The looming shadow

At the rate things are going, Yahoo fantasy baseball for 2009 will open up about six hours after the World Series ends. Offseasons are getting shorter than ever. I signed up for AUBL 2008 on February 11. I don’t recall signing up earlier than March last year. Fantasy baseball has always been a black sheep for me. I love the concept, and making daily roster moves is a heckuva lot more interactive than football. There’s even a minor league system, which would be like the Titans having the Volunteers as their direct “farm system.”

The problem with checking every day is that you have to check every day. Perusing 15 box scores a day is something I usually stop doing in the third week. When you’re in a semi-competitive redraft league, it’s pretty easy to scoop up waiver wire wonders. It’s becoming tougher in football since the waiver process is set up to start once a week and by that time everyone has had a chance to read up on all of the players.

Since we are in a free Yahoo league, there isn’t much of a record of previous years. I found that of the 22 players I drafted last year, 12 weren’t on my roster at the end of the year. I failed to get a solid 3b in the draft but picked up Ryan Braun. I drafted Josh Barfield who was a total disaster at 2b. Luckily I drafted BJ Upton later. Toward the end of the year, Dan Uggla ended up on waivers. When Ramon Hernandez spent so much time on the DL, I had no choice but to pick up part-time catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. I might draft two catchers this year.

Did I learn anything from last year’s draft? I went against the grain and took two starting pitchers in the first five rounds. Johan Santana and Carlos Zambrano didn’t have great years, but they were solid. Having sure things at SP are important. It’s like in baseball you have to have five starting QBs.

Since the league has a two-week championship period, teams tend to stream their pitchers. No one else is paying attention so the waiver wire is wide open. I was short on transactions so I had trouble keeping up. That explains a late-season pickup like Ubaldo Jimenez, who got me a win on the last day of the year.

I’d say that it’s a good idea to get two or three solid SPs early, which means by round 12. The only solid closer I drafted was Bobby Jenks, yet I was able to compete in saves. I had a pretty good mix of sure things and up and comers.

So what is this looming shadow that I reference in the title? It’s football. Free agency is going on in Zealots, and as usual it’s a little crazy. My first FA “win” was Hank Baskett. I threw Warrick Dunn out there, hoping for tons of cash. He only got 800 zbucks, so I kept him. Most teams don’t spend their free agency money, so bids tend to get crazy. I’m bidding 4100 for Sammy Morris, and DeShaun Foster is at 7000 or so. No one can forget the great Dave Ragone bid of three years ago. I think he went for 5600 and never earned a stat in the NFL. Free agency isn’t that big of a deal, but you can pick up important pieces. It’s sort of like the NFL in that you hope not to miss on your big expenditures. If you miss in the NFL, you get fired. If you miss in Zealots, you get made fun of by virtual strangers on a message board.

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