There’s nothing better than waking up on the day of my first fantasy baseball draft of the year… unless I’m also waking up next to a supermodel… oooh, or two supermodels… or three… or, eh-hem, umm, my totally amazing girlfriend that definitely isn’t reading over my shoulder as I write this (love you sweetheart!).
Last year in this league, my spending habits (or lack thereof) rivaled those of Scrooge (McDuck, of course, because who wouldn’t rather an adorable cartoon duck with a charming Scottish brogue than a crotchety old man with a flem-accented drawl when visualizing their analogies). In my recap, I noted how I “effectively left… $30 or $40 on the table.” That’s something like 15% of the total budget, which will normally capsize any team’s chances of finishing outside the bottom three.
Somehow, though, I managed to take home second place and may have taken first if I was able to find any semblance of a fair offer for one of my closers. (I wound up with 105 saves, nearly 30 above my next competitor. Talk about wasted value!)
This year, I was determined to spend my all money…
|BN (UT)||Nolan Reimold||R1|
|BN (1B/OF)||Tyler Colvin||R6|
|BN (RP)||Sean Doolittle||R2|
|BN (SP)||Alex Meyer||R3|
|BN (RP)||Joel Peralta||R4|
|BN (SP)||Dylan Bundy||R5|
|BN (SP)||Mark Appel||R7|
The initial plan was to get Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera for $40-ish for a firm, high-priced anchor to my team. Both went for $43, so that plan was out the window. That meant securing an extra couple of players in the $20-$30 range, ideally at a $2 or so bargain. The hitters in this range tend to be inflated by several dollars in CBS AL every year, so even a small bargain is worth fighting for. I’d need to be careful picking and choosing while also being careful to leave enough money to take advantage of the big bargains at the end of the draft that inevitably result from this kind of spending.
After just a couple times around the (virtual) table, I’d already secured Mauer, Bautista, Ortiz, and Beltran for a projected $14 profit. Without any speed, I decided to pay full price for Coco Crisp… a decision I would soon regret. Going full value for a hitter in that range (speed or no speed) after I’d already purchased four of them was a terrible decision in a league like this, and it looks even worse in the wake of a guy like Rajai Davis going for just $3. This meant that while I was all but assured of spending all of my money, I would have to pass up on several bargains later (and I did, wincing and cursing Crisp each time).
Further hampering me was an accidental purchase of Mitch Moreland in the early going. Online auctions have the element of practicality in their favor when owners can’t meet in the real world, but boy do they make strategic bidding difficult. Moreland at $11 was the unfortunate result of an ill-timed “Bid +1″ button-press. I’d have taken him for a few dollars less, but I only had him valued at $13, and $2 isn’t nearly a good enough bargain for a player at that price point. As comfortable (and adorable, if I do say so myself) as I was in my rubber duck footie pajamas and big fuzzy slippers, it wasn’t worth a blunder that would have been avoided in a live draft.
Still, I managed to take down a number of huge bargains in the later rounds, most notably Infante, Plouffe, Chisenhall, and Iannetta. And if Stephen Drew happens to sign with an AL team (the most recent reports have him linked to five AL teams and just one NL squad), he’d be a huge bargain as well. Chisenhall is a bit risky given Carlos Santana’s potential move to third base, but there’s no guarantee he’d play there everyday, plus the Indians would still have no obvious DH, so Chisenhall is a good bet to get his ABs.
The biggest high of the draft came in the first reserve round, where Nolan Reimold — who I initially planned to auction as my DH before I got a too-good-to-pass-up deal on Big Papi — fell into my lap.
On the pitching side, the elites go for $5+ bargains since people don’t generally like spending more than $30 on an asset so widely considered to be “risky”, even if they’re worth it. Hello King Felix! After further anchoring with high-priced purchases of Weaver and Nathan, I rounded out the rest of my staff with low-priced (but relatively high-skilled) pitchers that I will play the matchups with, substituting in my elite reserve round relievers (Doolittle and Peralta) as need be. But since these guys aren’t without risk, I hedged my bets a bit with three top-notch pitching prospects in the reserves rounds, all of whom figure to be called up by mid-year.
All told, I think I did very well in this draft. This squad is certainly good enough to win the league and could potentially dominate if I catch a few breaks (i.e. Jemile Weeks, an accidental purchase, winning the second base job in Baltimore or Drew signing with an AL team). I just wish I hadn’t hampered myself with Crisp and Moreland; I can’t imagine how much I’d like my team with the bargains I missed out on as a result.
That’s a pretty lot of words, and now I’m hungry; all this talk of Coco Crisp makes me want some cereal, but never will someone eat their milk-drenched, chocolate-flavored tiny rice puffs of deliciousness with such inner turmoil and disdain….
(Comments and questions on my roster and/or strategy are welcome.)