NFBC recap – chasing the white whale

NOTE: In the process of upgrading our blog software, a few of the posts and comments were lost. These issues should be fixed within the next few days but in the meantime feel free to re-post your questions and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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Yesterday was my sixth NFBC Main Event draft; I’ve won two league titles and finished in the top 10 nationally, and also have a third- and fourth-place finish on my resume, but last year was my worst season as I ended up ninth in my league. I needed to redeem myself this year.

Let’s get one thing out of the way early: I did not get Edwin Encarnacion, the white whale and holy grail of my draft planning this year. More on that below, but the bottom line is, no matter how much you like the player, you have to get him at the right value. I was willing to reach (in my opinion) to get him, but someone caught me offguard by reaching even more.

Unlike in an auction, when you have a theoretical chance to get any player as long as you have money left, in a straight pick’em draft you are at the mercy of your ability to time the draft properly to get the right players at the right prices. For the first half of the draft my timing was nearly perfect, and I got the majority of players I targeted, but things got more unpredictable after that, so I had to adjust to some unexpected circumstances.

NFBC NY League 1

With my trusty sidekick Mike Siano assisting, here are my picks in order starting out of the #13 slot in New York league #1, along with my latest composite projection for each player (AVG-HR-RBI-SB-R for hitters and W-SV-ERA-WHIP-K for pitchers). In every case except for a few I think these projections are very realistic, and some have considerable room for upside:

1.13 – I expected I would get David Wright here, and thought Adrian Gonzalez or Robinson Cano might fall to us, but ultimately we got the player we wanted from the start, Alex Rodriguez. At the age of 35 he may indeed be in decline, but he’s healthier this season than he’s been in years, and he’s batting cleanup for the best offense in baseball in a terrific hitter’s park. Projection: .279-35-105-10-95

Laser Show - Encore!

2.3 – I gave serious consideration to Jose Reyes in this spot, figuring that his upside – .300 with 15 homers and 50 steals – gave him potential first-round value. But I ended up taking my original target, Dustin Pedroia (right), who lacks Reyes’ upside in steals but should match or exceed him in every other category, and whose batting average upside is critical to some of the lower-average picks I expected to take later. We wanted an encore of the laser show, and got him, while Reyes went with the very next pick. Projection: .299-17-85-18-103

3.13 and 4.3 – We planned to take two outfielders here out of a group of five or six, and wanted a good chunk of steals to go with Pedroia and A-Rod, so we took B.J. Upton at 3.13 and then the solid power/speed combination of Jayson Werth at 4.3. Even if Upton only hits .250 he has massive power/speed upside, and while moving to RFK from CBP will likely hurt Werth’s average, his power and speed combo should remain intact. Hunter Pence, Jayson Heyward and Andre Ethier also earned consideration; Heyward went on the turn after we took Upton but both Pence and Ethier were available at both picks. Projections: Upton .251-16-72-44-83 and Werth .271-28-93-15-91

5.13 and 6.3 – The classic 411 playbook calls for a stellar bullpen and stacking picks on the wheel, so while we examined several scenarios here, we decided to run the plays we trust. We made Carlos Marmol the first closer off the board at 5.13, going for his uniquely starter-like strikeout totals, then complemented that with Joakim Soria‘s miniscule ratios at 6.3. I generally don’t like taking the first closer off the board, and even with Mariano Rivera going on the wheel, we not only took the first one, we took two of the first three. But our fear was that if we didn’t move quickly here, none of the top tier we liked would be available at our next pair of picks, and we were justified as Neftali Feliz, Heath Bell, Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Wilson all went off the board before our next pick. The run on closers intensified quickly after that as FIFTEEN closers went in the next four rounds. Projections: Marmol 4-36-3.05-1.26-107 and Soria 3-38-2.56-1.09-73

7.13 – I wanted Stephen Drew here but didn’t expect to get him and didn’t, as he went at 7.1, so we got our second-choice target, Gordon Beckham. Even though his ADP and my valuation suggested something more along the line of a mid/late 8th-round value, the fact is that if we didn’t take him in this pair of picks we weren’t going to get him at all. His hot July and August last year, along with his favorable batting order spot and positive spring training reports, give me confidence that he is capable of a breakout season. Projection: .275-17-74-8-78

Surprise Ace! Latos in the 8th

8.3 – My original target here was Shaun Marcum, but with sore-shouldered Mat Latos (right) still on the board I could not resist the potential reward for this degree of risk. Early reports suggest that although Latos will likely need a DL stint, his prognosis is still positive; I only projected him for 188.1 IP anyway, so even if he misses three weeks this pick can still pay off nicely. I usually don’t draft “ace” starting pitchers, but if Latos stays reasonably healthy I got one at a major discount. Projection: 13-0-3.35-1.16-180

9.13 – I targeted Carlos Quentin and had no reason to think that I wouldn’t get him, given his late 10th round ADP and my mid ninth-round valuation, so I was surprised when he went at 9.3. Instead I took who I felt was the best available outfielder, Torii Hunter. Both ADP and my valuations had him as a late 8th round pick, so I felt this was good value for a player who, while no longer in his prime, is still a very solid four-category contributor. Projection: .275-22-81-13-77

10.3 – Although my original target Wandy Rodriguez was still available, I was more pleasantly surprised that 8th-round target Shaun Marcum was still on the board, so I grabbed him a full two rounds later than originally anticipated. I assume he stuck around based on worries about his shoulder, but I’m not at all concerned and think he could approach “soft ace” status this year while making an outstanding transition to the NL. Projection: 13-0-3.69-1.20-170

