Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Anatomy of a Drinking Draft

So on Saturday, we had our 10-man live draft with my good buddies from home. It's a 5-player keeper league, where each keeper replaces a pick in rounds 1 through 5 - it's normal 5x5 but with OBP instead of BA (because we're progressive like that). Last season, I went into freefall late in the year as my pitching staff became decimated and injuries to key players (hi Ian Kinsler!) took their toll on my non-core stats.

An interesting thing happened - Lance Berkman didn't play a single game in the OF last season, forcing me into a situation where I had Berkman, Fielder and Howard all competing for 2 spots (1B and UTIL). Normally I would be apoplectic about being locked into my UTIL slot so early, but I genuinely feel all three are top-20 talents. In an effort to get younger, I made a trade, sending Howard (less valuable than usual in this league because it ends earlier and usually Howard's end-of-season tear coincides with his team sitting at home watching the playoffs) for BJ Upton (giving me much-needed youth and athleticism, insanely important in a keeper league). This made my five keepers David Wright, Lance Berkman, Ian Kinsler, Prince Fielder and BJ Upton - a very good collection of talent (all rated inside the top 35, with four potential top-20 guys) but not even close to the best in the league at this point, so I'd have to make up some ground in the draft:

Rim Job Larry
Berkman Lance 1B K
Fielder Prince 1B K
Wright David 3B K
Kinsler Ian 2B K
Upton B.J. OF K
McCann Brian C 6
Young Chris OF 7
Dunn Adam OF 8
Vazquez Javier P 9
Lowe Derek P 10
Myers Brett P 11
Tulowitzki Troy SS 12
Santana Ervin P 13
Fuentes Brian P 14
Danks John P 15
Street Huston P 16
Carpent Chris P 17
Drew J.D. OF 18
Duchscherer Justin P 19
Johnson Kelly 2B 20
Dukes Elijah OF 21

I selected 4th, and Dan Haren and Jake Peavy were off the board before it got to me. At this point, I made a snap decision - with basically every top-tier starter off the board, I would try to use a modified version of the old auction-draft move of piling 80% of your resources into position players, then filling your staff with high-K/low-WHIP guys, often using multiple relievers, even middle relievers. With our league having 3 SP slots and no mid-week changes, I wouldn't necessarily be able to run it to its fullest effect - I'd still need something for wins, and with a 10-team league, Ks from starters are still huge since the pool is deep.

Either way, I took the plunge, picking for value at 54 with the best catcher available (since I figured ESPN's hype would make Weiters/Ianetta/etc. overhyped; I was wrong) and possibly the best player available. I then capitalized on undervalued resources to fill my OF slots (OF is startlingly shallow this year, even in 10-team leagues) with Young and Dunn, who I likely should have selected in the reverse order, but since it was on the wheel no one cares.

Now that I had my position players solidly filled (and with what might be the best position-player lineup I've ever had in fantasy baseball), I started on the pitching. Vasquez is an obvious choice, in hopes that moving to the easier league and out of US Cellular knocks down the gopher balls while increasing K:BB ratio slightly, although he's still been valuable for years, while Myers fits exactly the role we're looking for while giving a good shot at Ws on a solid second-place team. Lowe goes exactly against the grain of the high-K lineup, but the value was way too solid at that position, and his WHIP plus ERA should still help. Tulo was the only non-garbage SS left (and was likely a steal), Drew shouldn't go that low even with his injury history, while Carpenter would have never made it back to me and thus forced my hand. I grabbed Dukes on a flier, knowing that I could DL Upton and add Jason Motte to get another reliever into the starting lineup.

Overall, I'm pretty damn happy with the draft - it's yet another all-offense/questionable-pitching RC team, but that's been my MO for years, and I'll just have to run waiver-wire games to keep the staff solid (or ditch SP for the Royce Rings of 2009; which I'm fine with).


cseguin said...

Looks like a solid team, especially your keepers. You may have gone a little high on Young, and I'm not sure I would have spent a pick on Street, but overall I liked what you did. Getting Dukes that late is pretty awesome.

RC said...

The Street pick is already looking awful - he's currently very close to cut. I moved Santana to the DL and cut Duchschererererereafdjklare after his last setback, and added Jason Motte and Carlos Marmol to try to shore up my RP woes. Additionally, I've added Adam Lind in place of JD Drew and he's starting in place of Chris Young while CY figures out how to actually make contact. Weird first week, but I feel like I've been able to solidify well.