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We’re in the final days of fantasy baseball draft season and I’m taking a breather this weekend to survey my squads. This season’s drafts have been a lot more fun than last year’s as I’ve left the comfortable womb of undergrad 10-12 MLB drafts to graduate school formats like 12-team single league and 16-team mixed leagues. Going that deep in drafts makes you contemplate such unsavory questions as “Should I draft a Nationals pitcher?” and “Who will be Larussa’s go-to utility guy?”

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I’ll cover the FantasyPros911 12-Team NL Blogger League in this post and cover the Yahoo! Roto Arcade 16-team mixed league in a separate one.

For those unfamiliar with FantasyPros911, they are running two expert leagues but relegated us to the ‘2nd division’ as revenge for being good friends with Chuck D who has been (unfairly) critical of their site.  Anyway, we were delighted to have the opportunity to test our fantasy baseballin’ skillz  with the other fine fantasy bloggers in this league.  (Complete draft results here)

It was the traditional auction style draft where you have $260 for your roster and 7 reserve picks (we’re still trying to finish up the last 2 rounds).  While I think my player values were right on (especially after comparing against the NL LABR Draft), I had a few missteps on draft strategy and execution.  I went in with a strategy of getting players at or below my estimated value and avoid big buck players in favor of a balanced squad.  My fellow bloggers helped me avoid any temptations to draft a top player by overbidding just about every top player.  Hanley went for a ridunkulous $54 (my valuation $39).  Albert Pujols for $49 (my valuation $36).  David Wright went for $48 (my valuation $41).  Jose Reyes for $45 (my valuation $38).  You get the idea.  This left me on the sidelines in the beginning except when it came to drafting catchers.  I don’t particularly like investing $ or high draft choices on catchers because they get more time off, have greater injury risk, and tend to slow down in the 2nd half.  But you have to mix things up a bit when 24 catchers are slotted to be drafted and I only had 13 at 300+ ABs.  After I got outbid for Brian McCann ($27), I snagged Russ Martin and Geovanny Soto for a combined $40 (I valued them at a combined $60).

After the first wave of great players, the bidding got more tentative and I started spending my dollars pretty quickly.  My biggest mistake was failing to realize you can’t move players down to your Reserve.  I survived clogging my 1B slot with a $3 Nick Johnson by snagging Cantu for my 1B/3B slot.  I lucked out after stupidly clogging my SS spot with Aaron Miles (I started and ended the bidding at $1) by snagging Alex Gonzalez in the reserve draft.  My early giddiness at getting Maybin for $13 might have led to risky OF bids on Colby Rasmus ($8) and Andrew McCutchen ($3).  Of course these guys could earn their value (they got drafted at the same $ in NL LABR) but I exposed myself to too much risk and could’ve used a safer, higher AVG guy to balance off Uggla and Reynolds.  I minimized some of that risk by snagging Seth Smith in COL with the first reserve pick but if these guys end up spending the 1st half either in the minors or on the bench, I’m in trouble.

As for pitching, I’m very happy with my starting staff.  I would’ve loved to anchor the staff with a Santana, Peavy, or Webb but I got two potential aces in Volquez and Cain for the price of one of those guys.  I’ll be lucky to get 150 IP out of Scherzer ($11) but I like him better than Cueto and Parra (both who went for $9).  I overpaid for Maine as it was later in the draft but had the money at the time.  Liking my depth at SP with Randy Wolf, Phillie prospect J.A. Happ and a Petco Park pitcher in Baek.  Not psyched about my relief crew of Francisco Cordero, Huston Street, and the two ugly options in STL (Franklin, McClellan) but hopefully I can get a couple points out of them.

I’ll write a couple posts throughout the year with updates from this league.  If I win, I get to move up to the ‘pert division in 2010.  I’m all a-tingle!

  1. NoonTime says:
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    @Rudy: You have definite love for the catcher! Double barreled C’s here and McCann in the 3rd round in the Yahoo 16 teamer! Tough to see where else those $’s could have gone, but when Yadier and IRod are going for $12 I think you might have a good play there. Some of those other catcher tandems are horrid.

  2. Do you like Conor Jackson this year? Him or Loney or Lee?

  3. Jon says:
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    How can Seth Smith POSSIBLY not be drafted? That’s absurd.

