NFBC recap – 3/21/09

Well folks I haven’t been around the blog much lately since I’ve been doing my NFBC prep, and today was the day. If you like short and concise blog posts, look elsewhere… here comes the detailed breakdown for my afternoon with Siano. I picked 13th out of 15, so I’m presenting the picks in pairs here since that’s how we planned them:

1/2 — I was hoping Chase Utley would fall to me at 13 but not really counting on it, so I figured I’d get Ryan Howard and then follow up with Upton or Crawford. However, neither of them made it to me, and neither did backup option Mark Teixeira. By ADP the best player left was Josh Hamilton but I opted for my highest-ranked player, B.J. Upton (who I believe will start the season on the DL but only miss one week and otherwise will be fine). Wanting to start with a 1B/OF pair, I considered Lance Berkman with my next pick but opted for the young upside of Prince Fielder, who I had ranked 16th overall.

3/4 — My plan here was to drop a 411-style bomb on the draft and go with Russell Martin and Brian McCann with back-to-back picks, creating an elite tandem at a weak position and forcing others to scramble to pick up duff catchers. However, McCann went to Team 10, but I was still able to get Martin, and I complemented him with my “Plan B” pick, the Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino.

5/6 — My plan here was to take the best available closer, figuring the top ones would have been drafted earlier in the round, and then take Derek Jeter. I wanted Francisco Rodriguez but he went at 5.08, so I took Joe Nathan… very happy with that. By ADP I figured Jeter to be a 7th rounder but in my rankings he was a late 5th/early 6th, so in my view I got him at exactly fair value. Through six picks, we are 100% dead on plan.

7/8 — The plan was to take either another closer or the best available SP, depending on the options, and then an outfielder like Jason Werth or Lastings Milledge. Jose Valverde went at 7.01 but I was very happy to get Jonathan Broxton at 7.13 (Brian Fuentes went at 8.05). Having taken Victorino at 4.03, I no longer wanted a 2nd OF, so I took my top-shelf 2nd catcher, Chris Iannetta (right). By ADP he’s a mid-9th rounder, but I had him ranked 100th overall and took him at 108th.
chrisiannetta07.jpg
(There was a big debate over this pick on my Facebook page, whether or not I should’ve taken any catcher this high, much less two in my first eight picks. This is an old school 411 tactic that long-time fans should know.)

9/10 — The plan here was a pitcher and then Kelly Johnson, if he lasted, since I missed out on Utley. However, 411 favorite Edwin Encarnacion was still on the board and I was feeling thin on power, so I decided to go for him instead, figuring Johnson had a better chance of lasting to my next pair of picks than did Edwin. Plus, not having taken an SP yet I needed to take at least three more and quickly, so if I had to take one bat over the other, I wanted Edwin. Potential targets Zack Greinke, Cliff Lee, Jon Lester and Brett Myers all went after our 7/8 picks, so I went for last year’s 2nd half stud Ricky Nolasco.

11/12 — Kelly Johnson was STILL on the board, but SP’s were starting to go more quickly so I stuck to the plan and grabbed what I felt was the best available pair: Matt Garza and Jered Weaver. Adam Wainwright, John Danks and Ted Lilly had all gone off the board since my last pair of picks so I felt these were the two next best guys. Weaver is particularly underrated in my opinion… some may recall I had him on my NFBC team last season and I’ve never seen a pitcher have such bad luck and have so many cheap grounders get through for hits. He’s still young enough to break through.

13/14 — I gambled correctly when I passed on Johnson to taking Encarnacion, and sure enough Johnson lasted to my 11/12 picks. But since I needed SP’s so dearly, I gambled one more time that Johnson would make it to me at 13.13… and he nearly did. Unfortunately though he went at 13.10 I started to look for outfielders instead, but then Shin-Soo Choo went the pick before me, so I grabbed another solid arm in Wandy Rodriguez. I still needed a 2B and had my eyes set on Felipe Lopez, but I figured I could wait on him, and Adam LaRoche was the best power bat left who wasn’t DH-only (i.e., Thome) or an average killer (Giambi or Cust) so I took him instead. By ADP I expected he may have lasted to the 16th or 16th round, but on value I felt he was worth a 10th or 11th round pick so I grabbed him.

15/16 — Oops. Lopez went at 15.02, so I was officially digging deep for a 2nd baseman, and I still needed outfield help. Jeremy Hermida went at 15.09, so I went for what I felt were the two best available: Ryan Spilborghs and Jason Kubel. I said to Siano that these were essentially the make-or-break picks of the draft, because if they put up numbers consistent with my expectations, they’ll be solid values here and I’ll have a strong outfield. If not, I’m toast. Then again, my 4/5 outfielders last year were Pie and Maybin so I’m already doing better with this group!

17/18 — I got my 2nd baseman in Alexi Casilla (below), who if healthy could hit .290 and steal 25 or more bags, so I’m happy with him at this point even though I wasn’t really targeting him. I then took Manny Corpas, figuring he’ll win the closer job over abysmal Huston Street, but even if not he’s a solid setup reliever and closer-in-waiting. Yes, the road to 5th place is lined with those, but I already have Nathan and Broxton, so Corpas can give me value even without the saves.
Casilla.jpg
19/20 — Needing a middle infielder and a fifth starter I targeted Mike Fontenot and Bronson Arroyo, figuring both would easily get to me. Notsomuch. Arroyo went at 19.09 and Fontenot at 19.12, the pick right before me… missed them by thatmuch! Instead I took Joe Saunders and fifth outfielder Cody Ross, who should provide decent pop and a few steals as the Marlins’ everyday left fielder.

21/22 — Just looking for best-available and upside here… Colby Rasmus as my utility guy and Asdrubal Cabrera as my middle infielder. Rasmus could actually be a key player for me if he does his Jim Edmonds-with speed act: .260-20-70 with 10-12 steals would be a huge value at this point in the draft. We were set to take John Smoltz to build pitching depth but he went the pick before us at 21.12.

23/R1 — Pitching depth since we didn’t get Smoltz. Rehabbing Kelvim Escobar, who is ahead of schedule and may return by May or June, and tarnished prospect Homer Bailey, who is having an outstanding spring and may yet make good on his once elite prospectdom.

