March 2009

Fantasy 411 Q&A: Mar. 25, 2009

Wanted to let everyone know that Cory and I will be on the MLB Network March 29th from 8:30 to 10:00pm ET. The network has decided to do a season preview show and invited us to be featured. We are honored, excited and can’t say enough about the producers (Jim, Martin and Micah) that have been assigned to the show. Obviously we all hope it is the first step in getting a presence, but one thing at a time. Please spread the word and invite your friends to watch the show this Sunday night.

-Siano

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FEATURED QUESTION OF THE DAY

Hey guys. Can’t decide on my 5th keeper. Carl Crawford vs. Matt Kemp.
I’m leaning towards Crawford based on ADP and the SB upside but Kemp
just seems to be the more valuable overall player to me. What do you
see from each of these guys this year?

Michael

Kemp is going before CC in most drafts because of his power/speed
upside combo, but I think Crawford is very undervalued and would keep
him… he’s had those monster seasons that Kemp is still building up
to, and at 28 is still young enough to improve.

-Cory

411 Calender of Events for Draft Prep:

Cory’s NFBC Results: Done

Zach’s NL Only Results: Done

Zach’s Listener League (Ron Cey League) Results (12 Team 5×5): Done

411 Listener League Results: Coming this weekend

Siano’s AL Only Tout Results: Coming this weekend

Cory’s NL Only Tout Results: Coming this weekend or Monday

Alex’s Mixed Tout Results: Coming this weekend or Monday

Siano’s AL Only Keeper Money League: Coming weekend of April 3rd

Ron Cey Listener League Draft Results

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Here are the much anticipated results from the Ron Cey listener league draft.

draftresults.htm

All
the owners in this league are devoted 411 followers, so the competition
is intense.  That said, I’m really glad I did my NL-Only auction first,
because by comparison, this seemed like a breeze!  Overall, I’m very
happy with my team, Round
Trippers.                                

Picking out of the five slot, I kicked things off by making the somewhat controversial choice of taking Miguel Cabrera over Grady Sizemore,
but there’s a reason why I did this.  First, I see Cabrera having a
monster year, think .320-40-130, and the 40 point difference in AVG
between the two is significant.  But mostly, this selection was made
with the second round in mind.  I wanted to avoid taking two
outfielders in the first two rounds, and I had either Carlos Beltran or Alfonso Soriano
as targets for Pick #20.  I preferred the Cabrera-Beltran duo over the
Sizemore-Fielder one.  Fortunately, Beltran was there for the taking.

In
most cases, I like to get speed out of all three middle infield slots,
but this was an example of having to adjust on the fly, viewing Dan Uggla as simply the best option on the board in the middle of the seventh round.  After J.J. Hardy,
there was a huge SS dropoff, so that’s why I grabbed him.in the
eighth.  With all three MI spots filled this early in the draft, I
wasn’t forced to scramble for mediocre options later.  The downside of
this approach?  I was forced to reach a bit for Maybin and Lewis to
help out in steals.                                                                                                                        

The one pick I’m not all too happy about is Nelson Cruz as
my 3rd OF.  He was the most intriguing option still on the board, but I
probably shouldn’t have waited so long to take another outfielder.  I
tend to agree with Siano that Cruz is overrated, and 12th round is just
too early.  I also don’t have a third closer, but this doesn’t bother
me, as save sources do emerge during the season.

As for pitching, I did break from the 411 doctrine of not taking an SP until the ninth or tenth round, but Dan Haren
in the sixth was too good to pass up.  Aside from Haren, all my SPs
were taken in or after Round 11, and they’re all quality options.  I
even went out on a limb with the Fausto Carmona pick, but 25th round is huge upside.

Looking
forward to another eventful season in the Cey league.  Special shout
out to new member Dan in LA (Futuristic Pasta) who requested that I say
he’s awesome.  So there you have it!

