Monday, May 11, 2009

Mile High Minute :: ECB 2009, Week 5


In what is sure to be one of the closest finishes of the entire season, the Mile High Mackerel extended their winning streak to four weeks in a row with a 2/3-point victory over league-leading Speedway.

In the last inning of the week, Mack closer and world-class douchebag Jonathan Papelbon tallied 14 last-second points in nail-biting fashion, having what would have been the series-clinching point on third base with no one out. He promptly struck out Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton, and Carl Crawford and danced his way to his home in Gayville.

“ZOMG! IM 2 AWESOME!” Papelbon said to the media, wearing his trademark dumbass goggles, bike shorts, and t-shirt reading “ZOMG! IM 2 AWESOME!"

“I didn’t even watch the game,” said GM Jon Bielecki, “I was playing Elder Scrolls IV on XBox, assuming that I had no chance of winning the series. You can imagine my surprise when I came in on Monday and checked the scores. It was like a 6-out-of-10 on the surprise scale.”

Mile High takes on LA of Anaheim this week, who put up an impressive (albeit not enough to win) 487 points versus Chicago in Week 5.

“I feel pretty confident we can keep rolling,” Bielecki said, “We went with a bit of a strange lineup this week, sitting McLouth, J-Roll, and Paps, but we’re still tinkering around from week to week.” Bielecki also noted that Armando Galarraga and A.J. Burnett were essentially competing for a roster spot this week. If Burnett is cut, he has vowed to be picked up by Marshall Street and to go on to have a 700 point season.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mile High Minute :: ECB 2009, Week 4


Four weeks into the season and it seems the Mile High Mackerel have finally left their Week 1 travesty in the distance. Earning TOTW honors and a 6-3 victory over rival Marshall Street Menace, the Mack extended their win streak to three weeks and are currently tied for second place with Chicago in the standings. The Mack are in control of their own destiny this week as they take on first-place Speedway, the current ECB points leader.

“We’re going to need a big week from our pitching staff this week,” said GM Jon Bielecki, referring to the fact that Speedway has 4 two-start pitchers going in Week 5. Mile High will counter with three two-starters of their own, including staff ace Tim Lincecum who has seemingly found his mojo after a few shaky outings to start the season.

“I throw fast! PEEW PEEW!” said Lincecum in his weekly press conference. Bielecki will also be looking for “peew-peew” type performances from Kevin Millwood and Chris Volstad, both of whom are making their 2009 debuts for the Mackerel in Week 5.

Offensively, the Mack said goodbye to Kelly Johnson after Week 4 due to declining performance and lack of games played. In his place, Jimmy Rollins will be making his return to an offense that lost several games last week due to injury (Hanley Ramirez, Nate McLouth) and rainouts (5 hitters rained out on Sunday). Nevertheless, the Mackerel put up 420 points as a team, which is encouraging considering much of the team has yet to hit its stride.

“This week will be a measuring rod for us,” said Bielecki, “both squads have lots of pitching and a full schedule for the hitters, so it should be fun to watch these scores accumulate.”

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mile High Minute :: ECB 2009, Week 3


Continuing their roller coaster season, the Mile High Mackerel claimed a 6-3 victory, edging LA of Anaheim by 57 points to establish their first winning streak of the season. Less impressive was the point total put up by the Mack, 353.5, which was the third lowest in the league.

“We need to get better, especially on the mound,” said GM Jon Bielecki, “We’re okay in the win column right now, but we’re a hair’s breadth from having a couple of 2-7 weeks, or worse.”

The pitching for the Mack was inconsistent again, with erratic performances both good (W, 8IP, 12K from Tim Lincecum) and worse than not playing at all (-.50 points from A.J. Burnett).

“We were in a tough spot last week,” Bielecki said, “I was banking on Lilly going twice, but he got pushed to Wednesday. Also Valverde got hurt and Papelbon has been less than solid.”

