Baseball Crank
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):

CMatt LeCroy8
CGuillermo Quiroz2
1BTravis Hafner24
3BAdrian Beltre33
CIMark Bellhorn12
2BOrlando Hudson12
SSBobby Crosby15
MIJason Bartlett3
OFCarl Crawford37
OFRocco Baldelli5
OFJuan Rivera4
OFJeff DaVanon4
OFFrank Catalanotto5
DHCharles Thomas4
PKeith Foulke34
PRafael Betancourt5
PTed Lilly14
PJeremy Bonderman11
PLance Carter2
PKelvim Escobar15
PBobby Howry2
PErik Bedard3
PBobby Madritsch6


1Dan Johnson1B
2Bruce ChenP
3Aaron GuielOF
4Felix HernandezP
5Kerry LightenbergP
6Marco Scutaro2B
7Vinnie ChulkP
8DJ CarrascoOF
9John FlahertyP
10Frank Menechino1B

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.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:08 PM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Escobar is a really interesting case. For some odd reason I managed to watch a handful of games he pitched last year. His stuff is unbelievable. Sometimes. He throws pitches occasionally that are so nasty that no one could ever hit them. And then sometimes he lays 88 MPH fastballs right down the middle. While I would never put him in Pedro's league the type of performances Pedro put on last year were Escobar-ish. You know Pete's stuff is essentially inhuman but there were times (especially in those 1st innings) were he was throwing BP stuff up there. I think in Pete's case it was a "pitching to save myself for later" scenario in which he hoped he could use his aura and his change-up to get by and save the cheese for tight situations. I think in Escobar's case, well, I guess I don't know. He's got second-tier (he's not Santana, Pete, Johnson, etc.) stuff and seems like he should be, with a good club, a 16-19 win kind of guy. But he hasn't been. I would be interested to get your perspective on him as the season moves along.

Posted by: jim at March 20, 2005 11:05 AM
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