So without further ado (I actually had to Google search whether it was "further ado" or "further adieu" because I've never used the phrase before), feast your eyes on the team yours truly put together, starting with the offense:
Hehehe. Ha ha ha ha ha. HAHAHAHAHA! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Behold, this is not merely a fantasy team: this is a work of art! I am a fantasy king. Nay... I AM A FANTASY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tremble at my ability to put a coherent offense together. TREMBLE DAMN IT!
Seriously though, my offense is uh... different. My 10 starting position players are all from the Phillies, Red Sox, Pirates and Royals, which was an odd little coincidence. I happen to be a Phillies fan, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it was a goal to get one or two of their players on my roster. However, I honestly didn't plan on half my team being composed of current or ex-Phillies. Instances kept happening though where the best player available was, in my opinion, a Phillie, or a Red Sox, or a Pirate, and damn it I had to have them.
If you can look beyond the seemingly-blatant partisanship in some of my selections, it's actually not a bad lineup at all. My goal (as you'll see in a minute) was to create a team that can be carried by good pitching. This lineup accomplishes exactly what I want it to do: I can compete in all five offensive categories. If I want to, I can even swap in Hosmer at first base, bench Howard and produce a lineup where almost everyone is a base-stealer (I'd have to pick up a Rajai Davis-type base-stealer to do this, but those guys aren't hard to find). It's not dominant in any one area, especially in home runs, but I can stick around in enough categories that if my pitching holds to form, I should be able to win most weeks. That half my players come from the state I'm living in is a happy side benefit.
I think what I like the most about my team is that it's rounded out by some really nice sleepers. Between Mike Moustakas and Hosmer, one of them should pan out and have a great year. Between Domonic Brown and Starling Marte, one of them should pan out and be useable. If one or more of them suck, it's okay because I'm not dependent on any of them. In fact, the whole reason I drafted them -- as opposed to a more established hitter like Dan Uggla -- is that it allows me some breathing room to pick up a hot free-agent hitter if/when one appears later in the year. I'm sure that either Marte or Brown won't be on my team by the end of the year, but if they get dropped, it's only because a better hitter has appeared on the waiver wire. I good rule of thumb is that it's much easier to find a hitter who can spontaneously produce a great week than it is a pitcher -- at least in my humble opinion.
The only batter I own who I honestly don't know what to do with is Lance Berkman. I decided to draft him because I think he can have a sneaky good year batting in the No. 3 slot in the Rangers lineup -- much in the way that Carlos Beltran had a great year replacing Albert Pujols in the Cardinals lineup a year ago. However, I don't have much need for Berkman, so for now he serves as little more than potential trade bait. With that out of the way, here's what my pitching looks like:
More Phillies. I've violated the cardinal rule of fantasy, which is that you're not supposed to pick dudes just because you like them/root for them. Only, I think I can have my cake and eat it too because I've basically only chosen Phillies players who are actually useful to me -- for what it's worth, I turned down Chase Utley because Pedroia is a vastly superior second baseman. Yes, I'm in a $20 league and I plan to update my team regularly because I want to win, but I also want to like my fantasy team. What's the point of winning if my team is made up of guys who I either don't like or never get to see? Also, having to root against guys on your favorite because your fantasy opponent has one of their players is annoying, and I've more or less removed that from happening with my current team.
All right, enough of that. Let's talk about the pitching. Hamels, Cain, Bumgarner and Halladay give me some awesome starting pitching, and yes I'm including Halladay as a great pitcher in spite of the horrible, horrible spring training he's having. If he sucks, no biggy, but I've learned the hard way not to get seduced by what a player is doing in exhibition games, and Halladay has been great enough for me to trust that he'll turn it around in the regular season. If he's the old Roy Halladay, then I will have managed to snag one of the best pitchers in baseball in the eighth round of the draft.
I also dig my relief pitching. Grilli and Holland had excellent strikeout rates last year, and I expect them both to flourish in their first full season as their team's primary closer. Chris Perez gets hurt a lot but he's a save machine when he gets on the field. I have no idea what to expect from Boggs and Rondon, but I'm happy just to have three solid closers who I won't have to fret over throughout the year.
As for the others: both Bucholtz and Garcia were awesome in 2010, but have been horribly inconsistent ever since. Maybe one of them can actually stay healthy and be good for me. Hellickson has a chance to be an All-Star; his strikeout rate is puny, but he's young and his ERA is tremendous considering the division he's pitching in, so I'm very happy to have him as my fifth-best pitcher.
Overall, my pitching is excellent. And I'm hoping it will compensate for any of the flaws with my offense. It's not a perfect team -- I desperately wanted Kris Medlen too, but he was chosen one slot ahead of me, which forced/allowed me to nab Jimmy Rollins. But it's good enough. Maybe not great, but I fully expect to be competitive this year. We shall see...