The offense dropped off a bit, producing it’s lowest score of the season. However the 238 points was very much a team effort. Six players scored 20 points or more, with no one over 33 (Nick Markakis). The Mack bats were hampered by slow weeks from Jimmy Rollins (9 points) and Chris Duncan (5 points). Rollins and Duncan have gone back to the bench for Week 4 with Kelly Johnson returning the lineup and Shin-Soo Choo joining the outfield. But Bielecki’s focus remained on the mound.

“Jimmy will start hitting one of these days,” he said, “It’s sort of like having someone on the DL right now. What we really need is to get more points out of our pitching. We’re giving up too many walks and that needs to stop. Again, I’m confident we’ve got a good core team assembled, it’s just going to take a few more weeks to get all of the pieces together.”

The Mack can take some solace in the fact that the ECB is in the midst of a league-wide parity never before seen. Although they have scored more total points than only LA of Anaheim, they trail second place Baltimore by less than 70 points.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mile High Minute :: ECB 2009, Week 2


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Roaring back from a Week 1 bed-shitting, the Mile High Mackerel responded better than expected in their Week 2 matchup against the Marshall Street Menace. Raúl Ibañez led a well rounded offensive attack that resulted in 299 offensive points, just 26 points less than the entire team’s output in Week 1.

The pitching also came around, led by 2 wins from Gavin Floyd and a one-hit performance by Ted Lilly on Monday. Lilly was scheduled to pitch again on Sunday, and may have helped Mile High make a run for Team Of The Week honors, but the game was canceled because Adler controls the weather in Chicago.

“A sigh of relief? Yeah,” said GM Jon Bielecki, “It’s hard to know what to expect when a team stumbles out of the gates like we did in Week 1. It was nice to bounce back. Hopefully we can be more consistent in the coming weeks.”

With a 6-3 victory, the Mack move into sole possession of 3rd place in the standings, despite scoring the second least amount of total points on the season. Offensively, they rank second in the league behind Woosta and the bats will be needed this week, as Mile High only has one two-start pitcher going against LA of Anaheim.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

H2H :: Back By Popular Demand Or Something

Speedway Starwiped the league, putting up a stunning 533.1 points in week 1, sweeping the weekly awards and embarrassing the Cones. Are they the real deal this season, or will you put your money on anyone else?

I take the field. Speedway has potential, but, well, it’s just that, there are too many “buts.” But will the Mets win for Johan? But will Stephen Drew deliver? But will Ryan Braun hit a home run? But will Magglio Ordonez, well you know. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Speedway isn’t any good, but I don’t see Josh Johnson putting up 63 every week. I will call Speedway the scariest team to have to play. Just about every Wipe could have a monster week, as Week 1 showed, but I don’t think the consistently will be there as the season progresses. So who do I take in the field? That wasn’t the question. My answer is: not Speedway, and I’ll leave it at that. Jon?

This is like taking the field versus Tiger, right? So Frieds is Tiger in this analogy? I love you Frieds, but the closest thing we have to Tiger is Braden in SBL. And that includes Adler’s ECB team. I agree, this team is built to destroy, but that destruction is going to rely heavily on big weeks from veterans Miggy Cabrera and Chase Utley. I think a key to them running the table this year will be the consistency of Evan Longoria and Ryan Braun. So far Longoria is raking, but it remains to be seen if the rest of the league can make adjustments to shut him down. If the season ended today, yes they would win, but I’ll take the field on this one.


Both Mile High and Chicago had a terrible first week, but were lucky enough to be playing each other, playing to a 5-4 outcome. Which one of these teams should be more worried about starting the season which such a meager total?


Why would I say my team? Because after the draft, I really didn’t like my team. I can be honest about this. Papelbon? Really? That guy is like king douche, he has no businees wearing the glorious black and teal. I gotta give props to Grashow for having his shit together, because honestly I'm the type of GM that likes to have 5 minutes or more to make a pick. On those back-to-back picks it was bam-bam and I was totally unprepared, hence the Jose Valverde pick. Anyway, there were more question marks than not after the draft for me, and the first week didn't help my constitution any. Needless to say I'm sharpening the guillotine...

