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2014 Fantasy Baseball Sirius XM Experts Draft

Twelve Experts from Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio got together and held a mixed league draft. How did our Ray Flowers do?

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Another day, another dollar (isn't that what the kids say?), another great fantasy team put together by yours truly. Well, maybe.

The first of two Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio Experts Draft's included yours truly and was completed Monday March 10th. As I'm want to do, I changed things up a bit with my draft. I took a player I never take in round two (I was on the turn to I changed up my strategy a bit), and though I continued my mantra of waiting on pitching, you might be surprised to learn that while I took no starting pitchers in my first 10 selections that I actually ended up with two closers. You're interested to see what I did now, aren't you?

12 teams, mixed league
14 hitters
9 pitchers
7 bench spots

The participants:

1 Tom Kessenich
2 Greg Ambrosius
3 Walter Kuberski
4 Matt Deutsch
5 Kyle Elfrink
6 Rick Wolf & Stacie Stern
7 Drew Dinkmeyer
8 Dr. Roto
9 Peter Schoenke
10 Cliff Floyd
11 Jeff Rickard
12 Ray Flowers

Yes, there was a conspiracy as both STATS guys went #1 and #2 while the Oracle was given the 12th selection.

Here's the team I put together.

Catcher:  Carlos Santana (5th round), Alex Avila (23)
First Base: Joey Votto (1)
Second Base: Howie Kendrick (15)
Third Base: Pablo Sandoval (9)
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki (2)
Middle Infielder: Alexei Ramirez (16)
Corner Infielder: Kyle Seager (10)
OF:  Shin-Soo Choo (3), Giancarlo Stanton (4), Desmond Jennings (8), B.J. Upton (17), Michael Brantley (19)
Utility: Nick Markakis (21)
Pitchers: Craig Kimbrel (6), Greg Holland (7), Johnny Cueto (11), Shelby Miller (12), C.J. Wilson (13), Tim Lincecum (14), Bobby Parnell (18), Corey Kluber (20), Neftali Feliz (22)
BENCH: Neil Walker (24), Brandon Morrow (25), Corey Hart (26), Todd Frazier (27), Wily Peralta (28), Jarred Dyson (29), Jemile Weeks (30)


I took Votto in the first. Some don't like that because they are worried about a lack of RBIs given his desire to talk the walk. I like the pick because he's a .314 career hitter and that allows me to do something like take the .260 hitting Giancarlo Stanton in the 4th round. Remember, all picks can be picked apart one by one, but it's about how you construct your team that matters.

The first curveball I threw was taking Tulowitzki in round two. Normally I would take Jason Kipnis in that spot (yes Kipnis > Robinson Cano in my book). Why the different move here? Not really sure to be quite honest. The safe money is on Cano or Kipnis, totally believe that still. Tulo though, if it all comes together – wink, wink – could be the best of the trio. Let's also not forget that Jose Reyes and and Hanley Ramirez aren't exactly bastions of health at shortstop either, so you're taking a risk if you tab any of the elite SS options.

Shin Soo-Choo is a great get in the 4th round and gave me that 20/20 threat I always want at the top.

With Choo, Tulo and Votto on my squad for average, I was able to take the aforementioned Stanton in the 4th and Santana in the 5th. He's an elite option at catcher, at least in the counting categories. I wanted to take like eight other catchers through the draft, but they kept going off the board in the round I wanted to take them, so I ended up settling for Avila. Not ideal, but he's passable.

I grabbed Sandoval to be my third sacker. If it all comes together a .300-20 season is totally doable. He's motivated too as he shoots for that long-term contract. To back up Sandoval I grabbed Seager (Player Profile). I've got Seager to turn to if Pablo once again goes down to injury. I also made the choice to grab Seager for his stability to fill my corner slot as the first basemen that were available all had risks associated with their names.

Up the middle I took my favorite... Mr. Kendrick. Why is it that no one respects him? He's not elite, but he's really solid. He's a career .292 hitter who the last five years has averaged 14 home runs and 12 steals. I'll take that in the 15th round. I needed some speed so I took a shot on Ramirez to handle shortstop. He's a career .277 hitters who has averaged 25 steals the past two seasons.

I waited longer than I ever do in the outfield, but it still turned out well. Choo and Stanton have already been discussed. I added Jennings (Player Profile) and Upton as my third and fourth. Six months from now I will look like a genius or an idiot. Brantley was three steals, two RBIs, four runs and one hit from going .285-10-75-70-20 last season. He's my fifth outfielder. My 6th option, and my utility batter, is Markakis. He's always overlooked, a point I made in ADP Talk: What Are You Missing?

