Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Closer Look: My First Draft of 2009, Rounds 11-21

Sorry for the delay with this post but you know how it is during the week. I also appear to have completely spaced on my annual AL preview, maybe I'll get to it tomorrow if I have the motivation. Anyway, we left off last time after I'd snatched up what I believe to have been my best value pick, Hunter Pence, in the 10th round. With my offense mostly complete, I now needed to look into finding some value for my pitching staff.

Round 11
121. Ryan Dempster
122. Jonathan Broxton
123. Andre Ethier
124. Zack Greinke
125. B.J. Ryan
126. Matt Capps
127. Matt Cain
128. Brian Fuentes
129. Justin Verlander
130. Francisco Cordero
131. David Price
132. Kerry Wood

I began my own little run on closers here in this round. Broxton is locked into closer's role in L.A. and while he's certainly had his control issues, I love the fact that Rotoworld has him getting 91 Ks in 75 innings this year with a solid 31 saves. Of course, saves are a very volatile category and someone like Broxton could earn much more or much fewer saves than that regardless of what he does in the ratios. Anyway, he'll be closing for a good team and I can't complain if he lives up to his potential.

Round 12
133. Brad Hawpe
134. Adam Wainwright
135. Jorge Cantu
136. Rick Nolasco
137. Huston Street
138. Heath Bell
139. Mike Lowell
140. Frank Francisco
141. Raul Ibanez
142. Matt Garza
143. Chris Iannetta
144. Aubrey Huff

I was pretty pissed to see Garza go off the board just before my pick. I've been taking him in all my mock drafts because I think he's being undervalued. He's a strikeout pitcher playing on an excellent team and he appears to have moved past his Minnesota growing pains. Anyway, with this pick my starting offense is now complete. I sometimes like taking a catcher early, usually Martin or Mauer, but I elected to wait this time. Iannetta should get most of the playing time in Colorado and given the thin air he could drop over 20 bombs. This should be the last year Iannetta will be drafted outside the first 10 rounds. I certainly think he's a safer 2009 bet than Matt Wieters at this point.

Round 13
145. Milton Bradley
146. Trevor Hoffman
147. Jayson Werth
148. Conor Jackson
149. Mike Gonzalez
150. Brian Wilson
151. Torii Hunter
152. Carlos Delgado
153. Chris Young
154. Derek Lowe
155. Jorge Posada
156. Brandon Morrow

OK, I definitely don't love this pick. The all-time saves king isn't even close to what he used to be, and the Brewers will have to limit his innings throughout the year. But with almost every other #2 closer option off the board, Hoffman was actually the safest of them all. If you look at the other closers taken in this round, Gonzalez has had health issues and Wilson had a HUGE ERA last year. I'm also not sure if Morrow will start or close for the M's. Either way, Hoffman made the most sense for my purposes here. At this point I'm starting to get a little worried because I've only got two starting pitchers on my roster 13 rounds in. I've got my work cut out for me going forward.

Round 14
157. Patt Burrell
158. Brett Myers
159. Johnny Cueto
160. Aaron Harang
161. Chad Qualls
162. Adrian Beltre
163. Erik Bedard
164. Ben Sheets
165. George Sherrill
166. Ted Lilly
167. John Danks
168. Xavier Nady

I'd probably have taken Lilly if he didn't go right in front of me. There's been some mixed opinions on Danks this winter, but Rotoworld thinks enough of him to rank him 27th overall for starting pitchers. He's always had great stuff, and didn't get hurt last year, so I have every expectation he'll maintain his standing as the ChiSox's #2 hurler. And because I've waited so long at this point to draft starting pitching, I really can't complain about snagging Danks at this spot.

Round 15
169. Brad Ziegler
170. Matt Lindstrom
171. Shin-Soo Choo
172. Chien-Ming Wang
173. Nelson Cruz
174. Joey Devine
175. Justin Upton
176. Max Scherzer
177. Joel Hanrahan
178. Gavin Floyd
179. Josh Johnson
180. Jered Weaver

Matt Lindstrom is no Jonathan Papelbon. But he's got no other competition for saves in Florida, so I can hope has an efficient year at the very least. I've now managed to complete my bullpen. I never draft more than three closers for a team just because I believe in maintaining advantages in wins and K's are much easier to control than ratios.

Round 16
181. Jair Jurrens
182. Fernando Rodney
183. Mark DeRosa
184. Troy Percival
185. A.J. Pierzynski
186. Clayton Kershaw
187. Cameron Maybin
188. John Maine
189. Placido Polanco
190. Kevin Slowey
191. Scott Baker
192. Troy Glaus

I don't remember which year it was, it may have been 2006, when I thought Scott Baker was the sleeper of the year. I drafted him on every team and expected huge things. Well, he sucked. And he sucked all the time until last year, when he finally hit some of his potential. He won't run up huge numbers, but he's definitely a strong #4 starter for a mixed league fantasy squad. I've now rounded out my entire starting team. I'll begin now to look for some bargains for my bench.

Round 17
193. Mike Pelfrey
194. Alex Gordon
195. Randy Winn
196. Hideki Matsui
197. Edwin Encarnacion
198. Justin Duchscherer
199. Randy Johnson
200. Carlos Guillen
201. Lastings Milledge
202. Chris B. Young
203. Miguel Tejada
204. Fausto Carmona

I've had an unhealthy man-crush on Gordon since his days at Nebraska. He hasn't lived up to his young superstar billing just yet, but maybe at 25 this will be the year. If he does finally break out, he's a contributor in every category. Plus, he's a great guy for much bench considering Chipper Jones' penchant for getting hurt. I feel extremely confident in my corner infield situation given the apprehensive nature of both my Jones and Youkilis selections.

