This week the NHL will partake in its first ever All-Star Game Fantasy Draft. The draft, much like those that take place on playgrounds around the world on a daily basis, will pit team captains Niklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal against each other while they select who their teammates for the game will be from a list of pre-determined participants. The format intrigued us here at ArizonaSports.com so much that we decided to politely borrow it from the NHL, the way they borrowed it from kids, for what we are calling the Ultimate Arizona Sports Fantasy Draft.
Over the next few days you will see writers from our site along with Sports 620 KTAR hosts and even members of the teams' broadcast crews compete in head-to-head drafts in an attempt to see who can come up with the ultimate roster. After each draft has concluded, the rosters will be posted on the site with explanations about each pick. Fans will be invited to vote on who has compiled the ultimate roster for each team.
|John Gambadoro's Ultimate Fantasy D-backs Team||Dave Burns' Ultimate Fantasy D-backs Team|
|No. 1 - (Randy Johnson SP) Thought about taking Gonzo No. 1 knowing you couldn't take Johnson and Schilling back to back. In the end it's hard to pass on Randy Johnson. So with the first pick in the Gambo/Burns draft I take Randy Johnson.||No. 2 - (Luis Gonzalez LF) Gambo Says: "Even Luis Gonzalez who is on Burnsy's team thought my team was far superior. (According to multiple fantasy sources within the fake organization) He has asked to be traded."|
|No. 4 - (Matt Williams 3B)||No. 3 - (Curt Schilling SP) Side by side with Randy Johnson, he loses. But is Randy THAT much better than Schilling? They were World Series co-MVP's and Sports Illustrated Co-Sportsmen of the year.|
|No. 6 - (Mark Grace 1B)||No. 5 - (Jose Valverde CL) The true litmus test: How much did you miss him once he was gone?|
|No. 8 - (Jay Bell 2B)||No. 7 - (Steve Finley CF) The second most prolific hitter in D-backs history (2nd in slugging percentage, runs scored, hits, homers and RBI). Add to the fact he's hit the third most doubles and swiped the fourth most stolen bases and added two Gold Gloves to boot, nobody comes close.|
|No. 10 - (Damian Miller C) One of the other Burnsy mistakes was taking Orlando Hudson at No. 9 after I had just taken Jay Bell at No. 8. He could have waited till the end of the draft because I had no need for Hudson. That allowed me to grab the best catcher in Diamondback history -- Damian Miller and force him to choose between Chris Snyder and Miguel Monterro. If Burnsy had grabbed Miller there he still would have got Hudson later and I would have been stuck with the inferior catcher.||No. 9 - (Orlando Hudson 2B) With a minimum of 1500 plate appearances, Hudson has the third highest batting average, and second highest on base percentage in D-backs history. Throw in two gold gloves and I'll take Hudson as the best second baseman to ever play for the D-backs.|
|No. 12 - (Craig Counsell SS)||No. 11 - (Tony Womack SS) 72 stolen bases in 1999, a total topped by only one player in either league since (Jose Reyes in 2007-8). Third all time in runs scored, hits and obviously first in stolen bases. Most importantly Womack has two of the biggest hits in team history. The Game 7 tying double in the ninth off Rivera in the World Series, and the series clinching hit that same year against the Cardinals.||No. 14 - (Reggie Sanders RF) Seriously this is a landslide victory. I was hoping you'd take Upton....I'll take Reggie Sanders and his 30 homers and 90 RBIs in 2001.......||
No. 13 - (Justin Upton RF) Nostalgia says Sanders. But he was here one year. A year in which he hit .263 with 33 HR and 90 RBI. Upton's best year (2009) he hit .300 with 26 HR and 86 RBI. He was an all star and even garnered a little MVP consideration.
I know fans may remember nothing but the good about Sanders and focus on the most recent, below par season out of Upton. But if you go big picture, Upton's better. Plus, and this is the only negative campaigning I'll do, Sanders wasn't even in the lineup in Game 7 of the World Series.
|No. 16 - (David Dellucci LF) Burns says: "C'mon Gambo. Dellucci?"||No. 15 - (Mark Reynolds 3B) Concede||No. 18 - (Devon White CF)||No. 17 - (Chris Snyder C) I concede this position to Gambo too.|
|No. 20 - (Matt Mantei CL)||No. 19 - (Greg Colbrunn 1B)|
|Final Thoughts: This is very simple I drafted like the Patriots and Steelers and Burnsy drafted like the Clippers and Lions.
Seriously, this isn't even close. I come away with the best P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and RF and Burnsy gets LF, CF and closer. The philosophy was simple, load my team with the stars that made the Arizona Diamondbacks World Champs and I easily accomplished that while my counterpart is stuck with Mark Reynolds, Justin Upton and Chris Snyder from last year's team and has a bench player at first in Greg Colbrunn.
The mistakes Burnsy made were taking Schilling third overall knowing I couldn't take him after I had selected Randy. Burnsy should have grabbed Matt Williams after drafting Gonzo and got Schilling with the last pick. And I can't understand for the life of me why he would draft Jose Valverde at #5 instead of nabbing Mark Grace. So defensively I am loaded with gold gloves at 1b, 3b and CF and I have a great defensive catcher in Damian Miller.
Burnsy also helped me when he took Tony Womack with Craig Counsell still on the board as Counsell was the glue to the championship team according to Bob Brenly and many of the players. And everything fell into place for me when he chose Justin Upton in right field instead of Reggie Sanders, who hit .263 with 33 homers and 90 RBIs in that magical season of 2001 and hit 305 homers in his career. Plus Sanders is is a million times better than Upton defensively and didn't strikeout nearly as much.
In closing every player on my team was on the 2001 World Champs except Devon White, while Burnsy has just five from that team and one of them was coming off the bench.
Final Thoughts: Gambo's team clearly gets the nod at 1B, 3B, C and you can give it to me at LF, CF and RP.
I think he has the slight edge at SP and I have the slight edge at RF.
Which leaves his middle infield of Bell/Counsell vs. my middle infielders Hudson/Womack.
It should be noted that my team features all five of the top OPS guys in the history of the Dbacks: Gonzo-.919, Finley-.851, Upton-.824, Reynolds-.817, Hudson-.814,
One last thing, if my team is playing Gambo's team in a winner take all game, ask yourself this: If you needed to win one game, who would you rather start, Schilling or RJ?