My NotGraphantasy Team

I approached the NotGraphantasy Draft much the way I approach all of my fantasy drafting. I tried to pick the smartest, grittiest team I could, filled with players I would want to hang out with, regardless of their statistics. Measured against that benchmark, I think I did pretty well, although I did make some picks I now regret, driven mostly by the need to fill the mustache, sex scandal, and obese catcher quotas.

ROUND 1: Joe McEwing, 2B

I picked Super Joe with my first selection because if I owned a baseball team, and I didn’t care whether or not we won any games, I would want him on the field. McEwing may have had a 71 OPS+ for his career, but my unscientific study has him leading the league in grit, hustle, and unbelievably positive press. Super Joe had an amazing 2001 season with the Mets, a .283/.342/.449 line that bought him five more seasons in uniform. He was Tony LaRussa’s favorite player. He could play seven positions capably. He’s in the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, whatever that is, and, from all of that crazy press he gets, even as a third-base coach, it seems like he must be a pretty awesome guy.

ROUND 2: David Wright, 3B

Because once I picked Super Joe, Wright said he was going to cry if I didn’t pick him too. Also, David Wright is an excellent baseball player, and could help my team actually win some games.

ROUND 3: Fernando Perez, OF

McEwing and Wright are great, but by Round 3, I felt I needed to start paying attention to who was going to help my team on the SAT, as well as with its poetry requirement. Perez, a published poet, went to Columbia, and was also able to handle himself quite well on a podcast with Carson. I’m surprised he lasted this long.

ROUND 4: Sam Fuld, OF

No Notgraphantasy team aspiring to collect the perfect set of dinner party guests for the bookish baseball fan could possibly ignore Mr. Fuld, his STATS internship, Stanford degree, and New Yorker profile. Despite never having a bar mitzvah, he’s still a steal in the 4th round. Fuld is the current ballplayer I would most like to have as a brother-in-law, but unfortunately he is already married, and so is my wife’s sister.

ROUND 5: Henry Rowengartner, P

Having paid no attention to my pitching staff until now, I figured it was time to grab this fictional 12-year-old from the movie Rookie of the Year before someone else did. I don’t know how Rookie of the Year is only 39% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, because when I was 14, I thought it was the best movie ever. Until Little Big League came out the following year, because, even as a kid, I knew I’d rather run a team than pitch for one. I was a terrible Little League ballplayer. Like, really terrible.

ROUND 6: Craig Breslow, P

Because if I’m going to say I’m trying to pick a team that could do well on the SAT, I may as well pick the smartest man in baseball. Also, seriously good at pitching, on my Scoresheet team, a Yale graduate, and Jewish. Okay, he is tied for Sam Fuld as the ballplayer I would most like to have as a brother-in-law. Nothing against my actual brother-in-law, who is great except he is not a major league baseball player.

ROUND 7: Royce Clayton, SS

Royce Clayton played Miguel Tejada in Moneyball. That’s cool enough to earn him a spot on my roster. It’s Round 7, come on.

ROUND 8: Billy Beane, OF

He has the good face, and I still think he might live up to his potential. Also, he needs to train Sam Fuld to be my team’s next general manager after the guy I picked in Supplementary Round 2 is forced to resign (spoiler alert).

ROUND 9: Hector Villanueva, C

Does anyone else still remember this dude? The first year I played fantasy baseball was 1991, and Villanueva hit 13 homers in 192 at-bats for the Cubs, and I was so annoyed that someone else grabbed him off the free agent list. So I drafted him in the next year’s auction, for some crazy amount of fake money… and who knows what happened, but he hit .152 and then .145 the following year, and disappeared. I am drafting the 1991 version, and giving him a second chance to have the Mike Piazza career I know he was destined for.

ROUND 10: Keith Hernandez, 1B

I was worried I was going to have to forfeit for failing to meet the mustache requirement. Despite recently shaving it off, I don’t think anyone can single-handedly win this category for me more than Keith. And, yes, there are too many Mets on my team, I know.

ROUND 11: Sandy Koufax, P

Like with my David Wright pick, I have to win some games. Also, someone needs to teach Sam Fuld how to chant from the Torah on Sam Fuld Bar Mitzvah Day, which would totally be a promotional event on this team’s schedule, the weekend after Free Book Day and Your Very Own Calculator Night.


Who else could possibly manage this team, except maybe Davey Johnson?


Okay, clearly this was a mistake. The right pick would have been Theo Epstein, for so many reasons. And if he wasn’t available, maybe Jon Daniels, since he went to my high school and graduated a year before me (I didn’t know him). But I remembered that we’re all supposed to pick someone with a sex scandal (we’re not), so I went with Phillips, in a close race against Brian Cashman. I’m firing him as soon as he tries to sign Bobby Bonilla.

SUPPLEMENTARY ROUND 3: Wrigley Field, stadium

Clearly I was just phoning it in by the end, because clearly the right field for this team is some Harvard library, or a big New York Times crossword puzzle, or maybe some patch of grass in Jerusalem. Instead, I let Henry Rowengartner make this selection for me, and of course he chose Wrigley. At least there’s Ivy on the wall, so I can pretend that’s the reason.

In summary… my team is totally the best, at so many things, baseball probably not being one of them.

Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a satirical novel that should make people who didn't go to law school feel good about their life choices. Read more at McSweeney's or elsewhere. He likes e-mail.

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9 years ago

While John Kruk or David Wells are not members of the smart category, they’ve gotta be on the list of “dudes to grab a beer with”. Besides, they could help you win some games and fulfill the mustache/beard and mullet requirements.