2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft – Fantasy Alarm Roto Auction (March 27, 2012)

My final fantasy baseball draft of the season took place on March 27, 2012 in the Fantasy Alarm 12-team mixed rotisserie auction league.  Originally this was going to be a snake draft, but Jeff Mans was so enthralled with the auctions at TOUT Wars that he Mitt Romney-ed the league and flipped to an auction.  This was my third auction draft in a matter of two weeks, so I had a pretty good idea on where I could get good value for players.  Here is a breakdown with commentary and analysis of my team:

C Carlos Ruiz-PHI.  As you may know by now, I do not care about catchers in fantasy baseball leagues.  I never spend more than a dollar or a late round pick on a catcher because they rarely play more than five games a week and are more susceptible to injury than any other position.  I got Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz for $1.00 and I am perfectly fine with that because he is competent and is a starter.

C Rod Barajas-PIT.  Because this is a two-catcher league I was forced to draft another one.  So I waited until the very end and got Pirates catcher Rod Barajas for $1.00.  I know he will hurt my batting average, but he should be good for at least 15 homeruns and maybe 50 RBI assuming he stays healthy. 

1B Adrian Gonzalez-BOS.  My first pick of this draft was Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez who I won for $39.00.  This was after Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols were off the boards already.  Gonzalez had a great season for Boston in 2011 despite seeing his power numbers decrease over the second half.  Now at full health and a season in Beantown under his belt, Gonzalez should be primed for an MVP type season with numbers as good as Cabrera and Pujols.

2B Neil Walker-PIT.  This is the second draft I have done where I won Neil Walker for only $1.00.  Granted, he is not the next coming of Joe Morgan or Ryne Samdberg, but he is a pretty solid fantasy option at second base with his ability to contribute respectably in all categories.  The Pirates are an improving team and Walker is right in the middle of it.  For only a buck, I’ll take .275 with 15 homeruns, 75 RBI, 75 runs scored and 15 stolen bases from my second baseman.

3B Adrian Beltre-TEX.  I was very happy to get Adrian Beltre for only $19.00 because third base is not as deep a fantasy position as it used to be.  Beltre has proven that he can be counted on for solid production in years that are not the last in an existing contract.  He is still in his prime and hits in the middle of a potent Rangers lineup.  Assuming he stays healthy, there is no reason to think he won’t hit .300 with 25 homeruns and 100 RBI.

SS Derek Jeter-NYY.  Despite my profound dislike of the New York Yankees, I have always respected Derek Jeter as a player.  He never has put up flashy statistics like his counterparts, but he has been remarkably consistent over a 16-year career.  There is no question that 2011 was a struggle and it could mean the beginning of a rapid decline, but Jeter did have a solid second half and is still in great shape.  For $11.00, I drafted Jeter and should get a .275 average with 100 runs scored and maybe 20 stolen bases…if everything goes right.

MI Ryan Rayburn-DET.  After having a huge spring and all but locking up the Tigers second base job, Ryan Raburn still managed to fall under the radar and I was able to get him for only $1.00.  Raburn is not great for batting average, but he has 20 homerun potential if given consistent at bats.  It looks like this will be the year where he stays in the lineup almost everyday and also has positional flexibility in the outfield.

CI David Wright-NYM.  After already filling third base with Adrian Beltre, I got a little greedy when bidding on Mets third baseman David Wright stalled in the mid teens.  I ended up winning Wright for $19.00 to fill my CI position.  I think this is great value for him despite the nagging abdominal injury which kept him out of spring training until last week.  He is back now and is extremely motivated to drag the Mets franchise out of despair on his back.  With the outfield walls at Citi Field now moved in, this could be a big season for Wright.

