Mike Minor: Fantasy Noir, pt. 2

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Part two of the Fantasy Noir series finds our hero in the middle of a cunning draft strategy. Part one found him in the role of a pawn. Time to turn those tables.

I can't believe I lost her. I was right behind her, and she just disappeared. I probably should not have stopped to watch that paint-drying competition, but things are slow in the fantasy baseball off-season, and temptation got the best of me. Rick's. If anyone would know where to find her, it would be Rick. I took a seat in the corner, ordered my usual Coke, double, no ice, and waited. Rick sat down, nodded towards a booth in the darkest part of his "establishment," and said "He's been waiting for you."

"Let him wait."

"I only know her as L. Not sure how long she has been working for him. M's in this too."

M? I had not heard that name in years. Short. Shifty. Sniveling. Ruthless with a spreadsheet. But backed into a corner, he would panic. Start throwing three-year averages at you, with no thought to age or underlying stats. More bark than bite.

"Word has it that he found a CI he could wait on, and has moved on to starting pitchers. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"

Rick's eyes smiled as he said that. He knew. Michael Young was obviously from me. I made this too easy. I would be more careful now. So, she works for the Fat Man. And M's involved. This will be interesting.

I made my way to the booth. As I passed the bar I gave Sascha a sawbuck and ordered another. As I sat down the Fat Man said, "I am not a man who likes to be kept waiting."

"Get used to it."

He laughed. "I like a man who speaks his mind. Tell me; are you also a man who likes to draft?"

"Yeah. I like to draft."

"Better and better. I will tell you straight out I am a man who likes drafting with a man who likes to draft. I distrust a man who does not like to draft. He generally picks the wrong time to take speed or waits too long on pitching. Drafting must be done judiciously. To do that, you must keep in practice."

"Swell. Will we be drafting starters?"

He laughed. "You are a man who gets right to the point. No beating about the bush. I want to get power early, and when pitchers start going off the board, I'll continue to take power."

"But you can't wait too long on pitching."

"Astute, sir." He laughed, again. "Very astute of you."

"Minor. Mike Minor."

"This is no joke, sir. I assure you, I am not a joking man."

"Minor hurt a lot of owners last year. His first half was terrible. But his second half....."

"I am a man who is only interested in the whole season."

"Minor's 2012 season was fine, for where he was drafted. He fanned 145. Gave him a K/9 of 7.3. Put that with his walks/9 of 2.8, and he was just fine."

"You are forgetting he is a fly ball pitcher, and 12% of those fly balls went for home runs. His ERA. Tell me sir, do you expect me to fall for a pitcher with an ERA over four?" He laughed

I bolted to my feet and threw my glass against the wall. "You know the risks when you wait on pitching. Now you either live with the home runs and ERA, or get out of the drafting business."

"Well sir. I must say, you have a most violent temper."

I kept yelling. "You got until 5:00 today to draft Minor. You're at the end of the draft. He can't be your Ace, but he has value. You'll take the 155 K's he'll give you in 2013, along with the possibility of an ERA slightly over 4.00 and a WHIP just north of 1.20. You'll take it because he also gives you wins at the back end of your draft." I stormed out of Rick's. I waited until I rounded the corner before I slowed down and smiled.

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