Ongoing NFBC update

11:10 p.m. — OK, here’s the story. For those of you who haven’t heard,the East Coast got pummeled by a major snow and ice storm between Thursday and
Friday. So by the time I got to work Friday morning, my flight to Chicago that afternoon had already been cancelled, along with every other flight out of
the three major NYC area airports. After a frantic online, phone call and
AIM search (with Pat’s travel agent), I managed to get on an 8:00 flight this morning. Problem is, it was out
of Islip, the Long
Island regional airport. I got there in plenty of time, but there’s
only one de-icing machine for the entire airport, and as of 10:30 they hadn’t even de-iced the two other planes
scheduled to leave before us. Obviously I wasn’t getting out before noon or maybe even later, so I gritted my teeth, cancelled the flight
and headed home.

I got home just in time for the draft to start at 1:00 p.m. ET, and must give major props to the
NFBC organizers who set up the conference call dial-up for those of us who were
trying to participate remotely. Pat worked the draft on-site, and I texted
suggestions and thoughts to him throughout, while listening to the draft on the
conference call and working the draft on the laptop. It wasn’t ideal, but at
least I was in the game. I had to split after 18 rounds so Pat finished up the
rest with only sporadic input by me. (There were three picks I would have done VERY differently than he did, but I won’t name names. My boy did a fine job flying solo under unexpected circumstances.)

Anyway, we knew it would be unpredictable when Utley went fifth overall,
Holliday went 10th and Hafner (DH only) went 11th. Vladdy was our first choice
but went eighth, so we opted for Cabrera’s four-category upside over
Wright’s additional speed. (Yes, we may regret that later, but you make the best decision based on available information at the time.) It got stranger after that, as Derrek Lee went 15th, far earlier than expected… then our second choice, Teixeira, went right before us.
So with our 18th pick, we had multiple choices we never anticipated being able
to choose from: Santana, Sizemore and Jeter. We love Grady and Jeter, but Santana was too good a
value at that point and we took him.

Meanwhile, Furcal went 29th overall, Oswalt went 34th, K-Rod
went 37th and Nathan went 41st, all of them a few to several picks earlier than expected. We had hoped for Brian Roberts in the fourth
round, but fearing being shut out of prime speed guys altogether, we took him
in the third; Figgins went two picks later. And then there was Cris Carpenter
sitting there in the fourth (49th) so, once again, we felt we had to take the
best available player, one who was at least a round beyond fair value. I’ve never had two big aces before, I wonder what it will be like!

From that point it was a scramble to build out the offense and bullpen,
as can be plainly seen, since we didn’t anticipate taking a starter before the sixth or seventh round and instead we already had two after four rounds. Folks, don’t try this at home. We did have a shot at some speed guys throughout the
next few rounds, but feeling we would have a harder time finding power bats, we
opted for Sheffield and Sexson. And then to compound the
problem, guys like Kinsler, Kendrick and Barfield all went several rounds
earlier than we had anticipated.

By the time the ninth round came around, there was no choice
but to take Chris Young… let’s hope he pans out like last year’s ninth round
speed stab, Corey Patterson! Same deal with Upton in the 15th… let’s hope that
our friend Bill Chastain is right and Upton plays all over the place, enough to
get 30 or so steals. We’re gonna need ‘em. From that point on it was pretty much "best available."

Obviously our batting average is going to be weak, we’re
still short on speed, and a third closer wouldn’t hurt. But compare this team
to what we had last year coming out of the draft, and realize it’s actually not too bad, possibly even pretty good:

* Catchers:

2006: Martin and Barajas

2005: Barrett and Lieberthal

Edge: Martin will give us more steals than Barrett, with
a decent average and some pop. All Barajas has to do is play to be better than
Lieberthal. Even, possibly a slight edge this year.

* Corners:

2006: Sexson, M.Cabrera and Lowell

2005: Thome, Glaus and Encarnacion

Edge: Cabrera will lift this trio to a higher average
than last year, and his handful of steals will make a wash with Encarnacion. A
little less power but otherwise virtually identical. Even.

