February 03, 2012

Hardball Times Fantasy Forecasts and Josh Hamilton

Every year, the Hardball Times publishes player forecasts for the upcoming season. They hire folks to write comments about notable players, and for the third or fourth year (I lose track), I've written about the Rangers. From me, you'll find commentary about the entire 40-man roster plus 20 others including elite prospects who've reached full-season ball (meaning nothing about #TheLegend… sorry), AAA'ers who might see Arlington this season, and other upper-level minor leaguers who deserve mention. 4,624 words, to be exact.

Admittedly, if you follow the Rangers closely, you probably don't need to know my thoughts about established players like Ian Kinsler or Mike Adams. You know what they're going to do. But, for each team, HBT hires a different writer with expertise on "his" particular team, and you can learn volumes from them. I believe HBT is previewing the comments on the "World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals" for free. I suppose I would have been the freebie if… you know. I command you to check it out.

Because it dovetails with current events, here's my take on Josh Hamilton sent to the editors on Tuesday:

Hamilton is a superstar carrying some heavy baggage. He's a strong fielder and elite hitter with two MVP-worthy seasons in four years as a Ranger. He obliterates righties and hit well on the road. His story of redemption and overt yet humble expressions of faith have elevated him to rock-star status in Texas. The downside: he's older than you might think (31 in May), and how his scorched-earth early twenties have aged his body is anyone's guess. In five years, he's missed 184 games while on the disabled list and probably played hurt in the same number. He and the Rangers have discussed a long-term extension, but Texas has to be brooding over his future value and whether to let him walk.

I don't have much to add about the current situation. It's discouraging, but it's not the end of the world. Not that I have any expertise on addiction and recovery (never been down that road myself, although I have friends who have), but it's a process, not an event. As to whether Hamilton should have held a press conference, I would have been amazed if he'd declined. Hamilton has always carried out his recovery -- and concurrently, his relationship with God -- very publicly. My feeling is his public acts of contrition help him stay on path.* If you prefer a more cynical, PR take on the situation, he has to frame the situation to his advantage as quickly as possible. People love themselves some redemption stories.

I also think this latest mishap proves the power of addiction over him. He knows taking a drink in public is going to dominate the news, jeopardize his livelihood (indeed, his life, if he really falls off the wagon), greatly embarrass himself and his family, and put his teammates and employers in an awkward situation. Yet he drinks anyway. I hope he gets back on the path.

* I know: armchair psychiatry.


Spiritualized, "The Twelve Steps," from Let It Come Down, 2001

Posted by Lucas at 07:48 PM

April 01, 2005

2005 BBFL Fantasy League Draft

On March 31, the 20 owners of the BBFL held their annual draft. In 2003, I finished fourth in the regular season and won the playoff championship. Last year, I finished eighth in the standings and ninth in the playoffs.

Owners keep five players from the 2004 rosters but may not hold them for more than three seasons. Scoring is 6x6 (AVG, OBP, SLG, R, RBI, SB // IP, W, SV, ERA, WHIP, K/BB), and owners who think in terms of typical 5x5 leagues would tend to overrate players like Alfonso Soriano (low OBP) and Kerry Wood (tons of striekouts but an unexceptional K/BB ratio).

My draft:

