I’m in a 12-team Yahoo H2H 6x5 league, where we’ve added OBP as a category. That by itself makes hitters more valuable than pitchers, since they score in an extra category. Here is the team I drafted, and the logic that went into it:
1 (9): Troy Tulowitzki – SS. There are only 5 high-quality shortstops this year, and Jose Reyes is hurt. I felt I wouldn’t get one of the top SS if I didn’t take Tulo here, so I reached. Might have been a smart move – Derek Jeter went #8 overall, and Ben Zobrist went #14 overall. Rollins was long gone by the time my 3rd round pick came around.
2 (16): Matt Kemp – OF. I predicted this would happen because he didn’t have the stellar batting average. This guy is an MVP-candidate this year. Mega-steal here.
3 (33): Adrian Gonzalez – 1B. I love 5- or 6-category guys, and he’s really a 4-cat guy, but… Great value at 33, 40+ HR capability (especially if he’s traded out of Petco), and .400+ OBP.
4 (40): Mark Reynolds – 3B. I’ve been regretting this pick since the draft. The 44 HRs and 24 SBs were both career highs, so a regression can be expected. And the guy is a .260 hitter with a weak OBP, which will hurt. Really wish I’d taken Pablo Sandoval. Reynolds, Youkilis, Sandoval, and Zimmerman went in 4 consecutive picks.
5 (57): Justin Verlander – SP. Strikeout artist with good ERA and WHIP. I had him rated #48 overall, a bit higher than Yahoo (#65).
6 (64): Curtis Granderson – OF. Move to Yankee stadium should generate more HRs. Wondering if he’ll steal fewer bases, given the lineup behind him. Another pick I kinda regret, because his BA and OBP are less than stellar. Career BA and OBP are 20+ points higher than what he posted in 2009, so should be an OK pick.
7 (81): Adam Lind – OF. I felt the real value in OF was from round 5-8, and Lind was the 2nd of 3 straight OFs I picked. Still the composite draft average on Lind (averaging the rankings from 8 sites) was #47, so getting him at #81 is a coup.
8 (88): Nelson Cruz – OF. Hits HRs. Steals bases. Scores and drives in runs. Hitting 7th won’t help his numbers, so he’s potentially trade bait. Only hit .260 last year, but I suspect we’ll see big improvement over that.
9 (105): Cole Hamels – SP. Last year he was a Top-50 pick, but had a bad year. Sounds like he’s very focused and primed for a big year in 2010.
10 (112): Tommy Hanson – SP. I tend to shy away from SP with ½ year MLB experience, but I couldn’t pass up the value. Yahoo had him rated #87. I had him at #92, based on the composite average.
11 (129): Gordon Beckham – 3B. This was the key to my entire draft, and was a “must have” pick. If someone else nabs him, I’m screwed. As the newly-anointed starting 2B for the White Sox, he will gain 2B eligibility from Yahoo about a week after the season begins. He should put up Top-3 numbers for 2B, which is another position with just a handful of guys worth having.
12 (136): Lance Berkman – 1B. Yeah, the guy is old, declining, and starting the year on the DL. He’ll still hit .280+, 20+ HRs, and put up an OBP over .400. At this stage of the draft, that’s nice value and provides good depth.
13 (153): Miguel Montero – C. The other real key to my draft. After St. Joe, V-Mart, McCann, and maybe Wieters, there are no catchers worth owning. Except Montero. Yahoo had him rated #175, so I delayed as long as I could. Even so, he was the 8th or 9th catcher off the board. Made me nervous!
14 (160): Billy Wagner – RP. I’ve always liked Billy, and he’s hitting triple-digits on the radar gun again. Because RPs seem to be easy to find, I usually don’t draft one much earlier than the 12th round or so. Billy is the only RP I picked before round 17.
15 (177): Carlos Beltran – OF. Seriously? If the guy wasn’t hurt, he’s easily a Top-50 pick, and maybe Top-25. Reyes is hurt and is still a Top-40 pick. Beltran is a legit 6-category contributor, and should be back around the end of May. Go get him. NOW.
16 (184): Carlos Zambrano – SP. I’m also a believer in getting a couple stud SPs and adding guys with upside. Big Z fits that category. He’s talented, and finally healthy. If he can keep his WHIP down, he could be studly.
17 (201): Frank Francisco – RP. I had this guy last year, and other than a few ugly outings, the guy was money… when he wasn’t hurt. 3 DL trips. I was thrilled to see him still on the board here.
18 (208): Francisco Liriano – SP. I think he’s a Cy Young candidate this year, based on his Winter and Spring results. Not the same pitcher we saw last year. He was a Top-80 pick going into last season. Getting him in the 200s is an uber-steal, IMO.
19 (225): Brandon Lyon – RP. Seemed to be the best available RP with a closer gig, only to lose the job in Spring training to Matt Lindstrom. (And yes, I’ve already dropped Lyon for Lindstrom.)
20 (232): Bobby Jenks – RP. Another guy coming off a rough year who has been pretty solid in years past. If he pitches like the Jenks of old, could be good for 40+ saves and a lot of Ks.
21 (249): Jason Frasor – RP. Guessed right! Made this pick before he had been officially handed the job, but he finished last season as the Jays closer, and has been awesome this Spring, other than one rough outing.
22 (256): Ian Desmond – 2B. Made this pick purely as a throw-away. I have to have SOMEONE at 2B until Beckham gains eligibility, and Desmond seemed to have the best potential
Lessons learned from this draft? SS, 2B, and C are razor-thin, so either get them early or reach for a Beckham or Montero in the later rounds. Lots of OF value in the 5th-8th rounds. Wait as long as you can for RPs, but don’t hesitate to get at least one you can count on. Lots of high-upside pitchers are available in the later rounds. One guy I’ll nab if a roster spot opens up: Brian Matusz.
I’ve won this league 3 years running, but this year will be tough. Overall, the league did a pretty solid job of drafting, other than the new guy that took 5 catchers. Seriously.