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.

Kosher Pigs (Brandon / Marsden)
C Carlos Santana, Cle C, 1B, DH
1B Joey Votto, Cin 1B
2B Jedd Gyorko, SD 2B
3B Pedro Alvarez, Pit 3B
SS Starlin Castro, ChC SS 
OF Mike Trout, LAA OF
OF Bryce Harper, Wsh OF
OF Giancarlo Stanton, Mia OF
UTIL Freddie Freeman, Atl 1B
P Madison Bumgarner, SF SP
P Jose Fernandez, Mia SP
P Gerrit Cole, Pit SP
P Julio Teheran, Atl SP
P Michael Wacha, StL SP
P Koji Uehara, Bos RP
P Jim Johnson, Oak RP
Bench Jose Abreu, CWS 1B
Bench Brett Lawrie, Tor 3B
Bench Billy Hamilton, Cin OF
Bench Jurickson Profar, Tex 2B, DH

Going with Trout #1 was a no-brainer, but filling out the outfield with Harper and Stanton makes for a great young group with a lot of balance.  Looks like they're trading off batting average and speed for power on the infield with Santana, Gyorko, and Alvarez, but that shouldn't hurt too much.  The youth movement continues with the starting pitching, as none of the SP's they drafted are over 24, so there's a little bit of risk but a lot of possible room for improvement.  Adding some interesting sleeper position players on the bench makes for an upside-rich roster, which might not hit its stride until midseason, especially if Hamilton can get on base enough to steal the 70 bases people think he can.
Strengths: HR, ERA, WHIP
Weaknesses: AVG
Favorite Picks: Bumgarner, Hamilton

Team Morggie (Andrew / Margie)
C Yadier Molina, StL C
1B Prince Fielder, Tex 1B
2B Matt Carpenter, StL 2B, 3B
3B Miguel Cabrera, Det 3B
SS Jose Reyes, Tor SS
OF Carlos Gomez, Mil OF
OF Jason Heyward, Atl OF
OF Desmond Jennings, TB OF
UTIL Carlos Beltran, NYY OF
P Max Scherzer, Det SP
P Aroldis Chapman, Cin RP
P Anibal Sanchez, Det SP
P Mike Minor, Atl SP 
P Kris Medlen, Atl SP 
P David Robertson, NYY RP
P Rafael Soriano, Wsh RP
Bench Aaron Hill, Ari 2B
Bench Chase Headley, SD 3B 
Bench Daniel Murphy, NYM 2B 
Bench Everth Cabrera, SD SS

Starting off with Cabrera put them ahead in all offensive categories except steals, and it was clear that this was a focal point for the rest of the draft.  The picks of Reyes, Gomez, Jennings, and E. Cabrera almost overcompensate for what M. Cabrera lacks.  The offense looks pretty balanced, although there are some age/injury concerns with Reyes, Molina, and Beltran.  The starting pitching will really depend on the performance of the Braves and Tigers, which are two perfectly fine teams to count on, but it could make Wins a bit streaky.
Strengths: R, SB, SV
Weaknesses: HR, RBI
Favorite Picks: Gomez, Carpenter/Hill

MY KNEE HURTS (Melanie / Jaimie)
C Buster Posey, SF C, 1B
1B Adrian Gonzalez, LAD 1B
2B Brandon Phillips, Cin 2B
3B Ryan Zimmerman, Wsh 3B
SS Ian Desmond, Wsh SS
OF Andrew McCutchen, Pit OF
OF Matt Kemp, LAD OF 
OF Michael Cuddyer, Col OF 
UTIL Martin Prado, Ari 3B, 2B, OF
P Cliff Lee, Phi SP
P Craig Kimbrel, Atl RP
P Homer Bailey, Cin SP
P Matt Cain, SF SP
P Jered Weaver, LAA SP
P Andrew Cashner, SD SP
P Bobby Parnell, NYM RP 
Bench Josh Hamilton, LAA OF, DH 
Bench Mike Napoli, Bos 1B
Bench Pablo Sandoval, SF 3B
Bench Wilson Ramos, Wsh C

