|Draft Prep: JBL Preview of 2013|
|Theory and Strategy - Platinum|
|Written by Perry Van Hook|
|Tuesday, 18 December 2012 01:06|
Welcome to an annual feature here – a draft prep article for the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd and Perry will show you the entire draft of a 15 team, 5X5 mixed league draft on a round by round basis with their real time comments after each round followed by a summary of their teams with additional commentary.
The “Jerry Beckham League” is a REAL league of rotoholics who start this email draft in December when football is ending and the eternal hopes of spring draw us to a first look at the upcoming season. The JBL, named after Jerry Beckham, an enthusiastic if not shrewd fantasy drafter who died with three rounds left in the 2004 draft, was originally derived from a mock draft for March’s NFBC $100,000 fantasy contest. Remember this draft was started in late November, so there has been some player movement since it started – you will see some players still listed as FA while others who were drafted as free agents (Greinke, etc.) are now listed with their new teams.
As you may remember if you read the article about this league’s draft last year, Todd and I both play in this league – partially because we are roto addicts and it’s the only game in December, but also to start to sharpen our draft perspective and research for you and what this year’s drafts may look like. A few notes peculiar to this particular league:
1. We are not following the strict letter of the NFBC rules regarding position eligibility – we do use the same 20 game (or most games played for minor league players called up in 2010) eligibility, but do not view pinch hitting as a position.
2. Although small, we do give category bonu$e$ in addition to the payouts to the top three teams in the league.
So let’s look at the draft: Each round will be shown with the pick number; player name, position(s) and team. When the pick is by Todd or Perry, that is noted in the final column and then we will each comment on our selection for each round. Like the NFBC, this is a thirty round draft where you have to have a “legal” lineup at the end but not at any point (round 23) before then.
Perry’s comments – Obviously a lot of good players here so in addition to the fundamental concern of a hitter who will return solid value, the other consideration would be personal preference as to team construction – thus my selection of Cano, the best hitting second baseman in the game over McCutchen or Kemp. I must say that as this draft progresses it will be a PIA to be right next to Todd.
Todd’s comments – The five-hole could either be my third or least favorite spot to draft this season. Tell me I will get Cano and I’ll do a cartwheel. Well, I’ll be very pleased. It’s not that I don’t like McCutchen, but after Braun, Miggy, Trout and Cano, I don’t see a huge difference between the next set of players and would prefer being able to pair them up at the turn. But, the good Captain sniped Cano so I opted for some upside. I name this team “Risky Business” to have Heidi Klum in underwear mimicking Tom Cruise as my team logo as well as reminding myself to take some chances.
Todd’s comments – Since I made this pick, I came to my senses (somewhat) and lowered the plate appearances for Kinsler. For weeks I have been seeing his name atop the list when I sort by PA. And based on his last two seasons, it was justified. But think about your reaction if I told you two years ago that Kinsler was about to have three straight seasons of 700+ trips to the dish. You may have looked elsewhere for fantasy advice. Plus, after losing so much offensive firepower, the Ranger lineup may not turn over as many times, costing Kinsler 10-20 PA. So I lowered his appearances and his rank fell accordingly. I’m not unhappy about this pick even though there is a chance he would have slid to the third. Kinsler is one of the true 30/30 threats but expect something like 50 combined HR + SB and you’ll be fine.
Perry’s comments – the chance to get one of the elite SP here as well as seeing I could get a comparable hitter in the early third led me to choose Kershaw who has everything you want in your ace – high strikeouts, pitches in good home park, and has an excellent lineup behind him. That’s a three pitcher tier and I got the last one.
Perry’s comments – well I think that worked well and I think that despite early conjecture to the contrary Granderson will stay in New York and have another excellent year
Todd’s comments – Some things never change as second to my bromance for Kinsler is one for J-Roll. Much like Kinsler, I love the counting stats from the middle but my batting average is now in a bit of peril. I don’t mind this, of all categories, I worry the least about batting average. As for the pick, the skills are still there though I do worry about Rollins accruing the normal number of at bats that pound up the counting stats.
