Posted by Dan
Steve seems to have a pretty good read on the whole “Brewers” thing, so I’m going to deviate a bit from the strictly Brewers route this blog generally takes. Deal with it. I’m very excited for this season, with the Crew figuring to have a realistic shot to make the post-season, and my triumphant return to fantasy baseball. I didn’t get into a league in 2010 and definitely can’t wait to get back into it. Me and Stev-o have taken to creating a 12-team keeper league, with some minor league spots and an auction draft, which is a format I’ve never used before. I really enjoyed researching the auction format, and unless Steve censors my post, I’m going to run through the results for my team.
It’s a standard 9 hitters at the usual positions, 1400 innings pitched limit lineup. Scoring categories are the standard 5×5, except OBP instead of AVG, as well as BB/9 instead of WHIP. Also, Net Stolen Bases rather than Total stolen bases which is a subtle change.
Hanley Ramirez ($51) — I set out wanting to grab either Albert Pujols or Hanley Ramirez. After another owner pushed me to $54 on Pujols, I decided to back down and go Plan B since I feel there are many good first basemen this year. Hanley is only 27, and should be a top SS for the next several seasons. Simple enough.
Mark Teixiera ($28) and Ryan Howard ($23) — I was determined to get 2 of the top 7-8 first basemen after Pujols (including Miguel Cabrera, Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Fielder, Dunn, Teixiera, and Howard). The order they were nominated kind of dictated who I ended up with since I tended to be higher on the top 1B than most. Also, I was pretty prepared to be priced out on Votto and M-Cab after spending $51 on Hanley. There’s plenty of options at 1B later, but the top guys are pretty safe bets for 30 HR, 100 RBI. Both of these guys should be pretty safe, elite sluggers who I can park in my 1B and UTIL slot. I can’t say I wouldn’t have preferred to come away with Fielder and Dunn, but they both went for closer to $30. Howard concerns me as a “fall off the cliff” type candidate as he ages but I have to think he hits 30+ HR another year or two.
Cliff Lee ($24) — I hadn’t planned on a $20 pitcher, but I really liked Lee in this format. Last season, he pitched 212 innings, and posted a BB/9 of 0.76, which should go a long way to stabilizing that category (as well as the K, ERA and you’d think Wins). Even if he doesn’t replicate that, he should be super safe. On the downside, he is 32 which isn’t ideal for a keeper league, but whatevs.
Jose Bautista ($25) and Jayson Werth ($22) — A couple more old guys. I’m not expecting Jose Bautista to replicate his 50 HR, but I don’t really think I paid for 50 here. His power surge dates back to September of 2009, carried through a huge 2010, and he’s raking again this Spring. He had a 14.6% BB rate in 2010, so if pitchers try to work around him he wont start hacking away, and his .233 BABIP last year also isn’t great. Jayson Werth isn’t really a sexy pick, but he should be pretty safe in all 5 categories with little downside.
Mark Reynolds ($14) — I knew I was going to come away with this guy. Even with a BABIP 80 points below his career number dragging his BA down to .198 he still OBPed .320. I’m going to be honest, I have no idea what number it takes to win or be average in a roto-league with OBP, but I have to think that with a little luck, Ill get like a .340 OBP out of him (at least) and 30+ HR which should be a huge profit.
Mike Napoli ($12) and Chris Iannetta ($3)– I really like this “Mike Napoli” clown too. He’s played his whole career in Anaheim, where Mike Scoscia (I’m not even going to see if that’s spelled correctly) hates him. Now, he’s playing in Texas and should rake. He hits a ton of HR, and he’s C-eligible despite supposedly playing some 1B and DH. I’ll root for a Michael Young trade to free up AB’s, but even 2009 he hit 20 HR while limited to 432 AB. Iannetta is a siminlar player, just not as good. Whatever, he has OPSed .965 and .837 at Coors the last 2 seasons. If I use him for 40 games at Coors, it’ll be a positive.