11.13 and 12.3 – I likes me some Marlins, targeting Ricky Nolasco and Gaby Sanchez here and getting both. Nolasco is a perennial underachiever based on his rate stats and leading indicators, and may just be overrated, but this is fair value for him based on ADP as well as my projections, and I think he’ll finally break through and exceed them easily. There were better power than Sanchez left on the board, but I think he has upside in several categories. He has strong plate discipline and contact skills so he could sacrifice some power to be a .290-.300 hitter, or he could gear up from the #5 spot in the Marlins order to hit 25-30 homers. Either way he’s a solid value here and in his age 27 season. Projections: Nolasco 13-0-3.97-1.23-181 and Sanchez .272-20-81-3-73

* * *

Let’s take quick break here and review: through 12 picks I’ve gotten 10 of my 12 targeted players, only missing out on Quentin and effectively passing on Wandy to gamble on Latos, so I actually could’ve had 11 of 12. I’ve got two middle infielders, two corners, three outfielders, three starters and two closers… optimal balance for a deep NFBC style league. Whether my player valuations are realistic or not is a topic for another discussion, but without question I’ve read this draft board as well as can be done through the first half of the regular draft, and I’m completely on course to build the team I’m after.

* * *

Recycled Slugger - Soriano

13.13 – I had originally considered Neil Walker or Jose Tabata here, but both were gone, not that I needed another second baseman or speed-oriented player. Instead I opted for who I felt was the best available power bat, my former NFBC whipping boy Alfonso Soriano (right), whose ADP had him going in the middle of this round and who I projected as a 12th round value. He won’t hit for average and carries considerable injury risk, but the power is still there and he will still steal the occasional base. A value/need-based pick. Projection: .257-24-84-8-69

14.3 – I targeted Hiroki Kuroda here as my #4 starter, but he went with the pick immediately after we took Soriano, becoming the first player we lost “out of our queue.” Instead we traded some strikeouts for a few wins, picking up Tim Hudson, who we just missed out on in last year’s draft. His ERA and WHIP will likely climb from last year but should still be solid, and he should pick up a few more wins than Kuroda. Projection: 14-0-3.48-1.25-125

15.13 – From the moment we found out we got the #13 pick, I penciled this one in for my long-time mancrush and 2011 pick for “this year’s Jose Bautista” – the infamous Edwin Encarnacion. ADP pegged him as an 16th-17th round player, and my valuations made this pick the perfect balance of risk and reward. Unfortunately though Team 14 – who took Kuroda from us two rounds earlier – also liked E5 and even more than we do, taking him at 14.2, right before we took Hudson. This one hurt. We recovered well value-wise by taking Chase Headley, who I had projected as a 13th-14th round player, but missing out on my single-most coveted pet player really stung. Projection: .264-13-65-16-70

* * *

Having taken Headley instead of Encarnacion, the issue that already had us concerned suddenly came into sharp focus. Instead of getting 50 or more homers from Quentin and Encarnacion, we took a tandem of players in Hunter and Headley who will probably top out around around 35, and if our two targets go off as we think they might, the discrepancy could become even greater. We compensated with more speed – our pair should get 25 or so steals more than our targeted pair – but by taking Upton over Pence in the 3rd round we committed ourselves to getting cheap power in these middle rounds and we didn’t get it.

So, from here on out, we had two paths to choose from: try to chase power and make up for the two lost picks, or maximize speed and make sure we win that category and finish well in runs.

* * *

Venable - 17 HR and 32 SB?

16.3 – It was an easy decision. Without a difference-making power bat left on the board, or even one likely to hit 25 homers, we took “best available” player Will Venable (right) to try and lock down the steals category. I considered Mike Cuddyer and Nate McLouth here, but figured Venable gave us the best chance to secure points, as none of the three of them are great gambles top more than 20 or so homers. Projection: .250-17-64-32-67

17.13 – I usually take my third closer in the 18th round, so I went a few picks early to nail down Johnny Venters. Even if he only gets a third of the save chances in Atlanta, that should be worth a dozen or so saves, and he should contribute excellent strikeouts and rate stats. I considered taking him with the previous pick where we got Venable, so I was pleased that he lasted this long; Craig Kimbrell had gone much earlier at 11.6. Projection: 4-13-3.35-1.29-77

18.3 – Not only were we short on power by this point, but we’d taken some considerable batting average risks, so I grabbed Omar Infante. I didn’t want to lock up my utility spot this early and don’t believe he’s a .321 hitter like last year, but he should hit in the .290’s and score plenty of runs while batting second in Florida, and has three-position eligibility. A poor man’s Martin Prado, minus a half-dozen homers. Projection: .295-7-52-7-72

19.13 – Intended #5 starter Anibal Sanchez went earlier in this round so we took Jason Hammel, who is also on my Tout Wars roster. He has the strikeout and ground ball rates to survive in Coors Field, and will contribute plenty of strikeouts. Projection: 12-0-4.49-1.39-145

20.3 – I had originally considered Russell Martin as early as the 13/14 turn, so I was very happy to grab him here. Reports out of spring training have not been especially positive, but the Yankees do not have a backup catcher to legitimately challenge his playing time, so he should get enough at-bats to justify this pick. Projection: .264-8-42-9-56

21.13 – Clayton Richard is a reasonable sixth starter when pitching at home in PETCO Park, although he’s not trustworthy on the road just yet. Maybe I can platoon him with Hammel. Projection: 11-0-4.06-1.40-134

22.3 – NFBC rules do not require a legal roster after 23 rounds, but I like to draft it that way, and I still needed a shortstop. I had effectively conceded that position by the mid rounds, so I decided to jump early on a likely early reserve pick and take Jed Lowrie (below). He could steal the job from Marcos Scutaro, and will play a lot in case of injury to any of the Red Sox infielders, so he scrape together the 360 at-bats I projected him for, and potentially many more. Projection: .262-11-51-2-50

Lowrie - Please Win a Job!