Zach Steinhorn

Fantasy 411 Q&A: March 24, 2009

Wanted to let everyone know that in the coming days an official announcement will come out that Cory and I will be on the MLB Network March 29th from 8:30 to 10:00pm ET. The network has decided to do a season preview show and invited us to be featured. We are honored, excited and can’t say enough about the producers (Jim, Martin and Micah) that have been assigned to the show. Obviously we all hope it is the first step in getting a presence, but one thing at a time. Please spread the word and invite your friends to watch the show this Sunday night.

-Siano

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FEATURED QUESTION OF THE DAY

In two separate 10 team mixed drafts this past week, I took Jacoby Ellsbury in the 8th round and Elvis Andrus in the 24th round. What are you thoughts on these two guys and what can their upside be this year?

Thanks,
Charles, Va

Charles, I like Ellsbury in the 8th; at worst he’ll probably match last season’s numbers, which make him a little less than the Crawford-Ichiro tier, so 8th round is excellent value. I’m not as high on Andrus… everyone is excited about his speed but I don’t think he’ll get on base enough to be worthwhile. In a vanilla 12-team league I see him as a season-long waiver player.

-Cory

On to some other great stuff we have on the blog and by the way we hope to have one more surprise this week that I am working on…………….Siano

 

Mike and Cory Preview the 2009 Fantasy Season on MLB Network

Wanted to let everyone know that in the coming days an official announcement will come out that Cory and I will be on the MLB Network March 29th from 8:30 to 10:00pm ET. The network has decided to do a season preview show and invited us to be featured. We are honored, excited and can’t say enough about the producers (Jim, Martin and Micah) that have been assigned to the show. Obviously we all hope it is the first step in getting a presence, but one thing at a time. Please spread the word and invite your friends to watch the show this Sunday night.

 

On to some other great stuff we have on the blog and by the way we hope to have one more surprise this week that I am working on…………….Siano

 

411 Calender of Events for Draft Prep:

Cory’s NFBC Results: Done

Zach’s NL Only Results: Done

Zach’s Listener League Results (12 Team 5×5): Coming Soon

411 Listener League Results: Coming this weekend

Siano’s AL Only Tout Results: Coming this weekend

Cory’s NL Only Tout Results: Coming this weekend or Monday

Alex’s Mixed Tout Results: Coming this weekend or Monday

Siano’s AL Only Keeper Money League: Coming weekend of April 3rd

 

 

My NL-Only Auction Draft

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After eight years of playing fantasy baseball, I decided
that it was time to take my game to the next level.  I’m participating in the inaugural Bloggers
Open, organized by the guys over at fantasypros911.com.  It’s an NL-Only auction league, and our draft
was this past Wednesday night.

This was my first real (as opposed to mock) auction draft,
and while I went in with a well thought out plan, things didn’t exactly go the way
I would’ve liked.  My preparation
consisted of sketching out an ideal team, one that I expected would fit under
the $260 cap.  I used the dollar values
from MLB.com, and was hoping to stay relatively close to those numbers, and if
I got a bargain in one area, I would be able to spend more at another
position.  I then put together a list of
preferred $1 type options. 

The draft started out well as I snagged Carlos Beltran, one
of my main targets, for $38, a bit more than I wanted to spend but as they say,
premium prices for premium players.  One
thing I noticed right off the bat was that top players were going for way more
than what I expected, and while I tried not to let this affect me, it
ultimately did.  Jimmy Rollins was my
other key player, but he went for $43.  I
had about $39 budgeted for him, and when the bidding went into the 40′s, I
pulled out, instead opting for my backup plan at SS, Rafael Furcal, for $27.