* Middles:

2006: Roberts, O.Cabrera and DeRosa

2005: Loretta, Jeter and Belliard

Edge: Roberts won’t match Jeter but he’s very solid at worst and I’m banking on a breakout season (.300/18/65/35/110) that could approach what Jeter did last season.
Cabrera is better than either Loretta or Belliard, and DeRosa figures to be
comparable. A lower average from this year’s trio, but more speed and
comparable power. Clear edge to 2005, but only because of Jeter’s greatness… and Roberts could close that gap.

* Outfielders:

2006: Sheffield, Burrell, C.Young,
Hawpe and Hermida (or Griffey)

2005: Guerrero, Sizemore, Swisher, Patterson and Rios

Edge: Obviously a big edge to 2005, particularly in
speed. This year’s quintent all have upside and should be comparable or maybe better in the
power categories, but can’t possibly match last year’s average, speed and run-scoring.

* Utility:

2006: Upton

2005: Sh.Green

Edge: If Upton plays enough he’ll be a major upgrade over Green’s meager season, obviously and
particulary in terms of speed. Let’s hope the super utility role agrees with him.

* Starters:

2006: Santana, Carpenter, Capuano, Jennings and Loaiza (or Nolasco)

2005: Webb, Bonderman, Suppan, Jf.Weaver and Loaiza

Edge: Huge edge to this year. Even if our bottom three
stink again, that can’t be worse than last year’s Unholy Trinity. And it’s
entirely reasonable to think that Santana and Carpenter will far exceed even the
excellence we got from Webb and Bonderman last year. Finally, remember that Capuano is a "List of 12" guy this year who halved his walk rate in ’06 without losing much of his strikeout rate! :-)

* Bullpen:

2006: Gagne, Fuentes, Otsuka and Rauch

2005: K-Rod, Ryan, Shields and Duchscherer

Edge: Huge edge to 2005, although a healthy Gagne could
make this relatively close. And if Chad Cordero gets traded, now we’re on to
something… hey, we can hope can’t we?

* Reserves:

2006: Votto, LaRoche, Pence, Pedroia, Griffey (or Hermida),
Kuo, Nolasco (or Loaiza)

2005: Kendrick, J.Bartlett, N.Logan, Br.Anderson, S.Mori,
G.Mota, Fossum

Edge: Only one of the prospects needs to pan out to match
what we got from Kendrick, and all three of them could secure MLB jobs in short order: LaRoche > Betemit, Pence > Burke/Scott/Biggio/Lane and/or Votto > Hatteberg. If two or more pan out, this will be a huge edge
this year.

So, loooking at it today I don’t think we can win the country but
I didn’t think that after the draft last year either, and we battled to sixth
place. The key, like last year, will be finding value on the free agent wire like
we did with Eric Byrnes, Chuck James and Takashi Saito. I don’t know if we’ll
be as fortunate this year, but if we are, we should be in great shape.

I’ll post projections for our team, and projected standings,
once I get the complete draft results. Thanks for everyone’s comments, I appreciate the feedback. G’night!

–CS

 

* * *

7:35 p.m. ET — The draft is over and I’ve completed our roster below, including our seven reserve picks. Interestingly, while we pursued a very different strategy as last year by virute of the opportunistic Santana/Carpenter picks, the overall strengths and weaknesses of last year’s and this year’s teams are very similar. More commentary on that and other topics to follow later tonight after everyone else here is asleep. :-)

–CS

* * *

4:20 p.m. ET — We’re into the reserve rounds of the NFBC Draft and since I’m not helping out "live" at this point (more on that later), here’s a quick update of our team through the first 18 rounds. Hope you’re all sitting down, since this isn’t the typical Schwartzstops squad:

C – R.Martin, LA (12th round)
C – R.Barajas, PHI (21st)

1B – R.Sexson, SEA (6th)
3B – M.Cabrera, FLO (1st)
CI – M.Lowell, BOS (18th)
2B – B.Roberts, BAL (3rd)
SS – O.Cabrera, ANA (10th)
MI – M.DeRosa (19th)

UT – B.Upton, TB (15th)
OF – G.Sheffield, DET (5th)
OF – C.Young, ARI (9th)
OF – P.Burrell, PHI (11th)
OF – B.Hawpe, COL (13th)
OF – J.Hermida, FLO (17th)

SP – J.Santana, MIN (2nd)
SP – C.Carpenter, STL (4th)
SP – C.Capuano, MIL (14th)
SP – J.Jennings, HOU (20)
SP – R.Nolasco, FLO (26th)
MR – J.Rauch, WSH (23rd)
MR – A.Otsuka, TEX (16th)
CL – E.Gagne, TEX (8th)
CL – B.Fuentes, COL (7th)

Reserves: K.Griffey Jr., CIN (22nd), D.Pedroia, BOS (24th), J.Votto, CIN (25th), H.Pence, HOU (27th), A.LaRoche, LA (28th), H.Kuo, LA (29th) and E.Loaiza, OAK (30th)

(Loaiza may be dead to me, but I guess he’s not dead to Pat!)

