Diamond Mind Baseball 2008: Hitters
Sep 29th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The last couple of years, I have been in an AL-only Diamond Mind computer baseball league with seven other guys. I have finished in 7th place both years. 

During last year’s draft, I wanted to make sure that I had a chance to grab both Delmon Young and Dustin McGowan, so I traded my second round pick in this year’s draft, for Neil deMause’s third. Now, of course, this looks like a terrible trade because:

1) Dustin McGowan was shut down for much of 2008
2) I finished in frigging 7th place, thus making the pick the 9th of the draft.

In other words, since neither McGowan nor Young would have been picked 9th during our draft next month, it  was strongly not in my favor. Lesson learned! 

One note about how we pick – we’re going to play our season with 2007 stats starting in November of 2008. So you always know how a guy did for the next two seasons before the draft. We keep 20 players, so I am going to run down how my current roster looks for 2008. 


 Placido Polanco, 2B, Detroit Tigers (Role on my team: 2B). BA: .307 OBP: .350 SLG: .417 OPS+: 102

He played in 141 games in 2008, which means I have to watch how much I use him for just a bit. He was destroying leftys for most of the year, but came back to earth the last couple of months. His defense should hopefully be rated “Excellent,” again, which would be great if I had more than one left-handed starting pitcher on my roster, I suppose. I am most excited about what 2007 Polanco is going to do, as his on-base percentage was frigging .388. So, that will be a treat.


 Vernon Wells, CF, Toronto Blue Jays (CF) BA: .300 OBP: .343 SLG: .496 OPS+: 120

Vernon missed time with wrist and hamstring injuries, and had a complete power lapse in June. He really, otherwise, played pretty damn well, and I don’t think I can say he didn’t earn his salary this year, since I am not going to count his injuries against him. In Diamond Mind, he’ll be splitting time at CF with B.J. Upton (we play 82 games, and we can only give a guys who appeared in less than 145 games 60% of his plate appearances). Gaston and John Gibbons had some weird obsession with batting Marco Scutaro second all year, but Wells is a perfectly fine #2 for my team.


 Manny Ramirez, LF, Los Angeles Dodgers (DH). BA: .332 OBP: .430 SLG: .601 OPS+: 164

Manny started the season with the Red Sox, so I can use him in 2008. If he doesn’t sign with an AL team, he won’t be on my team for our 2009 season. I am really, really, really hoping that the Dodgers just go for this picks with him. Come on, no NL team is going to put him in the field for a four-year deal. Are they?

It’s amazing just how obviously he was tanking it in Boston, too – his OPS+ was 213 in L.A. I know they say the NL is a little easier, but there ain’t that much difference. Since I had been tracking him all year, I thought he had the NL MVP all locked up, and then I saw what Pujols had been doing. There is actually discussion of someone other than Pujols for NL MVP, which should acquit anyone from shooting a baseball writer if they vote for somebody else. (You can MAYBE make an argument for C.C. Sabathia in the NL since the Brewers made the playoffs… maybe. Sort of.) Anyway, my 2008 Diamond Mind goal is to get Manny the most at-bats in the league. If I have to bat him lead off, I will – it’s likely that I will never have a guy with a season this good on my team ever again.  


Alex Rios, RF, Toronto Blue Jays. (RF) BA: .291 OBP: .337 SLG: .461 OPS+: 110
 His OPS was down from 122 in 2007 (by all accounts, he had an excellent season) to 110 in 2008. And this is basically because he forgot how to hit left-handed hitting. Come on, Alex!! He perked up almost immediately when Cito Gaston was hired. I would expect Rios to bounce back in 2009, for whatever it’s worth. I don’t exactly have a lot of cred as a baseball writer. Rios also grabbed a lot of time at centerfield when Vernon Wells was hurt. That would be great if I didn’t already have Wells and Upton competing for time there.

It’s sort of retarded to put him at the cleanup spot, but I really wanted to have Polanco and Wells on base for Manny, and I absolutely want Manny appearing in the first inning no matter what. 


 B.J. Upton, CF, Tampa Bay Rays (1B??) BA: .273 OBP: .383 SLG: .401 OPS+: 111

All right, I have no idea where to play him – I have an outfield of Delmon Young, Vernon Wells and Alex Rios as it stands, and Delmon gets so many frigging plate appearances that he needs to be in left field constantly to get him to 33% usage. On the other hand, not knowing where to play Upton is part of the B.J. Upton experience, I GUESS. I’ll tentatively put him at first and see how Diamond Mind ranks everyone’s defense. 


 Delmon Young, LF, Minnesota Twins (LF) BA: .292 OBP: .338 SLG: .407 OPS+: 101

The theory, in ensuring that I had Delmon (and making a lousy trade to do so), was that the Rays would never, ever trade him, and I’d suffer through his age 21 and 22 seasons while he figured out the game, and then enjoyed a player who was most like Roberto Clemente until I got thrown out of our Diamond Mind League for having an unstoppable juggernaut. Yeah, NONE OF THAT SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING. Thank Christ the Rays traded him in the AL. I really dodged a bullet there. I got lucky, that’s all it was. Anyway, Delmon got hot before the All-Star break, and heated up towards the end of the season as well. I just knew that the three days off he got for the AS break was going to result in him having a shitty month (and it did). If I knew that, and I’ve never seen him play except against the Jays, then how did – whatever. He had like 3,000 plate appearances this year as well, even when dropped to 7th, so I don’t think I can ever take him out, at any point, in DMB. I just keep reminding myself that this is for the future. 


 Eric Chavez, 3B, Oakland A’s (N/A)

Yeah, I’ve got problems. He’s the best third baseman on my team for 2008, and he didn’t play. I assume I’ll get something in the draft. But putting him here, I hope, shows what a better hitter he’d be than my catcher and shortstop.


 Gregg Zaun, C, Toronto Blue Jays (C) BA: .237 OBP: .340 SLG: .359 OPS+: 87 

Zaun’s walk-off grand slam towards the end of the season was one of the highlights of the – oh, right, crapped out on me and I couldn’t see the thing leave the park. What garbage. Anyway, I like Zaun and he has plenty of use to me in 2007, so I am sure he will make my team for 2008 as well, even though I will need another catcher since he only played in 86 games this year. 


 Yuniesky Betancourt, SS, Seattle Mariners (SS) BA: .279 OBP: .300 SLG: .392 OPS+: 85

All I am going to do is say that at more than one point in the season, his batting average was greater than his on-base percentage. I know you don’t walk off the island, but they do walk places in Cuba, right? Sometimes? Do fathers walk their daughters down the aisle?  Do people take short walks off long piers? Do they cook chinese food in a round metal bowl? 


All right, there is one other hitter on my team that will be available for 2008. Paul Konerko played really, really poorly for most of the year. He flipped a frigging switch towards the end, and actually got his OPS back towards 100. It was amazing, like night and day. Oh! It was the worthless kind of amazing, for someone playing text baseball, but amazing nonetheless. So I am not sure what I am going to do with him.

Up next time: the pitchers! EVERYBODY DIES!






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