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Mike Gianella recently released his latest mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred 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 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.

The Process

My goal was simple when I was scrolling through Mike’s values: See if I could find enough well priced players to back into grabbing Mike Trout for my final outfield spot. So I started at the bottom and worked my way up, grabbing the $1 guys I really liked first, and making my way up toward the $20 mark. In the end, mostly because I didn’t end up spending more than $19 on any other player, I was able to grab the best of the best—giving me a warm feeling in my heart that can only be described as love. Seriously, we talk about how good Trout is, but it’s just stupid how much better he is than the next best player in both real and fantasy baseball. Anyway, let’s go into a little more detail, starting with the offense.

The Offense

I know, the headers just write themselves.

Pos

Player

Bid

Team

C

Brian McCann

11

New York Yankees

1B

Adam Lind

4

Milwaukee Brewers

2B

Howie Kendrick

10

Los Angeles Dodgers

SS

Starlin Castro

17

Chicago Cubs

3B

Chris Davis

19

Baltimore Orioles

CI

Mike Napoli

3

Boston Red Sox

MI

Aaron Hill

4

Arizona D-backs

OF

Mike Trout

47

Los Angeles Angels

OF

Christian Yelich

18

Miami Marlins

OF

Ben Revere

17

Philadelphia Phillies

OF

Mookie Betts

12

Boston Red Sox

OF

Joc Pederson

6

Los Angeles Dodgers

DH

David Ortiz

16

Boston Red Sox

DH

Travis Snider

1

Baltimore Orioles

185

The roster separates into a few distinct categories, especially since I didn’t make a play for any non-Trout expensive players:

First, it’s the bounce-back candidates, led off by the good Davis at $19. I’m a big believer in him getting back to high-end power-producer status in 2015, and while it may not be as fun as his 2013 season, there’s plenty of room for profit here, despite the batting average risk. Both McCann and Napoli didn’t quite make their 2014 owners happy, but at a combined $14, I’ll take the chance they can combine for nearly 50 homers and drive in 175 runs. Again, more batting average risk, but I’ll try to address that later through other means. Finally, no team of mine is complete without Aaron Hill. I don’t have to explain why, just read anything I’ve written or listen to anything I’ve recorded over the last three months. Well, you should anyway, but that’s just additional incentive.

Second, it’s the breakout candidates—a group that clearly leads off with Betts. Paying the freight for him in any sort of draft/auction is a terrible idea right about now, but at $12, he’s really hard to pass up. And it’s very much a shame too, as he’s an exciting player and I’d love to own him in other places. The youth parade continues in the outfield with Yelich and Pederson for a combined $24. Here’s hoping that I can get a combined 50 steals here, to match the homers I was hoping to get from the Napoli/McCann combo. Then at the second utility spot, it’s the eldest of my breakout candidates, in Snider. Getting out of Pittsburgh should be a boon for his fantasy value, and if he can keep the gains he made in the second half, he will be a big moneymaker here.

Third, it’s the batting average off-setters. I noticed quickly that I was gathering a number of batting average risks, which makes sense given where their values were. So my next step was to solidify the category, and add help elsewhere along the way. The infield was where that really came together, with my Castro, Kendrick, Lind combination. All three of these players should hit .290-plus and offer complementary skills to help the team across the board. Then with steals still lagging a little behind, I went for Revere, who should be able to offer 40-plus, while hitting for the same type of strong average as the other players in this group.

Finally, it’s David Ortiz. I own him in many leagues. I don’t like the thought of this team without him.

The Pitching

Even with Trout in hand, I was still able to budget $75 for my starting pitching as I was hoping to from the beginning. Last year, my starters were pretty strong, but my closer combination of Ernesto Frieri and Nate Jones was laughably terrible. This year, I made more of an effort to grab at least one very good option—and no one should be surprised at who that was.

P

Adam Wainwright

18

St. Louis Cardinals

P

Carlos Carrasco

12

Cleveland Indians

P

Garrett Richards

8

Los Angeles Angels

P

Masahiro Tanaka

6

New York Yankees

P

Brandon McCarthy

5

Los Angeles Dodgers

P

Danny Duffy

5

Kansas City Royals

P

Carlos Martinez

1

St. Louis Cardinals

P

Cody Allen

12

Cleveland Indians

P

Hector Rondon

8

Chicago Cubs

75

Can you tell that I’m a risk-taker when it comes to putting together a pitching staff? Let’s start at the top with Wainwright. It’s far more common this year when I don’t own him than when I do, and his price isn’t going up with the health he’s shown so far this spring. This makes no sense to me. He’s a slam-dunk top-10 pitcher, and should be a borderline top-five guy. At $18? Please. And just like a mix tape should be all rise, at least according to Barney Stinson, I wanted to make this pitching staff all ceiling. For a combined $36, I grabbed six starting pitchers who could all turn out to be top-20 options this year (alright, maybe it’s a stretch for Martinez, but he certainly has the raw stuff for it). Carrasco has gotten expensive, but his development is real and very much worth investing (reasonably) in. Same with Richards, but his knee injury has depressed his price nicely. He’ll miss two turns or so, and then I like him to deliver SP2 value the rest of the way, just like he did last year. Tanaka and McCarthy are not the best bets to stay healthy, but both are very well priced at $6 and $5, respectively. They should both return that value in a half of a season—which leaves plenty of room to outperform if they can just throw 150 innings. I highlighted Duffy in my endgame targets piece yesterday, but he’s being valued well below his expected performance level, given his stuff, his park and the defense behind him.

Then, we move onto the closers. Allen is one of my favorite pitchers in baseball, and by far the most reasonably prices of the high-end closers in Mike’s valuations. If you told me he finished the 2015 season with an ERA around 2.00, 50 saves and 100 strikeouts, I’d believe you. But then again, if you told me that Allen would figure out a way to cure cancer and build a time machine to prevent World War II from ever happening, I’d probably believe you too. Finally, Rondon is good enough to keep that job and it’s not his fault, he’s not Cody Allen.

Prediction

I’ve probably been listening to too much Effectively Wild over the last six weeks, but I’m going to pretend that Ben and Sam are putting me on the spot and asking me how this team will finish. Because I’ve confident, but don’t want to seem too confident, I’m going to say 84 points and a second-place finish. Though, in my head, it’s 102 points and a runaway title. Did I just say that out loud?

Thank you for reading

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