NFBC recap, part deux

Picking up where we left off after the first half of the draft…

Round 16

Best pick: On pure upside value, Carlos Delgado was a genuine
bargain at 226 overall, given that our rankings had him at 155 and satellite
ADP was 181. But he obviously carries a tremendous amount of risk, too.

Worst pick: I agree with Joe Sheehan that Dioner Navarro could take
a big step forward, but how big a step does it have to be to justify the 259th overall
pick when satellite ADP has him at 318?

We wanted: I wanted a third closer, and both Brandon Lyon and C.J.
Wilson were still on the board. We could’ve used a nice young speed option like
Adam Jones or Justin Upton, too.

Our pick: Delgado – my own “value based” approach got revenge on me
here as Pat overruled me to select Delgado, even though that locked up our UT
only halfway through the draft and we had bigger needs than another aging power
hitter. Delgado could more than justify this pick by simply repeating last
season’s numbers, but at this point, is even that too much to ask?

 

Round 17

Best pick: No great values in this round, but Billy Butler (247th overall)
was a very nice find compared to our ranking (222) and satellite ADP (220).

Worst pick: No real stumbles here either, although Randy Winn (250
vs. our 266 and ADP 288) and Shaun Marcum (245 vs. our 300 and ADP 266) weren’t
the most inspired selections.

We wanted: I hoped Randy Johnson would slip to us as our fifth
starter, but he didn’t. We liked Ramon Hernandez as our second catcher or Matt
Diaz as a cheap high-AVG complement, but they both went off the board, too. I
pushed hard for Bill Hall, who I think will rebound with decent power, a few SB’s
and two-position eligibility. This led to Pat’s moment of inspirationTiwnxczi_1

Our pick: Felix Pie (right) – We got him at 255 overall, and compared
to
our ranking of 199, that looks like a great value. But satellite ADP was only 295,
suggesting we would’ve had a shot at him the next time around. Pie has great
upside, and could add a badly-needed 20+ steals to our total, but his youth,
inexperience and mediocre plate discipline – not to mention his volatile
manager – make this a very risky selection when we needed a little
predictability.

 

Round 18

Best pick: If he bounces back to match our projected ranking of
167, Bill Hall will be a steal at 264th overall. He was even a bargain compared
to his satellite ADP of 233.

Worst pick: Cameron Maybin (256th) and Colby Rasmus (262nd) both
offer plenty of upside, but were taken much too early compared to both our
ranking and satellite ADP.

We wanted: I would’ve liked Hall, or Carlos Ruiz as our seconT1_maybin_si_1d
catcher, or even the cheap 25 homers of Luke Scott. But Pat won the day on this
pick too.

Our pick: Maybin (right) – there’s no denying his awesome talent and
upside, particularly in steals, and that’s where we most needed help. If he
matches our projection – .251 with 11 homers, 49 RBI’s and 26 steals – then this
will end up being a reasonable gamble given our lack of speed. But it’s far too
easy to see a scenario where he hits .212 for six weeks and then spends the
remainder of the season in Triple-A. I like his future but I didn’t like this
pick at the time and I don’t like it now.

 

Round 19

Best pick: Nothing special here, although Coco Crisp at 279 could
be a nice bargain if he gets traded somewhere so he can play every day. I’d
prefer that, so our Ellsbury pick will look a lot better, too!

Worst pick: Not a bad pick per se, but I thought the 281st overall
pick was a little early to gamble on Johnny Cueto.

We wanted: Someone likely to spend the season in the Majors

Our pick: Ronny Paulino – nothing special here but a reasonably
safe pick to hit .275 with 10-12 homers, a nice complement to Towles as our
second catcher.


Round 20

Best pick: Gary Matthews could be a nice value at 294th overall if
he plays enough to put up his usual 15/15 season. Better than Randy Winn in any
case!

Worst pick: Juan Rivera. Doesn’t matter what pick was used on him.
He’s the sixth outfielder on a team that doesn’t need a DH. I hope the team
that picked him had some rock-solid trade intel.

We wanted: A middle infielder or bullpen help.

Our pick: Joaquin Benoit – A little old (30) to be considered a
closer of the future, but I like his chances to earn some saves along with C.J.
Wilson, and with K-Rod and Coco already in the fold,
that’s all we needed with the 286th overall pick.

 

Round 21

Best pick: Frank Thomas should never have lasted to the 301st overall
pick, a full four to five rounds
later than either our rankings or satellite ADP. Even though he locks up the UT
spot, I’d rather have him than Delgado. Great, cheap source for 25 homers.

Worst pick: Rajai Davis at 308th overall. Sure he could win some
playing time over Dave Roberts, but so what? He’s a poor man’s Dave Roberts.
Satellite ADP was 358 and our rankings had him even lower.

We wanted: Middle infield and/or speed.

Our pick: Akinori Iwamura – we’ll have to start the season with him
on our bench, but by Week 3 we should be able to put his 10/10 production and
decent run-scoring potential in our middle infield slot. Given our needs, he
was a terrific find with the 315th overall pick, especially compared to satellite
ADP (239).

