I had my first fantasy baseball draft of the season yesterday. I’m pretty happy with the way my squad, the Hoboken Nine, turned out. This is going to be a competitive league with a lot of people who really know their shit — Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures — so I’ve got to stay on the ball. But I’m satisfied with the way my team turned out. Whether I echo the same sentiments a couple of months from now remains to be seen.
So without further ado, here are your 2009 Hoboken Nine:
C Ryan Doumit, PIT: Doumit and Jorge Posada were the only worthwhile catchers left when I drafted him and, as much as I love Jorge as a Yankee fan, he’s coming off major shoulder surgery.
C Gerald Laird, DET: He was my last pick — a backup catcher in case Doumit gets hurt between now and Opening Day. This draft is so damn early!
1B Carlos Pena, TB: Good power numbers in a good lineup.
1B Derrek Lee, CHI: This guy was a steal in round 17. I’m hoping for a rebound season.
2B Ian Kinsler, TEX: I got abused for taking him in the first round, but he and Chase Utley dominate the 2B category and Kinsler actually had better numbers last year. This pick has the potential to explode in my face, but I’m not particularly worried.
2B Kelly Johnson, ATL: Late-round backup infielder who put up decent stats.
SS Michael Young, TEX: I’ve always been a fan of this guy. He’s almost an automatic 200-hit producer.
3B Adrian Beltre, SEA: I was afraid to gamble on A-Rod, so I ended up with a lower-tier 3B. He has the potential for decent power numbers. I worry about the lineup surrounding him, though. And he can be maddeningly inconsistent.
3B Edwin Encarnacion, CIN: This guy always seems to be on the edge of breaking out. I hope it happens this year.
LF Jay Bruce, CIN: He was a beast in his half-season or so, and I’m really counting on him for home runs.
CF Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS: I hate drafting Red Sox, but I needed a center fielder and stolen bases.
RF Nick Markakis, BAL: Solid all-around hitter, but the fact that he hasn’t cracked 30 homers playing in Camden Yards boggles my mind.
RF Justin Upton, AZ: He was a pick based on potential. May he follow in the footsteps of his brother, minus throwing a bat at an umpire.
RF J.D. Drew, BOS: Again, as much as I hate drafting Boston players, he’s a good guy to be able to plug in if Markakis slumps. Plus, he had a three- or four-week stretch last season when he carried the Red Sox and any fantasy squads he was on.
CF Lastings Milledge, WAS: Yes, he’s a thug, a hood and a moron, but that doesn’t really matter in fantasy baseball (unless he gets arrested and sentenced).
SP Tim Lincecum, SF: Add me to the list of people praying that his arm doesn’t fall off after every pitch he throws with that funky delivery.
SP Francisco Liriano, MIN: A risky pick for a No. 2 starter, but when this guy is healthy, he is foul and nasty.
SP Justin Verlander, DET: I don’t know why I went this route again, because I’ve had Verlander on teams before, and he’s incredibly frustrating. Plus, the Tigers have a tendency to not bother scoring any runs when he pitches well, so I expect a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 losses.
SP Johnny Cueto, CIN: I generally don’t like picking starting pitchers on bad teams, but this guy has evil stuff and posted high strikeout numbers last year.
SP Kevin Slowey, MIN: He was not an exciting pick at all, but he wins games and the Twins are solid. I’m not expecting strikeouts from him, so I hope my other pitchers can pick up the slack.
SP Jeremy Guthrie, BAL: Much like Edwin Encarnacion, I’m waiting for the breakout season.
SP James McDonald, LA: Since someone beat me to the other young gun I wanted to take a shot with (Tampa’s David Price), I figured I wanted at least one phenom on my squad.
RP Mariano Rivera, NY: Does this pick require an explanation?
RP Jonathan Broxton, LA: This man has filthy stuff. I just hope the bomb Matt Stairs launched off him in the NLCS doesn’t stick with him.
RP Hong-Chih Kuo, LA: He pitched a lot of innings last year and remained effective. Plus, in case Broxton gets hurt, he’ll be a strong candidate for the closer’s job.