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Day: April 9, 2015

On the Southend West hustings as organised by the Southend Echo…

I know I said I was disengaging with blogging on the elections locally but I did go to the Southend West Hustings as organised by the Southend Echo this evening and I tweeted the whole thing so I thought I’d share it with you.

Please start from the bottom and work your way up (ooo err…) to read my take on the hustings…

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On meeting the 2015 edition of the Fratton Yankees…

Many many moons ago I had a blog that a few people would read. It was very similar to this blog actually (although this is read by thousands of people a week and is far less personal). One day one of my frequent readers told me that some of my blogs were boring and that no-one cared about my fantasy baseball team. She said from that moment on she didn’t want to speak to me ever again. From that day I vowed to write about my fantasy baseball team once a year in homage to her. So Louise Fletcher of Manchester (this was many many moons ago, good odds that her surname has since changed) don’t read this, it’ll only bore you (actually it will bore you all but still…)

So I’ve been involved in this one fantasy baseball league for ten years. It is a keeper league, 7×7 stats where you have 24 man rosters with eight man minor league rosters for players who’ve never played in MLB before. You get to keep 12 players from your major league roster every year and four minor league players. Then you draft the rest of your roster each off season.

Things though were a little bit different this year, my long time friend and GM of the two-time champion Edinburgh Red Sox, Neil H, quit the league because of the elongated draft that takes me months and is annoying as hell. He’d been threatening to quit for a couple of years and this year was the year. So my main rival as it were was gone. Yet I stuck it out as I look to secure my first title (I’ve been a losing finalist twice and been the overall #1 seed once).

To start with my keepers were as follows:

Buster Posey – C/1B
Josh Donaldson – 3B
Manny Machado – 3B
Rusney Castillo – OF
Brett Gardner – OF
Billy Hamilton – OF
Yasiel Puig – OF
George Springer – OF
Yu Darvish – SP
Collin McHugh – SP
Jordan Zimmermann – SP
Aroldis Chapman – RP

My four youngsters in the minor leagues that I kept were:

Lucas Giolito – SP
Joey Gallo – 3B
Amed Rosario – SS
Miguel Sano – 3B

Two things are clear. I have too many outfielders and I have serious depth/logjam at 3B. Still I decided to just keep the best players I had and planned to work out how to fit them into my team as/when.

I was drafting 11th out of 16 and in the first round you always try to find a player who can be of keeper quality and in a position of need. I am desperate for that impact bat at 1B, I haven’t had one since Justin Morneau’s AL MVP season. Three excellent 1B options were available in Chris Davis, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez. None of them dropped to me but the fourth person on my draft list did – Kolten Wong – 2B. He’s a young player who many are predicting to become an elite bat at second base. He was an Edinburgh Red Sox player but their replacement manager didn’t keep him. I was glad to take him.

Next up I took a surprise. I have learned over the years not to draft value but to go after players that I like even if it means reaching. Still I came to my second pick and I just thought Trevor Rosenthal – RP was too much value so I nabbed him. This gave me two elite closers in Chapman and Rosenthal and that position was sorted. In rounds three and four I took two players in positions of need that I wasn’t crazy about. JJ Hardy – SS and Justin Morneau – 1B. SS is so shallow that he was the last half decent option there so felt I had to take him (and he’s already injured) and Justin Morneau whilst not finding his power stroke last year did lead the NL in batting average so I thought he’d be a solid if unspectacular option.

That filled up my day-to-day batting roster and allowed me to concentrate on my starting rotation. By now Yu Darvish had got injured and was out for the year. Darvish and Zimmermann was a pretty powerful 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation so losing a player of Darvish’s calibre was a huge blow. McHugh was a surprise last season and was I suspect the biggest shock out of my retained list but to expect him to be the #2 starter was an issue. I tried to find a trade partner to bring in a #2 quality starter but managers were asking for the Earth so I had to draft well.

John Lackey, AJ Burnett, Alfredo Simon and Bartolo Colon were my next four picks. Not stellar but not awful in terms of adding depth to the rotation. Colon has already pitched great on opening night. I’m not expecting miracles from these guys but if they can keep me competitive most weeks in terms of Wins, Quality Starts and K’s as well as ERA and WHIP then I’ll be happy. My pitching is not strong but I don’t think its weak either. My offence on paper is better than it has been in recent years so I should be competitive. I have made the playoffs in both of the past two years including a dramatic playoff run in 2013, where when the last pitch of the season was thrown, I wasn’t in the playoffs but when that play ended, I was in. Drama!

Still four more picks and the next two were set up guys. Our league has Holds as a stat so you need to add a couple of set up guys. I chose Joakim Soria and Jordan Walden. I thought both were good options and was happy with them. Then in the final two picks you look to take fliers on guys who might surprise. My first was a guy I nearly took in round four in Steve Pearce. The Orioles’ 1B/DH/RF was a shock last year with a .925 OPS and 21 HR in 338AB but no-one liked him to repeat. I took a chance and he’s already gone deep twice. I loved this pick then and love it more now. Lastly Ricky Nolasco – SP and his first start was shall we say, not great…

So that is my major league roster but wait, I need to take four youngsters to fill out on minor league squad.

Again I picked 11th and I had a guy in mind but at the last minute I changed my mind and took Kyle Schwarber, a catcher out of the Chicago Cubs organisation. I don’t need a catcher as I have the #1 catcher in Buster Posey entrenched in my major league side but when it comes to the minors I just pick the best players available in my opinion. Second round I brought in a Japanese pitcher who is still playing in Japan in Kenta Meada. Lots of talk about him being posted and I wanted to retain his rights for the season to see if he does get posted next off season.

In rounds three and four I took Kyle Zimmer – SP out of the Royals organisation and Yoan Lopez – SP out of the Diamondbacks organisation. I really liked these picks and whilst I felt my major league draft was only ok, I thought my minors went very well and I have excellent depth and hope that some of my minor leaguers become elite major league players.

So there we go. You’ve met the 2015 Fratton Yankees and some people wonder why I’m single… Don’t you want more politics guff instead of this?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.