This years marks our first time participating in LABR (League of Alternative Baseball Reality) which is sponsored by USA Today and is the granddaddy of all fantasy baseball expert leagues.

We had an awesome time at the draft.  It was pretty crazy to be in the same room with a number of guys that we’d only known through the little headshots they have on their website.  Plus, the draft was held in Phoenix – giving us the opportunity to catch two Cactus League games (nothing too notable except that Lonnie Chisenhall and Drew Pomeranz of the Indians look really good) and eat at Pizzeria Bianco (potentially the best pizzeria in the US).

We are in the 13-team NL-only league which is C/C/1B/2B/SS/3B/5 OF/CI/MI/UTIL/10 P.  The reason for the 13th team and 10 pitchers (vs. 9) is to make the roster depth equivalent to the 12-team AL-only league.  The budget is $260/team.  After everyone has filled their starting roster, there is a snake draft where we pick 6 reserves.

Below is our roster (To see all the rosters, see this post on USA Today’s Fantasy Windup blog).  We feel pretty good about the team.  I think you can lose the season at the draft but you can’t win one…..and I don’t think we lost it.

C  R. Barajas $3
C   D. Mesoraco $1
1B  A. Pujols    $40
2B D. Espinosa    $13
SS  J. Reyes    $29
3B C. Blake    $5
OF  R. Braun    $37
OF  L. Morrison    $18
OF  M. DeRosa    $5
OF   S. Hairston    $2
OF  N. Schierholtz    $1
CI    Jeff Baker    $4
MI   N. Walker  $18
UT   J. Francisco    $2
P    Y. Gallardo    $21
P    C. Marmol    $20
P    J. Vazquez    $11
P    H. Kuo    $6
P    C. Hensley    $5
P    C. Richard    $5
P    C. Capuano    $4
P     R. Wolf    $3
P    M. Lindstrom  $2
P   T. Gorzelanny    $2

C Eli Whiteside
2B/OF Eric Patterson
3B Mat Gamel
P Yuniesky Maya
P Aneury Rodriguez
P Zack Braddock

One big difference in a draft this deep against such experienced competition is that we couldn’t follow our usual strategy of “find the best bargains”.  We didn’t expect to see any bargains in this draft and that proved correct.  We made three big bets (Pujols, Braun, Reyes) that will likely make or break our offense.  But who would you rather bet on?  (okay, maybe not Reyes but SBs are expensive either in $ or the players other stats).  I don’t love the Neil Walker and Logan Morrison picks but they are guaranteed playing time and should be solid R/RBI producers without hurting our AVG.  Our pitching staff could use a real 2nd starter (I’d consider Vazquez a #3) but we should be close to league average in most categories – hopefully Kuo or Hensley get us some cheap saves and 4 of our bottom 6 SPs (counting the two in reserves) can post decent numbers.

We’ll keep y’all posted on the team as the season goes on…

  1. JustMatt says:

    Give ’em hell boys!

  2. JustMatt says:

    @Rudy: did you end up sticking around for the whole weekend? Grey thought orignally you’d be heading home early and he’d be doing the draft. How long did this draft take – after Pujols and Braun – you must have grabbed a blanket and pillow for a few hours until the bidding got back into your price range on the next tier?

  3. JustMatt says:

    @Rudy: guess I’m the only one here so far. any comments on the little headshots versus real heads in the room? also, grey promised to eat nothing but onions and beans all weekend and then take a seat right next to the ESPN guys…did he follow through?

  4. KeeblerMN says:

    Gratz on finally getting some recognition that is WELL DESERVED and getting invited to the league!
    I’m shocked to see Pujols and Braun for that low of a dollar amount in a NL only league….
    I’ve never done a NL or AL only league so I’m a little ignorant on depth but it looks a little “Stars n Scrubs”-y eh?
    (That eh is for you Canadians out there)

  5. NewBVick says:

    What kinda pizza did you order?

    Oh, and nice price on Wolf.

  6. MKEeast says:

    Two catchers in an NL only league. Don’t know if I should say wow or ouch! Definitely yawnstipating.

  7. Tony says:

    Pujols seems very cheap, i mean his track record vs. cargo and only $3 seperates them? Thats sick…. Did you purchase him as the first buy of the draft (overall)? Couple that with Braun and Reyes i think you’ll be alright. Would it have been possible to spend a few more bucks and snag bruce or someone in the mid $20’s instead of takin logan morrison? I’m just assuming at the end guys like gorzla, lindstrom, etc would be there for $1 anyways. I mean it is an auction you’d just fill out your roster with whats left…..

