Saturday, March 14, 2009 Fantasy Baseball Arbitration: Draft Recap Part I

[Welcome to Part 1 of the Draft Recap. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow at 1:00 PM.] recently held its draft for the second annual SportsJudge Fantasy Baseball Classic. Last year the league consisted of 12 teams, all managed by members of the staff. This year, however, the league a little different. We invited six close friends of the site to compete with six members of the staff. We will introduce you to the members of the league in a moment, but I want to introduce you to the league basics first.

This is a 12-team league utilizing the entire MLB player universe in a rotisserie style league. is a fan of the rotisserie style format, but previously discussed the pros and cons of each system in a Roundtable. The scoring system is the standard 5x5 system with runs, RBI, home runs, stolen bases, and batting average as the offensive categories and wins, saves, strike outs, ERA, and WHIP as the pitching categories. We chose these categories because they are the most common, but has addressed stat categories in the previously mentioned Roundtable as well.

Each roster is made up of 21 starters, three bench and two possible DL positions. The starters include, one catcher, first base, second base, third base, short stop, middle infielder, and corner infielder, three outfielders, two utility positions, three starting pitchers, two relief pitchers and four general pitchers. Additionally, each team is limited to two transactions per week, not including trades. With such a limited bench and transaction limit, each move becomes crucial during the season. is a strong proponent of limiting transactions to avoid streaming players.

Lastly, in its constitution, the league named Senior Deputy Justice Matt Cohen as the sole arbitrator of all disputes, with his ruling being final. Before a matter is submitted to Justice Cohen, two members of the league must request that the dispute be submitted to Justice Cohen. Both instituting a league constitution and naming a league arbitrator are two things each league should do. Even in the most congenial leagues, disputes will arise and the only equitable solution is to enlist an outside and impartial arbitrator. You can do both by visiting

It is time to introduce this season’s managers and their teams. With each team, I will post their picks in the order they were selected, give a few thoughts on the general make up of their team, and point out a few picks I liked or questioned. I will also go through each team in the order of the draft. As with any article, feel free to give your own opinion.

Elie Mystal – Elie is a writer for one of the most well read law blogs out there, Above the Law. It is a staple amongst law students and baby faced lawyers. Elie is also a huge Mets fan, which leads me to question his judgment, and is a seasoned fantasy baseball player.

Elie went out and drafted players he believed in. His team has a fair amount of risk, but could produce huge reward. He has solid power and decent average, but needs help in the speed department. Felipe Lopez starting daily and leading off and Elijah Dukes staying out of jail could alleviate much of his speed problem. Elie could have an excellent rotation if Harden stays healthy and Kershaw continues to progress into the ace many believe he will become, but again it is high risk huge reward. His bullpen is very solid with Broxton, Soria and Wheeler, who I believe will lead Tampa in saves. My favorite pick is a split between Kershaw and Stewart, both were in the right places and could produce big time. My least favorite pick was Milton Bradley, I just don’t see him producing the same kind of numbers and, at the 4th round, there was less risk and equal or greater reward still available.

Chris Carmona - Chris is a writer with His Friday article "And Now You Know!" has become a favorite amongst readers. Unfortunately, Chris is a Patriots fan, but nobody is perfect.
Chris probably has the best overall infield with solid players at each position, but I would be slightly concerned with the lack of depth in the outfield. Even with the lack of depth in the outfield, Chris really doesn't have a weakness on offense, but he could struggle slightly with speed. His pitching staff does leave a little to be desired, though. He lacks a true ace, but he has three pitchers who could develop into that ace. Wang and Carpenter aren't bad options as 4th and 5th pitchers either. His bullpen leaves much to be desired as he does not currently have a clear closer. However, he will take advantage of his stud setup men to keep his ERA and WHIP down. My favorite pick is Edinson Volquez, some question his rookie year due to his late season problems, but in the 10th round he is well worth the risk. My least favorite pick is Michael Young in the 7th round. He doesn't do nearly as much to warrant top short stop billing and there was a clear need for a pitcher or outfielder at this time.

