin's grand slam put the Legends in first place!

Blue Sox update

Going into tonight's games, the Blue Sox are in second place in the Bluegrass A.L. only league, 6 points out of first and 7.5 points ahead of third. As expected, it's the offense that is leading the way, and right now it's Evan Longoria pacing the Blue Sox. He's on fire, batting .482 with 5 home runs and 10 rbi's. He's even got a stolen base. As I type this, he just walked with the bases loaded to add another rbi. Unfortunately, it was against teammate (fellow Blue Sock) Chien-Ming Wang. (Wang has been terrible in his two starts and is not helping the pitching at all.)

The Blue Sox were hit hard right out of the gate with the demotion of Jeff Clement to the minors. I picked up Mike Redmond for his spot, and he's been hurt and bad. (Wang's out, but Carlos Pena just took some hack reliever yard for a grand slam. So Wang gave up 8 runs in 1 inning. Is that worse than Pavano?) I thought Redmond wouldn't hurt my average, and could easily be replaced when Clement comes back up. He's hitting only .167, and my other catcher, Dioner Navarro, is hitting only .191.

But it gets better from there. In addition to Longoria, Kinsler is hot, hitting .349, with 2 hr's and 8 rbi's, although he has yet to steal a base. Regarding steals, I decided to shy away from the "steals" guys and try and get steals from guys that would also help in other categories, like Kinsler and Sizemore. I thought Wise might help, but he's got a goose egg in the category. Sizemore leads the team with two. Surprisingly, Branyan and Longoria each have a steal. Right now, I'm tied for third in steals, so that's good enough for me.

The Blue Sox lead the league in homers, with three more than 2nd place. Longoria leads the team with 5. Four other guys have 2, including Branyan, Sizemore, Morneau, and Kinsler. Morneau and Sizemore have been pretty disappointing, though, batting .259 and .200 respectively. We're tied in rbi's with the Water Buffaloes.

Rookie of the year candidate, Travis Snider, has been just okay, batting .250 with one home run and 2 rbi's. He does seem to be getting playing time, though. Speaking of rookie of the year candidates, I have not yet activated Elvis Andrus, but will do so tomorrow. I have to decide who to drop, and when to activate him. I'll probably just drop Nick Punto, with the other candidate being Nomar. Lowrie is off to a slow start, so hopefully Julio Lugo will have the starting job after he comes off the D/L.

Pitching wise, the Blue Sox are in the middle in strikeouts and near the top in saves in wins, but dead last in era. Wang's outing tonight means it may be a while before the Blue Sox recover in the era category, but it's a long season. All of my relievers (Fuentes, Percival, and Ray) have bad era's, but have three saves among them. Beckett looked good in the opener, but not sharp on Sunday. Waiver wire addition Ricky Romero won his debut (against Porcello) and I'm hopeful that he can give me what I got from Litsch last year, a post-draft waiver wire pickup. Slowey and Litsch face each other tonight after both coming off 6.0 inning, 5 run, 5 k starts last time out. Slowey won, Litsch lost. Slowey and Litsch face off tonight in Minnesota.

Road trip

The Reds start their longest road trip of the season tonight in Milwaukee. They have 10 games against the Brewers, Astros, and Cubs, all in the division. This is a very important road trip. It involves two important areas where the Reds need to improve over last year, playing on the road and playing in the division. While it is certainly very early, and still will be after the road trip, the Reds could really make a big statement with a good road trip.

Movies update

Last weekend Rachel and I went to see Adventureland. It was by the same guy that did Superbad, so I was expecting it to be hilarious. It wasn't. It was really funny and also really sweet, but not as funny as Superbad. But I highly recommend it.

Not as high on my list is Observe and Report. We saw it this weekend (actually Sunday morning at 10:40; as you can probably imagine, we were the only two in the theatre). I have been a big fan of Seth Rogan since he had a small part in the t.v. series by Jud Appatow, Freeks and Geeks, and O and R was done by one of the guys behind the new HBO comedy Eastbound and Down, which is also hilarious, so I had high hopes. I would recommend O and R because it is funny and it is well done, especially if you like really dark humor. But I liked Adventureland a lot better. Danny McBride, the star of Eastbound and Down, had a small part in O and R, but both Rachel and I thought he should have had the Seth Rogen roll. Rachel wondered if they needed a bigger star (Rogen) to get financing for the movie. It was put out by Warner Bros. and received a lot of marketing, so I think Rachel is on to something there.

