Passing Judgment: Fantasy Baseball – Don’t Snooze on Cruz

Nelson CruzParticipating in fantasy baseball drafts usually does not elicit a lot of emotional responses (expletives with multiple exclamation points in a chat room notwithstanding).  Sure you want to have a good draft, execute your strategy and have some fun with your league mates.  But it is rare that you feel any sense of excitement or joy as opposed to the more likely scenario where you curse out another GM who sniped the player you were targeting.  Every now and then, you can a sense of euphoria or nervous excitement when a player you are targeting happens to be available when it comes to your turn.  But usually when you do a standard snake or auction draft, there isn’t much time to process that excitement.

I am not saying this is the equivalent of winning the lottery or going on the Maury Povich Show and finding out that you are NOT the father.  But it is a good feeling when you draft a player in your queue after praying he would survive, or if you searched through the entire list of players and found a gem that has been forgotten by everyone else.  But when doing a slow draft (where there is an extended time clock per pick such as two hours), there is a lot more time in between draft selections which can add to the tension and anxiety.

In the 15-team KFFL Baseball BAD fantasy league, I experienced one of those rare “oh hell yeah!” moments.  As you know, it was announced a couple days ago that recently suspended free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz signed a one-year contract for $8,000,000 with the Orioles.  In real baseball, that is a steal for Baltimore to get a hitter of his caliber for such little money (um, Chris Young is getting $7,250,000 from the Mets).  But he had been passed over thus far in the BAD draft because he wasn’t signed yet and there were too many unknowns about that situation.  In the BAD slow draft, there was one person picking before me and he happened to take Dan Straily (SP-OAK).  At that moment, I felt like I was given a gift because I immediately selected Cruz with pick 15.5 in the draft.

By no means do I think Nelson Cruz is Miguel Cabrera, so I am not ready to hang my championship banner up just yet.  But Cruz is a consistent 25-30 home run hitter who is looking to re-establish himself and his reputation after being suspended in the Biogenesis scandal.  He will be hitting in the middle of a potent Orioles lineup in a great hitters’ park in Baltimore.  This all adds up to a potentially monstrous season of 30+ home runs.  For a 15th round pick, I’d say a power-hitting cleanup hitter with a chip on his shoulder is great value.  Plus, he is my 5th outfielder.  So for all the times I have been sniped or lost out on a player I was targeting, this helps balance everything out.

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