Rate My Fantasy Baseball Team

I just finished a marathon 4-hour live draft. Half of our league were on our computers, the other half at Pour House in the city. Its a pretty competitive 12 player, head-to-head, 5×5 league. We’ve been doing this for five years now, and I generally get hammered due to being away from my computer for 2 months every summer. Still, I’ve had some bad drafts recently after taking up a fairly risky young player-heavy strategy. Here is the team I just drafted:

C: Matt Wieters
1b: Joey Votto
2b: Brian Roberts
SS: Jose Reyes
3b: Ryan Zimmerman
OF: Matt Kemp
OF: Jay Bruce
OF: Garrett Jones
Util: Vlad Guerrero
Util: Juan Rivera
BN: Dexter Fowler
BN: Brett Gardner
SP: Roy Halladay
SP: Jake Peavy
SP: Scott Baker
RP: Andrew Baily
RP: Frank Francisco
P: Jamie Shields
P: Ted Lilly
P: Matt Thornton
BN: Kevin Correia
BN: Johnny Cueto
BN: Ian Kennedy

I had the 7th overall pick of the draft. I generally hate being sandwiched in the middle of the round, but it only burned me once or twice in the late rounds this year. I had a choice between Matt Kemp and Prince Fielder with my pick, and I picked Kemp without hesitation, knowing that Joey Votto would be available in the later rounds. Roy Halladay was a value pick in the 2nd round, even though I hadn’t planned on looking for a starting pitcher at that point. I then selected Votto, and got Ryan Zimmerman in the 4th round. I was pretty shocked to see Jose Reyes around in the 5th sound, so I scooped him up, and then added Brian Roberts a round later.

At that point, I felt pretty secure with my hitting core, so I started drafting some upside. Jake Peavy could be a real bargain, even if he’s going to get hurt by the American League and his new home ballpark. While he is healthy, I’m pretty sure he’ll be a top-5 starter. I love both Jay Bruce and Garrett Jones, and could potentially get 2nd round numbers out of them. Wieters was an easy pick when he was available, and could also be 2nd round material when all is said and done. I grabbed Guerrero and Rivera late for some solid all-around numbers. Dextor Fowler is one of my favorite young hitters, and Brett Gardner doesn’t suck as a 25th pick.

After Peavy, I felt a little insecure on the pitching side, so I picked up Jamie Shields and Scott Baker. Andrew Baily was another value pick – I had prepared myself to be content with Brian Wilson as my lead closer. Frank Francisco was the last real solid closer left when I picked him, which may have been a round too late. I figure that there’s a 50/50 shot that Matt Thornton is a closer by June, and his numbers are great regardless. Ted Lilly had a much better 2009 than people expected. Correia, Cueto, and Kennedy are slight reaches, but it was late and I’m expecting all three to have some upside.

I think that if a few things go may way, I have a really dangerous team. It doesn’t take a lot of faith to expect a great year out of Jose Reyes, and Matt Wieters is begging to break out. I’m pretty solid in stats all around, though I’m depending a bit on Reyes for my stolen bases. I love the HR/RBI/Runs that my team should put up, and batting average shouldn’t suck either. While my pitching carries some risk, Halladay is the perfect rock to build my church on.

Thoughts? How do you think the team will measure up against my 11 other opponents?

E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

10 thoughts on “Rate My Fantasy Baseball Team

  1. Caveat: I’ve never finished above second-to-last-place in a fantasy league

    That said, I’d try to up the pitching a bit-

  2. Jubilee

    i guess i’ll give you a B-. looks like a pretty average team to me, maybe a bit above average.

    i look at your hitting core and it looks good, but everyone’s fantasy hitting core should pretty much look good. only the cream of the crop have fantasy value anyways. it doesn’t blow me over. and your pitching staff has got to be near the bottom. i’m not down with your strategy in the early rounds. i looked at your roster and couldn’t figure out who your your first round pick was. that’s sort of a bad sign right off the bat (no pun intended).

