I love the trip to Arizona for LABR. It’s a totally chill weekend filled with an NL-only and AL-only draft. Not much else other than sun, fun and baseball. I host the NL league every year on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, and I participate in the AL-only league. Both leagues are auctions, always an interesting style to participate in and to watch play out. Toss in a little bit of drinking, a cake, some time in Jeff Mans’ hot tub, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a weekend.

*Special thanks to SiriusXM and Steve Gardner for all they did over the weekend.





AL-only, 12 teams
$260 auction for 23 starters
14 hitters, nine pitchers, six bench spots (rostered by a snake draft)
In season we run FAAB for bolstering our roster with a total of $100 units to spend.
There is no disabled list. An injured player is merely placed on a team’s bench.

All of that is pretty standard stuff. However, there's one significant difference with LABR.

You draft 23 starters. The only way to remove any of those players from your lineup is to do one of the following.

(1) Drop a player onto waivers.
(2) Put him on the DL if he is hurt.
(3) Put him on your reserve list if he is sent to the minors.

*NOTE: Free agents are eligible to be drafted, though if they sign in the other league you cannot keep them on your roster.

I’ve been close, finishing second and third the last couple of years in LABR, before falling to fifth last season. I will try to do better this season.




Larry Schechter

Winning Fantasy Baseball

Tristan Cockcroft


Steve Gardner


Ray Flowers


Eno Sarris


Dave Adler

Baseball HQ

Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton

Fantasy Alarm

Greg Ambrosius/Shawn Childs


Lawr Michaels


Brandon Funston


Clay Link


Mike Gianella

Baseball Prospectus


* Number in parenthesis is the $ amount spent.

C: Brian McCann ($11), Geovany Soto (2)
1B: Mitch Moreland (11)
2B: Devon Travis (17)
3B: Pablo Sandoval (9)
SS: Manny Machado (38)

MI: Whit Merrifield (2)
CI:  Kennys Vargas (5)
OF:  Justin Upton (26), Byron Buxton (19), Ben Revere (9), Avisail Garcia (6), Hyun-Soo Kim (3)

UTIL:  Tyler Saladino (6)

PITCHERS: Marcus Stroman (18), Danny Salazar (16), Andrew Miller (14), Ian Kennedy (13), Jake Odorizzi (11), Dellin Betances (9), Alex Cob (7), Trevor Bauer (5), Santiago Casilla (3)
RESERVES: Clint Frazier OF, Tim Beckham SS, Ryan Howard 1B, Tyler O’Neil OF, Josh Hamilton DH



My pitching staff.

It’s banging.

Off the charts.

A killer unit.

Stroman and Salazar are a pretty dynamic 1-2 punch without having to pay the big bucks. The duo are both young with big arms. Salazar needs to stay healthy, but he’s got the arm talent to be an SP1 in the bigs, even if consistency and health have been his bugaboo. Stroman had a strong second half last season when the strikeouts returned (83 last 88 innings), and as you can tell from his spot in the Rankings, he’s got a really big fan in Ray Flowers. I was really happy with this duo at the top.

Odorizzi is a stable guy who went for the same price as Drew Pomeranz and Matt Shoemaker. Odorizzi isn’t going to lead the league in anything, but he’s producer in the strikeout column, his ERA shouldn’t hurt me, and his WHIP is better than most give him credit for (1.15 and 1.19 the last two years).

Alex Cobb didn’t look great coming back from TJ surgery, but remember back to before the procedure when he was one of the ascending righties in the AL. Another year removed from the procedure, I’m fairly confident that his cost isn’t going to be difficult for him to overcome with positive efforts in 2017.

The one “mistake,” was paying full price for Kennedy. I really like him, a nice target in an AL-only league, but with so many other arms going for the $6-9 range, I should have let Kennedy go and showed a bit more restraint. I still like the arm and the numbers he consistently puts up, I just paid too much (average of 11 wins and 188 strikeouts the last three years).

The other concern, if you call it that, was not ending up with Brandon Kintzler late. I had one more pitching slot left when Bauer was brought up at auction. He was just sitting there at $4… so I went to $5. Given that I have Bauer being worth potentially twice that cost, it was a great buy. I was surprised when Kintzler came up a bit later and that there was relatively little interest – people had just run out of funds. Kintzler would have left me one starter short of my goal, but I would have looked better in the bullpen leading me to…

You might also say ‘where are the closers Ray?’ The answer is – I don’t know. What I do know is that Miller and Betances should get at least a handful of wins and saves each. At least. They are also likely to post an ERA in the 2.50 range, with a WHIP of 1.00 and something like 200 strikeouts over 160 innings. They are basically Justin Verlander. Casilla is a nobody at the moment, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him lead the Athletics in saves.

