In Their Own Words - SL2006 Team Previews

China Cat Sunflowers - owned by Greg Nims

Offense - The offense built around D-Lee and Delgado is pretty powerful, with nearly all starters and bench players having a full 1 on their card, exceptions being Jeter, Matheny, and Crawford with just under a one. Each position (not each starter at each position) can somewhat be expected to contribute at least 20 HR, with SS Jeter (19 MLB) and Cs Matheny (13) and Valentin (14) being the biggest question marks.

Team OBP should be decent, with good team speed and middle of the pack base stealing. A Floyd/Cruz platoon in LF with Crawford off the bench should work well, and Mike Jacobs J4 power will fill in nicely for Lee and Delgado sits. Valentin as a backup C could provide the best catching offense in the league.

Overall, I project an offense that is above average, maybe 3rd or 4th in the league in runs.

Rotation - The rotation isn't great, but perhaps one of the most balanced in the league, with Colon 13Z, Garland 13Z, Towers 11ZZ, Cliff Lee 12, and Blanton 12. While not overpowering, it's overall numbers should be at least average.

Bullpen - Perhaps the team's weak spot, Cliff Politte 20X+1 is the ace, with Tom Gordon 17+0 and Isringhausen 18G+0 as the primary setup men. Nary a Z in the bunch. The rest of the pen (Fuentes L14G+1, Thompson 14Z+1, Tavarez 11Z+1, Wickman 17L+0) provide the talent that they are not 12 non-Zs. The biggest plus to the pen is the second most available games (466 to Gregg's 468) and 2nd most innings (Chris 701ish, Greg 696ish, Gregg 695ish).

Defense - Strengths include Matheny C9+4, Jeter SS9, Edmonds CF3-31, Guillen RF2-37, and Lee 1B5 contrast weaknesses with Wright 3B3, Biggio 2B7, and Floyd's occasional LF1-32. Overall, an above average group.

Best draft picks - Delgado 7th, Matheny 14th, Blanton 20th, Cruz 21st, Floyd 24th, Guillen 18th.

Biggest reaches - Jeter 4th, Biggio 11th, Crawford 12th.

Roster failing - May need another PRer off the bench.

Prediction - Above average hitting + above average fielding + at least average pitching = Above .500, playoff contender.

Mason Corner Avenging Angels - owned by Ken Klein

Offense. The only thing that matters to me. No really. I could care less about Defense and relievers are generally an afterthought.

A- I will finish 1st in the leagues in walks & will be in the top 3 in On base percentage. In combination with the walks will be a top 3 finish in Home runs which will lead to a top 3 finish in runs scored. High percentage base stealers should help.

Pitching. I guess you have to pick those guys.

B-/C+ - Probably a middle of the road staff. Only really tried to get Burly and Jones and then selected as available. Having Millwood as third starter is good enough while Sabathia will likely not accumulate many innings.

Defense. My third favorite area!

D Not good. Best part of it is the 4 at 1B... Hey, most of my Starting Pitchers are 2 fielding. Does that count? Having a +2 behind the plate will not thwart too many SB attempts. Potentially the worst defense in the league. Is .980 bad? My best defensive players are on the bench...

If the pitching is middle of the road the final record should be in the 85-88 win range.

If the pitching is near the bottom the finish will likely not be any higher than .500.

I don't expect 'great' pitching with my staff's make up. So the win range is projected at 79-88 wins which puts me as a Wild Card contender or Division leader in a tough division.

Kilamanjaro Thirty Helens - owned by Keith Klein

Offense - Low Average, High Secondary Average type of an offense. Concerned with high SA ratings dragging the average down worse than it should. Killed myself to a point with my slow and/or no stealing guys. I'll be happy if I score 96% of the runs I'll be creating. Plodder Jason Giambi to share lead off duties with Ryan Freel and Jonny Gomes. Expect team to generate a lot of power. Will be happy with any production from catcher and centerfield.

