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Mark has been following baseball since a family holiday to California in 1996 included a trip to Dodger Stadium. A die-hard Dodger fan (yes, they do exist), Mark is a committed fantasy baseball manager and, much like Seinfeld's George Costanza, REALLY wants to be the GM of an MLB team. Mark played in the UK for Croydon Pirates III for seven years. Follow him on Twitter @MarkGeorge43

BaseballGB Fantasy League 2013: Draft recap Part 1

A dozen managers are in this year’s BaseballGB fantasy baseball league. What happened when they gathered in the online draft room?

On Sunday, March 17, it was draft day in the BaseballGB fantasy league. Our managers logged in for the 20-round draft which would see a total of 240 players drafted in about 90 minutes.

Before we look back on the draft, round-by-round, including my strategy for building my Orpington Isotopes, here’s some background information about the league.

Each team’s roster consists of a total of 20 players, and managers must fill the following positions:

1 x Catcher
1 x First baseman
1 x Second baseman
1 x Shortstop
1 x Third baseman
1 x Centrefielder
2 x Outfielders (can also be centrefielders)
1 x Utility (any other hitter)
2 x Starting pitchers
2 x Relief pitchers
2 x Pitchers (starters or relievers)
5 x Bench (combination of hitters and/or pitchers)

Teams play each other head-to-head each week and the 12 categories used are:

Runs
Homers
Runs Batted In
Steals
Average
On base percentage + slugging percentage
Wins
Saves
Holds
Strikeouts
Earned Run Average
Walks and hits per inning pitched

There is a 20-inning minimum limit – if a team fails to reach this the opposition automatically wins all of the pitching categories.

So here’s how the draft went:

 

Round 1

1. Mike Trout(LAA – CF) The Cheddar …
2. Miguel Cabrera(Det – 3B) Weston-Super…
3. Ryan Braun(Mil – OF) Iron Men
4. Joey Votto(Cin – 1B) Norwich No II
5. Robinson Canó(NYY – 2B) SWAT*
6. Matt Kemp(LAD – CF) The Wright S…
7. Carlos González(Col – OF) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
8. Bryce Harper(Was – CF) Richie’s RBI’s
9. Albert Pujols(LAA – 1B) Batteries Es…
10. Andrew McCutchen(Pit – CF) Orpington Is…
11. Prince Fielder(Det – 1B) Cardiff Redsox
12. Giancarlo Stanton(Mia – OF) NE Riverkings

With the draft order randomly decided half an hour before the draft, BaseballGB’s Matt was understandably delighted to find he was top of the queue. I was less happy with my 10th place, but here’s where my homework comes in. Having done a trio of mock drafts, one picking third, one seventh and one picking 10th, I consulted my results spreadsheet to get a rough idea of who would be available at various rounds.

My plan was to take three hitters before getting an ace in round four. It looked like round one targets would include Prince Fielder and possibly Pujols.

The top three picks were no surprise. The only debate would be whether to go for the incredible youth of Trout (and fill CF) or the more established hitters of Cabrera and Braun.

The fourth pick was a slight surprise, with Votto taken ahead of Kemp, CarGo and Cano. Richie’s RBIs caused a surprise by taking Harper early, although if he has a Trout-esque season he will be happy.

This meant another of the top 10 would be available for me, and although tempted by Fielder, I feel I have to take McCutchen who should give average, power and speed as well as filling what can be a difficult CF spot.

Unsurprisingly, the power of Fielder and Stanton finish the first round.

Round 2

1. Clayton Kershaw(LAD – SP) NE Riverkings
2. Troy Tulowitzki(Col – SS) Cardiff Redsox
3. José Bautista(Tor – OF) Orpington Is…
4. David Wright(NYM – 3B) Batteries Es…
5. Yu Darvish(Tex – SP) Richie’s RBI’s
6. Justin Verlander(Det – SP) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
7. Justin Upton(Atl – OF) The Wright S…
8. Adrián Béltre(Tex – 3B) SWAT*
9. Stephen Strasburg(Was – SP) Norwich No II
10. Evan Longoria(TB – 3B) Iron Men
11. Dustin Pedroia (Bos – 2B) Weston-Super…
12. José Reyes(Tor – SS) The Cheddar …