23.13 – I certainly didn’t set out to draft half of the Padres offense, and I had enough batting average risks, but Nick Hundley was the best available catcher left here. He’ll play more regularly now that Yorvit Torrealba is gone, and has pretty good pop, although PETCO masks it. Projection: .243-13-54-5-47

* * *

My strategy for the reserve rounds in NFBC is to build some starting pitching depth, hedge any potentially thin offensive positions and/or injury risks, and add at least one long-shot closer and/or prospect. My reserve picks:

R1 – Yet another Padre, Brad Hawpe, who will be eligible at 1B and OF. He’s hit fairly well away from Coors in his career, so if he bounces back as expected, he could be my UT in a home/away platoon with or even instead of Infante. Projection: .256-19-72-2-67

R2 – Yet another one of my Tout Wars starters, Randy Wells, who is having a strong spring and is coming cheap even though leading indicators say he should improve upon last season. Not bad for a #7 starter. Projection: 11-0-4.08-1.36-137

R3 – Orlando Cabrera, who I hope will hold down an everyday job long enough until Lowrie wins one. I wish Infante was shortstop eligible in NFBC like he is in Tout Wars! Projection: .270-5-43-11-60

R4 – I’ve been saying all winter to anyone who will listen that Joel Peralta is my super darkhorse candidate to lead the Rays in saves, and I put my money where my mouth is. He’s such a deep sleeper that they NFBC didn’t even have a sticker for him to put on the draft board, but I think he’s going to shock the world Axford-style this season. Projection: 3-11-3.71-1.19-60

R5 – Jesus Montero could win the job from Martin, or could win a backup catcher/DH role, or could get traded somewhere and play every day. Or he could just languish in the minors while Martin continues to play regularly. This is the catcher equivalent of a handcuff and should ensure I don’t have a zero at either catcher spot this year. Projection: .276-9-35-0-26 in 197 at-bats

R6 – Mike Leake will start the season in the Reds rotation and hopefully build on last year’s decent debut. Or he’ll stink and I’ll cut him. Hey, in the 29th round, these are the chances you take on your #8 starter. Projection: 9-0-4.37-1.42-46

R7 – Ryan Kalish is a super lottery ticket; he’ll start the season in Triple-A and would likely only be recalled if he was going to play regularly. This could be a throwaway pick but at this point in the draft it’s not like we missed on anyone that valuable! Projection: .258-7-34-20-39 in 277 at-bats

* * *

Overall this team should be in the middle of the pack offensively, although we have plenty enough speed to lead our league in steals. We should have a solid pitching staff that could be outstanding if Latos is healthy and if our late-round starters enjoy the positive regression in their hit and strand rates that we expect. In classic 411 fashion we have a tremendous bullpen, which should help offset any weakness in our starting pitching group. Add it all up and our team should be competitive in our league, and if we can stay healthy and find one more solid bat in free agency, we could win our league. I’m not getting my hopes up for the overall though, too much injury risk and not enough in the Triple Crown categories to worry about that right now.

Regardless though, I’m glad I was able to get so many of picks in the early going, and after that it became another lesson in sticking to a plan while maintaining flexibility. It will be six months or so before we see if I did either well enough, but at least now I have some new pet players to root for!

Looking forward to comments and feedback… play ball!

Thanks,

Cory

51 Comments

I too was denied E5 goodness this weekend as one of my leaguemates refused to trade him to me.

FYI, I neglected to mention the fine hospitality of Tom Kessenich, Melissa Walters and everyone at CitiField! Thanks guys! — CS

I had my 12-team Mixed League this morning. You will see I didn’t follow “by the book”, all 411 strategy, as much i wanted to. I took Ubaldo in round 4. (One of my 3 keepers). Some special rules in our league got me thinking and i had to change i bit 411 strategy, but only in this round.
Here is my draft, and also see my comments on my first picks.
1.12 Álex Rodríguez (NYY – 3B). I targeted A-Rod or Zimmerman. As neither of my 1st or 2nd round picks can’t be keepers, I decided to take the shot with A-rod as i think he will give me more upside this season.
2.12 Dustin Pedroia (Bos – 2B). I Target Pedroia and got it. I could get 1B, but i think this might be an MVP season for him. This way i got 2 scarcity positions in my first 2 rounds.
3.12 Brian McCann (Atl – C) I wanted here V-mart, but with the 2 best C already gone, and Posey as a Keeper, i took the chance with McCann.
4.12 Ubaldo Jiménez (Col – SP) My first keeper.
5.12 Andrew McCutchen (Pit – OF) My 2nd Keeper. Very cheap.
6.12 Martín Prado (Atl – 2B,3B). Here I was targeting my 1st closer, but none of best 5 closers were available. The next closer was too expensive to get in this round, so I took Prado. Utility player with a lot of potential this season. I was not getting him after this round for sure.
7.12 John Axford (Mil – RP). Best Available Closer. Francisco, Wilson and Papelbon already gone.
8.12 Billy Butler (KC – 1B)
9.12 Ryan Franklin (StL – RP)
10.12 Pablo Sandoval (SF – 1B,3B). Comeback season for Panda
11.12 Huston Street (Col – RP)
12.12 Shaun Marcum (Mil – SP). Last Keeper.
13.12 Stephen Drew (Ari – SS). Very Cheap!!!
14.12 Torii Hunter (LAA – OF)
15.12 Chone Figgins (Sea – 2B)
16.12 Jeremy Hellickson (TB – SP,RP)
17.12 Jorge De La Rosa (Col – SP)
18.12 Javier Vázquez (Fla – SP,RP)
19.12 C.J. Wilson (Tex – SP)
20.12 Johnny Cueto (Cin – SP)
21.12 Russell Martin (NYY – C). Backup Catcher, I did not plan this, but could not resist.
Any suggestions. A lot of talent available. I’m planning on getting Edwin Encarnacion, when Cueto goes to DL. Also Starssburg is available, do you think is reasonable to put it in my 2nd DL spot, as a keeper for next season? Maybe is too early………
Thanks a lot!
MF