Todd’s comments – I’m beginning to see a pattern and that is an affinity for a certain set of players that I favor year after year – Rollins and Kinsler heading the list. And while I have not been completely shut out as far as win/place/show goes, my record could stand some improvement so methinks it is time to shake things up, if for no other reason than to force me out of my comfort zone and consider players that I normally would not. So I decided to take a catcher and debated V-Mart and Joe Mauer. Ultimately, I took V-Mart figuring it was better to continue to build the counting stat foundation than to “fix” my batting average, taking away the edge I may have in HR/SB/RBI/runs. I trust that the spring will be sufficient to knock the rust of Martinez and there will be plenty of production amidst Austin Jackson, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera.
Perry’s comments – not the choices I thought I would have here – was actually hoping that Butler or Cespedes would have fallen and decided on Goldschmidt over Mauer to fill the thinning first base slot with power and some steals.
Perry’s comments – I knew there would be a good second tier pitcher available after the turn and preferred to get Darvish – or Lee for the 200+ strikeouts. Very important to get a couple of STUD starters while they are available in these category matchpoint formats. Plus I think Darvish will be better next year with the first year of experience under his belt and both Maddux to talk to.
Todd’s comments – And look who is still there in round five. Full disclosure, I would never have done this, taking a second catcher, in a higher stakes league, but by doing so here, I absolutely assure myself of having to explore alternate paths to constructing my roster. I considered if doing this was a disservice to you, the reader, as I knew we would be writing the draft up, but in the end I decided that it may actually be beneficial. Not in terms of “look at the off the wall strategy Zola is doing” but more so because this is where Mauer “should” go so you are not being misled plus chances are I will be forced to comment on some players I would have otherwise ignored. Plus, there’s that whole batting average thing. For what it’s worth, the reason I would not do this “for real” is it takes away my ability to jump on a catcher I feel has slipped later in the draft. Any time you restrict the inventory, you’re weakening your team.
Todd’s comments – This is the first fallout of the dual catcher ploy as that is the spot I normally take a pitcher with solid strikeout potential. Instead, I begin the staff with a solid ratios guy but someone whose lower innings total will temper the whiffs. So I’ll have to be diligent about streaming on the back end or finding a high K/9 guy in the next few rounds.
Perry’s comments – I was very glad to see a pitcher run since I took my first two starting pitchers already (and other than Kimbrel wouldn’t consider a closer this early). I thought Hart was the best hitter available and would give me either a great CI or the ability to find another later and move him to the outfield
Perry’s comments – on this pick I didn’t need to deviate very far off rankings to get the best offensive catcher left (and likely better than some already drafted). I think Montero will improve on last year’s numbers slightly
Todd’s comments – You know, like Max Scherzer. Scherzer will not double his second half of last season, but he also shouldn’t incur the same sort of misfortune the first half of ’13 that he did to open ’12. Big picture I’m still short some strikeouts, but there are still some arms out there.
Todd’s comments – Like, don’t love this pick of Prado. It could be an overreaction to what was left at the position. The downside of this pick is while I am OK with HR, RBI and runs, I’m going to need more steals at some point.
Perry’s comments – react to the secondary shortstop run or go elsewhere? I think Jeter will be ready for the start of the season and have another valuable year (but I will draft a Plan B later)
Perry’s comment – If you look at projections/rankings this pick may have jumped the page but I think Machado is the real deal and a better chance for 15+/15+ production at third base than players still left. As it turns out I would not have had a shot at him if I had waited a round.
Todd’s comment – This is mostly a “put your money where your mouth is” pick as I feel Hosmer 2013 will be what many expected for 2012. I also see it as a means to quietly add some steals from an unconventional position.
Todd’s comments – Taking a chance here (re: Risky Business) as Big Papi is not completely healthy yet, but I like the power potential and the 2013 player pool has a bunch of multiple eligibility guys to help mitigate the lack of flexibility by having a DH-only in the utility spot.
Perry’s comments – Well I have been looking at Melky sitting high atop the available hitters for several rounds, and even if you think Todd’s initial projections are a little high, don’t forget he will be hitting in Rodger’s Centre for half his games and you know how many home runs the other Toronto hitters have racked up. If he hits at 2011 levels he will be a steal here (and he promised not to visit Manny this summer).
