Mastersball

FSTA Draft: Ring around a Posey? PDF Print E-mail
Chance Favors the Prepared Mind
Written by Todd Zola   
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 04:25

On Monday night, Lawr and I represented Mastersball in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association  (FSTA) fantasy baseball draft. We were joined by twelve of the industry’s finest. Defending champs Howard Kamen and Steve Gardner from USA Today won the draft lottery--as well as the league last year--and chose first. The entire draft is available HERE.

Here is a complete list of the participants and their first round selection.

1.01  USA Today: Howard Kamen and Steve Gardner - Ryan Braun

1.02  Fantasy Alarm:  Jeff Mans - Miguel Cabrera

1.03  Head to Head Sports: Glenn Colton, Rick Wolf & Stacy Stearns - Robinson Cano

1.04  Fantasy Sharks: Mark Griffis & Tony HolmMike Trout

1.05  Fantistics Insider baseball.com: Anthony PerriMatt Kemp

1.06  SiriusXM Fantasy Drive: Ray Flowers - Andrew McCutchen

1.07  Stats Inc/NFBC: Greg AmbrosiusJoey Votto

1.08  CDM Sports: Charlie WiegertAlbert Pujols

1.09  RTS Sports: Chris Thompson & Jeff PaurPrince Fielder

1.10  RotoWire: Chris Liss & Derek Van RiperGiancarlo Stanton

1.11  Baseball HQ: Ron ShandlerCarlos Gonzalez

1.12  Mastersball: Lawr Michaels and Todd ZolaBuster Posey

1.13  KFFL: Tim HeaneyJose Bautista

Before revealing the rest of the Mastersball squad with some commentary, I’m guessing a few of you are scratching your heads at the selection of Posey. Here’s what went down. I was at the draft table; Lawr was with me via g-chat. We had a list of 5 or 6 players that routinely are available at this spot. We expected at least one pitcher and Posey himself to be off the board. So mucn for the best laid plans.

When it was our pick, everyone from the list was gone so we had to scramble a bit. It came down to Posey and Adrian Beltre. Another time, another place. I may have lobbied harder for Beltre. But ultimately we opted for Posey because of something we often forget in this game. We opted for Posey because neither of us are going to own the reigning NL MVP in any other league, he’s just not our style, so we figured what they hey, let’s have some fun.

That said, from a numbers standpoint, there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with that pick. Platinum subscribers know we have Posey ranked even higher than twelve. My philosophy is every draft spot has an expectation associated with it. The idea is to get a positive return on investment at as many spots as possible. If everyone produced as we project, Posey is the player that offers us the greatest return on investment at that spot.

Of course, this is only part of the equation. A projection is not static. There is an upside ceiling and downside floor that needs to be considered. Perhaps this is rolled into the downside, but the health and durability of the player needs to be incorporated into the decision. Then there is the general game theory aspect of the pick – how does the pick set up future picks and their prospective return on investment?

Those in the draft room that questioned the pick cited the injury risk. And of course it exists. It’s too easy to say Posey will play first in a lot of games so he is less of a risk, he’s really not. We accepted that risk primarily because all of the players in this range also had a health risk. To wit, directly following  the pick was Jose Bautista (coming off surgery to repair the sheath on his wrist), Dustin Pedroia (missed time the past two season), Adrian Beltre (missed time two of the past four seasons), Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Hamilton and Hanley Ramirez - each one being a potential AFLAC customer. Other than the argument that it would be harder to replace Posey than the others, is he really any more of a risk? Personally, I don’t think so.

The argument I can make against Posey relates to the return of investment mentioned earlier. Given that I already stated that Posey’s expected ROI was maximum for that spot, my sense was this would be true of catchers throughout the draft, and it was more giving up the opportunity cost to get a huge ROI relative to a later spot we could have taken a receiver. Case and point is Ron Shandler getting Yadier Molina in round five – locking in a similar ROI we enjoy with Posey. But on the other and, I was already wrong once, anticipating the first round picks, so taking Posey was also a bit of bird in the hand. What if we planned o taking Yadi in the fifth? Ron would have snaked us.

