Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 19, 2005
BASEBALL: Roto Team 2005
For those of you who are interested to see where I put my money in my 2005 Rotisserie draft, held last Saturday (March 12), here's the roster - AL league, traditional roto rules (4x4, 12 teams, $260 for 23 slots, 10 reserves):
The first striking thing here is, no $1 players; that's gotta be a first. This team is a throwback, and a break from my usual patterns, in spending big money - too much money, really - on a primo closer and base thief. Still, there are only two players in the AL who stole more than 36 bases last year, and the other one batted .244 last season. (Foulke was the league's most expensive closer, and I regretted getting him when guys with a shot at a piece of the closer job elsewhere started going for low single digits, like Howry at $2, Jorge Julio at $3 and Jason Frasor at $1.
You can see my panic in the starting pitching column, especially the money I spent on Lilly, my first starter. I can't entirely bank on the five guys I have, so it will be a big help if Chen comes through or Felix Hernandez gets a major league look this year. I'm also heavily invested in the A's dealing Eric Byrnes to create space for Thomas and/or Johnson somewhere in the OF/1B/DH rotation, and on Baldelli getting back in enough time to chip in some value in the second half. I'm actually not that high on Beltre, but he is young and a heck of a hitter, and he'll be worth that price if he comes within 60 points of last year's .334 average. As for Bartlett, his low SB% in 2003 and dropoff in attempts last season don't bode well for him as a big stolen base threat, but at that price he's worth the hope that he'll win the everyday job, notwithstanding a Tom Kelly-inspired organizational tendency to break in youngsters very slowly and in stages.
I didn't set out to have seven Blue Jays and four A's; with Toronto, that's just where the opportunities were. Hudson is the only returning player from last year's draft (although I've often owned Howry, Menechino, and Carter before), and he's the very picture of the kind of player you want in a roto draft - still young, not too expensive, safe everyday job, some power, some speed, and thus contribution in all categories and the hope of maybe busting out with a big improvement in one or more of them.
In the end, even with a few dollars' overspending here and there, I like most of my players, but I'm less confident that they hang together well as a team; batting average and Wins in particular could be a problem. While I like Bonderman's upside a lot, his team's not that good, and the same goes for Lilly. As for Escobar, we'll soon enough find out where his ceiling is - either 2004 was the setup for a career year, or it was the career year.