  8. Greytech Drafting says:

    @ Rudy

    Any pictures from the draft? The picture on the USAToday site is way too much of a tease and I want to see what all those ner…I mean experts look like irl. :)

  9. JMonte says:

    For anyone intersted i heard today that XM/Sirius will be broadcasting a recap/replay of the LABR draft. I know im looking forward to it.

    And I still cant believe that guy spent $100 on SS… $25 on Rollins really???

  10. pogotheostrich says:

    If you’re looking for that draft strategy, you’re at the wrong site.”

    That’s me quoting Grey. :)
    For the record I like your team the best Rudy.

  11. pogotheostrich says:

    If you’re looking for that draft strategy, you’re at the wrong site.”

    That’s me quoting Grey. :)
    For the record I like your team the best Rudy.

  12. trick dad says:

    Grey & Rudy – I just sent some daquiri funding your way. Just wanted to thank you guys for your site and all of the great advice.

    I won my fantasy baseball league last season, which is a 12-team keeper league, that I am in a prime spot for this season too (keepers are Votto, Cano, Braun, Halladay, Lester, McCutchen). All this since I started reading Razzball. Thanks again!

  13. Buddo Chezuski says:


    What kind of breakdown do you typical look for between SPs and RPs in a league like this for your starting positions?

  14. Jay says:

    Don’t like the 3 SS strategy. It is cool to think about denying the quality shortstops from your opponents, but you pay top dollar for elite SS because of position scarcity — and that position scarcity evaporates once you slot the player at MI, or worse, UTIL. I’m pretty sure it’s not worth those precious extra auction dollars to force other teams to roster crappy shorstops.

  15. GTS says:

    In a season where 3B is shallow your team looks like it will be hurting with your 3B/CI choices?

  16. birrrdy! says:

    GREAT draft guys. You slammed it. I don’t even know who your second catcher is, but I love the approach. Pujols, Braun and Reyes are great bets to make. That’s 90 HRs, 300 RBIs, 300 Rs and 70 SBs in just 3 guys. Well played, and your pitcher moves and reserve picks (Gamel, Maya) are EXCELLENT.

    13 teams, NL only, all ‘perts… you guys are gonna win this one if your top-three can avoid the injury bug. Very competitive, and you are stacked. I wouldn’t second guess your Morrison and Walker picks. They won’t let you down this year. Congrats.

  17. birrrdy! says:

    Are there trades in this league? If not, that 3 SS hoarder is really going to work to your benefit since you got the only other elite at the position.

    some other interesting draft observations…

    Carlos Gomez going for $16! I need to find out the scoop on that… Was that a bidding war, or did the guy just have a ton of money left and wanted him? I was real high on him at the start of the year, but Grey talked me off my ledge. I’ve got a chance to keep him for $1, but I’m gonna pass to keep higher priced guys like Hart ($16) and Bay ($20) and Rasmus ($18). 10 team NL only, we get $300 total to use with 8 keepers and the draft. What is the scuttlebut on Gomez now?

    Also, Jordan Zimmerman went for more than Brett Myers ($13 vs. $10). Do you agree with the final values as about right, or was that an anomoly?

  18. amscalone says:

    rudy and whomever else:
    just finished a 10 team 5×5 mock, what do you guys think?

    c: r. martin
    1b: votto
    2b: kinsler
    3b: a-rod
    ss: andrus
    of: j. upton
    of: pence
    of: stubbs
    utl: lind
    utl: tabata

    b: raburn

    sp: gallardo
    sp: haren
    rp: k-rod
    rp: bailey
    p: billingsley
    p: wandy
    p: axford
    p: krimble

    b: burnett, d. hudson, de la rosa, chapman

  19. chata says:

    find a stronger league .

    doug dennis … 10th year … no title
    ambrosius / childs … 18th year … no title ??

  20. birrrdy! says:

    Oh, and as for your top-3, I forgot to mention the .300+ weighted combined average. That’s sick, and I think some of the other ‘perts may get dinged pretty hard in that category. Barajas and Hairston are your only real drags on that category, and they won’t get the relative ABs to matter much in that regard. Heck, it’s a contract year for Pujols. He may go out and bat .350 and slug 50 HRs. Seriously.

  21. brandon says:

    12 team, h2h, 5×5, $260 auction keeper league of the 5 OF, CI,MI, single catcher format.

