Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Draft Analysis: The Battle of the Fantasy Gods Auction League

Last week we kicked off the 3rd season of the Battle of the Fantasy Gods Expert Auction league. You can check out the results and some more analysis by other managers here. Are we all really fantasy gods? Hardly. I mean, who is? But, its a fun league with a cool name and a great group of fantasy baseball minds! That's a good mix to have! Click here for The Fantasy Man's Live Mock Draft Mania Podcast which I podcasted live during the draft. It's a tough listen as explained early on, but maybe you'll enjoy it!

Anyway, here's how The Fantasy Man's team shakes out. Feel free to post your comments and tell me I'm a dope or if I did well.

The League Basics:
12 team, Auction Draft, Mixed, 5x5, Roto, No Bench, 2C, 1B, 2B, 3B, MI, CI, 5OF, UT, 5P, $260 Auction Salary Cap... the basics...

The Strategy Overall:
I wanted to go with a well balanced team with a solid pitching staff with upside. I'm normally a "stars and scrubs" kind of guy but this year I wanted to go the safe route. This years pool of players certainly allows you to smartly build a balanced team as there are so many good upside players and solid vetereans slipping late into drafts. What I notice is that everyone in the world is saying how power is at a premium and is scarce, an dto an extent, they're right. But if you plan your draft out carefully, there's much power to be found late, you just have to trust your gut that some of the late players will pan out.

The Strategy Broken-down:
I wanted a well balanced team where every hitter was some sort of a power/speed combo and I did not plan to spend $40+ on a hitter. I also wanted a full-time starter in each slot. I wanted a pitching staff anchored by one or two mid-round type starting pitchers with huge upside (i.e. Jon Lester, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Cain, Yovanni Gallardo), two solid closers, and cheap SP's with K potential who were undervalued. I wanted to spend about $70 on pitching and $190 on hitting. Here's how we stacked up...

C - Jeff Clement $2 - The Pirates are going to try out Clement at 1B, if he succeeds in spring training, this becomes a steal. If not, I'm sunk at catcher for now.

C- Jarrod Saltalamacchia - $2 - If Salty and his injuries get in the way.....see Jeff Clement!

1B - Adrian Gonzalez - $26 - With Ryan Howard/Prince Fielder going in the $37 range, I'll take the $10 discount on A-Gone who will only get me slightly less power than Howard but with a slightly better BA. I was saving this spot for Billy Butler or Derek Lee but I couldn't pass up $26 on A-Gone. I saw value here.

2B - Brandon Phillips - $20 - Does anyone think .275/20/100/20 isn't worth $20?? Me neither? I think the killer here is Phillips has 30/30 skills and can get you 100+RBI! (He had 98 in 2009 and was playing hurt!)

3B - David Wright - $32 - Probably the worst choice considering the risk but I'm inclined to think Wright will bounce back and hit at least 20HR and steal around 25 bases with the 300+BA and the 100RBI with Jose Reyes back. Five tools and a comeback can get me $32 in value but I would have been better off paying $38 for Howard or Fielder and stashing in my CI slot at the time. I think Wright was my first or second player taken.

SS - Jimmy Rollins - $26 - Average value here but he does it all and will get me 20 HR and 30+SB.

MI - Evereth Cabrera - $2 - Waited until the end but need to load up on some SB's and was lucky I had an extra buck to outbid. Cabrera seems like an easy bet to steal 40+ bases. he has no competition at the position and he's still young enough to work on that BA.

CI - Pablo Sandoval - $23 - I love the big Panda! This guy is going to be a beast! Great value here! Surprised with his hype he didn't go for $30.

OF - B.J. Upton - $20 - Boom or bust? If Boom, $20 was highway robbery! It's an investment but I paid for the risk.

OF - Adam Jones - $15 - He's a $25-$30 player by the end of the season!

OF - Juan Rivera - $1 - I paid $1 for .285+/25HR/90RBI with upside for more if he plays a full season! Best value on this team!