Hey guys,
Finally fantasy baseball is back and you guys too! I just finished my draft in 10team mixed H2H 6×6 (add AVG&WHIP)
Would you mind evaluating my draft and team.
Thanks

1.7 Robinson Cano
2.4 Joey Votto
3.7 Matt Holiday
4.4 John Lester
5.7 Nelson Cruz
6.4 Brian McCann
7.7 Chris Young
8.4 Neftali Feliz
9.7 Max Scherzer
10.4 Shane Victorino
11.7 Casey McGehee
12.4 Brandon Morrow
13.7 Daniel Hudson
14.4 Chris Perez
15.7 Corey Hart
16.4 Josh Beckett
17.7 Pedro Alvarez
18.4 Kendry Morales
19.7 Carlos Beltran
20.4 Gaby Sanchez
21.7 Asdrubal Cabrera

We have 2 DL slots so I’m gonna stash Morrow & Morales. then use spots for PoD. I had a few brain farts…Cruz pick cuz I timed out on my turn, McCann I could have waited and taken Santana later, need more speed, and took risks with Morales, Beltran, Beckett, and Cabrera.
Please let me know what you guys think, itll help me in my next draft soon and I really appreciate it!!

Josh A

Nice job with your strategy and improvising guys. I think I may have taken Jose Reyes over Dustin Pedroia, but they are both exciting players so it’s six in one half dozen in the other, right Mike? I love the Will Venable pick. Although that park is brutal I think he can do some damage off of last year’s experience. LOVE the Gordon Beckham pick as well. A lot of people are overlooking him this year because of last year’s mediocre stats, but I truly believe this guy is for real and will show up big time for you. All of your hitters contribute in so many categories so you guys set your team up perfectly to contend. I don’t care what anyone says, Ricky Nolasco is money this year, right? He’s has to be because I’m tired of waiting and I own him in almost every league. You’re pitching turned out better than I thought it would considering how your draft was going. You may have sacrificed K’s with Tim Hudson, but you were already a step in the K category when you selected Marmol. He had more K’s than some starting pitchers last year! Latos, Marcum, Nolasco, Hudson, Marmol, and Soria to anchor your pitching… Well done guys.

I also did an NFBC draft and had somewhat of the same strategy as you guys. I wanted speed and power early. I had the 7th pick and went Evan Longoria. The rest of my picks are as follows: 2.9 Andrew McCutchen, 3.7 Justin Upton, 4.9 Jay Bruce, 5.7 Jason Heyward (steal), 6.9 Zach Greinke, 7.7 Gordon Beckham, 8.9 Chase Utley, 9.7 Adam Jones, 10.9 Broxton, 11.7 Brett Anderson, 12.9 Brian Matusz, 13.7 Nishioka, 14.9 Mitch Moreland, 15.7 Ian Stewart, 16.9 Jordan Zimmerman, 17.7 Aroldis Chapman, 18.9 Johnny Cueto, 19.7 JJ Hardy, 20.9 Chase Headly, 21.7 Justin Smoak, 22.9 Jarrod Salty… Other notables are Alex Gordon at 23.7 and Michael Pineda at 26.9. The rest of the way I looked for potential saves as I know I’ll be chasing them all year.

BTW, Edwin Encarnacion went at 13.3 in my NFBC draft.

Hi guys,
need speed, 12tm mxd, h2h, have Nunez (RP), got offered a. Pagan. Should I pull the trigger for 35 (?) steals?
Or does C. Crisp have more upside (if healthy, yeah).
THX, Danny

Danny,

Absolutely! Pagan is way more valuable than Nunez. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nunez loses the closer job at some point during the early portion of the season if he starts to struggle. Florida has a very capable alternative in Clay Hensley.

