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March 28, 2014

My Model Portfolio

Stars and Scrubs

by Mike Gianella

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On Friday, March 21, Mike Gianella released Version Four of his mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:

  • We are using the mixed-league values.
  • You can use any player not on Mike's sheet for $1.
  • The scoring will be 5x5 roto, so we're not just picking the players who will return the most value.
  • Eligibility is kept to the positions applicable right now. No potential in-season eligibility is to be considered.
  • We will track these teams throughout the season to see how everyone fared. Below is Mike's offering, along with an explanation of how he assembled his crew.

There are two ways to try to build a strong mixed-league team: either through Stars and Scrubs or by assembling a balanced roster.

The strength of a balanced roster approach is obvious, particularly in a contest like this where you pick your team and watch it succeed or fail for the next six months. If one player crashes and burns it won’t matter so much; everyone will likely have at least one injury case that fails. If everyone produces—and if one or two players exceed expectations—you can easily “win” in a contest like this.

I decided to take the other approach. I decided to go Stars and Scrubs and build a team around Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.

The idea here is that while many players are replaceable in a mixed league format, there is only one Cabrera and one Trout. If both put up the numbers they are capable of producing, then it makes it that much easier if one or two of my non-elite players crash and burn.

Besides, the challenge of trying to put a team around Miggy and Trout was fun.

Position Players

Catcher/Infield

I’m betting on bounce-back seasons and/or growth from nearly all of this crew. My biggest concern with these players is batting average, but that’s the beauty of taking Cabrera, as he should offset at least some of the subpar BA. Rizzo the player I’m gambling on here most. If he shows more growth and can even hit .260, I should have a nice core in a standard mixed league.

Outfielders

With the exception of Myers, I’m getting speed from every one of my outfielders. I’m also banking on at least some power from every one of these hitters. In standard mixed, I prefer the balanced power/speed approach from every player, unless you’re getting a monster power hitter like Miggy. On this team, I got to do both.

Utility Players

I’m banking on solid everyday production from both of these players, and hoping Cain provides a little more power than anticipated.

Pitchers

I settled on a high strikeout starting pitcher/three closer strategy. Jimenez, Samardzija, and Burnett are all possibly ERA/WHIP risks, but there is enough variability with pitching that I’d rather lock up strikeouts and worry about the other categories later. Reed and Jones should both be fine, and while I’m gambling on Veras staying in Chicago all year, I’ll take the loss if he gets traded. One challenge with Trout/Cabrera is that I can’t spend more than this on pitching without sacrificing a lot of offense, so this was the best way I saw to leverage the relatively low pitching spending to my advantage.

Mike Gianella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here

Related Content:  Fantasy,  Mike Trout,  Miguel Cabrera

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