The first starting pitcher goes here, and it’s not Verlander, as the Riverkings nab Kershaw. I would normally shy away from taking an arm this early, but if I did, Verlander or Kershaw would

top my list. Cardiff hope Tulo is over his injury troubles, nabbing him before my turn. I consider taking Wright here, as well as Beltre and Hamilton, but cross my fingers and hope Bautista’s monster power numbers won’t be affected by last year’s injury. Seeing Darvish go here was a surprise, especially before Verlander, Price, Strasburg and King Felix. There’s nothing wrong with having Darvish atop your rotation, but maybe he would have lasted a bit longer. Beltre’s good value for SWAT, while Matt has filled the troublesome SS spot with Reyes.

Round 3

1. David Price(TB – SP) The Cheddar …
2. Hanley Ramírez(LAD – 3B,SS) Weston-Super…
3. Buster Posey(SF – C,1B) Iron Men
4. Josh Hamilton(LAA – CF) Norwich No II
5. Adam Jones(Bal – CF) SWAT*
6. Ian Kinsler(Tex – 2B) The Wright S…
7. Félix Hernández(Sea – SP) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
8. Ryan Zimmerman(Was – 3B) Richie’s RBI’s
9. Jacoby Ellsbury(Bos – CF) Batteries Es…
10. Edwin Encarnación(Tor – 1B) Orpington Is…
11. Yoenis Céspedes(Oak – CF) Cardiff Redsox
12. Jason Heyward(Atl – OF) NE Riverkings

With Matt knowing he would have a long wait until his round four selection, he wisely chooses to grab an ace now with Price, while Hanley Ramirez, with the added flexibility of 3B and SS, follows. Four CF are drafted this round and by the time it’s my turn I’m left with a headache. Having already filled two outfield spots, and confident there will be late-round options who will be decent third outfielders, I really need to make a start on my infield and was hoping for Zimmerman. I consider reaching for Goldschmidt here, or Adrian Gonzalez, but hope Encarnacion’s power surge isn’t a fluke.

Round 4

1. Cole Hamels(Phi – SP) NE Riverkings
2. Matt Cain(SF – SP) Cardiff Redsox
3. Adam Wainwright(StL – SP) Orpington Is…
4. Jay Bruce(Cin – OF) Batteries Es…
5. Gio González(Was – SP) Richie’s RBI’s
6. Cliff Lee(Phi – SP) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
7. Adrián González(LAD – 1B,OF) The Wright S…
8. Paul Goldschmidt(Ari – 1B) SWAT*
9. Craig Kimbrel(Atl – RP) Norwich No II
10. Matt Holliday(StL – OF) Iron Men
11. B.J. Upton (Atl – CF) Weston-Super…
12. Billy Butler(KC – 1B) The Cheddar …

Now it’s time to think about an ace, and with Hamels, Cain and Wainwright all available my pick will be whoever of those three is still left. The rush for aces continues with Lee and Gio both going. Gonzalez and Goldschmidt are both taken this round, while Kimbrel is the first closer off the board. Kimbrel is a class act, with ridiculous ERA and WHIP numbers, but with closers being a risky bet I’d decided to wait until later on before worrying about saves.

Round 5

1. Ben Zobrist(TB – 2B,SS,OF) The Cheddar …
2. Starlin Castro(ChC – SS) Weston-Super…
3. Madison Bumgarner(SF – SP) Iron Men
4. Aramis Ramírez(Mil – 3B) Norwich No II
5. Allen Craig(StL – 1B,OF) SWAT*
6. Brett Lawrie(Tor – 3B) The Wright S…
7. Jered Weaver(LAA – SP) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
8. Aaron Hill(Ari – 2B) Richie’s RBI’s
9. Roy Halladay(Phi – SP) Batteries Es…
10. Jason Kipnis(Cle – 2B) Orpington Is…
11. CC Sabathia(NYY – SP) Cardiff Redsox
12. Freddie Freeman(Atl – 1B) NE Riverkings

More aces go this round and, much to my frustration, 3B targets Ramirez and Lawrie vanish from my list. Then Aaron Hill goes. I consider going for Phillips, but opt for the power/speed combo of Kipnis. Beck ‘Nams, autopicking, now has four aces with Verlander, Felix, Lee and Weaver which is a killer rotation but leaves him lacking on top quality bats.

