Friday, March 21, 2014

Not Another Fantasy Baseball Draft Review

All right, I swear this is the last self-serving post for a while.  This is just a better way to broadcast things like this to the people I really want to read it.  And maybe we'll share some opinions, laughs, and airborne bacteria along the way.

So here's the deal: a few friends from college and friends of friends get together for an 8-team fantasy baseball auction.  Thanks to the suggestion of one of the more fervent participants **smiles sheepishly** the standard Yahoo! rosters were extended by almost 1/3 to 30 players per team, but with no change in the overall budget allotted to each team.  This made for an interesting re-calibration process that some players (and Yahoo! computer programs) took a little bit of time to realize.  With an auction format, that extension of rosters also gave us a solid 3 hours of hemming and hawing and cursing your internet connection (or the guy who missed the draft entirely and is on autodraft).

Here are the results of that arduous expedition.

Remember '08?  Sigh. (Me)

(4) OF Bryce Harper $28 (127) C Wilin Rosario $5
(18) SS Hanley Ramírez $28 (129) C Brian McCann $6
(20) OF Carlos Gómez $31 (137) SP Doug Fister $4
(21) 1B,3B Edwin Encarnación $28 (145) RP Bobby Parnell $1
(25) SP Adam Wainwright $26 (146) SP Sonny Gray $3
(41) SP Madison Bumgarner $21 (149) 1B Matt Adams $2
(54) 1B Adrián González $13 (151) OF Nelson Cruz $3
(75) SP Homer Bailey $10 (153) OF Norichika Aoki $1
(87) 1B,OF Mark Trumbo $8 (161) SS J.J. Hardy $2
(94) 2B José Altuve $10 (166) RP Steve Cishek $4
(106) OF Jayson Werth $6 (172) RP Jim Henderson $2
(110) OF Domonic Brown $3 (176) SP Jon Lester $3
(116) RP Sergio Romo $2 (185) SP,RP Tyson Ross $1
(119) SS Everth Cabrera $3 (192) SP Zack Wheeler $3
(122) OF Austin Jackson $2 (199) 2B,3B Anthony Rendón $1

After seeing the first two players (Cabrera, Trout) go for just a hair under their projected $60 price tags, I made the decision that I'd limit my bids to right around $30 so I could fill in a more balanced roster.  I went for positions that I felt were shallow relative to the number of roster spots (3B, OF), and fulfilled my strategy of getting two top-tier pitchers at a manageable $49 (other similar teams got Fernandez/Price for 44 and Lee/Sale for 43).  Getting McCann and Rosario for a combined $11 and four non-terrible closers for $9 total allowed me to throw my weight around a little at the back end of the draft, getting pitchers and bench position players I wanted when others tried to bid for them (Jon Lester aside -- stupid internet connection).  
Strengths: SS, 3B, OF, SP, RP
Weaknesses: 2B, MI

Cain't Win (Evan)

(19) SP Cliff Lee $23 (99) 3B Josh Donaldson $7
(35) OF José Bautista $18 (111) 1B,OF Michael Cuddyer $4
(40) SP Chris Sale $20 (113) 2B Aaron Hill $4
(42) C,1B Buster Posey $23 (117) SP Hyun-jin Ryu $3
(43) 1B Albert Pujols $15 (130) SS Asdrubal Cabrera $1
(47) OF Shin-Soo Choo $19 (138) RP Casey Janssen $3
(51) 1B Eric Hosmer $13 (140) RP Addison Reed $3
(59) RP Koji Uehara $11 (144) SP Johnny Cueto $2
(60) OF Hunter Pence $17 (152) SP Francisco Liriano $2
(63) OF Yoenis Céspedes $12 (154) 3B Aramis Ramírez $1
(67) 1B David Ortiz $9 (170) 2B Howie Kendrick $1
(68) C,1B Joe Mauer $13 (174) 1B,OF Brandon Moss $2
(69) SP Matt Cain $11 (178) 3B,SS Xander Bogaerts $1
(79) OF Jason Heyward $10 (180) SP A.J. Burnett $2
(91) SP Mike Minor $7 (183) 3B Chase Headley $2

Evan was clearly going for a moneyball-esque strategy of stretching his budget by getting a bunch of second-tier guys that were going relatively cheaply.  This is evident in his purchasing the cheapest two-stud-starter collection in Lee and Sale and all five outfielders for between $10 and $19 (and all before the 80th nomination, so it's a quality group top-to-bottom).  He also took advantage of the two-catcher format, getting Posey and Mauer for $36 before anyone else took a catcher, at the cost of his non-1B infield positions (oh and by the way he took 6 1B-eligible players in his first 17 selections), for which he spent a total of $17 for 6 eligible players (although I think Donaldson and Hill will be fine for their price).
Strengths: C, 1B, OF, SP
Weaknesses: SS

