Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Preliminary Keeper 2010 Draft Recap Column

I'm still waiting for answers from some of the teams but I thought that I'd post up what I had so far.  Pictures and hiLARIOUS insight to follow.

2010 Fantasy Baseball Keeper Draft Recap:

Standard 5x5 scoring, 6 keepers, with the new managers picking first and third.

Draft Order:
FZeros (my team)
Canadian Animals
The Guinypigs
Bad News Bodie
Polish Sausage
Emerson Tigers
Flushing Johns
Tuscaloosa Dumplings
The Schwartz

Savage (Last years finish: 12, kept Justin Morneau, Victor Martinez, Brian Roberts, Aramis Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Chris Carpenter)

FZeroes (Last years finish: 11, kept Chase Utley, Jose Reyes, Ryan Zimmerman, Jon Lester, Ben Zobrist, Yovani Gallardo)
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
My draft strategy this year really stemmed from my offseason trade with Tuscaloosa Dumplings and from my draft position near the top, a result of a massive second-half collapse last season.  I knew that, though I needed a first baseman who could at least approach Ryan Howard’s power numbers, there were enough being kept by other teams that the talent pool at that position was actually quite deep.  I knew that at least one of Kendry Morales, Billy Butler, Mark Reynolds, Derek Lee, Chris Davis or Adam Dunn would make it back to me for my second round pick, and so I could take advantage of picking second overall to work on another position.  Keeping Ben Zobrist over Nick Markakis also meant that I didn’t need to reach for a replacement shortstop to cover for Jose Reyes dealing with thyroid issues early on in the season.  By the draft time I’d narrowed my pick down to either Matt Wieters (clearly the best catcher available, and an excellent keeper prospect) or Josh Johnson (who would enhance my already formidable pitching staff and compensate for a high whip from Gallardo if he didn’t take the next step forward.  I decided that I would go for Wieters, then either a starter or first baseman in the second round, followed by the opposite in the third round after the quick turn.  I also had some “pet players” like Carlos Gonzalez and Jorge De la Rosa that I wanted to make sure I got, in about rounds 10-11.  I really wanted to target strikeout pitchers, and no more than 5 starters as I’ve had problems controlling my innings in years past.

Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
Yes, I took Wieters, then had Derek Lee, Adam Dunn and Chris Davis available at pick #22.  I’d really wanted Billy Butler but The Schwartz snagged him fairly early in the second round and I went with the first baseman with the next highest batting average and RBI totals from last season so I could afford to draft some high-power, low-average outfielders later on if I needed to.  I also got my starting pitcher in the form of Jorge De la Rosa, and managed to snag Carlos Gonzalez a round later.  I did have one problem in the middle rounds where my internet connection went and my team was forced to autopick, but I ended up with Jay Bruce, who although I think I could have gotten him later than round 15 isn’t an altogether terrible pick considering that I needed an outfielder there and I really think that he hits between 30 and 35 home runs.  I stuck right at my 5-6 starter cap, and picked up some very high-upside players like Cameron Maybin, Kyle Blanks and Nolam Reimhold to fill up my bench, as well as Rajai Davis, who I’m extremely high on and will keep me respectable in steals if Reyes misses much time.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team?  For the league?
I think that Jay Bruce was probably a reach, and if this wasn’t a keeper league Matt Wieters is a terrible pick where I took him, but really I like the value I got per round, and honestly I don’t pay too much attention to ADP as I don’t know the other managers in this league much and was willing to take players higher than their listed ADP just to ensure that I got the players that I wanted.

For the league I generally think that the draft went well, although as usual I thought that it overvalued younger, unproven players.  Steven Strasburg will have very little value this season I think, and even though Buster Posey will be great in 3-4 years I think that he really could have gone undrafted unless you knew that he had value as a trade chip.  Bobby Abreu could probably have waited a few rounds in my opinion as well as there were a LOT of good outfielders this season with much higher upsides, but then again if he reproduces last years’ results he’ll be worthy of that pick.

Who were your favorite picks for your own team?   For the league?
I really liked getting Carlos Gonzalez and Jorge De la Rosa where I got them as I think both finish in the top 100 players this season.  Ted Lilly I think was a complete steal where I got him in the 21st round; he’ll be a huge help in whip to offset some of my younger guys and still strikes out a respectable total.  Maz Scherzer I feel like dropped too far as well; he’ll have excellent strikeout totals and a superior defense behind him in Detroit compared to what he had last year.  I could easily see him topping 200Ks and winning 15 games.

