Sunday, March 23, 2014

In this year's fantasy baseball draft that you could not care less about...

Embrace The Nerdery
Here's the 2014 opening day roster after a day of full-on geekery. Asterisks denote keepers; the nice part about this draft is that I didn't get caught in any price protection moments. Apologies for the formatting weirdness.

    Player    TM    2014 $    2015 $
C *   Salvador Perez    KC    15    19
C    Yan Gomes    CLE    2    5
1B *   Joey Votto    CIN    36    41
2B    Ben Zobrist    TB    18    22
3B  *  Manny Machado    BAL    7    10
SS   * Xander Bogaerts    BOS    4    7
CI    Adam Dunn    CHA    1    4
MI    Jose Reyes    TOR    29    34
OF   * Justin Upton    ATL    28    33
OF   * Alex Gordon    KC    23    28
OF    Matt Kemp    LAN    12    16
U    Drew Stubbs    COL    1    4
SP   * David Price    TAM    23    28
SP   * Kyle Lohse    MIL    4    7
SP    Jon Lester    BOS    7    10
SP    Sonny Gray    OAK    10    14
RP   * Jim Johnson    OAK    8    11
RP   * Aroldis Chapman    CIN    8    11
P    Scott Kazmir    OAK    1    4
P    Brandon McCarthy    ARI    2    5
P    Neftali Feliz    TEX    1    4
BN    David Freese    LAA    1    4
BN    Javier Baez    CHN    4    7
BN    Rajai Davis    DET    1    4
BN    Carlos Correia    HOU    1    4
    Total        247    336

The thing about a keeper league is that you aren't just looking for value in this draft, but in future... and that's especially important when, like me, you don't do well in trades. My team was also crippled in spring training by season-ending injuries to Kris Medlen and Miguel Sano, the slow Manny Machado recovery, and then the Aroldis Chapman accident. Coming on top of a sixth place finish, it hasn't been fun.

So the plan was to roll the dice with high-risk high-reward types (Reyes, Kemp), back fill in trouble spots with non-sexy bounce back picks (Dunn, Freese, Stubbs, now leading off in Colorado, and McCarthy, never healthy last year in Arizona), sneak in a few low visibility value picks (Kazmir was quietly dominant in the second half of last year, Davis now has the FT job in Detroit due to injury and could rip off a lot of steals and runs in a great offense)... and then make sure to lay in for some potential future keepers in Baez and Correia, both of whom are in the top 10 prospect list. Hell, from the way he played in spring training, it wouldn't shock me if Baez is up early to play second, and Correia could advance quickly if Jonathan Villar doesn't hit in Houston. Other than a bit of a whiff on Feliz (I had him years ago when things were good, and while I still like him, I probably should have gone in another direction), I like my draft.

And now, well, I need to get really, really lucky, which seems very unlikely given how the year has started... because other teams have better young talent, better skill in trading, more mathematical acumen or free time or better instincts and so on, and so on. I'm starting to wonder if fantasy sports kind of match trad sports, in that you've got your peak time and your decay. I run three leagues and haven't cashed in any of them since 2011, and my last win in an auction league was in basketball in 2010.

It's not a great feeling. But then, what part of getting older is?

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