Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Longest Fantasy Baseball Story Ever Told - Part One

With the end of the regular season comes the end of fantasy baseball. This was probably my proudest fantasy baseball season, as I managed to buy, sell, and compete all at once. I don't do drugs, so trades are what I imagine crack would be like. I managed to make seven trades this season, and that doesn't even include the trades I made before the draft to move up and down as I bought and sold picks from other sports. With that, there are three important things to know about this league.

1. We have a baseball, basketball, and football season, so we can trade guys between sports. We compete in the individual sports and compete for an overall championship as well.
2. We are introducing keepers this year. Very limited, as you can keep two guys for each sport, and it costs two rounds higher than when the guy was drafted. Free agents are ineligible.
3. You are only allowed 25 free agent acquisitions throughout the entire season. This makes every move way more stressful than a normal league and adds way more strategy to the free agency process. There is no streaming pitchers every week, but maybe you can make a Sunday pickup to put your team over the edge.

There is only one place to start this story, and that is with my draft. After you see my draft, you will understand why I had to make trades. Anyway, here is what I was able to acquire (Note: There were trades before the draft that altered some of my picks, so that is why I did not pick until 19):

19 Carlos Gomez, Mil OF  
23 Evan Longoria, TB 3B  
26 Joey Votto, Cin 1B  
38 Justin Upton, Atl OF  
54 Zack Greinke, LAD SP  
78 Masahiro Tanaka, NYY SP  
83 Wilin Rosario, Col C  
91 Matt Cain, SF SP  
98 Cole Hamels, Phi SP  
115 Chase Utley, Phi 2B  
126 Jose Abreu, CWS 1B  
134 Jedd Gyorko, SD 2B  
139 Danny Salazar, Cle SP  
146 B.J. Upton, Atl OF  
150 David Robertson, NYY RP  
163 Leonys Martin, Tex OF  
179 Koji Uehara, Bos RP  
187 Chris Tillman, Bal SP  
198 Chris Carter, Hou 1B  
235 Jose Veras, Hou RP  
246 Mike Moustakas, KC 3B  
259 Ubaldo Jimenez, Bal SP  
270 Josh Johnson, SD SP  
283 Edwin Jackson, ChC SP  
294 Derek Jeter, NYY SS  

The highlights obviously start with my first pick, Carlos Gomez. An outstanding player in all categories and before I go on about him, I should mention my first trade:

I trade Carlos Gomez and an 8th round football pick for Ryan Braun and a 15th round football pick.

My analysis of this trade: Whoops. I thought Ryan Braun's wrist was healed and I'm not a huge believer that PEDs make a large difference. I stand by the latter, but the former was just poor research on my part.

Other lowlights include my Joey Votto pick which did not work out. I was targeting Stanton there, and he got scooped up right before my pick. I was heartbroken and immediately trying to trade for Stanton, especially since I was living in South Florida at the time so I attended multiple Spring Training and regular season Marlins games. It never came to fruition, and Votto's most positive contributions was when he was only occupying a DL spot instead of starting.

Matt Cain wasn't very good, as I was targeting Anthony Rizzo with that pick, but since I already had Votto and was targeting another first baseman later in the draft, I didn't really need him. Gyorko and Salazar were two young players that I expected to take steps forward, but they both decided to jump backwards instead.

Finally, my last six picks were all dropped within the first six weeks of the season, but to be fair, I only drafted Jeter as a joke since it is free to add guys before the season starts. I replaced him with Chris Owings.

But there were highlights. Greinke, Tanaka, and Hamels were all great values that could lead my starters and Robertson and Uehara were great closers to get later on. As for hitters, the only real highlight was Jose Abreu. That was a great pick, but it may have been my only great pick, as only the biggest fanboy of Chris Carter would actually have held onto him throughout his entire cold streak to be paid off for when he became red hot during the second half of the season.

Looking back, this is a solid team. A good pitching staff that is going to have to carry a disappointing offense. But this is the longest fantasy baseball story ever told, so we'll get into that next time.

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