    there’s hardly an outfielder in the world i’d take in the first round (since the position is so deep). i think i’d limit it to braun. kemp is great, but you never know where torre’s gonna hit him, and he’s an outfielder. maybe i undervalue him, time will tell. and i don’t think there is a pitcher in the world i’d take in the second, lincecum included. you’ve got some early round question marks (IMO) with reyes and roberts. and frankly you’ve got a bunch of quality hitters on bad ball clubs, which seems like a bad strategy. i mean, two reds on one fantasy team is not a good thing, even if they’re the best two reds. same with the orioles, and we still don’t know if wieters is ready to really break out and deliver on all his promise. you’ve only got three guys on really potent lineups; i never know where kemp is hitting (and if it’s #2, i’m not sure his SB or RBI will be great), i don’t know what vlad has left, and juan rivera is probably a #7 guy.

    pitching staff looks pretty sorry. halladay is probably a good bet, but i think you spent too high of a pick on him. peavy could be an ace, but he’s a question mark, which isn’t a good thing for your #2 guy. you have a stud closer (whom you probably picked too early), but your other one is rubbish, which wouldn’t normally be too much of a problem, but with the rest of this team you might really need to take that saves category. i might pick up at least another closer. with those three P slots, you have a chance to get the extra Ks and SVs every day since you can slot another closer there, and it doesn’t look like you have many untouchable SPs.

    it’s sort of hard to evaluate when i don’t know who was available. i’m a “feel” drafter. i don’t spend too much time on pre-draft rankings because of how unpredictable the draft is, and i mostly try to get the best bargains i can find. early rounds i usually go best available with a focus on the infield. i try to get two stud pitchers in the first, say, seven rounds. i used to draft with a focus on pitching, when nobody else in my league really did, but i found that strategy to work well for the regular season and let me down in the finals (i’ve finished second in my 10-man league both years i’ve played). so i changed it up this year and still managed to put together what i consider a top three pitching staff, to go along with a top three offense.

    here’s my team, including round numbers, in case you were curious. it’s a 10 team league. i did luck into the first pick, so pujols gives me a bit of a leg up right away, but i think i drafted well. i had to reach a little a few times, but i was drafting at the turn, and there’s not much i would have done differently.

    C: Brian McCann (4)
    1B: Albert Pujols (1)
    2B: Ian Kinsler (2)
    3B: Chone Figgins (7)
    SS: Yunel Escobar (21)
    IF: Adrian Gonzalez (3)
    OF: Shane Victorino (9)
    OF: Juan Rivera (20)
    OF: Nyjer Morgan (17)
    OF: Garrett Jones (24)
    Util: Magglio Ordonez (23)
    BN: Juan Pierre (FA pickup. dropped Corey Hart (22), wanted more speed)
    BN: Carlos Beltran (19), and i’ll pick up another FA once he’s officially listed on the DL
    SP: Chris Carpenter (5)
    SP: Justin Verlander (6)
    SP: Javier Vasquez (8)
    SP: Cole Hamels (10)
    SP: Matt Cain (11)
    RP: Heath Bell (13)
    RP: Francisco Rodriguez (14)
    P: Rafael Soriano (15)
    P: Chad Qualls (16)
    BN: Jake Peavy (12)
    BN: Randy Wolf (18)
    BN: Tim Hudson (25)

    again, it’s sort of hard to evaluate without seeing who was available at the time. basically i tried to fill out my infield in the early rounds, then got solid pitching in the middle rounds, and filled in the rest as bargains appeared. there was a big run for closers at one point, so i got all four of mine consecutively. considering i didn’t really put too much of a focus on my pitching staff, i think it materialized nicely. i never put much emphasis on drafting outfielders, because it’s such a deep position, and a few studs always seem to emerge. two years ago i grabbed Nate McLouth and Carlos Quentin as free agents, and last year it was Adam Jones, Nyjer Morgan and Rajai Davis, not to mention Nick Swisher who was ON FIRE while he was on my team, and i just dropped him right when he got cold again. though the position did get a little shallower this year with four OF slots instead of three, plus a IF to go along with Util. we’ll see what happens this year.