Bottom line? We are both perfectly fine with Posey and if I wasn’t fighting off a head cold, I’d be sleeping like a baby.

Here’s the rest of the squad.

2. Justin Upton – go big or go home pick. JUp has flashed the ability to warrant this spot, but it isn’t like his numbers put him here, there is a bit of a leap of faith he takes a leap up.

3. Edwin Encarnacion – when I suggested Encarnacion, Lawr asked, “Do you think he can repeat?” I typed back, “No, but I think he can get 35 and 35 ain’t bad.”

4. Brandon Phillips – for those new to the site (and if you are here due to our sponsorship of the draft on SiriusXM, welcome!), we are contractually obligated to take Phillips. All good teams feature balance: power versus speed, hitting versus pitching, strikeouts versus saves, and risk versus reliability. We have some risk that Phillips help mitigate, plus he hits near the top of a potent lineup, so the runs and RBI should be there.

5. Yu Darvish – another go big or go home selection. Darvish is a little like Upton in that in order to earn this spot, he needs to pitch better than he has shown in the bigs thus far, but we both feel he can take that step, and he racks up the whiffs, a philosophy Lawr and I share when it comes to chuckers.

6. Adam Wainwright – further removed from TJS, Wainwright should be ready to assume his place among the elite in the Senior Circuit.

7. Matt Moore – this was a matter of if we don’t do it now, we weren’t going to get him and Lawr and I both see Moore as ready to dominate. The other option was Scherzer, someone I really like and it was pretty much a coin flip, with the tiebreaker being that whole fun  thing as Lawr and I enjoy watching Moore toil.

8. Alex Rios – we’re a bit short on speed and although we are not averse to getting someone like Ben Revere, we wanted to start to chip away and get some bags. Plus, I think Rios is underappreciated. Pitchers get cut some slack when they are unlucky. Rios had some ill fortune and is still paying for it perceptually. His skills are solid.

9. Salvador Perez – another example of decent ROI for a catcher. Perez should hit for a little more pop.

10. Erick Aybar – more steals, but also contributions elsewhere. If he carries over his second half success, he should be fine.

11. Greg Holland – Platinum members are not surprised by this pick. We passed on Jason Motte and Jonathan Papelbon hoping Holland would be here. Maybe our luck is turning.

12. Kyle Seager – there’s a bit of a back story to Seager. Last spring, Lawr was all over him, but I was skeptical and wasn’t sure he would even keep the job. Mainly because I am such a huge fan of Felix Hernandez, I caught a bunch of Mariners’ games and developed a bromance on Seager. The guy hits line drives in his sleep. The new dimensions at Safeco Field will surely help, but I don’t care, line drives play anywhere. Lawr tends to be wary of sophomores (rightfully so, ask 2012 Eric Hosmer and Brett Lawrie owners). But we felt this had enough of a built in discount to take him here.

13. Jake Peavy – with Peavy, it’s all about the health. He showed us last season that his skills are back. I’m less concerned about injuries in a rather shallow 13-team league feeling we can find support if needed, so here the reward trumps the risk.

14. Ichiro Suzuki – taking Ichiro probably locks us out of Revere, a fave of Lawr, but we both like the average and steals which put us in a position to pound up the bombs without worrying about average.

15. Josh Reddick – yes, he’s going to regress (so will 70 percent of all the players). But his defense will keep him in the lineup despite the Athletics having 17 outfielders on their roster. Plus, he was a 50/50 pick.

16. Dayan Viciedo – the other half of the 50/50. What I mean is we are hoping that one of two hits 25 homers. If the other one struggles, we’ll get a replacement.

17. Yonder Alonso – the plan is to take a speculative corner in reserve, so we wanted someone a little safer here to fall back on.

18. Steve Cishek – saves is saves. Cishek’s got the job, just a matter of how many opportunities the Marlins give him.

19. Matt Harrison –go Rangers! Watching Harrison is sort of like watching a knuckleballer. You never feel comfortable, but by season’s end, the numbers are there.

