We don’t disagree, exactly. It’s just that to us, the league looks as bunched up going into this year as we can ever remember it. Nobody is punting this year by running out a AAA squad, nobody made 3-4 consecutive terrible draft picks, and last year’s champs had to sell off half their team because of keeper concerns, thus spreading the wealth. We’ll end up taking firmer stances in our predictions piece. But rest assured that the relative kindliness of these previews is down to our actual opinions and not mannerliness.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at The Revenge Society. The owner has set the bar pretty high with that name, implying as it does a return to the glory of his early years in the league. Let’s see whether he’s all talk.
You can sort of see the duct tape marks around this part of the squad. With the exception of #1 overall pick and show pony Alex Rodriguez, exactly zero of these guys have had two consecutive good seasons. Jorge Posada spent a chunk of last year injured, and at his age may be nearing the dreaded deepwater of the Varitek Trench. Ian Stewart is a nice eligibility-dodge 2B with pop, though you have to question a guy who puts up a .322 OBP as a Rockie. Speedy walk machine Everth Cabrera is sort of the inverse Stewart; condense their good and bad halves and you’d have the MI of Dustin Pedroia playing 2B next to SS Jackie Gutierrez . Lance Berkman will provide stability at 1B, though not until he gets healthy after offseason surgery. The team will rely on the fragile psyche of Joey Votto in the interim. Put it this way: while there are some interesting pieces here, we’d be surprised if a majority of this Opening Day IF is still out there by year’s end.
All over the place again, but in a better way. Jason Bay and Josh Hamilton provide the pop, while speedsters Andrew McCutcheon and Dex Fowler provide speed. Fowler could yet get caught up in a job share in COL, though McCutcheon looks like the real deal. While none of these guys are fantastic individually (at least not with Bay now playing his home games in Yellowstone Park), collectively they provide solid production in all 5 categories, which is all you can ask.
Hey, it’s every single good pitcher under the age of 27. Lincecum/Haren/Buchholz/Scherzer/Liriano (most of whom are still on cheap contracts) is about as well as you can do for a pitching staff in a keeper league. Because we can’t find anything mean to say, we’ll say nothing at all.
It looks like the team is going to go into Opening Day featuring FIVE closers (Cordero/Francisco/Wagner/Frasor/Lindstrom), which is something that only one other franchise can say. Moreover, most of those guys are good bets to put up respectable rate stats while amassing their saves. There is a fair amount of injury risk in there, but with five closers, it’s tough to argue that TRS should care all that much about the health of any individual guy. In the absolute worst case, the stocked ‘pen will provide a fertile source of trade bait once we get around the ASB.
This is the first team we’ve done so far which has its strength on the pitching side. It’s often a good idea to zig when everyone else is zagging, because you can rack up points in less-defended categories. The roster as constructed isn’t going to be quite enough to win, but if a couple of the young guys on offense get off to quick starts, the team should be able to buy rather than sell, and compile a team that could hit the board. While just about all the animals are equal this year, these guys are slightly more equal than the four teams we’ve looked thus far.