OF - Cody Ross - $1 - Last good $1 OF out there. If he hits me .270/20/80/10 again... I'm happy.

OF - Nolan Reimold - $3 - If he bats 4-5 in the lineup, he'll be super solid in which I'm projecting .280/20/90 on the low end with potential upwards of .290/25/100.

DH - Chris Carter - $2 - This was my cheap upside pick for power hoping he makes the team out of spring training. If not, with no bench, there should be plenty of useful players on the wire to fill my utility slot.

P - Chris Carpenter - $16 - 7 of the top 8 starting pitchers went between $22-$29 with Tim Lincecum at $29 and Johan Santana at $22. Carpenter ranks in the top 7 or 8 so at $16 I got a huge value. The other side is that I inherited the most risk. But, for $16, I'll take that risk. He seems more likely to stay healthy this season than ever before so I like my odds here and I added my first stud SP. This was the best way to go because I started my staff off with a star SP and now I could build from there.

P - Clayton Kershaw - $15 - He was thrown out a bit late, bad move! Not everyone had enough money to spend $15 and I was ready to go $20. I got stuck in a bidding war here so I could possibly have had him a bit cheaper. Steal. He's an ace!

P - Ubaldo Jimenez - $14 - He's a big time pitcher with big time stuff in a crappy ballpark. I know I should only expect 15 wins but I drafted him for his 200K potential along with Carpenter and Kershaw, he's got a good bullpen and a decent hitting team. Good chance for 15+ wins despite the hitters park. Passing on SP's because of hitters parks is overrated! Look at Cliff Lee last year once he went to Philly!

P - Carlos Zambrano - $7 - Steal! In shape, new attitude, wants to win. He's my dark hourse for Cy Young!

P - Jered Weaver - $9 - The ace of a winning team goes for $8.... I had to bid a buck more! Can't believe the bidding stopped! He's not overpowering but this guy can pitch, keep his ERA under 4, WHIP under 1.30, get me 15+wins and 170+K. Why did no one outbid me?

P - David Price - $7 - I had Price penciled in before we even started the draft. I love that by the time he was thrown out, no one had the money to spend on a risk. Considering the money I saved on Carp, Kershaw, Zambrano and Weaver, I was ready to go as high as $15 if needed.

P- Huroki Kuroda - $1 - My computer froze up and Kuroda was autopicked accidentally. I mmediately dropped him and picked up Scott Feldman who was supposed to be that $1 pick. Feldman has one of the best cut fastballs in the game and will have a breakout season!

P - Francisco Cordero - $9 - Cheap saves with a good pitching staff and maybe a surprisingly good team.

P - Rafael Soriano - $7 - See Francisco Cordero. Soriano is an injury risk but if he holds it together, should have plenty of opportunities as the Rays expect to be a solid team this year.

The Results:
Overall, I definitely stuck to my plan as far as having a balanced team. I got my cheap saves, I got my steals, I got my cheap pitching with upside, I got my power/speed combos, etc. I may lack a bit in power but where I lack there, I make up for it in pitching and speed. My biggest question mark is my catching, but at least its my catching and not my SS for example. The biggest blunder looking back at this is that top closers like Mariano Rivera, Jon Papelbon, Joe Nathan, and K-Rod all went in the $14-$15 range. WHAT!!! If I knew they would be that cheap I might have attacked pitching a little different. I might not have spent the $15 on Jimenez and I could have picked up another decent $1 SP. In the end though, I have the balance I wanted. I'll keep an eye on the wire for more power if Chris Carter doesn't pan out but I'm going to roll with this squad and see what happens. I'm not sure this is a top 1 or 2 team but it can certainly be a top 5 team as it stands. If David Wright goes back to being a top 5 fantasy player and Adam Jones and David Price break out as anticipated, I can certainly jump up to the top! This is a team I am excited about for sure!

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