R2/R3 — With my 2nd reserve pick I stashed away the best minor league bat who might make an impact later this year, a la Longoria last year or Pence in ’07: Matt LaPorta. Then I picked up power sinkerballer Justin Masterson, who is deep on the Red Sox depth chart but could still log plenty of valuable innings. Great arms find roles.

R4/R5 — Took a shot here on David Aardsma, who is having a strong spring, in hopes he might steal the Mariners closer job. If so, we get dirt-cheap saves… if not, we cut him. Then we picked up Lyle Overbay, in case LaRoche gets off to another awful start and I need a plug-in for a month.

R6/R7 — Wilson Betemit, who I think will get ple
nty of at-bats all over the diamond for the White Sox, and who I think is a good longshot gamble to steal away the 2nd base job from Getz but before Beckham arrives. Then we added one more high-ceiling prospect arm in James McDonald to wrap things up.

So what does it all mean?

Well, one of my goals was to follow my projections and trust my rankings, which I did (thanks to Siano for keeping me focused). I wanted to emphasize young guys with upside where are in or entering their prime, and only five of my 30 picks are 30 years or older; a full half of them are between the prime ages of 25 and 28. Finally, I wanted to get back to the 411 style of drafting… get a big bullpen, pair up two top catchers, and take some chances on starting pitching. As a result, I have a team that I think can win my league, if all of my young players approach or exceed my expectations, but one that could finish near the bottom if they’re not ready for prime time.

In any case, here is my draft recap spreadsheet, with three tabs:

1. Pick-by-pick results, with my projections for each player.
2. “Opening day” 23-man rosters for each team, using the first group of players picked for each team that would make a legal roster. That is, some teams didn’t draft catchers or fifth outfielders until the reserve rounds, so I took the first 23 players that could make a legal roster regardless of the order in which they were picked.
3. Projected standings based on these rosters. Yes, I project my team to win, but of course there is a selection bias here… I picked players that I think are good and will produce. Still, it’s nice to get that positive validation!

2009 NFBC projections.xls

Well, that’s it for tonight… 411 Listener League is on Thursday, a nice easy 12-team mixed, which is a break after the grueling 15-team NFBC format. Then it’s NL Tout Wars over the weekend, a scratch auction that is incredibly challenging but enjoyable.

Now that my team’s put together let’s get to some baseball!!

Thanks,
Cory

56 Comments

Hey Cory,

I’m wondering about Jermaine Dye in the 8th round. His value there is off the charts for your draft sheet. With Napoli out there, as well as some stat stuffing if mediocre Catchers as well, would you have wanted the 35 year old wonder?

At first i was going to comment on the poor drafting by team 7 but then i noticed something odd. Did team 6 get back to back picks in the 1st round? It looks like team 7 should have had Miguel Cabrera in round 1. It clearly wont put them near the top of the standings but it would at least give them 1 elite bat.

Hey Cory:

Two general strategy questions:

1. How do you look at upside and security in the NFBC? I’ve been adopting a strategy of not reaching on much in drafting this year, which has resulted in a strong OF of guys like Raul Ibanez, Torii Hunter, etc… that I can get in 8th or so to fill the stats. Somebody like Nelson Cruz, however, rarely ends up on my team, since while I like the upside, he’s just going to high. How do you balance that upside with the risk involved in a League like the NFBC, where there is such a premium placed on finishing in the top of not just your draft but the 390 teams overall?

2. Which leads into my second question: On draft day, are you looking to stage a run at winning your league, or at winning the whole tournament? If you’re going for the whole tournament, do you take more risks? Do you draft a solid team and hope for the high-upside reserve guys like LaPorta come through. Do you reach a little more?

Hey Cory, great to run into you yesterday before the draft. Glad your draft went well – I had no doubts you’d do fine.

I wound up in a pickle in NY6 with the third overall pick – after Wright in the first, I grabbed Santana in the second (total gravy that I’m a Mets fan) but in the third Lincecum was still there – just couldn’t lay off it – really made putting together an offense an adventure. I did luck out with Encarnacion in the 14th.

I love your Russel Martin pick, I just don’t understand how people can lay off of one of the big 3 catchers in the third round of a league this deep that requires 2.

I’m chronicling my draft at my blog Bloop Single

http://bloopsingle.blogspot.com/2009/03/nfbc-main-event-draft-results-part-1-of.html

Best of Luck, Greg from New Jersey

Stupid, agreed that Dye would have been a great value in the 8th but I was determined at that point to a) take Iannetta as my 2nd catcher and b) avoid a 3rd outfielder. Remember also that I weighed age very heavily; Iannetta is entering his age 26 season and although Dye has been very productive, he is 35 and more likely to decline.

Eero, nice catch on the typo… Team 6 took Rollins and Team 7 took Cabrera.

Stupid again, this year I did lean more heavily towards younger upside guys rather than more established but lower-profile vets, such as with the Iannetta over Dye pick. It’s a calculated risk… I went for young upside but focused on guys who I thought were ready to reach their prime, between the ages of 25 and 28. They may not hit peak value but then again they are less likely to collapse, also. I would like to win the whole thing one day but my more immediate goal is to win my league so I always track my team based on that standard first and foremost.

Greg, I think you had to take Lincecum there. Obviously it puts you behind pace on offense but it gives you a dominating edge in pitching. I tried the same thing with Santana-Carpenter in ’07, and while it didn’t work out, I’ve never second-guessed the reasoning… I got the top two SP’s on my list at the lowest draft pick prices of any NFBC leagues. I’m no fan of SP’s but you can’t pass up that chance.

Thanks,
Cory

Good stuff Cory – love the youth-focused tilt on the roster. I get a lot of crap for doing that from my cohorts but in a format like NFBC, these types of things can work out well. I put up my team and thoughts here.

Oh well, creating hyperlink didn’t hold in the comments. I put up a post at Rototimes about it.