Perry’s comments – this was likely my last chance to grab a catcher who will actually improve your batting average and contribute enough counting stats to be really valuable.
Todd’s comments – Another practice what you preach pick as I am expecting Lester to return to 2011 form. In order to do this, he’ll need to reverse his strikeout rate trend, which not so coincidentally is what my staff needs.
Todd’s comments – Arghh. Probably best if I just link THIS PIECE and direct you to the last paragraph. For those that just want the short scoop, I favor drafting my closers in the middle tier but at least presently, this area is significantly weaker, or at least riskier than normal. Wilhelmsen was the choice since he has limited competition for the job.
Perry’s comments – I am writing this before Todd but we were on the same page at this point. You need saves in the NFBC, shoot for somewhere around one hundred. Since you can’t get that from any two closers, you can wait a while and get three lower ranked pitchers and have drafted more offense in the meantime, so my plan was always to double up at some point in the draft in an even round (because my next pick was around a short corner).
Perry’s comments - mission accomplished and I will add another closer later in the draft. I tried with both Romo and Holland to get high K/9 relievers with good ratios.
Todd’s comments – Maybe I should have eschewed going closer here and taken advantage of the fact that even more closers will emerge than normal since it is so early and get a solid hitter or starter, but I have a hunch Addison Reed will emerge as a solid ninth inning stopper.
Todd’s comments – Part and parcel to taking more risks is sometimes using anecdotal reasoning, as opposed to sticking to the spreadsheet. Fellow Cuban Kendrys Morales broke out in his fourth MLB season, which is precisely what Viciedo is about to embark on now.
Perry’s comments – Gardner looks like a good pick here to boost the stolen base projections for my team AND add runs which won’t be available from picks in later rounds. He just needs to stay healthy and on the field all year
Perry’s comment – I wasn’t sure if I could have waited another round to get Profar (was told that someone else would have drafted him) and while I liked Miley or Harrison, I really think Profar will play every day for the Rangers and contend for AL ROY. I doubt the position change will affect his very advanced hitting approach and have him penciled in for double digit HR and SB.
Todd’s comment – I like Werth to have a mini-bounce back, adding a little of this and a little of that, which is pretty much what I need (though I could still use more bags).
Todd’s comment – This pitching staff is going to need some serious massaging, but that said, Wandy usually performs better than perceived. I’d prefer that he be in the fifth spot, one which I have no issues reserving on occasion. I’d rather have my number four be more of a pick and stick than stream guy. Add in that Lester is already a reach for SP3, and I’ll need to make up some ground at the back end.
Perry’s comment – Time to start adding to the pitching staff. One thing the extra 100 strikeouts from Kershaw & Darvish have over most team’s top two starters is that I can pick and choose the starting pitchers I want to have. Here I think Ogando will have a very good year moving back into the Rangers rotation under Mike Maddux and is a pretty good strikeout pitcher himself.
Perry’s comment – Cishek was one of the few closers left and I wanted to add my third. Not sure who I could would have gotten later if I had taken Murphy but at that time it still looked like Hamilton was headed back to Texas thus limiting Murphy’s AB/value.
Todd’s comment – Not really warm and fuzzy about this one either as Buchholz is probably a “what you see is what you get” type as opposed to someone whose skills could improve, some feel dramatically. This may be a little bit of misremembering, but it was not all that long ago that Buchholz and fellow Clayton – Kershaw, were neck and neck in prospect status.
Todd’s comment – Love the fact Smyly pounds the strike zone and am confident he’ll find his way into the Tiger’s rotation. He is an ideal guy to help embellish the front end, as Smyly has SP3 or SP4 potential.
Perry’s comment – Well I picked Stubbs for the stolen bases and the upside thinking he would be platooning with Heisey. I doubt the Indians do that – they will try and bolster his confidence planning on giving him full time at bats in a weaker division.
Perry’s comment – I was thinking about taking Maybin looking for continued improvement in 2013 but glad to settle for Maxwell who should play every day for the Astros and exceed Todd’s first cut on BA while delivering 20+ home runs and 15+ stolen bases.
Todd’s comment – Re-read the previous comment and substitute “Cobb” for Smyly and “Rays” for Tigers.