Pos Player Round Pick
2B J. Kent
keeper
x
OF A. Rowand
keeper
x
RP F. Cordero
keeper
x
SP P. Martínez
keeper
x
1B D. Ortiz
keeper
x
SP J. Lieber
6
13
1B/OF B. Wilkerson
7
27
OF M. Bradley
8
53
SP J. Weaver
9
67
OF R. Hidalgo
10
93
3B M. Ensberg
11
107
SP J. Thomson
12
133
OF E. Byrnes
13
147
C/3B B. Inge
14
173
P J. Suppan
15
187
SS J. Bartlett
16
213
RP B. Donnelly
17
227
RP K. Gregg
18
253
SS O. Vizquel
19
267
1B/3B C. Tracy
20
293
OF J. González
21
307
P A. Reyes
22
333
P S. Trachsel
23
347
1B/2B/3B M. Lamb
24
373
P L. Carter
25
387
Pos Player Round Pick
C/3B B. Inge
14
173
1B D. Ortiz
keeper
x
2B J. Kent
keeper
x
3B M. Ensberg
11
107
SS J. Bartlett
16
213
CI B. Wilkerson
7
27
MI O. Vizquel
19
267
OF A. Rowand
keeper
x
OF M. Bradley
8
53
OF R. Hidalgo
10
93
OF E. Byrnes
13
147
UT C. Tracy
20
293
UT M. Lamb
24
373
SP P. Martínez
keeper
x
SP J. Lieber
6
13
SP J. Weaver
9
67
SP J. Thomson
12
133
RP F. Cordero
keeper
x
RP B. Donnelly
17
227
RP K. Gregg
18
253
P J. Suppan
15
187
P A. Reyes
22
333
P L. Carter
25
387
Bench/DL J. González
21
307
Bench/DL S. Trachsel
23
347

I did not mean to draft Lieber first. I had him ranked at the top of my list, thanks to his off-the-chart K/BB ratio, but I'd planned to get a hitter. Still, I'm not overly disappointed. As with the Ranger Bordie draft, I went heavy on outfielders early. I intended to ignore most middle relievers but ended up with four anyway. Trachsel was a flat-out mistake; I hit the wrong button. Nevertheless, I can stick him on the DL and pick up someone else, as is the case with my intentional choice of the injured Juan Gonzalez in the 20th round.

Posted by Lucas at 12:31 PM

March 26, 2005

"Boardie League" Draft, March 24, 2005

The ESPN Boardie League held its draft on Thursday. Seventeen owners took part. As the defending champ, I am the commissioner this year. Bascially, I set up the league and told everyone to show up at the right time. Tough work.

This league has some odd parameters. First, it's a 6x6 league. OBP and slugging replace batting average, and innings are added to the typical categories in a 5x5 league. Second, three of the four outfielders must fit a left/center/right designation. Third, no bench. Every player drafted is active.

I was reasonably pleased with my results. I wanted Jim Edmonds in the second round but settled for Sheffield when the owner before me snagged Edmonds. The same owner drafted CF Aaron Rowand just before me, but I was satisfied to pick Preston Wilson in the following round. My choice of Latroy Hawkins in the 12th round seemed to cause the most frustration among other owners.

My draft:

Position Player
Round
Pick
C J. Posada
5
75
1B T. Helton
1
7
2B J. Uribe (2B/3B/SS)
7
109
3B M. Ensberg
15
245
SS C. Izturis
14
231
IF B. Roberts
17
279
LF H. Matsui
4
61
CF P. Wilson
9
143
RF G. Sheffield
2
27
OF L. Ford (LF/CF/RF)
10
163
UT J. Guillén
11
177
UT J. Cruz
16
265
SP P. Martínez
3
41
SP L. Hernández
8
129
SP J. Thomson
13
211
RP T. Hoffman
6
95
RP L. Hawkins
12
197
RP B. Donnelly
20
333
P N. Lowry
18
299
P D. Bush
19
313
P A. Reyes
21
347
Position Player
Round
Pick
1B T. Helton
1
7
RF G. Sheffield
2
27
SP P. Martínez
3
41
LF H. Matsui
4
61
C J. Posada
5
75
RP T. Hoffman
6
95
2B J. Uribe (2B/3B/SS)
7
109
SP L. Hernández
8
129
CF P. Wilson
9
143
OF L. Ford (LF/CF/RF)
10
163
UT J. Guillén
11
177
RP L. Hawkins
12
197
SP J. Thomson
13
211
SS C. Izturis
14
231
3B M. Ensberg
15
245
UT J. Cruz
16
265
IF B. Roberts
17
279
P N. Lowry
18
299
P D. Bush
19
313
RP B. Donnelly
20
333
P A. Reyes
21
347

Posted by Lucas at 02:23 PM