Nearing the end of the live online fantasy baseball draft, it seems that Bartolo’s Colon—the team, not its namesake—will have to rely on steady pitching in order to remain competitive throughout the long, imaginary season. Its lineup is a questionable mix of old reliability hopefully poised for a quality twilight year and of young talents not yet maximized by the statistical parameters of this fantasy world. Julio Bourbon and Asdrubal Cabrera highlight the latter group, each 24 years old, and neither likely to shape the triumph or demise of Bartolo’s Colon in 2010. That burden will fall on the veteran presence in this team’s lineup. The importance of leadership qualities in a fantasy clubhouse is debatable, but Bartolo’s Colon will undoubtedly need Derek Lee, Mike Cameron and Vladimir Guerrero to each provide, at a very minimum, a .290/25/90 campaign. “You’re way too old,” Master Batters, a rival team, says of Bartolo’s Colon.
There are four picks remaining for each team, who are now filling out benches and planning contingencies. “Damn you Colon,” says Tits Please when Bartolo’s Colon snatches Marlon Byrd from the remaining pool. Byrd, newly rich in another world, will be a fourth option if the fantasy pressure ends up affecting Bourbon or if Nelson Cruz tears an oblique. The pace of the draft is much faster than earlier rounds, with the bottom of the barrel now being scraped for sleepers and has-beens. Wild Thing Vaughn, thin in the middle infield with the apparent DL stint that Ian Kinsler will face to open the year, picks up Brendan Ryan. Ryan, known more for his mustache than his OPS, is a steep decline from a healthy Kinsler, but injuries are a reality in this particular fantasy. After lil cubbie for life takes Alex Gordon, Bartolo’s Colon is on the clock for its penultimate pick. C.J. Wilson, a reliever turned starter, is the reluctant choice. Poo Holes scoffs: “How many Rangers are on your team now? They’re like your whole team.” It’s a fair point. Wilson makes it six Texas Rangers, but if Roy Halladay, Mark Buehrle and Joe Saunders turn in quality 2010 statistical years for Bartolo’s Colon, Poo Holes may have to look elsewhere to poke fun.
Bartolo’s Colon owns the last pick in the draft. The player taken will likely never add a win or account for a loss in the long grind through the virtual season. Many of the eighteen teams have bowed out of the draft, now more than two hours in, content to have their last few players signed automatically. “I’m never fucking doing a live draft again. This takes way too long,” says Tex Fan, perhaps just angry because he knows Ryan Doumit will not cut it at catcher. Then, mercifully, Bartolo’s Colon is on the clock with the last pick. Chris Dickerson. Who? A young, athletic reserve Reds outfielder. Maybe he will end up being the next great thing. Or maybe such optimism is the stuff of wild fantasy. (Andrew Rhoades)