Mike’s AL LABR Thoughts




2013 LIST OF 12



And check out David Gonos’ new e-book, 101 Fantasy Baseball Tips. You just might recognize some of these contributors!



Here are the starters who broke $20:

Verlander $31

Sabathia $22

Felix $25

Weaver $24

Darvish $25

Scherzer $25

Sale $20

Moore $21

Some real investments for guys without big track records, and the perceived gap between JV and everyone else, which is fine but I will not be dancing with these guys at these prices for the most part in Tout on 3/23. Sabathia at $22 is intriguing though😉

I was really curious about which pitchers would not break the $20 barrier. Those are the ones who I would like to have on my team. Here are a bunch, with some of my thoughts.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

Lester $17 (I’m a believer and this could be a huge discount since he could return $25)

Kuroda $11 (For this price why not?)

Morrow $19 (shows you the power of the extra buck, meaning $20. I’ll be involved but my guess is he breaks $20 in Tout)

Brett Anderson $17 (a leap of faith here. I’m a fan but am still surprised he went this high. Let’s see what difference two weeks make)

Jarod Parker $13 (I had no guess what he would go for but was dying to know. Was hoping $9ish)

Holland $11 (Like this price, may have been a year early on him)

Dickey $18 (interesting)

Ubaldo $1 (lottery ticket)

Straily, Griffin, Nova and Archer all went for $4 (like them all and these are the right prices)

For relievers, there was not one who went for $20. Rivera went for $18 as did Nathan. For the most part, the “safe” closers fell in the $13-$18 range, which makes sense. I was more intrigued at the prices for these guys:

Frieri for $9 / Madson for $7. This shows the little faith in Madson but also the question marks surrounding Frieri. I think these are fair prices but I’d rather spend the $9 on Ernesto.

Janssen for $9 / Santos for $8. When I first saw that Santos went for $8 I was shocked, but the more I thought about it the more I liked it. Here is the only problem with the last four guys I mentioned. Spending $15-17 on two of them combined can be amazing but it could also turn you into a punter in saves even if it was unintentional. Are you better off grabbing Jim Johnson for $15 and then grabbing a bunch of high K potential save vultures for $3-5 or or are you better off going Santos and Frieri for $17 and praying? The answer isn’t as simple as you think but I will say this: punting is never the answer.


Just some analysis by position:

C– Santana $21 plus Mauer, V-Mart and Wieters $19 with A.J. at $14 set the middle tier, um, in the middle. Doumit, Salvador Perez and Montero all went for $16. If you are going to spend on a catcher, I may just go to $19 for Wieters instead of saving $3 for question marks. I do like Perez a lot though. Not saying Santana at $21 is bad, however.

1B– Pujols and Prince $34 to be expected but Butler and E5 at $27 and $29 is either a trap or right on the money. I’ll save some cash here and get Hosmer cheap at $22. I think he bounces back in a big way. Tex at $23 seems a little low.

MLB: Spring Training-Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers

My boy Kendrys at $17 is interesting since he’s coming off an OK year and moving to Seattle even though the fences are coming in and people are probably thinking he is now one full season removed from the big injury. Hosmer and Kendrys at 1B and CI or UT is what I had last year, as usual a year too early?

2B– Cano $35 Pedroia $29 and Kinsler $28. I love them all dearly but maybe this is the year for Beckham to bounce back and he only went for $9. I also think Kelly Johnson at $10 is a sleeper. It looks like he’ll bat second, which is nice.

SS– Speaking of sleepers in the TB middle infield, Yunel Escobar went for $9. Keep an eye on Eduardo Nunez as well. He will cost nothing ($2) and could see significant time if the old men in the Bronx stay creaky. Reyes $29, Asdrubal $22 and Andrus $21 are all very tempting though. Jeter went for $17.

3B– Miggy $40 then the field. No disrespect to Longoria $31 or Beltre $30, but I’m not touching them in an auction league. Machado, Middlebrooks and Moustakas at $16-17 also seem kind of pricey. I like Lawrie at $25. There is risk but there is also high reward. Kyle Seager went for $20 and I’m not a real fan. If he doesn’t hit for power, he could be an albatross at that price. Third base is definitely a position to watch on draft day.

OF– Trout $42, Bautista $33 and then a ton of guys in the $20’s. I’ll always feel you have to spend for OF in a non-mixed but by that I mean get multiple $20 type guys. There is nothing harder or more deflating than looking at a dead OF.

MLB: New York Yankees-Photo Day

I like Granderson at $20. Even with the missed month coming, he can still earn that price. I love Ellsbury at $24 and am optimistic for Cain at $15. Problem with OF is that there are lots of man crushes since there are so many of them, which tends to actually make them go for a lot on draft day, especially if they run. Austin Jackson $27, Adam Jones $25, Cespedes $29 (interesting) and Bourn $25 rounded out this group.

Keep coming back to this post for more links to expert league results etc….



I think my strategy for this year and the years ahead is to draft every guy that Siano liked the year before. I see Kendrys, Hosmer and Holland all my team.

