keyboard_arrow_uptop

The Process

You have to start somewhere and I started with the goal of getting good players. Really, this is exercise is the person assembling the roster (me) versus Mike Gianella (versus other contestants versus Gianella); this is unfortunate for me because I use Mike’s valuations as a starting point for my offseason process.

That said, because I do so, I knew I was higher on several starting pitchers than Mike was. After looking at the closer prices (compared to starting-pitcher prices), and after figuring that no one would decide to punt saves when they get to create an “optimal roster,” I decided to punt saves. After that, it was about selecting players that I like more than Mike. We shall see what that led to in the below tables and words.

The Hitters

I’ve always thought about flipping the societal norm and spending 70 percent on pitching instead of hitting, but I could not bring myself to stray from old habits. I told myself that there is just too much volatility with pitching and that it was best to spend the 70 percent on hitting. Whether this makes any sense will be the subject of an article in the future. As for this exercise, I spent $186, or 71.5 percent of my budget, on hitting.

POS

Player

Team

Bid

C

Kyle Schwarber

Cubs

23

1B

Chris Davis

Orioles

27

2B

Brandon Phillips

Reds

7

3B

Todd Frazier

White Sox

22

SS

Troy Tulowitzki

Blue Jays

21

CI

Matt Adams

Cardinals

1

MI

Chris Owings

Diamondbacks

1

OF

Christian Yelich

Marlins

16

OF

Ben Revere

Nationals

16

OF

Brett Gardner

Yankees

14

OF

Stephen Piscotty

Cardinals

8

OF

Delino DeShields

Rangers

7

UT

David Ortiz

Red Sox

15

UT

Kendrys Morales

Royals

8

I’ll do player specific-blurbs below, but I liked the values of many of the “Four-Star Tier” infielders, so that is where most of my money went. Additionally, I liked chances of many of the $8-$16 outfielders to return $20-plus value more so than I liked the expected outcomes of the more expensive (or less expensive) outfielders once I factored in cost. This is especially true for the “speed” options, such as Revere, Gardner, and DeShields. Lastly, regarding the “UT” spot, we have discussed at length the reasons why we overrate having options and thusly underrate players that restrict options—such as DH-only players like Ortiz and Morales—so in a game where options are not taken away (like a draft or auction) I will happily take option reducing players if I think they are being discounted in the least. (Note: This is not a knock on Mike, whose values are determined for drafts and auctions, not for the Model Portfolio game).

As a result, (I think) I have an offense that can compete in every category, which is necessary considering I am punting saves.

The Pitchers

POS

Player

Team

Bid

P

Chris Archer

Rays

16

P

Cole Hamels

Rangers

13

P

Marcus Stroman

Blue Jays

11

P

Steven Matz

Mets

10

P

Patrick Corbin

Diamondbacks

5

P

Gio Gonzalez

Nationals

4

P

Andrew Cashner

Padres

2

P

Juan Nicasio

Pirates

2

P

Dellin Betances

Yankees

11

I selected my nine favorite values at pitcher. Just because I was punting saves, that does not mean I was going to pass on Betances, who has been a top-30 pitcher in each of the last two season (regardless of role), while being the 49th most expensive pitcher. Saves or not, Betances will likely be pitching 80-90 of the best innings pitched by anyone this year.

The Team

I think this team can compete in every categories except saves, which will be necessary as previously mentioned because a zero in saves is likely.

Quick Notes:

Schwarber: While there may certainly be some learning curve that will affect his per-game production, I think he will play a lot compared to other catchers. And he can really hit.

Davis, Frazier, and Tulowitzki: These are all guys that if coming off their best seasons would be $5-$10 more expensive. Will they be their best? Probably not, but that does not mean definitely not and it does not mean that lesser outcomes won’t be valuable.

Phillips: He’s not in his prime, but at $7 we aren’t paying for it. He is imperfect, but an AVG league covers up those flaws way better than an OBP league.

Adams and Owings: There playing time is not crystal clear, but both will play and both should be healthier than they were last year. Plus, you can’t beat the price.

The outfield: I just loved these values. Whereas speed was pricey for top options, I thought stolen base production comes at a discount for Revere, Gardner, and DeShields.

Ortiz and Morales: I have taken Ortiz every year because he gets dinged (by the entire fantasy community not Mike) for factors other than the fact he can flat out hit. Morales, I believe, is next in line—while less prolific, he also comes much cheaper.

Archer: He read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Hamels: The changeup plays anywhere and he’ll have a major league team behind and scoring runs for him this year.

Stroman and Matz: Usually the helium is too high for me to ever acquire these two, but I love the $11 and $10 prices for guys who could be top-25 pitchers.

Corbin, Gonzalez, and Cashner: None of these guys is coming off his best season, but I still dig the stuff and, more so, the prices.

Nicasio: Even putting the Searage-effect aside (if it exists), Nicasio is a pitcher who throws hard with a decent (potentially better than decent) slider that will be pitching in front of a great team in a great ballpark.

Betances: I elaborate here.