For the league I thought that Josh Hamilton really slipped too far.  I was guilty of it myself, but I think that people were so afraid of his fragility that they kept passing over him for more dependable options and hoping that he’d slip to a level where he’d lose his risk, and by the time that happened he was just way cheaper than he ever should have been.  Especially with our deep benches he shouldn’t have fallen past the 10th round.  Kudos to Regulators for finding a potential 40 steal outfielder in the final round with Brett Gardiner also, and Colby Rasmus and Brad Penny were great high-upside picks near the end of the draft as well.

Canadian Animals (last years finish: 10th, kept Adrian Gonzalez, Ian Kinsler, Curtis Granderson, Nick Markakis, Dan Haren, Kevin Youkilis)
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it? 
Seeing as I had a good set of offensive keepers, I wanted to set a good base for my pitching staff early and then get some young, high upside bats to round out the offense. Do not draft a catcher to the end. Don't jump too early for saves. 
Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully? 
Overall I do. Adding Nolasco, Baker and Soria to Haren gave me a strong start to a pitching staff in a 12 team league. Good K's, with a low WHIP. Didn't get all high upside young guys with all of my picks, but could not pass up Kubel/Vlad/Hawpe where I got them. I managed to finally not draft a catcher until the 24th and feel that I'm still just fine there. Only have 1 good closer which may hurt me in a 12 team league. I have 4 other guys though that should get some saves during the season which i what I was counting on doing. 

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league? 
I may have reached some for Burnett. I wanted a high K pitcher, but he could of probably waited another round or so. Probably jumped the gun on Frasor a little early, although now hearing he is closer to a clsoer spot makes it feel a bit better. 

Biggest reach of the draft overall to me was Pedro Alvarez in the 10th. Tremendous talent, but won't be playing a full season this year and I'm not sure I would be using a 6th keeper spot on a guy who may only play a half season or less.  Elvis Andrus was also a bit of a reach only because of some of the other big bats available at the time, and the fact that Rollins was already on the roster. 

Who were your favorite picks for your own team? For the league? 
I was happy with most of my early pitching picks, but my 2 favourite picks would be; Victorino in the 11th (123rd) when he has an MDP around 79 and Alexei Ramirez in the 13th (147th) when he has an MDP around 108. 2 guys that should give me decent AVG. and a good mix of speed and power. 

Carlos Pena in the 12th was good value. AVG killer but 40 HR power that late is nice. Same for Quentin in the 11th. I kind of missed him on my sheets when I picked Victorino or I would have grabbed him, but is a very nice small risk/big reward guy. 

Those are just some of the nice picks. Overall it was a great draft. Even right up to the end my guys were getting picked off my list just before me. Very enjoyable and can't wait to get the season started.

The Guinypigs (last years finish: 9th, kept )

Sullys (last years finish: 8th, kept
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
My typical strategy is to sort players into tiers by position, and try to stick to the strategy of taking the best available players early in the draft & look to fill holes (strikeouts, stolen bases, etc.) in the later rounds.  Oh, and never grab a closer early, unless he’s named Mariano Rivera.
For this draft, I looked back at past history & noticed I’ve missed out on young talent at the expense of established veterans.  For example, I drafted Manny Ramirez and missed out on Evan Longoria.  While Longoria was no sure thing back then, I made a conscious effort this year to look for young talent in the early rounds.
Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
Obviously, grabbing Strasburg in round 7 shows I went for youth early.  I almost went for Beckham instead, and kind of wish I had, since my team already has three SP keepers. However, if Strasburg is as good as advertised, having him and Hanson for many years isn’t all bad.  Plus, I was able to get Ethier in round 8, who I had highly rated.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league?
I’ll break it down into a couple of groupings:
My reach, rounds 7-11:  Jose Lopez 2B/3B.  I was hoping to get Chipper Jones, but Polish Sausage grabbed him ahead of me.  Classic panic pick, even though I’ll probably play him at 2B instead of 3B
League reach, round 7-11: Anyone named Asdrubal should never be drafted until the mid-teens.
My reach, rounds 12-16: Perhaps a tie between Qualls in round 12, and Cantu in round 16.  The run on closers caught me off guard, and I was certainly on the ass-end of the run.  Unfortunately, I have this bum in some of my other leagues too.  While Cantu may not be regarded as a reach, I have visions of ’09, where I had to live with Aubrey Huff manning the hot corner for me.  Cantu looks like a repeat of that nastiness.
League reach, rounds 12-16: Continuing my bias against all things Cabrera, I vote for Everth Cabrera in round 13.  Batting 8th for the Padres = very few games with 4 AB’s = very few fantasy stats.  I think the next seven picks in the draft (Franklin, Kendrick, Dotel, Beltre, Pierre, Liriano, and Lidge) will all return better value than Cabrera, who will probably sit on Schwartz’s bench backing up Scutaro.

