Home League Draft

I just finished a 15-team mixed draft for my home league. It has a couple quirks, one being that it's 5 x 4 (no WHIP) and the other being that there's no U slot, so it's 13 hitters and nine pitchers. The lack of utility slot is actually a big deal at the draft because if you take two first basemen, for example, then you're locked out of the position no matter how good of a bargain you see in the later rounds. As such, a big consideration is to draft only a 1B, one 3B and leave your corner slot open. (The same is true when you get to five OF). I picked 13th and drafted the following roster:

1.13 Hanley Ramirez (Stephania Bell assures me he's healthy)

2.3 Ian Kinsler (took him over Dustin Pedroia and Mike Stanton)

3.13 David Wright (he's got a good chance to make it back by Opening Day)

4.3 Felix Hernandez (wanted Lincecum, but he went right before me).

5.13 B.J. Upton (best player on the board, needed to fill OF slots and retain IF flexibility)

6.3 Jason Heyward (possible error as I was considering Matt Wieters, and Heyward might have been there on the way back. None of the elite catchers were).

7.13 Matt Moore

8.3 Cameron Maybin

9.13 Jordan Zimmermann

10.3 Jayson Werth

11.13 Derek Holland (I was determined to punt saves at the draft and go nine starters, and trade for them midseason with a big lead in wins and Ks)

12.3 Jeremy Hellickson

13.13 Geovany Soto (I was determined to have two productive catchers)

14.3 Wilson Ramos

15.13 Carlos Pena (wanted Adam Dunn, but he went one pick before)

16.3 Shaun Marcum (He's a little behind scheduled, but too good to pass up here)

17.13 Mitch Moreland (last decent CI option)

18.3 Lorenzo Cain (filled up OF, but felt it was worth it for value)

19.13 Mike Leake

20.3 Brian Matusz (buying into the spring results)

21.13 Tyler Greene

22.3 Rick Porcello (no WHIP helps)

R Bryan LaHair
R Sean Rodriguez
R Travis Snider
R Brian Fuentes
R Hisashi Iwakuma
R Greg Holland

By Position:
C Geovany Soto
C Wilson Ramos
1B Carlos Pena
2B Ian Kinsler
3B David Wright
SS Hanley Ramirez
CI Mitch Moreland
MI Tyler Greene
OF B.J. Upton
OF Jason Heyward
OF Cameron Maybin
OF Jayson Werth
OF Lorenzo Cain
P Felix Hernandez
P Matt Moore
P Jordan Zimmermann
P Derek Holland
P Jeremy Hellickson
P Shaun Marcum
P Mike Leake
P Brian Matusz
P Rick Porcello
R Bryan LaHair
R Sean Rodriguez
R Travis Snider
R Brian Fuentes
R Hisashi Iwakuma
R Greg Holland