Defense - Peralta and Utley up the middle is frightening to me. Even more frightening to me is that to improve defensively at those positions, I'll have to play Neifi. Outfield certainly not the best, but I've dealt with worse groups in my day. Yadier and Miller should be a good defensive group.

Pitching - Clemens is not going to provide the daily impact that DLee will, but he should dominate every 5th day. Wagner and Street need to provide some kind of impact those other 4 days. Halladay as my 6th starter could prove big with J-3s Hudson and Wells and J-4 Sheets in the rotation. Chris Spurling my only reliever without an XY.

Overall - 101 wins is needed to take the Cubs Division. Kilamanjaro will not win that many. I do envision this team making it to the post-season.

Potawatomi Resurrection - owned by Chris Klein

Well, my last 20 games (6-14) notwithstanding, I think I have a pretty good team. Tough to win 90 games in this league, at this time though. Eighty-five wins is usually a guarantee of a playoff spot, and this year I think I should reasonably be able to come close to that goal.

My offense is not spectacular, but should be above average, probably in the top 3 or 4 runs scored. I project over 200 homers just from my starting 9, so that is a good start to scoring runs. The bottom half of my order (Winn, Sizemore, Lugo, IRod) should be able to provide some speed and some extra base hits too.

My bench is probably the strongest it has been in years, and everyone has a specifically designed role. Taguchi is the PR/Defensive sub. Howard, the main PH, plus sub for Johnson. LaRue a solid backup for Pudge. Murton a good platoon type outfielder. Aybar a good OBP sub at 3B and 2B. And Damian Jackson a good PR that also provides a lot of flexibility in both infield and outfield.

My starters were each the last of a kind. Peavy, the last 14Z. Smoltz the last 13Z. Lackey the last 12G. Lowe the last double digit Z. Kazmir the last double digit starter. I know I took a risk with Kazmir, but felt that the 12 could potentially get more good starts than a 9, in spite of his W. And lets face it, he will not be pitching 200 innings.

Bullpen is not great, but when you consider that I didn't take any until round 8, they aren't too bad. I have potentially the most IP (which I didn't know until yesterday). And I still managed to get both a 21 and a 19. Granted most of my guys are flawed, but hopefully that is something that I can control somewhat. Pretty similar to my bullpen of last year, that I believe finished middle of the pack.

Defense? Like Ken, I will be at the bottom. I am scared to think of my up the middle D, but it was something I felt I had to do. Plus Manny skating around in the outfield. Ugh. Hopefully Pudge stops runners enough to make it all worthwhile.

Worst pick? Probably Pudge. I had no idea what to do at that point in the draft, and he was a reactionary pick while at work. Winn may not have been such a good pick either, but I felt OF was so bad, that having an OF-3 that played every day would be helpful.

Best? Tough question. I think oddly, the two guys I took right before Pudge, Johnson and Carrasco, were pretty good. Granted I bypassed Konerko and Sexson to get Johnson, but I had already identified him as my leadoff man. Carrasco, with his innings was a need at that point.

As recently as three weeks ago, I had a lot of optimism. It has died down somewhat by my recent performance, but I still believe that I have a good team, and should be able to make a strong run at the playoffs.

Manhattan Old Fashioneds - owned by Matt Klein

(first of all ... an apology is necessary.  I didn't know that Manhattan had been a location already; should've researched that.  Not to mention a Spit Cup qualifier!  Hopefully, Keith, yours was Kansas-based not the borough of NYC as I'd intended.  Although, come to think of it, that may be a better explanation of the team name if it was based in Kansas!)

Offense:  This was my focus as I felt there was the combination of deep pitching & limited offensive depth.   I believe I have the top offensive value at 2B/C/3B in the league, plus one of top couple of offensive OF & 1B.  Should be in the top couple of teams in OBP and hopefully will get the ball in play enough to make up for some GIDP weakness.  SLG should be mid-pack with a good number of 4 power number guys.  Lineup is a bit left-handed, but hopefully the power numbers cover for it.