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If you look at my roster you will notice immediately that my top-2 pitchers are... closers. Wait, what? Why would Ray Flowers every do that? I know, I surprised myself. Honestly, it's about playing the draft, something I always try to point out to folks. With the way pitchers were going off the board I felt good about being able to wait on my starters and still get solid options later. As I explained during the broadcast of the draft, I get a couple of things with Kimbrel and Holland that others won't be able to match. (1) I got the best closer in baseball. (2) I got two of the top-4 closers in baseball. (3) Both guys are massive K arms. Last season Kimbrel had 98 Ks, Holland 103. That's an average of 100 per man. Those elite punchout marks give me a significant advantage over the other closers. Take a look at some of the other top end closers' strikeout marks from 2013.

77: Glen Perkins
74: Jason Grilli
74: Steve Cishek
73: Joe Nathan
72: Grant Balfour
58: Sergio Romo
57: Jonathan Papelbon
56: Jim Johnson
54: Rafael Soriano

As you can see, I could literally be gaining 30+ strikeouts at each closer spot over everyone else. I was also able to add Bobby Parnell in the 18th round. I know he's still working his way back to full health, but the guy is a pretty dang good reliever. Last season Parnell struck out 7.92 batters per nine, walked only 2.16 batters per nine and had a 52 percent ground ball rate. He's a fantastic 3rd closer. To pile on, I took Feliz in the 22nd round. He's had success in spring even though his fastball heater is down at 91-93 right now, his career mark is 95.9 mph, and there is some talk out there that Joakim Soria might get a shot to work the 9th inning, but as my 4th closer it was well worth it. You might be asking yourself, why four closers? We can deal in this league so I'll look to deal from my strength – closer – to add a starter if need be. Basically I thought that it was better to take a chance on Feliz in the 22nd round than taking a shot on some of the starting pitchers were still on the board.

What about those starters... I waited a bit longer than I even I normally feel comfortable doing. Was it a good move? Most of you reading this entry will likely think my staff is weak. Let me make the counter argument.

Cueto has only averaged 146 innings a season the past three years but he also owns a 2.61 ERA and 1.13 WHIP during that time.

Miller's arm is fine folks. His arm was just tired at the end of last season. He has nine Ks and no walks through five innings this spring. With everyone loving rookies, why no love for a guy who won 15 games with a K per inning an a 3.06 ERA last season?

Wilson is boring. Got it. He's also exceedingly stable. Over the past four seasons he's won at least 13 games with an ERA under 3.85, 170 strikeouts and 200 innings pitched. Only two other men in baseball have done that. You might have heard of them – Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander.

Lincecum... yes I'm a fan (I wrote a five page article about him in the 2014 Draft Guide. Please tell me you've picked up a copy already – 200 pages long, daily updated player rankings. It's epic). Some highlights. (1) Lincecum was 18th in baseball in K/9 (8.79) and his total of 193 Ks was 19th. (2) For 5-straight seasons his GB/FB mark has been at least 1.43. (3) In his 10 wins last season he had a 1.64 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, .153 BAA and a .505 OPSA.

Kluber struck out 8.31 batters per nine last season while walking a total of 33 batters in 26 outings. He also had a 1.60 GB/FB ratio. Sign me up.

Let's add that up.

I'm top of the heap in saves, no question.
I'd be very surprised if I don't end up top-3 in strikeouts.
With all the elite closer arms my ratios should be pretty good as well.


I knew I needed speed so I took two guys with my last two picks that may only produce steals, and they have a great deal of uncertainty with playing time. Still, if the duo of Dyson and Weeks were able to get 750 at-bats this season they could generate 60 steals.

I thought Walker in the 24th round was just a smart pick. He's an underrated option at second, his average should improve in 2014, and Kendrick is frequently nicked up so it's smart to have a fall back (I considered going with Dustin Ackley).

I'm a big fan of my 26th and 27th round selections. I don't think either guy has any shot of being a star, but if things to as planned for both it's fair to suggest that Frazier and Hart both go 20-70. Not bad for reserve round selections.

I took a shot late on two other arms I'm a fan of – Morrow and Peralta (Player Profile) – and as I noted I could always deal a closer for a starter, or just hit the waiver-wire if I need more depth.

Overall I like the squad, but that's hardly surprising since it's put together with plenty of “my guys.”

For a review of how everyone put their roster together click on the link to the 2014 SiriusXM Experts Draft.


  • 64x64

    MAK 11 Mar 14:29 / Reply

    What was the rationale for taking two of the top four RP in rounds 6 & 7? Listening to the drive home show, I thought you stayed away from SP and RP until later in the draft. If I remember correctly on one show, you said "Rarely do the same relievers stay all season in that position.....they change all the time." Kimbrel may be an exception, and I don't think its' ever a bad play to get ONE top reliever and wait until rnds 12-15 to get the second one. Just curious.

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