 

Round 22

Best pick: Daric Barton (320th) should be a cheap source for a
solid average and a dozen or more homers as a corner/utility guy. We ranked him
293 and ADP was 300.

Worst pick: I guess you could defend the gamble on Jonathan Sanchez
at 322, but our ranking and satellite ADP said you could’ve taken that gamble
100 picks later.

We wanted: Pat wanted Homer Bailey but I couldn’t stomach his a)
lack of complementary pitches to his heater and under-used curve, b) bandbox
home ballpark, c) sporadic control and command, d) terrible spring stats that
might result in him going to Triple-A, and e) his pitcher-abusive manager. But
given our need for a fifth starter, I went another route.

Our pick: Wandy Rodriguez – he might not have Homer Bailey’s
perceived upside, but he should be a safer bet this year to post a 4.00 ERA,
1.30 WHIP, a dozen wins and decent strikeouts. His extreme home/road splits from
last year should even out somewhat, and having a much better defensive outfield
(Bourn in CF and Pence in RF) should help some too.

 

Round 23

Best pick: Franklin Gutierrez (336th) could provide 20/10
production. Both our ranking (265) and satellite ADP (309) agree his upside was
worth a pick two rounds earlier. I wish it had been us who made it.

Worst pick: Bartolo Colon is way down on both our rankings and
satellite ADP, so the 343rd pick might be a little early. But for the last
round, why not.

We wanted: Another decent bullpen arm. I wish we had taken Gutierrez
instead of Maybin, too. I’m going to drive myself crazy reconstructing our
draft in a way that would’ve been completely possible (Lincecum over
Encarnacion, Kouzmanoff over Weaver, Gutierrez over Maybin, etc.) and probably
resulted in a much more well-rounded team.

Our pick: Manny Delcarmen – I’m surprised he lasted this long,
given that Francona anointed him some time ago as Papelbon’s top setup guy.

 

Reserve Rounds:

Our picks:

 

R1 – Moises Alou – he should come
off the DL just as Maybin is going down to Triple-A. In hindsight I should’ve
gone for Andre Ethier here since I’m surprised he was still on the board.

R2 – Erick Aybar – I’m assuming he’ll
be able to hold the fort at MI for two weeks until Iwamura qualifies, and maybe
grab a few steals along the way.

R3 – Joe Saunders – he should get
another shot at the rotation with Lackey and Escobar out, he’s having a strong
spring and he’s in his age 27 season.

R4 – Tom Gordon – simply a bet
against Brad Lidge’s health and mental fortitude.

R5 – Nate Robertson – a short-term
bet in case he gets off to another fast start. He won’t be here at the end of the
season, that’s a certainty.

R6 – Jose Contreras – his 2005-06
stats were so similar, and his dropoff last year so extreme, that I have to
believe he’ll rebound somewhat. He said he was distracted last year by a messy
divorce, and now has a new Cuban teammate to keep him company, so this is
simply a short-term gamble to see if he can regain some old magic.

R7 – Matt Antonelli – if he
improves as quickly this year as he did last year, we hope he can take over for
Iguchi in the second half.

 

Our final roster:

C — J.R. Towles (14)
C — Ronny Paulino (19)
1B — Ryan Howard (1)
3B — Garrett Atkins (3)
CI — Edwin Encarnacion (10)
2B — Kelly Johnson (9)
SS — Jhonny Peralta (15)
MI — Erick Aybar (R2)
UT — Carlos Delgado (16)
OF — Alfonso Soriano (2)
OF — Jacoby Ellsbury (8)
OF — Lastings Milledge (11)
OF — Felix Pie (17)
OF — Cameron Maybin (18)
SP — Brandon Webb (4)
SP — Daisuke Matsuzaka (6)
SP — Jered Weaver (12)
SP — Bronson Arroyo (13)
SP — Wandy Rodriguez (22)
RP — Joaquin Benoit (20)
RP — Manny Delcarmen (23)
CL — Francisco Rodriguez (5)
CL — Francisco Cordero (7)

And the bench:

 
3B — Akinori Iwamura (21)
2B — Matt Antonelli (R7)
OF — Moises Alou (R1)
SP — Joe Saunders (R3)
SP — Nate Robertson (R5)
SP — Jose Contreras (R6)
RP — Tom Gordon (R4)

I’ll post projected final standings, and some final
thoughts, later tonight.

 

–Cory

 

10 Comments

Cory,I think you need a new drafting partner.You went against everything you always preach about not taking SP early and getting speed.Add to the fact that last week on one of the shows you mentioned how you would never ever have Soriano on one of your teams this year.Where was Crawford and BJ with that 2nd pick?If they were taken already how about Granderson or B.Roberts for speed.The next pick with Atkins shocked the Fantasy world because I for one had the idea that 3rd base was deep this year.Im thinking maybe Jeter and Markakis or Furcal and Pence with that 3-4 pick.I dont know,maybe Im overthinking the speed factor but I do like your 2 Closers and your 4 Fire-Ballers at SP……Awesome Staff.

