My preparation for this season's draft was virtually nonexistent and anecdotal at best. I watch enough of the MLB Network to have at least a peripheral knowledge of nearly every team in the league. I read enough Twitter posts to know who's out with a calf strain and who's suffering from mono. But mostly, I play it by feel. I like scrappy players, guys with a variety of talents, maybe not the best players on paper, but with the heart to make them stars. I also like players who fit the team name for the year. With that, I give you Team Tiger Blood:
1. (7) Evan Longoria (TB - 3B)
2. (16) Tim Lincecum (SF - SP)
3. (29) Kevin Youkilis (Bos - 1B)
4. (38) Ian Kinsler (Tex - 2B)
5. (51) Jimmy Rollins (Phi - SS)
Timmy was a no brainer when he fell to me with the 16th pick, especially after someone took Roy Halladay late in the first round and started a run on starters. This makes three of his first four full seasons that he's played for one of my teams. Two years ago, I thought he'd still be on the board when I drafted in Round 2. He wasn't. So last year, I took no chances and made him the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. That was probably a little hasty, but the dude was coming off two Cy Youngs. This year, I figured his shitty August of 2010 would give some guys pause. I was right.
I kept the veteran affair going with Youkilis and Kinsler, both of whom have had monster seasons for me in the past. But I'd be lying if I said Kinsler was my first choice. I'm also a big Dustin Pedroia fan, but he went with the pick right before mine. J-Roll is a fantastic dude, and despite an off year in '10, I'm looking for big things. Also, he helped shore up my middle so I could look for a catcher...
6. (60) Carlos Santana (Cle - C)
7. (73) Drew Stubbs (Cin - OF)
8. (82) Mike Stanton (Fla - OF)
9. (95) Brian Wilson (SF - RP)
10. (104) Roy Oswalt (Phi - SP)
I'll admit to being a little worried about Weezy's oblique, but I'm confident that he'll keep himself in shape. Like Wilson, Oswalt is another Butch fantasy darling. This was a case of drafting the player, not the uniform. When it comes down to it, the dude knows how to pitch. And besides, there's really only one uniform I avoid on my fantasy teams, and we all know which one that is.
11. (117) Ben Zobrist (TB - 1B, 2B, OF)
12. (126) Ian Desmond (Was - SS)
13. (139) Brett Anderson (Oak - SP)
14. (148) Aubrey Huff (SF - 1B, OF)
15. (161) José Valverde (Det - RP)
16. (170) Adam Jones (Bal - OF)
17. (183) Carlos Peña (ChC - 1B)
18. (192) Rajai Davis (Tor - OF)
19. (205) Jaime García (StL - SP)
20. (214) Joel Hanrahan (Pit - RP)
Desmond was an impulse buy, but I already had Rollins, so it seemed safe. Anderson and Huff were hometown picks, especially the Huff Daddy, who also has some versatility. Valverde's a serviceable compliment to Weezy. Adam Jones and Carlos Peña make return engagements with my team. I've always liked Raj Davis for his style, and now I can love him for his stats, too. Proud to say Jaime García was a midseason acquisition last season, and I'm stoked that I found him in the 19th round. Hanrahan makes three bona fide closers in my starting 25.
21. (227) John Buck (Fla - C)
22. (236) David Freese (StL - 3B)
23. (249) Freddy Sánchez (SF - 2B)
24. (258) Jorge De La Rosa (Col - SP)
25. (271) David Murphy (Tex - OF)
26. (280) Gavin Floyd (CWS - SP)
27. (293) Ty Wigginton (Col - 1B, 2B, 3B)
28. (302) Derek Holland (Tex - SP)
29. (315) Pat Burrell (SF - OF)
30. (324) Cliff Pennington (Oak - SS)
After that, it was all bench material. But even in the later rounds, there are some gems to be found that could provide an unexpected spark when the dog days inevitably arrive. From this group, I'm thinking Derek Holland could step out and be Team Tiger Blood's unsung hero. And even though he's reportedly a little douchy, I'll always pull for Pat Burrell because we used to have a few classes to together. There's nothing cooler than seeing a fellow Bell in the Show.
Unlike last year, I'll be sure to give you regular updates on our progress, and I'll see if I can even link you to some league stats as we go. Hope you enjoy the 2011 season, real and otherwise.
P.S. Just in case you're into that sorta thing, seven players from Team Tiger Blood are on the Twitter thing. Give 'em a follow.