I was in Vegas for a couple of days in order to attend the Fantasy Sports Trade Association event. While there we did a couple of our radio shows for Sirius/XM Fantasy Sports Radio (we can be heard daily from 5-8 PM EDT), and of course we mixed in some fun including random dancing, a few cocktails (maybe more appropriately a slew of them), and some general merriment. Between all of that I was able to participate in the annual FSTA Mixed League Draft which we were able to hold on air in its entirety (to listen to it again, or for the first time, tune in to Sirius147/XM211 Radio at the following times: Friday at 5pm and 11 PM Eastern, and Saturday and Sunday at 3PM and 11PM Eastern). As for the draft results, you can follow the link to The Sirius/XM FSTA Draft for all the picks taken in the 13 team, 29 round draft. Here is a review of the team that I was able to put together, with the help of the beautiful Kay Adams.

C: Carlos Ruiz, Yadier Molina 1B: Prince Fielder 2B: Brandon Phillips, Aaron Hill 3B: Aramis Ramirez, Jhonny Peralta SS: Jimmy Rollins, Jason Bartlett OF: Carl Crawford, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Lee, Denard Span, Nate McLouth, Cameron Maybin, Roger Bernadina

SP: Yovanni Gallardo, Dan Haren, Jonathan Sanchez, Wandy Rodriguez, James Shields, Scott Baker, Carlos Zambrano

RP: Joakim Soria, Ryan Madson, Brandon League, Rich Harden, Kyle Farnsworth, Jake McGee

Here are some of my thoughts on the draft.

* I was very pleased to see Carl Crawford fall to us at #7 overall. There seemed to be about a 50/50 split between people at the conference over taking Crawford or Troy Tulowitzki in that spot.

* Some people questioned Rollins in the 3rd round, though I don't see why there would be any doubt about him at that spot. I have him as the #3 shortstop on the board this year (see: Top-10 Shortstops for 2011).

* Overall I love the talent of of this club. Some have said the team might be short on power, and while I can't say we have any chance to lead the league in homers, I think our hitting should be highly productive. In taking a general overview I think we have a shot at having four guys who could at least go 15/15 (Crawford, Rollins, McCutchen, Phillips), and that is some serious talent that doesn't even include two others who could go 15/15 (Maybin and Bernadina) as well as another guy who has already done that before (McLouth). We were one pick from nabbing Ryan Howard in the third round to be our corner infield option or that power talk would have been completely removed (we ended up with Rollins).

* This draft just goes to show you that you don't have to reach on catching. While neither of my guys will win the league for me, Ruiz (16th round) and Molina (17th) give me two of the more stable options in the game. In leagues that start two catchers knowing that you have two guys who should hit .280 with 50 RBI is a nice feeling.

* Things turned out pretty well with the starting pitchers. I waited a bit to take a starter, though with all of them flying off the board I did go earlier than I normally do with Gallardo in the 6th round. I then grabbed the ultra consistent Haren in the 8th meaning that through 10 rounds I had rostered: 1 1B, 2 2B (one for MI), 1 SS, 1 3B, 2 OF, 2 SP, 1 RP.

* As for relievers, that unit is short on saves as we sit here today. With the draft being done so early, it is January after all, there is just no way to know how certain situations are going to pan out. Therefore I did something I hardly ever do, and that is go for a closer within the first 10 picks. I took Joakim Soria in the 9th round knowing that he was one of about 15 guys that seemed to have the 9th locked down for his team. Given that he is a top-5 option in my mind, it was an easy call to take him in that spot. I grabbed League who could open the year as "the man" with David Aardsma coming back from injury for the Mainers, an truthfully I think he's a better pitcher than Aardsma (remember the Mariners had been looking to move David prior to the injury). Ryan Madson is an injury to Brad Lidge away from the 9th, and he is the better pitcher at this point if you gauge each man in a head-to-head manner. Remember, roster skills over roll in the pen and nine times out of 10 you will come out ahead. And in my nod to fantasy football, I handcuffed my Rays' relievers to one another taking the young guy (McGee) and the old one (Farnsworth). Hopefully one of them pans out and locks down the role.

This is a solid squad and one that should allow me to remain competitive this season, provided that (a) my players stay healthy, and (b) if my "I was down in 2010 but I'm really a better player than that" plan comes to fruition in 2011. You did pick up that strategy I employed right? Take a look at the guys who had down seasons last year that I think are primed for a strong comeback in 2011: Ramirez, Hill, Lee, Span, Shields, McLouth, Bartlett. Hopefully I didn't out think myself.

Now, where is my waitress with those fruity drinks...

captain morgan

By Ray Flowers


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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

yes. lol RT @maury_morris: I have a better shot of being with Shakira for the night than Espinosa does hitting .300 for the year correct?

RT @shidavidi: Neil Wanger on for Drew Hutchison, who goes: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, to match career high #bluejays

RT @washingnats: Danny Espinosa is now hitting .323 this season. He is 3-for-4 against the Padres today. #Nats

Thanks to @JeffFletcherOCR for talking to us about #Angels bullpen. He's a big fan of Joe Smith at the moment...