The last of my sextet of preview goes to Evil League of Evil, whose owner is perpetually in the money, drafts the best players, and on the right ends of most trades. To top it off, he's a very nice guy and a pleasure to deal with in the realm of fantasy baseball, meaning that he is, in fact, pure evil. It's with this jaundiced, crabby, forlorn eye that we examine whether or not he'll make it to the top of the league...once again.
Deep and frankly, a bit scary. Chris Ianetta, who I like a lot, is the worst player they'll be starting regularly, because they have super sophmores Chris Davis and Alexi Ramirez on one side of the infield with stud David Wright and Raffy Furcal on the other side. There's some injury and soph jinx risk here, for sure, but even the bench is solid, as Felipe Lopez isn't awful, and Matt Laporta and Conor Jackson are around to play the corner spots. Woof.
Health is key, as is some players picking up where the left off last year. Carlos Quentin was arguably the MVP of the AL through September 1 last year, and Josh Hamilton is as talented a hitter as there is in baseball. But let's see them both do it again this year before we start crowning their asses. That said, them plus solid citizen Jason Bay and sneaky sleeper Brett Gardner makes for a very well-rounded outfield.
The Nazis (score, Teddy!) have taken the stars and scrubs approach here, as Tim Lincecum and Dan Haren are two studs atop the rotation, and then they're followed by some oddballs named Oliver! and KenKen, two guys whose status is currently "NA", and the unkillable Big Eunuch. We can't really rate this until we look at...
...the fact that they have 4 relievers and 3 closers on the team. That sounds great in theory, but they've got the Baltimore tandem, the Reds' fireballer and someone who's trying to get outs in Arlington, Texas. They should rack up saves, but their peripherals may kill the good work that Tiny Tim and Big Dan do in the rotation, and at a minimum, should undo the work of the other starters. I'd be shocked if they didn't try to flip a hitter for a real pitcher come July.
The hitting is ridiculously good and well-rounded, the pitching....less so. That said, we said the exact same thing about the Torkies last year, and they won going away. While PECOTA may disagree, here's my pick as the preseason favorite.