Fantasy Baseball

Leigh Teixeira: Jersey's Fantasy Baseball Team

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 04:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants hits a single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a spring training game on March 4, 2009, in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
JerseySenior Analyst IMarch 31, 2009

After some deliberation, I've re-settled on "Leigh Teixeira" as my fantasy baseball team's name. Last year, it was Team Sunshine; I changed it to LT when Tex arrived in New York, and subsequently changed it to "Listen Lady," following an inside joke. But after reading some Red Sox smack calling our onebie "Leigh Teixeira's Husband," I went back to my original choice of 2009.

Anyway, here's my draft recap. First of all, I kept ten players, as per league rules. I had some tough decisions to make, and ended up tossing back some players I really liked. Then again, when you win your league, chances are you like most of your players. The limit of 10 is what got to me; I was able to afford more under league rules, but was not allowed to keep more then ten. So, I settled on the following players:

Ryan Braun (Jersey boy for life!)
Carlos Lee
Josh Hamilton
Nate McLouth (thus rounding out the best outfield in the league)
Ervin Santana
Francisco Liriano
Rafael Furcal
Matt Wieters
David Price
Aramis Ramirez

Thanks to the cheap acquisition's of Liriano, McLouth, and Santana, I was able to afford some more expensive players while retaining a significant amount of rollover value for next season.

Furcal and Lee had been dropped thanks to season-ending injuries, so their values were decreased, and I snagged them on the cheap. Price and Wieters were grabbed off free agency immediately purely for the sake of keeping them; they cost next to nothing. I wound up with ten sick keepers, with plenty of money to pay for more expensive ones (should I need to) next season.

Unfortunately, this meant cutting ties with guys like Alfonso Soriano, James Shields, and Adam Wainwright. But dem's the brakes.

Anyway, here's how the draft went, beginning with round 11. Because I finished in first, I picked last (twelfth); since it's a snake draft, I picked twice in a row, with the last pick in every odd round followed immediately by the first pick in every even round.

11. John Lackey
12. James Shields (welcome back!)
13. Robinson Cano
14. Pablo Sandoval
15. Alex Gordon
16. Justin Verlander
17. Adam Jones
18. Ramon Hernandez
19. Manny Corpas
20. Grant Balfour (another returnee)
21. Jose Arredondo
22. Ubaldo Jimenez (already been traded)

My league counts saves and holds as one category, so I had no problem waiting until the end to grab relievers. Some people groaned at my pick of Balfour, but I don't mind. Relievers are always, always available, so even if he doesn't bounce back, it's not like a wasted a high pick on him, and I can always grab another one off free agency.

Truth is, after my pick of Sandoval, I wanted nobody else. I was stunned that Cano fell to me, so I grabbed him (second basemen are hard to find), and then I made a huge reach for Pablo, who I hope continues his brief big-league success. At that point, there was no one ranked higher who I wanted more, and I didn't think he'd fall to me my next time around. So I took him early.

After that, it was all upside for me. I took Alex Gordon and Adam Jones, who may or may not be good this year. I took Justin Verlander, who I hope will bounce back. Hernandez is a placeholder for Wieters (just like he was in Baltimore). I took my three obligatory relievers (and I'm very happy to have Corpas), then rounded out the team with Jimenez, figuring there was nobody I'd rather have with my last pick.

Today, I agreed to trade Jimenez for Paul Konerko. I'm not a big fan of either player, but Konerko is a first baseman, and if Pablo doesn't pan out, I'll be desperate. As an insurance pickup, Konerko is likely better than anyone available via free agency, and worst comes to worst, I traded my last round pick for him. No biggie.

The guy I traded with autopicked, and got stuck with four first basemen, plus Jim Thome. Ouch. He desperately needed pitching, so the trade should help us both. Minor, but useful.

My biggest problem now is that much of my team won't be playing once the season starts. Lackey and Santana are both hurt, and will miss a month each, while Price and Wieters will begin the year in the minors. I drafted Ramon Hernandez as my temporary catcher; he's always been pretty good, and he's playing in Cincy, where I think he'll be better than usual.

He's not great, but he'll be serviceable until Wieters is called up, and he'll be insurance in case the young one struggles out of the gate. But my pitching staff is now very weak, with Shields and Liriano as my only solid starters, with Justin Verlander as my number-three, and nobody beyond that.

Thanks to three DL-spots, I can replace my injured pitchers, and there are some decent enough pitchers available to fill in for the first month.

My team should be fine. I'm lacking in some areas, primarily pitching (get it, lacking, because I have Lackey?), but that problem will fix itself soon enough, and I think my team is good enough to make up for its initial weakness. And so the quest begins for championship number two in the greatest keeper league of all time.

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