And with the first pick of the 2008 AZ SnakePit Fantasy Baseball League...
Well, that was unexpected. :-) Okay, maybe not, but here's how the rest of the first round unfolded:
- Álex Rodríguez - Baked
- José Reyes - warlords
- Hanley Ramírez - SHUperMen
- David Wright - Kapsaicin Kids
- José Valverde - Blonde Streaks
- Albert Pujols - Desert Storm BC
- Chase Utley - Tucson Myth
- Matt Holliday - Desert Dingleberries
- Miguel Cabrera - 7-2 Offsuiters
- Ryan Howard - Shenanigans 2.0
- Jimmy Rollins - Wimboes Barmy Army
- Carl Crawford - dbacktom
- Brandon Webb - Arizona Muugens
- Johan Santana - The Fighting Amish
- Prince Fielder - Douchebaggery
- Ryan Braun - Adriano Rosarios
- Grady Sizemore - Ignatius J. Rallies
- Brandon Phillips - AZ SnakePit
- Alfonso Soriano - GregSchulteOverdrive
- Jake Peavy - Crazy VIII's
The major surprise there, is snakecharmer taking Papa Grande with the fifth pick, for the Blonde Streaks. She's also got Bobby Jenks, so will have a strong hold on saves, and with Haren and Sabathia, as well as Joba Chamerlain, definitely has a good pitching lineup. The first Diamondback to go was, not surprisingly, Webb, chosen at #13 by the Arizona Muugens - though as Muu was fixing his PC and missed the draft, this was more by chance than design! The robots gave his a strong rotation, following up Webb with Beckett and Zambrano. Haren followed Webb in Round 2, and Douchebaggery's Captain D Bag took the first Arizona position player, perhaps shockingly plumping for Eric Byrnes in Round 3. He'll be looking to Fielder to anchor the offense, despite his switch from meat-eating, and also picked Juan Cruz in the 16th Round, who already looks somewhat like a vegan.
Two picks later, EB's neighbor in the outfield, Chris Young, was selected for the Ignatius J. Rallies under leemellon - in an interesting late-round pick, they also snapped up Chris Burke in the 17th, but a 1-2 of Felix Hernandez and Brad Penny look to be their standouts. After O-Dawg went to the Blonde Streaks in the fourth, we had to wait some time for the next Diamondback: Stephen Drew went in Round 8, also to the Muugens. The last of the AZ outfield, Upton, followed in the next round as reigning champion Otacon selected him for the Adriano Rosarios. They currently feature an interesting lineup without a catcher, so appear to be relying on their hurlers pitching to contact. ;-) His bench includes two former AZ outfielders, in Hairston and Quentin.
Interestingly, Tony Peña went a long time before expected closer Brandon Lyon - Peña in Round 9 to the Muugens, but Lyon not until the last pick of the thirteenth round, as the Crazy VIII's slotted him in. They also found room for Mark Reynolds (Round 15) and Billy Buckner in the penultimate round, who was the final D-back selected. Muugens, meanwhile, took a flyer on Randy Johnson in Round 11, just ahead of Chris Snyder, who went to Douchebaggery. CoJack - a potential sleeper? - went to Shenanigans 2.0 (Ridster09), though he'll be backing up Ryan Howard at the position. Jackson is joined there by Round 16 pick, Doug Davis, so it looks like Shen is basically giving up on the WHIP category. ;-) The warlords got Micah Owings late in the 16th, so I expect an email from kalum any moment, lobbying for pitcher's hitting stats to be included! He also selected Chad Qualls in the 19th.
dbacktom went for Chad Tracy in the 16th, a backup as he had already picked James Loney and Hank Blalock as his corner infielders. However, tom appeared not to have got the memo about boycotting Troyboy, picking Tulowitzki in Round 2... No love to be found for Miguel Montero, however, who went undrafted, as did the other backups Trot Nixon, Jeff Salazar and, inexplicably, Augie Ojeda. Edgar Gonzalez also remains available, though given the hideous state of my pitching staff - which only an outbreak of the T-virus could possibly make worse - I probably shouldn't be mentioning this. Still, that's what I get for leaving after the first two rounds, to go draft my season ticket games...