Who were your favorite picks for your own team? For the league? 
I was very happy with my early picks.  I have Ethier rated high on my OF tier, and was glad to get Dunn to back up Berkman at 1B, who is having trouble after his knee surgery.  Dunn’s 35+ HR’s means he’ll probably lead my team in that category too.  A healthy Carlos Quentin is a good pick in round 11.  I doubt he has much left in his tank, but Furcal in round 21 gives my team some speed in a fill-in role.
For the league, I think Jason Bay in round 8 is great value.  The back to back picks in round 13 of Hamilton/Beltran was good too.  Both could provide a lot of value for the round selected.  Regulators may have gotten the steal of the draft with Hunter Pence in round 10.  He’s raking this spring, and seems to me could be in for a huge year.  Plus, my daughters like calling him “Underpants”.

Bad News Bodie (last years finish: 7th, kept
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it? 
In short, my strategy was to draft offense early, then pick high reward/high risk pitchers in the later rounds and make sure to have 3 closers on my roster by the end of the draft. 

Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully? 
Well I’m definitely taking some chances on my pitching staff. My two best pitchers are both only 22 years old (Brett Anderson and Kershaw). I was able to get some high reward/high risk pitchers in the later rounds like I had hoped to do. Too bad one won’t be back until the All-star break (Bedard) and one just got sent to the minors even after a good spring (Latos). 

My offense turned out just how I wanted it to. I was able to surround my core (Prince, Longo, the Uptons) with well rounded players who hit for decent averages and won’t hurt me in any category. 

I have 3 definite (I use that term loosely) closers on my team and one temporary closer in Morales. So for now I am content with my relievers. 

Overall I think I successfully implemented my draft strategy. Only the season will tell if my strategy was a good one. 

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league? 
Mike Gonzalez (Closer, Orioles) was a pick I didn’t want to make in round 12. But the closers were going quickly by then and I wanted a 3rd closer on my roster. I probably took Brett Anderson a round too early. But I had a feeling I was going to lose him if I waited another round. 

For the league, I’d say Andy’s pick of James Shields at 97 was a bit early for him. ESPN has his ADP at 161.6. 

Who were your favorite picks for your own team? For the league? 
Gordon Beckham in the 7th round was my favorite pick. I was happy to get Mat Latos late in the draft. But Beckham was my favorite pick. He will have 2B eligibility 5-10 games into the season and will probably be a keeper for me for years to come. Hopefully he stays at 2B…or moves to SS. 

For the league, Nils’s pick of Raul Ibanez at 146 was a steal for that kind of production. Ibanez probably won’t do as well as last year, but he will produce in that lineup and in that ball park. ESPN has his ADP at 104.

Polish Sausage (last years finish: 6th, kept
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
My overall draft strategy is a combination of three philosophies: 1) draft the best available talent, 2) select future keepers or players with high upside, and 3) don’t reach for a player if there are many others within the tier/group I have broken them into with my pre-rankings.  I also have studied ADP’s to get a sense on how long I should wait to grab players I specifically am targeting.

Did you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
I had mixed results.  While I kind of figured that Strasburg wouldn’t fall to me in Round 7, he was only 2 picks away.  I targeted Cain in Round 8 and Cargo in Round 9 but both were grabbed earlier than I had hoped.  That’s why this league is so tough.  I had a few reaches as well, but on the plus side I was able to grab some players with high upside.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team?  For the league?
I’ll break them down in round groups – my player first, the league second.
Rounds 7-11:  Nate McLouth - easily the worst pick I made all night.  I was still on tilt from not getting Cargo and was looking too hard for an OF who could have 25 HR’s / 90 RBI and 30 SB.

