For those of you who have been following my baseball coverage here on Bleacher Report, you'll know that I am the commissioner of a fantasy baseball league on CBSSports.com, one of B/R's key partners.
The league's made up of fellow writers, fantasy enthusiasts, and baseball junkies all looking to prove they know a sleeper from a bust.
Last night was the live draft, with owners looking to build their championship teams from the ground up. Here's how things went down when we were on the clock.
You can check out everyone's full rosters, transactions, and standings throughout the season by clicking here. Let me know who you think has a team capable of winning it all.
Walk Off Walk—Ash Marshall
My team could struggle, to tell you the truth. I targeted batters with a solid batting average and a good walk rate, and I tried to get guys who were above average in either the speed or power department.
I don’t have as much raw power as a lot of the teams, but I have faith that my top picks Mark Teixeira and Matt Holliday will be productive and drive in a lot of runs. My batting average will finish in the top two or three, even if I trail in the runs department. A lot of my fortunes could ride on uber-prospect Jason Heyward, who I picked up as my utility man in the 12th round.
In terms of pitching, I chose not to go with a stud early on, instead opting to fill out my outfield within the first four rounds. My best arm in the rotation is Yovani Gallardo, a guy who will get me a good number of Ks, although I expect big things from Brett Anderson in Oakland. Wandy Rodriguez as a fourth starter is solid too, but I’ll have to watch out for my 1,300 innings limit to get the most out of them.
I went with three middle-of-the-road closers, but that left my bench vulnerable, with no backup power in the infield and absolutely no speed to spare.
The Mudville 9—Jonathan Stilwell
Jonathan Stilwell’s team is primed for a ton of RBI from his batters and a massive amount of Ks from his pitchers. Led by Ryan Howard, five of his starters could top 30 home runs, while six could record triple-digit runs batted in. Raul Ibanez could also be a 30-100 guy, depending on health.
Jonathan had filled up his infield by round six, before going to work on his starting pitching and outfield.
His team batting average may be the sole part of his offense to take a hit. Only Pablo Sandoval is really a threat to bat .300, while free-swinging Ben Zobrist and B.J Upton could drag his totals down. On the upside, both will provide a good source of steals, especially Upton, who is a lock for 35.
On the mound, Justin Verlander anchors a strong rotation that will also benefit from the power pitching of Jorge De La Rosa and Ryan Dempster.
Fantasy Geeks—Josh Wiebusch
I’m not in love with Josh’s team, for some reason. He doesn’t excel in any one area, few batters are going to get close to scoring 100 runs, and I am not convinced that Detroit’s backup catcher Alex Avila will get much meaningful playing time.
What I do love is Joey Votto in his utility spot. He took him in the sixth round of the draft, passing on shortstops like Jason Bartlett and outfielders like Shin-Soo Choo. I think it’s a bold move, and he will provide a great source of home runs and RBI with a .300 average.
Fantasy Geeks has an ace in the rotation in Adam Wainright, plus Scott Baker, Cole Hamels, and Jonathan Sanchez. His bench is also well-weighted with Chris Davis and Gordon Beckham offering corner infield power, and Everth Cabrera and Julio Borbon providing the wheels.
Better Than Cashman—Joel Rodriguez
Joel has probably the most dangerous lineup in the league, but he’ll need them all to live up to expectations because his pitching is pretty thin when it comes to the bench.
Prince Fielder alone could easily post 100 runs, 45 homers, 120 RBI, a .300 average, and .600 slugging percentage in 2010. Throw Ryan Zimmerman and Carlos Quentin into the mix and add one of the better hitting catchers in Brian McCann (round five pick) and you have yourself a dangerous squad.
While his pitching isn’t that deep, his starting rotation is solid. Tim Lincecum is arguably the best in the game, and Ubaldo Jimenez and Clayton Kershaw could both add 200 strikeouts to the total.
While most players went with two or three closers and 10 pitchers, Better Than Cashman has just one closer (Joakim Soria) and six total pitchers. He’ll need to make at least one move to get a second reliever, but the plus side is that he has eight reserve batters, with all eight positions covered by a backup.
