Last night, live on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, we had another hosts draft in which I got to pit my wits against some of the industry leaders in a 12 team, mixed league snake draft. Let's see how I did. The number in parenthesis is the round the player was drafted in the fantasy baseball draft.
C: Kurt Suzuki (16), John Buck (26) 1B: Kevin Youkilis (4) 2B: Dustin Pedroia (2) 3B: Ryan Zimmerman (3) SS: Derek Jeter (12) MI/CI: Yunel Escobar (18), Billy Butler (7) OF: Carlos Gonzalez (1), Carl Crawford (5), Shane Victorino (6), Brett Gardner (8), Carlos Lee (20) UT: Mark Reynolds (11)
SP: James Shields (9), Ricky Romero (10), Brandon Morrow (13), Max Scherzer (15)
RP: Sergio Santos (14), Kenley Jansen (17), Brett Myers (19), Matt Capps (21), Aroldis Chapman (23) BENCH: Denard Span (22), Ricky Nolasco (24), Erik Bedard (25), Ian Stewart (27), Brian Roberts (28)
* I wanted to roster Nick Hundley or Chris Iannetta as my second catcher, but both were taken the round I was going to add them. I then thought I'd take Carlos Ruiz, but he too was taken so I just waited to add Buck. If you can fill bench spots before you have to fill your starting lineup, you might consider a similar strategy.
* I was certainly tempted to take Joey Votto with my first pick, but two things played into my choice of CarGo. (1) I like the five category skills of Gonzalez a wee bit better. (2) Yahoo, which is the service we held the draft on, pretty much qualifies everyone in the game as a first or third baseman, so I felt comfortable passing on the elite first baseman.
* Speaking of the corners, look at the lineup I rostered. Youkilis can play first or third, ditto with Reynolds, an even Butler qualifies at first in this set up too (so does Lee). People might look at Butler in the 7th round and think that's too early to take him, but as a first base eligible player he's of real interest. To compare, Eric Hosmer hit .293 with 19 homers and 78 RBI last year in 523 at-bats while Butler hit .291 with 19 homers and 95 RBI in 597 at-bats. Plus, Butler is a rock of consistency.
* Jeter is old, but I don't doubt that he'll hit at least .280 with 15 steals and 80 runs scored – at a minimum. Escobar in the 18th round was also a solid add at middle infielder. Speaking of middle infielders, why in the hell did I take Brian Roberts in the 28th round? Did my computer do on auto-draft? Did I drink too many Paradise Punch's and think it was 2007? You know how I always preach about knowing your league rules? This is a perfect example. Roberts will start the year on the DL, so if he's taking up a bench spot in a 12 team mixed league it's pretty tough to justify his inclusion on your roster. However, this league has DL spots. I drafted Roberts, immediately placed him on the DL after the draft (I was able to add Chad Billingsley). In essence, I'll get a player I was targeting with my last pick in the draft anyway, an I'll have Roberts for free cause he isn't impacting my active roster. If/when Roberts plays, he'll be effective. It's just a matter of when that will occur.
* I waited on pitching, but so did everyone else to a certain degree. That resulted in a large number of solid starting pitchers being available late (Nolasco, Bedard types). However, people went hot and heavy on relievers, so I just waited that out. In the end, I've got three closers – Santos, Myers, Capps – though I really only like the first one. Still, saves are saves, so I'll pay the price in the ratio cats to get them from Capps and Myers. I also added Chapman on the off chance that the Reds decide to give him some 9th inning work which is certainly possible (especially after Dusty Baker said the other day that he isn't locked into using Sean Marshall exclusively in the 9th). As for my starters, see what I say about waiting on arms? Shields, Romero, Morrow and Scherzer all have the talent to win 15 games with at least 175 Ks. I wanted to take Morrow in the 11th but showed patience and got him two rounds later. I also wanted Scherzer in the 13th but was able to get him two round later as well.
So there is the squad. What do you think? Oh, by the way, for the full draft results click on the link to SiriusXM Experts Draft.
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By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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