OF Hunter Pence-PHI.  As you may have noticed from other drafts I did this season, Hunter Pence is a player I have been targeting.  This will be his first full season in Philadelphia which should help his overall production.  Pence is a solid player in his prime who can contribute in all five roto categories.  He may be exposed slightly in the beginning of the season when both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are out with injuries.  However, he is still good for .290 with 25 homeruns, 90 RBI, 90 runs scored and 20 stolen bases.  I’ll take that for the $20.00 I spent on him.

OF Alex Gordon-KC.  This is another player I have targeted in all drafts and successfully acquired for $21.00.  Alex Gordon is coming off of a breakout season in 2011 where he produced across the board in all categories.  The Royals rewarded him with a four-year contract extension and he will be leading off for an up and coming Kansas City lineup that could put up some impressive numbers.  I expect Gordon to surpass his production from a year ago as he gets stronger and develops better plate discipline.   

OF Colby Rasmus-TOR.  After a tumultuous tenure in St. Louis, Colby Rasmus was sent over the border to Toronto in the Edwin Jackson trade last season.  Rasmus has a ton of natural talent but hasn’t put it all together yet.  Now away from the specter of Tony LaRussa, Rasmus has a chance to be part of a strong Blue Jays lineup with the likes of Jose Bautista, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie.  I got Rasmus for $10.00 which seems a little high, but I really like his potential with the needed change of scenery.

OF Carlos Lee-HOU.  I thought this was a steal to get Carlos Lee for only $2.00.  While he likely won’t hit .300 or 30 homeruns anymore, he can still put up respectable numbers for a 3rd or 4th outfielder with first base eligibility as well.  The downside is that Lee is the focal point of Houston’s lineup and he may get pitched around frequently.

OF Michael Cuddyer-COL.  Perhaps I overspent a little bit here, but I acquired Michael Cuddyer for $19.00.  His position flexibility is very appealing as he qualifies at first base, second base, and outfield.  He will now have the benefit of hitting at Coors Field for 81 games and is in a good lineup with the likes of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.  It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Cuddyer hits close to 30 homeruns and drives in close to 100 runs.

UTIL Adam Dunn-CHW.  After having one of the worst seasons statistically in baseball history, Adam Dunn can only go up this year.  I got him for $6.00 which I think is good value for a guy who has several 40-homerun seasons under his belt. 

BN Jason Bay-NYM.  Ugh.  I did it again.  I strongly dislike Jason Bay because of the huge bust he has been for the Mets.  But with the shortened fences at Citi Field and the fact that Bay has to be motivated to prove he can still play baseball, I couldn’t pass on the chance to get him for $1.00.  The worst that happens is he sucks, sits on my bench, and I write mean things about him again.

BN Raul Ibanez-NYY.  The Yankees will likely use several people at DH this year, so I am not expecting newly acquired Raul Ibanez to get 500 at bats.  But for only $1.00, this was worth the pick because Ibanez will get several starts a week with a chance to take advantage of the right field porch at Yankee Stadium.  Even at 39 years old, the guy can still hit.

BN Grady Sizemore-CLE.  It has been a disastrous past few years for the one-time fantasy stud Grady Sizemore.  But injuries have decimated his career and now he starts the season on the DL recovering from another back surgery.  I grabbed him for $1.00 and will stash him in the event he does come back and can play.  He signed a one-year contract to return to Cleveland, so he is chomping at the bit to prove he can stay healthy and seek a long-term contract after the season.

SP Justin Verlander-DET.  I had no intention of getting into the bidding for the reigning American League Cy Young winner and MVP.  But when the bidding for Justin Verlander started stalling in the upper $20’s, I had to get involved.  I ended up winning Verlander for $31.00 which is far less than I have seen him go in any other auction draft I have done.  While he may not be able to replicate his historic 2011 season, he is a bona fide ace and will be great in all pitching categories (except saves, obviously).

SP Tim Lincecum-SF.  With the theoretical money I saved on Verlander, I wanted to grab a second ace.  I decided to go after former two time National League Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum who is coming off of a down year for his standards.  I won Lincecum for $28.00 and I think he has a great chance at winning 20 games again with over 200 strikeouts.