Round 6

1. Ian Desmond(Was – SS) NE Riverkings
2. Chase Headley(SD – 3B) Cardiff Redsox
3. R.A. Dickey(Tor – SP) Orpington Is…
4. Jimmy Rollins(Phi – SS) Batteries Es…
5. Rafael Soriano(Was – RP) Richie’s RBI’s
6. Pablo Sandoval(SF – 3B) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
7. Shin-Soo Choo(Cin – OF) The Wright S…
8. Joe Mauer(Min – C,1B) SWAT*
9. Brandon Phillips(Cin – 2B) Norwich No II
10. Desmond Jennings(TB – CF) Iron Men
11. Chris Sale(CWS – SP) Weston-Super…
12. Álex Ríos(CWS – OF) The Cheddar …

The gap at SS in my team is a nagging concern and I’m hoping Desmond might make it to me, only for the Riverkings to end any chances of that. Rollins is still available, but there’s one interesting name atop the draft list: Dickey. I’d be nervous about having Dickey as my top starter, in case the knuckleball magic deserts him, but I can’t resist switching tactics and taking him here as my second starter.

Round 7

1. Yadier Molina(StL – C) The Cheddar …
2. Kris Medlen(Atl – SP,RP) Weston-Super…
3. Max Scherzer(Det – SP) Iron Men
4. Aroldis Chapman(Cin – RP) Norwich No II
5. Zack Greinke(LAD – SP) SWAT*
6. Mat Latos(Cin – SP) The Wright S…
7. Anthony Rizzo(ChC – 1B) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
8. Salvador Pérez(KC – C) Richie’s RBI’s
9. Carlos Santana(Cle – C,1B) Batteries Es…
10. Elvis Andrus(Tex – SS) Orpington Is…
11. Víctor Martínez(Det – C) Cardiff Redsox
12. Matt Wieters(Bal – C) NE Riverkings

Catchers are very popular this round, with Molina, Perez, Santana, Martinez and Weiters all going. I’m intrigued to see what Perez can do in a full season, and Martinez should provide decent production at DH for the Tigers. I’m happy to fill that gap later, and breathe a sigh of relief when it is my pick as I happily grab Andrus as my SS. Norwich go for Chapman, figuring whether he’s a starter or a closer he should put up big K numbers with a low ERA and WHIP.

Round 8

1. Austin Jackson(Det – CF) NE Riverkings
2. Martín Prado(Ari – 2B,3B,SS,OF) Cardiff Redsox
3. Mark Trumbo(LAA – 1B,3B,OF) Orpington Is…
4. Tim Lincecum(SF – SP) Batteries Es…
5. Brett Gardner(NYY – OF) Richie’s RBI’s
6. Asdrubal Cabrera(Cle – SS) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
7. Johnny Cueto(Cin – SP) The Wright S…
8. Matt Moore(TB – SP) SWAT*
9. Ike Davis(NYM – 1B) Norwich No II
10. Jordan Zimmermann(Was – SP) Iron Men
11. Michael Bourn(Cle – CF) Weston-Super…
12. Alex Gordon(KC – OF) The Cheddar …

I still have a hole at 3B, and take advantage of Trumbo’s versatility to add some power. Lincecum could be a steal for Batteries Essential if he can regain his Cy Young form. Gardner is a player I had drafted in mocks, as he offers plenty of speed and should add CF eligibility as he keeps that spot warm for Granderson. But as he offers little home run power, it’s a surprise to see him taken this early and ahead of Bourn. Zimmermann looks a really nice pick here for Iron Men.

Round 9

1. Yovani Gallardo(Mil – SP) The Cheddar …
2. Ryan Howard(Phi – 1B) Weston-Super…
3. José Altuve (Hou – 2B) Iron Men
4. Nelson Cruz(Tex – OF) Norwich No II
5. James Shields(KC – SP) SWAT*
6. Brandon Morrow(Tor – SP) The Wright S…
7. Paul Konerko(CWS – 1B) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
8. Nick Swisher(Cle – 1B,OF) Richie’s RBI’s
9. Dan Haren(Was – SP) Batteries Es…
10. Carlos Beltrán(StL – CF) Orpington Is…
11. Jonathan Papelbon(Phi – RP) Cardiff Redsox
12. Jason Motte(StL – RP) NE Riverkings

Going into this round, I’m hoping one of Konerko or Howard will fall to me for my UT spot, but they both vanish, as does Cruz and I feel it’s still a tad early for a closer. I hadn’t planned on taking another CF here, but Beltran still has pop despite the injury risk. I like the Gallardo pick here, and if Morrow can stay healthy, the Stuff will have got a bargain.

