The Perfect LABR Rosters

USA TODAY Sports

LABR held their annual auctions during the first weekend in March. With the results in hand, Andrew Ball attempts to create the perfect roster in each league.

Although Tout Wars seems to be the more popular set of Experts Leagues nowadays (and no wonder now that Fake Teams has a representative), the LABR leagues are still very important industry wide. LABR, or the League of Alternative Baseball Reality, was the first high-profile fantasy sports experts' league and over the years it has featured Peter Gammons and Bill James among others. This year's LABR drafts were held several weeks ago, and today I am going to try to assemble my "perfect roster" in both leagues. Going through the draft results, I used actual auction prices and the $260 budget to construct the strongest team I could. Below are my results, followed by some thoughts about the teams.

AL

NL

Position

Name

Price

Name

Price

C

Joe Mauer, MIN

19

Miguel Montero, ARI

18

C

Geovanny Soto, TEX

2

Wellington Castillo, CHC

9

1B

Kendrys Morales, SEA

17

Adam LaRoche, WAS

18

2B

Robinson Cano, NYY

35

Rickie Weeks, MIL

16

3B

Kevin Youkilis, NYY

11

David Wright, NYM

32

SS

Alcides Escobar, KC

19

Hanley Ramirez, LAD

29

CIF

Chris Carter, HOU

10

Garrett Jones, PIT

13

MIF

Tyler Greene, HOU

9

Darwin Barney, CHC

7

OF

Yoenis Cespedes, OAK

29

Carlos Gomez, MIL

17

OF

Josh Reddick, OAK

17

Domonic Brown, PHI

8

OF

Coco Crisp, OAK

14

Lucas Duda, NYM

7

OF

Johnny Gomes, BOS

6

Matt Carpenter, STL

6

OF

Aaron Hicks, MIN

4

Delmon Young, PHI

5

UTL

Josh Donaldson, OAK

6

Scott Hairston, CHC

4

P

Matt Moore, TB

21

Craig Kimbrel, ATL

23

P

Jake Peavy, CWS

13

Josh Beckett, LAD

10

P

Ernesto Frieri, LAA

9

Shaun Marcum, NYM

9

P

Jason Hammel, BAL

7

Bobby Parnell, NYM

9

P

Bud Norris, HOU

4

Wade Miley, ARI

6

P

Joe Blanton, LAA

3

Andrew Cashner, ARI

6

P

Kyle Lohse, FA

2

Edwin Jackson, CHC

5

P

Phil Coke, DET

2

Edison Volquez, SD

4

P

John Lackey, BOS

1

Kyle Lohse, FA

1

You can find the complete draft results here: LABR AL ResultsLABR NL Results

Now, some thoughts:

  • In both leagues I selected just three players that cost $21 or more, two hitters and one pitcher in each instance. In AL/NL only leagues I tend to avoid a Stars and Scrubs strategy, aiming instead to fill my lineup with every day players.
  • I apparently really like Oakland's OF this year, snagging all three of the A's starters. I feel Cespedes is in for a big year in 2013, and even if all three just replicate their 2012 numbers they are more than worth those prices.
  • The NL LABR league had a lot more, cheap position players that I would be comfortable having in my starting lineup. Miami's second baseman, Donovan Solano, went for $3 in a league where most of the teams are starting multiple bench players.
  • In AL-only leagues, don't forget about Houston. They will be bad this year, but even bad teams score runs and win some games. I was able to select Chris Carter (possible 25-30 home runs), Tyler Green (15/15 at 2B and SS), and Bud Norris (170 K's) for $23 combined.
  • I think Kyle Lohse is absolutely worth a $1 or $2 gamble in an Only league right now. If he does sign in that league, he's a $10-$15 pitcher.
  • For the most part I stayed away from prospects. Many young players went for more money than I thought they should because the industry experts want to have those flashier picks on their teams. More people will be upset when you end up with Oscar Taveras, but will he really have better 5 x 5 numbers than Delmon Young? In a 15-team league NL-only league, I don't think the upside is worth the risk.
  • The experts were really tight with money on some of the better players. In most auctions I think Mike Trout, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, and some of the top talent would go for a few more dollars, in turn making some of the end game picks a little less expensive.
  • This exercise was much easier than drafting in an actual auction. I already knew where the bidding would stop on every player, an enormous advantage. I also have two weeks of extra information; if those drafts were held today I think Aaron Hicks, Matt Carpenter, Phil Coke and Kevin Youkilis all would go for more money.

So those are my "perfect rosters" based on this year's LABR results. Let me know if you agree or disagree with my selections in the comments. This weekend, I will be back to writing about prospects.

For more coverage on all things baseball, check out Baseball Nation.

You can read Ray's review of the LABR drafts here: ALNL

You can follow me on twitter.

You can check out my other writing at Fantasy Ninjas.

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