So what was your answer to the actual question? I got it. You’re not happy about drafting Papelbon in the first round. Good move, though, because 3 or 4 more rounds and I probably would have drafted him (salt in the wound?) Come on, man, get over it, you’re the defending champ. You’ve got Hanley Ramirez. That guy is so good he wears black and teal in real life! Rollins will come around, and your Yankees will start to swing the bat. ffej

Since 2002 the league MVP has belonged to Woosta. Will this continue this season?

ffej No. The glory days are over in Woosta. Despite my lack of faith in the team as a whole, I think Speedway has a good group of individual performers. It would not surprise me to see I see a ‘Wipe bat as MVP this season.

Unfortunately, I have to say that as long as A-Rod and A-Lbert reside in Woosta, it’s hard to see the MVP trophy leaving the hands of the Pimps. And I’m okay with that, because it’s got to pain most of the owners in the league to send the MVP award to Woosta every year, and sometimes make it be a Yankee. In fact, since this league’s inception, I think the MVP award has been synonymous with a-hole that I wouldn’t want on my team anyway. Would I like the buck the trend? Sure, but even if they’re winning awards every year, the Pimps still aren’t getting it done as a team. There’s no “I” in “put my name in the cup.” Yes there is.


New Haven has finished in seventh place in overall scoring in each of the last two seasons. Is there some jackpot to be expected if they go 7-7-7, or will the T-Cones find their way into the playoff race?

jb The 7-7-7 sweep would have happened last year, if I didn't screw it up and finish 7th in '06, so my apologies there for not tanking it. You know what they say about sunshine and a dog's ass? Well you, my friend, are the dog's ass this year (not to be confused with the cat's ass, which ALWAYS GOES TO EIGHT BALL!). I predict at least a 6th place finish for the T-Cones this year. That being said, have a feeling that it's going to be a log jam from 3rd to 6th place, at least in the win column and there will be some "I can't believe I scored XXXXX points this year and didn't (or did) make the playoffs" after all is said and done.

I hate to talk good about my team as my KFS trophy case remains empty, but I’d like to agree. I’d like to see the Cones as part of that logjam you refer to. You’re absolutely right about that too. The past few seasons, in all KFS sports that has definitely been an increase in parity, especially in that 3-6 place area. I think that in itself is great, and I might be thinking that I might have a chance to maybe make the playoff cut this season. Kind of. Maybe. ffej

Predict the following:

League MVP

Jeff Says…cabrera-miguel

Miguel Cabrera Speedway

Jon Says…sizemore-grady

Grady Sizemore Baltimore

Draft Steal

Jeff Says… bell-heath Heath Bell New Haven, Round 25

Jon Says… garza-matt Matt Garza Baltimore, Round 23

Draft Bust

Jeff Says… rivera-mariano Mariano Rivera Marshall Street, Round 6

Jon Says… ramirez-alexei Alexei Ramirez LA of Anaheim, Round 8

Worst Keeper

Jeff Says… martin-russell Russell Martin
LA of Anaheim

Jon Says… pedroia-dustin Dustin Pedroia Marshall Street


Jesse Orosco
Award Most Teams Played For

Jon Says… hawpe-brad Brad Hawpe
He's a power hitter and he's streaky. More than a couple of teams will try to ride the Hawpe Express as it's making its way uphill... Nice deer.

Jeff Says… percival-troy Troy Percival
But, apparently all those teams will be the Chicago Tiger Army.

Chris Carpenter Award
Most Likely To Spend More Than Half The Season On The DL

Jon Says… carpenter-chris Chris Carpenter Annnnd done.

Jeff Says… milledge-lastings Lastings Milledge Does half the season on the farm count? HA!

The Aubrey Huff Award
Biggest Second Half – Individual

Jon Says… swisher-nick Nick Swisher
I think he'll platoon for the Bombers during the first half of the season, then someone will go down (NOT TEIXEIRA!) and he'll be a full time player batting behind A-Rod. A good place to be.

Jeff Says… ichiro Ichiro
He’ll be back soon, and take some time adjusting to leadoff. He’ll still steal 40+ bases, though.