Asdrubal Cabrera – seemed a few rounds too early; there was quite a stretch after that selection where no 2B were being taken.
Rounds 12-15: Brad Lidge - an injury concern with a horrible ERA and WHIP and was a real roll of the dice on a 3rd reliable closer.

Jonathan Sanchez - a nice pitcher but Round 12 was pretty early from what I’ve observed and based on other SP’s who were also available at that time.

Rounds 16-20: Johnny Cueto – I lost focus on that pick.         
Kerry Wood – I am of the opinion that this guy is done.

Rounds 21-25: Mark Buehrle – I could drop him now and he’d sit as a FA for quite a while.

Casey Blake – I’d say the same about him.

Who were your favorite picks for your own team?   For the league?
Again, I’ll break them down in round groups – my player first, the league second.
Rounds 7-11:  Manny Ramirez – I must be in the minority here in thinking that he can return to some of the numbers he posted prior to the 50 game suspension.  If he has to get back on the juice and obtain a more undetectable masking agent I am fine with that.
Adam Dunn – how did the Big Donkey last so long?  40 HR players are tough to find this late in the draft.

Rounds 12-15: David Price – of course, I thought Francisco Liriano was in this category last year, and we all know how bad that pick turned out.
Josh Hamilton/Carlos Zambrano – both players have the real potential in 2010 to return to numbers from earlier in their careers.

Rounds 16-20: Alex Rios – hitting 5th in a HR-friendly park, and the manager is pushing for his lineup to be more aggressive on the base paths.  Why did I waste my 11th round pick on McLouth when Rios was available 5 rounds later and has the potential to outperform him across the board?    

Ian Stewart/Chris Davis/Jason Frasor – the first 2 are nice 3B options and were usually taken much earlier.  Both of these guys left my queue right before I crapped the bed with the Cueto pick.  Shortly after that, the one remaining legit closer (Frasor) was selected.

Rounds 21-25: Desmond Jennings – If he gets healthy, Tampa Bay falls out of the AL East race quickly, and the Rays decide to deal Crawford this year, I’ll see if this guy is worth the hype.
Magglio Ordonez/Drew Stubbs – Round 23 for Magglio?  Huge Value.  Drew Stubbs might also outperform McLouth in 2010.  Did I mention that McLouth was a bad pick?

Emerson Tigers (last years finish: 5th, kept

Flushing Johns (last years finish: 4th, kept

My strategy started with the keeper list... 6 hitters (the final spot came down to Aclides Escobar at SS or Kendry Morales at 1B... since I was already keeping Joey Votto, I opted for the SS). So I went into the draft needing some hurlers. The creme was already taken, something like 15 pitchers on the keeper lists of the other teams. But my best from last year was Carpenter and I didn't want to use a keeper spot on him.

The 1st three rounds (picks 7 - 9), I stuck to the strategy (SP's Josh Johnson and Chad Billingsley, and Closer Beach Boy Brian Wilson). Then I went WAY off my strategy and REACHED for Pedro Alvarez in round 10 (I likely would have still gotten him 4 - 6 rounds later... but I'm from Pittsburgh, so I took him... he should be up by early July, and since this is a keeper league, I thought, why not).

My other SP's (Dempster, Harden, Hughes, CJ Wilson) have some risk / reward involved, but if  only 2 of the 4 pan out I should have a decent rotation. I also got 2 pretty good closers and 2 more closer potentials.

The "steals" for the FJ's (in my mind at least) were Chris Davis (round 18) and Franklin Gutierrez (round 20). I also love Prado as one of my breakout players of the year. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the team... but am also always ready to deal.

The biggest reach of the draft... Strasburg in round 7 (I probably feel this way due to my preference for hitter-keepers)... maybe this pick provoked me to jump on Alvarez so quickly... thank you very much Sully's!!!!!!! Best late round, high reward pick - Ted Lilly in round 21.