20. Zack Cozart -  a bit of an upside pick (something you want to do late), if Cozart hits number to, he should score a ton, especially with the addition of Shin-Soo Choo.

21. Drew Smyly – a bit of a speculative pick as right now, Smyly is odd man out. But Porcello is rumored to be on the block and smoke usually means fire.

22. Carlos Quentin – when he plays, he hits homers. When he’s hurt, we use someone else.

23. Vinnie Pestano – we need a guy to deploy with poor matchups to our starters and with Sergio Romo closing, Pestano assumes the role as top setup man. And if Chris Perez is traded, Yahtzee!

24. Steve Lombardozzi – could be a steal or could be our first drop. Lombardozzi is slated to be a super-utility and as such, would not get the AB necessary to be active. However, an injury to one of about four players (or a trade) and we have our steal.

25. & 26. Frank Francisco & Bobby Parnell – maybe not the most efficient use of reserves, but it’s early and we can drop the guy not closing and still get a decent replacement.

27. Adam Lind – and here’s the corner with upside.

28 Will Venable – worthy of this spot on merit, but Venable also makes a nice hedge for Quentin.

29. Trevor Rosenthal – love the arm, we’ll see about the role.

Please feel free to comment or ask question. Lawr and I will do our best to address them.

 

On Monday night, Lawr and I represented Mastersball in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association fantasy baseball draft. We were joined by twelve of the industry’s finest. Defending champs Howard Kamen and Steve Gardner from USA Today won the draft lottery and chose first. The entire draft is available HERE.

 Here is a complete list of the participants and their first round selection.

1.01  USA Today: Howard Kamen and Steve Gardner - Ryan Braun

1.02  Fantasy Alarm:  Jeff Mans - Miguel Cabrera

1.03  Head to Head Sports: Glenn Colton & Rick Wolf - Robinson Cano

1.04  Fantasy Sharks: Mark Griffis & Tony Holm – Mike Trout

1.05  Fantistics Insider baseball.com: Anthony Perri – Matt Kemp

1.06  SiriusXM Fantasy Drive: Ray Flowers - Andrew McCutchen

1.07  Stats Inc/NFBC: Greg Ambrosius – Joey Votto

1.08  CDM Sports: Charlie Wiegert – Albert Pujols

1.09  RTS Sports: Chris Thompson & Jeff Paur – Prince Fielder

1.10  RotoWire: Chris Liss & Derek Van Riper – Giancarlo Stanton

1.11  Baseball HQ: Ron Shandler – Carlos Gonzalez

1.12  Mastersball: Lawr Michaels and Todd Zola – Buster Posey

1.13  KFFL: Tim Heaney – Jose Bautista

Before revealing the rest of the Mastersball squad with some commentary, I’m guessing a few of you are scratching your heads at the selection of Posey. Here’s what went down. I was at the draft table; Lawr was with me via g-chat. We had a list of 5 or 6 players that routinely are available at this spot. We expected at least one pitcher and Posey himself to be off the board. The best laid plans. When it was our pick, everyone from the list was gone so we had to scramble a bit. It came down to Posey and Adrian Beltre. Another time, another place. I may have lobbied harder for Beltre. But ultimately we opted for Posey because of something we often forget in this game. We opted for Posey because neither of us are going to own the reigning NL MVP in any other league, he’s just not our style, so we figured what they hey, let’s have some fun.

That said, from a numbers standpoint, there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with that pick. Platinum subscribers know we have Posey ranked even higher than twelve. My philosophy is every draft spot has an expectation associated with it. The idea is to get a positive return on investment at as many spots as possible. If everyone produced as we project, Posey is the player that offers us the greatest return on investment at that spot.

Of course, this is only part of the equation. A projection is not static. There is an upside ceiling and downside floor that needs to be considered. Perhaps this is rolled into the downside, but the health and durability of the player needs to be incorporated into the decision. Then there is the general game theory aspect of the pick – how does the pick set up future picks and their prospective return on investment?