The Oakland Athletics Award
Biggest Second Half – Team

Jon Says… speedway Speedway
Weiters and David Price are imminent. Or am I just saying that so Frieds will keep them on his roster?

Jeff Says… chicago Chicago
Burrell, Bruce, and Kemp will produce and the tribe will give Kerry Wood save opportunities.



Out of time. We’ll try to do better next time. Good night Canada…you suck.

jb Well said. I hope I’m wrong about everything I said in this episode.

Lates, y’all…

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mile High Minute :: ECB 2009, Week 1


One of the few problems with living at altitude is that hangovers are long and painful. Such was the case with the mighty-mighty-Mackerel who dropped perhaps the biggest, smelliest hangover dump in the history of the ECB in Week 1.

Having picked up AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee in the draft, pitching for the Mackerel should have been the story. It was. Lee and Tim Lincecum combined for less than 18 total points over 4 starts. Aaron Cook contributed 3.7 points on the week, bringing Mackerel two-start pitchers to a total of 21.3 points over 6 total starts.

“I feel like I’m more mature now,” said GM Jon Bielecki when asked if he would be breaking anything in response to his team’s performance, “Besides, XBox controllers are like 40 bucks. That’s a little steep.”

“I think Tim and Cliff will be okay,” Bielecki added, “We’ll wait until Cliff’s next two start week to put him in the lineup though.”

Time will tell what the future holds for Aaron Cook. “I have a red goatee,” he said in a post-game press conference, “Also, why the hell did the Rockies trade Matt Holliday?”

Offensively, the Mack were in the middle of the pack across the league. They weren’t helped by the fact that new toy Mark Teixeira sat out most of the weekend with wrist tendonitis. “I was pretty disappointed with my managers,” Bielecki said, “All we needed was a couple of hits to get a win and Tex, Damon, Helton, and Johnson all sat the bench on Sunday.” Helton has since packed his bags and slumping keeper Jimmy Rollins is not playing this week in favor of Robinson Canó.

Mile High plays Marshall Street this week, who put up 400 points in Week 1. “We’ll be back, probably,” Bielecki said, “There are a lot of new faces around here, so we need to figure out how to make this thing work.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Round 2: Electric Boogaloo

Your round two projections, straight outta the Mile Heezzy. Assuming current list of keepers and Grashow’s predictions…

  1. Baltimore
    Who They’ll Have…
    Prince Fielder, Adam Dunn, Grady Sizemore, Matt Holliday, Álex Ríos, Daisuke Matsuzaka.
    And Then…
    Nate McLouth. Could this be a more fitting pick for the D-Jays? McLouth is the NL version of Sizemore. He’s gritty, well rounded, and he plays in Shittsburgh, which would make it easy for GM Grashow to see his investment in person a few times over the course of the season. Besides, he’s a high-upside white boy who rumor has it Mile High has been looking closely at. This virtually guarantees that he’ll be drafted by Baltimore.
  2. Mile High
    Who They’ll Have…
    Tim Lincecum, Mark Teixeira, Hanley Ramírez, Nick Markakis, Jimmy Rollins, Adrián González.
    And Then…
    Roy Halladay. Can JB pass up teaming Doc with Timmay again? Probably not. We’re getting the bad back together!
  3. Worcester
    Who They’ll Have…
    Albert Pujols, José Reyes, Álex Rodríguez, Josh Hamilton, David Ortiz, Francisco Rodríguez.
    And Then…
    Dan Uggla. The patented Rich “This Draft Is Terrible” talk starts in round two when the majority of the talent lies in pitching. Pitching is for wimps. Pitching is for guys who don’t have Popeye-style forearms. Dan Uggla had more strikeouts than Cliff Lee last year AND he hit 32 jacks. This is elementary, people.
  4. Marshall Street
    Who They’ll Have…
    Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Carlos Lee, CC Sabathia, Jake Peavy, Bobby Abreu.
    And Then…
    Mariano Rivera. The opportunity will be there for Watts to do something radical with this pick. With most of the top-tier studs already spoken for, he’ll have to decide if this will be a pitching or hitting heavy squad. I remember that one time when this team was decent it was because of pitching. Also I’ll be reminding everyone at the draft that pitching won the championship last year.
  5. Chicago
    Who They’ll Have…
    Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltrán, Carlos Quentin, Cole Hamels.
    And Then…
    Jonathan Papelbon. And then Adler walks out of the room, his arms raised triumphantly (much like this photo), forgetting that it’s a 25-man roster and said rosters needs to be updated on a weekly basis. He finishes the season 1 game out of the playoffs, while scoring more points than the 4th and 3rd place teams.
  6. Speedway
    Who They’ll Have…
    Miguel Cabrera, Chase Utley, Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, Johan Santana, B.J. Upton.
    And Then…
    Joey Votto. Then he waits until round-the-third to snatch Hunter Pence from under Adler’s nose.
  7. New Haven
    Who They’ll Have…
    Brian McCann, Kevin Youkilis, Brian Roberts, Aramis Ramírez, Carl Crawford, Vladmir Guerrero.
    And Then…
    Cliff Lee. A solid pitcher, and a starter at that. Not since the days of when Randy Johnson could break 90mph have we seen that out of the T-Cones. Make it happen, Ffej. Of course, we may also see Brad Lidge or Joakim Soria go at this slot.
  8. Los Angeles… of Anaheim
    Who They’ll Have…
    Russell Martin, David Wright, Jason Bay, Alfonso Soriano, Brandon Webb, Manny Ramírez (how is this team so bad?).
    And Then…
    Curtis Granderson. Rest of league: “FUCK!”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Round 1 Goes a Little Something Like This