Defense:  Solid fielding the ball but with no arms.  OFs all 2s with 33 best throwing arm.  Catching 8 +0 & 9 +1, again no arms.  3B-3.  However DP combo is solid 9-8 for 140+ games.  Most teams are around same level, beyond the throwing weakness, so won't be the worst defense in the league.

Starting Pitching:  Went walk protection heavy at the expense of both home run control and higher grades.  Giving up 2.0 hr/game at this point so that hasn't worked out great.  Indeed after 2 starts, Mr. Playoffs Contreras has been my best starter.  If the Z/ZZ/ZZZ guys can keep runners off base, I'll be fine, if not it'll be one of the weakest staffs in the league despite being the first to draft a 4th starter.

Bullpen:  Pen is home run control heavy at the expense of walk control.  Multiple short games guys to alternate 1 inning/2 inning stints. Not high grades here either comparative to the league.  Only one guy over a 16, but four either 15 or 16 for a little depth.  Pitching will not be a strength, so hopefully it will hold it own.

Bench:  A number of limited games guys shorten the daily bench.  Two quality guys cover RF barely, plus another J4 OF leaves equivalent of only one full time bench guy for the OF.  Soriano & Lopez are full time bench guys who are versatile enough offensively to leave in the lineup but negatives defensively.  Ausmus is a 2/3 backup catcher who helps the D some and isn't a cipher on offense.  Weakness, in OF bench and in only one backup catcher, limit moves.  Limited pinch stealing ability.

Overall:  Many "depends on" areas.  If the top 4 hitters are on, any could be second-tier MVP candidates, so the foursome could carry the team a long way.  Middle to bottom of the order has strengths but GIDPs and injuries are potentially stronger weaknesses.  Pitching will be mediocre unless lower grade starters can keep baserunners down.  Tough(est?) division leaves little room for error.  Might be outscored or outmanaged but team shouldn't be outclassed.

Festus Miracle - owned by Dave Basler

Will it take a "Miracle" for Festus to win in 2006? Maybe not.


Having the 9th pick in the draft, I was not able to get one of the big three offensive players, so I was left with a quandry. Take a one-dimensional player who brings nothing but power to the table or take someone who does two or more things better than league average? I decided on Andruw over Ortiz, Manny, etc. because he provided very good power and great defense at what I perceived to be a very shallow position. I took Mauer for the same reason, although in this case it was the prospect of decent on base and good speed plus defense. Helton, Giles, etc. all would have been good picks, but I didn't see the talent pool being as shallow at 1B or the corner outfield spots.

The rest of the lineup shows a bias for slugging over on base percentage, although Castillo and Perez will play a lot and get their share of walks. Since most of my guys can steal bases and several can play every day, I didn't need a real deep bench, allowing me to draft guys with limited games -- Francouer and Perez -- that should do very well when they are in the lineup. I won't have to pinch run for Mauer much and he has 131 games with no need for a defensive replacement, so I was able to carry only two catchers.

Overall, this is not a dominant offense, but we will hit our share of home runs. So we will need help from....


Carpenter was a big investment for me and I am hoping he will anchor an otherwise average rotation. For me the key was the bullpen and I am very happy with how that worked out. All pitchers show a slight bias for home run control and a decent move.

I expect to be one of the better teams in the league in ERA, in part because of.....


It will be hard to steal against my team and hard to take an extra base against any of the outfield arms. This, combined with good home run control, should help me minimize the effect of more baserunners allowed by my many non-Z pitchers. The only real liability is at 3B, where I have the ability to pinch run and do a defensive switch with Figgins as often as needed.


My team can take the extra base and keep the other team from doing so. I am hoping that this, together with a solid bullpen, will be the difference in close games. If this team does make the playoffs, I feel we are well designed to win those type of tight, pitching and defense oriented games.