Long story short, I was able to get many of the players I
had in mind, including Hawpe, Headley, LaRoche, Lilly, Harang, and Capps.  But my reluctance to spend the extra buck or
two on the above average player ultimately left me about one star short.  Also, the auction draft often moves so fast
that it’s hard to tell where the true dropoffs are at certain positions.  I was left with 7 bucks at the end, an
obvious no-no, and landed up shelling out $6 for Jason Kendall!  Let’s hope that along with the .240 average,
he gives me 5 steals to make this investment somewhat worthwhile.  My glaring weaknesses are 3B (Feliz) and a
huge one at MI (Eckstein, who I plan to drop very soon).  I did grab Eugenio Velez in the reserve
draft, so that could be my solution.  This
team is OK, but far from great.  Below
you’ll find my starters with their associated dollar values and a Word document
that lists the rosters of each team with dollar values.

Zach Steinhorn

MY ROSTER

 
C   Ramon
Hernandez   $10

C   Jason Kendall   $6

1B  Adam LaRoche   $17

2B  Kelly Johnson   $18

3B  Pedro Feliz   $3

SS  Rafael Furcal   $27

CI  Chad Tracy   $11

MI  David Eckstein   $3

OF  Carlos
Beltran   $38

OF  Brad Hawpe   $20

OF  Chase Headley   $4

OF  Kosuke
Fukudome   $3 

OF  Joe Mather   $2

UTIL  Eric Byrnes   $5

 
P  Ted Lilly   $13

P  Aaron Harang   $15

P  Wandy
Rodriguez  $8

P  John Lannan   $2

P  Bronson Arroyo   $4

P  Ian Snell   $7

P  Matt Capps   $19

P  Joel Hanrahan  $15

P  Jon Rauch   $3

Auction Results Bloggers.doc

Fantasy 411 Q&A: March 23, 2009

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FEATURED QUESTION OF THE DAY
                                                                                                                                      
I need to pick up an RP to get some holds.  The choices are Scot Shields,
Kyle McClennan, Dan Wheeler.  Don’t need help in saves as I already have Papelbon, Valverde &
Fuentes.  I know this is a tough one to predict, but was leaning towards
Shields.

Also cheers for all the cheat sheets, notes and quotes…have a Sweet
shot to win the bickies this season, with another draft this Monday.

Cheers guys,

G

I would stick with Shields there. He’s a time-tested option. Wheeler
is a solid choice too but he may get more saves than Shields and
therefore fewer holds. Who knows how the Cards bullpen will shake out,
so avoid McClellan for now. The other advantage of Shields is that he’s
a hedge against Fuentes, who has had a poor spring plagued by nagging
injuries… I am still bullish on him for this season but Shields is a
good backup option for the short-term.

And whatever the bickies are, I hope they’re good!

-Cory
______________________________________________________________________________________

All,

Please keep a close eye on the blog this week starting with today. We have some announcements coming and with the draft season in full swing we will have some real draft results for you in a big way. We think it will be of some help if not a major help as you get ready for the final days of spring. Look for mixed, non mixed and more.

 

 


nfbc_logo.jpgCory got it all going with NFBC results over the weekend
and Zach will be posting some more results in a few hours………Siano

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

Fantasy 411 Q&A: March 20, 2009

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FEATURED QUESTION OF THE DAY   

How usable is Nick
Punto in a 12-team AL only? Who is the real Punto, the one who hit a
combined .287 in 797 AB in 2006 & 2008 or the one who hit .222 in
866 AB in 2005 & 2007?

I have Punto for $1 in our keeper league and am considering keeping him over $5 Gio Gonzalez. Thank you for your thoughts.

John in Ohio

Go with Punto. He’s not the best player in the world but he’ll get you double
digit steals in his sleep and he’ll provide average I think. Anything
above that is gravy and if he bombs, so what, it cost a dollar. I think
Gio is a sleeper this year but more likely next year, and $5 is too
much. I got Cliff Lee for $4 last season in an AL only.

