I write about fantasy baseball drafts a lot here, if you haven’t noticed, and I also talk about it a lot too. With the MLB season not being in full swing yet with fantasy draft season concluded, we have a lull in the action at the moment. But, as a reader, you may be wondering who I ended up drafting in my leagues and who I’ll be cheering on this year. While some of the guys I targeted are obvious (Paul Goldschmidt and my other sleepers), there’s some that may surprise you as they even surprised me.
I’m actually in four fantasy leagues and they are each incredibly different (which stresses the importance of knowing your league type and planning according to that structure). I’m in two point-based leagues with different scoring formats which radically change the values of certain players. Two of my leagues are long-time keeper leagues and one league was drafting keepers for the first time. I’m in one traditional 5×5 roto league and one 6×6 league (which uses Holds and OBP/SLG). So, it goes without saying that each league of mine has different concerns and focus but certain players still rise to the top in terms of being undervalued across the board and I snatch them up wherever I can.
There wasn’t one player who ended up on all four of my teams but there were five players on three of them and twelve players on two of them. Let’s take a gander into the mind of Mr. Cheatsheet to see just who I ended up targeting this year:
Third Time’s A Charm
In three of my four leagues, I drafted some of my big sleepers like Paul Goldschmidt, Lucas Duda and Jason Kipnis. The reasons that I targeted them shouldn’t be surprising if you read my sleeper profiles about each of them. The two other players that I drafted in three leagues were Mark Reynolds and Edwin Jackson.
We know what we’re going to get with Reynolds. In three of my leagues, that happens to be a bit more valuable because of the league formats. His AVG is the one thing that absolutely kills you but it’s not as heart-breaking in my 6×6 roto league where OBP is used instead and SLG is a category too. In my two point leagues, HR’s are overvalued and strikeouts don’t play a huge factor (while walks are rewarded nicely) so he’s a nicer play in those leagues. In my 5×5 league, I avoided him though. I’m holding out hope that he gets traded to a team that uses him at DH given his horrible play at 3B may cost him playing time but I felt he was a nice value in my league types regardless.
Edwin Jackson is not going to make or break any of my teams. He’s one of those late round grabs that may be handy for the right situations though. He’s a bit undervalued as he had a 3.71 and 3.73 xFIP over the past two seasons and a fairly high BABIP that should drop. If I can get a pitcher with a potential 3.75 ERA and decent strikeout totals in the last rounds then, sure, I’ll do that. He’s not going to surprise anyone this year but there’s worse guys to grab towards the end of a draft.
It Takes Two
I drafted a lot of guys twice. Some were on my sleeper lists (Desmond Jennings, Alejandra De Aza, Brandon Beachy) so I won’t harp on them too much. A few of them were carried over as keepers from my teams so I can’t really say I drafted them for a particular reason related to their value in drafts this year (Dan Uggla, Madison Bumgarner, Justin Upton). So, the guys left over would be Mike Napoli, Stephen Strasburg, Mike Minor, Ryan Dempster, B.J. Upton, and Chris Capuano. I won’t devote a paragraph to each of those but here’s a short blurb at least:
- Mike Napoli – Needed power in two roto leagues and one of them was a two catcher auction league where he was being undervalued. So, the Napoli Experiment begins for me.
- Stephen Strasburg – I drafted him in an auction keeper league where he surprisingly went for a very low price after other drafters spent too much early. The other league I got him fairly early in a redraft league but I really do feel that the 160 IP we get out of him will be lights out this year. It’s a gamble though.
- Mike Minor – Given his relative lack of experience, I got him for a cheap price despite the fact that he pitches for one of the best NL teams and has as high of a ceiling as any other young pitcher this year (he’s a former early first round draft pick after all). In 123 IP, he’s had a 3.63 xFIP in the majors with 8.76 K/9. That’s awesome value for the late rounds.
- Ryan Dempster – Over the past four seasons, his xFIP has been as low as 3.69 and as high as 3.76. To say he’s been consistent would be an understatement. Don’t be fooled by his 4.80 ERA last year; this is still the same Dempster at a lower draft price.
- B.J. Upton – I drafted him before he went onto the DL but, like Mark Reynolds, he’s a valuable player to a roto team if you build your team around his weakness in AVG. A hitter who can potential hit over 20 HR and steal over 40 bases? You can find a way to make that work if you play your cards right.
- Chris Capuano – He seemed like a completely different pitcher last year than the old Brewer we knew. His strikeout rate increased and his walk rate dropped yet his ERA was 4.55 due to some poor luck. I see him being a valuable pitcher this year hopefully with some better luck in Los Angeles. As far as late round pitcher options go, I felt he was worth the a bench spot.
So, now you know the guys that I will officially be rooting hard for in 2012. Some of them will fail and some of them will work out and only time will tell who those will be. The MLB season has finally started so let the fun begin of finding out just how good our drafts really were. Play ball!