Before I introduce the future champions of the Bleacher Report Fantasy Baseball League, I would like to send my condolences to the Adenhart family and just as important to the families and friends of the other two killed in the crash, Henry Pearson, 25, and Courtney Stewart, 20. Also, a heartfelt wish to a recovery and how devastated the lone survivor in the car, John Wilhite, must feel.
Finally, to the driver who took those lives and ignited a community, I ask all to forgive him as hard as it is. I do not know him nor do I wish to, but he is but one of thousands who are arrested daily and people are killed by these drunk drivers. He is but a scapegoat for an increasing problem in today's society.
Onto the reason for this article. As some may know and others are soon to find out, B/R Fantasy Community Leader, Collin Hager, asked people to participate in a fantasy baseball league full of B/R writers.
I joined the cause and soon took a leading role in a vision I had to bring the entire league to the front of B/R and make it an interactive experience. I took his vision and ran with it, helping to recruit more writers to partake in the experience.
Hopefully this group will offer entertainment, valuable insight into baseball, and a way to waste some time debating with us.
No team will embrace the full aspect of this trifecta of comedy, insight, and controversy then the Pothead Penguins. Without further ado, let me present you with the best team in the league.
The Pothead Penguins derive their name from my draft strategy and favorite animal. It is a mix of cuteness and rebellion that will dominate the league, but a great name like mine can only go so far. The roster has to be talented as well, and boy is it.
On draft night I drew the ninth overall pick, and with that here is my team pick by pick on draft night:
I know what you may be thinking, Lincecum first off the board? are you crazy!? The answer is yes, I'm crazy for Timmy and Cy Young winners. I jumped on the bandwagon last year even being an Angels fan. I feel he is hands down the best pitcher in the league and of the decade and talent like that isn't often seen.
Lincecum was a no brainer to me after my other man-crush, Hanley Ramirez, was off the board.
My second pick in Chase Utley is credited to positional scarcity, many other talented players were left who I would have loved but I stuck with the talented 2B.
Carl Crawford is a main cog in the well oiled machine known as the Tampa Bay Rays. I was scoffed at last year for picking the Rays to take the Wild Card, who is laughing now? Crawford is a speedster and a threat at all times, a player like him is always welcome on the team.
With the fourth pick, Jacobey Ellsbury landed to me. Now I despise the Red Sox and would always avoid them, but with the tandem of Ellsbury and Crawford, I could build my team around a speedy Outfield and a powerful infield. So I swooped him up and apologized to Angel Fans everywhere.
Garrett Atkins is a great pick. Playing for the Rockies he gets a power boost, plus his multiple position eligibility made the decision an easy trigger to pull.
Rafael Furcal, this draft has made me swallow my pride more times than most. A solid talent around a stupid Dodgers team (again Angel Pride) made it hard for me not to make this choice but I almost passed. I looked at the other options and decided to take a chance on Furcal.
Figgins is not the pick I really wanted since I was looking for power out of my infield but to have two of my favorite players on my team was too good an opportunity so I grabbed him and restored my Angel love after taking both a Dodger and a Red Sox.
Javier Vasquez in round eight is a reach I understand, he was in my queue and I was a bit high still but I love him. His move to the NL is going to be great for him. I took him nearly 40 picks too early but I am still pleased with the pick.
Bobby Abreau was a safe pick to me. He put up 20 steals, almost a .300 average, plus has power to boot. He covers some of the power I lost with the Figgins pick and also still adds to my speedy outfield.
Joakim Soria is the best closer no one knows—he is lights out. With the other elite closers off the board and the way the league is set up in the pitching, Soria was a safe bet to take here.
I will say this, I do not like Edwin, I do not trust him on my team. I do not know where this disdain for him comes from, but he is a player I try to avoid, until I pick him. I would try and tell you why but I am not sure myself why I did.
Brian Fuentes is a great closer and I like him better than K-Rod. This pick gave me another top tier closer, plus three Angels and I am happy about that.
Miguel Tejada, however old he may be, is still a solid shortstop in this league and gives me two solid SS. He's also a nice trade chip and a solid IF position.
Josh Johnson is the ace of the best young staff in the majors. In a year or two he may challenge for a CY Young award. At this point in the draft I go for upside and he has arguably the most upside of any pitcher in the league.
Erik Bedard is a steal at this point. Last year he was looked at as a top-five pitcher and to grab talent like this so late in the draft is a no-brainer. If he returns to form or even partial form then he was worth this pick.