Rich in Saratoga Springs

Cory, you should have taken Rasmus over Maybin, the kid is more experienced and on a better team. You might regret that one.

Gotta say I was surprised with the Soriano pick as well-And you said Fielder was available there as well?- I would have had a hard time passing on him even though you had your first baseman.. UT and CI were still available and I know it would hinder later picks.. BUT BEST AVAILABLE.. Or am I completly off base- Great Stuff Cory- THought about you all weekend wishing I could watch..
Kris

Cory, you mentioned that “(your) rankings were very favorable towards starting pitchers” and cite Brandon Webb, Aaron Harang, Jared Weaver and others as examples. On the surface, this worries me a little and reminds me of a mistake I feel that I made a few years ago. At the time, I had made my own projections, much like you did, taking projected stats and calculating a “VORP” type statistic for each position. At least this is what I gather from hearing you talk about it on the show.

The problem in doing this, or at least with the way I had done it, was that it didn’t account for the macro-level risk involved with pitchers! It only took their projected statistics into account. Sure, based on projected performance, pitchers may have been worth what my spreadsheet said they were going to be. But in a global sense, they were less likely to hit those projections than the hitters were, and my system at the time did not make any macro-level adjustments for this simple fact.

Just curious if you encountered the same thing in your system as well, and if you made any adjustments for it, because it sounds like your system ranked pitchers higher than typical ADP, much in the same way tha tmy system did. For me, it was the undoing of my season that year, and marked the only time in the last five years I finished lower than 2nd!

I suppose you may have thought of this already anyway, and it sounds like you took a more balanced view of the draft, still keeping the satellite ADP in mind, so your results are better than mine were. But I’m just curious to hear your thoughts on it and whether or how you made the adjustment for risk versus projected VORP.

And I should mention, all things being equal, that this is solely a comment on your projected rankings rather than your actual team. Your actual team looks very exciting and looks like a contender for the title. Can’t wait to hear your commentary on air today!

Hey Cory, I just want to ask you a general question, that I think your draft might address:

I’ve been in a 5×5 league for about 5 years now, a 12 team league for 2, and a 14 team league for 3. I wanted to get your perspective on starting pitching. I’ve seen SP be more valuable in the 10 team and 15 league than in the 12 team league, mainly because of the level of talent needed to compete. In a 10 team league, while there are always good SP on the waiver wire, owners can construct their teams with fewer of the middle tier guys, driving ERA’s down. A guy like Carlos Silva, with a solid 4.50 ERA season after season, will be thrown in a large number of his starts in a 12 team league, but rarely thrown in a 10 team league. As the average ERA decreases, getting SP who keep your ERA low becomes more important.

Similarly, in a 15 team league, those elite SP become more important to keep your ERA down below the league average. Since teams have more of the solid but unspectacular pitchers (like Silva), getting studs becomes more important.

I guess my question is this, as the number of owners changes, how does your valuation of SP change. Is it a straight linear relationship, or are there critical points where you see things change?

Tom in Boston (in class)

Cory,

Your comments got me thinking. I work in Investment Consulting. Basically my job is to interview and pick the brains of those who manage millions of dollars. They, and many investors fall in love with various behavioral anomalies, including falling in love with stocks and refusing to admit when they aren’t working or have run their course. I am not suggesting you’ve done this here, but you’ve touted Edwin Encarnacion now for the past two years. While I project him for good things this year, Dusty’s penchant for not playing young guys scares me. Do you think we, as fantasy players, tend to over inflate the potential of some of our favorites while deflating those we aren’t high on? I know I do this with most young players and ignore safer plays (like Michael Young). Obviously you would have taken Lincecum over Encarnacion so It’s not like you were going for safety over risk in any case, but your seeming man-crush on Edwin Encarnacion might have been what got you in trouble. Thoughts?

No doubt my belief in Edwin was a big factor in that pick, but to be fair, that goes into every player for every draft… you pick guys who you think can get the job done. At that poin in the draft I thought we needed bats, and those who could give some speed too. I had Edwin as one of the top 3-4 hitters left at that point, projected for about .285-21-80-9, something like that. Some may call that optimistic, but there have been stretches in his young career where that looks like a worst-case scenario. So given our needs and his ability, I thought it was a reasonable pick at that time.

One thing DePirro kept reminding me of, and as I calm down and reflect on this more, I agree with… in a league like this where competition is so aggressive, I’d rather finish 12th than 5th. There’s no reward to a middle-of-the road team in NFBC, hence some of the “reaches” in each draft. I think Edwin in the 10th was less of a reach than some others I saw. :-)

–CS

BTW, Orange Crush, note that Rasmus got sent down today while Maybin is still in the race for the regular CF job. Rasmus might be the better player right now, but Maybin has the better chance of being an MLB player right now! :-)

–CS

Pie won the Cubs’ starting CF job (albeit batting 8th), woo hoo! C’mon Cameron!!

–CS

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