In the Money

As the 2008 Major League Baseball season comes to a somewhat messy close, I can now lay claim to my sweetest victory in Fantasy Baseball. My Portland Prowlers are the 2008 Dump City Baseball League Champions. I’ve won fantasy leagues before, but this one is the most satisfying. It’s a salary-cap keeper league in its third year (this was my second year in the league.) And there’s actually some prize money to go along with my nifty trophy icon.

Matt Holliday earned his Franchise tag with an MVP-caliber year, but I’m more inclined to call Ian Kinsler my Team MVP. Had he not suffered a season-ending injury, his numbers could have been equal to Holliday’s, but what he did produce came at a fraction of the cost, and isn’t that what value is all about in a salary cap league? Kinsler, along with Jose Reyes and Joe Mauer, make up a great, inexpensive core to build upon for future success.

I made some great pickups during the year, including Kemp, Ludwick and Alexei Ramirez. Joey Votto was a key callup from my minor-league roster, and makes a good candidate to replace Teixeira, whom I lose to free agency. With five contracts available to sign new keepers, I like my chances to build a repeat contender on the cheap and augment with key free agent pitching. This will be key as I lose Zambrano and Lowe and have to figure out how to build a contending rotation around Burnett, Lester and Maine.

Indeed, pitching was the main obstacle to my championship. While I dominated in Wins and Ks, I spent most of the season in the basement in the other 3 categories. Most of my budget went to rotating relievers, getting saves from 13 different guys, with only Rivera giving me more than 13 saves. My ERA and WHIP were in the basement all year, but when my offense got going and put me in the lead, I found I was able to gain an extra 3 points in my ratios by benching some starters with bad matchups in the final few weeks.

The one drawback to this league is that it has dwindled to eight teams, leaving far too much talent available and therefore no incentive to deal with other owners. Much of this offseason will be spent trying to recruiit new players from the Bort, where we all met. I’ll update again in February when I have a better idea who I am keeping, and who I am defending my title against.

Just wanted to take a moment to bask in the glow of sweet victory. Now, I have a fantasy football dynasty to build.