    I currently have these slated keepers:

    Uggla $18
    Lester $17
    Werth $13
    Bautista $10
    Alvarez $10

    I have an offer of Kershaw for Bautista. I would also be getting a small amount of auction dollars to roll with, possibly $2-4$. In essence, I could either keep Kershaw for $6 or Bautista for $10. With my current set of keepers, WWGD? WWRD? (gotta show some Rudy Love)

  22. The Dude says:

    I think the triple SS move helps your team more than any other (especially the guy that took 3 SS). Reyes becomes the 2nd best player at that position and 3rd (Drew if you look at $ paid) is a BIG drop off.

    I’m curious to the order of events on those 4 players, guessing:


    Did Ambrosius bid on Reyes too?

  23. Jason says:

    anybody else want to do the razzmock tonight on mdc at 7est?

  24. birrrdy! says:

    Here are all the players sorted by price in case anyone was interested…

    Pos. Last Name Price
    SS Ramirez $41
    1B Pujols $40
    1B Votto $39
    OF Gonzalez $37
    OF Braun $37
    UT Tulowitzki $35
    1B Howard $33
    3B Wright $32
    OF Kemp $32
    OF McCutchen $32
    1B Fielder $31
    3B Zimmerman $30
    OF Holliday $30
    P Halladay $30
    SS Reyes $29
    OF Upton $29
    OF Pence $29
    OF Ethier $28
    P Greinke $28
    OF Werth $27
    OF Bruce $27
    OF Stanton $27
    P Lincecum $27
    2B Phillips $26
    OF Victorino $26
    2B Uggla $25
    OF Heyward $25
    OF Stubbs $25
    MI Rollins $25
    P Kershaw $25
    C Posey $24
    2B Utley $24
    OF Young $24
    P Hanson $24
    3B Sandoval $23
    OF Rasmus $23
    OF Bourn $23
    P Lee $23
    OF Hart $22
    P Latos $22
    SS Drew $21
    MI Prado $21
    P Hamels $21
    P Gallardo $21
    1B Lee $20
    2B Weeks $20
    3B Alvarez $20
    P Oswalt $20
    P Johnson $20
    P Wilson $20
    P Marmol $20
    C McCann $19
    1B Sanchez $19
    1B LaRoche $19
    2B Johnson $19
    SS Furcal $19
    3B McGehee $19
    OF Pagan $19
    OF Fowler $19
    CI Huff $19
    P Jimenez $19
    P Cain $19
    P Marcum $19
    P Bell $19
    P Billingsley $19
    SS Castro $18
    3B Ramirez $18
    OF Tabata $18
    OF Morrison $18
    MI Walker $18
    P Volquez $18
    SS Desmond $17
    OF Bay $17
    CI Pena $17
    P Hudson $17
    P Rodriguez $17
    1B Davis $16
    2B Infante $16
    SS Tejada $16
    OF Coghlan $16
    OF Torres $16
    OF Soriano $16
    OF Ibanez $16
    OF Smith $16
    OF Gomez $16
    UT Lopez $16
    P Axford $16
    P Carpenter $16
    P Lilly $16
    P Sanchez $16
    C Soto $15
    3B Headley $15
    3B Stewart $15
    OF Beltran $15
    OF Maybin $15
    OF Morgan $15
    OF Venable $15
    CI Loney $15
    CI Uribe $15
    P Rodriguez $15
    P Putz $15
    P Hanrahan $15
    C Montero $14
    SS Theriot $14
    3B Johnson $14
    OF Byrd $14
    P Kimbrel $14
    P Street $14
    P Bumgarner $14
    P Hudson $14
    P Storen $14
    P Broxton $14
    1B Freeman $13
    2B Espinosa $13
    3B Polanco $13
    OF Jones $13
    P Kuroda $13
    P Franklin $13
    P Garza $13
    P Nolasco $13
    P Zimmermann $13
    P Chacin $13
    OF Bernadina $12
    OF Gomes $12
    OF Ross $12
    OF Francisco $12
    MI Barlett $12
    UT Berkman $12
    P Bailey $12
    P Dempster $12
    P Lidge $12
    C Molina $11
    2B Wigginton $11
    SS Gonzalez $11
    OF Colvin $11
    P Kennedy $11