Those in the draft room that questioned the pick cited the injury risk. And of course it exists. It’s too easy to say Posey will play first in a lot of games so he is less of a risk, he’s really not. We accepted that risk primarily because all of the players in this range also had a health risk. To wit, directly following  the pick was Jose Bautista (coming off surgery to repair the sheath on his wrist), Dustin Pedroia (missed time the past two season), Adrian Beltre (missed time two of the past four seasons), Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Hamilton and Hanley Ramirez - each one being a potential AFLAC customer. Other than the argument that it would be harder to replace Posey than the others, is he really any more of a risk? Personally, I don’t think so.

The argument I can make against Posey relates to the return of investment mentioned earlier. Given that I already stated that Posey’s expected ROI was maximum for that spot, my sense was this would be true of catchers throughout the draft, and it was more giving up the opportunity cost to get a huge ROI relative to a later spot we could have taken a receiver. Case and point is Ron Shandler getting Yadier Molina in round five – locking in a similar ROI we enjoy with Posey. But on the other and, I was already wrong once, anticipating the first round picks, so taking Posey was also a bit of bird in the hand. What if we planned o taking Yadi in the fifth? Ron would have snaked us.

Bottom line? We are both perfectly fine with Posey and if I wasn’t fighting off a head cold, I’d be sleeping like a baby.

Here’s the rest of the squad.

2. Justin Upton – go big or go home pick. JUp has flashed the ability to warrant this spot, but it isn’t like his numbers put him here, there is a bit of a leap of faith he takes a leap up.

3. Edwin Encarnacion – when I suggested Encarnacion, Lawr asked, “Do you think he can repeat?” I typed back, “No, but I think he can get 35 and 35 ain’t bad.”

4. Brandon Phillips – for those new to the site (and if you are here due to our sponsorship of the draft on SiriusXM, welcome!), we are contractually obligated to take Phillips. All good teams feature balance: power versus speed, hitting versus pitching, strikeouts versus saves, and risk versus reliability. We have some risk that Phillips help mitigate, plus he hits near the top of a potent lineup, so the runs and RBI should be there.

5. Yu Darvish – another go big or go home selection. Darvish is a little like Upton in that in order to earn this spot, he needs to pitch better than he has shown in the bigs thus far, but we both feel he can take that step, and he racks up the whiffs, a philosophy Lawr and I share when I comes to chuckers.

6. Adam Wainwright – further removed from TJS, Wainwright should be ready to assume his place among the elite in the Senior Circuit.

7. Matt Moore – this was a matter of if we don’t do it now, we weren’t going to get him and Lawr and I both see Moore as ready to dominate. The other option was Scherzer, someone I really like and it was pretty much a coin flip, with the tiebreaker being that whole fun  thing as Lawr and I enjoy watching Moore toil.

8. Alex Rios – we’re a bit short on speed and although we are not averse to getting someone like Ben Revere, we wanted to start to chip away and get some bags. Plus, I think Rios is underappreciated. Pitchers get cut some slack when they are unlucky. Rios had some ill fortune and is still paying for it perceptually. His skills are solid.

9. Salvador Perez – another example of decent ROI for a catcher. Perez should hit for a little more pop.

10. Erick Aybar – more steals, but also contributions elsewhere. If he carries over his second half success, he should be fine

11. Greg Holland – Platinum members are not surprised by this pick. We passed on Jason Motte and Jonathan Papelbon hoping Holland would be here. Maybe our luck is turning.

12. Kyle Seager – there’s a bit of a back story to Seager. Last spring, Lawr was all over him, but I was skeptical and wasn’t sure he would even keep the job. Mainly because I am such a huge fan of king Felix, I caught a bunch of Mariners’ games and developed a bromance on Seager. The guy hits line drives in his sleep. The new dimensions at Safeco Field will surely help, but I don’t care, line drives play anywhere. Lawr tends to be wary of sophomores (rightfully so, ask 2012 Eric Hosmer and Brett Lawrie owners). But we felt this had enough of a built in discount to take him here.

13. Jake Peavy – with Peavy, it’s all about the health. He showed us last season that his skills are back. I’m less concerned about injuries in a rather shallow 13-team league feeling we can find support if needed, so here the reward trumps the risk.