Craziest things I saw in the Vegas drafts:

-Taveras going in the 4th
-I got Longoria with the 27th pick; he went as high as 12th
-Manny Burriss went anywhere from the 16th to the reserve round
-Wieters was the 5th catcher drafted behind Soto, McCann, Martin, and Mauer in my league
-Mauer went anywhere from the 7th to the last pick of the 9th round from what I witnessed.
-Jorge Cantu had an ADP of 130 in the last report from NFBC but he went somewhere around 170. Milton Bradley was at 170 and didn’t get taken until the low 200′s

Sounds like you had some tough luck in this draft with so many guys going right before your pick. Looks like you coped with that well though and got more depth at pitching than you must have planned.
I took Maine as my #5 SP behind Greinke, Baker, Myers & Weaver. but now I am wondering if I should even hold onto him to open the season as he has been awful. Waiver options are Floyd, Arroyo or McClung to target more saves. What would you do? Does Maine deserve more patience or has he lost something with that surgery?

Is it possible to get the preview show from anywhere but itunes as it takes me out of the USA site to where the show is no longer available or is it limited to USA only.

Cory,
Those are some pretty lofty numbers for Hanley. Not questioning the numbers but curious about the process? What process did you use in evaluating and projecting? Did you figure in position scarcity into your numbers?

Thanks
T

Cory,
Another question. I did my ranks based on the formula from the previous blog. How do I merge the hitter and pitcher worksheets so I have one composite ranking?

Thanks
T

The only projected stat for Hanley that may seem out of line is RBI’s, but all of the rest are very much in line with what he’s done in recent seasons. I didn’t use the “composite projections” for RBI’s; instead I used a formula that was developed by a smart guy named Mark Padden, which is based on the strong correlation between XBH rate and RBI’s. Hanley’s XBH rate in recent seasons should’ve been worth 100+ RBI’s but he hit leadoff behind the pitcher and a weak #8 hitter, so he didn’t have guys to drive in. Batting 3rd this year, I have no problem believing he can approach 110 RBI’s, even if Maybin and Hermida/Baker aren’t great in the top two slots. No matter what they do they will be better than hitting behind the pitcher!

–Cory

Kevin, assuming you are in a 12-team mixed, the choice between Maine, Floyd and Arroyo is an artificial one… you will be able to choose from guys like that all year long. Pick the one you like right now and stick with him for a few starts to see how it goes, then “pitch and ditch” that roster spot if you’re not happy with the results.

Thanks,
Cory

-It’s a very odd way to draft a team, especially in a league as big as this, with as much money as there is on the line. It’s one thing to draft youth in a keeper league, since you’ll be rolling it over the next season, but to go with so many question marks in a 1 year league makes no sense to me.

-You don’t have nearly enough power, your avg is going to be weak, your starting pitching is full of question marks, plus Wandy is only useful at home (check those splits the last 2-3 years). It’s also my opinion that your bullpen is more likely to implode than have a great season. Corpas is a headcase, Broxton is a lousy closer/great setup guy, and Nathan has shoulder issues.

-I feel you made a grave mistake out of the box drafting Upton. Upton had great value when he was 2B eligible, but as an outfield only guy, he’s no fantasy stud, and I’d rather have at least a dozen, maybe more outfielders over him.

-Another issue, your UTIL guy, Rasmus, will likely start the year in the minors.

-Bottom line, the “411 draft style” is severely flawed and choosing this draft to use that style is going to bite you in the butt. This is not the draft to be drafting potential, this is a draft that sure things are called for.

Hey Mike,
It was great meeting you and Mike at the draft Saturday. I had pick 7 in NYC league 2. Below is my team, I would love for you to take a look and tell me what you think.
Thanks,
Joe Lano

C- Ramon Hernadez,R14
C- Kurt Suzuki,R22
1B-Carlos Pena,R7
2B-Brian Roberts,R3
SS-Yuniesky Betancourt,R23
3B-Edwin Encarncion,R10
MI-Orlando Hudson,R21
CI-Ryan Garko,R19
OF-Ryan Braun,R1
OF-Matt Holliday,R2
OF-Carlos Quentin,R4
OF-Ryan Ludwick,R9
OF-Willie Tavares,R13
DH-Jeremy Hermida,R18
SP-James Shields,R6
SP-AJ Burnett,R8
SP-Carlos Zambrano,R12
SP-Umbaldo Jimenez,R15
SP-Gavin Floyd,R15
SP-Randy WOlf,R20
RP-Brad Lidge,R5
RP-Heath Bell,R11
RP Brad Zigler,R16

Invisibleman,

Drafting sure things won’t win you a league. Corey uses solid statistical thinking and works from projections of FUTURE performance. That’s why he takes youth over age. Players are most likely to make leaps forward in performance between the ages of 25 and 28.

Invisiibleman, thanks for the feedback, but I think you are way off base on several points.

* The deeper the league the more you DO need to gamble on upside, and as Vito noted in my support, I focused on players in the 25-28 range who are most likely to near or reach their peak this season. I’d rather go for guys like that than “proven” vets who are more likely to decline as they get older.

* Your assessements on the stats categories are your own, but I used objective projections throughout and believe I am competitive in those categories. Check the spreadsheet. Remember also that you don’t have to win every — or any — category to win the league. I believe I am at least competitive in every category.

* Your home/road concerns about Wandy are year-old news that he resolved last season. Corpas is a headcase who has pitched exceptionally well for all but about a month of the last two seasons, and was enough of a headcase to be a shutdown closer for a World Series team in 2007. Your “lousy closer” label on Broxton is based on what, blown saves? C’mon. Many middle relievers and setup guys get charged with blown saves but that skews their value because they aren’t given the saves chances to balance them out. Oh and by the way he went 14-for-17 in saves after taking over for Saito in the 2nd half last year. As for Nathan I’ve heard nothing to give me any major concerns over his shoulder, and other than Marino Rivera he’s probably the most reliable closer in baseball. My bullpen is killer.

* You are also dead wrong about Upton. I’ve done my homework and believe his shoulder is healthy enough that he can regain his lost power; he hit 24 homers in ’07 and stole 44 bags last season and is only 25. If he consolidates his production this year he’ll be a steal at 13, even without 2B eligibility.

* I’ve done my homework on Rasmus and he will begin the season as the Cardinals 4th OF but will play a lot because the Cards are only carrying 4 OF’s. And oh yeah he’s my UT, so it’s not like I won’t be able to replace him. Check your facts before you criticize.

Bottom line, you are clueless. Whether my team sucks or great is irrelevant; you’ve not not raised one valid criticism of my approach or draft choices. Other than that you are right on point.