1st round mock draft, courtesy of Baltimore CEO/Director of Player Personnel Jon Grashow.

  1. Anaheim: Man-Ram
And with the 1st pick of the 2009 Elm City Baseball Draft presented in stunning 1080P by the LA of Anaheim Squatters select – Manny Ramirez. Every year Bob’s lineup hits the cover off the ball, leaving the rest of us scratching our heads as we barely squeak out a victory even though none of his pitchers have two starts and 3 of his active players are on the DL. Manny fits this bill to a T, and he even plays in LA. Consider this one a done deal.
  1. New Haven: Vlad Guerrero
“Well, he’s old enough…” will be the last words uttered in the New Haven war room prior to the selection of Guerrero with the 2nd pick. New Haven keepers McCann, Youkilis, and Crawford are all bringing the average age of the T-Cones down to dangerously low levels. Vlad is the pick that will bring this once proud franchise back to its respectable “veteran” status.
  1. Speedway: BJ Upton
“Well, he’s young enough…” will be the last words uttered in the Speedway war room prior to the selection of the elder Upton brother with the 3rd pick. Speedway has the infield positions pretty well covered, so they will probably look to fill in one of the holes in the OF with their first pick. Plus Ryan has already thrown Upton’s name around the message boards. Anyone who can read between the lines can see he has feelings for the shortstop turned third baseman turned second baseman turned outfielder.
  1. Chicago: Cole Hamels
Chicago didn’t keep any pitchers, and Cole Hamels is a flame thrower. He’s young, he’s got the WOW factor that Adler can’t get enough of, and he’s not on the Yankees – sounds like a match to me. Now that it has been revealed that his elbow is structurally sound, look for Private Hamels to report to the Tiger Army for duty in the first round.
  1. Marshall St.: Bob Abreu
With rumors circulating that Manager Watterson may not be able to attend the draft in person this year, I was tempted to write the name of a catcher in this slot. But I KNOW that he won’t make the mistake of pre-ranking players alphabetically by position again, so instead I just chose the available player that I like the least. That’s usually a good bet for Marshall St.
  1. Woosta: K-Rod
Did anyone realize that Francisco Rodriguez scored 792 points last year? That’s just disgusting. Woosta will probably pick him up again and ride him to the championship. He’ll probably score even more this year playing for the M-E-T-S.
  1. Mile High: A-Gon
Over the past few years Mile High has had some of the most impressive drafts of any team, building their impressive stable of keepers and making them a competitive force each year. They have an opening at the corner infielder position and Adrian Gonzalez is just the kind of high-scoring, high-upside, sensible pick that JB likes to make.
  1. Baltimore: Dice-K
With no pitchers counted among their keepers, Baltimore will almost certainly try to rectify the situation in the first round. Matsuzaka has gotten better each year, and has a great bullpen behind him this year. Any pitcher who can shut down the Cuban WBC team should make short work of an Elm City Baseball squad. I actually have no intention of drafting Dice-K in the first round, but its sort of a convincing argument, right?