By: msarvi
On: 3/17/2012 4:37:00 AM
Great upside potential in your OF & SP. Obviously you have punted saves or will have to get lucky in managing the team. If Wright, HanRam and Kinsler are healthy all year this team can compete. If not you are toast. I don't know if I like drafting your top three with guys that have poor health histories like these guys. That OF could be sick.
By: Kevin Payne
On: 3/17/2012 4:40:00 AM
"Stephania Bell assures me he's healthy" - should have been written about your first three picks. Cain at 18.3 is a thievery.
By: gooklaw
On: 3/17/2012 9:24:00 AM
What was Hellickson doing still there in Round 12??
By: Chris Liss
On: 3/17/2012 10:09:00 AM
Thing is I didn't punt saves. I punted saves *at the draft.* Big difference because what's going to happen if my pitchers stay healthy is I'll have 9 SP while everyone else is 6/3 or 7/2. And so by June, I should have a massive lead in Ks and wins. And that's when I'll start dealing SP for CL. And by August, I might have 4 CL in my rotation. The key is to get maximum value in each slot for the cost, and it doesn't matter when you get it. Would love it if one of my reserves gets the job, though as I can use two-start starters and throw in the CL when a one-start guy has a tough matchup to get a few saves early to make it easier to catch up when I make my move.
By: Chris Liss
On: 3/17/2012 10:10:00 AM
And yes if my first three picks are all hurt, I am most likely toast.
By: eynsteinp
On: 3/17/2012 10:59:00 AM
I think you took too much risk with your top three picks. Also, while I understand your saves theory, there is a risk that you won't be able to pick up the closer you think you will. In a four category pitching league taking the risk of not competing in one category seems to make your draft even more risky and causes more things needing to go right for your draft to work out the way you hope. You have definite upside with your team but a lot of risk also.
By: Chris Liss
On: 3/17/2012 11:08:00 AM
eynsteinp - yes and no. The lack of WHIP cuts both ways as relievers typically help you in WHIP or at least don't hurt you there as much as your last couple starters. So in a way, with one less negative category, it's less risky to go after Ks and Wins with all starters. And again, I'm not looking to pick up a closer, I'm looking to trade top pitchers for closers midseason, something which is usually pretty easy to do. The two easiest categories to acquire in season are saves and steals, but saves especially because you can deal them without losing anyway else. If you need HR, it affects the trading team's RBI and runs, so that owner has to be willing to take a hit in 3 categories to deal a slugger. And chances are he'll have a lot to lose in one of them. Whereas there's always someone who has only a couple points to lose in saves, and a lot to gain in either wins or Ks.
By: eynsteinp
On: 3/17/2012 12:02:00 PM
I see your point and you may make it work, especially if you are trading your top starters for closers. However, it seems like an added risk that it may not come together the way you want. You make a good point that lower tier starters will hurt you less in this league since whip isn't a category. I also don't like to draft so much high risk/high reward guys in the first three rounds as you did. I have been burned way too many times over the 25 years I have been playing fantasy baseball. Do you usually take big risks early in the draft or is this an unusual draft for you? Do you take the high risk of injury and inconsistency in the players recent years statistics into account when drafting? Just interested in understanding your philosophy in drafting. Thanks.
By: Chris Liss
On: 3/17/2012 2:50:00 PM
I don't typically take high-risk players early unless they're (1) healthy now and/or (2) discounted compared to where they'd slot if they were considered durable. Ramirez is healthy now and at No. 13 is a big discounted to his healthy slot (Top-5 overall the last couple years). Kinsler is healthy now, coming off a 155-game season and also discounted due to his perceived risk. He's a 30-30 2B that hits atop the Rangers' lineup. He also was a low average guy last year, but check out his contact and walk rates - I think he's more of a .280 hitter. Finally Wright at 3.13 is a major discount due to perceived health risk. He's already doing baseball stuff again and likely due back Opening Day or shortly thereafter. He's also been a first-round pick recently.
By: matthewthill7
On: 3/17/2012 3:24:00 PM
Fangraphs' Fans projections for the top-16 Shortstops in 2012 is 136 games played, so it's not just Hanley who is an injury risk - it's all Shortstops. Maybe a person doesn't want to take a player in the first or second round who might only play 130-140 games, but it's not like they'll be getting a 155 game guy later on; that later player will not only be equally as brittle, he'll be orders of magnitude worse. Similarly, look at the top Third Basemen - Longoria, Zimmerman, Beltre, Sandoval, Rodriguez, Lawrie, Youkilis, Wright, Prado - again, all of these guys have missed significant chunks of time in recent seasons. With all of them it boils down to which you feel will have the best production when healthy.

That being said, I like wrapping up the tough infield spots with the first three picks. The dirty little secret (or maybe it's well known) is that it is much, much harder to become an offensive stalwart at 2B, SS or 3B than 1B or OF. As a result, it's less likely that you'll find suitable replacements for that first group in FA, meaning that if you don't draft them, the only way to acquire them is via costly trade.
By: msarvi
On: 3/18/2012 8:10:00 AM
Sorry to use the word "lucky" when describing managing the team. I should know better.

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