    Like the rest of the picks, except for Maine who is a bit high.

  4. @NoonTime: Yeah, I’m quite uncomfortable with my sudden reversal on catchers. You put me in a 10-12 team mixed league with 1 catcher and I say punt because there’s just so much depth – 33-40% of the starting pool. But 2 catcher leagues are ridiculous. This one has 24 catchers only in the NL. Mike from 911’s team is quite good but his catcher tandem is Chris Coste and Yorvit Torrealba. What is that – 350 ABs b/w the two of them. I may have a 100/30/100 advantage on him. For that $36, I could’ve bought Carlos Lee who provides that but….then you have to realize I can slot in someone at OF who’ll get at least 250 ABs. So I’ve got risk but I think I made out well….

    @bpasinko: I like Conor has OF elgibility too. He’s got youth over Lee who might have 1-2 more big years in him somewhere but I’m not betting on it. I think Conor has more power and speed than Loney. So, yeah, I like him better. (I checked my Point Shares and they concur – http://razzball.com/2009-fantasy-baseball-rankings/razzball-2009-projected-point-shares-12-team/.)

  5. @Jon: Yeah, not sure how. I was PISSED b/c I tied up my OF and UTIL spots too early and had Rasmus + McCutchen + Bourn in my OF. Blech. Was hoping an OF would fall to me in reserve and pleasantly surprised Seth Smith fell while 3 Rockie OFs that don’t have starting roles got drafted (Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Murton, Dexter Fowler). Also psyched Alex Gonzalez was still available…could be a steal at SS. And agreed on Maine.

  6. NoonTime says:
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    @Rudy: I hope you win so you can tangle with Mike Lombardo next year in the ‘experts’ division… that dude is the Greek God of NL-Only Leagues.

  7. Johnny says:
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    Rudy: What’s your take on Joba now that he has been topping out at 92mph and sitting 90 this spring. And it sounds like that isn’t going to change soon.

    I’m guessing he will be mediocre and eventually will be back in the pen for good. Hughes will likely replace him in a couple months IMO.

  8. @Rudy Gamble: thanks, and that’s good news considering I already drafted him.

    And WOW, didn’t realize Hanley went for $54 until now.

  9. peter says:
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    Rudy: So you’re not too concerned about your batting average? Uggla and Reynolds can be drains, yes, but so can Bourn and Stewart, right?

  10. Jon says:
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    Someone took Murton over Seth Smith? Wha? Did everyone just somehow get locked out of OF spots? There must have been some $1 OF that got drafted at the end…I just don’t get it. But worked out for you – McCutchen goes down and you have Smith to replace him.

  11. JR says:
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    Razzball alert! Keppinger acquired by the Astros. A .266/.310/.346 slash line would look pretty razztastic at third base.

    Owners of Geoff Blum — get the razzcuffs out!

  12. Cubbies299 says:
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    Hey. Bonderman just got put on the DL. I’m in a league with 2 slots. I wanna grab him and DL him, as it’ll cost me nothing. However, I’d have to drop nunez or morales. I’m thinking nunez, and I can just put in a waiver claim on him again if i need to. For now, I can also grab rich hill too and DL him and top that off by grabbing, say Jorge De La Rosa or Sean Marshall. Thoughts?

  13. Cubbies299 says:
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    btw is rich hill the 2nd add or zumaya?

  14. Billy says:
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    What do you think me trading Dukes for Maholm if I need SP and already have too many OF…is that deal just too lopsided for me?

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @JR: I see your Keppinger and I raise you an Alfredo Simon, the Orioles new starter.

    @Cubbies299: Drop Nunez for Marshall. Do what you want on Bonderman, but I don’t want him in any league.

    Grab Zumaya.

    @Billy: Sounds fine. I’d prefer Dukes.

  16. @NoonTime: Yeah, that would be cool.

    @Johnny: Well, I wasn’t super-high on Joba for this year anyway. Just hasn’t shown he can stay healthy and has to pitch in AL East. I’d discount him in drafts b/c of the reports by a pitching spot. I’d take him as a 5th or 6th mixed league starter.

    @peter: Hell yeah i’m concerned! Still mulling over trade options. I didn’t really want Bourn – should’ve never bid on him. Hopefully he starts hot and I can trade him to an SB-hungry team.