Friday, January 23, 2009

White Flash! Your ECB Keeper Preview

Lost is gonna do it, folks. It's going to center the rest of the series around horribly contrived time travel storylines that make no scientific sense whatsoever even though they will go to great pains to try and explain them the exact way that a real scientist would. AND IT'S GOING TO ACTUALLY WORK! AWESOMELY! Thank god.

In that spirit, I hope everyone read all those juicy KFS blog entries from the past 7 months before the "island" "moved". They were really quite "something".

With another Compton title out of the CFA in the books and yet another season of SBL chugging along like the opposite of a train, it's clearly time to look ahead to the old ball game. About two months from now, at least 6 or 7 owners will convene at their computers instead of doing something awesome in person to put together their squadrons for the (believe it or not) 9th season of Elm City Baseball. In an effort to forget about Baron Davis, Rudy Gay, Chris Kaman, et the rest, let's take a refreshing glance at all 8 ECB teams' keeper situations.

Mos def - David Wright, Jason Bay, Brandon Webb
Decision time - Derrek Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Alfonso Soriano
No Bob, no - Travis Hafner

A full season in the Sox lineup at Fenway should keep Bay in the hunt for top outfielder status, while Wright is a shoe-in at the thin but improving hot corner spot. Webb will no doubt anchor the Squatter staff all 21 regular season weeks, even if he is forced to play centerfield on opening day, falls into the swimming pool and is sucked into the drain thingy like that kid whose scarred torso was plastered all over the other day with no warning. Thanks, trusted news organization!

Ordonez was a steady point producer last year in the wake of his off-the-charts 2007 season and will probably make the squad. The last spot should come down to a couple of North Siders in Lee and Soriano. With 2/3 of his outfield shored up, expect Bob to go with Derrek Lee at 1B.

Not at first base under any circumstances should be the awful Travis Hafner, who was given a second chance last year at this time after an anemic '07 and was somehow twice as bad. A non-protected Pronk might not be picked until the very late rounds, if at all.

Potential Keeper Grade - C-plus

Mos def - Prince Fielder, Grady Sizemore, Matt Holliday
Decision time - Chipper Jones, Garrett Atkins, Adam Dunn, Michael Young
King of Pain - Felix Hernandez

Baltimore's big shakeup came last year, trading Evan Longoria and Johan Santana for Holliday and Hernandez. The ex-Jays are almost certain keepers on any team heading into '08, while only Holliday looks to make the new Jays roster. Joining the new Oakland A will most likely be the slugging Fielder and the all-around superstar Sizemore. All three players are likely candidates to top the 4 PPG mark and be the best at their positions.

On the fence for Grashow are a number of above average talents. Garrett Atkins has the least notoriety but probably the most upside here, due to his position and home park. Behind him are Jones and Dunn, both with major question marks. For the aging Chipper, can Baltimore get anything close to a repeat of 2008, only with more games played? For Dunn, it's where he'll end up playing. Michael Young is only included because he might be eligible at every IF position after the first month of the season and Baltimore just can't let go of him. In reality, he kind of blows now.

And what of Felix Hernandez, the tanatlizing righty on the worst team in the majors? When healthy, he's a near lock for 7+ innings and 8+ Ks every time out. But until we wise up and stop giving points for wins, Felix just isn't keeper material at this point. Unlike, say, Johan Santana. Trust me, Jon. This will be the most frustrating fantasy player you'll ever own. You will constantly try and trade him. And it won't never ever not work.