League of Nations update

We drafted late in this head-to-head league, so our league doesn't start until this week. I've had a bitter sweet start, however. Yesterday, one day before the stats start counting, I had the following day from my pitchers:

IP: 32 1/3
W: 2
L: 1
SHO: 1
SV: 2
ER: 2
BB: 3
K: 37
BSV: 0

That’s a heck of a line for one day. Let's hope my guys can keep it up.

Friday, April 10, 2009

League of Nations draft recap

A friend of mine that works with Rachel needed one more owner to fill-out a Yahoo! league, and I agreed to do it. It's a 12-team, head-to-head mixed league. I don't like the idea of head-to-head for baseball. I think that's more of a football thing, but I've never tried it (baseball or football) so I shouldn't pre-judge.

The draft was by computer, which also worried me, because I'm not very good at the computer. I did a couple mock drafts against the computer to get the feel for it, but couldn't figure out how to rank and/or queue players, so I went solely from the Yahoo! rankings and my own experience; no notes or anything.

I drew the 8th spot, which wasn't terrible on the odd rounds, but was on the even rounds, because I had to wait like 15 spots in between picks. I had three strategies going in: 1. Try and get guys I'm already rooting for (Blue Sox, Legends, Reds); 2. No NL Central guys; and 3. No D/L guys (like A-Rod). I wanted a complete roster that wouldn't have to be messed with.

The categories are weird to say the least. For hitters, you count runs, singles, doubles, triples, home runs, rbi's, sacrifice bunts and flies, stolen bases, caught stealing, walks, hit-by-pitch, and strikeouts. For pitchers, you count innings pitched, wins, losses, shutouts, saves, earned runs, walks, strikeouts, and blown saves. Your team must pitch at least 7 innings per week to score any pitching points. Each category win counts as a win, etc.

Several of the owners apparently let the computer draft for them. I don't know if they ranked players or not. The first round went like this:

M. Cabrera
Kinsler - me

I had Kinsler ranked tenth or eleventh, but he fit my "guys I'm already rooting for" (Blue Sox) category.

Here's how the rest of my team went (with the round in parenthesis):

C Napoli (16)
1B Morneau (3)
2B Kinsler (1)
3B Encarnacion (10)
SS Alexi Ramirez (5)
OF Holliday (4)
OF Bruce (7)
OF Young (14)
Ut Ortiz (6)

Bench Sandoval (17)
Bench Span (18)
Bench Felipe Lopez (20)
Bench Travis Snider (21)

SP Johan (2)
SP Joba (8)
RP Broxton (9)
RP Fuentes (13)
P Nolasco (11)
P Harang (12)
P Bedard (15)

Bench Jonathan Sanchez (19)


I specifically targeted Sandoval and Lopez for my bench. Sandoval is eligible at catcher, first base, and third base, and Lopez is eligible at second, short, third, and the outfield. With those two bench players, I have a sub at every position. I also wanted Scherzer because he can be a reliever or a starter, but I got Joba early, who is also duel-eligible, so I didn't bother with Scherzer. (He's on the D/L, but only until they need a fifth starter next week.)

I wanted Ianneta as my catcher, but he went a little earlier than I thought. On the fly, I went with Napoli, but I probably could have waited another round or two and gotten similar value (like an A.J. Piersynski or Dioner Navarro, who was picked right after Napoli).

I had targeted Chris Young and Nelson Cruz as my final outfielders. Both were available when I took Young in the fourteenth round. Cruz went in the fifteenth.

Broxton was the closer I wanted, and Fuentes is a Blue Sock and a decent #2, so that worked out well.

I really wanted Alex Gordon, who was ranked 146, but he went in the ninth round while I was picking up pitching (between Joba and Broxton).

I also missed out on Derek Lowe and Josh Johnson, two pitchers I really wanted.

Finally, in my big mistake of the night, I picked Big Papi in the sixth round. On its own, this was a great pick and a great value. I knew I had a back-up plan for my bench, so his utility-only status wouldn't hurt me. But I had already picked Morneau at first base. In round seven, I started to pick the one guy I had to have, Joey Votto. But I realized just before I drafted him that I would be picking a bench player in the eighth round, and I didn't want to do that (see rule three above). So I took Jay Bruce. I did make a post-draft trade offer for Votto, but that got soundly rejected. I'll see what else I can do to get him, or live with Big Papi's 35 homers and 125 rbi's.