Todd’s comment – Colvin is not assured of a season’s worth of full time at bats unless Todd Helton retires, but there will be several stretches where Colvin is playing regularly as there are several injury-prone players residing in Colorado. The dual eligibility does not hurt, either.
Perry’s comment – Glad the “table” slept on Milwaukee’s starting shortstop because he was my Plan B in case Jeter isn’t ready OR a player to use at UT to get 30+ additional stolen bases.
Perry’s comments – Most people haven’t seen Ryu pitch but the LHP South Korean who is 6’2” and 215 throws his fastball in the mid-90s and has an outstanding changeup. He keeps the ball low and Dodger Stadium will be a great place for him to pitch. Ryu has dominated the Korean Baseball League and pitched a shutout in the 2008 Olympics to clinch the gold medal for South Korea. He also pitched in the 2009 WBC where the Koreans won the silver medal.
Todd’s comments – Love the quiet steals Jay will provide. He won’t lead the league, but high teens/low twenties is a welcome addition to the squad.
Todd’s comments – While I prefer my streamers to be based in the NL, I am very happy to take a shot on Blanton now that he is situated in a great pitcher’s park. Check out that walk rate and he strikes guys out, too.
Perry’s comments – If you don’t play in an AL only league or didn’t own Iwakuma last season you probably don’t realize how well he pitched. In the first half of the season, his ERA was 4.75 with a 1.42 WHIP as he pitched only in relief, but from July on when he was starting his ERA was 2.65 and his WHIP was 1.23. His K/9 rate rose from 6.8 to 7.4 and his K/BB ratio was 78/28. In 2013 he will be in Seattle’s rotation for the entire year, and I think he will win 14+ games (he won 8 in the second half last year).
Perry’s comments – I have my top five starters and three closers now so in my last eight picks will try and draft upside potential on the pitching side and players who might be good substitutes on offense. We are drafting these teams in December, but won’t be able to make any roster changes until the end of the first week of the 2013 season and there can be lots of changes. I don’t want to take to many players coming off injury or minor leaguers that I don’t think will make opening day rosters because the roster spots are so valuable and you want to get off to a good start. If you draft a great prospect you might be rewarded if he was called up as early as Mike Trout was last year but those of us who drafted Nolen Arenado thinking he might break camp as the Rockies third baseman had put an albatross on our rosters. I drafted Patrick Corbin here and will try and draft Tyler Skaggs later hoping that one of these very good pitchers gets the fifth spot in the Diamondbacks rotation.
Todd’s comments – This is a spot I’ll look to upgrade. The best thing I can say is at least Escobar has the job. He’ll be hurt by the park and will likely hit down in the order.
Todd’s comments – Another guy with dual eligibility, Roberts could end up displacing Escobar as my MI if he plays regularly. I expect that he runs a bit which is something I could use.
Perry’s comments – Surprised Lind was still on the board but the upside in power as well as the ability to play him at CI and shift Hart to the outfield gives him the nod here.
Perry’s comments – I am not sure anyone knows who will be in the Cardinals rotation next March, but many in the organization think Rosenthal is a heavy favorite to get a shot. He pitched just twenty two innings in the big leagues last year, all in relief but had a 2.78 ERA and 0.93 WHIP while striking out 25 and walking just seven. Rosenthal has been a starter and I am drafting him hoping he will be in the Cards rotation – otherwise he will be an early drop in April.
Todd’s comments – Another 20-something SB guy and I should be able to buffer his low average. Venable actually has some upside in terms of playing time and it will be curious to see if he knocks a few more over the closer and shorter fences.
Todd’s comments – Could be my first drop or my MVP – saves are funny.
Perry’s comments – Because of all the time he missed last year Reimold is a sleeper this year, but he got off to a very hot start last year before missing the rest of the year with a herniated disk. He should be healthy next spring and compete for the LF job – if so he may crack the lineup; if not another candidate to be dropped.
Perry’s comments – Okay glad I got Skaggs after waiting a few rounds. Maybe it was because he got ripped in his few major league outings last year but the 6’3” lefty who was part of the Diamondbacks haul from the Angels in the Dan Haren trade had a 2.87 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in twenty two starts between AA Mobile and AAA Reno last year with 116 strikeouts in 122 innings pitched.