As for the offense…

People dislike Justin Upton. They really shouldn’t (see his Player Profile). I wanted stability at the top, so I took the younger Upton and Machado. I really like that duo. I was tempted to go one more buck on  Carlos Correa, that would have brought his cost up to match what I paid for Machado a few minutes later, but ultimately the dual position eligibility that Machado offered ended up being the reason that I waited and let Correa pass.

Buxton isn’t a very ‘Ray like’ pick being that I made him my third most expensive hitter even though he has one good month in the majors. That said I think a worst-case scenario for him this season is a Melvin Upton like .235 season with 15 homers and 15 steals. Rumors are swirling that he might hit leadoff as well. He has the potential and drive to be one of the breakout players in baseball in ’17.

Travis has been slow played this spring, but he should be healthy right around Opening Day. He’s appeared in 163 career games and been, well, Jason Kipnis who went for $5 more in this auction. Think I’m kidding? Here are the 162 game averages for each man: Travis (.301-19-85-92-7) and Kipnis (.272-16-75-92-24). Well, other than the steals at least.

Revere at $9 was a good gamble, even if he opens the year as the 4th outfielder in Anaheim. I felt even better about the addition of Ben to my squad when I saw the seemingly exorbitant prices paid for other speedsters: Jarrod Dyson 16, Rajai Davis 17.

Garcia/Vargas are both solid adds at cost. Garcia got in better shape this offseason and reworked his swing a bit. At one point, he was compared to Miggy. I’m not going mental on you and suggesting anything like that here. I’m merely pointing out that he’s a talented fella who could be a nice addition if he can start off well. Vargas is a sneaky add for a 25-homer season (he has 24 homers in 542 big league at-bats the last three years). There are concerns with his overall game, but the Twins really need some power in the middle of the lineup, and that’s something he can provide if they just let him play.

Saladino was on my AL LABR squad last season, and this year is an even more intriguing add. With Brett Lawrie out of town, Saladino seems destined to open the year at second for the White Sox. Given that he also qualifies at shortstop, I was happy to roster his overall game.


I ended up with Sandoval. I wanted Yulieski Gurriel, was in on the bidding to $12, but when he went all the way up to $16 I had to bow out (he was the last perceived difference maker at the table which caused his cost to go up). Let’s hope the weight loss with Pablo pays off.

I ended up with one too many pitchers and one fewer hitter than I really should have (meaning I should have used a few of the bucks I spent on a guy like Kennedy or Cobb to get another $10 outfielder versus the cheaper guys I ended up with at $5-6 dollars). As a result, you will notice that I took a bunch of gambles on hitters in the reserve round (especially after Lawr Michaels snaked me with Peter O’Brien and Joey Gallo was taken three picks before me in the reserve round as well). Those gambles included free agent Ryan Howard and the always hurt Josh Hamilton. If one of those guys comes through with an 18 homer season I’d be in much better shape. Of course, the odds of that happening aren’t exactly causing me to do cartwheels right now (if I did a cartwheel I would break something, end up in the hospital, and find out the true meaning of something going wrong). I also gambled on young outfielders, sensing I might be in use of a boost there, with guys like Frazier and O’Neil. They could bring something in the second half. They could do nothing this season.

I need a waiver add, a trade, or one of my reserve rounds picks to “hit” to help the offense. I need a bit of luck, a waiver add, or a trade at some point to bring me some saves. I look at the team and think I will be in the market for that hitter around mid-season when I deal away one of my solid starting arms. Same time, maybe three of my guys need TJ surgery by May and my season will be over before it even gets started.

In the end it was another fantastic weekend at LABR. Great people, tons of baseball talk, a little tomfoolery. Yep, that pretty much sums up another winning weekend in my book.


Here are the experts thoughts on the teams they put together.


David Price’s injury caused his cost to drop to low levels.

You need to be flexible in an auction.

Does Stars and Scrubs work?

Did you get your copy of the 2017 Fantasy Alarm MLB Draft Guide yet? No worries if you didn’t yet. There are multiple ways to pick up the “Living Guide” that will grow day-by-day. Find out how by clicking on the above link as we transition from fantasy football into fantasy baseball season.