    the two reservations i have are about Figgins and Victorino. when i drafted Figgins i wanted to get some speed and average to go along with all my sluggers, and there weren’t many good 3B left. i didn’t put enough consideration into his status as a #2 hitter as opposed to leadoff, so i’ll be surprised if he lives up to his R and SB numbers this season. personally i think he is a better fit as a leadoff man with ichiro behind him, or even batting third as he gets older and slower, so it remains to be seen if he gets pushed up in the order. similarly, i didn’t consider AT ALL the fact that Victorino is now the 7th hitter for the phillies rather than #2. also similarly, i think he would make a better leadoff man than Rollins. if Rollins repeats last year’s numbers (.250 AVG, .296 OBP), i could very well see a switch for those two. in which case Victorino might end up being a steal. it remains to be seen. also, i really didn’t consider that speed is easier to find in FA outfielders than power. Andre Ethier was available when i drafted Figgins, and Carlos Lee was available when i drafted Victorino, and if i had it to do over again i would have taken those guys instead. especially considering i landed Nyjer Morgan in the late rounds and Juan Pierre in free agency, who could provide all the speed my team needs. if Magglio Ordonez (one of my early predictions for steal-of-the-draft if he can bounce back even a little and provide some power in the form of line drive doubles) performs like i suspect he can, Juan Rivera keeps improving, and Carlos Beltran comes back healthy soon, i think my outfield might even be alright as it is. but i’ll be looking for some OF power early as the season starts.

    sorry i typed so much. i figure if you like blogging about fantasy baseball you might be interested.

    • Jubilee

      also, i should add: Justin Morneau was available when i made my 4th and 5th picks (which were consecutive). i really, really wanted to take him, but i already had two 1Bs, and putting him in my Util slot with Gonzalez already in my IF slot would eliminate all flexibility from my roster. and i’m the kind of manager who makes a lot of moves. plus i pride myself on following the league and snapping up breakout players as they emerge. so i’d have to pass on anyone i couldn’t immediately make room for. in the end, i took a gamble on Chris Carpenter, perhaps my only high-risk high-reward pick in the entire draft. we’ll see how that one works out.

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  4. Scoobie

    I’ve got to go with Jubilee…I don’t really think you’ve got a killer team, EJ. For a 5×5 team, you’re gonna lose the HR and RBI battle almost every game, and your pitching really is kind of weak. I think you got some guys on name recognition alone (Roberts, Guerrero, Peavy) that you may have overvalued. You should do fine on steals and runs though.

    Jubilee, I like your team, I think because you draft strategy is much like mine. Though I don’t know whether you are in an HTH or Roto league so I don’t know whether you are shooting for categories or just straight points. You’re pitching staff looks really strong, though I think you sacrificed some mid-round power from position players by taking 11 pitchers between picks 5-18. Your OF is a little weak and your only real power guys are Pujols, Kinsler, and Gonzalez. That said though, I think you’re fairly well balanced, though as you observed I don’t know what was available when you drafted.

    I just did a 10-team HTH points league draft today, and here’s what I ended up with (with rounds in parentheses):

    C: Brian McCann (4)
    1B: Albert Pujols (1)
    2B: Robinson Cano (6)
    3B: David Wright (2)
    SS: Stephen Drew (9)
    OF: Jason Werth (7)
    OF: Andre Ethier (11)
    OF: Andrew McCutcheon (15)
    DH: Miguel Cabrera (3)
    SP: Adam Wainright (5)
    SP: Josh Johnson (10)
    SP: Matt Garza (12)
    SP: John Lackey (13)
    SP: AJ Burnett (14)
    RP: Jonathon Papelbon (8)
    RP: David Aardsma (16)
    BN: Ian Stewart 2B/3B (18)
    BN: Jason Heyward OF (19)
    BN: Nate McLouth OF (20)
    BN: Alcides Escobar SS (21)
    BN: Jorge De La Rosa SP (17)
    BN: Stephen Strasburg SP (22)