Round 18
205. Ryan Theroit
206. James Loney
207. Dioner Navarro
208. Kelly Johnson
209. Chris Carpenter
210. Adam Jones
211. Jim Thome
212. Travis Hafner
213. Joe Saunders
214. Adam LaRoche
215. Mark Buehrle
216. Mike Napoli

Buehrle doesn't give you a ton in fantasy. However, at this spot in the draft I think he's a solid option. He won't strike out many people, but he goes deep into games, gets a lot of decisions, and as long as his ratios don't inflate too much, I don't mind grabbing him here. The purpose of these later rounds as far as starting pitchers go is to either draft for upside or draft for solid contributors. Buehrle, who's thrown at least 200 innings each of the last eight seasons, qualifies as the latter. Also, note the selection of Adam Jones at pick #210. I'll be discussing that shortly.

Round 19
217. Oliver Perez
218. Rickie Weeks
219. David DeJesus
220. Melvin Mora
221. Chris Perez
222. Elvis Andrus
223. Alexi Casilla
224. Jeff Francoeur
225. Denard Span
226. Tim Hudson
227. Rick Ankiel
228. Willy Taveras

Weeks has spent a lot of time on the DL over the last few years. Otherwise, I'd like to think he could be a top-5 fantasy second baseman. He gives me steals off the bench and he's got some pop in his bat, too. Should something happen to Phillips, I'd feel confident running Weeks out there for and extended period. I have to hope he's put his injury woes behind him for now. I'd been taking Andrus frequently as my backup MI, but Weeks is a better player now and I'm less worried about SS (Hanley) than I am about 2B (Phillips).

Round 20
229. Jose Guillen
230. Kazuo Matsui
231. Ryan Garko
232. Khalil Greene
233. Armando Galarraga
234. Gil Meche
235. Juan Pierre
236. Hank Blalock
237. Yadier Molina
238. Taylor Teagarden
239. J.D. Drew
240. Akinori Iwamura

I'm well aware of how Drew tends to hit the DL from time to time. Well aware. But I needed an outfielder, and when he is healthy and locked in, look out. This is where that earlier Adam Jones pick comes in. The owner who drafted Jones inexplicably decided to dump him as soon as add/drops were available. I'd taken Jones as early as 17th round in one of my mocks, so I decided to throw in a waiver claim to add Jones and drop Drew. I won't know the outcome until tomorrow. Jones has miles of upside and will likely be a 20/20 guy as soon as this year. That's a pick I like more than Drew. But if I get stuck with J.D. I'll be fine. If he gets hurt there's plenty of other outfielders.

Round 21
241. Grant Balfour
242. Ubaldo Jimenez
243. Chris Volstad
244. Phil Hughes
245. Gary Sheffield
246. John Smoltz
247. Jeff Clement
248. Aaron Hill
249. Nick Swisher
250. Kevin Gregg
251. Elijah Dukes
252. Mike Cameron

If Buehrle represented a safe late-round pick, taking Jimenez here was the risky pick with upside. I don't know exactly what to expect considering he's young, wild, and pitches in Colorado, but strikes guys out left and right and if he sucks I'll just get someone else. As my last pick, it's not like I'm really attached to him. With that, my team is complete. Take a look (with Rotoworld projections and round taken in parentheses):

Yahoo 34148 - 2/15
C Chris Ianetta (12)
0.263 16 68 63 1
1B Kevin Youkilis (5)
0.288 21 99 97 3
2B Brandon Phillips (3)
0.281 25 92 91 27
3B Chipper Jones (7)
0.318 23 81 84 3
SS Hanley Ramirez (1)
0.314 30 83 114 37
OF Carlos Beltran (2)
0.277 28 106 104 22
OF Nick Markakis (4)
0.308 26 100 106 12
OF Hunter Pence (10)
0.280 28 99 81 14
UT Carlos Pena (9)
0.252 32 108 93 2
BN Alex Gordon (17)
0.272 22 77 72 10
BN Rickie Weeks (19)
0.261 17 51 93 23
BN JD Drew (20)
0.286 17 73 82 3

SP Chad Billingsley (6)
15 3.43 1.28 200 0
SP Ervin Santana (8)
14 3.73 1.22 188 0
RP Jonathon Broxton (11)
4 2.88 1.13 91 31
RP Trevor Hoffman (13)
2 3.57 1.15 44 32
P John Danks (14)
13 3.53 1.24 160 0
P Scott Baker (16)
13 3.83 1.26 159 0
P Matt Lindstrom (15)
3 3.36 1.30 63 29
BN Mark Buehrle (18)
15 3.92 1.30 122 0
BN Ubaldo Jimenez (21)
12 4.14 1.37 168 0

Overall I'm really pleased with this team. Often times, my decision to overlook pitching early hurts me in the ratio categories, and I expect this year will probably be no different. However, I really, really like my balanced offense and I don't see how I'm lower than 3rd in the league in all five categories. Every player on my team has at least 20 homer power. My top two starters should improve from last year. My closers are solid and provide value based on where I took them. I expect my forumla to lead to another championship.

I hope you enjoyed this. No, really, I do. Later.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Nice dude...super thorough.

Schlotzsky's is running a contest right now until 5/31/09, and giving away stuff like fantasy baseball teams from, personalized mini-bats, and a grand prize trip to St. Louis, Missouri in July; so sick. You can register at (there's also a sufficiently addicting game on the site, but at least you can earn extra contest entries haha).

Nice team...good luck!