-Siano

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Happy Friday everyone,

In case you missed it, in the past few weeks, the MLB.com fantasy crew unveiled their All-Overrated and All-Underrated teams heading into the ’09 season.  We put it to a vote, and it’s all broken down by position.  Here are the links to the articles:

All-Overrated Team

All-Underrated Team

I have a feeling there’s one member of the All-Overrated team that you can guess without even reading the article (Hint: Starting Pitcher)

***Also, note this revealing paragraph, found on the Rays team page on cbssports.com:

 http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/teams/report/TB/11524379

LHP David Price
was dazzling in the postseason, but his chances to win a spot in the
Rays rotation at the start of this season seem like a longshot at best.
The Rays want Price, the top pick of the 2007 draft, to further refine
his changeup, and they want to limit his innings in his second pro
season, making it more likely he will open the season at Triple-A
Durham. “We want him to be very successful right out of the chute,
without any hesitation or backward movements,” manager Joe Maddon said.
“We don’t want him going back and forth between here and Triple-A. When
he gets here, we want him to stay here for a very long time. That’s why
we want everything to be as perfect as possible.”

Now on to your questions…

-Zach

Fantasy 411 Q&A: March 19, 2009 (One More Mock)

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FEATURED QUESTION OF THE DAY

5th keeper: Jason Bay or Nate McLouth? I have worries about Bay because
1. He won’t be “the man” anymore and RBIs will be down if he’s hitting
like 6th in the batting order and 2. Doesn’t seem like he’s stealing
many bags anymore. Assuming I’m getting about 90-100 homers and 50-60
steals from the four keepers I have ahead of Bay and McLouth (and only
1 is an outfielder), which one makes more sense to keep?

-Dan in LA

Dan, I think McLouth may have been over his head somewhat last year
but in general I prefer to take the 20/20 guy over the 30/100 guy once
we get past the elite. Bay is on a better team and has more power, but
McLouth will have a better lineup spot (somewhat countering the
relative lineup strengths) and offers the steals. It’s a close call,
but I’ll take McLouth.

-Cory

______________________________________________________________________________________

Cory doing major blog work once again so round of applause. Me and the other Corey will host today’s show in just a few. Longtime Reds broadcaster George Grande will join us and we will chat with him about the lineup and pitching. We’ll also chat about Youk and Hamels and take an e-mail……..Siano

Hey gang, let’s get an early start on “tomorrow”, tonight! I did my fourth and last mock draft out of the #13 spot tonight in preparation for the real thing at NFBC on Saturday. Here are the results…

Roster: http://www.mockdraftcentral.com/team.jsp?id=1107100

Projections: http://www2.mockdraftcentral.com/drafts/102724/projections

This is an extremely high-risk, high-reward team. It’s probably doomed to last place or near it in AVG due to guys like Ryan Howard, Rickie Weeks, Chris Young and Adam LaRoche, but other than that there is significant upside in every category. Note that with the exceptions of Howard, LaRoche and Derek Jeter, my entire offense is right around their age 27 peak, and I love my Rockies contingent of Clint Barmes, Chris Iannetta and Ryan Spilborghs (below).

340x.jpg

In addition, my pitching staff all has big-time strikeout potential, other than rock-steady veteran Derek Lowe. Plus, with Manny Corpas as my cheap third closer, I have a power bullpen that could post 110 or more saves with strong ratios and big-time strikeouts.

That said, can you find the mistake I made that led to such a high-risk approach? Yep, Chris Young in the 6th round… there is simply no reason to take three outfielders that early. I did think he was the best player on the board at that point, but I would’ve been better off taking a more proven SP at that point and then taking Jason Werth in the 9th or 10th round as my third outfielder. Let’s hope I can maintain enough discipline on Saturday to not get too carried away with outfielders!

Tomorrow night I’m going to finish up my projections and Excel worksheets and post those here, so hopefully folks will be able to make some use out of them. Post your questions and comments too!

Thanks,
Cory

Fantasy 411 Q&A: March 18, 2009 (Cory Mock Draft Results)

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FEATURED QUESTION OF THE DAY


I had my main draft last week and my big mistake was to forget that K-Rod and Lidge were still on
the board when I took my first RP. I saw Valverde vs Fuentes and went
with Fuentes. I backed him up later on with Capps and Hanrahan, so I am
happy enough. But what are the chances that Fuentes might perform well
enough to not make me regret that slip up all season long?