Let me know how you think I did and whether or not you think I should trade an extra outfielder for another reliever.

Big sigh of relief

It turns out that the Reds' much ballyhooed inability to score runs had more to do with Johan Santana then anything else. The Reds scored seven in a 9-7 loss to the Mets on Wednesday night (and were in a position to win in the 9th, loading the bases off of K-Rod) and scored eight yesterday in their 8-6 win. A 2-1 loss to Santana, by itself, is no big deal, especially when you consider that Harang almost went pitch for pitch with him. The thing that does bother me, though, has been the defense. It was supposed to be much improved, and has been poor. But it's still early, so we should reserve judgment.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reds bench

* Johnny Bench could probably out hit the Reds bench by himself. Here is where we are as of opening day:

C Ryan Hanigan
IF Paul Janish
UTL Jerry Hairston, Jr.
OF Darnell McDonald
OF Laynce Nix

Hanigan seems like a decent back-up catcher, although he's inexperienced and doesn't have much pop. Janish is good with the glove at three positions, so I can see keeping him, especially until we know A-Gon is healthy. But what do the other guys add? Hairston and McDonald started opening day (apparently, Hairston is in the right-handed platoon role that Gomesy should have had) and provided neither pop, speed, nor good defense. I have to believe the only reason the Reds kept Hairston was because they signed him to a free agent contract. Taveras is apparently going to play every day, so why do we need McDonald? I don't get it.

Proof I'm right: the first pinch hitter of the season was none other than fifth starter Micah Owings. I agree that Owings should have pinch hit, as he was our best bet for a home run at that point. But he should not be our best bet for a home run off the bench. There has been a lot of talk about the Reds inability to score (after one game). This bench will not help.

* Counting four spring training games and opening day, we've seen the Reds starters give up a grand total of two runs, both solo home runs. That's very encouraging.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Opening day

We had a good time yesterday in spite of the bad weather and the loss. It was nice to be back at the park and to have baseball again. The scoreboard improvments are really nice but, predictably, there were some glitches yesterday.

Harang looked good, although he did allow too many baserunners. He was able to pitch out of jams, and only allowed one run on a homer to Daniel Murphy. (Interestingly, I got an offer to trade for Murphy during the game.) The relief work was stellar from Rhodes, Weathers, and Cordero, who each pitched a scoreless inning.

But the game was lost in the 6th. Because of all of the baserunners, Harang left after five. Dusty went with spring training phenom Daniel Ray "They're will be strikeouts" Herrara. Unfortunately, he didn't live up to his spring or his nickname, giving up a run with a hit and two walks, including a walk to the pitcher. He didn't walk a guy all spring. In the paper this morning he indicated he was nervous. He seemed like an odd choice for Dusty in a big moment like that, although a lefty was called for in that spot and Rhodes was used later in the game. I guess Dusty figured he throw him in the deep end. Lincoln came in and bailed him out of more potential damage.

The defense also struggled with Darnell McDonald appearing clueless at times in the outfield. We missed Taveras in the field, but none of the miscues led to runs. Bruce made a nice play to nail a guy at the plate and had a double off of the left field wall. The other encouraging thing offensively was BP's sac fly scoring the only run for the Reds. As clean-up hitter, BP has got to drive guys in and he did so in the only real chance he got. A hit scoring two would have been preferable, but he hit it hard and got it to the outfield to score the run.

It was nice to see good pitching, but I hope yesterday wasn't a preview of the season. Like my wife said leaving the game, last year you could always count on the Reds offense to have a chance to win with a comeback. We may not have that this year.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Colonial League draft recap

The Colonial League was started by Jim Crowley back in 1982, and still has some of its original members. According to Jim, it's the third oldest fantasy league. I have been fortunate enough to have been a member since 2007, but that makes me a relative new-comer.

The league is an NL-only non-keeper league, with typical 5x5 scoring, and a draft, not an auction. We have the standard positions except that this year, we voted to only use one catcher and two utitlity spots. Interestingly, the utility spots can be hitters or pitchers. We use a draft that starts out like a serpentine draft, but is really more of a spiral. We don't know our draft positions until we draw right before we start.

I wasn't nearly as prepared for the NL-only draft as I was for the AL-only draft. My basic tool was the Player Forecast Manager found at Baseball Prospectus. I also used the BP depth charts and a new site called MLBDepthCharts.com. The PFM is a computer program that allows you to enter your league's paramaters and it ranks the players. You can make all sorts of adjustments, but the program assumes the player plays to his forecasted PECOTA mean performance.

