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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 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 Mike's offering, along with an explanation of how he assembled his crew.

When I first constructed this idea, it seemed like a fun way for us to represent “our guys” as they appeared within Mike’s values. But as it’s gotten closer and closer to crunch time, the pressure has started to build and at some point I had to just cut it off, call it a team and move on.

The Process:
Essentially, I started the exercise by perusing the dregs of Mike’s values to see which players I liked at very little cost, so I could maximize the number of big-ticket items I was able to get towards the top. Of course, this was easier on the pitching side (as I had assumed), but I set out with a lofty goal of building a strong $50 pitching staff and blowing the rest of the money on offense. I tend to skew way towards hitting in mixed leagues anyway, but I thought I could get the most about of value this way. It turns out, I didn’t even need $50 to build a pitching staff I liked—but we’ll get to that a bit later.

From a balance standpoint, I wanted seven starters and two closers on the pitching staff and on offense, the big category winner flanked by as many average and power guys as I could muster. I’m very pleased with the way the team turned out, and think I have a good chance of finishing at or near the top if a few of my pitchers hit. Well, not “hit” hit, but you know what I mean.

The Offense:
Some of these names will not surprise you at all. In fact, very few of these names will. In the end, that 210/50 split that I wanted to take in a vacuum turned into a 221/39 split and resulted in an offense that I think will be pretty dominant. Let’s take a look at the videotape:

Hitters:

C

Joe Mauer

25

1B

Albert Pujols

20

2B

Aaron Hill

12

SS

Hanley Ramirez

34

3B

Josh Donaldson

16

CI

Aramis Ramirez

8

MI

Martin Prado

8

OF

Ryan Braun

34

OF

Billy Hamilton

17

OF

Alex Gordon

14

OF

Mark Trumbo

9

OF

Austin Jackson

8

DH

Victor Martinez

4

DH

David Ortiz

12

Total

221

The outfield is where I’m going to start, because that’s where the plan is hatched. The cog to this team is Billy Hamilton, who for just $17 can single-handedly make me competitive in steals (unless everyone else chooses him as well, but I have some overflow to compensate for that). With the fastest player on the diamond in tow, I wanted to load up on everything else, and kicked it off with Ryan Braun—a no-doubt first-rounder who may not steal as many bases as he used to, but I’d be hard-pressed to care given my roster construction. He can still hit near .300 with 30-plus homers and counting stats galore. The back-end of the outfield is made up of a good all-around producer (Alex Gordon), a power stud (Trumbo) and an even cheaper all-around producer (Austin Jackson). The three of those gentlemen could combine for 65 homers, 275 RBI, and 30 steals. Not bad for my last three outfielders.

But with those players in hand, I needed to go hot and heavy on batting average anchors and additional power with the infield and utility spots. First, I wanted to make sure to grab Joe Mauer at my catcher spot—who’s my number one player at the position this year. Then, guys I’m personally high on like Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Donaldson and Aramis Ramirez at what I consider to be very good prices. And to bulk up the batting average a little more, I grabbed David Ortiz and Victor Martinez to fill out the utility slots, along with Martin Prado at middle infield. That’s six players who could legitimately hit .300 right there, and I love it.

Of course, with the additional money spent on offense, I’m clearly going to go through the season without an “ace”—however, if I can’t find a reasonably priced one in an auction (and I tend to be picky), I usually go without anyway. As for the guys I got with my $39…

Pitchers:

SP

Shelby Miller

6

SP

Julio Teheran

6

SP

R.A. Dickey

5

SP

Sonny Gray

5

SP

Zack Wheeler

2

SP

Lance Lynn

1

SP

Ian Kennedy

1

RP

Ernesto Frieri

8

RP

Nate Jones

5

Total

39

As far as cheap staff go, I like this one a lot. Teheran, Miller, Gray and Dickey should be very good in both ratios and strikeouts—plus, with all of them except Dickey pitching on contending teams, the wins should be there (they should be with Dickey as well because he throws so deep into games, but that’s another reason I like him a lot). Then Wheeler, Lynn, and Kennedy are all capable of racking up 180-plus strikeouts. On the closer side, I’m a big fan of Frieri and see him grabbing 40-plus saves with nearly 100 strikeouts for what should be a good Angels team—I did pick them to win the AL West in our staff predictions after all. And Nate Jones is perfectly acceptable with reasonably high strikeout numbers and the talent to hold the job all year.

At first glance it looks like I don’t have a high-end starter, but I’d always much rather bet on one of those first four guys becoming a top-10 starter than paying a current top-10 starter to stay that way.

So let’s hear it readers. What do you think of the team overall? And any names jump out as surprises on here? We’ll be tracking these teams all season and will keep you posted as to how the teams are faring in a traditional 5×5 setting.