Monday, April 5, 2010

Season Preview: The Gowanus Superfunders

On February 27, 2007, I emailed Teddy a Word document containing that 2007 season's inaugural TA, which we had been posting on the league's message board since 2004. A standard series of transactions were included, culminating with the line: "Hey Jim Duquette? Fuck you!" which I stand by today. The email I got in response from Teddy was life-altering:
What do you say to posting these things on a blog this season? We could fill in with whatever random sports stuff comes to us, but build it around this.
From there, a blog was born. (Random fact: our original name was going to be The Gowanus Record, but that was taken at the time.) Since then, we've used this vehicle to populate the interwebs with ruminations on soccer, horse racing, Massachusetts politics and yes, this fake league about real players. A great run it has been.

Three years and over 300 posts later, the blog has come back full circle by Senor Teddy, who's incorporating the blog's name into his 2010 fantasy team, The Gowanus Superfunders. While this was prompted by the fact that the Gowanus Canal has now been put on in the bulls eye by people like Erin Brokovich, I prefer to think that he's honoring the three years of blogging that have gotten us some posts on Deadspin and horrified sickos in Pakistan. So let's get down to brass tacks: will this be the first year since we started the blog that Teddy finishes with more than 78 points?


Perhaps I'm not the best person to speak about this infield because while it's talented and productive, it's full of guys I don't like. Ryan Howard is a veritable fantasy stud, but one from which I expect a decline because still he can't hit lefties and has been inordinately lucky in the health department (both his and his teammates, which gives him insane RBI numbers). Mark Reynolds may have redefined the Three True Outcomes theory last year by walking, striking out or homering in a whopping 343 trips to the plate, good for 52.4% of his plate appearances. We haven't seen a year like that since Rob Deer's 1991 campaign, where he went TTO 53.6% of the time. He's probably going to be a productive player again this year, especially at the abyss known as third base, but another 44 home run campaign is probably wishful thinking.

Beyond the corner boppers, things remain interesting but not to my liking. Napoli and Ianetta sound like a couple of guys I'd like to have Sunday dinner with at Bamonte's not guys to anchor the catcher's position. Brian Roberts has gone from 50 to 30 steals in two years, making him useful but not a stud. And Marco Scutaro went to Boston for defensive purposes. Overall, the infield is definitely above average but less strong than I initially thought.


A stud and some finger-crossing. Ryan Braun is probably the best fantasy outfielder in baseball, so you get some leeway for the other spots, which is good because they'll probably need it. Carlos Gonzalez showed promise as a potential 20-20 guy for the Rox last year, but still has under 600 AB's and has trouble staying healthy. Adam Jones has Future Star written all over him, but again, can't stay healthy. Carlos Beltran would have been a top-10 pick had he been healthy and not on the Met Injury Vortex of Doom. If he returns in one piece in June, he's a big plus this year and/or a nice trade chit. The wildcard here is Ray rookie Sean Rodriguez, who may get squeezed out of time if Matt Joyce or Desmond Jennings light it up early. I like 2 of these 4 to pan out this year, making this a solid group.

Starting Pitching

After keeping exactly one starter (Ubaldo Jimenez), draft trades and machinations have yielded an intriguing rotation that includes Johan St. Johan, Cole Hamels, and Jake Peavy. There's a lot of issues there--Johan and Peavy were quite injured last year, Hamels' numbers went through the roof in '09 and Jimenez is still a Rockie last time I checked--but that's a lot of talent atop the rotation. Further making this a deep rotation are Cuban superstar Aroldis Chapman, known okay pitchers Dirty Sanchez and Ervin Santana, and injury wildcard Johnny Cueto. The variance on these guys is pretty high as we can see a case where this squad is out of DL spots in mid-May. But it's a high upside rotation that should produce a lot of strikeouts and W's. Which is good, because...

Relief Pitching

...this is the roster's gaping hole. Jon Papelbon needs no introduction, but after that it's quite dicey. With the tandem of Mike Gonzalez and Jim Johnson, the Cesspools have the two relievers tabbed to end games for the O's without actually retaining a good pitcher. Neftali Feliz is probably the 3rd most talented arm on the roster, but he's currently pitching the 8th inning for the Rangers in a bandbox. Brandon League is in a better situation--good park, good D, good team--but is also behind David Aardsma until he blows up. Have to think some of the starting pitching depth is going to be flipped for a closer before Father's Day.


I probably should like this team more than I do, because it's well-constructed and deep in both pitching and offense. But Teddy's managed to acquire no fewer than 6 guys that were on my "stay away" list for this year. Given that I haven't finished above 4th since 2003, this is probably for Teddy's benefit. Still, I see this as a team that's slated to finish somewhere between 3rd and 6th without some improvements, and possibly worse if those pitching arms fall off.


Teddy said...

Can't argue with the analysis, but two notes on the photos:

First, terrifyingly, I almost used that muppet picture for a post a while ago, and only went with the crazy-haired old men at the last second.

Second, is that Braun's girlfriend or his sister? Because they look an awful lot alike. And is it bad that I kinda wanna run her either way?

El Angelo said...

That's Andreena Clarke. It's unclear if she's still his girlfriend or his ex. What I like is that she's easy to find on FB.