Thanks,
Cory

Joe, at a glance that looks like a very solid team. Maybe a little shy on speed overall, the AVG might be middling, and some injury risks in the SP’s, but no obvious or serious flaws. Well done!

CS

BTW, here’s what Marc Normandin wrote on Baseball Prospectus.com this weekend about Upton:

“(His) contact on pitches in the zone and his overall contact percentage also rose, though not as drastically. These signs all point to Upton having a monster campaign in 2009, as long as his shoulder is healed and no longer a hindrance to his power. Assuming that he recoups some of his fly-ball tendencies from 2007, a more patient and disciplined Upton is a scary proposition for opposing pitchers, and one of the reasons that you should be falling all over yourself to draft him.”

Thanks Marc. I’ll take my chances.

–CS

you can call me clueless, but when your team bombs, you’ll be left saying, “wow, that guy was right.”

***Your home/road concerns about Wandy are year-old news that he resolved last season****

he resolved that huh? 2.99 at home, 4.34 on the road last season. Under a hit an inning at home, over a hit an inning on the road last year. Over a K an inning at home last year, under a K an inning on the road. .244 baa at home, .274 baa on the road. You were saying?

As for Upton, what in his history shows that his 24 homer season wasn’t a fluke. He never hit that many in a season in the minors. Furthermore, the difference between last year and the year prior was nothing other then homers. He hit more doubles last year and less homers. Blame his shoulder all you want, but it’s still in bad shape and the track record of 24 homers just isn’t there.

Broxton as a closer was lousy. His era was huge when he was in that closer position. The 5.11 he sported in August was completely awful. Corpas was terrible as closer last year, got moved to 7th and 8th innings and pitched better. Even pitching better, he had only 2 months with an era under 3.55. Nathan is what he is, the best closer in baseball.

bottom line, your team is extremely weak, the projections you used killed you, and like I said before, you have no power, a bad rotation, lousy bullpen. Once again, you can call me clueless, but when your team bombs, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you.

Flame war!!!

Invisible man, does your league count stats from the previous season?

of course not, but career stats and patterns are a lot more helpful then whatever projections he used. Hitman drafted a solid team. Cory’s is a mess. In the year 2009, there is a significant scarcity at power, plenty of depth at outfield and pitching. Cory’s entire draft is the opposite of how it should’ve been done.

Invisibleman, just a few more replies to more of your off-base comments:

* Yes, Wandy had a home/road split last year. In fact, the average MLB pitcher had a 4.08 home ERA and 4.58 on the road, so Wandy was above average on the road and excellent at home. If that’s not satisfactory to you as a #4 starter than by all means, take 4 SP’s in your top 10 picks and see where YOU end up in the standings.

* Hmm, let’s see. Upton hit 38 homers in 1,207 Triple-A at-bats, the equivalent of about 17 in a 550 at-bat season, then 24 HR in his age-23 23 MLB season. So yes, he did reach a new level of power production that he hadn’t before. However, scouts have long expected him to hit 25-30 homers in his prime, which he’s nearing, and this is why we look for players entering their prime, which he is. Given that he HAS done it in a season, why are you so quick to believe he can’t do it again?

* Broxton as a closer was lousy? Yes he had a 5.11 ERA in August, but then he had a 0.79 ERA in September. He converted 14 of 17 saves in the 2nd half. He’s averaged about 11.4 K/9 over his career, he pitches for a good team and in an excellent pitcher’s park. Tell me why he’s a lousy choice as a #2 closer.

* Yes, Corpas was erratic last year. But he’s my #3 closer. You’re telling me THIS is my fatal flaw to my team?

In any case you’ve offered dubious critiques of five of my 30 picks. Got anything more concrete and convincing on the other 25?

CS

Hey all,

I’m looking to join a deeper, NFBC style league, but I am having troubles finding one online. Any suggestions?

Fantasy Baseball Mafia only has keeper leagues, and I’m just looking for a 15 team mixed…

****However, scouts have long expected him to hit 25-30 homers in his prime, which he’s nearing****

great, they expect that from Delmon Young too, and Joe Mauer for that matter….go scouts !!! Taking as sure a thing as you can get with your first couple picks is a must to succeed in fantasy, and you should know that. You have absolutely no idea what you’re going to get out of Upton.

like I said, you have a giant lack of power, a suspect rotation, and a questionable bullpen. K/9 rate for Broxton is nice, but everything else about him screams mediocre, not worth it.

once again, you have a giant lack of power. you’re already behind the 8 ball and the season hasn’t even started. You would’ve been much better off grabbing a big bat early, and making Ianetta your first catcher. Ramon Hernandez, Chris Snyder, Gerald Laird, Kenji Johjima, among others could’ve been gotten late and wouldn’t have hurt you any.

Fielder at 2, a Martin at 3….1 guy that had a tough time getting 30 HR last year, another guy that is hard pressed to get to 15. You’ve already killed your team in rbi 3 rounds in. In fact, other then Fielder’s 100 rbi, the first 7 rounds put you behind in rbi totals, along with that giant lack of power.

Ianetta will give you some homers but then you are powerless again til 14 with LaRoche. Unless he completely changes his approach, he’s useless until the second half of the season. He also gives you nothing but some homers. 1 year in his career over 71 runs, never over 90 rbi…88, 85 in Pitt.

Spillborghs and Rasmus trouble me. Ryan is good for pretty much nothing. He has limited power, he doesn’t steal, he’s in constant competition with Gonzalez and Fowler, so he may be replaced quickly. Rasmus likely won’t get much playing time unless Ankiel gets dealt. He hasn’t done anything in the Majors to date. Spring training means so little, and that’s the only reason anyone could possibly have to pick Colby.

Your rotation and bench is rather unimpressive. Masterson and McDonald could and should help you out, but the rest of the bench is mediocrity or guys that won’t help you. Throw in Escobar is out til who knows when, and hasn’t played a game in over a year, Weaver is very mediocre and will kill your whip, Garza K rate is unimpressive, Wandy is only good at home plus some scattered road starts, and Saunders’ K rate and whip are weak, you have a rotation that isn’t going to help you much.