Stanton Girls (Jon)

(13) OF Adam Jones $30 (126) RP Jonathan Papelbon $3
(22) OF Giancarlo Stanton $30 (131) 2B,3B,OF Martín Prado $1
(29) SP José Fernández $25 (155) 3B Nolan Arenado $1
(32) SP David Price $19 (163) 2B,3B,SS Jurickson Profar $1
(33) OF Yasiel Puig $22 (171) C Matt Wieters $1
(36) SP Justin Verlander $19 (179) 3B Todd Frazier $1
(46) SS Jean Segura $19 (186) 1B,OF Chris Carter $1
(56) RP Kenley Jansen $14 (193) RP Nate Jones $1
(76) OF Wil Myers $16 (205) SP Taijuan Walker $1
(85) OF Matt Kemp $16 (210) 2B,SS Brad Miller $1
(88) C,1B Carlos Santana $11 (214) RP Rex Brothers $1
(93) 3B Manny Machado $5 (218) RP Tommy Hunter $1
(97) 1B Anthony Rizzo $7 (221) OF Josh Reddick $1
(98) SP Matt Moore $6 (224) RP Drew Smyly $1
(100) SP,RP Michael Wacha $4 (227) RP Neftali Feliz $1

Jon went in a little heavier on early players than the previous teams, as you can see by the fact that he filled in his last 14 roster spots with $1 players (AND HE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH ANDRELTON SIMMONS AND KYLE SEAGER TOO IF IT WEREN'T FOR YOU MEDDLING VOGELS!!!).  The outfield is elite, although it cost a total of $114 with Myers and Kemp filling out the back end for $16 apiece.  This is another team with a weak infield, though, as a total of $34 was spent on the 6 infield roster spots (including the corner/middle infielder slots).  Behind Kenley Jansen, he grabbed 5 projected closer-eligible players for a total of $7, which seems like a pretty good way to use those $1 picks at the end.
Strengths: OF, SP, RP
Weaknesses: 1B, 2B, 3B

At the Wright Price (Andrew)

(1) 3B Miguel Cabrera $50 (123) RP Jason Grilli $2
(5) OF Andrew McCutchen $36 (125) OF Coco Crisp $2
(9) 1B Freddie Freeman $25 (132) C,OF Evan Gattis $1
(17) 1B Prince Fielder $28 (136) OF Alfonso Soriano $2
(38) SS Ian Desmond $20 (148) SP Hiroki Kuroda $3
(39) OF Justin Upton $19 (156) RP Jim Johnson $3
(62) 2B Ian Kinsler $13 (162) 1B,2B Daniel Murphy $2
(78) SS Elvis Andrus $10 (164) C Jason Castro $1
(83) OF Josh Hamilton $8 (182) RP Huston Street $2
(86) 3B Pedro Álvarez $10 (187) SP Dan Haren $1
(102) 2B Brandon Phillips $5 (190) SP Matt Garza $2
(104) SP Julio Teherán $5 (194) SP Patrick Corbin $1
(108) RP Rafael Soriano $1 (200) SP C.J. Wilson $2
(118) SS Starlin Castro $2 (201) RP José Veras $1
(120) SP Danny Salazar $2 (206) SP Ervin Santana $1

Pitching was clearly not the emphasis for this squad, as the whole group of 8 cost a total of $17, or $2 less than Verlander and Price each went to the previous team.  That savings shows in the excellent infield of Cabrera, Freeman, Fielder, Desmond, Kinsler, and Andrus, all of whom cost more than Jon's second-most-expensive infielder.  Catcher wasn't a priority here either, as Gattis and Castro went for $1 a pop, and he was able to get a pretty good collection of closers when you realize it cost him $9 for 5 guys.  It'll be interesting to see if that dominant infield can make up for what looks like some deficits elsewhere.
Strengths: 1B, 3B, SS
Weaknesses: SP, C

Bond's Giant Head (Joey)

