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RotoWire's NL LABR Squad
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/5/2008 10:33:00 PM
View more posts by this author

 

PosPlayerPrice
CBrian McCann23
CBengie Molina13
1BConor Jackson18
2BKelly Johnson18
3BPedro Feliz11
SSStephen Drew16
CIJames Loney18
MICesar Izturis1
OFCorey Hart30
OFAustin Kearns18
OFWily Mo Pena9
OFRyan Church10
OFBrandon Jones2
UDallas McPherson1
PMatt Cain19
PCarlos Zambrano17
PRich Hill18
PScott Olsen7
PAnthony Reyes6
PClayton Kershaw1
PHong-Chih Kuo1
PTaylor Tankersely1
PVinnie Chulk1
PDuaner Sanchez1
RTony Gwynn Jr0
RMax Scherzer0
RMike Hampton0
RMark Mulder0
RClay Hensley0
RShawn Chacon0

In a 13-team, NL-only league, my strategy was to spread the wealth and avoid superstars. Trying to make sure actual starters fill up every offensive position is key and difficult to accomplish. I also wanted to spend extra money on hitting rather than draft a closer.

I targeted two decent catchers all along. Some advocate not worrying about them since the stats are less predictive due to the grueling nature of the position. And there are very few replacement players at all positions available on the waiver wire. However, I figure a fourth outfielder will be better than a backup catcher who starts once a week. I like Brian McCann to bounce back and as bad as Bengie Molina is in real life, the guy is slated to hit cleanup.

Conor Jackson, Kelly Johnson and Stephen Drew are three infielders I planned on acquiring. I figure itís best to go after young guys who are improving and could really take a leap opposed to veterans who have already plateaued. Jackson, especially, has crazy good plate discipline and might end up batting third in a hitterís park.

Pedro Feliz is one of those ugly plays. I mean, who wants Feliz on their team? Heís unsightly sabermetrically, but if he can go .250-20-80 hitting toward the bottom of a poor Giants team in the leagueís best pitcherís park, something like .260-24-90 isnít completely out of the question after the move to Philly. Plus, heís the gameís best defender at third, so he should have a safe spot in the lineup. He also came pretty cheap.

Cesar Izturis is obviously no good, but I was left scrambling to fill my MI spot, and heís the favorite to start and possibly even bat leadoff for the Cardinals. Iíd be thrilled with 500 at-bats from anyone with a pulse here. Although Izturis barely qualifies.

I overspent on Corey Hart. My team lacked speed, and I wanted him, but in hindsight, he went for the same price as Carlos Beltran, making my selection look like I overpaid. Hart is basically Grady Sizemore without the walks, and he could be a monster, but ultimately, thereís too much uncertainty for him to go for $30. That also hurt my goal of a balanced approach.

I wanted all three Nats outfielders but was unpleasantly surprised to see Austin Kearns take $18 of my budget and Lastings Milledge go for even more. Wily Mo Pena was more palatable at $9, and I like Ryan Church at $10, the concussion notwithstanding. Church has an .866 OPS versus righties during his career and is locked into a full-time job in a loaded Metsí lineup.

Brandon Jones and Dallas McPherson are stabs in the dark. I literally may be employing two empty slots there. Still, they are picks with upside if the opportunity comes. And both have weak competition in front of them. Maybe I can get 25 games out of Tony Gwynn Jr. while Mike Cameron is suspended early on.

Iím very high on Matt Cain this season but had absolutely no intention of drafting Carlos Zambrano, whose heavy workload and decreasing K rate are frightening. Still, a whopping 14 NL starters went for more than Zambranoís $17 price tag. Of course I wanted Tim Lincecum but would have had to go to $23 Ė and even then that was no sure thing.

Looking back, Pedro Martinez ($15) and Rickie Weeks ($22) look like two of the biggest bargains to me.

Scott Olsen and Anthony Reyes (gulp!) will be keys to my success. Chris Liss wouldnít have let me drive back with him if I didnít secure Rich Hill, and Iíll be rooting hard for Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer to get called up.


