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Last Wednesday night, I received a Facebook message from Mike Gianella, a good friend of mine in the industry who runs the Roto Think Tank blog. He said that the CBS Experts League was in need of one more participant, and he suggested me to fill the spot. Little did I know, the league would be drafting less than 36 hours later, making for some shotgun preparations.

Despite having to prepare with haste, I think I wound up with a pretty good team. There’s some risk, sure, but in a league of this depth, I did pretty well for myself. The league setup is 12 teams, AL-only, 5×5 with traditional 23-man rosters and seven (!) bench spots. Here’s how my roster turned out:

Position

Player

Price

C

Mike Napoli

$21

C

Miguel Olivo

$7

1B

Adam Dunn

$11

2B

Johnny Giavotella

$8

3B

Edwin Encarnacion

$14

SS

Derek Jeter

$18

CI

Mitch Moreland

$9

MI

Ryan Raburn

$11

OF

Ichiro Suzuki

$23

OF

Mike Carp

$14

OF

David Murphy

$5

OF

Brent Lillibridge

$4

OF

Luke Scott

$3

UT

Bobby Abreu

$4

BN (C)

Travis D'Arnaud

R4

BN (OF)

Joe Benson

R1

 

Position

Pitcher

Price

SP

Max Scherzer

$16

SP

Colby Lewis

$14

SP

John Danks

$14

SP

Gavin Floyd

$8

SP

Josh Tomlin

$4

SP

Jason Vargas

$7

CL

Mariano Rivera

$21

CL

Kyle Farnsworth

$15

CL/RP

Grant Balfour

$5

BN (SP)

Alex Cobb

R2

BN (SP)

Scott Feldman

R6

BN (RP)

Koji Uehara

R3

BN (RP)

Tony Sipp

R5

BN (RP)

Louis Coleman

R7

My biggest regret in this draft is that I left money on the table. Early in the auction, players went for more money than I felt they were worth and more than I was willing to spend on them. This led to my roster lacking a superstar. In leagues with early-round inflation like this, you really need to just bite the bullet and buy one big-ticket guy, even if you overpay. If you don’t buy one because it’s a bad “value,” you’re going to wind up giving back whatever value you’d gain from forgoing that top option by the end of the draft anyway. When so much money flies off the table early, there’s going to be very little left late. You’re going to get David Murphy for three times less than you believe he’s worth no matter what, so you might as well spend some extra cash early; there’s not going to be anything worthwhile to spend it on later because no one will be able to drive up the prices. Additionally, when you have a lot of extra cash at the end of the draft, you wind up in a bidding war for the last “good” guy available simply because if you don’t spend your money on Mike Carp, who else are you going to spend it on?

Still, I did wind up with quite a bit of depth without a single hole and only a couple of guys who figure to play less than 75 percent of the time (Lillibridge and Abreu, who was only acquired because of an online auction room mishap, may well be the only ones). This team is stocked with power, and while I’m a bit concerned about this league’s reputation for inactive traders, hopefully I’ll still be able to parlay that strength into shoring up weaknesses that pop up throughout the season (probably batting average, for one).

For an AL-only league, I have an incredibly deep pitching staff, with three potential closers (remember, there are only 14 AL closers and 12 teams in this league) and an entire rotation of solid to good starters. I plan to play the matchups a bit with guys like Vargas and Tomlin, plugging in elite set-up men like Uehara and Coleman when they’re up against tough offenses.

I absolutely love Joe Benson as my top reserve pick, because with so many injury risks in Minnesota, he’s bound to find his way into a starting role at some point.

So now it’s your turn: What do you think of my roster? To provide some context, you can check out the full results of the draft here.