14. Ichiro Suzuki – taking Ichiro probably locks us out of Revere, a fave of Lawr, but we both like the average and steals which put us in a position to pound up the bombs without worrying about average.

15. Josh Reddick – yes, he’s going to regress (so will 70 percent of all the players). But his defense will keep him in the lineup despite the Athletics having 17 outfielders on their roster. Plus, he was a 50/50 pick

16. Dayan Viciedo – the other half of the 50/50. What I mean is we are hoping that one of two hits 25 homers. If the other one struggles, we’ll get a replacement.

17. Yonder Alonso – the plan is to take a speculative corner in reserve, so we wanted someone a little safer here to fall back on.

18. Steve Cishek – saves is saves. Cishek’s got the job, just a matter of how many opportunities the Marlins give him.

19. Harrison –go Rangers! Watching Harrison is sort of like watching a knuckleballer. You never feel comfortable, but by season’s end, the numbers are there.

20. Zack Cozart -  a bit of an upside pick (something you want to do late), if Cozart hits number to, he should score a ton, especially with the addition of Shin-Soo Choo.

21. Drew Smyly – a bit of a speculative pick as right now, Smyly is odd man out. But Porcello is rumored to be on the block and smoke usually means fire.

22. Carlos Quentin – when he plays, he hits homers. When he’s hurt, we use someone else.

23. Vinnie Pestano – we need a guy to deploy with poor matchups to our starters and with Sergio Romo closing, Pestano assumes the role as top setup man. And if Chris Perez is traded, Yahtzee!

24. Steve Lombardozzi – could be a steal or could be our first drop. Lombardozzi is slated to be a super-utility and as such, would not get the AB necessary to be active. However, an injury to one of about four players (or a trade) and we have our steal

25. & 26. Frank Francisco & Bobby Parnell – maybe not the most efficient use of reserves, but it’s early and we can drop the guy not closing and still get a decent replacement.

27. Adam Lind – and here’s the corner with upside

28 Wil Venable – worthy of this spot on merit, but Venable also makes a nice hedge for Quentin

29. Trevor Rosenthal – love the arm, we’ll see about the role

Please feel free to comment or ask question. Lawr and I will do our best to address them.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 17:15
 

More Articles by Todd Zola

Comments  

 
# Captain Hook 2013-01-22 16:26
Why JUp over Beltre at 2.02?
 
 
# Todd Zola 2013-01-22 17:21
Quoting Captain Hook:
Why JUp over Beltre at 2.02?


There was another third baseman we though there was a good chance of getting later with Seager as the last resort plan.

I think in general, people are still thinking of Beltre as injury prone and he is getting a little older.

Plus, we had already discussed if JUp was there in the second, he was the kind of pick often needed to win leagues where 1st place is all that matters.

We had an ideal pair of picks, that in other leagues would be available, but alas, neither were.
 
 
# Wmichels 2013-01-23 09:27
So you're looking for a catcher to repeat and return first round value? You know that's unlikely.

Your team is also flush with risk. When your commentary of a pick includes go big or go home, well, need I more?

Looking at this draft I get the impression that your competition got in your head and/or you didn't take the draft very seriously.

Still,

1. Your in season management will decide your fate.
2. You do this for a living, (I don't), - so really, what do I know?.
3. You might not especially care, there are bigger problems in this world.

But,

If you agree to be part of an experts league and your product is out there for all to see, you should do your absolute best. Your customers/members/fans/friends deserve that much. The more I think about it, the more disappointed I am with your effort.

So,

I think I'll just stop.

Wade
 
 
# Todd Zola 2013-01-23 10:36
Wade - thanks for your comments. I'll begin by saying there's a term I am sure you are familiar with when it comes to fantasy baseball analysis (as well as analysis in general) and that is sample size. It is usually dangerous to draw a conclusion based on one isolated piece of data. One can formulate an opinion, but it is best to realize without having more data points from which to compare, it is possible to misinterpret what you see for something different than it is.

With that as a backdrop, I can assure you we absolutely took this draft seriously, as we do all our endeavors.