Kevin in England

Kevin, I am very bullish on Fuentes this year. Even though he’s
moving to the tougher league, trading Coors for Angels Stadium is a big
plus, and I think his changeup is among the best in the game and gives
him a great weapon against hitters who haven’t seen him that much. I
don’t think he’s among the elite, but I think he could be the 7th or
8th best closer this year and I’m hoping to get him as my #2 in NFBC. I would NOT take Fuentes over K-Rod, but I would very much consider him over Lidge and/or Valverde.

-Cory

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Hey folks, sorry I haven’t been hanging out on the blog much lately. I drew the 13th overall pick in NFBC on Saturday so I’ve been spending all of my free time working on draft prep. So far that has included three mock drafts out of the 13th slot, so I can prepare for the different combinations of players I might be able to get. I’m hoping to get Ian Kinsler or Chase Utley with my first round pick, but I’m not expecting it, so I started out with B.J. Upton and Carlos Beltran in my first draft and here’s how it turned out:

Roster: http://www.mockdraftcentral.com/team.jsp?id=1095677

Projections: http://www2.mockdraftcentral.com/drafts/101764/projections

Enh. A lot of guys I like, but not a good team overall. Taking Carlos Quentin in the fourth round was a major mistake, not because I don’t think he’s worth the pick, but there’s no reason whatsoever to take three outfielders in the first four rounds. That bad start had me playing catchup at every other position for the rest of the draft, and exemplifies the risks of not building category and positional balance with your early core picks.

In my second attempt, I did actually get Utley at 13, but just missed Upton with 18 and took Beltran there again…

Roster: http://www.mockdraftcentral.com/team.jsp?id=1098175

Projections: http://www2.mockdraftcentral.com/drafts/101979/projections

Much better, but a little bit short in the OF and again in the SP this time. Last night I tried a third different approach, going with last year’s first rounder Ryan Howard again, followed by Upton at 18, and also a more balanced approach to OF and SP.

Roster: http://www.mockdraftcentral.com/team.jsp?id=1104489

Projections: http://www2.mockdraftcentral.com/drafts/102527/projections

That’s what I’m talkin’ about! Note that I pulled out a classic old-school 411 tactic in this draft, “stacking” my picks to take the top two catchers (Russell Martin and Brian McCann) at 3/4, and spaced my OF’s and other positions much more carefully to produce a much more balanced roster. I probably should’ve taken my first SP a little bit earlier and passed on my man Edwin Encarnacion, or hoped for him to slip, but at the point I felt he was the best bat available and I wanted to grab him.

Felipe.jpgOne thing you’ll noticed throughout these drafts is that if I don’t get the elite 2B I’m targeting early, I’m shooting for Kelly Johnson again, who I still think has great upside and is very undervalued, and I’m focusing on Mike Fontenot and Felipe Lopez (right) as late-round MI’s. Fontenot is flat-out a better hitter than Aaron Miles, is right in his prime and is having a monster spring, so I think he’s going to win the 2B job in Wrigleyville. Lopez is having a poor spring but I like him batting at or near the top of that Diamondbacks lineup in Chase Field.

The other key so far has been spacing out my OF’s… the elite guys are always worth targeting, but there are a lot of very solid options available in the middle rounds (Jason Werth) and plenty of good hitters who have been slipping into the very late rounds, like Jason Kubel, Chris Dickerson, Colby Rasmus, etc. With that depth, it really reduces the need to rush out and build a stacked OF.

I’m going to try for one more mock draft tonight or tomorrow then focus on getting my paperwork and Excel tools ready for Saturday. I’ll post everything as soon as time allows.

Now, off to answer a few other questions elsewhere on the blog… keep ‘em coming!

Thanks,

Cory

 

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