This roster is bit on the older side, with Lee, Weaver, Cain, Gonzalez, Phillips, Zimmerman, Cuddyer, and Prado all likely past their primes.  That said, there's some interesting upside with potential bouncebacks from Kemp and Hamilton in the outfield and the aforementioned Cain and Weaver in the rotation.  Starting with Lee and Kimbrel should keep them competitive in the pitching categories, and there's a lot of balance on offense both in terms of stat category and position representation (especially when you consider the bench).
Strengths: AVG
Weaknesses: R
Favorite Picks: Cain, Gonzalez, Prado

Baby Yu Can Drive My CarGo (Me)
C Brian McCann, NYY C
1B Eric Hosmer, KC 1B
2B Dustin Pedroia, Bos 2B
3B Josh Donaldson, Oak 3B
SS Hanley Ramirez, LAD SS
OF Carlos Gonzalez, Col OF
OF Jay Bruce, Cin OF
OF Yoenis Cespedes, Oak OF, DH
UTIL Hunter Pence, SF OF 
P Yu Darvish, Tex SP
P David Price, TB SP
P Gio Gonzalez, Wsh SP
P Doug Fister, Wsh SP 
P Trevor Rosenthal, StL RP
P Glen Perkins, Min RP 
P Jason Grilli, Pit RP
Bench Matt Holliday, StL OF
Bench Matt Adams, StL 1B
Bench Grant Balfour, TB RP
Bench Danny Salazar, Cle SP

While I had a little bit of a draft snafu when I chose to take Pedroia instead of leaving him there and having him be available in the next round, I'm very pleased with the quality and balance at the top of my roster.  Pedroia, CarGo, and Hanley all give across-the-board production, and Darvish and Price are excellent headliners for my starting pitching.  I was the only team to roster four relievers, so I'm a bit down on Wins and Strikeouts from the outset, but I plan on making a lot of midseason moves to make up for it.  I also traded some speed for power at the back end of my roster, so I might have to make some moves if I find that I'm losing runs and steals a lot.
Strengths: ERA, WHIP
Weaknesses: W, K
Favorite Picks: McCann, Ramirez

Newtown Square Powell's Power (Laurie)
C Jonathan Lucroy, Mil C
1B Chris Davis, Bal 1B
2B Jason Kipnis, Cle 2B
3B Adrian Beltre, Tex 3B
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Col SS
OF Shin-Soo Choo, Tex OF
OF Mark Trumbo, Ari 1B, OF
OF Shane Victorino, Bos OF 
UTIL Jean Segura, Mil SS
P Adam Wainwright, StL SP
P Kenley Jansen, LAD RP
P Justin Verlander, Det SP 
P Greg Holland, KC RP
P Jeff Samardzija, ChC SP
P Cole Hamels, Phi SP 
P Casey Janssen, Tor RP 
Bench Alex Gordon, KC OF
Bench Billy Butler, KC DH
Bench Domonic Brown, Phi OF
Bench Will Venable, SD OF

This team's performance will almost exclusively be in the hands of a handful of players -- Davis, Kipnis, and Segura look to follow up career years, Verlander needs to bounce back after a down year, and Hamels needs to get and stay healthy.  How Laurie handles the time until Hamels returns will prove important, as she will have a little more roster flexibility but not as much talent on the active roster.  The offense is very balanced by virtue of collecting specialists in different areas (Davis/Beltre/Trumbo for power, Kipnis/Segura/Victorino for speed), and having Jansen and Holland should really help keep her strikeouts competitive even if the starting pitchers don't dominate.
Strengths: ERA, WHIP
Weaknesses: None
Favorite Picks: Kipnis, Tulowitzki

You Say Tanaka I Say Tanaka (Mitchell / Max)
C Matt Wieters, Bal C
1B Albert Pujols, LAA 1B, DH
2B Chase Utley, Phi 2B
3B Kyle Seager, Sea 3B
SS Andrelton Simmons, Atl SS
OF Adam Jones, Bal OF
OF Yasiel Puig, LAD OF
OF Jose Bautista, Tor OF
UTIL Manny Machado, Bal 3B 
P Clayton Kershaw, LAD SP
P Stephen Strasburg, Wsh SP
P Masahiro Tanaka, NYY SP
P Jordan Zimmermann, Wsh SP
P Alex Cobb, TB SP
P Joe Nathan, Det RP
P Jonathan Papelbon, Phi RP
Bench Xander Bogaerts, Bos 3B
Bench C.J. Wilson, LAA SP
Bench Tony Cingrani, Cin SP
Bench Anthony Rendon, Wsh 2B