I had two other strategies: one, when I didn't have to reach too far, I would pick a Reds player and, two, I wouldn't pick any other players from the NL Central.

I drew the first spot in the draft and went with Jose Reyes. According to PFM he was the most valuable guy by a pretty big margin over Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, and Albert Pujols. The rest of the first round went like this:

Pujols, Wright, Hanley, Howard, Lincecum, Braun, Carlos Lee, and Santana.

As the first pick in the first round, I also had the last pick of the second round. The second round went like this for the first eight picks:

Rollins, Webb, Utley, Manny, Beltran, Soriano, Berkman, and Victorino.

With my second round pick, I reached a little bit and picked Joey Votto. At that point, according to PFM, Joey Votto was the fourth best player available behind (in order) Chris Young (OF), Matt Kemp, and Prince Fielder. Because of the spiral, I had the second pick of the third round and the eighth pick of the fourth round. I almost certainly could have picked Votto in the third round, but I wanted him more than any other player so I reached a little bit. Predictably, Fielder went next. Then I took Dan Haren with my third pick. He was the best available starter. Although Young, Werth, and Hart were ranked ahead of him, I didn't want to wait 14 more picks before getting my number one starter. Peavy, Hamels, Oswalt, Volquez, Billingsley, and Vazquez all went before I picked again in the fourth round.

In the fourth round, I picked Jay Bruce. Chris Young (whom I predicted would be around later) and Jason Werth were ranked ahead of him, so I reached two spots for Bruce, and was very happy to do so. Werth went two picks later, followed by Russell Martin. I had the third pick of the fifth round and went with Brian McCann. I had not planned on picking a catcher so high, especially with the new rule re: only one catcher. I could have waited much later to pick a catcher, but with a chance at one of the two or three elite guys I thought it was worth pulling the trigger.

At this point, I want to compare and contrast my draft at the first pick with that of the Pirates, who were drafting ninth. So far I had, in order, Reyes, Votto, Haren, Bruce, and McCann. The Pirates had Santana, Rollins, Fielder, Upton, and Martin. This is a very similar first five picks, with exact position matches, and even a reach on a young outfielder (Bruce and Upton). I think this is interesting because of the debate over picking last or first. Arguably, the Pirates got the better draft, with Santana, but I'm happy with my guys. It certainly helped that the team drafting before the Pirates took Carlos Lee, in my opinion not a first-rounder. According to PFM, he should have been the last pick of the third round.

The rest of the draft was fun, but the big news as far as the Legends are concerned is that I picked eight Reds. I had to reach for a couple, but a couple were steals, according to PFM. For example, I got Chris Dickerson in the 18th round. According to PFM, he was a 6th round guy. I got Edwin in the eleventh round; he was a seventh rounder by PFM. By the way, I got Chris Young, the 13th best guy on PFM, in the seventh round. Let's hope he lives up to his forecast.

Here is my roster for week one:

C Brian McCann
1B Joey Votto
2B Felipe Lopez
3B Edwin Encarnacion
SS Jose Reyes
MI Cristian Guzman
CI Nick Johnson
OF Jay Bruce
OF Adam Dunn
OF Chris Young
OF Fred Lewis
OF Chris Dickerson

P Dan Haren
P Derek Lowe
P Aaron Harang
P Oliver Perez
P Joe Blanton
P Barry Zito
P Daniel Cabrerra
P Francisco Cordero
P Heath Bell
UT J.J. Putz
UT Bronson Arroyo

Reserves: Jesus Flores, Nate Schierholtz, Andrew Miller, Seth McClung, Jonny Gomes

Obviously, I didn't know that Gomes would be cut. This was a surprise and, to me, a mistake by the Reds. He had real break-out potential. Dusty said that Willie Taveras getting the flu was a factor because the team needed to keep Darnell McDonald. I'm not buying that, and think it was only an excuse for Dusty to keep a guy he really liked. Guys like McDonald are always available (Norris Hopper, anyone?) but guys with power are a little tougher to find. I guess it's the Reds' new emphasis on defense that hurt Gomesy.

I picked Seth McClung, a Brewer, with my 28th pick. That ruined my no NL Cetral guys, but I really liked the value here. He could be a starter or even the closer by June.

