Practicing What You Preach

I finally drafted last Sunday, and it was certainly strange. After weeks of telling you how to draft and who to pick, it was my turn to take my own advice. In all honesty, I’m pumped about my team, though I wasn’t always able to follow my own advice. I’ve written about a few of the players I drafted, but there were some I had no intention on drafting but had to take based on how the draft shook out. In all probability, you don’t care about my league (12 team head to head, by the way). That’s why I’ll be analyzing some of the guys I took and how they’ll perform all year. Full disclosure – I overdrafted Man Crush 1 (Brett Anderson) and Man Crush 1a (Carlos Gonzalez), followed my own advice and nabbed Adam Dunn in the 8th round as my first baseman, and got “Tricky Dick” (Clayton Richard) at the end, just where I wanted him. Let’s see how I did elsewhere.

Round 1 – Chase Utley (2B-PHI)
Picking fourth gave me a ton of options and ways to go here. The first three shook out as they should (Pujols, Hanley, A-Rod) and, when debating between Utley and Ryan Braun, I went with Chase because a few things scared me about Braun. His value comes from his power but also the high average he’s hit for in 2 of his last 3 seasons (.324 in ’07, .320 in ’09). Those seasons were accompanied by BABIP’s (Batting Average on Balls in Play) of .361 and .353, respectively. The league average is .300. His Isolated Power (ISO, a measurement of a player’s power based on his extra bases per at bat) has also gone down every year, not what you like to see from your 1st round pick. Braun’s a great player (and a fellow chosen person), but I had to “bank” Chase.
In Other News: 4 first baseman went in the first round. My league-mates obviously don’t read Venuing Voices.

Shalom Chase Utley, Shalom Ryan Braun.

Shalom Ryan Braun, Shalom Chase Utley.

Round 4 – Ichiro Suzuki (OF-SEA)
He went 45th, to me, despite an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 27. I said here that I think he’ll run this year, along with Chone Figgins, because that offense is pretty terrible. He’ll also get his runs back up over 100 this year despite the crappy offense (he’s done it pretty much every year but last year). Well, he stole a base on opening day and should be an asset for me moving forward. I’m expecting 30+ steals. I nailed speed, adding B.J. Upton in the next round.
In Other News: My roommate (and a really good owner) flipped a coin to make his pick, deciding to go with Mark Reynolds. To play 1st. Awful call. The next guy grabbed Dan Haren. Luckily, Ichiro is good for more than three months, so I got him here.

Round 7 – Jonathan Broxton (RP-LAD)
I did not want to take a closer this early. Mo Rivera was the first one off the board, but Broxton is the best this year. His ADP is 59 and he was available to me at 76. I didn’t have a choice. It didn’t hurt that I had all of 1 pitcher (Felix Hernandez, round 2) at the time. Broxton is also the only closer who makes a significant difference in places other than saves. His 114 strikeouts were more than you got from Derek Lowe, Ross Ohlendorf, or Mark Buehrle last year and his 0.96 WHIP will help your whole staff.
In Other News: Someone popped a Papelboner and took the Red Sox closer later this round. I hate him, not just because he’s on the Red Sox. I’ve made it abundantly clear why, here.

Round 11 – Michael Young (3B-TEX)
Granted, he was hurt last year, but from 2002-2008 he averaged 158 games a year. He’ll hit for average (career .302 hitter) and the Rangers’ lineup is deep so he’ll have a lot of RBI chances. Young’s also trending up in walks and down in strikeouts (better chance for balls to fall in for hits = higher average). Considering how thin the third base crop is this year, it’s a miracle I got a serviceable one this late. If that’s not enough, he hit 2nd last night, so he should eclipse the 100 run mark this year. If you need a third baseman, trade for him. Just make sure you have a backup in case the injury is a real issue (more to come on my backup for him, shortly).
In Other News: Marco Scutaro was picked this round. The joke writes itself. He had a career high in runs, home runs, average, RBI’s, and SB’s last year. That’s ALL FIVE FANTASY CATEGORIES (in a standard league). It’s a safe bet that he won’t repeat. He’s also 35 years old and in the high pressure situation that is Yankees vs. Red Sox. Safe to say I don’t like him this year. Good luck, guy who drafted Marco Scutaro.

Round 14 – Chris Davis (1B/3B-TEX)
Hi, my insurance for Michael Young. He’s playing 1st this year, eligible at 3rd, and is one of my utility players. No one was burnt more by him than me last year, when I took him in the 6th round (my worst pick ever). This year I got him at pick number 165, and he’s going 148. It gives me flexibility too, if an outfielder gets hurt I can move Dunn to the OF and “Chili” Davis to 1st. You always want flexibility. He also hit well over .300 once he came back up to the majors for good last year, after a short stint in AAA. These are all good things. If I get .265 and 30 homers out of him, I’ll be pumped. Totally worth it here.
In Other News: My reliever man crush, Ryan Franklin, got taken. It’s a good thing too, I totally would’ve taken him instead of Davis. This “Chili” won’t give you the runs.

This chili however, will cause some issues.

Round 19 – Yadier Molina (C-STL)
I really needed a catcher. Victor Martinez went earlier than I expected so Yadier was the contingency plan. At this point, I’m trying to fill out the catcher slot without hurting myself anywhere. He’ll hit around .300 with a few homers and some RBI’s. He even ate at Denny’s on opening day (a Grand Slam). He’s on pace for 162 homers, the numbers speak for themselves (can you say “steal?” 162 homers from your 19th round pick, nice).
In Other News: Bengie Molina went in the 8th round. A full 11 ROUNDS BEFORE YADIER. When the pick was made, I informed the guy that Bengie “wasn’t even the top-rated Molina on the board.” I’ll take Yadier more than 125 picks later.

Round 20 – Johnny Cueto (SP-CIN)
Remember when people loved him? I’d love a guy with upside like this toward the end of the draft. For his career he’s been great in April, May, and June (ERA’s of 2.19, 2.72, and 3.60, respectively) so worst case scenario I’ll sell high before the summer ERA storm (8.16, 8.22). His line drive percentage went down last year and his ground balls went up by the same amount (about 3%), showing that hitters are making worse contact against him. I’ll gamble.
In Other News: Kyle Blanks went in the 19th round. Everybody and their mother loves him this year, and count me in that group. Get him if he’s available in your league. He’ll hit 30 homers in a shallow year for outfielders.

I did pretty well in my draft this year. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get a second top pitcher, but Brett Anderson may be that. Now that the season’s begun, don’t panic. Don’t trade guys because of two bad games, and don’t try to trade for guys for the same reason. Trust your picks. Unless, you know, you took Marco Scutaro to play shortstop.

‘Til next time, keep the bat on your shoulders.
-Backwards K

Questions? Comments? Tweet me at J_1t_S or comment on this article!

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