This team was drafted with local heroes and personal favorites in mind, so there's a little extra Phillies / Orioles / Dodgers representation, but nothing really out of whack happened as a result of that favoritism.  The starting pitching is dominant, to be sure, but there's a bit of risk offensively with Utley’s age and last year’s injuries to Pujols, Machado, and Bautista.  That said, this roster should have some good power numbers even if the batting average doesn't end up great, and the pitching will carry the team all the way home.
Strengths: W, K, ERA, WHIP
Weaknesses: SB
Favorite Picks: Strasburg, Cobb

Team Batsalot (Brian / Jake)
C Joe Mauer, Min C, DH
1B Paul Goldschmidt, Ari 1B
2B Ian Kinsler, Det 2B
3B Evan Longoria, TB 3B
SS Ben Zobrist, TB 2B, SS, OF 
OF Ryan Braun, Mil OF
OF Justin Upton, Atl OF
OF Wil Myers, TB OF
UTIL Edwin Encarnacion, Tor 1B, DH
P Chris Sale, CWS SP
P James Shields, KC SP
P Shelby Miller, StL SP
P Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD SP
P Matt Moore, TB SP
P R.A. Dickey, Tor SP
P CC Sabathia, NYY SP
Bench J.J. Hardy, Bal SS
Bench Anthony Rizzo, ChC 1B
Bench Alfonso Soriano, NYY OF
Bench Hiroki Kuroda, NYY SP

This roster is chock full of power, with six possible 30-HR players in the starting lineup, including the best UTIL slot in the league in Encarnacion.  There also appears to be an East-Coast bias by the New Yorkers, as half the team comes from the AL East.  The most interesting part of this team, though, is obviously the fact that they chose to forfeit the Saves category by drafting 8 starting pitchers (including 6 in consecutive rounds in the second half of the draft) and no relievers.  They'll obviously dominate Wins and Strikeouts, but will lose ERA and WHIP almost as often, as it shouldn't surprise anyone that the back end of the rotation isn't so great.
Strengths: HR, RBI, W, K
Weaknesses: SV, ERA, WHIP
Favorite Picks: Encarnacion, Mauer, Hardy

Team Brumbaugh (Ben / Amy)
C Wilin Rosario, Col C 
1B Allen Craig, StL 1B, OF
2B Robinson Cano, Sea 2B
3B David Wright, NYM 3B
SS Elvis Andrus, Tex SS
OF Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY OF
OF Alex Rios, Tex OF 
OF Starling Marte, Pit OF
UTIL David Ortiz, Bos DH
P Felix Hernandez, Sea SP
P Zack Greinke, LAD SP 
P Mat Latos, Cin SP 
P Hisashi Iwakuma, Sea SP 
P Sergio Romo, SF RP
P Jon Lester, Bos SP
P Addison Reed, Ari RP
Bench Aramis Ramirez, Mil 3B 
Bench Jose Altuve, Hou 2B
Bench Jayson Werth, Wsh OF 
Bench Brandon Moss, Oak 1B, OF

This was the final resting place of one Jayson Werth, who for no particular (unbiased) reason dropped 11 rounds from his projected position.  This doesn't really matter that much in the scheme of things, but it does add some outfield depth.  The offense is balanced with power (Rosario, Cano, Ortiz) and speed (Andrus, Ellsbury, Marte), which should keep the performance floor pretty high.  They will also have to deal with an injured starter at the outset of the season in Iwakuma, but there's a bit better surrounding collection of starters on this team to hold serve than with Laurie's squad.
Strengths: AVG, SB
Weaknesses: HR
Favorite Picks: Craig, Rosario, Werth

After a bit of hemming and hawing, here's how I see the season rankings shaking out:
1) You Say Tanaka I Say Tanaka -- Clever name, dominant pitching
2) Newtown Square Powell's Power  -- Lots of different specialists creating balance
3) Kosher Pigs -- Youth serves, creates plenty of upside
4) The Vigdergons -- Balanced offense, and quality over quantity for SP
5) Team Batsalot -- More like team Startsalot -- time will tell on punting saves
6) Team Brumbaugh -- Top-heavy pitching and some specialists on offense
7) MY KNEE HURTS -- Close one; erring on the side of Lee/Kimbrel
8) Team Morggie  -- Not really a bad team at all, just worried about the starting pitching

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