Potential Keeper Grade - B-minus

Mos def - Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, Carlos Quentin
Decision time - Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, Jay Bruce, Hunter Pence, Cole Hamels, Carlos Zambrano
I'd Do It - Chris Davis

Bonus points for 2007 Package Series Champion Owner Steve Adler (the Marisa Tomei/Mira Sorvino of KFS) and JB for making, gasp, an OFFSEASON TRADE! Unfortunately for young Steven, this one looks one-sided as all getout. And believe me, I know from one-sided trades involving unwanted pinstripers. Where Mark Teixiera once stood is now occupied by Carlos Quentin, and so even if nobody in the world will expect Quentin to duplicate his surprising 2008 stats, Adler pretty much has to keep him. He's probably among Chicago's top 5 players, so it's not terribly egregious. But at a glance, this has the potential to backfire.

By the way, Angel Berroa's on the Yankees now. Full. Circle

On the other hand, the Tiger Army is still loaded at first base, with Howard and Morneau locks to stick with the team and 1B-eligible Lance Berkman also in the running. The other candidates at the plate are all outfielders, in the young Jay Bruce and Hunter Pence and the steady Carlos Beltran. Pence suffered through a bit of a sophomore slump last season. And he doesn't play for the Reds, who are Emily's favorite team, and we all know Emily runs the show. Also, his last name isn't freaking BRUCE. So fuck him.

With at most one spot remaining, Adler may have his choice of fireballers on the mound. Philly hero Cole Hamels is probably a safer choice than the up-and-down Zambrano. Here's my prediction: He'll go with zzzzzzzzz.....

Sorry, fell asleep there talking about Adler's team. Happens to everyone. That was in no way a tip of the hat in Zambrano's direction.

Potential Keeper Grade - B-

Mos def - Joe Mauer, C.C. Sabathia
Decision time - Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Carlos Lee, Brad Hawpe, Jake Peavy
Seriously, get out of the league - Derek Jeter

Here's a team that needs to draft really well at the top this year. The Menace appear to have the most holes heading into the season, with no true hitting superstars to speak of. Joe Mauer was the lone survivor to emerge from the Great Catcher Hoarding of 2008, and he will undoubtedly be carried over into 2009. Sure it'll be 2 or 3 years before he gets to Boston or New York so that his stats can really take off. But in the meantime, this is a guaranteed 2.5-4.0 PPG. Book it.

The rest of the hitters are tough to predict. The two most consistent bats all year long were Pedroia and Kinsler. Will their shared position split them apart, or does keeping them both make even more sense due to 2B scarcity? Yes. One of those. Two outfielders will also vie for a spot on the team in El Caballo and El Hawpemeister. -Ooski. -Von Hawpe. -ernator. Seeing no Rockies experts in our midst, I vote Carlos Lee.

One interesting option Watterson has is on the mound, where stone cold lock Sabathia could be paired with Jake Peavy to form the league's best pitching duo before the draft. If Peavy stays in San Diego, his ceiling remains as high as any ace in the game and Marshall St. could roll out an automatic 40-50 points per week with those two players.

OR! Minka Kelly's boyfriend could play shortstop once again and rule us all. With the addition of Range Factor well down our ECB priority list, this is totally plausible.

Potential Keeper Grade - C

Mos def - Mark Teixeira, Hanley Ramirez, Tim Lincecum
Decision time - Adrian Gonzalez, Dan Uggla, Jimmy Rollins, Nick Markakis, Roy Halladay
Dead? - Vlad Guerrero

Now we're talking. While the strength of the 2008 Macks was their pitching rotation, they have plenty of power at the dish to contend again regardless of how the draft falls. Teixeira comes to Denver with career-year potential at the not-as-deep-as-it-used-to-be 1B slot. Ramirez is the top SS on most draft boards and could always add OF eligibility at some point in the near future.

