Monday, March 28, 2011

A Fantasy Baseball Rookie, 48 Hours 'til Draft Day!

I’ve done a number of mocks, gotten my…expletive…together. I feel pretty good overall. I have my own draft value list worked out. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on how the first round will turn out. Anyone who has been paying attention knows Pujols and Hanley Ramirez should go 1-2. I’m going with the strategy Lenny Melnick laid out a while ago, targeting 80 HRs and 60 SBs total with my first three picks. Not sure that’s achievable, but that’ll be one of my draft checkpoints.

My personal draft list has players color-coded, blue for guys I’m targeting, green for guys I’d certainly like, yellow for not sure, but if they drop a little…, red for probably avoiding unless they really drop off, and black for…well, let’s not be negative…there aren’t many players at that level anyway!

So, to hold me to some accountability here at the start of the season, I want to lay a few of my thoughts down, position by position. I’ll point out my blue-level guys, along with a few other notes going through my mind. Let’s face it, when you’re going into a draft, you probably have a handful of guys you have a passionate opinion about, another handful you have some basic thoughts on, and the rest are summarized as “okay”, “bleh”, and other monosyllabic words or sounds.

Since I try to reference other writers here as much as possible (coughcoughsuckupcough), I’ll refer to Mike’s (The Fantasy Man) 2011 positional lists, picking out the players I want to cover.

And FYI, I am in a league on ESPN.com, points league, values HRs and hitting for the Cycle, Wins, Shutouts, and penalizes Strikeouts for offensive players, and Losses for Pitchers. No CIF or MIF, rather than five generic OFs, I need one LF, one CF, one RF, then 2 OFs of my choice. I do have one Utility spot, so I can jump on a bargain player if I so choose early on.

Catchers
I’m probably waiting on Catchers. I only need one, so depending on who I get, I may consider grabbing a couple with great upside that may be so-so this year.

Yays:
Mike’s #7 Carlos Santana - Oh, how I want to make a musical reference. It will be music to my ears if he falls a little though. He’s #5 on ESPN.com’s list, which of course I want to ignore, but I don’t know that my opponents will.

#9 Jorge Posada - I’m hoping my opponents will overlook him in the middle and late rounds.

#14 Yadier Molina - More of a desperation pick if I take him, but as far as desperation picks go, I wouldn’t mind this one.

Handful of his top picks: Again, if they fall a couple rounds somehow, I’d probably pounce on a number of them, but I can’t pick them as most of them are going.

Nays:
#15 Ryan Doumit - Can’t throw out a baby crawling to Second Base, so I’m not sure he’ll stay at Catcher much longer. Offensively, he doesn’t blow me away and I’m really skeptical of his sleeper status.

First Base
Mike suggests that he has no issue with taking two 1B in the first three rounds, and I can see why! Through my mock drafts, I’ve found that, yes, this ties up my Utility spot, but what a Utility player I’d have! Makes complete sense to this rookie.

Yays:
#4 Prince Fielder - I’m a Brewer fan, so I know what this season means to Big Vegi.

#6 Adrian Gonzalez - Absolutely love him. #12 on our ESPN list, #7 (currently) on mine. I like him more than that, but I’m not afraid to get someone else later…like Prince, for example.

#11 Adam Dunn - I didn’t like him for a long time. Then he actually did this thing called “playing defense” for Team USA a couple years ago, and I’ve liked him ever since. Ks are a concern, but power is at a premium in this league.

#26 Smoak, #28 Moreland, #29 Wallace, unranked Brandon Belt - If I don’t get a 1B I like in the first 5-6 rounds, I may very well wait until the later rounds and grab two of these guys. Smoak should come around any time now, Moreland looked solid last year, and Wallace is…well, doing pretty well for the moment. Belt has a starting job in San Fran, which keeps him on my list of guys to watch.