    P Nunez $11
    P Cueto $11
    P Vazquez $11
    C Ruiz $10
    C Iannetta $10
    2B Hudson $10
    OF Morse $10
    OF McLouth $10
    MI Sanchez $10
    P Wood $10
    P Chapman $10
    P Cordero $10
    P Lyon $10
    P Myers $10
    C Buck $9
    C Hundley $9
    2B Schumaker $9
    OF Ludwick $9
    OF Brown $9
    CI Freese $9
    P Garcia $9
    P Venters $9
    C Doumit $8
    1B Overbay $8
    1B Wallace $8
    OF Fukudome $8
    OF Hawpe $8
    CI Rolen $8
    P Minor $8
    P Sanchez $8
    SS Betancourt $7
    OF Hall $7
    OF Nady $7
    OF Gibbons $7
    P Jurrjens $7
    C Thole $6
    C Hanagan $6
    C Snyder $6
    2B Young, Jr. $6
    OF Burrell $6
    MI Barmes $6
    P Zambrano $6
    P De La Rosa $6
    P Gregerson $6
    P Niese $6
    P Kuo $6
    C LuCroy $5
    C Hernandez $5
    1B Branyan $5
    3B Blake $5
    OF Lewis $5
    OF Spilborghs $5
    OF Parra $5
    OF DeRosa $5
    CI Helton $5
    CI Jones $5
    UT Mora $5
    P Blanton $5
    P Luebke $5
    P Stauffer $5
    P Happ $5
    P Norris $5
    P Pelfrey $5
    P Lowe $5
    P Meek $5
    P Garland $5
    P McDonald $5
    P McClellan $5
    P Hensley $5
    P Richard $5
    C Kattaras $4
    MI Rodriguez $4
    CI Belt $4
    CI Baker $4
    UT Murphy $4
    UT Miranda $4
    P Clippard $4
    P Cashner $4
    P Motte $4
    P Madson $4
    P Santana $4
    P Castro $4
    P Arroyo $4
    P Harang $4
    P Capuano $4
    C Rodriguez $3
    C Quintero $3
    C Barajas $3
    1B Hinske $3
    3B Cantu $3
    OF Cousins $3
    OF Thames $3
    OF Jay $3
    MI Cedeno $3
    P Zito $3
    P Dickey $3
    P Volstad $3
    P Westbrook $3
    P Young $3
    P Adams $3
    P Wolf $3
    C Ramos $2
    C Baker $2
    C Paulino $2
    2B DeWitt $2
    SS Carroll $2
    OF Diaz $2
    OF Rowand $2
    OF Craig $2
    OF Hairston $2
    MI Castillo $2
    MI Renteria $2
    MI Janish $2
    CI Dominguez $2
    UT Blanks $2
    UT Denorfia $2
    UT Betancourt $2
    UT Francisco $2
    P Marshall $2
    P Correia $2
    P Melancon $2
    P Leake $2
    P Jansen $2
    P Webb $2
    P Teheran $2
    P Wood $2
    P Wells $2
    P Lyles $2
    P Betancourt $2
    P Burnett $2
    P Lopez $2
    P Hammel $2
    P Lindstrom $2
    P Gorzelanny $2
    C Navarro $1
    C Towles $1
    C Flores $1
    C Mesoraco $1
    2B Emaus $1
    SS Keppinger $1
    SS Cabrera $1
    3B Cairo $1
    OF Michaels $1
    OF Heisey $1
    OF Ankiel $1
    OF Schierholz $1
    MI Hairston $1
    MI Blum $1
    CI Helms $1
    CI Giambi $1
    UT Navarro $1
    UT Martinez $1
    UT Gwynn $1
    P Mujica $1
    P Heilman $1
    P Narveson $1
    P Mejia $1
    P Beachy $1
    P Silva $1
    P Parker $1
    P Hernandez $1
    P Parnell $1
    P Guerrier $1
    P Saunders $1
    P Qualls $1
    P Thatcher $1
    P Salas $1
    P Rogers $1
    P Detwiler $1
    P Gee $1
    P Lannon $1
    P Saito $1
    P Belisle $1
    P Romo $1
    P Masset $1
    P Padilla $1

  25. DrEasy says:

    McCutchen was 10th most expensive? Am I missing something?

  26. tyler says:

    Rudy – thanks for the great posts recently (esp. the point shares/espn comparison). I just finished a 12 team mixed Weekly H2H where point shares was about 1/3 of my evaluation process (looked at LPP and BN for other sources). I got Grey’s immediate reaction in another thread, but would be curious about yours.