Addressing the risk element - the present player inventory is flush with risk. One third of all players hit the DL at some point during the season. We're drafting in January where there are some fantasy relevant players still unemployed and some that are employed with roles up in the air. Others need to show they are healthy coming off an injury. Sure, we could have drafted a completely safe team (which ironically is usually my style, the comments for my teams are usually not enough risk) but in a league where all that matters is first place, embracing risk is a perfectly viable strategy. If you listened to the broadcast of the draft, I am pretty sure you did not hear Kyle and Jeff refer to the second place or third place team from last season a whole lot during the festivities.

Re: Posey - he is not a pick I would have made in an NFBC league or even Mixed LABR (a 15 team snake draft). I am sure that Lawr will not buy him in NL LABR nor will I buy him in NL Tout. But that does not make him a bad pick here. I have him HIGHER than 12th on my rankings and that incorporates some regression. His NFBC ADP is 12 -- exactly where we took him. If you read my comment on Posey in the Platinum profiles, I suggest that I won't be drafting him early, but I will not argue with anyone that does -- it is a strategic decision as opposed to being worth it from a performance angle.

Frankly, I prefer to let actions speak louder than words and further actions will provide further data points to better frame this individual draft. There are several other points made I could refute, but I prefer to focus on the next action, whatever that might be.

Again Wade, thanks for your candid comments, I assure you we respect the opinion of all our readers and customers.
 
 
# lawr 2013-01-23 11:30
Hey Wade-

just to dovetail on the Lord, statistically Posey has come in as a first rounder.

i the MLB.com mock we are both doing right now, he was selected #8 believe it or not.

that said, i personally think the players selected in the first three rounds are really a wash among all the teams.

and, guys we anticipated--fielder, eg--were gone.

so, buster was a bit of a reach, but, if you eliminate the risk of position, he is a great pick statistically.

at least buster is no worse a pick than anyone else in the pool.

and, ultimately, stats are stats, and it matters not where they come from as long as they are delivered.

todd is correct that probably neither of us would pay what buster would cost in LABR or TOUT, but, this early in the year, why not?

will it work? who knows. if buster repeats, yes. if he gets hurt, of course not.

i wish we had a crystal ball, and, surely, it is difficult to win without a risk or two.

and, if nothing else, buster can seriously rake.

lawr
 
 
# Spread da wealth 2013-01-24 23:55
I like your team a lot (though it may be partly because I have Posey in my only NL league, and Encarnacion, Perez, and Pestano in my only AL league.) The strategic explanations for your picks make sense, and the rounds in which you got them look pretty good, too. J Up is young enough to have a jump in stats, and joining his brother in the Braves outfield may help it happen.
 
 
# wilstony14 2013-01-26 12:20
Is it me, or does the underlying skills of J-Up combined with his "down" 2012 remind anyone of Kemp post his 2010 season? His talents alone would have him a top 5 player, but due to said "down" year, many owners grabbed him in the late 2nd round in 2011 and road the coat-tails to league championships.

A similar yet separate argument can be made for Posey. Based on skills alone, he is a top 2-3 round pick, and his excellent season in 2012 is resulting in 1st round decisions, which to me is fully warranted.

Well done fellas. A great draft IMHO - especially identifying players late with major upsaide, along with the unsexy yet probable saves, I'm a fan. I appreciate the risk taking and It is nice to see the attempt to shake up (what as Todd said before) adhere-ing to the strategy that would typically minimize risk.
 
 
# sgardner 2013-01-27 14:02
I can't remember if someone said this immediately after the draft or later on one of the SiriusXM shows, but for all those folks who are skeptical of the Posey pick ... if Todd and Lawr took Upton in the first round and got Posey in the second, would there be as much of an uproar?

You could make a great case for Upton at 1.12 (rebound candidate, power/speed combo). Then Posey in the second round becomes a very nice value.

If Tim Heaney was eyeing Posey with one of his back-to-back picks, then as long as Todd and Lawr weren't drooling over Pedroia (or prefered Bautista over Upton), they ended up playing it perfectly.
 

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