As far as holes in my roster, I need to get a guy that could back-up second or third, like an Ian Stewart or Emelio Bonifacio. Both guys were on my radar, but both went a litte earlier than I wanted to go, Stewart in the fourteenth round and Bonifacio in the twentieth. That's too early for a reserve, albeit an important one. But I have a couple of trade feelers out on that, and will keep you updated.

As you saw from last night's post the Legends were at least briefly in first place with a first inning home run from Brian McCann. I am almost certainly the leader in most of the pitching categories with Derek Lowe going 8 IP, with 2 hits, no walks, no runs, and the win.

Can't wait for the season. I'm heading down to Skyline and then to GABP here in a minute. Let me know how you think I did on my draft.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Legends in first place in Colonial League

Brian McCann just hit a two-run homer for the Braves, and Lowe got the Phils out in order in the bottom of the first. Since this is the only game going, there can be no doubt that the Legends are in first place rigth now. (Both McCann and Lowe made the Legends roster out of spring training.) I will have a complete recap of the Colonial League draft on the blog soon.

Reds BP video blog

Here is my first non-spring training video taken at the Reds pre-opening day batting practice session today at Great American Ball Park. I have since confirmed that Gomes did not make the 25-man roster. Very disappointing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

One day late

You really should read this.


Here is an interesting Reds preview on espn.com.

Colonial League draft

The Colonial League draft is tonight. I'll get a recap up as soon as I can, but it may very well be this weekend. Unfortunatley, I've spent more time on who I should get for Phil Hughes in the bgal, than I have preparing for this draft. (Don't ask; some of the bgal guys read the blog.)

Reds final roster

It looks like there are four spots still open.

Wilkin Castillo, Paul Janish, and Adam Rosales are battling for the final infield back-up spot. All three provide good position flexibilty, with Castillo able to catch and play infield and outfield, Janish able to play all three infield spots, and Rosales able to play both corner infield positions. Janish has a great glove, Castillo could be a third catcher, but Rosales has the best upside (he homered yesterday) of the three. Expect him to make the team. If A-Gon isn't ready, both Janish and Rosales could make it.

Danny Herrera and Bill Bray are fighting it out for the final LOOGY spot. I expect the team to keep Herrera and trade Bray, but they might start with Bray on the roster and still try to trade him. His trade value takes a hit if they send him down. Herrera still has options. The Bray for Thames trade won't happen because the Tigers will now use Thames as part of their DH rotation now that they cut Sheffield.

Speaking of Sheffield, Dusty is interested. If he is signed, he would take the final spot that Laynce Nix and Darnell McDonald are now fighting for. Sheff could provide some pop off the bench, but I would just as soon pass on him. One, I don't like the guy. Two, we're trying to get younger, not older. If Sheff signs, that would also hurt Rosales because Sheff can back-up at first base.

Bailey and Massett are still fighting for the final long-relief spot. We've beaten that one to death here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reds rumors

A couple of rumors have been on the internet regarding the Angels' interest in Harang. The commotion was started by Peter Gammons when he reported that the Angels inquired about Harang, offering Gary Matthews, Jr. According to John Fay, Walt Jockety laughed it off. If the Reds trade Harang now, the value of the tickets I'm trying to sell will plummet. I don't see it right now, but could see (and maybe support) Harang on the block if the Reds are out of it at the trade deadline. Of course, by the trade deadline the Angels should have Lackey, Escobar, and Santana back and won't need Harang. The Angels have a lot of interesting players, but one of them is not Little Sarge.

I also read that the Reds are scouting Andruw Jones. If you recall, I was touting him for the Reds before the Gomesy signing. Jones would be a step toward contention, not the step back that trading Harang would be.

I still look for Bray to get traded or end up in AAA. I was half right on Keppy, predicting he'd be traded to the Red Sox. It looks like he'll fill in for another former Red, Aaron Boone.

The Pinks are working their way back to the Nats by releasing WMP after he cleared waivers.


More and more I feel like the judges are trying to manipulate the results. Allison gave the best performance last night, and on a current song. I guess I have a hard time believing that "Just the Way You Are," although a great song, is a "popular I-Tunes download." Same for Wild Cherry. Yet the judges criticized her for her outfit. And told Scott that it was his best performance and went on and on about how proud they were of him. I don't get it. The dude can't sing.

Anyway, here were my favorits, in order:
Megan Joy

Megan seems bullet proof, and Matt was in the bottom three last week so I think Matt's in trouble. I predict a bottom three of Lil, Anoop, and Matt, with Matt getting the axe.