Joining them will most likely be another SS in Jimmy Rollins, giving Mile High flexibility up the middle. Rollins' potential probably lies somewhere in between his MVP season of 2 years ago and last year's up-and-down campaign. From there, JB can choose to sew up all 3 MI slots before the draft even starts by retaining Dan Uggla, the quietly productive fantasy 2B. I recently read on of those cherry-picker type stats where the list of all the second basemen in MLB history to score at least 104 runs, hit at least 24 home runs, and drive in at least 88.235 RBIs in each of his first three seasons looks like this:

1. Dan Uggla

All this in a division littered with crappy hitters parks. He's a darkhorse still, but don't be shocked. Other options include other underrated superstars Nick Markakis and Adrian Gonzalez, the batting film of whom JB undoubtedly watches as he falls asleep every night.

On the mound, I expect the insanely cool Lincecum to be the keeper choice here. Roy Halladay is a bygawdhoss, but Timmay's strikeout potential gives him the slight edge. He may, in fact, strike out 28 Diamondbacks in one game this year. 31 if Adam Dunn comes back.

And we haven't even discussed Guerrero, who's pretty much the team mascot at this point. His downward trend makes him expendable, even if you can still count on solid stats, as everyone in our league loves to draft for upside only. Suckers.

Potential Keeper Grade - B-plus

Mos def - Kevin Youkilis, Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, Brian McCann, Aramis Ramirez, Ichiro
Decision time - Wait, that list goes here
This would be way funner - Jonathan Papelbon. Just Jonathan Papelbon.

Did someone say rebuilding time? The list of potential keepers for Jeff's T-Cones reads like the list of players up for fan voting into the last roster spot of the All-Star team. They're good. Above average, even. But there's no fantasy stud to speak of. Scarily enough, Youkilis was the closest thing in '08, putting up Teixeria-like numbers (Random comparison there. No reason for it whatsoever. No sir.) and challenging for the top spot among 1Bs all season long. He's probably the safest bet. Pena and Crawford come next, as the Tampa Bay lineup will provide plenty of scoring opportunities. Yikes. Did that just happen?

The time of Ichiro has probably passed, as it's now clear that he cannot "hit a home run whenever he wanted to - he just doesn't want to". I mean, really. He should want to. WANT TOOOOO! Sorry. I'm thinking Brian McCann might make the squad. He'd be one of my picks and here would be my reasoning:

"Good, now I don't have to prerank catchers."

So yeah, throw these guys in a hat and pick 5 names. And if it comes out with 5 closers, well, that may not be the worst thing in the world. Jeff would only then have to draft 5 more before actually looking at a hitter or two.

Potential Keeper Grade - D-plus

Mos def - I'm not telling you shit. I learned from the Patriots that secrecy is the first step to success.
Decision time - What did I just say?
OK, fine - Miguel Cabrera, Chase Utley, Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, Johan Santana

Let's just not draft this year. Play with what you got.

Potential Keeper Grade (before Utley starts playing) - A
Potential Keeper Grade (when Utley returns) - Z-minus (on a looping alphabet curve)

Mos def - Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Alex Rodriguez,
Decision time - Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, BJ Upton, Josh Hamilton
Show some sack! - Ryan Ludwick, Geovany Soto

Could it be? Only one first baseman on the Pimp Rooster keeper list? The decisions made here could impact the first round of the draft more than any other team, with KFS favorites Ramirez and Ortiz twisting in the wind. The prediciton here is that Manny stays, no matter what MLB team he ends up with. He will then grow a beard. On his foot or something. BECAUSE HE'S A CRAZY RETARDWHO CAN HIT!

The first-string Woosta infield is practically set, with Pujols, Reyes, and A-Rod back for their 58th consecutive tour of duty, and 2B BJ Upton another strong possibility. From there, it's a tough choice for Rich between the lovable teddy bear, the Large Father, the Dominican Daddy, the David Ortiz... and that guy who did drugs and did really well for half a season in an awesome hitters park. Not sure where I lean on this one.

But come on, Rice. Mix it up. You've got the next Mike Piazza behind the plate in Soto. You could keep him and not worry about when to draft Josh Bard. Or how about Ryan Ludwick? He gets every single point that Pujols gets. That's like Warner to Holt!

Ah screw it, you're going to luck into every right decision for the first 10 rounds of the draft anyway. Don't even keep anyone. That's your last KFS frontier, really. I mean Christ. DeAngelo Williams?

Potential Keeper Grade - B-plus