Round 10

1. Joe Nathan(Tex – RP) NE Riverkings
2. Carlos Gómez(Mil – CF) Cardiff Redsox
3. Wilin Rosario(Col – C) Orpington Is…
4. Ichiro Suzuki(NYY – CF) Batteries Es…
5. Josh Johnson(Tor – SP) Richie’s RBI’s
6. Shane Victorino(Bos – CF) Beck ‘Nams (GB)
7. Curtis Granderson(NYY – CF) The Wright S…
8. Mariano Rivera(NYY – RP) SWAT*
9. Jeff Samardzija (ChC – SP) Norwich No II
10. Eric Hosmer(KC – 1B) Iron Men
11. Melky Cabrera(Tor – OF) Weston-Super…
12. David Freese(StL – 3B) The Cheddar …

Four more CF and a couple more closers go here but I avoid the rush and opt for some power behind the plate in Rosario, who may not be a great defensive catcher but can really hit. With my hitters sorted apart from UT and a bench player, I decide to boost my pitching staff with the next two picks if I can.

That’s the first ten rounds over with. On Friday we’ll look at Rounds 11-20 and run the rule over the final drafted rosters.

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6 Responses to “BaseballGB Fantasy League 2013: Draft recap Part 1”

  1. Matt Smith #

    Great write-up Mark. The first pick was a bit tricky to be honest as the A’s fan in me kinda hopes Trout takes a big step back this season! I’m not sure he’ll quite replicate his 2012 season, but he offers so much potential that I couldn’t pass over him.

    I haven’t picked first in a draft before and found that a bit of a challenge, having the long wait in between picks and then needing to think ahead with my two choices, knowing that plenty of players would be off the board by the next time I had another go.

    I’m happy enough with my first ten rounds. Looking forward to reading your review of the rest of the draft.

    Cheers
    Matt

    March 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm Reply
  2. Mike #

    Nice write-up.

    I’m not that big a fan of pick 4, but have consistently taken Votto this season, Cano is the most obvious alternative, and I’m sure he will put up similar numbers to Votto if both play a full season, but for some reason I just like Joey!

    Taking Kimbrel wasn’t in the plan at the start, and then suddenly I started thinking why not? I’d already taken one pitcher, let’s go a different route and see what happens. And Kimbrel, and then Chapman, who I had read earlier that day was saying he wanted to be the closer, are perfect for H2H in lots of ways – high Ks, low ERA, WHIP plus saves, and, in my eyes, miles in front of any other closer (except Papelbon/Motte perhaps).

    The only problem with my first 10 rounds was that my two OFs (Hamilton and Cruz) have such big injury question marks against them. But I figure in a 12 team, 3OF league, there should be more OFs available on the waiver wire than in 5OF league.

    Regards

    Norwich No II

    March 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm Reply
  3. Mark George #

    It looks as though Chapman will be back in the bullpen if this afternoon’s Twitter activity is anything to go by, which will have an impact on Broxton, who suddenly becomes a $7m a year set-up man.

    March 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm Reply
    • Matt Smith #

      I drafted Chapman in the World Series league and probably grabbed him too early there considering his position wasn’t settled. Recent history is showing that if you’ve got a talented young pitcher and want to start his Major League career in the bullpen, keep him away from the closer role as he might end up going no further. Chapman may never have developed a third quality pitch and become a good starter, but now we’ll probably never know.

      It’s great fun watching him throwing 100 MPH+, but the Reds must have seen him as a starter when they shelled out $30m to sign him. The A’s reportedly just missed out on him and I’ve no doubt they would have given him every chance to make it as a starter.

      March 21, 2013 at 8:26 pm Reply
  4. JJ #

    Mark, you suck.

    March 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm Reply
  5. Iron Men #

    Good review, I was abroad for the draft so set some pre rankings and was amazed they actually worked!!! Thank goodness for the no 3 pick…

    March 23, 2013 at 9:43 am Reply

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