Vail Valkyries - owned by Graham Haas

Overall - I wasn't sold on Rivera in the first, but I still believe that he was the best player available, so I guess we'll have to see how it plays out. I am pretty sure that this is the best defensive team that I have ever drafted. Offensively a lot of the load will fall on Helton, Griffey and Vlad all of whom need at least 18 sits. I am pretty happy with the pitching staff, but will need to decide about a 6th RP by the 40 game mark. Unlike previous teams this one will require more maintenance as 6 starters (not including C) will miss between 13 and 34 games.

Offense - No big bopper this year, but a solid group of contributors with a very good OBP of .379 for the starting 9. After taking pitching in rounds 1 and 2 the offense was filled in with Helton, Vlad and Griffey in rounds 3-5. This group must perform well for the Valks to have a good season. With 305 Ks between Burrell and Glaus I am a little concerned and S Green may become a platoon in LF. Pierre and Rowand offer pinch running off the bench and Shelton will provide some pinch hitting as well as fill in for some sits. I need production from 2 of the following 3 - Glaus, Burrell/Green, V Martinez - if I get that I think we will score enough runs to be very competitive.

Defense - Highlighted by 9s at SS, C and 2B (129 games), a 5 at 1B and OF arms of 37, 34 and 33 (or 35 with Green) we'll see how the "defense wins championships" cliche works out for me. Glaus at 3rd is the only glaring weakness in the infield and Hall is an everyday defensive sub as a 4 (as well as an early season super stud at the plate). The OF is comprised of all 2s, but Rowand is an everyday sub at 3-34 and Green is an improvement in LF with a 35 arm. I am happy to carry 3 Cs and having 170 games with either a 9+4 or an 8+6 behind the plate will hopefully deter some SBAs by the opposition. By far the best defensive team that I have had.

Pitching SP - My staff is comprised of all double digit pitchers with two lefties, two zs and two gs, which I am pretty happy about. I think that this will put me at about middle of the road in terms of SP. I need Oswalt to perform like a #1 and get some innings out of the rest. If a couple out of this group don't step up there could be problems with a short pen.

RP - With Rivera and Turnbow I fell that I have a great 1-2 punch. The bottom end is shaky with 2 Ws and may need to be tweaked by trade or FA pickup. All of the pen members have good GP and IP which is why I felt comfortable with only 5, but we will see.

Prediction - I see this team being competitive and probably finishing somewhere around .500. Hopefully, Rivera will be a difference maker in close games and get me to 85 wins and a playoff spot.

Zanzibar Rafikis of Zuleta - owned by Gregg Tonkery

The fledgling team out of SE Africa hopes to have a respectable inaugural season. Making the playoffs will be tough, but we like to set lofty goals. Overall, I don't know what to expect out of this team. I am hopeful to win a few with timely hitting, solid D and a strong bullpen.

Offense - Well balanced with several lefty's and switch hitters. No big time studs offensively, but also nobody really week. Abreu (L) should prove to be a quality leadoff hitter w/ over .400 OB%, followed by Young (R) 221 hits last year, Matsui (L) 116 RBI last year and Paulie (R) 40 HR last year. Sheffield, Posada, Mueller, a CF Platoon and Orlando Hudson round out the batting order. A little speed of the bench in Jose Reyes should come in handy.

Defense - no glaring weaknesses in the starting lineup. Fairly strong arms in the outfield Abreu (36), Matsui (35), Kotsay (37) and Bradley (35) should cut down their share of baserunners. Strong up the middle with Hudson (only 9 2b in the league) and Young (8). Average arm behind the dish w/ Posada, but strong off the bench w/ Molina's 6. Mueller should be adequate at third although he is off to a rough start this year.

Starting Pitching - Probably the weak point of the team. After Willis and Big Z, things get a little thin. Webb and Harang have the Z rating, but I don't yet know if that means anything. If someone gets hurt Harden should fill in and do as good or better than most of the other starters.

Bullpen - 2 15's, 2 16's and 2 17's in the pen. With Timlin and Howry having the Z rating. A good amount of innings available, and probably needed. Two lefty's in Ryan and Eyre.

Be kind to the Rook.