The nachos are cold.
Your beverage of choice is lukewarm.
It's that time of the draft. Somewhere between rounds 8 and 14, where the obvious guys have been crossed off your list.
You're flipping to page 2, maybe even page 3 of your personal Big Board and you notice guys like John Lackey and Scott Kazmir are suspiciously hanging around, like the last kid on the playground waiting to get picked.
What do you do?
You're not 100 percent sure of their status. Lackey has a strained triceps muscle and will be out 'til late April or mid-May, depending on who you believe. Kazmir is on the shelf with a strained left elbow and is expected to start the season out on the DL. The cloud of uncertainty hovers around both like smoke in a room of old-time sportswriters.
A healthy Lackey is ranked 59th overall by Yahoo. Kazmir 78th.
It's now the 9th round in your mixed-league draft and you're on the clock with the 89th pick and you need a starting pitcher.
You shuffle through a few lists and you see names like Tim Lincecum, Javier Vazquez and Brett Myers. Nobody jumps out at you. And like sheet metal to a giant magnet in a tornado, your eyes keep snapping back to two names: Lackey and Kazmir.
On one side of your brain, you drool at the upside, especially this late in the draft. On the other, you envision week after week of constantly clicking on the tiny red and yellow Yahoo update box, only to find that the guy is throwing on flat ground or maybe had a setback in his latest rehab.
My advice to you is simple: Wait two rounds after you start thinking about taking him, and if he's still there, pull the trigger.
Sure, you have to factor in injury history. For instance, with Rich Harden, you might wanna make this a 3-round rule. For Mark Prior, 3 rounds and a stiff drink.
But whether it's the 9th or 10th or 18th round, most injury-risk pitchers can be a bargain, so long as you can protect yourself with some SP depth along the way.
All pitchers, to some degree, are a tweak or a twinge away from hitting the DL, so there are risks with anyone.
It's what makes this game so agonizing.
And yet we keep coming back.