That’s right, we took Johan and Carpenter as our top two starters after they both dropped to what we felt was a round or more past their fair value. If rule #1 is don’t overpay for starting pitchers, and rule #2 is "have a plan and stick to it", then rule #3 is take advantage of opportunities when they arise… we felt these were great opportunities that we had to pursue.

Needless to say that had us scramling to assemble an offense, and other than a few low AVG guys and some health risks, we like how this is shaping up. I just got off the phone with DePirro (like I said, more on that later) and our reserve picks are adding great depth.

Full recap coming soon!
–CS

20 Comments

I am stunned. I’m rooting for ya Cory

Hey Cory. From your comments I’m assuming you never made it to Chicago? That’s too bad. I would hate to miss such a big event like that,

To say it’s an un-Schwartzstops like squad is an understatement!

That offense doesn’t look to scary on the surface. Not a great deal of power, some iffy batting averages and no “major” SB guy. You do have a bunch of guys who’ll chip in on the SB count.

Glad to see Gagne on the squad since I have him on a few teams. It shows “some” faith in him anyway and of course you have Otsuka paired with him.

CBYoung probably was a stretch at 9th. Even in 12 teamers I’ve done, Young is a 18th-20th round pick. Maybe it will work out like your early grab of Patterson last year.

I’m looking forward to hearing you talk about the team next week……and the week after and so on! LOL

Hey Cory…sorry to hear about the snag in your travel plans…all the listeners know how much you looked forward to heading out to Chicago for that free steak dinner.

I had a question about methods for calculating team stat & standings projections. I was hoping to get your input as to the best method of doing this. I wasn’t quite sure how to “word” this properly so please bear with me. Obviously I’d be using an Excel-type program, but the main snag is how to account for the stats of the players on your bench? In a league, such as mine is, where bench spots can be occupied by either a bat or an arm this lends itself to different roster constructions. So if Team A’s roster had 4 bats and 1 arm and Team B’s roster had 1 bat and 4 arms, then obviously Team A would have the advantage in the batting categories and Team B would have the advantage in the pitching categories. I’m not sure if this is the right way to go about this though simply because there are a limited number of line-up spots available each day, and one would never be able to get all the production out of the players on the bench. Also when it comes to dealing with the pitching staffs…some rosters may have 7 starters and some may only have 4. In leagues with innings limits obviously the team with 7 starters will be over the innings limit. How do you account for this variable when dealing with projecting pitching categories?

I’m pretty sure all that I typed above made no sense whatsoever…so basically…what’s the best method to running projections and still accounting to the variances in roster construction from team to team?

P.S. I apologize in advance if my post is totally and utterly confusing

Kwannie, I run the projections based only on the 23-man roster for each club, but I pick and choose from the bench players to see which are projected to have better seasons than the regulars. So it’s really “best 23 of 30″ in the projections. For example, we took Nolasco ahead of Loaiza but Loaiza has a better projection, so I used him.

It’s unscientific, but it’s also objective and assumes that every team has an equal chance to have breakouts as well as disappointments and injuries.

And in reality, it doesn’t matter if the projection says 1st place or 3rd, I just want it to be competitive. A 12th-place projection would get me worried! :-)

–CS

Cory – Thanks for the NFBC update and your draft. It’s always insightful to understand what you are thinking at different points in the draft.

All I can say at this point is Wow … it’s a real departure from the strategies that we normally hear on the 411. I can understand grabbing Johan when you did, but then to come back and take Carpenter as well … now that was really something different. However, I think it may have been a reaction to last year, when you felt like you didn’t have enough pitching depth. The cost, of course, is hitting. When you took Carpenter, were there any big bats available?