What Intangibles lacks in offense, it more than makes up for in pitching. King Felix and the Yankee tandem of A.J Burnett and Javier Vazquez could combine for 50 wins and 650 strikeouts, and picking up Ryan Madson in the 14th round seems to be a shrewd move considering he’ll take on the closing duties in Philly until Lidge returns.
Tim may have been surprised to see Chase Utley drop to him at No. 6 in the draft, after Ryan Braun and Joe Mauer, but he’s not complaining. Adam Dunn and Carlos Pena could blast 40 home runs this year, and while he has a couple little hitters in Alcides Escobar and Michael Bourn, the tandem could give him a sizable number of stolen bases from the middle rounds.
I’m not convinced Mariano Rivera is still worthy of a fourth round pick, considering his average draft position of 66, and I think he may have reached for Matt Wieters at 67 when his ADP puts him at least two-and-a-half rounds later.
That said, Wieters has fantastic upside, and if Burnett and Vazquez manage to post good ERA and WHIP numbers in the notoriously difficult AL East, it may not matter what round he took his first closer. Intangibles looks to be a top five team already, and that’s before you factor in what playing time Stephen Strasburg will get in Washington.
Vegas Unwrapped—Richard Marsh
I’ve got to tell you that I love the job Richard did assembling Vegas Unwrapped.
He easily has four guys that could score 100 runs, and a trio of starting pitchers that could each post 16 win seasons. He obviously has no fear about Jose Reyes’ thyroid or knee, as he took him as the 20th overall pick, and while most other teams have one big slugger capable of 35 or more home runs, Vegas Unwrapped has six batters who could top the 25 mark.
The team may struggle with steals if Reyes is out for any extended period of time, but the team is otherwise packed with a solid .280 hitters, with the exception of Jayson Werth who is there solely for his power. Jason Bay and Brad Hawpe completes a stacked outfield. There are five more outfielders on his bench, including Carlos Beltran and Drew Stubbs.
Heath Bell and Ryan Franklin are two great stoppers, and Matt Muerrier in Minnesota will pick up maybe a dozen saves as part of a closer-by-committee setup for the Twins.
My early thought is that Vegas Unwrapped is the team to beat.
Ken’s Dogpounders—Ken Martinson
Ken took a different approach on draft day, building his lineup around high batting averages and speed throughout both the infield and outfield.
Nobody in his starting lineup should bat less than .270, and two-thirds of his team are capable of posting a .300-plus average. Led by Juan Pierre, the Dogpounders also have half a dozen guys who could swipe 20 bases.
Ken filled in three-fifths of his infield in the first three picks, choosing A-Rod, Dustin Pedroia, and Derek Jeter in the first three rounds. While I’m not high on the Yankee shortstop, he certainly wouldn’t have been around by the end of the fourth round.
He then took Jonathan Papelbon and Francisco Rodriguez in rounds four and six, leaving his first starting pitcher pick until round eight (Scott Kazmir). Toronto’s likely closer Jason Frasor was also a nice addition in round 21.
Once the batting was taken care of, Ken drafted just one reserve batter (Coco Crisp) compared to eight reserve pitchers (13 in total). If he can accommodate Kazmir, Jered Weaver, Matt Garza, Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto, and Dice-K, he could hit the jackpot.
2010 looks like it may be feast and famine for Ken. While he will challenge for the league lead in runs, steals, and saves, he could be inside the bottom two or three in home runs, RBI, and WHIP.
Diamond Cutters—John Anderson
John had the No. 2 draft slot, and he assembled a very speedy team with a solid pitching staff that will challenge for the top spot in wins and ERA.
His team could amass a mammoth 170-180 steals on the back of guys like Chone Figgins, Brian Roberts, and Andrew McCutchen, while his top pick of Hanley Ramirez will fill the scoresheet on a daily basis.
The Marlins stat stuffer is a true five tool stud who will hit for power, hit for average, steal bases, score runs, and drive men in. The team is fairly light overall in the power department, especially with Figgins and Roberts, and Justin Morneau may have to carry the bulk of the production behind Han-Ram.
