On January 10, 2011, I participated in a fantasy baseball expert mock draft hosted by the good people at Fantasy Alarm (www.fantasyalarm.com). As you may remember, Fantasy Alarm was one of Fantasy Judgment’s (www.fantasyjudgment.com) partners at the 2010 fantasy football Superdraft event in Las Vegas. Doing mock drafts is something I have always enjoyed, so I was more than happy to accept Jeff Mans and Ryan Hallam’s invitation to join this star-studded draft. The big names came out for this draft – Nate Stephens from RotoWorld, Geoff Stein from Fanball, Steve Gardner from USA Today, Tony Cincotta from FantasyPros911, Jeff Mans and Ryan Hallam from Fantasy Alarm, Tim Heaney from KFFL, Cory Schwartz from MLB.com, and representatives from RotoExperts, Mock Draft Central, and Fantasy Sports R Us all participated in this 12-team, mixed 5×5 Roto league.
With the 6th overall pick, I drafted reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay. It turned out that I was the only one who drafted a pitcher in the first round. Players selected before me were Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Miguel Cabrera, and Carl Crawford. Finishing out the first round after Halladay was Robinson Cano, Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, and Ryan Howard. If I was not going to take a pitcher, I would have taken Carlos Gonzalez who provides the best production in all five rotisserie categories (average, homeruns, rbi’s, runs, and stolen bases). Gonzalez is coming off a monster season and just signed a 7-year contract extension for $80 million. I was a little concerned that maybe he would try too hard to justify the contract, thus slipping from his breakout 2010 performance. So I decided to take a sure thing with Halladay and pursue securing some of the pitching categories (wins, ERA, strikeouts and WHIP – obviously Halladay will not help with saves). Going into the second round, the trend to draft hitters continued with Chase Utley, David Wright, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Josh Hamilton and Ryan Zimmerman taken off the board. I then debated taking King Felix or Tim Lincecum to have a dominant 1-2 punch with Halladay. But with all of the hitters being taken, I felt I needed to get a bat so I selected Matt Holliday. In his second full season hitting behind Pujols, I look for continued production in at least four categories (Holliday can steal some bases too). It is an added bonus that I can say I have both Halladay and Holliday.
Rather than go through every draft pick made, I will provide a list and comments of the players that I drafted starting with the third round. If anyone would like to see the draft board and everyone’s picks, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get you a copy.
3rd Round: Adam Wainwright-SP-STL. The chance to pair up two dominant starters was too enticing to pass up this time around. Wainwright has become an elite pitcher and is poised to win a Cy Young Award at some point. He is a lock for 18-20 wins, 200 strikeouts, an ERA under 3.00, and a WHIP under 1.20.
4th Round: Ichiro Suzuki-OF-SEA. I have always liked having him on my fantasy teams because he is so consistent and annoys opponents to death. In a roto league, he is great for batting average and stolen bases. Under normal circumstances, a leadoff hitter with over 200 hits a year should score at least 100 runs. But the Mariners have been so inept offensively the past couple years that Ichiro hasn’t even come close to the century mark in runs scored. I think that will change this year.
5th Round: Paul Konerko-1B-CHW. Konerko conveniently picked his contract year to have his best season in 2010. I don’t expect him to match or come close to +.300 or 39 homeruns again, but he is still a solid performer and should have no trouble slugging at least 30 homeruns and drive in 100 runs. Having Adam Dunn in the Sox lineup will only help Konerko, either by protecting him in the order or getting on base before him.
6th Round: Brian Wilson-RP-SF. Besides the crazy beard, orange cleats, and WWE-style interviews, Wilson is a pretty damn good closer. He showcased his talents during the 2010 playoffs and should have no trouble topping 40 saves again this year. The Giants excellent starting pitching means a lot of close games, which means Wilson should have plenty of opportunities to save games.
7th Round: Michael Young-3B-TEX. All of a sudden, third base has become barren with talent beyound the first tier of players. Young is one of the best of the rest after Wright, Longoria, Zimmerman, A-Rod and Beltre are taken. Hitting in the Rangers’ potent lineup helps Young, who should reach .290, 20-25 homeruns, and 90+ RBI. He is one of those players who seems to avoid prolonged slumps and is the model of consistency.
8th Round: Brian Roberts-2B-BAL. I liked this pick here because Roberts is primed for a comeback season after missing most of 2010 with multiple injuries. He is not the same player he was five years ago, but he certainly can hit .280, 15 homeruns, 75 RBI, score 90 runs, and steal 25 bases. Those are not bad numbers for a second basemen this late in the draft.
9th Round: Carlos Pena-1B-CHC. If I could have one mulligan, it would be this pick. Pena should love hitting in Wrigley and in that loaded Cubs’ lineup, but he is a cancer to the batting average category. The guy didn’t even crack the Mendoza line in 2010. He is the true epitome of “all or nothing”. Essentially, he is this generation’s Rob Deer, except he is a terrific defensive player too. Pena should do well in Chicago, but I admittedly could have done better here.
