I participated in my first Tout Wars Experts league draft last night with a strategy to take an ace starter early to anchor my staff and then wait on pitching till round 9-10, filling my hitting roster spots early. This league is a mixed, 5 x 5 league that utilizes OBP instead of batting average, but I am not going to look for high OBP hitters just for the sake of doing well in that one category. In other words, I am not going to change my rankings for a hitter with a high OBP.
I pretty much stuck to my plan, taking an ace in the 4th round, then not picking another pitcher until the 10th round. I had the 12th pick in the draft, and with Prince Fielder and Carlos Gonzalez off the board, I pondered taking Troy Tulowitzki or Justin Upton with my first round pick, but decided on my pick to win the 2013 home run title-Giancarlo Stanton. I think he will actually provide a solid OBP this year as well, as he will walk quite a bit this season. I think he could put up double digit stolen bases to go with his 40+ home runs this season.
With that said, here are my draft results, by position:
C - Brian McCann, ATL, Rd. 9
C - Yasmani Grandal, SD, Rd. 22
1B - Allen Craig, STL, Rd. 3
2B - Howie Kendrick, LAA, Rd. 11
SS - Hanley Ramirez, LAD, Rd. 2
MI - Alexei Ramirez, CHW, Rd. 18
3B - Manny Machado, BAL, Rd. 16
CI - Ryan Howard, PHI, Rd. 7
OF -Giancarlo Stanton, MIA, Rd.1
OF - Alex Gordon, KC, Rd. 5
OF - Michael Bourn, CLE, Rd. 6
OF - Nick Swisher, CLE, Rd. 8
OF - Oscar Tavares, STL, Rd. 20
DH - David Murphy, TEX, Rd. 17
P -Yu Darvish, TEX. Rd. 4
P - Hiroki Kuroda, NYY, Rd. 10
P - Chris Perez, CLE, Rd. 12
P - Lance Lynn, STL, Rd. 13
P - Homer Bailey, CIN, Rd. 14
P - Kenley Jansen, LAD, Rd. 15
P - Phil Hughes, NYY, Rd. 19
P - Luke Gregerson, SD, Rd. 21
P - Kyle Lohse, FA, Rd. 23
1. David Hernandez, ARI, Rd. 24
2. Vinnie Pestano, CLE, Rd. 25
3. Mark Buerhle, TOR, Rd. 26
4. Gerardo Parra, ARI, Rd. 27
Before I get into more draft analysis, you can find the complete Tout Wars Experts Mixed League results here. The Google doc breaks the draft down by team, by position and by draft round.
A quick look at my team shows that I have six hitters who can hit 20+ home runs in 2013, and 10 guys who can hit 15 or more home runs, in my estimation. In addition, with the exception of my catcher, first base and corner infielder, the rest of my infield is capable of putting up 15 home runs and 15 stolen base seasons in 2013. My outfield, with the exception of Taveras/Parra, is capable of 75+ runs scored, and four of my six outfielders put up OBP's of .360 or better in 2012, Murphy (.380), Gordon (.368), Swisher (.364), Stanton (.361), while Bourn (.348) and Parra (.335) weren't too shabby either.
While he had a down year in 2012, Brian McCann is capable of 20+ home runs and has a career OBP of .351. I have been on the Allen Craig bandwagon all offseason, and I think that if he stays healthy, he could put up a 30 home run, 90 RBI, .290 BA, .360 OBP season in 2013.
Hanley Ramirez is having a solid WBC tournament, and looks to be in early season form already. I am counting on him for a 25 HR, 20 stolen base season, with the hope he can return to the hitter he was a few seasons ago. As I have stated several times this offseason, he is no longer the top star on his team, and this may take the pressure off him at the plate in 2013.
My pitching staff is solid, led by Yu Darvish, who seemed to figure things out late in the 2012 season, as his control improved dramatically. He is capable of leading the American League, and possibly the majors, in strikeouts in 2013. After Darvish, my staff consists of a very underrated Hiroki Kuroda, a couple young starters in Lance Lynn and Homer Bailey who have the potential to win 15 games this season with ERAs in the 3.50 - 3.60 range. I rounded out my staff with Phil Hughes, Kyle Lohse (Jon Daniels on line one please), and ever steady Mark Buerhle. My starters may not be big strikeout pitchers, and that is why I grabbed some high strikeout relievers in Kenley Jansen, David Hernandez, Luke Gregerson and Vinnie Pestano.
I am lacking in closers, as I drafted just one closer (Chris Perez), and he is currently nursing an injury, but I was able to draft his back up, Vinnie Pestano, in the reserve rounds. I plan to use at least 3 of my relievers in my 9 man rotation most of the year, with Perez/Pestano as one closer, and I am hoping Jansen takes over the Dodgers closer job at some point in the season. Hernandez is a high strikeout reliever who won't hurt the ratio categories. I drafted Gregerson as he is the back up closer in San Diego, and everyone knows Huston Street can never stay healthy. Plus, Street is a trade candidate at the trade deadline.
There were a couple guys I had queued up in the hopes of drafting, but several went a few picks before the draft came back to me. This list includes: Aramis Ramirez, Josh Beckett, Matt Harvey, Jurickson Profar, and Gerrit Cole, among others.
Overall, I am pretty happy with my draft, in my first Tout Wars experts league. But, what looks good on paper seems to never end up that way at the end of the season, does it. I was happy I was able to stick to my pre-draft strategy of waiting on pitching, and think this team can contend. There were a lot of smart minds in the draft room last evening, so competing and doing well won't be easy.
So, how did I fare in my first big experts league draft, Fake Teams faithful? Let me hear it.