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Tuesday 23rd Jan 2018

Hi gang, long time no cyber-see. Sorry, been head over heels wrapped up in Platinum content. The National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) has already begun drafting so we released our Platinum product earlier than ever before. Then came the winter meetings to be followed by all the trades and signings this week. But, pending the R.A. Dickey deal, we're all up to date so I get to take a beat and watch a little football today, though I may sneak in a profile or two.

Speaking of football, this is going to be a fun day for the Mastersball staff as I square off against Lawr in the semi-finals of one league and against Rob in another. I'm also in the semis in a third league, playing long time roto-buddy Michael Cox. We have been playing in each other's leagues for twelve years.

Yeah, head to head leagues are wrought with luck and sometimes the better team, at least in terms of seasonal points scored doesn't always advance, but there is something to be said about having Tom Brady while your opponent has the Niner's defense. Or having to sweat out the Monday Night match-up before a winner is decided. Besides, how many teams in professional sports win championships with inferior season records? Quite a few.

Anyway, no one cares about your team but you, so I'll leave it at that.

Something you may care about is my early take on the 2013 baseball season. I have already completed drafts in two leagues that "count" as well as participating in two magazine mock drafts. Here are some thoughts.

With the first pick, I'm taking Ryan Braun. Every time.

With the second pick, I'm taking Miguel Cabrera. Every time.

With the third pick I'm taking....

With the third pick I'm taking...

This is where it gets fuzzy. My projections say Mike Trout. And I factored in some pretty heavy regression. The numbers say .280 with 26 HR and 42 steals. Remember he missed April last year so he's devoid more than 4 HR and 7 SB. But here's the thing. I know I need to introduce more risk into my game, but with Robinson Cano sitting at number four on my projections, my lean is to go safe and take chances later. So...

With the third pick I'm taking Robinson Cano.

Unless I'm feeling frisky.

Buster Posey is worthy of a first round pick, and I predict his ADP will be 10-12, but I'm not investing in a catcher that early. At least thus far, according to my numbers, catchers are being undervalued all the way down the board. Victor Martinez and Joe Mauer can be had in the 4th, 5th or 6th which means you can build a solid foundation before taking one. But like I said, my numbers suggest all the catchers are lasting a round or two longer than the rankings dictate so waiting and snagging Miguel Montero, Salvador Perez, Jonathan Lucroy etc. is perfectly viable. Matt Wieters will cost, as will Yadier Molina. Check out how similar Molina's and Posey's numbers were last season:

Buster Posey 0.336 78 24 103 1
Yadier Molina 0.315 65 22 76 12

Yeah, Posey's were better, but especially when you consider Yadi's steals, it may be closer than you realized. That said, while I believe Molina has definitely improved as a hitter, I am more confident Posey approaches last season's numbers than I am Molina. 

Paul Goldschmidt is a hot commodity, and his projection corroborates that, but I'm not completely sold. The key will be if he keeps the gains he made in contact rate. At a position as flush as first, I need to see it another year before I pay for it, especially at the 4th/5th round ticket.

While on the topic of first basemen, make a mental note that after a late season string of games where he toted the leather, Billy Butler qualifies at the position and not just designated hitter. For what it's worth, while I won't chase him, I do believe Eric Hosmer is in line for a bounce-back season and I can see him as my corner in a couple of leagues.

I'm sure this will change as some of the situations in flux flesh out, but I am finding the spot I like to take closers to be weaker than normal. I prefer to pass on the upper echelon, but I don't like to toss my line in the speculative seas either. If I were to list the guys I can comfortably target, it would be one name -- Jason Motte. I'm not going to be the guy that takes Craig Kimbrel. I'm probably going to pass on Jonathan Papelbon as well, but maybe not. That's really it for the "sure things." Motte would be the next safest, but since he doesn't have the reputation yet, he is still sliding a bit.

Think about it. Will Mariano Rivera be his old self? Can Joe Nathan stay healthy? Will Joel Hanrahan and John Axford get their walks back in check? Can Huston Street and Andrew Bailey stay healthy? For that matter, has anyone actually seen Street and Bailey together? My theory is they are actually one guy and this is a ruse to pull two salaries. What about Steve Cishek, Tom Wilhelmsen, Addison Reed, Greg Holland and Glen Perkins - can they hold the gig for 162? Is Sergio Romo durable enough? Where will Rafael Soriano sign and what will his role be? Brandon League -- really? Will Chris Perez and Hanrahan be traded? If you think Jim Johnson will repeat, I have a bridge I'd like you to look at. If you think Fernando Rodney will repeat --well, he just may, with an ERA correction, but are you willing to pay for it? How long before Kyuji Fujikawa (and the horse he rode in on) supplants Carlos Marmol? What happens if Jonathan Broxton struggles and so does Aroldis Chapman? Brandon League -- REALLY?!?!?! I've been in two drafts where Kenley Jansen was taken before Broxton and this was AFTER the announcement that League was the closer. Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard? Who will get both of the Astro saves? Will Brian Wilson and Ryan Madson regain form after Tommy John surgery?

You know, Grant Balfour is looking pretty good right now.

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