ďThe Real PoopĒ


Like the rites of Spring, its time to predict the first round selections of our annual draft.(ALL IN GOOD FUN):


1)                  Blacksburg:It appears the Bucís fired the starting staff, but kept the pitching coach when they made their roster cuts.Mark Prior, the second-coming of Roger Clemens some say, would be a wonderful pick.Logic says the Bucís could use a good starting pitcher or two or four.History says differently.Except for that one time when Dennis shafted the ďKidĒ by taking Jason Isringhausen, the Bucs like hitters and lots of them.The Bucs could use a 3B-man and Hinske fits the bill, but not withstanding any of the above, I will go out on a limb as say it will be Mark Prior to buck (pun intended) tradition.


2)                  Parkside: What to do, what to do.This yearís version of the once mighty Paladins is but a dim shadow.Except for maybe SS, this team needs everything.Heck, they could probably use Marcus Giles.Anyway, its always good to start a massive rebuilding program with a power hitter and Austin Kearns is that hitter and that is what Parkside will do.


3)                  Boca Raton: The Tigers could use a 1B-man or an OF, but none that are available are worthy to go at # 3.Boca Raton is assembling a good nucellus of a starting staff and Josh Beckett would give them another potential # 1 starter to complement Roy Halladay.Solid pick.


4)                  West Side: The Wiseguys, in the middle of their decade-long rebuilding plan, have some good starters, but have holes at SS, 3B and the OF.Once Kearns is gone, nobody available will have an impact this year and the SS position is too weak to waste a good pick on.Of the many things to like about Frank C., he is also a White Sox fan.Of the four good 3B-men available this year, Hinske is the most proven, but Crede came on strong at the end of the year and the job is finally his to lose.Joe Crede will be the guy.


5)                  Parkside: Like West Side, the Paladins could use a good 3B-man.Of the three remaining, Burroughs appears to be the best, but there is concern that he isnít making an appreciable forward progress.Blalock will hit and although he could become a Jeff Kent-type hitting 2B-man if Texas moves him there to make room for Teixiera, thatís not what I have in mind.Eric Hinske, although he may never hit lefties, offers solid power and defense and solid is better than unrealized talent any day of the week.


6)                  Florida: The Seminoles really donít need much help, so they can cherry-pick.Now Lowell is solid 3B-man, but heís not really spectacular.With Crede and Hinske gone, it appears Hank Blalock offers the combination of high-average and good-power that anyone would love to have on their team.With Durham push the mid-30's, an eventual move to 2B by Blalock would fit like a glove.


7)                  Lake Michigan: In recent history, the Landsharks have been knocking on the door several times.Although they appear to be the best team in the NL, one of several powerhouse AL teams would await them in the world series.By comparison, some additional offensive punch would help significantly.If Lake Michigan management agrees, the only slugger that will provide a meaningful impact would be Josh Phelps.Given the Landsharks have three more picks to take the best players available this move will help now and wonít hurt the teamís future either.


8)                  North: Although the Twinsí OF is pretty uncertain at this point, Mike Cuddyer will definitely see considerable playing time.It would appear an OF spot somewhere is his to lose. Although Carl Crawford has an open door to play this year, he is raw and untested.Cuddyer is a solid pick.


9)                  Florida: The Florida OF will perform just fine this year, but looking to the future, other than Bergman they are getting old or in Erstadís case are inconsistent.Carl Crawford would be nice pick here, regardless of the fact that some nice starters are still available.


10)              Raritan: Once Bob picks himself up off of the floor, he will blurt out the name Sean Burroughs lickety split.After trading Nevin several years back to God knows who for a bag of peanuts, the Thunder will may have a solid 3B-man for the next 10 years.Burroughs will go nice with Sammy Sosa...oops...he was also traded for a really big bag of peanuts.


