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Friday 28th Apr 2017

In the CBSsports.com Analysts League AL-only auction draft conducted in the spring, I went in with the specific strategy of quasi-punting batting average and saves. I spotted a number of players that were being heavily discounted due to their BA drain. Of course, average is rather volatile from year to year so I targeted a few players who were either coming off one of their worst years in that category or at least had demonstrated a higher clip at some point. That way, I might garner a few BA points if some of these guys bounced back. In pitching, I wanted to drive home ERA, WHIP, Wins and K’s, then get whatever saves I could with the money I had left. I figured I could get by with just one closer because such a “weakness” would actually strengthen my position in wins and strikeouts.

I left the auction table with this lineup:

C - Carlos Santana – 20

C - John Jaso – 11

1B – Mark Reynolds – 10

2B – Ian Kinsler – 27

3B – Josh Donaldson – 1

SS – Alexei Ramirez – 15

MI – Kelly Johnson – 8

CI – Wilson Betemit – 6

OF – Drew Stubbs – 14

OF – Lorenzo Cain – 20

OF – Jeff Francoeur – 8

OF – Colby Rasmus – 13

OF – Justin Maxwell – 9

U – Vernon Wells – 1

P – David Price – 30

P – Hiroki Kuroda – 12

P – Doug Fister - 14

P – Anibal Sanchez – 12

P – Dan Straily – 6

P – Jeff Niemann – 4

P – Chris Archer – 2

P – Miguel Gonzalez – 5

P – Glen Perkins – 12

All I needed was my bats to stay healthy and the mission would be accomplished. Health evaded me. By the most conservative of estimates, injuries to Kinsler, Jaso, Betemit, Cain, Rasmus and Maxwell cost me a minimum of 1100 AB’s. For good measure, Francoeur and Wells both lost their jobs. I didn’t need them to be good mind you; they just had to stay in the lineup. The pitchers maxed out ERA and WHIP along the way in leading the league in pitching points. The formula worked, but in the end, a lack of AB’s was the downfall. The strategy would have been harder to execute in mixed leagues, but in AL/NL-only formats, it’s more feasible. My funds were split $163 Hitters/$97 Pitchers.

The champion, Dean Peterson of Stats LLC, employed a completely different, albeit more traditional strategy. He spent $214 on hitting and only $46 on pitching. Interestingly, he spent 60.8% of his pitching budget on just two closers and the rest on six starters and one speculative saves prospect. Despite this frugality, he still managed 1209 K’s (second) and 74 Wins (fourth).

Here was his draft day roster:

C – Matt Wieters – 16

C – Derek Norris – 3

1B – Chris Davis – 20

2B – Robinson Cano – 36

3B – Lonnie Chisenhall – 10

SS – Erick Aybar – 18

MI – Alexi Casilla – 1

CI – Chris Carter – 12

OF – Yoenis Cespedes – 31

OF – Leonys Martin – 14

OF – Brett Gardner – 20

OF – Michael Saunders – 11

OF – Craig Gentry – 2

U – Victor Martinez – 18

P – Grant Balfour – 13

P – Addison Reed – 15

P – Derek Holland – 7

P – Justin Masterson – 3

P – Ervin Santana – 4

P – Martin Perez – 1

P – Bruce Chen – 1

P – Josh Fields – 1

P – John Lackey – 1

It is no surprise that he dominated hitting, scoring 55 out of a possible 60. While he spent precious few $ on starters, he made those dollars count. Just about everything he touched turned to gold. When Dean Peterson talks pitching prospects, EF Hutton listens. His strategy is straightforward, but one that can be extremely difficult to execute unless you are gifted in identifying stars among the trash heap of cheap pitchers on draft day.

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