Time’s a wastin’

For me, fantasy sports remain a hobby. There are times when the hobby infringes on my daily life, such as when I take a few minutes at work to check on my teams and on our annual AUFL draft weekend, when I’m pretty much out of contact from the world for four days. While it’s hard to say when enough is enough, there are clear signs.

I thought that sticking around in a dynasty/auction/contract baseball league would be a good way to stay in touch with my best friend from college. I haven’t really kept up with the league, although I’m still at around .500. His team is in dead last because in addition for working for himself, he has two young kids to corral. This league is currently in the midst of the annual prospects draft. It’s a five-round draft, and any guy not currently on a roster who is in the minor leagues is eligible. Since we do this every year, a lot of the “top prospects” are already gone. Who has time to scour sites for minor league baseball stats? Apparently I do.

Minor league baseball is fascinating. MLB finally wised up and got its draft on TV. Still, due to the strange salary demands (no slotting like the NFL), the top guy could be taken at pick ten because teams are unsure about dishing out a seven-figure deal for a guy who won’t be in the majors for possibly three years. In our draft, the first-round picks from last year were the most popular guys because there’s a little bit of name recognition. More interesting are the guys signed out of Dominican Republic at age 16 who five years later are putting together a solid season in high A ball. More depressing is seeing how barren the White Sox’s system is. They have a few semi-interesting pitchers, but the position players are all but extinct. Even Josh Fields, who performed so well in the absence of Joe Crede last year, isn’t doing well in AAA.

The Sox took Gordon Beckham, a shortstop from the University of Georgia with their first-round pick. Let me congratulate the Sox for taking a non-pitcher with their first pick for the first time in five years. The Sox have not drafted a shortstop who made the majors since 1977. He is a college player, so maybe he’ll get a call-up in 2009 if he’s a real stud.

The White Sox drafted sons of general manager Kenny William and Ozzie Guillen. This is another sign that the baseball draft is a different animal than the football one. There are 50 rounds and if three guys have any kind of major league career, it’s a good haul. For draft perspective, the 1990 White Sox draft produced four All-Stars, which is tied for the best in history. The New York Giants had contributions from all seven of their draft picks last year, and that was in their inaugural year.

In other news, we’re seven weeks from the AUFL draft. I’m trying to trade one of my excess running backs to get an extra draft pick. We have one owner who has the misfortune of having Travis Henry, Cedric Benson, Kevin Jones, and Ron Dayne on his roster. No one in league history has had four running backs lose their job in the offseason. I’m trying to pull the trigger before any other owners figure out his predicament. My initial thought was to keep Willis McGahee and drop MJD. We’re in year three of a five-year keeper cycle, so the thought of having MJD after Fred Taylor retires gives me pause. I don’t see Jones-Drew becoming a 25-carry a game guy, but if he does, he should be a top-ten guy, if not top five.

Who did I get in the draft? I have three pitchers, two of whom are not of drinking age yet, and a catcher. Catchers are tough in the minors. If they can hit, they usually end up at another position a la Carlos Delgado. If they can play defense, they usually end up hitting .220 in double A. It’s still very mysterious to me.

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