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Sunday 25th Feb 2018

Draft Street is back and this week’s freeroll is bringing back memories, Back before the Internet became real popular, the pick ‘em style game was a favorite in magazines, due to its simplicity. I recall filling out many an entry and mailing it in (note the lack of an “e-“). Perhaps the biggest appeal of this format was it was always set up so you had two or three superstars on your team. Of course back there, there was no MLB.tv package, Extra Innings or satellite radio. You could watch your local team and perhaps the Braces, Cubs, Yankees and Mets along with ESPN if your cable company carried it. Yes, it was “if” back then.

In the Pick ‘em style, all you need to do is take one player from each tier. That’s it, no balancing of salary and the needs to identify low priced gems, if you want him, pick him. No leaving a guy off your team because he’s too expensive. Pint, click and he’s yours.

I’m going to stick with my standard principles, and actually, this is going to be a great way of testing how well they work as each tier is set up my Draft Street to consist of players similar in potential so I can easily go back after the night is through and see which player actually did perform the best from each tier to see if it was random or if they somehow followed one of my tenets, and if so, which one? Of course, the sample is too small to draw any actionable conclusions, but you have to start somewhere.

There are no pitchers in the picks, so here is a review of my rules of thumb for picking hitters:

Favor lefty hitters facing righty hitters, then righty hitters against southpaw chuckers, then righty versus righties as a last resort while not taking any lefty on lefty matchups.

  • Favor home games.
  • Favor a hitter facing a weaker pitcher
  • Don’t be afraid to load up on a strong offense facing a weak pitcher, especially at home.
  • Park effect matter, but as a tie-breaker.
  • Here are the eight tiers with my representative from each:

    TIER 1 – Joey Votto (L) vs. Nick Blackburn (R)

    David Ortiz (L) vs. Jair Jurrjens (R)
    Adam Dunn (L) vs. Zack Greinke (R)
    Ryan Braun (R) @ Chris Sale (L)
    Josh Hamilton (L) vs. Christian Friedrich (L)
    Jose Bautista (R) @ Anibal Sanchez (R)
    David Wright (R) vs. Andy Pettitte (L)
    Carlos Gonzalez (L) @ Roy Oswalt (R)

    Votto barely beat out Big Papi with CarGo also under consideration. It was tough to leave Ortiz off, but as a whole, I like Votto’s chance of more runs and RBI so he gets the nod.


    TIER 2 – Ian Kinsler (R) vs. Friedrich (L)

    Albert Pujols (R) vs. Chad Billingsley (R)
    Mike Trout (R) vs. Billingsley (R)
    Curtis Granderson (L) @ Jonathon Niese (L)
    Brandon Phillips (R) vs. Blackburn (R)
    Jay Bruce (L) vs. Blackburn (R)
    Carlos Beltran (S) @ Vin Mazzaro (R)
    Melky Cabrera (S) @ Jarrod Parker (R)

    Kinsler was a relatively easy choice though Jay Bruce warranted some consideration, but Kinsler hits higher in the order and will fan less.

    TIER 3 – Prince Fielder (L) @ A.J. Burnett (R)

    Paul Konerko (R) vs. Greinke (R)
    Miguel Cabrera (R) @ Burnett (R)
    Aramis Ramirez (R) @ Chris Sale (L)
    Robinson Cano (L) @ Niese (L)
    Edwin Encarnacion (R) @ Sanchez (R)
    Hunter Pence (R) vs. James Shields (R)
    Andrew McCutchen (R) vs. Doug Fister (R)

    Fielder is the only choice playing on the road, but the home options are just not enticing enough to use. Pence is the only guy I considered since Shields is prone to the long ball. This tier is going to be interesting to follow.

    TIER 4 – Adrian Beltre (R) vs. Friedrich (L)

    Adam Jones (R) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (R)
    Mark Teixeira (S) @ Niese (L)
    Nick Swisher (L) @ Niese (L)
    Jose Altuve(R) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (R)
    Shane Victorino (S) vs. Shields (R)
    Matt Holliday (R) @ Mazzaro (R)
    Michael Cuddyer (R) @ Oswalt (R)

    Beltre is the second of three Rangers that will make the cut. Is there a better matchup than Texas facing Friedrich at the comfy confines of The Ballpark at Arlington? Victorino was a distant second in this tier.

    TIER 5 – Alex Gordon (L) vs. Joe Kelly (R)


    Mark Trumbo (R) vs. Billingsley (R)
    Denard Span (L) @ Homer Bailey (R)
    Derek Jeter (R) @ Niese (L)
    Josh Reddick (L) vs. Tim Lincecum (R)
    Rajai Davis (R) @ Sanchez (R)
    Andre Ethier (L) @ Dan Haren (R)
    Bryce Harper (L) @ Jason Hammel (R)

    I’ll take a lead-off hitter facing a rookie. Harper and Reddick also were interesting, but Gordon’s track record in general is a point in his favor.

    TIER 6 – Mike Moustakas (L) vs. Joe Kelly (R)

    Alejandro De Aza (L) vs. Greinke (R)
    Shin-Soo Choo (L) @ Lucas Harrell (R)
    Asdrubal Cabrera (S) @ Harrell (R)
    Eric Hosmer (L) vs. Kelly (R)
    Alex Rodriguez (R) @Niese (L)
    Pablo Sandoval (S) @ Parker (R)
    Aaron Hill (R) vs. Jeff Samardzija (R)

    This was the toughest call as Moustakas and teammate Hosmer both profile similarly. Moustakas was the choice mostly on gut as he has hit better this season than Hosmer, though in general, Hosmer is the better hitter.

    TIER 7 – Jimmy Rollins (S) vs. James Shields (R)

    Chris Davis (L) vs. Zimmermann (R)
    Dustin Pedroia (R) vs. Jurrjens (R)
    Michael Bourn (L) @ Jon Lester (L)
    Alfonso Soriano (R) @ Joe Saunders (L)
    Ian Desmond (R) @ Hammel (R)
    Chase Headley (S) vs. Kevin Millwood (R)
    Jose Reyes (S) vs. Ricky Romero (L)

    Picking a Phillie has tempted me and I finally took the plunge.  Jose Reyes was also considered since his game is not impacted by the big park so he could so some damage on the bases against the sometimes out-of-control Romero.

    TIER 8 – Nelson Cruz (R) vs. Friedrich (L)

    Colby Rasmus (L) @ Sanchez (R)
    Brian McCann (L) @ Lester (L)
    Ryan Ludwick (R) vs. Blackburn (R)
    Adam LaRoche (L) @ Hammel (R)
    Angel Pagan (S) @ Parker (R)
    Carlos Pena (L) @ Cliff Lee (L)
    B.J. Upton (R) @ Lee (L)

    Completing the Texas trio, Cruz fits all the criteria and was the easiest choice of the bunch. I really didn’t even consider anyone else, but if forced for a second choice, I’d be torn between LaRoche and Upton. LaRoche has the handedness, good park and lesser opposing pitcher while Upton also has the handedness, is in even a better park but is facing an ace in Lee.

    That’s the squad, please feel free to tell me where I screwed up in the comments and prove it to me by playing. It is no secret I play under a couple of different usernames, so I am also going to enter a team consisting of the runner-up choices as well as a third team where there choices are totally random.

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