Nays:
#3 - Miguel Cabrera - Sounds like his situation is leveling out, and he may be the Miggy we’ve known for years. I still have him redlisted on my draft board, but I’m going to move him up. I’m feeling much better about him now. I was planning to avoid him unless he fell A LOT, but I’m really feeling more confident now.

#5 Ryan Howard - I keep feeling like this guy is gonna collapse and quickly. Still, the power numbers have me thinking about him if he falls a lot.

#9 Kendry Morales - Just scares me. Been off the field a long time, dunno that I’d get great numbers from him anyway.

#2 Joey Votto - Probably letting my personal feelings toward the Reds come into play here, but sometimes those feelings turn out to help me. Again, falls a little, I probably still select him.

#27 Matt LaPorta - SO GLAD the Brewers traded him. Wouldn’t have fit on our team (1B/LF on a team with Fielder and Braun), still looks rough overall, and if Melnick doesn’t like him, I, as a sheep, will follow his beliefs!

Second Base
Definitely one of the shallowest spots. The Yays and Nays summarize my thoughts entirely.

Yays:
#1 Robinson Cano - My opinion,, if you don’t like Cano (from a fantasy perspective), something is wrong with you. I’ve had him 4th on my list, but I’m bumping him to 3rd on my next revision. I got him in a mock last night, followed by David Wright and Prince Fielder, and I LOVED how that looked. Carl Crawford is the guy falling to 4th on my list, but if I can snag my 2B/3B combo in the first two rounds, I’ll be thrilled.

#3 Dustin Pedroia - Honestly, I can go on and on about him or Weeks or Uggla, but I don’t think I need to explain any of them. They’re all high on my list though, along with Brian Roberts, although to a lesser extent.

#23 Tsuyoshi Nishioka - Heard great things, seen good things, if I end up waiting on a 2B, I will look very closely at him.

Nays:
#6 Brandon Phillips - See “Joey Votto” on my list, but add that he has a big mouth. Can’t ignore his number though…another “if he drops, we’ll see” kinda guys for me.

#2 Chase Utley - Chasing Surgery

Shortstop
Not very deep either, but I won’t get too worked up about not getting one of the top guys here.

Yays:
#3 Jimmy Rollins and #5 Derek Jeter - Totally with Mike on these two. Both are getting older, both are projected to go around the same spot, but I would probably be happier with either of them than I would with Tulowitski…at least in terms of value.

#7 Rafael Furcal - Something I like about him this year. Don’t know what…

Nays:
#2 Jose Reyes - Really don’t get why everyone is SO high on Captain Crutch. Not saying I wouldn’t take him, but again, he’d have to drop a while.

#9 Starlin Castro - Probably wrong on this…but seems like a drop-off is in order for this Cub. Did I mention I don’t like the Cubs either?

Third Base
Another shallow field, another batch of guys I don’ t like here.

Yays:
#1 Alex Rodriguez - He’s been moving up in the mocks I’ve done, especially in the last week or so. I’ll wait for Longoria to go before I think about ARod, but I’ll target him around the middle of the 2nd Round.

#4 Ryan Zimmerman - Dropping a little due to ARod’s rise, but looks like a good bat on a bleh team.

#5 Jose Bautista - I think Mike said something to this affect on his pod cast…as a 30 HR player, I still like his value in the draft. If he gets me more, tremendous.

#12 Pablo Sandoval - Do I need to explain this one?

#26 Chipper Jones - And I don’t even like Larry Jones…but if he can play half the season, he could be a heck of a lot better than most people late in the draft.

Nays:
#6 Kevin Youkilis - Not as high as he’s projected to go…there are plenty of other Red Sox I like this year.

#7 Aramis Ramirez - Am I the only one that sees a downward trend from him? Used to like him, didn’t like that the Cubs acquired him, but I don’t want go near him right now.

#9 Adrian Beltre - Again, do I really need to explain?

#23 Placido Polanco - Ahh, good ole’ Placibo. That Phillies’ lineup has me worried.