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mattseward
2/29
Hi Derek, Looking at your roster I agree about the lack of a superstar which would make a good draft a very good one. Your tactics seem similar to Jason Grey in that you maximise playing time in a league where the replacement level is tiny has obviously given him a lot of success. Looking at the list the elite guys didn't go as big as I thought around $38-39 but there were lots of players, particularly Brett Gardner at $28 and BJ Upton at $30. If you had the draft to do over again who is the guy you would have targeted in that elite tier? Would you have changed the makeup of your team at all or are you happy with your decisions tactically?
derekcarty
2/29
I do like my team, but I don't think I auctioned 100% optimally. Of course, you rarely do when you're working with hindsight. It's hard to say which one guy I would have grabbed since the flow of the auction often dictates that sort of thing, but possibly Granderson, Ellsbury, or Prince. I could have also seen myself going a different direction with pitching and taking more $1-3 guys and allocating more funds to offense. I wouldn't have been disappointed to have a couple Iwakumas or Danny Duffys at the back of my rotation.
kdierman
2/29
Hey Derek - Not bad - your pitching staff looks really good and I love the Uehara on reserve pick (Nathan and he can trade off months as the rangers' closer to keep their arms fresh) - John Danks is missing from the list above BTW. Power looks good and plenty of runs from playing time .... Johnny G will get yu some bags as the Royals will run ...but overall the SB column may be bottom half. If you get some 70% pecota batting averages I like your chances to take it down. rrepresent the BP!
derekcarty
2/29
Thanks. I did miss Danks, so he's been added. Pitching looks much deeper with him on there. I like Giavotella at that price too, especially if he bats second for the Royals and runs. Speed and BA are my two main concerns, but hopefully I can wind up trading some power and saves to address that.
ddufourlogger
2/29
Mike Carp for more $$ than Adam Dunn?? Hard to believe. But equally hard to believe is how Dunn just completely bombed last year. To the level that I simply can't recall a guy who fell so far so fast, and couldn't pull out of it. (And who for fantasy owners was, for at least 5 years running, one of the MOST consistent players you could own. And that equals peace of mind when drafting!) I think Dunner has more in the tank, and he could be a huge value.
derekcarty
2/29
Yeah, Carp came late in the draft when he was the best guy on the board and there was a perceived drop-off after him. When you have too much money, that's the kind of buy you make. Still, that is around where the PFM had him, so I didn't mind much. Dunn that low is crazy, though. Who would've thought at this time last year. I think there's a TON of upside at that price, though.
Robotey
3/01
Derek - I'm an NL-only guy, so I can't judge too much, though I am familiar with auction strategies and prefer to overpay $3 or $4 early for a stud like Holliday or Braun than watch them get away and overbid for the scraps later. Which ones got away from you early and, in hindsight, how much higher would you have gone on them?
derekcarty
3/01
I don't think I'd say anyone got away, but I would have picked out one guy and just paid what it took to get him (within reason, with a backup option or two).
Robotey
3/02
C'mon! Really? You wouldn't trade getting Gardner for $29 and losing Abreu and Ichiro? AFter every draft I always play Monday morning qb about players I did and didn't get. Of course, it's a long season, and come summer, sometimes you thank your stars you missed out on a dud. All in all it's what makes the annual auction one of the baseball highlights of the year. It's like a baseball poker with consequences for the whole season.
derekcarty
3/02
Yeah, that's a trade I would make. As I said, Abreu was a mistake pick to begin with, though hopefully one that can still pay some dividends if he gets the 400 PA the Angels are saying he will get.
Robotey
3/02
After one or two drafts in which I came dangerously close to leaving money on the table--I had to blow $ on Dempster the closer and overpay for Nomar to avoid it--I vowed I would always target players that I absolutely want on my team and be willing to overpay for them if necessary. That philosophy still didn't net me Ryan Braun last year, as I wasn't willing to go to $45 for him, though looking at his SB's I should have. Instead I took Holliday as my second choice...and there you go. I am a big believer in budget, because the inherent challenge is that it is a zero sum( or rather $260) game, and overpaying for a favorite means lacking funds for someone else later. The thing is you never know what the later will look like, and late in the auction in a deep league there may be 3 owners left to bid on the scraps--i.e. Carp. So go big early!
bkopman
3/02
Scott and Murphy are great buys. I also like Lillibridge and Abreu. Any insight into why a guy like Scott went so cheap?
derekcarty
3/02
There was just no money at the table by the end (except for me and one or two other guys). Simple as that.