Seriously, I have no idea how you are high on this team. You are lacking everywhere but steals. I figure you’ll need about 250+ homers to win your league, and you have slightly more then half that. Question marks everywhere. I said it before and I’ll say it again, when there is this much money on the line, you simply can’t afford to pick guys with so much uncertainty. Just assuming guys entering their “prime years” are going to put up big numbers is extremely short sighted. If you finish in the top 10 of your league you should consider it a victory.

Remember, the NFBC isn’t just about the 14 other guys in your league, it’s about the 389 other guys in the country. Sure you want to turn your $1500 into $5000, and maybe drafting a team of low risk low upside guys like Raul Ibanez and Torii Hunter will help you do that (and they will), you have to take gambles to win. The best projects are off by as much as 30%, up or down. But the 35 year olds have a lesser chance of exceeding their projected value than the 26 year olds do. It’s not just about value, it’s about potential profit.

invisibleman,

I have to thank you. I didn’t think that there was any way for me to respect Cory more than I did before. But, after he patiently took apart your lame criticisms using reason and logic, I now hold him in even higher esteem.

Thanks again,
Vito

Invisibleman, you are providing great fodder for me to tear apart, keep it coming! Tomorrow evening when I have a little more time I’ll give you a detailed explanation of every single pick, not only why I chose the player (you already have that) but why I have every right to be optimistic about them individually and collectively. I understand how easy it is to focus on each player’s limitations, but if you’re going to do that you need to take a fair look at what they CAN do, and the overall balance of the team. If you just want to bash me to make your name on this blog, keep going… this is getting good. :-)

Thanks,
Cory

Hilarious. Great start to the day to see this debate between someone who has actually looked at the numbers and understood the fundamentals behind them and your typical know it all who seems to be in every league I join. Keep it coming Cory, he’s on the ropes but refusing to go down quietly.
On a side note. Zack recommended I put a claim on Gregg last week who was dropped in our league. Which I did and then used him to trade with Victorino to get me Kemp. What do you see as Kemp’s upside given that this is a keeper league. Does he have top round potential, or just 3rd round solid value?
Cheers.

The only thing funny Cory is that you think you actually did a good job. I’ll just say I told you so now to get it out of the way so I don’t have to remember to do it when the season is over. Doesn’t matter what they can do and can’t do, it matters what they WILL do, and your team won’t do much. Whatever projections you used are clearly way off, whatever numbers you used are clearly quite inaccurate. You are going to get whooped and bad. Really, outside of steals, you got nothing.

Geez. Learn how to take criticism a bit more gracefully, Mr. Schwartz. So some commentor doesn’t like your team. So what? It’s his opinion against yours. You’re both projecting the future performance of players, which is something neither of you can claim as a true skill.

Chill out a little and stop trying so hard to “defend” your team. It makes it look like the guy struck a chord with you and that you can’t take criticism.

I can take criticism very well if it’s based on logic and reason and fact, not “Corpas is a headcase” and “Broxton sux.” Show me the facts and convince me and I’ll bow out gracefully.

–CS

Okay, here’s some logic for you:

Upton – He’s right in that Upton is a bit of a risk for your first pick. I do think Upton’s gonna have a good year, but 20/40 may be too much to ask, especially with him missing the first week or two. I’d dial down the projection to something more like 15/30.

Fielder – Quite the mystery there. Not sure what happened to him last year, after that amazing 2007. A bit of a risk there as well… you’re not sure which Fielder is gonna show up.

Martin – I don’t like taking a catcher so soon, but you do have to fill 2 catcher spots, so I understand why you did it (my league only has 1 catcher slot, which I think is the sane way to go… who the hell wants to slog through catchers 13-24?!). Martin didn’t have a great year last year either, but as your #1 catcher, you can’t do much better.

Victorino – Love that kid. No arguments, although your setting yourself up to be short on power with these first set of picks.

Nathan – I’m of the school that doesn’t take closers early, but your draft obviously didn’t follow that idea. Closers were in short supply fairly early. Nathan is a stud.

Jeter – Don’t really understand this pick. I don’t want to slog through your entire draft, but with your lack of power, taking Peralta probably would’ve been a better pick. Jeter gives you not much except BA.

Broxton – I’m watching him get rocked by the Mariners right now in a Save situation. He’s given up 4 runs and gotten 2 outs. They’re taking him out now after 25 pitches. The problem with Broxton is that, despite his half year of closing last year, I’m not convinced that he’s a closer yet. I would’ve picked a more established closer.

Iannetta – Love him, but kinda seems like overkill with your earlier pick of Martin. I think you needed to take a big power bat, someone who’s gonna get over 500 abs.

Encarnacion – Not sure why everyone loves this guy. The only thing he seems to do consistently is underperform. Your projections seem to pad his stats a bit, projecting him to do well in BA, HR and RBI, when he’s never really put it all together in a season yet. But then again, third base is super-thin, so maybe this was the best you could get there at the time.

Nolasco – Had him last year and he was great. Not sure it’s good though that this is your ace. To me, Nolasco is a “B” pitcher. I think it would’ve been better to get an “A” pitcher earlier, perhaps by waiting to get a 2nd catcher or closer.

Garza – No problem here.

Weaver – He may be underrated, but he’s also seen his ERA rise for the last 3 years. Your K projection seems high on him as well.

Wandy – Fine as a fourth SP. Hope he stays healthy.

LaRoche – He is consistently horrible in the first half. Maybe better to target him by trade in May or June, when he’s swooning.

Spilborghs – Completely unproven. I would’ve liked to have seen a more established OF picked here (assuming there were some left).

Corpas – Not sure he’s a closer either. I know he’s done it before, but there’s a reason he lost the job to Fuentes. Street isn’t much competition though. Your relief is questionable though, with the unproven (in my eyes) Broxton paired with Corpas.

Saunders – Do not like him. Somehow managed to have a good year last year. Talent doesn’t seem to match up to the stats. Should be headed for a fall this year.

Ross – Could be a good pick. We’ll see if the Marlins stick with him and give him every day at bats.

Rasmus – Are you sure he’s gonna be on the big league club? Even if he is, LaRussa is pretty horrible at giving his young players at bats, from my experience. Biggest problem may be lack of at bats.

A. Cabrera – Horrible before being sent to the Minors last year. Great after he came back up. Which are we gonna see this year? Who knows?