Zach

Hey Cory like your team, I’ve been all over EE this year too (ISO better than likes of A-Rod and A-Gonz last year!) and thought you were unlucky not to get him as your corner guy. I did a draft the other day (12 team, money league) and am pumped about how it went, am I right to be? Top 4 are my keepers:
1. (4) Albert Pujols. (StL – 1B)
2. (21) Dustin Pedroia . (Bos – 2B)
3. (28) Nelson Cruz . (Tex – OF)
4. (45) David Wright. (NYM – 3B)
5. (52) Jason Heyward (Atl – OF)
6. (69) Mike Stanton (Fla – OF)
7. (76) Joakim Soria (KC – P)
8. (93) Tommy Hanson (Atl – P) – loved this pick!
9. (100) Curtis Granderson (NYY – OF)
10. (117) Aaron Hill (Tor – 2B) – another guy I targeted
11. (124) Daniel Hudson (Ari – P)
12. (141) Ian Desmond (Was – SS)
13. (148) Matt Garza (ChC – P)
14. (165) Chris Pérez (Cle – P)
15. (172) Huston Street (Col – P) – Back to back CLs
16. (189) John Danks (CWS – P)
17. (196) Joel Hanrahan (Pit – P)
18. (213) Miguel Montero (Ari – C) – loved miggy here
19. (220) Edwin Encarnación (Tor – 3B) – perfect!
20. (237) Brian Matusz (Bal – P)
21. (244) Coco Crisp (Oak – OF)
22. (261) James McDonald (Pit – P)
23. (268) Justin Smoak (Sea – 1B)
24. (285) Wade Davis (TB – P)
25. (292) Brandon League (Sea – P)
26. (309) Derek Holland (Tex – P)
27. (316) Sean Rodriguez (TB – 2B,CI,OF)

As there is no innings limit in this league I wanted to try a standout strategy to dominate all pitching categories whilst drafting a good offence too (1st starter was Hanson in the 8th). Aimed for 4 closers and 7 starter and actually ended up with 8, but if they perform I reckon I should dominate K’s, SV’s and hopefully W’s whilst remaining solid in ERA and WHIP. Love my offense too. What do you think to the idea/team Cory/Zack?

swfcdan,

You’ve got a ton of power and Perez/Streeet in Rounds 14/15 are both steals. You might be a little weak in SBs, particularly if the oft-injured Crisp misses time, but that’s nitpicking!

Zach

Hi guys did a 10 team snake money league last night, and feel pretty happy with the result. What do you guys make of my team, one thing stood out was managing to get 3 power/speed monsters in my team in Car-Go, McCutchy and Stubbsy (oh say it aint so!), was well pleased with that:

10 Carlos Gonzalez, Col OF
11 Adrian Gonzalez, Bos 1B
30 Andrew McCutchen, Pit OF
31 Jose Reyes, NYM SS
50 Brian McCann, Atl C
51 Chase Utley, Phi 2B
70 Heath Bell, SD RP
71 Rickie Weeks, Mil 2B
90 Drew Stubbs, Cin OF
91 Chad Billingsley, LAD SP
110 Wandy Rodriguez, Hou SP
111 Jonathan Broxton, LAD RP
130 Matt Garza, ChC SP
131 John Axford, Mil RP
150 Gio Gonzalez, Oak SP
151 Ian Stewart, Col 3B
170 Travis Snider, Tor OF
171 Edwin Encarnacion, Tor 3B
190 Vladimir Guerrero, Bal DH
191 Jaime Garcia, StL SP
210 Ian Kennedy, Ari SP
211 Jose Tabata, Pit OF
230 Michael Pineda, Sea SP
231 David Aardsma, Sea RP
250 Yunel Escobar, Tor SS
251 Coco Crisp, Oak OF

Love A-Gonz this year and think Reyes in the 4th was too tempting to pass on. Did I overreach on Utley? Know hes not ready for OD but the elite 2B had already gone by then. Had to slightly reach for Stubbs based on my rankings but knew he wouldn’t come back to me, still pumped about finally getting him! Felt I got a solid bullpen even with Aardsma who I got very late, and as theres strangely no innings limit thought I’d go to town late on starters with 7 (and 1st one not till the 10th) and POD with another come the season start! Thoughts on the strategy/team?

amigos,

Scroll down a bit for my comment. Still getting used to the new blog software which lets you insert an answer right below the question!

Zach

Id appreciate any feedback…I just finished my draft in 10team mixed H2H 6×6 (add AVG&WHIP)
Would you mind evaluating my draft and team.
Thanks

1.7 Robinson Cano
2.4 Joey Votto
3.7 Matt Holiday
4.4 John Lester
5.7 Nelson Cruz
6.4 Brian McCann
7.7 Chris Young
8.4 Neftali Feliz
9.7 Max Scherzer
10.4 Shane Victorino
11.7 Casey McGehee
12.4 Brandon Morrow
13.7 Daniel Hudson
14.4 Chris Perez
15.7 Corey Hart
16.4 Josh Beckett
17.7 Pedro Alvarez
18.4 Kendry Morales
19.7 Carlos Beltran
20.4 Gaby Sanchez
21.7 Asdrubal Cabrera

We have 2 DL slots so I’m gonna stash Morrow & Morales. then use spots for PoD. I had a few brain farts…Cruz pick cuz I timed out on my turn, McCann I could have waited and taken Santana later, need more speed, and took risks with Morales, Beltran, Beckett, and Cabrera.
Please let me know what you guys think, itll help me in my next draft soon and I really appreciate it!!

Josh A

Josh,

I’m surprised Chris Perez lasted that long and I love the Morales pick that late…minimal risk, huge reward. Yeah, you could definitely use another 20+ steal guy but otherwise this team looks pretty good.

Zach

Looks like a fun year Cory… just get some power prospects.

I am waiting for Seattle to put Aardsma on the DL so i can make another pick up and wonder, if they are all still available, if I should snatch up Penny or Lamb or Blackburn or maybe Craig. You will prob pass on Lamb (win this year) so I am ready for that.

I’m a 8 team $300 AL only 5×5 vanillia roto keeper league.