(3) 1B Chris Davis $36 (188) SP Lance Lynn $1
(6) 3B Adrián Béltre $29 (195) OF Eric Young $1
(10) SP Clayton Kershaw $35 (202) OF Marlon Byrd $1
(16) SP Yu Darvish $33 (207) 2B,3B,OF Kelly Johnson $1
(26) SP Félix Hernández $31 (211) OF Will Venable $1
(27) OF Álex Ríos $17 (215) C A.J. Pierzynski $1
(44) SS José Reyes $20 (219) OF Nate McLouth $1
(45) RP Craig Kimbrel $17 (222) OF Torii Hunter $1
(52) RP Aroldis Chapman $15 (225) 2B Brian Dozier $1
(101) 1B Billy Butler $3 (228) SP Ubaldo Jiménez $1
(103) RP Joe Nathan $4 (230) 1B Ryan Howard $1
(115) SP Jeff Samardzija $2 (232) OF B.J. Upton $1
(165) 1B Mike Napoli $1 (234) 1B,3B Chris Johnson $1
(173) C Wilson Ramos $1 (236) 3B,SS José Iglesias $1
(181) SP CC Sabathia $1 (238) OF Alejandro De Aza $1

If Joey doesn't win the pitching categories in 15 of 22 regular-season weeks, this season is a failure.  He spent $99 on Kershaw/Darvish/Felix and $36 on Kimbrel/Chapman/Nathan (although obviously Chapman's injury makes that a losing investment from the getgo), which pretty much forced him into lower-quality options elsewhere.  He decided to do what he could to get some kind of quality, so he ended up spending $85 on three infielders, but that left a Kelly Johnson / Brian Dozier second-base position and a Wilson Ramos / AJ Pierzynski catcher position.  Oh, and how about a five-player outfield that's a $17 Alex Rios and four $1 picks?
Strengths: 1B, 3B, SP
Weaknesses: C, 2B, OF

tbd (Matt V)

(7) 1B Paul Goldschmidt $39 (133) OF Desmond Jennings $2
(23) SS Troy Tulowitzki $29 (134) C Salvador Pérez $1
(28) SP Stephen Strasburg $25 (139) SS Andrelton Simmons $2
(31) 3B Evan Longoria $24 (141) OF Brett Gardner $2
(34) 2B Jason Kipnis $25 (142) 2B Chase Utley $1
(49) OF Jay Bruce $21 (147) 3B Kyle Seager $2
(57) SP Anibal Sánchez $15 (150) C,1B Jonathan Lucroy $3
(71) OF Matt Holliday $15 (157) SP Jered Weaver $4
(84) SP Alex Cobb $7 (158) SP,RP Andrew Cashner $1
(90) OF Alex Gordon $8 (160) RP Grant Balfour $2
(92) RP Trevor Rosenthal $7 (168) RP Ernesto Frieri $2
(109) SP Shelby Miller $4 (169) SP Clay Buchholz $3
(114) OF Shane Victorino $4 (177) SP Justin Masterson $4
(121) 1B Brandon Belt $2 (189) 2B,SS Jed Lowrie $1
(124) SP Masahiro Tanaka $4 (196) OF Michael Brantley $1

Based on the last few teams, it seems like a lot of people tried to fill out either their outfield (Evan, Jon) or infield (Andrew, Joey, Matt) early on, with only Andrew and myself looking to have some degree of balance between the two.  Matt nabbed his four first-string infielders in his first five selections for a total of $117, but took 133 selections to get his five outfielders for a total of $50.  This is another low-cost catcher group in Perez and Lucroy, although they are both popular value options that could turn a nice profit.  He was able to sprinkle in some starting pitching throughout, getting basically one starter per tier, while he basically took Trevor Rosenthal early-ish and waited for relief pitching.
Strengths: 1B, 2B, 3B, SS
Weaknesses: OF, RP

Tiny Flying Drizzy (Nathan by way of Yahoo auto-draft)

(11) OF Jacoby Ellsbury $21 (77) SP Gerrit Cole $10
(12) OF Ryan Braun $31 (80) SP Mat Latos $8
(37) 2B Dustin Pedroia $20 (81) C Yadier Molina $10
(50) OF Starling Marte $13 (82) OF Curtis Granderson $8
(53) 3B Ryan Zimmerman $13 (96) OF Carlos Beltrán $7
(55) SP Zack Greinke $15 (135) SP,RP Tony Cingrani $1
(58) SP Hisashi Iwakuma $12 (143) 2B,3B Jedd Gyorko $1
(61) 1B,OF Allen Craig $15 (159) OF Leonys Martín $1
(64) SP Gio González $11 (167) SS Jimmy Rollins $1
(65) OF Billy Hamilton $12 (175) C Yan Gomes $1
(66) SP Kris Medlen $6 (197) 1B Víctor Martínez $1
(70) 2B,3B Matt Carpenter $12 (203) OF Ben Revere $1
(72) SP James Shields $8 (208) 1B Mark Teixeira $1
(73) RP Greg Holland $11 (212) SS Alexei Ramírez $1
(74) 3B Pablo Sandoval $7 (216) SS Jhonny Peralta $1