Escobar – Gives new meaning to the term “injury-prone”. I’d wait to get him on my team until he’s shown that A) he’s healthy and B) that he’s actually gonna have a starter’s job.

Bailey – I don’t think this guy will ever make it in the big leagues. Certainly not as any kind of ace. Just doesn’t seem to have the pitches to miss many bats. I’m not convinced he’ll earn a starting gig.

LaPorta – He was just sent down. BA seems to be a problem for him. Potential, but maybe not in 2009.

Aardsma – Mariners closer? Who knows? Maybe. Guess these late picks don’t matter so much (but was Chris Ray available there?).

Overbay – Ugh. Hate that guy. No idea how he continues to have a major league job with such under-production at a premium position at 1B. Guess the Jays just don’t have anything better.

Betemit/McDonald – Meh.

So my overall impression of your team is: weak starting pitching, low on power, bad BA and questionable closers. Maybe the rest of the teams have just as many questions, but my humble opinion predicts your team to finish middle of the pack, at best.

Nice team, although I think the Upton pick in the first round is quite a “reach” in the first round

**Sigh**

OK, let’s do this. You are entitled to your skepticism, but I’m still waiting to see reasoned arguments against these picks. Now here’s what I see.

1. Upton — already covered this one
2. Fielder — Hit 50 HR at age 23 and 34 at age 24, without any decline in K/BB ratio or any other indicators. Great hitter’s park and a solid lineup. I project him for about 38-110, or only slighly better than last year, plus he throws in a few SB’s.
3. Martin — you all say you don’t “like” taking catchers early, but I’m going position scarcity here because, statistically, it creates an advantage. In any case, I project him for roughly of his last two years as far as power, and only 14 SB’s, very conservative compared to the last two years. But he’s 26 and the Dodgers lineup is significantly improved with a healthy Furcal, Manny and Hudson, so I think my projections are conservative.
4. Victorino — havent’ heard any beefs with this pick so we’ll move on.
5. Nathan — You’re “of the school” that you don’t take closers early, but I win leagues year after year with this strategy so I don’t mind taking a guy who’s good for a 2.50 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 9 K/9 every single season, never mind the saves.
6. Jeter — Combined his worst year in every category and you get .291-10-71-11-88 runs. He was banged up last year, so if he’s any healthier this year and has more of A-Ror AND Tex behind him this year, I think a worst-case scenario is a repeat of last year’s numbers, if not some improvement. He’ll end up being a bargain here.
7. Broxton — Which “more established” closer went after him? Ryan and his bum arm? Kerry Wood and his injury history? Bobby Jenks and his miniscule K rate? Francisco Cordero, who is hurt and pitches for a mediocre team in a great hitters’ park? You all say you don’t think Broxton is a proven closer but I see a guy who went 14-for-17 after the break last year, averages 11.5 K/9 in his career, has an excellent GO/AO ratio and a dominant HR ratio. Plus he’s on a good team in a great pitchers’ park. All of the facts say he’ll be an elite closer this year.
8. Iannetta — I’ve been over this one. He’ll produce 4th OF numbers as a #2 catcher… minimum .280/20 HR and massive upside.
9. Encarnacion — Why I love him? At times he’s hit for high average, big power, and can steal bases. He’ll turn 26 this season and plays in the best HR park in the NL (including Coors). If you know anything about player development patterns, he is at the prime stage to consolidate his skills and have a monster season.
10. Nolasco — Subjectively you say he’s a B pitcher. Tell me why. Yes, he’s something of an injury risk, but all ptichers are. He had a 7-to-1 K/BB rate in the 2nd half last year after unveiling his new splitter, and he pitchers in an outstsanding pitchers’ park. For the 10th round he’s a bargian.
11. Garza — I may indeed be a year early on him. But he’s surrounded by a great defense and bullpen, averages better than 6 K/9 and over 2 K/BB, and should get decent enough run support to earn a solid number of wins. Not elite but a solid pick in the 11th.
12. Weaver — BABIP was grossly beyond league average last year and will regress to the mean, lowering his WHIP and ERA with it. 3/1 K/BB and over 9 K/9 after the break last year. Yes, he may be somewhat HR prone and injury risky, but he has the skills to be an excellent pitcher, and is 26 years old with three years of experience. Excellent upside for the 12th round.
13. Wandy — K/9, K/BB and HR/9 all improved for 4th straight season. Home/away split normalized last year and he has low mileage on his arm for his age. Yes, injury risk, but as a 4th SP in the 13th round, I’m very happy.
14. LaRoche — Yes, his first halves suck. But he’s averaged 26-88 over the past three seasons, is 29 years old and in a contract year. I project 27-92, only slightly above those three-year averages and possibly conservative if he gets off to a decent start.
15. Spilborghs — You say unproven, I say this is how you find value in the 15th round of a 15-team draft. Will play CF everyday and bat leadoff in Coors; showing excellent power-speed combo this spring that is fully supported by his MLB and minor league production thus. I project him for .294-16-66-10, which could be conservative.
16. Corpas — I already have two closers, this is a pure upside pick. He was dominant in ’07 and servicable last year. His K rates aren’t great but his GO/AO is strong enough to survive Coors and he only has to beat out Street, who is awful.
17. Saunders — admittedly risky pick, but he finished well last year after an August slump and still has all the same plusses: good command of 3 pitches, strong team around him, strong bullpen. As a 5th starter, fine for the 17th round.
18. Ross — Hit 23 HR in PT play last year. Strikes out a lot but will play everyday this year. I project him for .268-23-77, or essentially a repeat of last year. Solid 5th OF for the 18th round.
19. Rasmus — Cardinals 4th OF and will play a lot. Their best defensive OF, could take over in CF if they move Ankiel (impending FA) or tire of Duncan (coming off injury, one-dimensional offensively and awful afield). Again, this is my UT player here fellas… nothing but upside with this pick.
20. Cabrera — MLB career stats: .266-9-66-4 in 511 AB’s. I project him for .275-8-52-8, is that really so hard to believe? He’s young and has plenty of room to improve.
21. Escobar — wow, you’re critiquing my reserve picks? That’s nit-picking, but fine… he’s throwing gas in spring training and ahead of schedule, now due back in the rotation by early May. This is a pure upside pick in the reserve rounds.
22. Bailey — Has his confidence and fastball back in spring training. A former elite prospect who’s still only 23. Pure upside pick in the reserve rounds.
23. LaPorta — Sure he was just sent down. He has Ben Francisco ahead of him. I hear Evan Longoria started last year in the minors too. Pure upside pick in the reserve rounds.
24. Aardsma — The sold Mariners reliever having a big spring, could win the closer gig. If so, an utter steal in the reserve rounds. If not, who cares… I cut him and pick someone else. Pure upside pick.
25. Overbay — You hate him. So what. He’ll hit .280-16-75 or so ‘cuz that’s what he does every year, and he provides a security blanket against another slow start by LaRoche. You’re telling me this is really such a terrible pick in the reserve rounds? Who else would you have taken?
26. Betemit/McDonald — Lottery tickets in the reserve rounds; Betemit has pop and could steal AB’s all over the diamond, and McDonald is a prospect with a good arm on a good team. Again, who would you rather I took?