Also, regarding Figgins, he went way earlier than projected in my draft as well. In a 10-team, 5×5 mixed non-keeper, Figgins was drafted 28th overall, just after Morneau and just before Derrek Lee. Shocking … and it screwed up my plan because I thought I would get him at #42, which I thought was early!

Now, if I recall correctly, there is no trading at NFBC, right? That’s going to make it tough on you guys this year … but it should add some new elements to the show and help us find some deep offensive help.

Good luck!

I don’t think either Johan or Carpenter were “reactionary” picks to last year, but they were reactions to what we felt were value opportunities. No doubt we could’ve taken big bats with either pick and stuck to our plan of taking SP in the middle rounds, but we felt we couldn’t pass up the values. And the more I look at this roster, there more I’m convinced we’ll be able to compete in the power categories… we’ll need AVG and SB help, though, no doubt about that…
–CS

This will be a great opportunity for your show … to find the deep sleepers for SB’s.

Your draft is reminiscent of bizzaro-world Seinfeld. You’ve drafted the bizzaro-world 411 team. Top pitchers early, hitters late.

In relation to your need for speed … it seems you could easily project 120 SB’s between Martin, Roberts, O-Cab, Upton, and Young. If you find 30 more, where does that put you in the Category? Would 150 SB’s put you in the upper 25% of the category?

With a 15-team league, i’m not sure but are any of these guys available on your waiver wire: Kenny Lofton, Joey Gathright, Randy Winn, Luis Castillo, Jamey Carroll? They might be some sources of speed.

This is my biggest fear, having the draft go exactly opposite of my expectations and having to fly by the seat of my pants. Even though Cory likes his team, he has to feel a bit uncomfortable going against the grain. Keys here are going to be Sheff’s and Sexson’s health, Hawpe’s and Upton’s AB’s and you have to wonder about Hermida’s horrid spring. He was suppose to go 20/20 last year and flamed out. I hope he bounces back this year because he’s a target of mine as well, but you really have to wonder. Lots of question marks, but I give props for the ballsy approach given the circumstances.

Escus, you got it… I’m not as concerned about the team we put together as the improvisational nature of our draft. Obviously it never ever dawned on me even once that I’d have two SP’s in my first four (or even first seven!) picks.

D-Mont, I haven’t seen the full draft results yet but I think all those guys got drafted. Hopefully Esteban German is still around, he could grab some SB’s with a good average…

-CS

Cory,
I think you have an excellent team even going against your norm. I know it’s not the way you like to draft, but you always talk about value and I think there’s alot of value here. Santana as a second rounder in a 15 teamer and Carpenter in the 4th, that’s great value. I did a mock tonight in a 12 teamer the guy in the 7th spot (worst pick) took Johan and Carpenter in the 1st and 2nd. You got Sheff and Capuano in rounds that I have seen them going in 12 teamers and you got them there in a 15 teamer. I also like where you got O. Cabrera and Upton, but I love Russell Martin in the 12th. Keep up the great work in and out of the studio. Good luck in your leagues.

Mike in CT

Cory,
I had an Auction on Saturday. My catchers are Russell Martin and Rod Barajas. I was so pissed I ended up with Barajas, but my max bid was at $1. All I could remember was “Fantasyland” and the funny thing about Barajas. I have B-Rob also, hope he has the kind of year you think he will have.

Bryan in L.A

NYC NFBC UPDATE:
I can only speak for NYC but Santana did not last past the 7th pick in any of the 9 NFBC leagues in NYC!!!! I think you made a great choice in taking him 18th.

Also, one oddity, a league took Pujols 3rd overall behind Soriano and Reyes..WoW is all we said.

One rumor that was running around was an imminent trade of Linebrink to the Red Sox where he would take over closer duties… but this rumor has not been seen in any reputable places. This led to one guy taking Linebrink in the 12th.

This seems like the Anti-Cory team, not that I think it will be any less successful, good luck with not as much offense as your used too.

Have fun, Zack-Philly.

(I did not read the rest of the comments yet, so sorry if any repeated info.)

Small revision, I think it was 10th pick latest, 7th pick on average, for Santana in the leagues in NFBC NYC.

