Saturday, April 25, 2015

Your 2015 Lucky Numbers: The Hitters

We're about three weeks into the 2015 season, and my fantasy baseball team, the Lucky Numbers, have worked their way to a 2-0 record so far. Unfortunately, last year was a bust. I drafted lots of underperformers like Chris Davis, Matt Cain, and Billy Butler, and my prospects like Taijuan Walker didn't pan out.

It's unlikely that I'll pick up a win this week in my head-to-head CBS points league, but it's definitely time to present my team to the world via baseball cards.

2014 Topps #393 Devin Mesoraco
Catcher: Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds (8th round)

Mesoraco has been a disappointment already. He only played a few games before injuring his hip. He's an integral piece to the Cincinnati team, but for some reason, they refuse to place him on the DL. He hasn't played since early April, and I had to pick up Wilson Ramos of Washington to fill the catcher slot while Mesoraco is riding the pine. I feel like he slipped a bit in the draft, so I hope he'll return to action sooner rather than later.

2013 Finest X-Fractors #23 Adrian Gonzalez
First Baseman: Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers (4th round)

Adrian Gonzalez was on fire in week 1, smashing five home runs for 71 points. He's cooled off a bit since then, but is still second overall among hitters.

Like the Arenado card I showed a few days ago, this is an X-Fractor, which has lots of little squares and diamonds in the background pattern. If I had to pick one such design to keep in a shiny Topps set, it would be X-Fractors.

2014 Stadium Club #136 Jason Kipnis
Second Baseman: Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians (9th round)

Kipnis has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but the season is still young and there's plenty of ebb and flow, unless you're Clayton Kershaw.

2014 Stadium Club Beam Team #BT-13 Manny Machado
Third Baseman: Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles (13th round)

Machado hit two home runs on Thursday, which is always nice to see. It also presents the opportunity to show off two consecutive cards from the terrific 2014 Stadium Club. I am not a fan of Manny Machado at all, but he can contribute to a fantasy squad. Longtime readers of this blog (or anyone that's been to a Rockies game with me this year) know that I'd pick Nolan Arenado over Manny Machado any day.

Arenado, in fact, got on base in the bottom of the 9th on Wednesday, and scored the winning run when Daniel Descalso hit it over five infielders into left-center. That was the perfect ending to a game I watched with some coworkers from a Super Suite at Coors Field. If you ever have a chance to watch a ballgame (or any sporting event, really) from a suite, take it. Lots of good food and snacks, a mini-fridge full of beer and soda, two TVs (which we tuned to hockey playoffs), and plenty of seating inside and out. You can even open a beer past the 7th inning.

2013 Topps Archives #177 Starlin Castro
Shortstop: Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs (12th round)

I bought into the Cubs hype this year, as you'll see later. I waited a bit long to fill the left side of my infield, but if the Cubbies are as good as everyone says they'll be this year, having one (or two) on my team isn't a bad idea. My team is fairly NL-Central heavy, though with no Brewers.

2014 Topps Opening Day Breaking Out #BO-14 Andrew McCutchen
Outfielder: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates (1st round)

You've probably been wondering who my first pick was. Well, here he is. I had 4th pick this year, so after the obvious choices of Trout, Kershaw, and Stanton were selected, I had to pick between McCutchen and Miguel Cabrera. Miggy isn't far removed from the first Triple Crown season in decades, but the now dreadlock-free McCutchen seemed like a slightly better choice this year. The Pirates just keep getting better and better, and the Tigers seem to be on a bit of a downswing, especially when you look at their rotation.

2013 Topps Triple Threads #90 Matt Kemp
Outfielder: Matt Kemp, San Diego Padres (6th round)

This is the first card that doesn't depict the correct team. Kemp was one of many interesting acquisitions by the Padres this offseason, along with James Shields, Wil Myers, Justin Upton, and even Will Middlebrooks. They, along with the Rockies and Dodgers, each have 10 wins so far in the NL West. It's great to see the Rockies up there, as is typical early in the season, but the wheels usually start to come off around the All-Star break. Here's hoping they stay healthy.

2014 Topps #99 Melky Cabrera
Outfielder: Melky Cabrera, Chicago White Sox (10th round)

Though he's not the "M. Cabrera" you most want on your fantasy team, Melky should be an adequate option. He delivered a game-winning RBI earlier this week, and managed to avoid getting caught in the middle of the Adam Eaton/Yordano Ventura brawl.

Here's a fun statistic: A third of ejections this season have been Royals.

2015 Topps Opening Day #25 Jorge Soler (RC)
Designated Hitter: Jorge Soler, Chicago Cubs (11th round)

You pretty much have to own at least one of these Cubs prospects. Bryant, Soler, Alcantara (who was sent down to AAA), Russell, Baez. There's a very real possibility that one of these "next years" very soon will finally be The Year. Soler already has two home runs under his belt, and the Cubs are in second place behind their division rivals, the Cardinals.

2014 Topps #46 Kolten Wong
Bench Guys:
2B Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals (17th round)
3B Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh Pirates (16th round)
OF Yasmany Tomas, Arizona Diamondbacks (19th round)

I focused a bit more on pitching and prospects this year than on the aging veterans that tend to start popping up in the later rounds. Cuban prospect Yasmany Tomas appeared in his first game a couple days ago, so if the D-Backs see fit to spend $68 million and ease him into the MLB, I can pick him in the 19th round instead of, say, Ryan Howard.

I took some real risks this year, but at least some of them should pay off. Mesoraco was injured when I drafted him and has been out for close to two weeks. Machado is a fragile player. The Cubs could turn into the Cubs at any moment. Tomas had yet to appear in an MLB game. And just wait until you see the pitchers.


  1. This is a awesome idea I will probably do this later. Where's your rotation though bubba?