So my overall impression is, you think I have a bad team because I didn’t follow the standard playbook for drafting and I took guys who have more value than you can grasp. Call it anything you want, call me hypersensitive or say anything else you want, but I have a hard time accepting criticism from people who simply have not done their homework.

Thanks,
Cory

BTW, you forgot Kubel (cheap 20-25 HR 4th OF) and Casilla (I project .273-9-52-20, is that such a reach?). Masterson is a pure lottery ticket in the reserve rounds also… good arm, great GO/AO ratio and on a great team.

CS

Re. Martin… roughly “the average of” his last two years. Duh.

CS

Hey Cory…2 questions.

1. I remember before that you said you usually liked to get a certain amount of HR/STL out of you first 3 picks…can you please let me know what those goals were?

2. Have you devised a way to turn your projections into auction $$$ values?

Thanks!

Chicago Bill, I shoot for 75/60 with my first three… by my projections this year I got 74/56. A little shy, but I think my #’s are conservative on Martin in particular and I have him rated as the #1 catcher in any case.

I haven’t had time to post the dollar figure stuff yet but I have to do that to get ready for Tout so I will try to do it tonight or tomorrow… sorry for the delay!

–CS

Great, thanks Cory.

Projecting 20/40 for Upton is a bit much, especially considering he’s starting the season banged up. But then, that’s my opinion. I have to admit, I’m amused by the “back and forth” here. Bottom line is: Everyone (including the “experts”) has their favorites with different projections. There is no right or wrong. One guy’s “bust” is another’s “sleeper”, all based on our own personal ratings/projections.

This isn’t rocket science folks

***There is no right or wrong. One guy’s “bust” is another’s “sleeper”, all based on our own personal ratings/projections.

This isn’t rocket science folks ***

While that is true, it comes down to talent evaluation, and Cory seems to lack in that significantly looking at his projections and the reasoning given for picking guys. Like I said in my last comment, it’s not what can or can’t do, it’s what they WILL do, and all Cory’s team will do is disappoint.

IM, once again, give me logical reasons where you disagree. I lack the ability to evaluate players? Then please, enlighten us on your methodology and, since I provided the entire pick-by-pick results, the team you would’ve taken.

–CS

the team I would’ve taken? How am I suppose to do that. Depending on who is taken in front of me my picks change. However, drafting 2 catchers that high is foolish, drafting a closer that high is foolish, having limited power puts you behind, drafting a guy like Upton in the first round screws you.

As the saying goes, you don’t win drafts in the first few rounds, but you can certainly lose them….you lost yours.

Is the invisible man just a moniker used by Siano?

Cause that would be funny…

Cory:
So my overall impression is, you think I have a bad team because I didn’t follow the standard playbook for drafting and I took guys who have more value than you can grasp.

Joe:
Right. You are so beyond all us schleps with your radical, unorthodox “playbook”. Yes, I simply cannot grasp your genius. Or, perhaps, I simply have a different opinion than you on the value of some of these players you picked. I know… sacrilege.

Cory:
Call it anything you want, call me hypersensitive or say anything else you want, but I have a hard time accepting criticism from people who simply have not done their homework.

Joe:
Uh, yeah, I’d say you qualify as hypersensitive when any critique of your team is met with ridicule from you and this rather odd belief that everything you do and think is based on unassailable logic while anyone who disagrees with you is, to put it mildly, uneducated.

Seriously dude, are you 12 years old? Did you post your draft up here just so people could pat you on the back? Learn to accept some criticism. Not that everyone who criticizes you is right, but sometimes it takes someone on the outside to point out flaws that we’re too blind to see on our own. I think you’re letting your ego get in the way of evaluating your draft in any other terms than “I did awesome, bit&hes!”.

The proof will be in the pudding. A draft doesn’t win or lose a season, but I will be very curious to see where this team of yours ends up in the standings. Please post your results in September and then we can continue this discussion. Until then, feel free to continue to think that you are god’s gift to fantasy baseball.

Cory:
So my overall impression is, you think I have a bad team because I didn’t follow the standard playbook for drafting and I took guys who have more value than you can grasp.

jakoye:
Right. You are so beyond all us schleps with your radical, unorthodox “playbook”. Yes, I simply cannot grasp your genius. Or, perhaps, I simply have a different opinion than you on the value of some of these players you picked. I know… sacrilege.

Cory:
Call it anything you want, call me hypersensitive or say anything else you want, but I have a hard time accepting criticism from people who simply have not done their homework.

jakoye:
Uh, yeah, I’d say you qualify as hypersensitive when any critique of your team is met with ridicule from you and this rather odd belief that everything you do and think is based on unassailable logic while anyone who disagrees with you is, to put it mildly, uneducated.

Seriously dude, are you 12 years old? Did you post your draft up here just so people could pat you on the back? Learn to accept some criticism. Not that everyone who criticizes you is right, but sometimes it takes someone on the outside to point out flaws that we’re too blind to see on our own. I think you’re letting your ego get in the way of evaluating your draft in any other terms than “I did awesome, bit&hes!”.

The proof will be in the pudding. A draft doesn’t win or lose a season, but I will be very curious to see where this team of yours ends up in the standings. Please post your results in September and then we can continue this discussion. Until then, feel free to continue to think that you are god’s gift to fantasy baseball.

