After last week’s interview with Philadelphia Rory Noble, I figured who better to attack (er interview) than Andrew Schmidt of New York?
So we’ll start easy… where are you from, and what do you do when you’re not trading for huge contracts in the TBL?
Hey Mike, thanks for inviting me to be interviewed, should be fun! I’m originally from Florence, KY – just across the river from Cincinnati. I moved to Johnson City, TN about 4 years ago for a job promotion.
In my free time I like to watch sports – college basketball, baseball, and the NFL, mainly. I’m a die-hard UK Wildcats and Reds fan. I also like to play basketball. I enjoy spending time with my family, we have an 8 year old son, 3 dogs, and a cat.
What drew you to the TBL?
I’ve always been a fantasy sports guy, but when I found out about OOTP, I knew it was a match made in heaven. I started out slow at first, committing to only one league. Once I had gotten the hang of it, I was ready to take on another team. I’d made it through a couple seasons in my first league, finding some success with the Reds there, and I wanted a new challenge. So I looked for a fictional league; the TBL had a great posting up – everything was clearly mapped out and organized, so I applied, and the rest is history.
Are you in any other leagues? If so, what is the TBL’s biggest strength as opposed to those leagues?
Well, I jumped the gun a little bit there, it seems. I’m actually in two other leagues now, having just joined an offshoot of the original league I was in. This time I’m trying my hand at a rebuilding project in a decimated Nationals squad.
The biggest strength of the TBL has to be the articles. We’ve got guys who will post a little blurb or two in the other leagues, but because it’s a forum rather than a webpage, it’s not conducive to articles like the TBL. Great participation here.
Okay, let’s talk about your team a little bit…in the initial franchise draft what lead you to picking New York?
I think I had the 5th pick in the draft. Because I’d been managing a mid-market team in my first league – developing talent through the minors and the occasional trade – I wanted to try something completely different. I had decided I was going to take a big-market team and try to win through Free Agency. New York was the perfect fit, and one of just two teams I really had in my sights. I was thrilled to land the Golden Seals – which ultimately became the Knights as you know them.
As of now you’re #1 in the Power Rankings, do you feel New York is the favorite to win it all?
I felt a lot better about that before Anderson Sullivan went down with a regular season-ending injury; he’s been amazing in CF this year. The battle with the Brawlers is intense, but if we make it out of the EL North unscathed, then yes, I’d say we’re the favorite. Mainly because we’ll pretty much have to finish with the best record in the TBL to do just that. The idea of winning 90+ games in this division is a huge accomplishment, frankly. The EL North is flat-out loaded.
I gave you some slack for your Marcus Shaw acquisition…he’s 7-0 since you got him, and absolutely dominating competition. If you win it all this year, is his contract worth it?
Heh, you certainly weren’t alone there. The contract is worth it even if we don’t win it all this year. Shaw is an absolute stud pitcher who isn’t out of good years yet. We’re fortunate enough to have a healthy budget, and I was more than happy to spend the remaining dough on a front-line pitcher. It was the only way we were getting back in the race this year, and the key to success going forward. I anticipate Shaw will be the ace of the staff for several years to come.
What was your main focus during this off-season?
Our lineup was far too left-handed, so the plan was simple, really:
Get Javier Gonzalez, whatever the cost. Guys like him don’t come around very often, especially at a position other than first base. And boy, has he delivered.
Get another RH power bat, preferably in the infield. We were able to accomplish the second goal by signing IF Fernando Contreras. The guy can play anywhere on the diamond, hits for power, and gets on base. He’s been outstanding this year, too.
In your 1st two years of amateur drafting, which non 1st round pick are you most looking forward to?
I’ll be honest, Mike, I’ve not paid the minor leagues much attention at this point. I knew enough about the big name prospects to ensure I could bring in the pieces I needed to win now. Fortunately we had the guys necessary to pull in Marcus Shaw. Beyond that, I let my minor league coaches do their thing for the most part.
Looking over the rosters now, though, I’d say it’s SP Jose Velasquez down at Mesa. Kid can throw it through a brick wall (99-101 mph), and strikes out more than one an inning. Should be fun to watch – especially the opposing batters, if nothing else.
If you had to pick 1 player on your team whom you wish you had them from day 1 of their career in TBL (pre-draft), who would you want to have and why?
It’d be a tough choice between Marcus Shaw and Javier Gonzalez, but I’m taking the slugger on this one. Javier has been the model of excellence and consistency – an iron man who just changes the lineup with his presence.
If you could only pick 1 stat, which would you prefer…Slugging Percentage or On Base?
As Naughty By Nature once said – or something like it, right – I’m down with OBP. I like to build my teams around Pitching and Sluggers. But wait, you might say – you just said you prefer OBP? I do, and that’s because the more guys get on base, the more times you turn the lineup over and get back to the ones you’re paying the big bucks to drive runs in. It’s easier to put pressure on the opposing team when you’re getting guys on – you can get into the bullpen earlier, force guys to make decisions about where to throw the ball. Good things happen when you get guys on base. Especially when those would-be solo shots become three-run bombs.
If you could take 1 player from any team and put them on yours, who would you take and why?
Give me Houdini – Stephen Little, from Miami. The guy is a proven ace and he can go deep into ballgames. Put him in a rotation with Shaw and Monroe and that’s fearsome.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Beyond the Box Score!