Comments....

I share your enthusiasm on Cain and Hill. Pretty bad news on Olsen already - bad break there.

Strategically, the only thing I don't like is spending $70+ on pitching without getting a closer, or without filling each spot with a guy that's got a job. It was a bad break with Olsen, but Kershaw is going to be awhile away, I think (and looking at his walk rate, *should* be awhile away), Kuo is hurt again, Chulk is coming off of a freak issue last fall (but his peripherals were good), and Reyes is fighting for a job.

Offensively, I think you're light in steals. I like that you've accumulated a lot of at-bats, but you're going to need Izturis to be a rabbit for you to not fall too far behind in that category. Without seeing the entire rosters, I might have suggested taking someone like Bonifacio as a SB gambit with one of your reserve slots.
Posted by Erickson at 3/6/2008 1:29:00 AM
 
Stephen Drew is indeed young but I am not sure he is improving.

I love Clayton Kershaw. If there is a Lincecum out there this year, he is as good a bet as anyone.
Posted by bwitt at 3/6/2008 5:00:00 AM
 
That's the general offensive strategy I've used in NL Tout the last two years, for whatever that's worth. On the mound I usually limit it to a pair of big ticket items, mix in a stink closer or two, and try to get lottery tickets I like who aren't singletons.
Posted by spianow at 3/6/2008 5:33:00 AM
 
I am light in SBs, no doubt. I kind of blew it there. I really wanted Rajai Davis, but he went for something like $7 very late, and I couldn't afford it.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/6/2008 7:14:00 AM
 
I like Hill, but I didn't tell you to buy him. I told you to buy Pedro! Which we agreed on. Also Jon Lieber, Kerry Wood and Eric Patterson on reserve. But you ignored my advice - at your own peril. I like the Hill buy, but I knew he'd be pricey.
Posted by cliss at 3/6/2008 9:23:00 AM
 
I have no issue with Hart at $30. The guy who wins a 13-team labor league isn't going to have all mediocre players - he's going to catch a break or two with a guy like Brandon Jones. However, I'm still looking for your article explaining your strategy on punting saves, especially since you keep utilizing that approach.
Posted by MPStopa at 3/6/2008 11:06:00 AM
 
Are full prices available anywhere? If not, I'd love to hear what every saves-possible guy went for.
Posted by spianow at 3/6/2008 12:13:00 PM
 
I don't have any problem with you getting Corey Hart at $30. I really think he may earn that and then some. You say that Beltran went for the same. It sounds like the knees are causing him some flak. Comparing the two, I think I would take Hart and his $30 over Beltran and his, at least at the moment. And yes...what did the closers go for?
Posted by mr crunch at 3/6/2008 3:07:00 PM
 
Also...what did Elijah Dukes go for? This guy could be a beast if he keeps his head screwed on right. I'm liking him as a bargain. On the flip side I liked him in AL last year and look how that played out. It's only an opinion, but I still think there could be something good there in "08".
Posted by mr crunch at 3/6/2008 3:10:00 PM
 
I don't think all the prices are available yet. I'd assume they will be shortly. I wanted Dukes ($3), especially with two Nats OFs on my team, but at that point, I was on $1 buys.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/6/2008 6:59:00 PM
 
Wagner/Saito ($22), Soriano/Valverde/Corpas ($18), Capps/Cordero ($17), and then the rest in the $9-$15 range. J. Broxton, who I really wanted, went for $9.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/6/2008 7:02:00 PM
 
If I'm going to spend $17 or $18 on a pitcher, I'd rather do it on a starter like Hill or Zambrano, like you did, than on a reliever who only helps one category. I bet the guy with Soriano is holding his breath. Any thoughts on who is backing up Soriano at closer? Whoever it is, that guy could wind up being really valuable in an NL-only league. I tried to hazard a guess but they have nobody who fits the bill - if Soriano is hurt, I can see a trade coming there - Fuentes maybe?
Posted by MPStopa at 3/7/2008 8:49:00 AM
 