Felipe Lopez is my golden boy this years draft. Go and get him, now. He can hold the OF, and almost all IF spots and he leads off for the DBacks so he will get plenty of at-bats.
He has upside and speed, the only downside is the players around him strike out, a lot. Strikeouts can be contagious, which also limits his chances at scoring when guys aren't hitting the ball. I still love this kid and he fills the utility role on my team to perfection.
Coco Crisp, the best name ever I must admit, is looking to breakout after being pushed out in Boston. He can steal and adds to the outfield speed I wanted. A good steal late in the draft if you are looking for SB and runs.
Joel Hanrahan is the one closer no one actually knows closes. He has lights out stuff for the Nationals, but no one picks Nationals' pitchers it seems. Joel is a cheap way to get 20-plus saves.
AJ Pierzynski finally made this my most hated draft ever, now I have a Dodger, a Red Sox, and the devil himself in AJ.
Angels fans will always have a strong dislike for him since the playoff series where he somehow got the umpire to believe the catcher dropped the ball. Bull crap, but at that spot not many catchers were left. Again, I swallowed my pride and moved on. Thankfully I didn't completely take anti-Angels players and grabbed Jose Guillen.
Manny Parra is still young and will have struggles but I thought he has upside this late so I snagged him.
Chris Volstad is another pitcher on the talented and youthful Marlins club and can bring me some solid K's.
Kevin Gregg gives me another closer and if not he is a low ERA setup man, Thankfully he won the job in Chicago and should get plenty of saves.
Joey Devine was supposed to be the closer but an injury forced him to the DL. Hopefully when he comes back I will have five closers on my team and basically win that category along with ERA basically every week.That concluded my draft and when Devine went on the DL I picked up Scott Downs from Toronto to fill his place. With BJ Ryan's struggles and Downs' lights-out pitching he could be closing soon and he doesn't hurt the ERA.
To recap, my draft strategy is to take a balanced team with multiple position eligibility where I can so no injuries will ruin my team. I keep Felipe Lopez at the utility spot on our team to take over any and all injuries.
Without overpaying for saves (too much) and a catcher I created a solid core of players with a high ceiling.
Here is my offense for you to scoff at or admire, whatever you do understand it will lead me to a championship.
C- AJ Pierzynski (CWS-C)
1B- Garrett Atkins (COL-1B,3B)
2B- Chase Utley (PHI-2B)
3B- Chone Figgins (LAA-2B,3B)
SS- Rafael Furcal (LAD-SS)
CI- Edwin Encarncion (CIN-3B)
MI- Miguel Tejada (HOU-SS)
OF- Carl Crawford (TB-OF)
OF- Jacobey Ellsbury (BOS-OF)
OF- Bobby Abreu (LAA-OF)
OF- Coco Crisp (KC-OF)
Util- Felipe Lopez (ARI-2B,3B,SS,OF)
If you notice I don't have any bench players and I like that, it keeps me from guessing which match ups I should avoid or take and it allows me to concentrate on pitching and keeping an extra starter or two since I carry five closers. If one player goes down Felipe will fill in unless its AJ, which I can waiver add someone whom I am comfortable with.
Pitching wise, I am happy. With the one-two punch of Tim Lincecum and Javier Vasquez and my slew of closers will be solid all year. The pitching staff originally looks like this with some becoming streaming pitchers in the future if they can't perform.
The league doesn't specify which pitcher is needed to fill the spot all slots are straight P. Nine slots without distinction of SP or RP so I could actually fill an entire roster with RP, punt K's, and hope for saves, ERA, WHIP, and sometimes wins. But I am greedy and look to take all five pitching categories.
Here is my staff.
Tim Lincecum (SF)
Javier Vasquez (ATL)
Erik Bedard (SEA)
Josh Johnson (FLA)
Manny Parra (MIL)
Chris Volstad (FLA)
Joakim Soria (KC)
Brian Fuentes (LAA)
Joel Hanrahan (WAS)
Kevin Gregg (CHC)
Joey Devine (OAK) Currently on DL
Scott Downs (TOR) until Devine returns
This staff is solid across the board and I will probably drop Volstad and/or Parra in lieu for streamers and other spot starts.
This staff can be dominant but it still has issues with youth in the SP and could unravel. Hopefully Vasquez and Lincecum keep the ERA down and the K's up to counter any failures.
This concludes my look at the future champions—Pothead Penguins.
Take a look at the link at top to see the other managers from the league and their take on their teams and draft. Thanks and keep coming back for more fantasy advice here in the coming weeks and updates on the league.