I trust everyone had a solid Saturday: mine was a lot of fun, starting with the above-mentioned ticket draft. That went rather better than the fantasy one, as I successfully avoided day games, Wednesday games (our comedy show), games which clashed with other pre-arranged events, and anything involving the Chicago Cubs - I had quite enough of their fans at Chase last year, when I attended all three games of the regular-season series against them, thankuverymuch. ;-) I think probably the one I'm most eagerly anticipating is July 4th versus the Padres: I don't recall ever going to baseball on Independence Day before, and it really doesn't get much more American than that, does it? After the draft, went to see Doomsday, which is a daft but entertaining cross between Mad Max and Escape From New York, with Rhona Mitra doing her best Kate Beckinsale impression.
Here seems a good place to mention that I've been chatting to Mike in the D-backs ticket office about the proposed group outing; looks like the best night is August 23 [the other one with lower-level seating available is July 5, and I think people might be away that weekend]. We face the Marlins, so you'll get to cheer for Luis G... I'm aiming to get bullpen reserve seats - hopefully on the D-backs side. Normally, they'd be $15, but at the group rate, the price works out to about $8, pretty damn good, I'd say. I'll be setting up a PayPal button for people to buy them [you don't need a PayPal account, and can use any credit-card], and it will be first-come, first-served. Not sure how many tickets we'll be getting, but it will be at least 30, perhaps more depending on demand. More info to follow, probably next week.
Today's game against the Rockies proved to be a bit of a wild one. The two teams combined for 23 runs, 35 hits, 16 extra-base hits, ten walks and two hit batters, Arizona finally going down to Colorado 12-11. The most disturbing thing from our point of view was another horrendous outing from Brandon Lyon: he faced eight batters and only retired two of them, giving up five hits, a walk and five earned runs, bringing his spring ERA up to a monstrous 16.20. As with Nippert, you can only say "it's just spring training" for so long, and there need to be serious questions being asked at this point, with barely a week left before Opening Day for Lyon to sort out what ails him.
Sixteen hits and one K in 6.2 innings? At this point, Nippert seems a better bet to close. But Melvin says, "He doesn't have very good command of his fastball right now, which we've seen with quite a few of our guys. It all starts with that. He's still not throwing too many breaking balls, based on [the fact that] he wants to get command of his fastball." Melvin added, "The intensity comes up some. The velocity will pick up once the season starts. A lot of those things will increase with everybody across the board." However, it seems to have posed far greater issues to certain bullpen members than others - Slaten has still yet to appear in a 'real' game, but Cruz, Qualls, Peña and EdGon all have ERAs no higher than 4.05.
The last-named did struggle in his start today, after retiring the Rockies in order for the first inning. He had to be bailed out during the fourth, after giving up seven hits and four walks in 3.2 innings of work, which led to five runs, four earned. Connor Robertson had the best outing of the day, striking out three of the five hitters he faced, though A.J.Shappi did well too, matching Robertson with 1.1 scoreless frames at the end. Tony Peña dodged a bullet, with one run on four hits and a walk: he bailed Lyon out of the seventh, but needed to be bailed out of the eighth himself, by Shappi. Qualls also got into the game, with a run on two hits in the fifth. [I'm sorry, that entire paragraph probably should be rewritten into a more meaningful order, but Mrs. SnakePit just arrived bearing key lime cheesecake...]
At the plate, Chris Young batted leadoff and we'll be hoping for more games like this one, as he reached safely all five times he was up, on three hits and two walks, finishing a triple short of the cycle. Drew was the only other Diamondbacks to get on more than once, with a hit and a walk; he, Young and Kelly had two RBI each. The team also managed eight doubles, from eight different players. That would match our major-league franchise record, which was set in a game against Montreal on June 2, 1999, though that day we had a total of 20 hits, compared to only fifteen today. Little wonder that this one meandered on for eleven minutes short of four hours. Still, it's Saturday, so who cares?
Off to Maryvale for tomorrow's game, which should be fun, complete with tailgating before the event. It'll be my last spring-training opportunity, and is the final appearance of the Diamondbacks before they come back to Chase Field for their exhibition games on Friday and Saturday. Report to follow, but I'll also post my prediction for the total number of AZ wins before heading to the game...