A week ago, Ray offered me the opportunity to represent Fake Teams in the 4th Annual Blog Wars, a league consisting of 15 teams made up of veteran bloggers from some of the very best sites on the web. I of course said yes and thanked Ray again and again for the chance to play in my very first experts league. Then I saw the following list of participants, freaked out a little, and decided that I better do some extra prep work:
Grey Albright and Scott Evans, Razzball
Andy Behrens, Yahoo
Bryan, Fantasy Baseball Cafe
Chris Carbonell, Sons Of Roto
Jake Ciely, RotoExperts
Nick Fleder, The Hardball Times
Alan Harrison and Brett Talley, The Fantasy Fix
Andrew Holm, Sons of Roto
Alex Kantecki, Fake Teams
Albert Lang, FantasyPros911
Greg Morgan, Mastersball
Nick (TraderX), Fantasy Trade411
Scott Pianowski, Yahoo
Eno Sarris, FanGraphs
Scott Swanay, The Fantasy Baseball Sherpa
The league consists of 15 teams and is a 5X5 mixed with two catchers, a middle infielder and a corner infielder -- in addition to the other usual roster spots for a grand total of 26 players. Each team had $260 to spend and my strategy was simple: Don't make a fool out of myself. That meant no extravagant overspending whatsoever -- especially on closers. And, as you will see, I didn't overspend on any closers because I didn't pay for any closers. Here's how my team ended up:
C Buster Posey 30
C Carlos Santana 18
1B Adrian Gonzalez 26
2B Ian Kinsler 30
3B Brett Lawrie 19
SS Marco Scutaro 5
CI Pablo Sandoval 18
MI Logan Forsythe 1
OF Adam Jones 25
OF Desmond Jennings 18
OF Jason Kubel 4
OF Nolan Reimold 2
OF Rajai Davis 1
UTIL Lonnie Chisenhall 1
B Mark Ellis 1
B Michael Brantley 1
B Gerardo Parra 1
SP Max Scherzer 18
RP Marco Estrada 5
P Brandon Morrow 15
P Jake Peavy 10
P Jon Niese 4
P Dillon Gee 1
P Jason Vargas 1
P Ryan Cook 1
Because I'm not one to pay for catchers, naturally I went out and snagged a $30 Posey with my first winning bid. And in a two catcher league, I'm pretty happy with it, as I personally have him valued at $30. One thing I really wanted in this draft was a stud second baseman. In leagues with an extra spot in the middle infield, it looks really bad on paper when you miss out on a top option at second and are forced to use a couple of low-tier options at both of your 2B and MI spots. After Cano, Kinsler is my next best thing at second, and for $30, I thought the price was just right -- Dustin Pedroia, for comparison, also went for $30. Gonzalez was my third winning bid, and he went for only $1 more than Paul Goldschmidt. Another win I think.
Instead of boring you pick by pick, here are my best and worst picks at hitter and pitcher, in my estimation.
My best pick among hitters was...Adam Jones at $25. He was another target of mine and I was more than thrilled to get him at this price. I think he has another 30/15 season. For comparison, Bryce Harper went for $34, Jason Heyward went for $31 and Josh Hamilton went for $30.
My worst pick among hitters was...Brett Lawrie at $19. This was my biggest regret of the draft, as Ryan Zimmerman went for $21 just a few minutes later. With all of the recent injury news to third basemen, I think I overreacted and way overbid here. I should have let him go to Eno for $16 when I had the chance. As you can see, I later bought one of those "injured" third basemen -- Pablo Sandoval -- for $1 cheaper than Lawrie. Live and learn.
My best pick among pitchers was...Jon Niese at $4. I wrote about Niese in my 10 bold predictions piece yesterday, and I think he wins 15 games with eight strikeouts per nine and a 3.25 ERA. Others in the draft were surprised to see him go this cheaply as well. At the time, Pianowski was busy sending out a Charles in Charge tweet, which may have won me the bid. See for yourself:
In the Blog Wars chat, we've compared Norichika Aoki with the middle girl from Charles In Charge (wish it were my comp). I love this game.— scott pianowski (@scott_pianowski) March 21, 2013
My worst pick among pitchers was...None! I liked the value on all of my pitchers, but I'm short one starter as is. I missed out on a $14 James Shields because I was strapped for cash by the time his bid came up. I admittedly should have allocated more money to my pitching staff, and now I have some work to do.
Overall, I'm pretty please with my offense, and I better be, because I spent a lot of money on it. I definitely need to look into adding a starting pitcher via trade, and I could probably do well by shipping off one of my two catchers. Right now I think I'm middle of the pack, but if some of my lower priced guys produce -- especially Nolan Reimold as my fourth outfielder -- I should be able to make some noise.
You can follow the league here, and you should be able to see everyone's rosters here. As you can probably tell, there were a couple of auto drafters in the room and that threw some of us for a loop. One team had co-managers and the one manager who did show up for that team couldn't draft because he didn't have the first manager's login info. It was a bit of a mess...
Now is the time when you rip me in the comments below, especially for having zero closers. Have fun!
Alex Kantecki is a contributor at Fake Teams, Big Leagues Magazine, Dobber Baseball and Vigilante baseball. Follow him on Twitter at @rotodealer.