11)              Lake Michigan: After taking care of 1B with Phelps, the Landsharks can focus on the best available player.In viewing the draft landscape, it would appear that player would be Jake Peavy, the best of a bushel full of good young pitchers the Padres have been growing recently.This pick will be defiled by the Surf for years to come.†††


12)              Woodcrest: At one point, I believed Owls and Buccaneers management were related as both avoided taking pitching like the plague.In recent times the Owls have taken some good ones, most notably Mark Buerhrle and Jarrod Washburn.Since all of the elite OFís and 3B-men have been grabbed, The Owls may decide to improve the starting staff and if so Damion Moss would be the likely choice.


13)              Lake Michigan: More picking for the future here and although his average wonít help a lot this year, Kevin Mench had a decent rookie season and offers the promise of better things to come in the future.Take this one to the bank.


14)              Point Loma: The Surf were silent in this yearís trading season, so the draft now offers the only the avenue for improvement.Although Point Loma has Steve Cox to handle 1B this year, he is offer to Japan.In reviewing the roster the Surf have no 2B-man, none.I t would appear they would inclined to select Bobby Hill, who, although unproven, has the biggest upside of the available second-sackers.


15)              Delray: Much like The Seminoles, the Demons need not, but in the AL South division race, every win will be important.Although the starting staff has the likes of Schilling, Wade Miller and Matt Clement, it is about 30 starts short of covering all 168 games with quality appearances.I am guessing that Rodrigo Lopez would solve that problem immediately.


16)              Raritan: After dropping to the floor for a second time, Beardsley will again right himself and nab 1B-man Nick Johnson, closing the lengthy void of mediocrity since Keith Hernandez retired from the Thunder at age 64.


17)              Broward: Luckily for Kevin, right about this time, brother Jim will be roll up to the house in his 1963 VW Bug, just in the nick of time to make his own pick. After trading Vizcaino away for a big bag of peanuts and noticing his starting pitching staff is currently anchored by Steve Parris and Broward will grab (in order for Kevin release his hands from his throat) John Lackey who will immediately become the # 1, # 2 and # 3 starter for the Ballbusters.


18)              Fairfield: The Foxes inherited a decent team, but it has some holes to fill.All the good 3B-men are gone and no catcher is that worthy to be picked here, so Frank will opt to a speedy OF in the form of Alex Sanchez.


19)              Maryland: With only one pick in the regular draft, Daniel better get it right.With Sandy Alomar, Jr. as your only catcher, it may be prudent to take another at this point.If so, the likely candidate would be Geronimo Gil who has some punch and will start for the Orioles.

20)              Delray: Positional age could be a factor with this pick as the Demons have good, but aging veterans in Kent and Vizquel patrolling 2B and SS, respectively.A couple of good 2B-men are left, but neither are going to be Ryne Sandberg.A low first round is perfect time to try and hit a homerun.Although plenty of bad stuff has been said about him, Angel Berroa could be it.This could be a crash-and-burn pick, but maybe not.


21)              Lake Michigan: As a Cub fan, Lary may not be able to resist grabbing Carlos Zambrano with this pick.Huge upside, especially if he can keep his walk ratio to a reasonable rate.


22)              Boca Raton: Mike will be quite pleased that Carlos Pena slipped all the way to pick # 22.Beckett and Pena in the first rd?Not bad.†††††††††††††††


23)              Devon: The Motorheads were pretty inactive in the trading market this year, most probably due to having to spend large amounts of time negotiating all those Bug Tussle trades.Devon is getting older in a hurry and the only position worthy of being upgraded with this pick is 2B and if so, I think it will be Orlando Hudson who already talks a good game.


24)              Alaska: After retiring as Commissioner, the BCBL greatly anticipated Rickís wild, off-the-cuff articles accusing everybody of something, would be flying of the presses.It appears the pen has dried up or Rick is spending all his free time building some kind of environmentally-safe nuclear device.The Outs are in a phased rebuilding mode and with Eric Milton going down for a considerable period of time (traded for him as a result of a Jedi mind trick), Alaska may start by rebuilding the starting staff with the selection of Brett Myers.


Well there it is.I only hope that I didnít miss someone good like Keith Osik who is sure to show in Courterís annual draft article.


Bob Madiar...††