by Michael Durgala
GM Annandale Ants
The all-star break is upon us and we are in the midst of what has been a great year of fantasy baseball. Last year, we saw an exciting, down-to-the-wire finish between the Fairfax Firemen, Reston Robots, and Annandale Ants that no one will ever forget. This season looks to promise much of the same with the Ants and Great Falls Gamers trading blows at the top of the standings and the Herndon Heroes and Fairfax Faithfuls not far behind. The Robots and Firemen find themselves in the middle of the pack along with the Clifton Casinos, Reston Roundabouts, and Burke Boomerangs. This group of teams is a ways out of contention, but with a solid second half run one of them could jump as high as third place in the standings. The Sterling Starfish, Reston Roosters, and Oakton Ogres are all but finished for this season. However, they have begun rebuilding efforts and should be formidable foes in future years.
standings don’t tell the whole story, though.
The race between the top four teams is a lot closer than it seems. The groups is
separated by extremely narrow margins in home runs, RBI, wins, saves, and
ERA. This means a hot streak for one of
these teams could easily cause a ten point swing in the standings. The offensive production for each of these
teams should be interesting to follow in the second half. The Ants and Gamers both have a lot of young
players enjoying career years up to this point (Floyd, Berkman, Loduca, Pujols). Meanwhile,
the Heroes are made up of more proven players who are less likely to tail off
in the second half (Piazza, Giambi, Alomar, C.
Jones). The Faithfuls are made up of a
mixture of young and old so who knows what they will do. But if these young bucks drop off in the
second half while the proven stars continue their great output, look for the
race to heat up even more. As far as
pitching goes, the Gamers appear to hold the upper hand with four quality
closers and a slew of solid starters such as Schilling,
auction clearly made this year very interesting as star players went at
ridiculous prices in the early rounds.
Consider that many players went at higher prices than what they went for
also had several interesting league stories this season that come to mind. Player renting came to the forefront after
Dan Hausman began trying to dump his good players to contenders for prospects
and draft picks. Personally, I liked this
idea at first as it gave the contending teams a better shot to win this year
while it improved the chances of the rebuilding teams for future years. After an infamous Jose Mesa trade and many
broken hearts, player renting as we know it came to end, and rightfully so. It’s sad to think what would’ve happened to
the league if players such as Kevin Brown, Pedro Martinez, Mike Mussina, and
Barry Bonds were thrown out on the open market for competitors to grab for a
prospect and a few draft picks. The
commissioner’s decision to outlaw player renting certainly will improve the
integrity of this league for year’s to come.
Another interesting story was Jon Lasken’s ridiculous auction strategy
and its trade aftermath. Lasken took
Pedro Martinez ($60), Randy Johnson ($30), Greg Maddux ($30), and Curt
Schilling ($17) and then proceeded to trade away
You picked the position starters, now I pick the reserves and pitchers. My selections are in bold.
Paul LoDuca (free agent) – Great Falls Gamers.
Jorge Posada ($19) – Burke Boomerangs. This Yankee
is hitting for average, power, and playing almost every day behind home plate. In my mind, he’s already surpassed
Ryan Klesko ($12) – Burke Boomerangs
Olerud (6th) –
Bret Boone (3rd) –
Soriano ($2) –
Albert Pujols (5th) –
Aramis Ramirez ($5) – Fairfax Firemen. Has become a big power threat and a simply awesome hitter. Mike Keenan has stood by this guy for years. Now we’re seeing why.
Rich Aurilia ($1) –
Rollins ($8) –
Neifi Perez ($1) – Reston Robots. A consistent offensive producer and a solid glove man. Just hope he doesn’t get traded.
Lance Berkman ($5) –
Luis Gonzalez ($8) – Reston Roosters
Cliff Floyd ($5) – Annandale Ants. Great job Cliff!
Lawton ($2) –
Ichiro Suzuki ($14) – Fairfax Faithfuls. He’s got an entire nation focused on his every move and he hasn’t even come close to a slump. I hope he wins the batting title, for several reasons.
Stewart ($8) –
Mike Cameron ($7) – Herndon Heroes
Burks ($3) –
Martinez ($4) –
Roger Clemens ($11) – Herndon Heroes. He’s so old and on his way to another 20-win season. In my opinion, one of the greatest competitors out there.
Ben Sheets ($9) – Oakton Outlaws. Oakton’s lone fantasy all-star, he should have three or four Cy Young’s before it’s all said and done.
Mike Hampton ($3) – Burke Boomerangs. He basically pitches on the moon still keeps the ball in the park. If he duplicates his first half, it will be a truly remarkable season.
Brad Radke ($1) – Annandale Ants. He goes out and throws strikes. This helps him get ahead in the count and keeps his defense ready. What else could a manager ask for? Congratulations Brad!
Rick Reed ($1) – Herndon Heroes. A starting pitcher with a WHIP under 1.00? Simply amazing. Another example of what getting ahead of hitters can do for a pitcher.
Hideo Nomo ($1) –
Burke Boomerangs. He’s regained the
magic he had when he first arrived from
Miller (15th) –
Mesa (8th) –
Troy Percival ($2) – Fairfax Faithfuls. After last year, most people assumed his career was going down the tubes. Check out his numbers this year: 22 saves, 0.84 ERA, 0.65 WHIP.
Tom Gordon ($3) –
Those are my selections. Feel free to give me feedback on the message board. Best of luck to everyone the rest of the season! Let’s make it a great finish!