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Mike Gianella recently released his latest mixed league Bid Limits for 2016, which reignited an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff 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 our fantasy overlord, Mr. Sayre:

We are using the mixed-league values.

You can use any player not on Mike's sheet for $1.

The scoring will be 5×5 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. Greg Wellemeyer recently took a look at how last season’s Model Portfolios turned out.

You are required to pick at least one of Adam Lind, Kyle Schwarber, Billy Hamilton, Anthony DeSclafani, Jaime Garcia, or Edwin Jackson. Okay, maybe I made that part up.

The Process
The funny part is that I’m not rostering any of the players mentioned above. And though it feels wrong, I’ll just move on. My strategy remains the same as it was last year, in that I grabbed the bids, and went from the bottom up to try to see how much high-end star power I could grab on the team while still enjoying the endgame targets I so desire. However, this year there seem to be fewer players at the end that are worth jumping all over—which led me to slightly more balanced team than I had originally set out for. Of course, it wouldn’t be my team if I didn’t have a few high-end players…

The Offense

I aimed for approximately 70 percent on offense, and came within a dollar of nailing that figure exactly. (I don’t get a prize for that, do I? I probably should if we’re being honest.) Here’s how the team shook out:

Pos

Player

Team

Bid

C

Welington Castillo

Arizona D-backs

5

1B

Pedro Alvarez

Baltimore Orioles

5

2B

Anthony Rendon

Washington Nationals

20

SS

Jung-ho Kang

Pittsburgh Pirates

7

3B

Danny Valencia

Oakland Athletics

2

CI

Chris Carter

Milwaukee Brewers

4

MI

Ketel Marte

Seattle Mariners

4

OF

Bryce Harper

Washington Nationals

42

OF

Starling Marte

Pittsburgh Pirates

28

OF

George Springer

Houston Astros

27

OF

Hanley Ramirez

Boston Red Sox

15

OF

Denard Span

San Francisco Giants

6

DH

David Ortiz

Boston Red Sox

15

DH

Leonys Martin

Seattle Mariners

3

TOTAL

183

Let’s start with the outfield, since that’s the most fun part of the team. As I’ve found in almost all of my drafts/auctions this year, the place to spend money is in the outfield, as the high-end tier is pretty deep and the infield has a lot of question marks if you don’t get an elite guy. With Harper, Marte, and Springer in tow, I’m shooting for 80 homers and 80 steals out of that group, with an average that leaves me at par. Harper is elite and is the preferred choice with the $5 discount to Trout and $2 discount to Goldschmidt. Marte and Springer are both top-20 players this year, in my book, and the power/speed combo for each is tantalizing. I’m absolutely fine being the one everyone thinks is too high on Ramirez. The outfield didn’t work out, but he hit when his shoulder was healthy (as he pretty much always has), and his shoulder is healthy now. Span and Martin are solid speed guys who I’m buying as comeback players in 2016. The former just needs to stay healthy and the latter was unlucky last year, but can still steal 30-plus bases.

In the infield, going cheap means acquiring additional power through any means necessary—and in this case, it’s taking two of the riskiest 30-homer sluggers in baseball: Alvarez and Carter. Both are in great hitting environments and they could combine for 70 homers, or both could end up buried on the depth chart by July. Add in Danny Valencia, who is well worth the fluke risk at $2, and I get an $11 corner tree. In the middle, I’ll try to make back a little of the power that I’ll need after focusing a bit on speed in the outfield with Rendon and Kang at second and short, respectively. I am absolutely buying the Rendon bounce-back this year, and think he could approximate his 2014 season (yes, even the steals) if he can just stay on the field for 140 games. Kang will miss the first half of April, but honestly at $7, he could miss the first two months and still return that cost. The world loves Marte, who is no longer a sleeper, but cheap steals in the middle infield are rarer now than they’ve been in years.

Finally, Papi and Beef. Rounding out with more power. Always with more power.

The Pitching

I spent $2 more on pitching this year than I did in this exercise last year, but the distribution is noticeably different. I bought my ace in Adam Wainwright, but went cheaper on the closers (though successfully). This year, I’m spending more on saves to lock down two solid options and taking a few more chances with starters. Here are the magic nine:

Pos

Player

Team

Bid

P

Noah Syndergaard

New York Mets

18

P

Cole Hamels

Texas Rangers

13

P

Shelby Miller

Arizona D-backs

8

P

Patrick Corbin

Arizona D-backs

5

P

Joe Ross

Washington Nationals

4

P

Ervin Santana

Minnesota Twins

1

P

Matt Moore

Tampa Bay Rays

1

P

Zach Britton

Baltimore Orioles

15

P

Jonathan Papelbon

Washington Nationals

12

TOTAL

77

Sadly, I don’t own Thor anywhere this year, but it hasn’t been for lack of effort. I was one of the last ones in on him in Mixed Tout and my home auction this past weekend. I had him in one dynasty league that folded prior to the 2015 season. Other than that, I’ve whiffed like the many batters who have faced him this spring. Hamels has also been a target of mine this year, as I think he’s undersold as a reliable top-20 starter. Next comes the 2/3 punch in Arizona behind Zack Greinke. Miller’s DRA (3.14) from 2015 suggests that his strong season was not a mirage, and despite not having the top-flight strikeout numbers some thought he would, he remains a solid SP3 in most formats. Corbin would be higher if there wasn’t the concern over an innings limit in his first full season back from Tommy John. Without any restriction, he’d be a $15 pitcher for me, easily. The fliers are Ross, Santana, and Moore—each at varying stages of their fantasy careers. Ross is in the shiny new toy phase, but doesn’t have the elite pedigree to carry an outrageous price. Moore is the post-hype sleeper, who has all the stuff you could ask for. Santana is the wily veteran who could easily return $8-10 in value. On the closer side, it’s the mid-Atlantic duo of Britton and Papelbon—neither of which are likely to clear 75 strikeouts, but both are likely to save 35 games with an ERA close to 2.00.

Prediction
This team feels competitive in every area, but if I want to actually come out ahead this year, I’m going to have to hit on at least half of those risky power bats, and avoid injury in the middle infield. It’s not the easiest task, but this is as much talent as I could reasonably squeeze onto one roster.