If you need my roster and would be glad to hear comments on it anyway…

C…. C Santan $4 KEPT
C…. JP Arencibia $12
1B… A Dunn $5 KEPT
3B… Encarnacion $9
CM… Moustakas $7
2B… Raburn $18
SS… Aviles $19
MM… Jed Lowrie $1
OF… Bourjos $1
OF… Choo $44
OF… Ichiro $40
OF… R Davis $27
OF…. N Cruz $46
DH… Markakis $31

SP… Gio Gonzalez $1 KEPT
SP… B Anderson $2 KEPT
SP… Natusz $3 KEPT
SP… Britton $1
P….. Pineiro $1
RP… Thornton $11 KEPT
RP… Aardsma $2 KEPT
RP… Sale $13
RP… JP Howell $1

RL… A Gordon (we only need 10 games last year and 1 game current year so Gordon will be my CM to start season)
.
RL… I Nova
RL… J Montero KEPT
RL… Litsch
RL… P Coke
RL… Cecil
RL… K Gibson
RL… Ogando
RL… Milledge
RL… Teahan
RL… Dyson
RL… Balfour
.
We don’t do FAAB.. so 1st come 1st served… and when a pitcher is having a good game they go quick..so that is why I am loading up on hopefuls in advance.

that should say 10 games last year OR 1 game this year to qualify at that position.

Thanks 411 team

Guys
Have been offered a trade in a 12 team points League: I get Tex and Snider for Braun. I already have Morneau at 1B and my OF consist of Braun, J Upton, J Bruce, Manny, Venable. Tex could play DH. I have the Panda at DH already. What do I do. He as also offered Adrian Gonzalez for Braun straight-up. I wanted Gonzalez for my first pick and had to change my draft because I didn’t get him.

Matt,

I’d pass. So essentially, considering your roster situation, this trade is Tex and Snider for Braun plus Morneau/Sandoval. I don’t like the second offer either.

Zach

Dear 411,
I need to get an OF from the wire,, until Prado gets pos eligibility. Should i drop a player, or wait 5 starts to get eligibility? I think it is important to have 4 OF, only 3 does not give much flexibility.
On my bench i have: Russell Martin, Chone Figgins and Pablo Sandoval. The only obvios choice will be cutting Martin. Or maybe cut a pitcher: Javier Vazquez, Cueto, CJ Wilson.
The available OF that called my attention are:
David Murphy, Byrd, Sean Rodriguez, Nate Mclouth
Thanks a lot!
MF

MF,

Yeah, Martin’s definitely the one to drop assuming that you have a quality starting catcher. Of that FA group, Rodriguez probably carries the most upside and I like the fact that he’s 2B eligible, but for now I’d go with Murphy. He’ll give you some power and speed and until S-Rod learns to hit righties better, Murphy will get the higher amount of ABs.

Zach

Hi – I wonder if you can comment on who you think I might be able to improve upon on this team. Then I can give you available options for those slots

C – Carlos Santana
C- Miguel Olivo
1b – Joey Votto
2b – Mike Aviles
3B – Edwin Encarnacion
SS- Hanley Ramirez
SS/2B – Ryan Theriot
1b/3b – Billy Butler
LF – Angel Pagan
CF – Jacoby Ellsbury
RF – Hunter Pence
OF – Andre Ethier
OF – Chris Young
UTIL- Vlad Guerrerro
UTIL – David Freese – I swapped him with Logan Morrison

Your input is greatly appreciated!

Connie,

The weakest link I see here is Aviles as your starting 2B. He’ll hit for a solid AVG but that’s about it. I’d look to make a significant upgrade at that spot.

Zach

amigos,

Great team. Personally, I’m scared to death about Utley and avoided him in all my drafts, but pick 51 is good value. Billingsley/Wandy/Garza is a solid front three considering that you waited until the 10th round to draft your first SP.

-Zach

Looks like you had a pretty solid draft. Love the BJ Upton pick because I have him in my 2 leagues and that makes me feel better. Was surprised to see Soriano on your team after a few years ago but you can’t pass up the value. As a Sox fan love the Beckham pick! How do you compare Beckham to A Hill? Higher upside with Hill having more HR and lower avg?

Sam,

Beckham has definitely shown flashes of being a tremendous all-around player, but for this season alone I’d rather have Hill. Yeah, he probably won’t hit for a high AVG but the power is legit. In a non-keeper format, I’ll go with the known commodity.

Zach

I’m in a 10 team 6 (OBP) x 7 (batting average against, holds) head to head 9 keeper league.

I’ve got a question (mostly) specific to my league. I’ve got five minor league roster slots currently filled by Freddie Freeman, Mike Moustakas, Bryce Harper, Travis Snider, and Jeremy Hellickson. We can keep players in the minors as long as we want; once brought up they can only be sent down if they’re actually in the minors. For some reason Eric Hosmer is still a free agent. Would you drop any of my players to pick him up? What do you think of Hosmer long-term? Thanks, Damon in Seattle.

Damon,

Although I like Hosmer’s potential, the chances of him getting called up before September are remote. I’d hold off on adding him. The guys you already have are either more likely to make a meaningful contribution in 2011 or, in the case of Harper, an obvious keeper.

Zach

Hey guys,

Meek, Contreras, Balfour, or Romo…..which 2 would you have on your staff for the greatest chances in picking up saves without destroying your stats?

Also, Peavy vs. Webb….my vote is Peavy coming back and having a decent year after May. Webb…give him another year. Your thoughts? Thanks!

Mike,

Meek and Romo and, yes, Peavy. Webb is far from 100 percent healthy so I think Peavy has a better chance of making a meaningful impact in 2011 even if he’s an injury risk.