Tuscaloosa Dumplings (last years finish: 3rd, kept

Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
Well this year, unlike the past few, I did seem to have a specific draft strategy going into the draft.  In the past I would just about always take the top player available in the draft, no matter what my individual needs were.  After my offseason
trade of Ryan Zimmerman and Jon Lester for Ryan Howard i had a gaping hole at third base to fill up, along with second base.  When it came my way, Chone Figgins was available and one of my top choices for the fact that he is eligible in both the 3rd
and 2nd base postilions.  I feel much more confident drafting hitters early, because pitchers are so finicky and brittle, though i did jump at Matt Cain in the 8th. It was then that I wanted to have a more balanced team, and not necessarily go after
big time power hitters like i have in the past.  I wanted to have an even spread in all categories, and i feel I accomplished that pretty well.

Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
Well as i mentioned beforehand, yes i feel i definitely implemented my strategy well this year.  I drafted only a few one category guys, like Bourn, and focused on multi-catagory players across the board.  The temptation to jump on guys like Josh
Hamilton was definitely there, as he slipped so far, yet i already felt i had enough power in my keepers that adding a dangerous pick like
Hamilton would have been counter-productive.  I feel i achieved a very well rounded, strong team to tweek and
work on throughout the year.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league?
Hmm these are always tricky to say, as i remember last year i called out someone for taking Chris Carpenter in the 12th round or so and he almost won the Cy Young, so let's see here.... Firstly, for my own team i would say the reach of the draft
would have been Adrian Beltre in the 14th round.  He has potential to be sick this year, but i feel i could have waited a few more rounds on him.

For the league, which again i was dead wrong on my prediction about this last year, i would have to either say Bobby Abreau as the first pick of the 7th round, though a solid player I'm not sure if he is a better pick than a Mark Reynolds.  If not
Abreau then I'd have to say Pedro Alverez in round 10, which i felt was quite a bit early, but could definitely pan out if all the myths and legends of his Arod like potential are correct.

What were your favorite picks for your own team?  For the league?
My favorite pick of the draft for my individual team i feel would definitely be my last pick of the draft, Nick Johnson.  Even though he's a Yankee, at the 25th pick he's a steal as long as he stays healthy.  That lineup, that stadium, and being a
lefty could amount to massive numbers from a last pick. No Travis Hafner for the Dumplings this year!

For the league, i would have to say my favorite pick would have been David Price at round 15, yes i still have a huge man crush on him.  He has all the potential in the world and is flying a bit under the radar this year.

The Schwartz (last years finish: 2nd, kept

Regulators (last years finish: 1st, kept Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Feliz Hernandez, Zack Greinke,

Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
Not a very organized approach, mostly going for offense early, grabbing a good 3rd starter and not missing out on closers.
More specifically I look for players with a consistent history who look like they are improving.  I had a short list of what I felt were undervalued or forgotten players that I wanted on my team and I was happy to get alot of them.

Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
I would give myself a B grade for the draft.  However I am worried about my pitching as most of my starters reside in the American League.  I may be in line for a high ERA.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league?
I did take Garza a round early but I felt there was a shortage of quality SP's after him.  The rest of my early-mid round picks were in line with their ADP or after their ADP.

I did make some reaches later.  Specifically, Slowey in the 15th, Sean Rodriguez in the 21st and Mark Rzepchinsky in the 24th were all reaches.  However, if I am right in my projections those picks may look half decent by the end of the season.

As for everyone else, I like Niemann and Jorge De La Rosa but not in the 11th round.  Jon Sanchez in the 12th was early considering his walks.  Brian Wilson in the 8th was early.

Who were your favorite picks for your own team? For the league?
I was happy to get Hunter Pence in the 10th round as I did not expect him to be there and had actually considered taking him in the 7th.  I was happy to get Mariano Rivera early as that allowed me to make some value picks later on in the 11th and
12th while there was a closer run.  I also got Doumit in the 22nd, 5 rounds later than his ADP.

There were alot of steals in this draft.  Josh Hamilton went in the 13th, well after his 6th round ADP.  Javy Vazquez was a nice pick in the mid-late 9th. Jason Kubel went late in the 14th and he had the quietest .300-28-100 RBI season ever last

Martin Prado in the 16th was a reach in terms of ADP but I actually like him there.

Other great picks:
Billy Butler in the 8th.  Kyle Blanks in the 17th.  Ian Stewart in the 18th.  Franklin Gutierrez in the 20th.  Colby Rasmus in the 22nd.  Derek Lowe in the 25th.

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