My 12-Team NFBC RotoWire Online Championship Team

I drafted out of the 11-hole for the "Beat Chris Liss" league. I had done a fair amount of research on optimal roster construction from that slot, and I decided I'd go hitter in the first round, three pitchers in 2-4 and then hitting for the next 10 rounds or so before filling in with upside pitchers late. Of course, few battle plans survive the actual war. Here are the results:

1.11 Hanley Ramirez

I wanted Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Braun or Bryce Harper. All three were gone. So I settled on Hanley, though I could have easily taken Adrian Beltre or Prince Fielder.

2.2 Yu Darvish

I might like Stephen Strasburg a little better, but there was a chance I got him in Round 3.

3.11 Evan Longoria My browser got stuck and picked Longoria when I meant to pick Chris Sale. But Longoria is great value here, and someone snagged Justin Verlander (the pitcher I really wanted earlier). I would have had to go Sale/Felix to execute my strategy, and I'm worried about Felix this year. (Even Bumgarner was already gone). So I didn't make a fuss and kept Longoria. But now my strategy was out the window.

4.2 Chris Sale

Even though my strategy was shot, I still wanted to get at least two star pitchers, and Sale was as low as I'd go there.

5.11 Wil Myers I thought long and hard about Billy Hamilton, but figured I'd rather have Myers and would possibly get Hamilton on the way back. He went with the next pick.

6.2 David Ortiz Clogging up the UT spot early is a drag (and cost me Aramis Ramirez much later as I already had two 3B at the time), but most projections systems have Ortiz as a top 35 player, and I couldn't pass up the value.

7.11 Gerrit Cole Here's the No. 3 starter I meant to get in Round 3. Far more risk than those guys but just as much upside.

8.2 Joe Nathan All the closers typically ranked ahead of him were gone, and he's arguably my No. 2 after Kimbrel.

9.11 Carlos Beltran I missed my target, Anthony Rizzo, by one pick, but I like Beltran a lot in that park.

10.2 Manny Machado If there's one pick I regret, it might be this one. I love Machado, but he's banged up, and it tied up my third base slots (with Longoria and Ortiz), and Nolan Arenado, Chase Headley and Pablo Sandoval went in Round 15, while Aramis Ramirez slipped to 16. If Ramirez had slipped back to me, I might have taken him for my bench.

11.11 Shane Victorino Looking at consensus projections run through my formula, he was an outlier here - should have gone 50 spots earlier. Of course, he has to stay healthy.

12.2 Steve Cishek I didn't like doing it, but I could see the mid-tier closer run coming, and I picked one I felt so-so about. Was hoping to get Papelbon next who I think is being overly discounted, but he went soon after.

13.11 Austin Jackson Like Victorino, another pure value pick. Also picking up some steals without going the zero-HR route.

14.2 Matt Adams I needed a first baseman, and the options had dwindled. Wasn't opposed to going Morneau later, but Adams has a chance to hit 30 HR if he keeps the playing time.

15.11 Chase Utley He's healthy again and still a decent power/speed/run production MI.

16.2 Carl Crawford Another player who can steal without getting single-digit home runs. Assuming he's ever the same guy again.

17.11 Jurickson Profar Needed a final MI, so why not.

18.2 Matt Garza - I think he has a pretty good floor for an 18th round SP, especially for Ks.

19.11 Tommy Hunter - Think he's the frontrunner to close in BAL. Jim Johnson had 100-plus saves there the last two years.

20.2 Rick Porcello Huge ground baller with elite pedigree, boosted K rate and got improved defense at every infield position.

21.11 Dexter Fowler I hate Fowler outside of Coors, and I regret this pick. Needed some steals, and he was a projections outlier.

22.2 Joakim Soria He was the elite closer for years, not Neftali Feliz. Either could win the job, but my money's on Soria.

23.11 John Lackey Was as good as any Red Sox starter last year.

24.2 Melky Cabrera Big projections outlier in a good park. Who knows if he's any good without the roids though?

25.11 Kolten Wong Wanted one reserve MI with speed upside.

26.2 Alex Avila Punted catcher because in 12-team league, the position is actually pretty deep.

27.11 Dioner Navarro Actually like him better than Avila but figured he'd last longer. One-time prospect hit well in Chicago last year. Gets great park and starting job.

28.2 Wily Peralta Throws hard, pitched better down the stretch. Light bulb could go on or not.

29.11 Latroy Hawkins Correct me if I'm wrong, but he's the Rockies' closer, right?

30.2 Justin Ruggiano He's the Cubs' fourth OF for now, but Ryan Sweeney and Junior Lake are starters. Ruggiano is an easy 20/20 guy with regular at-bats, and he did his damage last year in Miami.

A few thoughts:

1. Catcher is crazy deep in a 12-team mixed league even with two catchers. I hoped for Devin Mesoraco or A.J. Pierzynski late, but was fine with Avila and Navarro even later.

2. Pitching flies off earlier in these drafts, and you want to get in on it because the reliability is with the top guys, the volatility as you go into the middle and late rounds. Better to spend on the sure thing and gamble when it's cheapest.

3. Third base in this draft was full of crazy values. I hate seeing Longoria go in Round 2, but I got him late third. I hate Ryan Zimmerman in Round 3 or 4, but he went with the last pick of Round 8! Arenado, Headley and Sandoval went in Round 15, Aramis Ramirez in Round 16.

4. While I like to gamble on prospects, I got burned doing that in this format last year as I squandered valuable bench spots. Accordingly I was not eager to get Oscar Taveras, Gregory Polanco or George Springer. I'd rather gamble on guys likely to play right away like Profar and possibly Wong.

5. I was able to get old guys like Ortiz, Beltran, Victorino and Utley later than their projections would slot them. Same thing for Aramis Ramirez who was a crazy value.

My team by position:

C Alex Avila
C Dioner Navarro
1B Matt Adams
2B Chase Utley
3B Evan Longoria
SS Hanley Ramirez
CI Manny Machado
MI Jurickson Profar
OF Wil Myers
OF Carlos Beltran
OF Shane Victorino
OF Austin Jackson
OF Carl Crawford
U David Ortiz
SP Yu Darvish
SP Chris Sale
SP Gerrit Cole
SP Matt Garza
SP Rick Porcello
SP John Lackey
RP Joe Nathan
RP Steve Cishek
RP Tommy Hunter
R Joakim Soria
R Latroy Hawkins
R Wily Peralta
R Kolten Wong
R Melky Cabrera
R Justin Ruggiano
R Dexter Fowler


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