10th Round: Matt Cain-SP-SF. As much as I despised my last pick, I absolutely loved this one. I have always been a Matt Cain fan and defend his virtues to those who pay too much attention to win/loss records. He has been the victim of poor run support over the years, yet his talents often get overlooked. After his great performance in the 2010 playoffs, he is ready to ascend to the next level in relative obscurity because his rotation mates Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner often get more attention. Cain is my third starter behind Halladay and Wainwright. Mikey likes this.
11th Round: Carlos Beltran-OF-NYM. As a Mets’ fan, I always try and draft at least one Met (assuming he is somewhat competent and not named Luis Castillo). Beltran is another risk-reward selection because this can go either way. He is in a contract year, which bodes well here because the last time he played for a contract was 2004 when he put up monster numbers with Houston in the regular season and playoffs. However, he is a major health risk after two partial seasons and microfracture surgery on his leg. I think money talks and Beltran will seek to cash in.
12th Round: Brad Lidge-RP-PHI. While Lidge is still waiting for Albert Pujols’ homerun from 2006 to land, he seems to have overcome whatever ailed him at the beginning of last year. He is in a contract year as well and has the fortune of closing for a team with the best starting rotation in all of baseball. While Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels are all capable of throwing a complete game on any given day, the reality is that complete games are few and far between. Lidge should have plenty of chances to close games for a team primed to win 100 games.
13th Round: Ian Desmond-SS-WAS. Desmond is an up and coming player now hitting in a relatively competent lineup that includes Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche. If Desmond ends up hitting 2nd in the order, he has a legitimate chance to score 100 runs. His bat is known to possess talent, but he must demonstrate he can play shortstop consistently enough to stay in the lineup. I was pleased to get someone with his upside down here in the 13th round.
14th Round: Nick Swisher-OF-NYY. If giving peppy interviews was a category, Swish-a-licious would be a first round pick. But it is not so he is a 14th round pick. Swisher provides some good power numbers for my 3rd outfielder, and hitting in the Yankees’ lineup should see him attain similar numbers this year as well. He has never been known for his batting average, so that may slip back down to the .250 – .260 range. But I expect another 25 homeruns and 85 RBI along with 100 runs scored if he bats second in the order.
15th Round: Tim Hudson-SP-ATL. My satisfaction with pitching selections continued as I happily grabbed Hudson down in the 15th round. After being two full years past major arm surgery, Hudson proved that he is back to his old self again. He doesn’t strikeout a lot of batters, but he is good for at least 15 wins and an ERA around 3.00. He is a reserve on my roster which indicates how deep my staff is.
16th Round: Casey McGehee-3B-MIL. What I wrote above about Michael Young can be reiterated here with McGehee as a solid option for the second tier of third basemen. McGehee benefits from hitting in a potent Brewers lineup which includes Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks. He topped 100 RBI in 2010 and should have an opportunity to do it again. He is just as qualified to start at 3B on my team, so getting him this far down in the draft was a pleasant surprise.
17th Round: Marco Scutaro-SS-BOS. After being known as a backup with a good glove for most of his career, he has learned how to hit and provides production in real and fantasy baseball. Hitting in the Red Sox explosive lineup should provide plenty of runs scored for Scutaro, and depending on where he bats in the lineup, he could knock in 70-75 RBI as well. He is coming off a surgery, so I will keep an eye on how he recovers.
18th Round: John Buck-C-FLA. I was very pleased to get Buck down in the 18th round. I typically concede the catcher position in almost all of my leagues because they just aren’t worth a high round pick. While Joe Mauer, Brian McCann and Victor Martinez are all good offensive players, their production and statistics do not warrant such high picks. Buck should give me 15 homeruns and 65 RBI playing everyday for Florida. Not bad for an 18th round pick.
19th Round: James Shields-SP-TB. Big Game James took a big step backwards in 2010. But with Matt Garza now gone, Shields has to step up his game again and be that dependable #2 pitcher behind David Price. Shields has proven over the years that he can win 15 games and strikeout 200 batters. I look for a rebound season from him because he is too talented to repeat what he did last year. The only concern is that Tanpa Bay’s team has been gutted, so scoring enough runs and successfully closing out games in the bullpen could be problematic.
20th Round: Jason Kubel-OF-MIN. For my last pick of the draft, I selected Jason Kubel, who looks like he may be the Twins’ full-time designated hitter if Jim Thome does not return. Kubel is a power threat who can hit for decent average when he is being selective at the plate. Hitting in the spacious Target Field will probably continue to decrease his homerun totals compared to when he played in the Metrodome, but he should produce 20-25 dingers hitting behind the M&M boys (Mauer and Morneau).
So that is my team. Overall I am pleased with the team I drafted. I shouldn’t have drafted Carlos Pena where I did, but other than that, I don’t think I would undo anything else. Thanks again to Ryan Hallam and Jeff Mans from Fantasy Alarm for hosting this expert mock draft. Thanks also to my fellow team owners who drafted.
