Fantasy Baseball 2007 Draft Prep
Posted by: Mark Nichols
28 Dec 2006
Since you all care about fantasy sports, and especially how I'M doing in fantasy sports, you'll be happy to hear that I won my fantasy football league. It's a sure sign that I managed my team the best, and that all others should hide in shame when looking up to my football greatness. It also means that as a person, I'm smarter, better looking, and just plain superior in every way compared to all those who competed against me. (So that you know, me winning has nothing to do with getting lucky in the football draft by getting some key good players, getting lucky in the playoffs with poor performances from key players on opponents' teams, or getting lucky by having others in the league NOT accept trades I offered.)
For the uninitiated, fantasy sports work in the following way: you sign up online with some website that offers them (Yahoo or ESPN, or another) and follow the instructions. Me and my buddies like to play on Yahoo for free. Chances are, you already have a friend who has signed up and set the rules of your league. Get the league ID and password from him or her, and set your draft order. Piece of cake!
Regarding the draft, there will be a set day when it will occur. You will either be online that day making picks, or the computer will auto-pick for you according to an order you already set. If a computer chooses your players, that can sometimes lead to being "auto-shafted". One is auto-shafted if one does not set the draft order to the first 200 players or so. The computer is trying to fill all your positions, and sometimes wants to give you a back-up player at every position. If you haven't ranked everyone from 1 to 200, the computer will defer to its own rankings, which aren't always the best. For example, my football auto-shaft included a player who wasn't even in the NFL. But believe it or not, a few rounds later it drafted me a starting running back on the Green Bay Packers. Why was the starter so low in the default rankings? Only the machine that is Yahoo Fantasy Sports will ever know.
In honor of the auto-shaft, I am ranking the players you will want to set at the top of your draft order. These are players with proven auto-shaft credentials, or who will otherwise save the Yahoo computers lots of work when picking worthless players for you.
1. Danny Graves. RP. Colorado Rockies. The following is from Adam Wallis: "Danny Graves is back on the fantasy baseball radar. The potential for this proven veteran to play at pitcher friendly Coor's Field makes bumping him ahead of Kerry Wood in the draft almost [a] no-brainer. On a side note, after careful analysis of this year's fantasy sports results I have concluded that if I could score more points on a consistent basis my chances of winning would be greatly improved." Genius. It's surprising Adam doesn't do better at fantasy sports.
2. Todd Coffey. RP. Cincinnasty Reds. As soon as Stanton and Weathers are removed from the closer role, Coffey will be poised to get a lot of saves for your team... and blown saves, too. If the scoring in your league is set up to give a lot of credit to high ERAs, then Coffey is your man.
3. Kelly Gruber. 3B. Toronto Blue Jays. Some say this all-time great is out of baseball. I've heard different. He'll be a young 45 years old when the season starts, which puts him at rookie status compared to Rickey Henderson and Julio Franco. When he makes his comeback this season, his career .259 batting average will look good along with his bench leadership skills.
4. Andy Van Slyke. OF. Pittsburgh Pirates. Also looking to come out of retirement, Andy will shore up your outfield ranks with his .988 fielding percentage... although your league probably won't care about that. At least his name recognition might scare your opponents a little bit.
5. Bobby Bonilla. 3B/OF/1B. CHW/PIT/NYM/BAL/FLA/LAD/ATL/STL. Bonilla, hoping to join his early 90s all-star buddies on the out-of-retirement bandwagon, will be a versatile addition to your fantasy team. Able to play multiple positions and on multiple teams simultaneously, Bonilla can help you out if you're in an AL- OR an NL-only league!
6. Kerry Wood. DL. Chicago Cubs. Most fantasy baseball leagues have rules about injured players not taking up roster places. If your league gives 1 or 2 spots for injured players, Kerry Wood offers you a valuable tool to bring in once he's healthy. It'd be like getting a player for free in your draft, kind of.
7. Mark Prior. SP. Chicago Cubs. Prior is so good that he's worth drafting in a high position. He'll give you about 10 quality starts between major surgeries. Most starting pitchers, even when pitching the entire year, seem to only give you about 12 quality starts. Prior is so efficient cramming in his quality pitching, once he's done you'll be able to get another 5 to 10 quality starts from someone else.
8. Ken Griffey Jr. OF. Cincinnati Reds. He's already gotten himself injured this off-season. That means instead of pulling that hamstring during a preseason game, he'll be busy rehabbing. That puts him on track to actually start the season injury free! Known for his hot April hitting, that'll give you about 25 games before you can pull the trade trigger. I'd recommend trading him for Carlos Lee, who won't be able to hit for beans since he is now on the Houston Astros. Lee will likely produce just as much as Griffey, even when Griffey is injured. This will make it an even trade.
9. John Lieber. SP. Philadelphia Phillies. His soft throwing arm means he won't be getting injured any time soon. Plus he's a consistent inning eater, going for 5 or 5.1 innings pitched each time out. That means he'll eat up a lot of your allowed innings and make it look like you actually managed your team this year.
10. Taco Wallace. WR. Seattle Seahawks. Although Wallace doesn't play baseball, his athleticism will surely help him earn a spot on a baseball team somewhere, assuming he's actually trying out. He could possibly play catcher, or center field. He should be well rested for the baseball season, because it turns out he doesn't play football either.
Good luck to everyone with your 2007 fantasy baseball season!