    C: Napoli
    1B: M. Cab.
    2B: K. J.
    SS: Alexei
    3B: Bautista
    OF: Hamilton
    OF: Werth
    OF: Span
    UT: Reynolds

    SP: J. Johnson
    SP: Latos
    RP: Thornton
    RP: Street
    P: Lilly
    P: Kuroda
    P: Daniel Hudson

    BN: Volquez
    BN: J. Montero
    BN: D. Jennings
    BN: Kimbrel

    Some AVG concern, I think, but if M. Cab./Hamilton can each go .310, that will help off-set .250?s from Bautista/Napoli/Reynolds. Maybe I’m rationalizing that. The bench is a little funky, but in a weekly H2H, I figured no reason not to go all-upside – it’s not like anybody’s ever going to play unless they breakout or there’s a serious injury to a starter…

  27. birrrdy! says:

    @DrEasy: Actually, McCutcheon is tied for 8th most expensive… =0

  28. Ron says:

    Seems like you guys may have junked the Whip category by going after Gallardo as your ace and Marmol as your lead bullpen guy. Would you say you punted Whip? Offense looks stout, decent K potential for your staff too. A little worried about ERA and definitely Whip though.

  29. Eddy says:

    Oh god, I feel like a complete asshole right now.

    To those that were in the razzmock tonight, I’m truly sorry for not showing. I literally just forgot. I feel like such a hyprocrite.

    Again, I’m very sorry guys, I didn’t mean to.

  30. Black Beard says:

    In a 6×5 plus OPS, how would you rank the following: Hill, Zo, KJ, Prado, Walker, and Roberts.

    Thanks Rudy. Kick some ass in LABR.

  31. Bill Lumbergh says:

    @Rudy: Should I accept this trade offer in a 12 team 10×10 roto (w/fielding cats + OPS)? My Howard & Gardner for his Miggy & Capps?

    I asked Grey also, but equally appreciate your perspective.


  32. pat says:

    just finished an auction draft in a 14 team league that is LF/CF/RF specific… 9×9 league that adds AB, hits, K’s, and OPS for hitters and IP, losses, holds, and quality starts for pitchers… How’s it look? I think it’s light on power and definitely on saves…
    C- Soto
    1B- Morneau
    2B- Raburn
    3B- Youk (when eligible)
    SS- Andrus
    LF- Pagan
    CF- McCutchen
    RF- Choo
    Util- Quentin
    Util- Adam LaRoche
    BN- Moustakas

    SP- Weaver
    SP- Haren
    SP- Scherzer
    RP- Valverde
    RP- Kuo
    RP- Gregerson
    P- Morrow
    P- Meek
    P- Floyd
    BN- Zimmermann
    BN- Niese
    BN- Randy Wells

  33. Blinkuldhc says:

    Wow… Fielder went for only $2 more than Ethier ($29)? You have to account for Ethier’s weak SB the same you would for Fielder.

    I’m surprised Posey didn’t go for more than $24; catchers are always thin, but especially so in NL-O… you could really gain some distance getting Posey.

    I don’t get the love for SS Castro, he seems like a one category guy to me. I’d prefer Desmond for less money, who will outproduce Castro in 4 of 5 categories.

  34. Ian says:

    Hey Rudy,

    Since your opinion often is different from Greys, what are your thoughts on Bautista? Some of his peripherals suggest he won’t completely bust in 2011 (trading some power for BA maybe?). For instance, Ron Schandler has him down for 37 HRs and a .270 average. Your point shares ranking suggest you are a little higher on him than Grey. Or is that due to his position flexibility?

    And what about Heyward? We’ll need to see some serious changes to his GB/FB numbers for him to reach 25+ HRs. You see him making that jump in 2011 already?

  35. Rick says:

    The catchers across the board are a significant bargain when compared to the points share valuation. Is there is a reason why you did not target catchers to gain that value?

  36. Rick says:

    I’d be interested in your predraft positional $$ breakdown. The thought process behind those amounts optional.

  37. Rick says:

    Well you said you only planned to spend $5 on your catchers. That assumes that you have a cap or range for the other positions i.e.

    It seemed you have one of the better teams and I was hoping to gain something more from your approach.

  38. Something like…2C for $5, 1B for $35-$42, 2B for $10, SS for $30 if Reyes, otherwise $10, 3B for $5, OF for $70 or so with a lot going to the top hitter, a few dollars each for CI, MI, UTIL. No more than $23 for an ace pitcher, $25 for the next two pitchers, $6 for 3 other SPs, $20 for a top reliever, $5 for a closer in waiting, $5 for two other relievers

Comments are closed.