Cory:
So my overall impression is, you think I have a bad team because I didn’t follow the standard playbook for drafting and I took guys who have more value than you can grasp.

jakoye:
Right. You are so beyond all us schleps with your radical, unorthodox “playbook”. Yes, I simply cannot grasp your genius. Or, perhaps, I simply have a different opinion than you on the value of some of these players you picked. I know… sacrilege.

Cory:
Call it anything you want, call me hypersensitive or say anything else you want, but I have a hard time accepting criticism from people who simply have not done their homework.

jakoye:
Uh, yeah, I’d say you qualify as hypersensitive when any critique of your team is met with ridicule from you and this rather odd belief that everything you do and think is based on unassailable logic while anyone who disagrees with you is, to put it mildly, uneducated.

Seriously dude, are you 12 years old? Did you post your draft up here just so people could pat you on the back? Learn to accept some criticism. Not that everyone who criticizes you is right, but sometimes it takes someone on the outside to point out flaws that we’re too blind to see on our own. I think you’re letting your ego get in the way of evaluating your draft in any other terms than “I did awesome, bit&hes!”.

The proof will be in the pudding. A draft doesn’t win or lose a season, but I will be very curious to see where this team of yours ends up in the standings. Please post your results in September and then we can continue this discussion. Until then, feel free to continue to think that you are god’s gift to fantasy baseball.

Cory:
So my overall impression is, you think I have a bad team because I didn’t follow the standard playbook for drafting and I took guys who have more value than you can grasp.

jakoye:
Right. You are so beyond all us schleps with your radical, unorthodox “playbook”. Yes, I simply cannot grasp your genius. Or, perhaps, I simply have a different opinion than you on the value of some of these players you picked. I know… sacrilege.

Cory:
Call it anything you want, call me hypersensitive or say anything else you want, but I have a hard time accepting criticism from people who simply have not done their homework.

jakoye:
Uh, yeah, I’d say you qualify as hypersensitive when any critique of your team is met with ridicule from you and this rather odd belief that everything you do and think is based on unassailable logic while anyone who disagrees with you is, to put it mildly, uneducated.

Seriously dude, are you 12 years old? Did you post your draft up here just so people could pat you on the back? Learn to accept some criticism. Not that everyone who criticizes you is right, but sometimes it takes someone on the outside to point out flaws that we’re too blind to see on our own. I think you’re letting your ego get in the way of evaluating your draft in any other terms than “I did awesome, bit&hes!”.

The proof will be in the pudding. A draft doesn’t win or lose a season, but I will be very curious to see where this team of yours ends up in the standings. Please post your results in September and then we can continue this discussion. Until then, feel free to continue to think that you are god’s gift to fantasy baseball.

Jakoye, I can take criticism if it’s based in factual arguments, and I haven’t seen any, only opinions. That annoys me. Sorry if I don’t control my tone better.

–CS

Invisible man, I am throwing down the gauntlet,

I’ve got a public ten team league via cbssportsline that drafts next Thursday at 10pm. League name is Draught Beers. I’m so unconvinced of your logic I’m willing to be I’ll beat you this year.

I hope to see you there, unless you have to much on your plate lurking…

Tom in Boston

FWIW Cory, I’d love to see you there, but that would be a little like a backdoor listen league, not that I would mind being in one :-)

jakoye, that is super funny and exactly it. Cory has a massive ego and thinks he can do no wrong. Even though his team is absolutely dreadful. The reality is, Cory can’t actually justify a majority of those picks and knows it, so I’m labeled “clueless.” That draft is so ugly Cory, you would’ve been better off just throwing 450 names into a hat and drafting whatever player you pulled out.

I have to agree with the invisible guy. After playing against the top competitors of the NFBC (of which Cory is not one of) for the past 2 years, I have used this strategy to win and to show in back to back years. save your sleepers and talent grading for later rounds. I agree to take the non sexy picks, from proven hitters and look for high upside pitching. WAY TOO MANY “coulda, shoulda’s and not enough guys like Holliday, Vlade and other bums ignored and talked down in favors of JOKES like UPTON in the first round. All that while knowing he was going in for x rays and had barely swung a bat at your draft. Just foolhardy to put 1300.00 in nthat MAYBE basket. While I agree that Upton is an up and coming stud, perhaps as early as this year, how about showing me a year. I wouldn’t doubt if Tro Tutolewitski was on your team last year in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. I also am surprised not to see Alexi Rameriez on your team in the 2nd round. He has upside too. Good luck with another top 200 finish. While I respect your opinion on players and talent, you need to learn how to draft a winning NFBC team. A skill I have mastered using the same principle of the invisable guy.

When you beat Gillis, Jupinka, and Childs, come talk to me. Until then, I’ll watch your stupidity of drafting Catchers early and laugh my a off when people watching you try to same thing…thanks for that at least. I do love your show, your persona and your writing skills. Your drafting however in the NFBC is flawed. WAY TOO much RISK on up and comers and not enough professional hitters to round it out. Good luck, FUDD

I cannot belive people are asking you for advise. That was a horrible draft. Hamilton and Matt Holiday are available and you take BJ Upton? Then instead of Prince, why not go for a thin position (not catcher, snicker) such as 3B and take Longoria, since you won’t see one again. What did you end up with Encanarcion? 1B will be around for awhile. you coulda got Adrian Gonzalez, or Youkilis or Votto or Derrick Lee or Carlos Pena latter. There are so many bad decisions, it’s incredible. You didn’t make a good pick in the right spot until Nolasco. You wasted 2 of your top 8 picks on backstops? Coulda waited for Napoli and got the same, or very close production as either of those 2 that you picked, or wait and Take Pablo Sandoval as a plan B to that. Granted it is a very deep league, but you wasted so many opportunities. And because it was deep, all the more reason that you should have taken advantage of your earlier picks. The latter fill in picks were not as bad, but your team was already ruined by then. You are horrible and should NOT be giving advise to anyone.

By the way….

invisibleman, Chuck, JJ and whoever else….

Schwartz wins 2009 NFBC NYC LG1 and places 5th out 390 in country.

http://nfbcboards.stats.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=004558

Live and Learn Fellas.

Zack-Philly.
NFBC Main Event LG3 Champion

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