For pitching, the Diamond Cutters has eight high-strikeout pitchers and a pair of solid closers, although the team’s WHIP could suffer slightly outside of John Lackey and C.C. Sabathia. But with eight starters, he should be able to pick and choose his matchups wisely.
Redbird Explorers—Tom Silliman
If the Explorers can stay competitive in either the batting average or speed department, they could be a top three team. My initial impression is that the team is the second slowest in the league, only ahead of Better Than Cashman, and that the batters will post the worst average of anyone.
Six of Tom’s batter’s may hit below .265, while three of them (Dan Uggla, Jay Bruce, and Ian Stewart) may not break .250. Punting batting average, eh, Tom?
Fortunately, all three are monster hitters who could each hit 30 bombs and, when combined with 1B Adrian Gonzalez and 3B Evan Longoria, could be extremely potent.
The pitching is solid across the board, led by Roy Halladay and Dan Haren, and with two closers and flamethrower Max Scherzer on the bench, the Explorers will contest most pitching categories.
That rounds out the nine teams who were able to make it to the live online draft. Here’s how the other three teams look.
Raucous Roque Statz—Josh Worn
Josh got called into work and was unable to make the draft, although he wasn’t too upset when he found out he had the No. 1 overall pick. Behind Albert Pujols, Josh’s team has a powerful foundation as well as a speed expert in Jacoby Ellsbury. Unfortunately, that’s where the speed stops, until you get to Brett Gardner on the bench. Thanks, autopick.
Raucous Roque Statz will cause problems in home runs, RBI, and average, while Chris Carpenter, Roy Oswalt, and Chad Billingsley will keep his ERA and WHIP in contention.
Huston Street’s injury leaves Josh’s team short on closers, but that could be fixed with a short-term pickup or longer-term trade.
Here We Go Now Len—Lenny Neslin
Lenny took Ryan Braun as the fourth overall pick, let his autodraft loose for five rounds, took Jake Peavy in round seven, and then had faith that his computer would finish the job.
Whether it was Internet troubles, work commitments, or a less-than-engaging hour of 24 on Fox, Lenny shouldn’t be too upset with how things turned out.
He has mad speed in Ian Kinsler, Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu, and Curtis Granderson, and I can’t see more than one or two teams who will score more runs.
His pitching is also stacked with Cliff Lee, Johan Santana, and Jake Peavy, and this will put him in good stead for low ERAs and WHIPs over at least 600 innings.
The biggest problem Lenny faces is injuries. Russell Martin, Lance Berkman, Ian Kinsler, and Ryan Braun all have owners a little worried this spring, while Ted Lilly and Brad Lidge will start the season on the DL and may miss considerable chunks of time.
Team 12—No Owner
We were confident of getting a 12th owner, but in the end I was unable to find someone. Regardless, we let the autodraft take care of things to keep the league competitive and to create a 12th team should anyone want a team to manage this year.
I wish I had this team’s pitching, that’s all I can say. Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke, and Matt Cain are a formidable one-two-three punch, and Francisco Cordero and Brian Fuentes are solid options good for 80 saves.
While the team is also blessed with sick speed in the outfield (Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Grady Sizemore, Ichiro), the hitting is this team’s weak point. There’s no one standout power threat, and I don’t foresee anyone hitting 30 home runs. Kemp may be the team’s most productive hitter, but even he is no guarantee for 25 homers, 100 RBI, or 100 runs.
Think you’re up for the challenge of owning this team? Let me know, and it’s all yours for the season. All we’re after is a committed owner. It’s already a top eight team based on its pitching. With a few timely moves and upgrades with the bat, it could be a beast, especially with the speed you can leverage as trade bait.
So there it is. The teams are set, waivers start tomorrow, and the season kicks off on Sunday. There will be weekly updates, so be sure to check out who's on top throughout the season.
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CBSSports.com is a Bleacher Report partner and paying sponsor of the Bleacher Report baseball communities. This post is one of a series of sponsor-endorsed posts related to the CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner League.
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