Sunday, March 24, 2013

In News You Could Not Possibly Care About, This Year's Starting Fantasy Baseball Team

This More Or Less Happened
It's a little bit of a tell, the image choice, no? There is also the time in which I'm posting this. That's also probably a little bit of an indicator...

Well, here's the team. Asterisks are protects, $250 budget, single round auction.

C    AJ Pierzynski    TEX    3
C    Ryan Doumit    MIN    1
1B    Joey Votto    CIN    31 *
2B    Ben Zobrist    TAM    23 *
3B    Manny Machado    BAL    4 *
SS    Derek Jeter    NYA    9
CI    Lance Berkman    TEX    2
MI    Andrelton Simmons    ATL    5
OF    Justin Upton    ATL    23 *
OF    Alex Gordon    KC    19 *
OF    Matt Holliday    STL    35
U    Emilio Bonifacio    TOR    4
SP    David Price    TAM    19 *
SP    Adam Wainwright    STL    11 *
SP    CC Sabathia    NYA    31
SP    Brandon McCarthy    ARI    11
RP    Jim Johnson    BAL    5 *
RP    Aroldis Chapman    CIN    5 *
P    Jose Veras    HOU    2
P    Kyle Lohse    FA    1
P    Josh Beckett    LAN    1
BN    Xander Bogaretes    BOS    1
BN    Miguel Sano    MIN    1
BN    Micheal Pineda    NYA    1
BN    Josh Collmenter    ARI    1
    Total        249

Categories are Rs, RBIs, SBs, HRs and OBA for offense, and K/BB, ERA, WHIP, Quality Starts and Saves for pitchers. So the steam of picking SPs on weak teams is a little left out, and the juice for non-closing relievers is also down.

Here's the problem with the club: a blown opportunity late in the draft. With $5 left to spend on 4 players, I had the ability to name the guy I really wanted -- Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado, a young player who could hit enough to keep the job in a great park for hitters -- for $2 and end the bidding. Instead, I took Bogaretes, a 20-year-old shortstop for Boston who could be a fast track star for the Sox, especially if Stephen Drew can't get past his concussion issues... and a guy that would have been there later. With the next pick, the owner with the best track record in the league named Arenado for $2, locking down the bidding and leaving my most vulnerable regular -- Orioles 3B Manny Machado, who could be special but could also be too young --  without a backup.

Much like a single mistake in a poker tournament can make you feel like the whole effort has been a whiff, that's kind of how I feel about this draft now. Looking at things later, this is, of course, silly: many of these picks are solid, and I might finally have a pitching staff that can compete on K/BB. But I probably don't have enough speed unless Bonifacio can stay healthy and in the lineup, the power also might be a little lacking unless Upton and Berkman have significant bounceback years, and the cheap catchers are both coming off career years that won't be duplicated. It would also be very nice if Lohse signed with a team in a good pitcher's park, rather than the Texas and Colorado rumors that have been going around. There's a reason he went for a buck.

Oh, and one last thing... who the hell decided that it would be a good idea for the league to get so much smarter this year? The old tricks that I'd run to pull some money out of the league, when I had guys that would draw more interest than I could afford, were a whiff. Crap closers went for no to low money; protecting two very solid ones for $10 was of marginal advantage. There was maybe one reach for the entire draft (Hanley Ramirez for $35, to an owner that missed the injury news; even if he wasn't hurt, I think that's an overbid). No one left a significant amount of money on the table; most teams spent the full cap, and no one left more than $12 behind. Future prospects were well scouted and scrubbed, keeping the positive value of draft and stash guys down. Price protections happened all over the place, with the naming teams paying a tough price even on guys from distant, little-followed teams. It was an absolute grind, and I pretty much had to keep giving myself little pep talks all day to avoid panicking about the state of my team. Just a solid, solid performance by the league as a whole.

It's rare that you win a league on draft day, but a little more common that you lose one. I'm certain the former didn't happen, but the latter... might have. And if Arenado becomes a major star that I wind up eating bile for the next 10 years as he's kept for low money... it won't just be this year.

Anyway, sleeper/overvalued picks coming soon. Shockingly, you might see Arenado on that list...

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