  17. john says:
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    I’m thinking about dropping Wandy or Thome and picking up Ziegler to trade to the guy who has Devine for somethin like Jobacum (he’s desperate for closers)…thoughts?

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @john: My thoughts are, why isn’t he picking up Ziegler? Drop Thome for him.

  19. john says:
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    lol, yea those are my thoughts too…ziegler is on waiver cuz the kid just dropped him for devine so i don’t think he knows about devine yet

  20. Doc says:
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    Accardo was optioned to AAA so I guess it’s all Downs if Ryan is a no go.

    Sean Marshall was lit up today. Hate to see that.

  21. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Rudy, I didn’t see Chris Davis on the draft list. How does he get overlooked in this format?

  22. peter says:
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    @Rudy Gamble: Ha.. it’s an ironic/obvious suggestion, given the point of the post, but I’d dangle Martin and see what I’d get. In a deep 2 catcher league, last year, I ended up in the same position as you; I somehow ended up w/ McCann AND Martin (hats off to you for scoring 2 in an NL-only league, though). I got rid of Martin just after the ASB. I’m convinced he’s overrated.

    Who knows, maybe Sanchez will save you by winning another batting title.

  23. @Simply Fred: I thought about it but figured there was a low % chance that he’d get traded to an NL team at some point this year.

    @peter: Yeah, I’m hoping a healthy Sanchez returns to hitting .310+…we’ll see. But I’ll definitely be dangling the catchers at some point this year…especially if I snag a decent 3rd catcher at some point…

  24. brad says:
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    @Simply Fred: Yeah, there’s no A-Rod, or CC Sabathia either, no Yankees at all for that matter, and no Red Sox! It’s like these guys just overlooked a full half of the players in MLB.

    Just bustin’ your balls. When you said that at first I was like, holy shit, dude should jump on that right away. Then I remembered, ohhh NL only.

  25. brad says:
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    Rudy: wtf is up with the Editor’s comment by the way? Is that guy really an ass or does he just come across that way? Since when is any auction draft typical?

  26. ep says:
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    I’ve been in several very deep 16-team mixed leagues, they are my favorite because of the players being taken late, but never joined any AL- or NL-only leagues.
    It’s something I’ve gotta try.

  27. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Consider ‘em busted!

  28. JR says:
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    Since it’s looking like this whole Teahen at 2B thing is going to happen (and Hillman has suggested he might hit third), is Teahen now a sleeper at 2B?

    I’m punting catcher in a 14-team league and thinking about Felipe Lopez, would Teahen be better? Do I grab them both at the end?

  29. JR says:
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    Punting 2B, that is. Sorry.

  30. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @JR: Grab them both if you can, but I prefer Lopez because of steals upside.

  31. @brad: i guess it was a commentary on the crazy bids for the top players.

    @JR: lopez and teahen have catcher-eligibility? i’m lost. at 2B, i’ll take felipe for the speed potential. plus, i think teahen will get about 150 less ABs than Lopez.

  32. cubbies299 says:
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    I think I just finagled the trade into working terms. In a trade that involves 4 owners:

    I trade Chipper/Crawford and net Hawpe/Ibanez/Quentin. I think this is a great deal

  33. cubbies299 says:
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    @Grey: Trade’s through. I’m loving what that deal did to my team. Literally just added a net 56 hrs to a power-weak team… so happy

  34. NoonTime says:
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    @cubbies299 (and others): if/when talking trades about an RCL team it would be cool to let us know it was RCL so we can all Oooh and Ahhh with appropriate interest.

  35. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Just ranking my boyz for the big RCLORD draft this coming weekend. Does Motte essentially take Perez’s place in the rankings?

  36. Steve says:
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    @Grey: In your Top 300, I mean. Supplementarty question: What do you have in front of you in an auction? Apart from beer, of course.

  37. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Yeah, switch them out. There’s an entire closer report coming on Thursday. Yeah, my top 300 is in front of me.

  38. cubbies299 says:
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    @Noontime: Regular league. 14 Team mixed. OPS is a category

  39. cubbies299 says:
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    What are y’alls thoughts on Koji Uehara? Great spring k/bb ratios. I don’t usually use spring stats, but control never hurt anyone.

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @cubbies299: He might be effective for the first month or so when hitters aren’t familiar with him, but he doesn’t have the best stuff.

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