Zack-Philly

Hey Cory,

Sorry to hear about the travel problems. Even though your roster is not a traditional Shwartzstops one, getting both Santana & Carpenter at such great value gives you guys an excellent initial advantage in 2 to 3 categories–By complimenting them with a solid remaining staff(with Capuano to begin with & decent RP’s)it will be hard to beat your ERA & WHIP. Obviously, they will also be the core that could win you K’s as well. So, as long as you are competitive in most offensive categories, that team will definitely make a run.

NEIGHBOR STEVE

I don’t think this has been said enough but this is a superb pitching staff for a 12 team league let alone a 16 team league and should allow Cory and Pat to pretty much dominate a lot of the categories here and also puts them in a strong position to trade an ace without losing too much value.

I think it is obvious that too many teams went in with the same strategy and therefore missed value. Santana in every league is 1-3 in terms of performance and to get him for pick #18 is insane value!

The one criticism I would make and I suspect Cory feels the same way is there is a little too much risk in this roster with a lot of value tied up in pitchers, rookies and players coming off subpar seasons and a lot of injury risk check Griffey and ask Will Carroll about Roberts…

It’s easy to compare it with a successful team and say this isn’t as good but would you have banked on Thome and Cory Patterson having breakout years? I could see similar breakouts from Chris Young, Upton and Hermida this year

Well done guys

Matt in Cardiff UK

Cory,

I am sure you are going to talk a lot about the draft on the show today. I have an NFBC Satellite coming up with the 11th pick. Can you explain what your strategy was going into the draft before the Johan pick changed everything for you? I see that you would take Vlad over Wright and Cabrera, but were you going with your standard strategy from there?

1-3 – 3 hitters(balance of power and speed, position scarcity a plus)

4-5 – 2 top closers with good strike out rates

6-8 – build out offense a little bit more

9-10 – bargain (undervalued) starting pitching (Dan Haren here)

11-15 – offense and SP (add a 3rd closer if possible)

16-end – fill in pieces with best available

-Dave in NJ

Corey,

I was the guy (TBOS) that had front row center in a bunch of your mock drafts in preparation for the big show. I thought that in the mocks, you displayed an incredible knack for reacting on the fly to some of the insane picks of players that were taken “out of typical position”. Sometimes, you just wish that everyone in the draft was equally knowledgable and the draft would make some sense.

In you NFBC Draft, it appeared to make little sense in what transpired before your second, third and fourth picks. I, too, am a bit shocked, not with the pick of Santana, but more with the pick of Carpenter. I really would have expected you to take the biggest bat possible and wait around for your boys like Sabathia, Haren or Bedard in the later rounds.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, knowing your general strategy about when to take pitchers, wouldn’t you stay even more patient in taking your second SP? I am curious to what bats were available when you took Carpenter. As great as Carpenter is, isn’t his value (vs. the biggest bat on the board) on a lame offensive team like the Cards diminished, especially when you have Santana in pocket already and other glaring needs need immediate attention?

I really look forward to your updates, because I have a funny feeling we’ll be seeing some magic act out of you on the waiver wire.

I think you guys pulled out of this decently, but I also think that a lot of your team’s success is tethered to the ability of a rather large number of young players to all come through in the same season for you.

I’m sorry to hear about the circumstances that made this draft especially challenging and hope Jr. is back in action soon.

Mark (TBOS) in NY

Winston, based on the mock drafts and projections we did, our basic strategy was this:

1-3 – 3 hitters (balance of power and speed, position scarcity a plus)

4-5 – another bat (emphasis on speed) and one closer

6-8 – one more closer, one more bat and the best SP who drops down

9-10 – one more SP and one more bat

11-15 – offense and SP (add a 3rd closer if possible)

16-end – fill in pieces with best available

Note that we didn’t anticipate getting two closers to our liking in rounds 4-5, like we did last year, so we wanted to stretch that out a bit and take our first SP a little earlier. Of course, we didn’t plan for THIS early…

–CS

Hopefully MCab’s year is as huge as everyone thinks that it will be, and while some steals would help, you should have enough there to be competitive. While you needed to fill your hitters in, I think you got good value at all of your picks, with Sexson, Young, and Burrell all coming at a good value. As for your power outage, hope that Chris Burke can’t perform in HOU and that Pence gets the job, could have some nice power upside for you.

Tom, you nailed it… if any of Votto, LaRoche or Pence gets a job, we’ll have that much more depth to choose from. If two or more get jobs, our offense should kick *** almost regardless!
–CS

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