Outfielders
For me, the Outfield seems to be the equivalent of Running Back in Fantasy Football…I can’t get enough of them! I like picking them early, middle, late, wherever they look good.

Yays:
#1 Carl Crawford - Even though I’m bumping him from the third spot on my board, I’d still be thrilled to get him, especially if it’s late in the 1st round.

#7 Andrew McCutchen - Melnick Bandwagon, departing on Track Won! Choo choo!

#11 Ichiro - In theory, due to fall off any time now…I’d rather he be on my team anyway.

#12 Alex Rios - Not a huge target, but I like his turnaround in Chicago.

#17 Jay Bruce - Yeah, I like his potential…I feel dirty writing that.

#20 Mike Stanton - The power jumps out at me, the rest…ehh…

#21 Jacoby Ellsbury - One of the many Red Sox that are among reasons I’m not drafting Youkilis this year.

#25 Corey Hart - Lot of people aren’t sure about him this year, and I fully understand why. That said, I’m still looking to snag him.

#30 Delmon Young - Just had a friend (whom I am not drafting against) recommend him, and I’ve gotten enough praise from other people about him too.

#47 Ryan Ludwick - 3 or 4 hitter for San Diego should suit him well.

#48 Michael Bourn - Speed kills, and he’s well armed in that regard.

And IF Lorenzo Cain gets serious playing time in KC, he’ll be up here.

Nays:
#22 Grady Sizemore - Undraftable if you ask me.

Starting Pitchers
I’m still following the basic formula I’ve heard everyone give: wait on pitching, go offense heavy early and often. Now in this league, there are bonuses for Complete Game Shutouts and Wins, punishments for Losses, hits, Earned Runs, stuff like that. I’ve been advised to put a little more emphasis on pitching. I still won’t get any of the biggest pitchers out there, but of course, there’s PLENTY of pitching late that can keep me competitive. So I’m not even looking very much at the first 5 guys on the list.

Yays:
#8 Justin Verlander - There can be only one Verlander!

#15 Yovani Gallardo - Oh, how I love him. I’m a little concerned about the IP though; getting through the 7th inning is tough sometimes.

#19 Cole Hamels - Again, Bandwagon, on it.

#20 Chris Carpenter - GREAT value for where he’s going.

#27 Shaun Marcum - My Brewers, making a good deal…love what he can do this year…it would just figure if he got injured.

#36 Gio Gonzalez - See “Cole Hamels”

#45 Carlos Zambrano - I can see a bounce-back year.

#50 John Lackey - I’d take a shot late on him.

Unranked Jordan Zimmerman - Definitely a guy I look for using the “offensive first strategy”.

Nays:
#12 Josh Johnson - One quote I’ll take from ESPN’s fantasy guys, “If Stephania Bell is concerned about you, I’m concerned about you.”

#13 Mat Latos - Scares the crap out of me.

Relief Pitchers
Saves are of great value in this league as well, but I don’t expect closers to go any higher than they normally would, so I’ll wait a little bit. I do want to get 3 solid Closers in 4 of my bullpen spots though.

Yays:
#3 Heath Bell - #1 Closer on my board

#5 Joakim Soria - Closers on bad teams are good things (when the closer is good). Maybe I’ll write an article down the road about that.

#11 John Axford - I’m a homer.

#21 Ryan Franklin - I think he’s a good value late in the draft. Third closer? I’m okay with that. Fourth? I love that.

#39 Evan Meek - One of those pitchers any opponent can look at and say “I wish we had THAT guy.”

Nays:
#7 Brad Lidge - Liked him, picked him in earlier mocks, but lately I’ve heard nothing but bad things about how he’s looked, how his fastball is not looking sharp, etc.

#22 Francisco Cordero - If he’s right, he’s excellent. If he’s not, he could destroy my whole week. He does that juuuust often enough that I’m not sure I want him at all.

Sometime next week, I’ll let you know how my draft went, and for you n00bs in the future who are reading this, I’ll give you my thoughts as the draft went on.

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