    Keep in mind that in a points league I don’t have to worry about balancing speed with power, I just take the guys who are going to have the highest totals in the core categories. I felt like I won the lottery when the guy with the #1 pick went way outside the lines and took Joe Mauer, leaving Pujols for me at #2. I took Wright over Kinsler, which I regreted immediately, but I felt a little vindicated when Cano fell to me at 6. I had no intention of taking two 1Bs in the first three rounds, but when a first rounder falls to you at pick 29, you’ve got to take the value so I jumped on Cabrera. I feel like my position players are the best in the league, and was really happy with the value I got on outfielders later in the draft (Ethier at 11, McCutcheon at 15, McLouth at 20). Since my team was stacking up so well I was able to take flyers on two rookies that could blow up the league in Heyward and Strasburg. I’ll have to stash Strasburg for a couple of months, but if Heyward lives up to his potential I could be starting him very soon. My starting pitching is a little weak, and I could be hurting if boom-or-bust players Lackey and Burnett have off years. I wanted Verlander, Shields, and Nolasco and ended up with Wainright, Garza, and Lackey because they got taken a pick or two ahead of me. I’ve got so much trade bait on the bench I might be able to swing another pitcher or two before the season gets too far along. I wanted Broxton, Rivera, Soria, or Papelbon so I accomplished that goal, and I got my sleeper closer in David Aardsma–he’s a 3-4.00 ERA/9+K closer for the most improved team in the league. I should get some decent points from him and I got him cheap. I think I’ve got a really good shot at winning this year. What do y’all think?

    • Jubilee

      i’m in a head-to-head league. how many teams in your league? you had the 2nd and 29th picks? how does that work?

      as for me, like i said, i’m a “feel” drafter. there’s guys i like and guys i don’t. i generally took the guy who i felt was the best available. it just so happened that after pick 5 i thought i was getting the best value with specific pitchers. also, don’t forget that i undervalue OFs, and there were a lot of middle-of-the-road OFs going in those middle rounds. When I took Carpenter, I passed on Jason Bay, Jayson Werth, Ben Zobrist, Shin Soo Choo. Like I said, it was a high-risk high-reward pick. I have a feeling about what I can get from those outfielders, and if history is any indicator, I should be able to find similar numbers in FAs. When I picked up Verlander (and Figgins), Andre Ethier, BJ Upton, Curtis Granderson, Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu were available. Past those picks, there just aren’t many hitters i like very much. And I’m not overly concerned with missing out on the above (though, as I said before, I would have liked one or two more power bats). If I’d known how much pitching value I’d find in later rounds, maybe I pass on Carpenter and Verlander. I certainly feel like my team needs a little more power (though Rivera, Jones and Magglio could end up providing it), and I’ll be looking to shore up my outfield in free agency like I usually do.

      Both years I’ve played, I drafted one outfielder with an early-ish pick and filled out the position with hidden gems. By my estimation, the worst teams in my league have the most stacked outfields. And there’s only one other roster I’d be happy with in my entire league.

      Your team’s not bad. We drafted almost identically in the first five rounds. Can’t complain about Pujols at #2. Ethier is an absolute steal in the 11th round. Drew is quite a reach in the 9th. And I learned not to draft “star” closers; I just try to be slightly ahead of the curve when the closer rush comes. And I was. Also, in a sense I think you’re luckier to get Miggy in he 3rd than Pujols in the 1st.

  5. Tabata Daycare

    Zimmerman in the 4th round was your best pick but your starting pitching looks real weak. I picked up Felix, Verlander, and then the Braves starting rotation (Hanson, Hudson, & Jurrjens). And I have Slowey, Scherzer, and Strasburg on my bench.

  6. Yankees are my favorite. This site rocks.

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