Nathan had a work engagement that ran long (sure...), so what started with "cutting it close" ended up with "F****** autopick" from everyone else.  As you might expect, a team drafted entirely by a computer doesn't really have too much of a discernable strategy.  It took a little longer for him to get going (just three selections in the first 40), but he really filled out his roster quickly after all of the studs were gone (17 selections in the next 60).  Nathan normally goes for top starting pitching early, but the computer just decided to take one closer (Holland) and all the second-and-third-tier pitchers (including an injured Kris Medlen, thanks to some leaguemates), taking seven starting pitchers in the span of 26 nominations.  There's a lot of speed in the outfield with Ellsbury, Marte, and Hamilton, so he should be able to dominate at least one offensive category, but he's basically punting saves so that's sort of a wash.  Oh, and Jimmy Rollins as his starting shortstop is a bit of a downer, coming from a Phillies fan.
Strengths: 2B, 3B, OF
Weaknesses: SS, RP

Blernsball (Matt S)

(2) OF Mike Trout $50 (198) SP Chris Archer $1
(8) 2B Robinson Canó $34 (204) OF Carl Crawford $1
(14) 1B Joey Votto $29 (209) SS Jonathan Villar $1
(15) OF Carlos González $34 (213) OF Dexter Fowler $1
(24) 3B David Wright $26 (217) RP John Axford $1
(30) SP Max Scherzer $25 (220) OF Adam Eaton $1
(48) SP Cole Hamels $14 (223) SP R.A. Dickey $1
(89) SP Jordan Zimmermann $7 (226) C Miguel Montero $1
(95) 2B,SS,OF Ben Zobrist $10 (229) C Jarrod Saltalamacchia $1
(105) RP Glen Perkins $5 (231) OF Kole Calhoun $1
(107) RP David Robertson $6 (233) 1B,OF Nick Swisher $1
(112) 2B,3B Brett Lawrie $2 (235) OF Christian Yelich $1
(128) 1B José Abreu $1 (237) SP,RP Alex Wood $1
(184) RP Fernando Rodney $1 (239) SP Brandon Beachy $1
(191) OF Michael Bourn $1 (240) SP Ian Kennedy $1

This Matt looked for quality across the board in the first 100 nominations, tying for the fewest selections out of that group with nine.  He grabbed two stud outfielders, a full starting infield, three starting pitchers, and two relief pitchers in his first 11 selections, which was a deviation from what most other teams did.  After that, though, he was pretty much out of money, also tying for the most $1 players with 18.  This is probably the weakest catcher group of the bunch, but other than that there really isn't much in the way of holes, although I'm personally not that impressed by the starting pitching selections, and the Hamels and Beachy injuries don't help.
Strengths: 1B, 2B, 3B, OF
Weaknesses: C, SP

So I would normally try to do some kind of projection to determine how I think everyone will do, but with baseball's category system it's just so tedious.  So I'm just gonna wing it.

8) Tiny Flying Drizzy -- Not a lot of top players + generally inactive owner = :(
7) At the Wright Price -- Depth in the infield won't overcome weak C / SP, not much depth in OF
6) Bond's Giant Head -- Marlon Byrd is your second outfielder?
5) Blernsball -- Underwhelming starting pitching, not much depth
4) Stanton Girls -- Good pitching, but good outfield doesn't make up for weak infield
3) tbd -- Like the pitching / infield, waiting on outfield didn't hurt too much
2) Remember '08? Sigh. -- Not great position player depth, but like balance and pitching
1) Cain't Win -- Great OF / C, deep pitching, weak but workable infield

Don't worry, I didn't pick myself to win... but that means I have a better chance to win now.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dameshek Fantasy Baseball Draft Review

OK, I know this only applies to a select few interested individuals, but I think I do owe those involved at least a quick-and-dirty draft review.  That just comes with the territory when I'm the commissioner.  Baseball drafts are too long to do a round-by-round analysis, so this'll just be a team-by-team review looking at each roster's strengths and weaknesses.

This 8-team league will have weekly head-to-head matchups with the standard 5x5 categories (R, HR, RBI, AVG, SB for hitters; W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP for pitchers).  The rosters were trimmed down a bit relative to the average league to keep it simple, so it's pretty much just the bare bones required to fill an MLB roster.  I'll go through these in the same order that the draft went, to maintain some consistency.