Good question. A healthy Mike Gonzalez would be fine. Fuentes is a good guess via trade.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/7/2008 1:48:00 PM
 
I could start a rumor about the Braves acquiring a closer if need be. How about Huston Street? However, I suppose you could throw any closer or next-in-line guys out there.
Posted by mr crunch at 3/7/2008 2:19:00 PM
 
Good/great relievers can also make significant (and often un-noticed impacts on ERA and WHIP). For example (I've used this before), let's say we're looking at a very good SP (200 innings, 3.50 ERA) and an elite RP (75 innings, ERA in the 2.50 range). The RP actually makes a larger dent in your team's ERA assuming 1,200 innings and a 4.00 ERA from the rest of your pitchers. Anyway, spending $18 on Putz/Papelbon isn't something I have a problem with. Just don't spend $14 on Joe Borowski hoping for another 45 saves.
Posted by vtadave at 3/7/2008 2:26:00 PM
 
I never like to pay a lot for closers, but I've had some good results with the Borowski/Jones "stink closer" strategy. Of course the year it doesn't work, my staff will look like a chemistry experiment gone bad.
Posted by spianow at 3/7/2008 2:36:00 PM
 
Mike Gonzalez won't be back until mid-season, right? I could see Huston Street getting moved. But for me Fuentes and Nathan are the most likely to get traded. Both are free agents and have proven they can close but the Rockies are committed to Carpas and the Twins aren't resigning Nathan to big money. Speaking of which, Dalton, what about putting Nathan on your bench in an NL-ONLY league (like this one)? It's at least 50/50 that he gets traded and 50/50 that he goes to the NL - a 25% chance of getting Joe Nathan for half of a season is probably worth a bench spot in this league if the rules allow it, I would think. Fuentes might be worth a bench spot in a deep AL-only league too.
Posted by MPStopa at 3/7/2008 3:21:00 PM
 
I know in Tout Wars you can't purchase a player who's out of league; you're limited to in-league guys and free agents. If you want to gamble on a Clemens type you can (I got lucky in 2006), but you can't do an other-league spec play. I'd guess it's the same in LABR.
Posted by spianow at 3/7/2008 4:12:00 PM
 
Dave - I hear what you're saying, but the "4.00 ERA for the rest of your pitchers" is the key here. If one of those SPs gets bombed for a 5.00 ERA, my overall ERA with the 200 IP starting pitcher will be lower then the one with the 75 IP relief pitcher. I didn't do any math, but I'd assume so.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/7/2008 4:14:00 PM
 
Stopa - Pianow is exactly right. I could have drafted Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens, but any player signed with an AL team was completely off limits.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/7/2008 4:15:00 PM
 
With some of the scrubs on my reserves (Mike Hampton hurt, I can't believe it), I surely would have taken stabs at a Joe Nathan type if it were allowed.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/7/2008 4:17:00 PM
 
I agree with Dalton on the SP. Plus the margin of error for relievers is so small - a couple of bad outings and the reliever's WHIP and ERA are shot for the year. I'd rather have a few steady, reliable SP eating a lot of innings around 3.5. It gives you more room for error.
Posted by MPStopa at 3/7/2008 4:18:00 PM
 
Dalton, what's your FAAB strategy then for an NL-league - do you spend like normal or save in the hopes that a guy like Nathan becomes available?
Posted by MPStopa at 3/7/2008 4:21:00 PM
 
Ask me when/if Brian Roberts is traded to Chicago...One main strategy I have actually is NOT to wait. A guy acquired in May who is 80 percent as good as someone acquired in August is still more valuable. People sometimes forget such a fundamental thing, but I'm usually pretty aggressive early on. Of course, it's got to be for someone worthwhile.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/7/2008 5:31:00 PM
 
I also fully agree on being FAAB aggressive early. Forget hoping to win the chase for big thing in July or August, beat them to Adrian Gonzalez-2006 when it shows in April or May.
Posted by spianow at 3/9/2008 6:56:00 PM
 

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