Zach

Sorry for the re-post. My first post, did not showed up on the blog.

I had my 12-team Mixed League this morning. You will see I didn’t follow “by the book”, all 411 strategy, as much i wanted to. I took Ubaldo in round 4. (One of my 3 keepers). Some special rules in our league got me thinking and i had to change a bit 411 strategy, but only in this round.
Here is my draft, and also see my comments on my first picks.
1.12 Álex Rodríguez (NYY – 3B). I targeted A-Rod or Zimmerman. As neither of my 1st or 2nd round picks can’t be keepers, I decided to take the shot with A-rod as i think he will give me more upside this season.
2.12 Dustin Pedroia (Bos – 2B). I Target Pedroia and got it. I could get 1B, but i think this might be an MVP season for him. This way i got 2 scarcity positions in my first 2 rounds.
3.12 Brian McCann (Atl – C) I wanted here V-mart, but with the 2 best C already gone, and Posey as a Keeper, i took the chance with McCann.
4.12 Ubaldo Jiménez (Col – SP) My first keeper.
5.12 Andrew McCutchen (Pit – OF) My 2nd Keeper. Very cheap.
6.12 Martín Prado (Atl – 2B,3B). Here I was targeting my 1st closer, but none of best 5 closers were available. The next closer was too expensive to get in this round, so I took Prado. Utility player with a lot of potential this season. I was not getting him after this round for sure.
7.12 John Axford (Mil – RP). Best Available Closer. Francisco, Wilson and Papelbon already gone.
8.12 Billy Butler (KC – 1B)
9.12 Ryan Franklin (StL – RP)
10.12 Pablo Sandoval (SF – 1B,3B). Comeback season for Panda
11.12 Huston Street (Col – RP)
12.12 Shaun Marcum (Mil – SP). Last Keeper.
13.12 Stephen Drew (Ari – SS). Very Cheap!!!
14.12 Torii Hunter (LAA – OF)
15.12 Chone Figgins (Sea – 2B)
16.12 Jeremy Hellickson (TB – SP,RP)
17.12 Jorge De La Rosa (Col – SP)
18.12 Javier Vázquez (Fla – SP,RP)
19.12 C.J. Wilson (Tex – SP)
20.12 Johnny Cueto (Cin – SP)
21.12 Russell Martin (NYY – C). Backup Catcher, I did not plan this, but could not resist.
Any suggestions. A lot of talent available. I’m planning on getting Edwin Encarnacion, when Cueto goes to DL. Also Starssburg is available, do you think is reasonable to put it in my 2nd DL spot, as a keeper for next season? Maybe is too early………
Thanks a lot!
MF

Surprised you took both Upton/Werth over Pence. I don’t see Werth topping him in any category , ex maybe a couple HR/SB at most. Pence is a safer to help your AVG. What made you prefer Werth over Pence?

12 team, 5×5, mixed, HTH league.

I’m deep in the bullpen (Soria, Thornton, Kimbrel, Sale, Venters, Rauch, Jansen) but not so much in my rotation (Haren, Billingsley, C.J. Wilson, Harang, McDonald). I received this trade offer:

Rauch and Jansen for Hellickson

Any input/thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Curtis,

Yeah, I’d do that. Rauch is just a temporary closer who has a tiny chance of holding onto the job when Francisco returns and Jansen is a mere speculative pick for now. Hellickson carries immense upside and will open the year as the Rays’ fifth starter. Even if the club decides to move him to the bullpen at some point during the season to limit his innings, he’ll deliver top notch numbers.

Zach

Offered a trade in my 10 team mixed…
I’d give cano/cruz and get pedroia/cargo

What do you think? Which duo would you rather have? I’m thinking about adding scherzer to deal to get david price.

Josh,
I’m hoping that the 411 guys will reply to this but to me it’s a question of what the rest of your team looks like. In simple terms, I think you get more HR with Cruz/Cano and more SB with CarGo/Pedroia. I think the other areas will be roughly a wash. Remember, Cruz has had injury issues throughout his career and Pedroia is coming off a foot injury.
Just my two cents.
Curtis

Thanks Curtis,
My team speed is weak overall. I have C) McCann,1B) Votto,2B) Cano, 3B)McGehee, SS)A Cabrera, LF)Holiday, CF)C Young, RF)Cruz, UTIL) Victorino, UTIL)Bourn (just dropped Gaby Sanchez for him) BN: Pedro Alvarez, Kendry Morales, & Carlos Beltran

Josh,

I agree with much of what Curtis said but if I had to pick a side it would be Pedroia/Cargo. I think the upgrade from Cruz to Cargo is greater than the downgrade from Cano to Pedroia. Remember, Pedroia’s injury was fluky so it’s not like he deserves an injury-prone label. He looks to be fully recovered.

Zach

Hey guys, would you use your #1 waiver wire pick this early in the season to grab Fuentes? My other relievers are Soria, Franklin, Meek, and Contreras. If you’d make the move, would you drop Contreras? As always, thanks for the advice.

Mike,

Yeah, I would. Considering Bailey’s injury history, Fuentes is a solid speculative pickup and remember, a #1 waiver priority doesn’t mean much this early in the season. There’s plenty of time for you to move back up towards the top of the line. Drop Contreras.

Zach

Hi guys,

Since you love Edwin so much tell us your projections for him? That team that got him looks pretty good from the picture you posted of the draft board. Good luck guys!

