ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 10: Albert Pujols speaks at a public press conference introducing newly signed Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim players Pujols and C.J. Wilson at Angel Stadium on December 10, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Last night was the first ever Fake Teams H2H Points League draft, which included me, Ray and 10 fabulous Fake Teams readers.
Good news is the draft was a lot of fun and I like my team. Bad news is I scheduled the draft smack dab in the middle of the season finale of The Walking Dead. Doh! I can’t apologize enough for that, although, in my opinion, the prior week’s episode was far superior to last night’s. For what it’s worth.
Anyways, back to my team. I’ll recap my draft in this post and will provide a more in-depth look at other team’s and the draft as a whole throughout the rest of this week (Spoiler Alert: Ray didn’t pick Matt Kemp second overall, although he did choose a LA Dodger.) leading up to the Seattle vs. Oakland Japan matchup next Wednesday. How many of you are planning on getting up at 4 AM to watch Felix Hernandez, Brandon McCarthy and the high-powered A’s and Mariners lineups go toe to toe?
Without further ado, here is my draft/team. Lineups for this league consist of C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UTL, P, P, P, P, P, P, P, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, DL, DL. I had the fourth overall pick in the first round:
1. Albert Pujols 1B
2. Roy Halladay SP
3. CC Sabathia SP
4. Brandon Phillips 2B
5. Shane Victorino OF
6. Jonathon Papelbon RP
7. Mariano Rivera RP
8. Lance Berkman 1B/OF
9. Daniel Hudson SP
10. Carlos Lee 1B/OF
11. Erick Aybar SS
12. Jesus Montero DH
13. Brandon League RP
14. Doug Fister SP
15. Coco Crisp OF
16. David Freese 3B
17. Brandon McCarthy SP
18. Mike Minor SP
19. Frank Francisco RP
20. Mark Trumbo 1B/OF
21. Brett Myers SP (RP)
22. Chris Capuano SP
23. AJ Pierzynski C
Thoughts on my team after the jump:
Thanks to the lenient position eligibility requirements from Yahoo! (5 games started or 10 appearances at a position), I’m confident Jesus Montero will have catcher eligibility not too long into April. Once Montero qualifies at catcher, it should be an edge over the majority of my opponents as he is projected to produce at a high level and be a fixture in the Mariners lineup ever day, which should result in an additional 4-8 ABs over my opponent most weeks. Until then, AJ Pierzynski will act as my catcher. While he doesn’t do anything extremely well, he also doesn’t strike out at all and is in consideration to bat second in the White Sox lineup this season. Long story short, Pierzynski shouldn’t hurt me leading up to Montero’s eligibility and he can be dropped for pitching depth after that.
There isn’t much to say here. To me, Albert Pujols at fourth overall is awesome as I had him ranked second in all of my rankings. His "down" season in 2011 still ranked him as the 11th overall hitter in terms of points and I’m expecting improvement from him. Maybe not to his absolute elite levels of the past, but improvement nonetheless. Mark Trumbo is currently my backup for Pujols at first base, but for the sake of my team, I hope I never have to pencil him in there.
I ranked Brandon Phillips as the fifth best second baseman back in January and he was the best available at this point in the draft. Phillips does a little bit of everything for his fantasy owners and should be a viable source of points across all categories while his 85 strikeouts aren’t too detrimental.
Admittedly, third base is a problem for me. The position seemed to get away from me and in the end I was stuck with David Freese as my best option. Good news is he should give me an extra 4-5 ABs in the opening matchup, bad news is he will probably break one of his appendages after that. It’s my hope that Mark Trumbo earns third base eligibility not too long into the season so when (not if) Freese hits the DL, he can slide in and replace him. Even then, I’m still not too excited as Trumbo’s playing time could be questionable as part of a LAA lineup with a lot of moving parts. There is a good chance I pursue a trade at some point in time in the season.
I’m very happy to have Erick Aybar as my shortstop in this league. Aybar was the seventh highest scoring player at the position in 2011 and his numbers could improve with the addition of Albert Pujols to the lineup, as well as a bounce back from Vernon Wells. Aybar offers very little in the way of home runs, but he doesn’t strike out much and should be an excellent source of points via runs, steals and XBH.
You wouldn’t think it to look at them, but all of my outfielders were in the Top 14 in scoring at the position in 2011. Shane Victorino is similar to Brandon Phillips in that he does a little of everything and enough of it to put up points each week. Lance Berkman might not repeat his 2011 season, but I don’t think he returns to 2010 production either. Somewhere in-between for Berkman should result in a solid point total and it’s likely I move him to UTL once Montero qualifies for catcher. Carlos Lee was the 14th highest scoring outfielder in 2011 and should at the very least repeat that production if not improve on his home run total. Best case would be for Lee to be traded to a contender at the deadline where his RBI opportunities could increase. For now, Coco Crisp is my primary backup and was the 20th highest scoring outfielder last year. If he can remain in the A’s lineup for the season, there’s a good chance he becomes my third outfielder when Montero qualifies at catcher and I move Berkman to UTL. Mark Trumbo also qualifies at outfield.
Right now my bench only consists of two players, Coco Crisp and Mark Trumbo with one of them slated for the lineup once Montero qualifies at catcher. With this being a weekly lineup league, a strong bench isn't essential and in fact will be wasted more often than not. I’ll likely need to keep an eye out for breakout position players to claim on the free agent list or improve either 3B, OF or UTL via trade at some point in time this season.
It’s a good thing this isn’t a keeper league as almost all of my hitters are well over 30 years old. With that being said, it is a very solid group without one single regular having over 100 strikeouts last season. I’m expecting a return to excellence for Albert Pujols and I see a lot of upside from Jesus Montero while the rest of the offense has been solid/consistent producers over the last few seasons. While David Freese at third base is a weakness, the potential for Mark Trumbo to become eligible at the position could counter that. His 333 points in 2011 would have been good for eighth best amongst third basemen last season, so, it could be worse, I suppose.
Roy Halladay with the 21st overall pick in a points league was one of the steals of the draft. Last season, Halladay scored 620 points and I’d expect something similar this season (I'm not worried about his Spring Training stats). CC Sabathia scored 530 last season, which shows just how dominant Halladay can be. Those two should anchor my lineup each week. Then, I decided to take a different approach for the rest of my staff by acquiring a myriad of closers throughout the draft. It’s my intent to start Sabathia and Halladay every week as well as Mariano Rivera and Jonathon Papelbon (don’t ask why I selected Papelbon before Rivera, ‘cause I’m really not sure) and then sub in either the remainder of my closers or two-start pitchers with the other three spots. That way, any given week, I should have at least 4-5 pitchers in my lineup projected at 400 or more points with another two (Halladay, Sabathia) projected at over 500. Daniel Hudson should crack the lineup most weeks, as well as Fister, assuming his matchups merit it. Mike Minor and Chris Capuano will largely be reserved for two-start weeks and there’s a good chance I grab another starter when I am able to drop AJ Pierzynski. Otherwise, the rotation will often be rounded out with Brandon League, Frank Francisco and Brett Myers as a save is worth just as many points as a win (7), and unlike a loss (-5), there is no penalty for a blown save… as long as it doesn’t result in a loss. It will be interesting to monitor this strategy throughout the season and I’ll be sure to update you as it progresses.
What do you think about my team? Did you enjoy the season finale of The Walking Dead last night? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below and keep a look out for more draft commentary later in the week.