Let me know what you think of my team. Shoot me an email at email@example.com, comment on Fantasy Judgment’s Facebook page (http://goo.gl/xF0pt), comment down below on the blog, or tweet me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FantasyJudgment.
Going, Going, Gonzalez v. Fantasy Baseball League
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
A FANTASY BASEBALL LEAGUE
Decided May 16, 2010
Cite as 1 F.J. 29 (May 2010)
An anonymous fantasy baseball league (hereinafter referred to as “fantasy league”) is hosted on CBS Sportsline’s fantasy sports platform. The league is organized and run by an anonymous commissioner (hereinafter referred to as “commissioner”) who input several settings on CBS’s fantasy commissioner program. This fantasy baseball league is comprised of fourteen teams, each consisting of eighteen players on a roster. The fantasy league is a head-to-head points league, and there are point values associated with various MLB statistics.
League members are permitted to make transactions throughout the season, including add/drops and trades. The commissioner has set up the league where individual team owners can add free agents and then drop players from their roster on their own. In order for a transaction like this to be effective, the team must adhere to the roster requirements set up by the commissioner (these are not known to the Court).
On Sunday, May 9, 2010, a team owner (hereinafter referred to as “Going, Going, Gonzalez – a/k/a GGG”) made a transaction by adding a free agent. In doing his subsequent drop, he selected Carlos Gonzalez, outfielder on the Colorado Rockies, as the player to drop from his roster. On Monday, May 10, 2010, GGG posted a message on the league message board informing everyone else that he made a mistake in dropping Gonzalez. Rather, his intent was to drop Carlos Gomez, outfielder on the Milwaukee Brewers, instead. He requested that everyone else forego adding Gonzalez as a free agent and allow him to reacquire him at the end of the following week since GGG was last in the league’s waiver priority order.
After seeing this request, the league’s commissioner went into GGG’s team page to fix the mistake and add Gonzalez back onto his roster, as requested. However, when the commissioner arrived onto GGG’s team page, he noticed that Carlos Gomez was not even on his team. As a result, the commissioner denied GGG’s request to reacquire Gonzalez.
The commissioner was initially going to grant GGG’s request for a correction to his alleged mistake by adding Gonzalez back to his roster. This decision was based on GGG’s timely message to the league indicating that a mistake had been made. It was also based on it appearing to be an obvious oversight and mistake because there could be no justification in dropping Gonzalez based on his statistics, performance, and position in the Rockies’ starting lineup and 2
friendly hitting confines at Coors Field. On the other hand, Carlos Gomez is not a starting player and does not appear to have the ability to achieve similar numbers or success to Gonzalez. Dropping Gomez seemed more like what GGG meant to do than dropping Gonzalez.
After discovering that GGG never had Gomez to begin with, the commissioner denied GGG’s request to reacquire Gonzalez.
(1) Should GGG be permitted to reacquire Carlos Gonzalez or does GGG’s dishonesty about having Carlos Gomez on his roster justify the commissioner’s decision to deny the request?
Normally the Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment is extremely tough in its stance on personal due diligence of team owners to check their own rosters and team pages to ensure that their lineups and rosters are correct. However, this Court understands that people can make mistakes, even when money is on the line. As a result, this Court was inclined to rule that GGG should have been permitted to reacquire Gonzalez based on the fact that GGG alerted the rest of the league to this mistake within 24 hours, and the fact that there is no mistaking the talent and potential between Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez. On its face, it appeared to be an honest mistake that was caught in a timely manner and attempted to be corrected. If the facts and circumstances of the case were any different, perhaps this would be where the analysis ends.
However, when the commissioner discovered that GGG did not have Carlos Gomez on his roster, this Court has changed its tune. The commissioner did his due diligence by checking the transaction history for Carlos Gomez and discovered that he was not drafted, nor was he ever on anyone’s fantasy team until this past week. The commissioner further inquired with GGG about this dilemma, but GGG never responded. There was not any other player on GGG’s roster that was similar to Carlos Gonzalez or Carlos Gomez.
This type of deceitful action undermines the integrity of this fantasy league, and fantasy sports in general. There is an unwritten and understood man code for fantasy sports that has existed for decades, which falls outside the scope of league constitutions, commissioner service packages or money prizes. This unwritten code includes the provisio that one will not cheat at fantasy sports. Here, GGG’s motives and intentions were clearly established by the way he meticulously played on the commissioner’s and league’s emotions and trust.
The commissioner of this league should be applauded for his generosity in allowing GGG to correct a mistake made once he realized it. However, he should be applauded threefold for denying this request once he realized he had been scammed. If there are any repercussions that can take place for such actions, they should be taken very carefully. This type of behavior may warrant expulsion from the league due to the severity of the offense. 3
Based on this premeditated attempt to deceive the commissioner and the league, this Court upholds the commissioner’s decision to deny GGG’s request to reacquire Gonzalez.
IT IS SO ORDERED.