In what is now the 14th year of Lovett/Saario/Russo/Mitchell/Choe Fantasy Baseball, the tradition continues with unbiased, objective analysis from YKI. A great draft and a hearty thank you to Juan for providing a perfect environment for a treacherous six-hour draft. All Rosters Appear HERE.
Keep in mind that Choe Fantasy Baseball (as it is formally referred to for 2010) has a very unique – and in my opinion, more accurate – scoring system than most rotisserie leagues; you start a real ‘lineup,’ meaning eight position players and one DH, as well as four starting pitchers and one closer. The points system is ‘aggregate’ and is awarded on a straight-forward basis (one point for a hit, one for a walk, four for a homerun, etc) and allows for some pretty high scores on a weekly basis. Though the numbers can get unwieldy, I’ve always felt that fantasy league should reflect aggregate greatness rather than category consistency, as there’s no way you can convince me that stolen bases is as valuable as homeruns – and thusly, we simply ignore that system and utilize this, more accurate method.
Without further adieu, the Predictions/Analysis.
*for these purposes, all “Keepers” will be treated as draftees and written about accordingly*
Elson: The lineup is solid and the rotation is deep. . .so why isn’t YKI excited about “El-Boogie‘s” chances? The middle infield, while large in cachet & name brand appeal, were largely expensive and both players (Ian Kinsler, Jimmy Rollins) are struggling with average, and hitting in general – at least for those prices. Mark Reynolds & Aramis Ramirez form a dynamite duo at 3B, while Grady Sizemore and Carlos Lee anchor the outfield. Weiters is destined for greatness, but is it too soon to anoint him as your go-to Fantasy catcher? We’ll find out. The rotation, with Brad Penny, Aaron Harang and Derek Lowe at the bottom, definitely has depth, but Tim Lincecum is the only true Ace of the staff.
Overpaid pickups: Ian Kinsler, $44; Jimmy Rollins, $50
Best pickups: Michael Cuddyer, $1; Juan Rivera, $1; Mark Reynolds, $2
Predicted Finish: 6thPlace
Henry: “The Book” continued right on rolling, as some highly advised pickups were consulted & confirmed. Zack Greinke, Yovanni Gallardo, Roy Halladay and AJ Burnett form a very stout rotation, while A-Rod carries the offense. Aside from that, though, are question marks – YKI is not a firm believer in Matt Kemp and his “promise/upside” of 40/40 seasons; Jayson Werth had a career year while Carlos Beltran is questionable; that said, Alfonso Soriano & Vernon Wells are two good – if not guaranteed – backups.
Overpaid pickups: Matt Kemp, $39; Alfonso Soriano, $15
Best pickups: Kendry Morales, $2; Yovanni Gallardo, $8
Predicted Finish: 8thPlace
EvaDen: YKI’s doppleganger scored nicely with a few bargain pickups in the late rounds after surviving an early scare with lack of cap space. The rotation is full of question marks – with upside – as Chris Carpenter and Cole Hamels will look to continue/rebound despite histories of injury/detachment. The offense is tremendous, however, with Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez & Ryan Braun in the middle of the order, and an underrated Michael Young and soon-to-be-great Rickie Weeks filling the middle. Catcher is an issue with Mike Napoli and Yadier Molina sharing duty.
Overpaid pickups: Nick Markakis, $24; Matt Garza, $17
Best pickups: Mariano Rivera, $1; Brad Hawpe, $1, Billy Butler, $7
Predicted Finish: 4thPlace
Paul: It took him a while to fill out a roster, and “Peezaleo” ended up with a resoundingly mediocre squad. Nothing bad, nothing good – just a middle of the pack feel. Josh Johnson, Dan Haren, Max Scherzer are high-upside pitchers, but can anybody step up right now and be the Ace? Mark Teixiera & Brandon Phillips are a phenomenal right side infield couplet, but Rafael Furcal & Adrian Beltre need to revert back to ‘early career with Dodgers’ days in order to keep Paul’s offense rolling; the outfield of Matt Holliday, Hunter Pence & Alex Rios doesn’t provide much of a threat either. The ‘backup’ first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, will do damage. As with most clubs, catcher is an issue here as well.Overpaid pickups: Dan Haren, $48; Best pickups: Chris Young (Dbacks), $1; Adrian Gonzalez, $36
Predicted Finish: 10thPlace
Mitch: More than anything else, “MitchDiggy” provided what every draft needs – a resident drunkard. The alcohol didn’t seem to affect his drafting as mitch came out of the evening with a very potent club; Justin Verlander and Matt Cain form an excellent 1-2 punch, and Brett Anderson and James Shields are reliable filling out the rotation. Though lacking depth in the infield, Ryan Howard, Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria & Brian McCann form one of the best-hitting cores in the league. The outfield is solid if not spectacular – JD Drew, Carlos Quentin & Andre Ethier may not have the superstar recognition, but are consistent fantasy ballplayers.
