Draft Season Review II

Chris Carbonell

Staff Writer for RotoExperts.com and host of the web’s hottest fantasy sports humor blog, Starbonell Station.

When Million Dollar Sleeper asked me to contribute to his Draft Season Review, the first thing I said was, “I will not be threatened into doing free work that gives an amateur some implicit equal status.” But then I agreed anyway. I only did three leagues this year, my limit. It simply takes the fun out of fun-tasy you play in like 10 leagues as there is simply no way to be really on top of all of them (at least for me). The three leagues I’m in? Well, there’s my annual “New Day Co-Op” league (shout-out to “the Wire”) that I commish every year with friends I’ve been playing with for years. I’m also in RotoExperts’ in-house league and, of course, the grand 15-team Blog Wars extravaganza. All three are mixed-leagues that are mad competitive, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. While I love all my teams, the real work starts when players start to go through “slumps” and I have to decide which ones to “dump” or keep. Good thing my weekly column “Slumps and Dumps” (which will be featured on RotoExperts.com and syndicated to Yahoo!) will be there to help guide me through these tough times (seamless plug Starbonell, seamless plug).

Robinson Cano is in all three leagues I’m in, which is not a surprise. In my opinion, he was the second best second baseman heading into the season and him hitting in the fifth spot should lead to some big numbers. Even if he repeats last year’s performance (.320 BA, 25 HRs, 85 RBIs, 103 Rs, 5 SBs), how can I complain? The following players are guys I own in two of the three leagues: Jose Reyes, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, Kevin Slowey, Ervin Santana, Jose Valverde, and Matt Capps. Here’s how I feel about those players:

Reyes: Even as a second round pick (or $29 in Blog Wars), I can’t see how a healthy Reyes cannot provide nice value if he’s healthy (and he appears to be).

Granderson: Love the power potential and his at-bat against Okajima (a savvy left-handed reliever) on opening night was encouraging as he laid off some tough pitches that he normally would swing and miss on.

Quentin: Elite power had him being compared to Hulk Hogan in 2008.

Rios: Love the power-speed combo he brings to the table.

Slowey: Great spring, great control, great man.

E-Santana: Not too crazy about him, but the price was right in the leagues I got him in. He’ll be kicked to the waiver wire if he puts up a month worth of garbage stats.

Valverde: Has been one of the games best closers for years and AL-hitters are unfamiliar with his wicked stuff. Career-year is a strong possibility.

Capps: He was a dirt-cheap option for saves and he actually showed improvement in his ground ball rate and velocity last year. He also was terribly unlucky (.370 BABIP) and I like his odds of having a bounce-back season.

I really wish I could have gotten my hands on Ben Zobrist (pause). Even though I was one of the last ones to accept his talent last year, I wanted to try to get him on at least one squad. I’m also disappointed to only have drafted Billy Wagner in one league. His K/9 ability is still elite and I think he’ll easily finish among the top five or six closers in baseball this season (if he stays healthy). Javier Vazquez is another player I wanted but didn’t end up with (pause). I was hoping the fact that he was pitching in the AL East would really deflate his value, but it didn’t in the leagues I was in. An ERA below 4.00, solid WHIP, and 200 Ks are in hand for Vazquez this season with that stellar infield defense behind him.