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Wednesday 21st Feb 2018

Back once again for the wonderful BaseballHQ Arizona Fall League First Pitch where we sit in the sun, watch prospects, talk baseball including fantasy, and for a cluster of us draft our Xperts Fantasy League (XFL) teams.

The XFL is an industry league where participants are over the age of 40, and have ten years of affiliation with the fantasy industry. The league is a mixed 15-team format where we can freeze up to 15 players with a $260 salary cap.

After terrible finishes in this tough league for nine years, including five last place finishes, I took a completely different path last fall, deciding I would be willing to bite the bullet for one more year taking drastic measures.

Now, the owners of the XFL are savvy players so there is no such thing as sneaking a player by, in fact Yu Darvish was selected on a reserve list four seasons ago. Meaning all the top prospects were and had been gone.

So, rather than trying to continually rebuild via the draft, I took a pair of plans with me in 2012.

First, I bought the best available hitter and pitcher in Roy Halladay and Albert Pujols, paying $42 and $66 respectively.

Second, I tried to buy as many up-and-coming players who were indeed in the majors, but had not yet proved to be full time big leaguers. Players like Leonys Martin ($2), Corey Kluber ($1), and Ryan Kalish ($1).

A month into the season, I then swapped Halladay for Yoenis Cespedes ($1) and Matt Harrison ($2), as well as Albert Pujols for Matt Moore ($1) and Yonder Alonso ($1).

Kluber and Kalish wound up being loss leaders as I let them go, but along with a couple of good draft picks I had made, I was able to freeze 11 starting players and have $185 to spend.

So, at 3:00 pm on Friday, we convened and I got a chance to put phase III of my plan into action, drafting into my 11 player freeze list.

Here are the results (frozen players have an *):

  • C: George Kottaras ($1)
  • C: Hector Sanchez ($1)
  • 1B: Yonder Alonso ($7)*
  • 2B: Dustin Ackley ($7)*
  • 3B: Kyle Seager ($6)*
  • SS: Erick Aybar ($19)
  • MI: Brandon Phillips ($22)
  • CI: Ryan Zimmerman ($36)
  • OF:Allen Craig ($15)*
  • OF: Yoenis Cespedes ($4)*
  • OF: Alejandro De Aza ($6)*
  • OF: Leonys Martin ($5)*
  • OF: Ben Revere ($7)*
  • UT: Matt Holliday ($44)
  • P: Matt Harrison ($7)*
  • P: Jacob Turner ($7)*
  • P: Matt Moore ($4)*
  • P: Zack Greinke ($30)
  • P: Jon Lester ($20)
  • P: Shaun Marcum ($7)
  • P: David Phelps ($2)
  • P: Chris Tillman ($1)
  • P: Neftali Feliz ($1)
  • I did spend all my money, and my only regret is Feliz. Note too, though, that in March we will have an expansion draft of 17 more players from either the free agent pool, or the minor leagues, so I certainly can replace Feliz, as well as probably grab a couple of closers.

    But, my main objectives of indeed spending my money, but also getting solid everyday players that had very little risk was achieved. That is because though I did have a good and inexpensive keeper list, none of my players was established in the way the players I obtained are.

    Will it work? I certainly hope so, for I have indeed had enough of looking up at my mates Don Drooker and Jeff Winick in the standings.

    For a look at the entire draft, see the XFL 2013 auction results.

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