I was invited to be a part of a podcast league associated with the Fantasy Baseball Tonight podcast. It is a 14-team mixed 5x5 roto league. The only real twist is two Utility positions.
That, and the fact that there are 14 teams... at least five of which are experts. It should be a bumpy ride.
I drew pick number 10 and I just hoped that one of my top 8 guys would fall to me. Robinson Cano, come on down! Cano at #10 is pure gold.
Snaking back around to the 19th pick and Hanley Ramirez was still available, so I snatched him up. Not a bad start! The great thing about Hanley, as I have mentioned before, is that he will be a 3B and a SS this year so I had some flexibility going forward.
Round 3 I was at pick #38. Those 14-pick rounds start adding up, so I'll keep giving you the pick number and you can adjust for typical 12 or 10 team drafts. Anyway, Pablo Sandoval was there so I grabbed the Panda. My batting average is pretty nice. I anticipate Sandoval and Hanley to be a little over .300 this year and Cano to be closer to .320 or .325.
From there I found good value with Nelson Cruz at #47 and Jason Heyward at #66. My best bet in round 6 (pick #75) looked like Brian McCann, so I locked down the catcher position. Again, good BA there.
Pick 94 rolled around and I was starting to feel the heat of no pitching. The problem was that I wanted to take Brett Gardner and felt like if I didn't pull the trigger I wouldn't have a chance. I really like Gardner as a breakout candidate this year. Runs and stolen bases all over the place with him.
Billy Butler was next for me, so I'm feeling pretty good about my team.
C - McCann
1B - Butler
2B - Cano
SS - Hanley
3B - Sandoval
OF - Cruz
OF - Heyward
OF - Gardner
At this point I'm thinking that I need pitching no matter what and that I can fill in those two utility slots later. So, I was very happy to find Cory Luebke and Brandon Morrow with my next two picks. I love, love both of those guys.
In round 11, pick #150, I grabbed podcast favorite Lucas Duda. I now have three guys who can play 1B, four for the OF, and two at 3B. Not bad. There is great upside with Duda this year.
But wait, no closers yet. Argh! What to do, what to do... I am never one to punt a category, even in a deep league like this one. From that perspective, my next two picks probably should have been Brett Myers and Grant Balfour... but how could I do that with Jaime Garcia and Jeremy Hellickson calling my name? I need starters too, right?
Well, yes I do but the closers really went away. Most of them being picked right before me. I went back to the value well and grabbed Alexei Ramirez and Matt Joyce. I'm incredibly stacked offensively at this point for a 14-team league and I have four good starting pitchers that I really like.
Round 16. Do you really think that Joe Nathan keeps his job all year? Me neither. Mike Adams is the pick. Same thing with Matt Capps. Me neither. Glen Perkins in round 17. Drew Storen is injured for a little while in D.C. so how about Brad Lidge? Yuck, but alright.
Round 19 brought a pretty good steal in Daniel Murphy. Really nice stats last year, doesn't hurt you at BA, age 27, has a full time job, and qualifies at 1B, 2B, and 3B. Really nice bench option late.
Pick #271 was Tim Stauffer. Fantastic pickup as an SP#5. Pick #290 was John Mayberry. More positional flexibility and huge upside.
My last two picks were David Hernandez and Joaquin Benoit. J.J. Putz might get hurt and Hernandez is the clear backup. In Detroit Valverde is the man, but Benoit is the backup and he's a guy that can't hurt me.
That is a good point that I'll leave you with. These clear-cut closers-in-waiting are excellent gambles late in your drafts. They typically won't hurt your stats at all and even contribute a little here and there. And, if they somehow get the job you've struck gold.