Overpaid pickups: Ben Zobrist, $24; Carlos Quentin, $26, Josh Hamilton, $15
Best pickups: Nolan Reimold, $5; Brett Anderson, $8, Evan Longoria, $8
Predicted Finish: 3rdPlace
Brandon: Ahh. . .the Wonderful World of “BDogthaHog” – hone up on the talent, get some popcorn, sit back and horde caps until everybody is out of money, then rip guys off the deck at pennies on the dollar. . .but alas, folks, just like Moneyball was exploited, so was the patented BDog Strategy. Overpaying for a couple of pitchers – Javier Vazquez, Chad Billingsley – put him in the hole early, leaving him with only four outfielders, and not a spectacular bunch at that. In all fairness, though, the trio of Jason Bay, Curtis Granderson & Carl Crawford is definitely solid. Between Adam Dunn, Derrek Lee & Chris Davis, he’ll have no issues at 1B, and he showed his skill for grabbing talent with some youth & depth at the other infield slots (Gordon Beckham, Pablo Sandoval, Elvis Andrus, Andrew McCutchen). Will this draft be strong enough for BDog to put ‘er on auto pilot and let it play out, or will he actually have to GM this year? YKI thinks the latter. . .
Overpaid pickups: Javier Vazquez, $26; Chad Billingsley, $25; Derek Jeter, $16, Dan Uggla, $12
Best pickups: Clayton Kershaw, $9; Jorge de la Rosa, $7; Chris Davis, $2
Predicted Finish: 9thPlace
JC/Juan: An outstanding squad. “Jig” had perhaps the best draft of the night (home-field advantage?), spending big early in the right spots and holding on to pick up bargains in middle and late rounds. Johan Santana, Scott Kazmir, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson, JA Happ & Edwin Jackson combine with Stephen Strasburg to form the best rotation in the league. Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano, Troy Tulowitzki, Joe Mauer, Adam Jones, Torii Hunter. . .you get the point – the offense is studly as well. Great draft.
Overpaid pickups: Johan Santana, $49; Jake Peavy, $30 (injury risks)
Best pickups: Edwin Jackson, $8; Tim Hudson, $8; Buster Posey, $1; Torii Hunter, $8; Adam Jones, $15; Magglio Ordonez, $5; Joe Mauer, $17; Vlad Guerrero, $1, Tommy Hanson, $5
Predicted Finish: 1st Place
Rene: “Big Ne” is always difficult to peg just because he views talent much differently than YKI. His squads never look good on paper on draft day but always fair well; this year should be no different. Solid, solid team with Chase Utley, Victor Martinez, Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, Manny Ramirez, Joey Votto and Stephen Drew leading the offense, and Jon Lester, Carlos Zambrano, John Lackey, Jair Jurrjens & Gavin Floyd anchoring the rotation. Will be interesting to see how he fares, but the team looks good and should finish in the money.Overpaid pickups: Victor Martinez, $43; Jon Lester, $46; Manny Ramirez, $27 Best pickups: Brandon Wood, $1; John Lackey, $18; Carlos Zambrano, $14; Gavin Floyd, $5; Anibal Sanchez, $1, Rick Porcello, $1
Predicted Finish: 2ndPlace
Tony: One of my absolute favorite GMs year-to-year, as “TMex” always has a game plan, and executes. He paid big bucks for a few studs, but in this scoring system that’s how we get ‘er done. Aces galore on the pitching staff – Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, even former aces Roy Oswalt, Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf, Mark Buerhle & Brandon Webb can contribute. Adam Lind is solid at bat, and a great complement to Albert Pujols, Dustin Pedroia & Jose Reyes. My major concerns are in the outfield, where Jacoby Ellsbury, Nate McClouth, Johnny Damon & Michael Bourn are the only options in a scoring system that heavily favors power.
Overpaid pickups: Jose Reyes, $35
Best pickups: Madison Bumgarner, $1; Mat Gamel, $1; Johnny Damon, $1; Howie Kendrick, $2; Kurt Suzuki, $4; Randy Wolf, $1
Predicted Finish: 5thPlace
Lance: The master of patience, diligence and a strong work ethic throughout the season, “Leezy Mo Bee” tends to overhaul his roster little-by-little as the season progresses, and actually GMming his way into the money. He recognizes talent but doesn’t really like to spend, and accordingly his draft day rosters tend to be merely ‘good.’ This year he continued the philosophy- at least for Draft Day – as the staff of Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Beckett & Wandy Rodriguez provides him a plethora of Aces. The outfield is a bit weak with Nelson Cruz, Shin Soo Choo, Jason Heyward & Carlos Gonzalez; though each player has the potential to be a mega-star. The rest of the offense is good – Kevin Youkilis, Carlos Pena, Aaron Hill, Alexei Ramirez, David Wright, Geovanny Soto – but really lacks a definitive power punch at its core.
Overpaid pickups: Josh Beckett, $45; David Wright, $41
Best pickups: Ubaldo Jimenez, $2; Geovanny Soto, $20; Carlos Gonzalez, $7; Wandy Rodriguez, $16; Jason Kubel, $3
Predicted Finish: 7thPlace