On Friday, Mike Gianella released his latest 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 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. Below is Alex's offering, along with an explanation of how he assembled his crew.
When Bret told me I had the opportunity to fill out a unique 23-man roster with any players of my choosing, I quickly fantasized of a star-studded lineup anchored by Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. Not only did that dream not come true, I didn’t end up with either MVP candidate on my squad. My strategy for this exercise closely resembled my normal approach in a re-draft auction, in which I try to accumulate the most value for the smallest cost possible. This was made easier because all of the prices were fixed and known ahead of time; there were no twists and turns like in a real auction. I didn’t end up selecting a single player who cost more than $30, but I did handpick some of my personal favorites. And that’s what it’s all about. That, and winning.
- C – Jonathan Lucroy $16
- 1B – Anthony Rizzo $11
- 2B – Matt Carpenter $14
- 3B – David Wright $27
- SS – Everth Cabrera $12
- CI – Nolan Arenado $2
- MI – Brad Miller $3
- OF – Jay Bruce $24
- OF – Jason Heyward $15
- OF – Alex Gordon $14
- OF – Yoenis Cespedes $13
- OF – Norichika Aoki $7
- UTIL – Jose Abreu $10
- UTIL – Matt Adams $6
- Total cost of pitchers – $174 (67 percent of my budget)
Drafting three first basemen is normally a no-no, but with no moving parts, I thought, “What the hell?” There’s a potential 90 bombs between Rizzo, Abreu, and Adams, and it’s a pretty cool feeling for a homer like myself to roster both Chicago first basemen. I originally had Edwin Encarnacion slotted there, but the depth of the position allowed me to fill first base and two utility spots for less than it would have cost to keep E5. The possibility of losing Adams to a platoon weighed heavily on me, but replacing him with a safer option just wouldn’t be as fun.
Once I decided to pass on Encarnacion, that freed up extra money for my third baseman. It came down to Wright and Beltre, and I opted to go with the player with the slightly higher price tag. Owning a third baseman that can help you in all five categories was more appealing to me than a 34-year-old who only helps in four—although at this point I’m just choosing between two elite options.
Carpenter and Cabrera were for the most part value plays. I’m not expecting the 2013 version of Carpenter, but 90 runs are in the bank. As for Cabrera, I’m a believer, and I don’t really care what his batting average is as long as he gives me (roughly) 50 steals. After scrolling through the auction values, my middle infield and corner infield decisions were easy. Arenado has a safe floor and could approach 20 home runs in Coors, and Miller is a potential 15/15 player—all for a combined $5.
I spend the majority of my time in head-to-head leagues, and I know from personal experience that Bruce can be a headache in that format, but at the end of the year, his stats are there. I know what I’m getting: 30 home runs, 90 runs, and 100 RBI. He even chips in a handful of steals. Stanton’s upside is higher, but Bruce is the player I prefer to wait on. I can’t get away from Heyward this year (his upside is tremendous), and Gordon is someone I’ve loved from afar for a while now. Cespedes at $13 represents crazy profit potential—it wouldn’t surprise me if he finished the year as a $25 player. I love Aoki in Kansas City. He quietly scored 80 runs and stole 20 bags with the Brewers in 2013; I see more of the same in 2014.
- P – Felix Hernandez $21
- P – Madison Bumgarner $19
- P – Homer Bailey $11
- P – Julio Teheran $6
- P – Zack Wheeler $2
- P – Alex Wood $1
- P – Trevor Rosenthal $16
- P – Nate Jones $5
- P – Steve Cishek $5
- Total cost of pitchers – $86 (33 percent of my budget)
I’m not entirely sure how my peers constructed their lineups, but the overall picture became clear to me when I figured out which pitchers I really wanted. With so many arms to choose from (including many enticing $1 options), I focused on getting a stud (Hernandez), which quickly turned into a second (Bumgarner). A combined $40 for a pair of aces was hard to pass up, as I’ve seen both go in the high-$20s in mixed-league auctions. I feel most comfortable securing “sure things” rather than relying on young unproven arms like Sonny Gray, Michael Wacha, and Danny Salazar, so I didn’t mind spending a little more dough on top-tier pitching.
I’ve been on the Bailey bandwagon since last year, thanks to Paul Sporer’s SP Guide, and $11 was a small price to pay for someone I see taking the next step in 2014. I think Wheeler is being underrated, and Wood is someone I’ve been happy to pluck for a dollar or two in drafts. An innings’ limit is likely for the Braves starter, but my frames are covered with Hernandez, Bumgarner and Bailey.
I opted for three closers because that’s how I normally roll. Two may come from losing teams, but you can’t be picky with your end-game options. I expect Rosenthal to join the elite class of closers ala Kenley Jansen in 2013, and he should lead my team in saves. Jones has big strikeout potential, and Cishek should once again provide solid ratios—if these two give me 25 saves apiece, I’m very happy.