Grey from Razzball.com wanted me to let you all know about a fantasy baseball league he and his website are putting together. Catch is that instead of going with A-Rod, Ian Kinsler and Lance Berkman with your first three picks, you're going to want to pick Jose Molina, Hank Blaylock and Tommy Manzella to start off. Drafting the worst team possible? Dare you play the role of [insert name of stereotypical GM name here]?
The way I see it, fantasy baseball is great for many reasons:
- First off, if you're like me and the inner gambler in you screams out every once in a while, fantasy baseball is a good way to satiate those demons in a way that won't get your thumbs broken. Sure, sure, gambling on sports isn't illegal and it's easier than ever to do via the internet. But if you have your qualms about wiring money to the Cayman Islands after David Weathers gave up a grand slam in the ninth inning to cost you yet another wager, the league set ups for Yahoo! and others are a little more wholesome. Meaning you won't have to shuffle papers around and cover the screen every time your wife/husband/girl/boy friend/buddies walk in the room.
- Are you the competitive type? The kind of person who likes to prove that you're superior to others every chance you get? What if you ran a moderately successful Houston Astros blog with a buddy of yours, and you two also happened to play fantasy baseball together every season since you've been friends? Would you two like to compete tit for tat for fantasy glory with 8 other friends? I think you would. I think you would. Fantasy baseball will allow you to use all the nerdy knowledge you've accumulated throughout the years and put it to good use, bludgeoning your league-mates with crafty trades and excellent draft choices.
- Not so confident in our Astros chances this season? Feelin' a little woebegone since you realized that Pedro Feliz may not OPS over .700 while playing a position where offense is at a premium? Take a trip into a true fantasy land, where you play Ed Wade and Bobby Heck. And instead of having to draft junior college players from Wyoming in the later rounds of the draft, you get to select a fading veteran who is in line for one last hurrah (Paul Konerko, perhaps?), or the next big thing (Cameron Maybin?). Then you can watch your fictitious team play game in and game out no matter how many times Kaz Matsui has to leave a game in the fifth inning because he pulled his hamstring. Trust me, you'll be entertained and end up watching a lot more baseball as a result. The Chicago White Sox aren't that interesting of a team, but when you have Gavin Floyd as your fourth starter, you'll take an interest in the South Siders.
Thanks to Grey for passing the word on. Good luck to any of y'all who decide to play.
Don't look now, but there's a doings a transpirin' behind the dish for our Astros. For the first time that I can remember there is battle for playing time at catcher between two guys that have the ability to be above average offensive catchers. JR Towles has had his chances, but then again he really hasn't....if that makes sense. After tearing the cover off the ball in limited at bats in September of 2007, he struggled after earning the starting job in 2008. The projection outlets aren't overly optimistic about him this season, and this will probably be Towles' best chance to be a starter for this team.
After reading up on Jason Castro, and seeing what the great minds at Diamond Futures have to say, I am actually confident that the former Standford Cardinal is just about ready to take the reigns as the Astros' full time catcher. After an unimpressive AFL, and a power outage in AA Corpus Christi, I was actually a little down on the guy, perhaps buying too much into the "low ceiling, high floor" critique that seems to be the most wide spread critique of Castro.
What really struck me as positive about Jason was that he is displaying the sort of plate discipline and on base skills that are always a plus, especially for a catcher, where you don't always expect great offense to lie. With slightly above average power, and the aforementioned plate discipline and on base skills to compliment a strong defensive game, I'm not so certain that an average big leaguer is all Jason Castro will become. The last time a top Astros prospect left me feeling this confident was Hunter Pence. Outside of his statistical output, he didn't appear to be out of place taking his hacks and playing outfield with his major league brethren. Maybe it's the pedigree of playing big time college ball, or his quick rise through the minors, but I get the impression that Jason is going to keep progressing to the point where the Astros won't be able to say no to him if not for Opening Day, then quickly thereafter.