Colby Lewis ($10) and James Shields ($10) — I remember my first exposure to Colby Lewis. We were AT Miller Park watching an interleague game against the Rangers when I arrogantly claimed that Colby Lewis couldn’t be as good as his ERA suggested. Smartphone to the rescue! Except, this time my phone made me look stupid. Finished 2010 with 8.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. He’ll be at risk of bad ERA luck playing in Texas but I’ll take my chances for 10 bucks.
James Shields is the worlds unluckiest mofo. Here are some career stats: 1.22 HR/9 allowed and a .308 BABIP. Last year, same categories: 1.50 and .341. He also had a strand rate below his career average. He should bounce back from whatever garbage ERA he posted. I’m not even counting it since I didn’t play fantasy baseball.
Brian Roberts ($7) — I don’t particularly care for this old, decrepit fool. But I got driven up to $18 on Ben Zobrist, the guy I really wanted, so I had to settle here. Whatever, he was productive when healthy and I backed him up Danny Espinosa in the prospect draft, and later picked up Brad Emaus who projects to start for the Mets at 2B. I’m developing a mancrush on Emaus, and he posted these lines in the minors: last year in AA he posted(170 AB) .270/.402/.434 before moving to AAA: (364 AB) .299/.395/.495 and in 2008 he also posted .302/.380/.463 in high A. He was a rule 5 pick of the Mets this winter, so they’re gonna have to carry him around. I’m likewise stashing him in a minor league spot to see how he handles MLB pitching.
Andrew Bailey ($3), Drew Storen ($3), Matt Thornton ($4) and Joel Hanrahan ($3) — I generally avoid the top closers. They actually went for less in this draft then general, but I still abstained. Bailey is obviously hurt, and Storen has had a rough spring but I’ll take my chances. I really like Thornton out of this bunch, and if Bailey comes back healthy he should be good as well. I don’t trust Joel Hanrahan all that much, despite his obscene 100 K in 69 IP last year but I’m in it for the saves. Another likely plus from the Cliff Lee pick. But Thornton, Bailey and Storen should be decent pitchers regardless and I only paid $13 for this whole bunch. I also later claimed Ryan Madson after Lidge went to the DL. Madson is a great reliever, so I’m gambling the Phillies make him their closer as well. That should get me through Bailey’s injury. I also claimed David Hernandez, as a bet against JJ Putz’s health. Hernandez was dominant after struggling in the rotation, and moving to the pen (TAKE THAT, GRAMMAR!) with a 3.16 ERA and 11 K/9 as a reliever.
Chipper Jones ($1) — I’m not counting on more than like, 100 games out of him, but they should be 100 fun games. He’s a backup, so whatever.
Jose Tabata ($2), Andres Torres ($3), Seth Smith ($1) — These guys will all kind of fill that 3rd OF role. Tabata is my only real “breakout” type candidate. Torres has no track record, but went for 16 HR and 26 SB last year. Seth Smith should start in Colorado, and has a career .970 OPS at Coors, with an .876 mark everywhere against RHP. He’ll be worth using when facing Jeff Suppan at Coors field. Although, really, so would pretty much anyone.
Josh Beckett ($2), Travis Wood ($1) and Edwin Jackson ($1) — Beckett was hurt last year, and Travis Wood has peripherals that suggest he’s a very good pitcher. Edwin Jackson is a perpetual tease, but he’s only 27. It wouldn’t be absurd if he learned how to pitch. Small sample size alert, but he pitched very well after the All Star break in Chicago. I’ll take a $1 flier on him. This is now 1300 words long, so for the sake of ending this– enough said on these three.
Brandon Belt ($1) — I’ve honestly never heard of this guy before the hype train got rolling this spring, but he dominated across 3 levels of the minors last year. The only concern, is that he’ll be lonely on my team of geriatric greats from 2007.
Summary — I crudely added up the ESPN projected totals of all the teams starting lineups, (only for HR and SB) and my team projects at the most HR, and to be 4th in steals so I should be pretty well-rounded on offense. My pitching should be solid enough, as long as Cliff Lee stays healthy. If I can get out to a quick start in Saves, and flip one of my closers to fill whatever emerges as a weakness my team should be in great shape — for this season at least.