Todd’s comments – Wallace sat on my Tout reserve almost all of last season so I followed his minor league plight pretty closely. Not saying I would have won NL Tout if he was called up sooner, but it certainly would’ve helped. The Astros just signed Carlos Pena, but Wallace should still get a solid shot to be a regular, which is all you can ask for in round 27.
Todd’s comments – Archer is not assured of a spot in the Rays rotation, but if he gets one, I like his chances to be a nice streaming option. Plus, he’s a bit of an Alex Cobb hedge.
Perry’s comments – Partially because I have only one third baseman on the roster so far and partially because Pacheco could be the Rockies everyday first baseman if Todd Helton doesn’t come back I put him on my reserves.
Perry’s comments – I am going to add one more reliever here because I may not have six starters next spring or like the first week matchup as much as having a strong reliever in the lineup. The additional plus for Marshall is the possibility of getting some saves if Broxton is closing for the Reds with Chapman in the rotation – in fact that would make him a pitcher I would consider carrying for quite a while.
Todd’s comments – A full-timer in the 29th round? Sign me up. I consider the 5th OF spot to be fungible so Schierholtz makes a great candidate to fill the spot.
Todd’s comments – Chances are I’ll need to drop Luebke before I get to use him, but I’ll take the shot. He’s expected to surface sometime mid-season after recuperating from TJS.
Perry’s comments – I wanted one more pitcher who would have a lot of upside if starting next year and when I took Marshall my two candidates were Erasmo Ramirez of the Mariners(nabbed at the end of round 29) and Ross who will very possibly get a shot at joining the Rangers rotation if they don’t trade for any starters.
Final Rosters and Comments
Perry’s roster – by position showing starters and (projected reserves)
C – Miguel Montero & Salvador Perez
CI – Paul Goldschmidt, Manny Machado, & Corey Hart (Adam Lind, Jordan Pacheco)
MI – Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, & Jurickson Profar (Jean Segura)
OF – Curtis Granderson, Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, Drew Stubbs, & Justin Maxwell (Nolan Reimold)
UT – Jean Segura (Lind, Pacheco, or Reimold)
SP – Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Hishashi Iwakuma, & either Corbin or Skaggs (Trevor Rosenthal, Robbie Ross)
RP – Sergio Romo, Greg Holland, & Steve Cishek (Sean Marshall)
The offensive projections are much easier and more accurate and my personal view (slightly different than site projections) have me at 260+ HR, 1030 RBI, 1200+ Runs, 215+ SB and a BAvg of .273. Based on numbers from this league last year that would give me 66 of 75 hitting points. With three closers and a good (maybe very good) first five starting pitchers I should be in good shape there as well.
Todd’s roster – by position showing starters and (projected reserves)
C – Victor Martinez & Joe Mauer
CI – Eric Hosmer, Martin Prado & Tyler Colvin (Brett Wallace)
MI – Ian Kinsler, Jimmy Rollins & Yunel Escobar (Ryan Roberts)
OF – Andrew McCutchen, Dayan Viciedo, Jayson Werth, Jon Jay & Wil Venable (Nate Schierholtz)
UT – David Ortiz
SP – Jordan Zimmermann, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Wandy Rodriguez, Clay Buchholz, Drew Smyly & Alex Cobb (Joe Blanton, Chris Archer, Cory Luebke)
RP – Tom Wilhelmsen & Addison Reed (Josh Fields)
All in all, I accomplished what I wanted, and that was to set a foundation and take some chances. The pitching will need some TLC, but there are candidates to break out or bounce back and we all know there will be pitchers that emerge in season. The outfield is weak, but this is to be expected after focusing on middle and catcher early. That said, if I am going to be deficient in any position, I’ll take outfielder. With Prado and Colvin sporting OF eligibility, and Ryan Roberts able to fill in at MI or CI, I can in essence upgrade outfield by finding an upstart at 1B or 3B and sliding Colvin or Prado to the OF. This sort of flexibility is needed if your UT is fixed with a guy like Ortiz. If nothing else, I’ll have some fun managing this team come the summer.
Thanks to Perry for doing the heavy lifting getting this formatted.
Your comments are welcome below or preferably in the Platinum Forum.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 10:59|