Brian Baxter & Zach Lowe - Brian and Zach join us from American Law Daily. Both have focused on trying to mesh the law and sports and do a great job of it.
Unfortunately, Brian and Zach had scheduling issues and their team was autodrafted. As such, I will give some analysis, but skip my favorite and least favorite picks. The guys have lucked into a good balance of solid offense and solid pitching. Their raw numbers on offense are solid across the board, but their average could be problematic. I am a huge fan of their starting pitching. Shame on everyone at the draft leaving Aaron Harang hanging around until the 15th round. When looking at Harang's sabremetric stats, his poor season could be associated more with bad luck than bad pitching. As good as their starting pitching is, their bullpen leaves a lot to be desired. But all is not lost as Devine and Rodney both have the opportunity to close games this season.

Jesse Spector - Jesse joins the league from the New York Daily News where he is a sports reporter. Jesse also runs a blog called Touching Base, is routinely mistaken for Hideki Irabu, and once tried to buy the Expos.Unfortunately, Jesse also was not able to draft due to technical difficulties. I really like Jesse's offense a lot. He doesn't really have any weaknesses as his offense is balanced really well. At first glance you would think he would struggle in certain areas but then you see guys who can carry a category, like Pujols and his .357 average. His starting pitching is his weakest point, but it isn't bad. He just doesn't have a high ceiling. If one of his starters struggles, he will need to move some of his offense for pitching help. His bullpen is solid with two proven closers and Lindstrom could provide saves as well. As with Zach and Brian above, I will skip my favorite and least favorite picks.

Jordan Zucker - Some of you may recognize Jordan's name from her own website, Girls Guide to Fantasy Football, or from her role on Scrubs. Regardless of the medium, Jordan is sure to entertain. While she is a fantasy baseball rookie, you wouldn't know it from her draft.
If you look at her draft, all the picks make sense in comparison to their average draft position. She has an overall well rounded solid team, but her offense does have a few questions. For her to be successful she needs Holliday, Damon, and Roberts to match last years output, but I am not completely convinced they will. Damon and Roberts have probably seen their best days, and Holliday has a lot to prove outside of Coors, but he still is Matt Holliday, which is good. If they falter, her team isn't filled with a lot of upside on offense. Her starting pitching is solid with a proven ace in CC and a very good second pitcher in Oswalt. Johnson, Slowey, and Danks also add great depth. Her relief pitching is above average, but nothing special. My favorite pick is by far Roy Oswalt. Oswalt is an under appreciated pitcher who continuously puts up very good numbers. He is great value in the 9th round. While Atkins' average draft position is right around the 6th round, I wouldn't touch him there. The Rockies lost their big bat in Holliday, which will probably hurt all of their numbers, and Atkins' numbers have been on a three year decline.

Marc Edelman - Marc is the founder and CEO of In his spare time, he is also a professor of law at Rutgers School of Law-Camden (publications here) and another unfortunate fan of the Mets. Marc is well known for waiting on starting pitching, and this draft was no different.
The first thing that stands out about Marc’s team is that his offense is very strong across the board. However, he could be facing a weakness in the batting average category as he has only two players who batted above .300 last season, but has four who hit under .260. Marc’s rotation leaves a little to be desired, he really put faith in some questionable arms, but if a couple work out he could be solid. His relievers should give him the ability to build a cushion in saves and then trade for help. My favorite pick is by far Melvin Mora in the 21st round. That is great value for a very under appreciated Mora. I also really liked Erik Bedard, he has looked strong so far this spring and should be upgraded in all drafts. I have to question Marc’s selection of closers, he may be using it to build a cushion and trade, but there are a lot of doubts surrounding Hoffman who is moving from a great pitcher’s park to more of a hitter’s park. Marc could get stuck with an old closer when better value was available to help his starting rotation. I also think Marc nabbed sleeper Pablo Sandoval a little early, but that is probably anger speaking, as I am jealous he grabbed one of my more desired sleepers.

Well, we are half way through the draft, check back tomorrow at 1:00 PM for the second half of the Draft Recap.

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