Zach,Cory or Mike,

I was just curious what you guys think of Alex Gordon this year? Is this the year that he finally figures it out and makes an impact or is the spring hes having not a sign of things to come?

Dmenz

Dmenz,

Gordon’s been flat out raking this spring, and as long as he continues to produce should serve as the Royals’ regular left fielder for the entire season. He’s certainly worth a late-round flier in mixed leagues. Perfect example of the post-hype sleeper player that Siano often talks about (see Wieters, Matt).

Zach

Nice draft Cory, sure Mike Siano will say it was all him if the team does well. Curious to hear the 411 tandom’s reasoning for going against the grain some as you promote having a strong pen or pay for closers how ever you want to word it?
Did you see any surprises in your draft or anything that stood out to you that you didn’t mention above i.e. Hanley falling to 7 as he did in one the drafts there at Citi and Braun going after pick 8 in four of the five drafts.
Thanks and good luck in all your leagues.

Forgot to include my pitchers on my team. Should I grab a SP for the P slot? If so, replace Street or Nathan? Available are: Daniel Hudson, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Sale, Gavin Floyd, Carl Pavano, Tyler Clippard, Matt Capps.

P – Huston Street
SP – Billingsly
SP- Marcum
SP-Hughes
SP- Dempster
SP – Volquez
RP- Neftali Feliz
RP – Nathan

I drafted this group for a 12 team, mixed, 5×5 HTH format league. Any thoughts/advice you can throw my way would be appreciated.

Wild Armadillos

1. (8) Adrián González 1B
2. (17) Matt Holliday OF
3. (32) Joe Mauer C
4. (41) Jacoby Ellsbury OF
5. (56) Jayson Werth OF
6. (65) Pablo Sandoval 1B,3B
7. (80) Joakim Soria RP
8. (89) Dan Haren SP
9. (104) Chad Billingsley SP
10. (113) Matt Thornton RP
11. (128) Stephen Drew SS
12. (137) Craig Kimbrel RP
13. (152) Howie Kendrick 1B,2B
14. (161) C.J. Wilson SP
15. (176) Mark Reynolds 3B
16. (185) Chris Sale RP
17. (200) Jonny Venters RP
18. (209) Javier Vázquez SP,RP
19. (224) Aaron Harang SP
20. (233) Nyjer Morgan OF
21. (248) Jon Rauch RP
22. (257) Kenley Jansen RP
23. (272) James McDonald SP
24. (281) Lance Berkman 1B
25. (296) Alberto Callaspo 2B,3B

Should I replace Mike Aviles with any of the following? Not too many good players available at SS/2B:
Marco Scutaro
Danny Espinosa
Orlando Hudson
Brad Emaus
Maicer Izturis
Freddy Sanchez
Reid Brignac

Thanks!

Connie,

Stick with Aviles for now but definitely keep an eye on the waiver wire. I’m particularly intrigued by Espinosa’s upside.

Zach

Great blog guys! I am in a 10 team Keeper League. Any thoughts/advice on my team?

C Miguel Montero/Mike Napoli
1B Ryan Howard
2B Kelly Johnson/Sean Rodriguez
SS Jimmy Rollins/Marco Scutaro
3B Adrian Beltre/Edwin Encarnacion
MI Howie Kendrick
CI Adam Dunn
OF Mike Stanton
OF Chris Young
OF Shane Victorino
OF Vladimir Guerrero/Carlos Beltran/Nyjer Morgan/Lance Berkman
Extra Hitter Alex Gordon / Kendry Morales
SP Ubaldo Jimenez
SP David Price
SP Daniel Hudson
SP John Danks
SP Jeremy Hellickson/Jake Peavy/Scott Baker/Mike Minor/Stephen Strasburg
RP Mariano Rivera
RP Joakim Soria
RP Leo Nunez/Matt Capps

Jack, the projection for E5 is all about playing time. IF he stays healthy, and I admit that’s a big if, let’s call it 550 AB’s at 3B, DH and a little 1B… I truly believe he can hit 35 homers with a respectable batting average and maybe even a few steals thrown in. Conservatively though I’ve got him for about .260 with 25 homers, and that’s certainly worth a late-round flier in any format.
–Cory

Scott, Pence will likely have a higher AVG than Werth but I believe Werth has a greater upside in the other four categories given how awful the Astros lineup is. I don’t think his power will be effected much by Nationals Park, and whether he’s batting 2nd or 5th, he should be good for about 180 runs and RBI’s combined, with 15 or so steals. I strongly considered Pence but decided to trade one category for what I felt would be better production in the other four.
–Cory

Mike P., our reasoning for investing in top-tier closers is on record many times, but here’s the recap:

* Closer failure rate is non-linear, that is, the failure rate increases as you get away from the top. Top 10 closers offer a better ROI than mid- or lower-tier guys.
* It’s a fact that good teams generate more save opportunities, so the top closers on good teams (Mariano, Papelbon, etc.) will get more save chances, and are more likely to convert them. Sure, there are always some closers on bad teams who get big-time saves (Soria), but they are the exceptions.
* Top closers, especially those on good teams, not only produce more saves, but also better strikeouts and ratios. It’s not just about one category, it’s about four;
* Finally, the notion of “not paying for saves” is a logical fallacy to begin with. Either you pay for them in the draft, or with your free agent bids or waiver claims, or in terms of talent in trading for them. Pursuing top guys via the draft allows you to control your player selections, rather than being at the mercy of in-season market forces.

I do know this… whenever I have a great bullpen, I win. This may not be the strategy for everyone, but I’m a devout believer!
–Cory

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