SP Tommy Hanson-ATL.  I haven’t decided whether I like this move or not.  I won Braves starter Tommy Hanson for $13.00 which may be on the high side.  Hanson was one of baseball’s top young pitching prospects but he has yet to really establish himself due to injuries.  He sustained a mild concussion at the beginning of spring training, but he has pitched well and will be ready to.  If Hanson stays healthy, he does have the potential for big numbers.

RP Brian Wilson-SF.  The first few closers off the board sold for a lot of money, and I didn’t want to overspend so I waited quite awhile before landing one.  Brian Wilson fell to me for $7.00 which I was happy about because he should be in line for 35-40 saves if he stays healthy.  The Giants typically play in close, low scoring games so he will have plenty of opportunities.  Now I feel obligated to dye my facial hair jet black.

RP Huston Street-SD.  I was ready to accept that the saves category would not be a strength on my team, but somehow I won Huston Street for $3.00 when I hadn’t planned on it.  Street replaces Heath Bell as the Padres closer which means he will have plenty of chances for saves as well since San Diego generally plays close games. 

P Jaime Garcia-STL.  I had to wait for the dollar draft picks to fill out my pitching staff, so I was pleasantly surprised to land Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia for $1.00.  He is a solid starter that won’t put up overwhelming numbers, but he won’t hurt me either.

P Erik Bedard-PIT.  It has been a rough couple years for the former Orioles ace.  After getting dealt to Seattle in the infamous Adam Jones trade, Bedard has been plagued by injuries.  He now looks to re-establish himself in Pittsburgh.  If he is healthy and can rediscover his 2007 self, then this will be a real bargain for only $1.00.

P Luke Hochevar-KC.  There is a lot of buzz around the Royals this year with their young talent.  But Kansas City won’t take that next step unless they get solid pitching, and that starts with Luke Hochevar.  He has enough experience in the league now where he should be taking that next step as a pitcher.  For just $1.00, he is worth taking a chance on.

P Brett Myers-HOU.  In the race to get closers near the end of the draft, I was able to grab Houston’s newly appointed stopper Brett Myers for $1.00.  He excelled in this role in Philadelphia a few years ago, so he is capable of racking up saves.  The only question is whether he will get sufficient chances for saves given how bad the Astros are likely going to be. 

BN Jonathon Niese-NYM.  One of the few Mets pitchers worth drafting, I got Jonathon Niese for $1.00.  Niese is a talented young lefty but he has to put it all together and stay healthy this year to justify the five-year contract the Mets are negotiating with him.  Niese had the second worst BABIP in the league in 2011 and gives up a lot of hits, so he could hurt my ERA and WHIP.  He will likely be on my bench until he earns a spot in the lineup.

BN Frank Francisco-NYM.  Personally I am not a fan of Frank Francisco and I did not like the fact my Mets gave him $12,000,000 to be their new closer.  But for $1.00, I was able to get a 4th closer so it was worth the gamble.  He is shaky at best, and the Mets won’t have many save opportunities.  Ideally I can use him as trade bait for a team severely lagging behind in saves.

So that is my team.  Overall I like it a lot except for possibly being a little weak in stolen bases.  Adrian Gonzalez is my only legitimate power hitter, but I have a lot of players capable of hitting over 20 bombs.  I am very pleased with the balance I have through my lineup with guys that can all hit for good average, respectable power, and produce runs.  I am very happy having two legitimate aces in Verlander and Lincecum.  My depth in starting pitchers could be a weakness.  As for closers, I have four of them which is good, but they are not collectively the greatest group ever assembled.  I probably won’t win the saves category, but I should at least be in play for half the points.

Let me know what you think of my team.  Drop me an email at michael.stein@fantasyjudgment.com, post a comment on Facebook, or send me a message on Twitter.

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