Monday night saw our league snaking its' way through the draft. Due to the huge time difference I had preset my preferred draft order, focusing on the first 100 on the list. Basically I went to bed and crossed my fingers. Here is how things panned out:
Where we picked Astros Players: Predictably Hunter Pence (37th overall pick) was the first Astro off the boards, but the second was a surprise in Brett Wallace (48), then Michael Bourn (89), Wandy Rodriguez (96), Carlos Lee (129), Brett Myers (145), Chris Johnson (167), Wilton Lopez (173), Brandon Lyon (214), J.A. Happ (220), and lastly Jordan Lyles (224).
This corresponds quite similarly with Allphilla's rankings last week, but the two biggest surprises are Wallace and Lyles. Brett really should not have gone that high, but native_astro's draft strategy seems to have been to stockpile first baseman. In addition to Wallace he took Prince Fielder, Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman, Brandon Belt and Billy Butler.
Perhaps he will start flipping them for help in other areas, but not to me. I nabbed Mark Teixeira with my third pick in an attempt to break the seven-year hoodoo.
Lyles is certainly a pick from left field, but I doubt he is worth wasting a roster spot unless you are in a keepers league. If we assume the Astros will want to avoid giving Lyles Super Two status then he stays in the minors till at least July, then would presumably be shut down early on in September if his innings reached a certain point.
The only other way I could see him being called up is the combination of multiple injuries to the rotation and if Lyles were making AAA hitters look silly, but even then it might be a long shot.
I was very happy with the roster I ended up with. Whether it has the balance that you need to succeed in multiple categories will be something that will have to be looked at later this month. My lineup is loaded with power guys: Teixeria, Evan Longoria, Josh Hamilton, Dan Uggla, Bobby Abreu and Colby Rasmus, and I should be well placed in HR and RBI. The other categories, not so much.
Meanwhile my rotation features Justin Verlander, Chris Carpenter, Roy Oswalt, Josh Johnson and Ryan Dempster. Still I feel jealous of those who took a chance on Kyle Drabek and Jeremy Hellickson both of whom secured fifth-starter spots for the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays respectively.
Lets Make a Deal: This week's only deal so far saw C.J. Wilson flipped for Vernon Wells.
On the face of it this looks like an even swap. Wells' offensive WAR was 4.4 last season (his defense has degraded steadily over the past few years), while Wilson's was 4.6. However, Wilson's huge innings jump, from 73 2/3 to 204, makes me believe that he carries a substantial injury risk. However both ZIPS and Bill James have his ERA staying steady in the mid-3s. Wells meanwhile could benefit from a switch of team and a fresh beginning with the Angels, even if he is 32.
Waiver Wire: Since I had no Astros in my roster, the obvious move was to pick up J.R. Towles, who is currently owned in 0.0% of all ESPN fantasy leaves, dropping Chris Iannetta. As David mentioned today in his radio piece, Towles has never been given a fair shake by the Astros, and has been shipped back to the minors every time he made the team in the spring, without getting a chance to really bed into the lineup.
In February it seemed as if there would be no chance of Towles making the 25-man roster to start the season, but the unfortunate injury to Jason Castro has given him a year to show teams he can stick it in the majors. Given a full year he may prove himself to be a reliable major-league option. What we do with him then would be bit of a quandary.
Bud Norris may also be worth a sneaky pickup for those without starting pitching depth, although there may be better option still out there. Bill Hall may be another steady pickup.
I leave you in Allphilla's capable hands for next week, as he runs through the reasons I'm going to beat him this season.