Just curious, will there be regular podcasts again this year, and will there be a season preview podcast??? Also, I just saw an article about Jean Segura on Yahoo as being a possible sleeper this year. The article mentioned other young MIs who may have regular jobs this year. How does the 411 feel about Segura, Rutledge, Simmons, and Hechavarria this year?


Yeah, there will be a season preview podcast. Not sure yet about the exact date. As for regular podcasts, I know we won’t be doing them five times a week, but Siano should have more info as opening day nears.

And yes, I am a fan of Segura, and I can prove it by saying that I already drafted him as my MI in an NFBC Draft Champions league. I’m fully expecting 25-plus steals and a decent AVG. I’d rank those four in the exact order you have them here.


Hi Zach, see from the article you wrote a piece over at Mastersball, just seen your article and about to check it out too, looks good: http://mastersball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2494:double-fantasy&catid=963:diary-of-a-fantasy-madman&Itemid=81
Guess youre a fully fledged fantasy analyst now!

Interesting concept Zolas come up with there too, it could have legs!


Yeah, check it out! I’ve been writing for them regularly for a couple seasons now. This week, I figured I’d put Zola’s rule to the test, and it more or less passed.


Hey guys…I play in a salary cap league ($260 salary cap) where every player has a set salary. I’m able to keep 1 player for last year’s salary in the round I drafted them. Please tell me who you would keep of the following: Strasburg for $15 in round 3 (his salary this year is $21), E-5 for $13 in round 16 (his salary this year is $21), or Heyward for $13 in round 7(his salary this year is $17). Thanks!


I think you have to go with Encarnacion. He offers by far the best value, in terms of both salary and round. While expecting him to duplicate last season’s numbers is unreasonable, would you really be disappointed by a .275-30-100 line? Keeping him is well worth it.



Would you rather have Marco Estrada or Brandon McCarthy as your 5th starter heading into the year? Estrada got rocked in the baseball classic and McCarthy while I don’t think he can keep it up has been fanning alot of hitters thus far in spring games.



I wouldn’t pay too much attention to stats from the Classic or from spring training for that matter (though Estrada has thrown seven shutout innings so far!) I’d take Estrada over McCarthy, mainly due to the higher strikeout upside.


Do you have a timeframe when the season preview and sleeper/bust lists may be released?


Nothing definitive yet…probably sometime next week.


Would you trade David Freese ($5) for Josh Johnson($5) in a ten teamer?


Pass. I’m staying away from Johnson this year. Not only is he a health risk but I think he’ll have a hard time adjusting to the hard-hitting AL East. Five bucks is still good value, but I strongly prefer Freese at that price.


I just finished my auction draft (10t)and I concentrated on hitting more than pitching. Do you feel I can get by on what I have currently or do I need another starter via trade?
SP- Lincecum, Kershaw, Niese, Samardzija, Milone, and Teheran (Braves fan and he looks good this spring!)
My outfield is loaded and I would look to trade one of them (OF – Cargo, Stanton, Heyward, Gordon, Jennings, Marte, and Lorenzo Cain) I feel the last 2 are in line for big sleeper years!


I’d stand pat for now and just see how the first month or so of the season goes. I think that your rotation is good enough, particularly if Lincecum bounces back to a degree (I like Milone as a sleeper as well), but you certainly have the OF depth to deal from down the road if needed.


Im in an AL/NL auction (4player) keeper league, roto, 5×5. I had designs on keeping Stanton (27) Starlin (9) Morse (1) and Jordan Zimmerman (15)….should I stay the course or switch up 1 of 2 with A Gordon (17) Moose (11) or would it be safe to assume I’d be able to grab Gordon and Moose around thosesame prices?

Any thoughts?


Stay the course. The group you have picked out are the better bargains.


Hi, guys–
I need some keeper advice. I’m in a 12-team mixed league and have four keepers; my locks are Braun, Encarnacion and King Felix. I’m having a hard time deciding on the fourth though and want some advice. Should I go with Wieters or Dickey?

Thanks for any advice.


A strong case can be made for Dickey, but whenever the decision is semi-close, I’ll always side with the hitter, and you are already keeping one pitcher anyway. I really think that this is the year Wieters breaks out, and Dickey comes with enough question marks (tougher league, tougher division, age and the possibility that his knuckleball loses its effectiveness) to bump him down from the true ace tier of SPs.


Why do you like Lawrie at 25 more’n Longoria at 31?

Hey Zach,

Keeper question – 5×5 roto with OBP. 10 teams. 1C, 1B, 2B, 3B, MI, CI, 5 OF, 1UT, 10 Pitchers, 6 bench. $260 auction, 3 keepers. I have Hamilton at $20 and BJ Upton at $13 that I am keeping. I have Mike Minor at $1 who would be my next keeper or I can trade Minor to get Adrian Beltre at $23 . I like the move to lock in a high ranked 3B option. Obviously this move would be to push for a win this year rather than have the long-term keeper. What are your thoughts? Any worries about Beltre’s calf?



I love that trade for you. Beltre is as steady as they come and $23 is strong value. Not too concerned about the calf. Minor at $1 is obviously a very attractive keeper as well, but at the same time he’s a pitcher! And you know how we all feel about keeping pitchers as long as there are quality alternatives. Get the upgrade and worry about 2014 later.


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