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In the “My Model Portfolio” series, the fantasy staff will create their own team within a $260 auction budget using Mike Gianella’s latest mixed league Bid Limits for 2017. The scoring is 5×5 standard roto. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, and 9 P.

The Process

Most of the BP Fantasy Staff won’t want to hear this, but I’m too old for this, man. Every year we do this exercise and I try to get cute, second-guess myself and overdose on value picks. “They’ll think I’m so smart if I notice that Ender Inciarte is only $4,” I think. “Man, Kevin Gausman at $6 could look like a splashy pick!”

Not this year. This year I’m going with players I’ve long been high on, going with my tried-and-sometimes-true strategy of leaning heavy toward hitting and gambling on plenty of post-prospects along the way. I might be a lot of things, but don’t call me a hypocrite.

The Offense

Position

Player

Team

Bid

C

Yadier Molina

Cardinals

$5

1B

Eric Hosmer

Royals

$11

2B

Javier Baez

Cubs

$6

3B

Maikel Franco

Phillies

$14

SS

Xander Bogaerts

Red Sox

$32

CI

Jacob Lamb

Diamondbacks

$8

MI

Jose Peraza

Reds

$12

OF

Starling Marte

Pirates

$34

OF

Nelson Cruz

Mariners

$21

OF

Adam Jones

Orioles

$14

OF

Nomar Mazara

Rangers

$8

OF

Marcell Ozuna

Marlins

$6

UT

Carlos Beltran

Astros

$4

UT

Chris Owings

Diamondbacks

$1

Total

$176 (68%)

If you read me even semi-regularly, like my mom does, this list of players won’t surprise you at all. My big splurges go to Xander and Starling, two well-rounded fantasy assets who I’m hoping combine for a .300 average with 30-plus homers, 50-plus steals and about 200 runs scored. They’re young, proven and could each get better, and that seems as solid a place to start my roster as any other.

I did sacrifice a bit in the way of ultimate power upside by going with those two, though, which is why I popped Cruz and Jones next. They’re kinda old, but they should give me at least 60 homers and another ~200 RBI. Mazara and Ozuna are kinda young, and could really help me in power or hurt me in average. Marte and Peraza should go a long way toward helping me stay middle-of-the-pack in steals, with Bogaerts, Baez and Owings sprinkling in some value there, too. Did I overpay for Peraza? Probably, but I maintain he’s gonna hit .290 with 30-plus steals and some runs. I view him as safer than most people do, which is why I took him over the slightly cheaper Tim Anderson ($11).

But let’s talk about the elephant in the room, which is my infield. It could be great! Lamb and Franco are up-and-coming third basemen who combined for 54 homers last season and could have more in the tank. If they really click, I’ll be golden, but they both have major flaws. I no longer believe in Hosmer as a superstar, but I think he does still have top-12 1B upside and the price was right. Baez is the real wildcard even among this group of wildcards. I tried to stay away from him, but at just $6, I was weak. Molina plays a lot and hits for average, and I was willing to spend the extra $4 to ensure my backstop produced more than nothing.

So yeah. Some safe guys, some risky guys, some veterans, some youngsters, some power, some speed. You’ve seen it all before. Did I consider going back and re-doing these bids so the percentage of cash I spent on offense equaled exactly 69%? You bet I did, friends. Fortunately, I’m as lazy as I am immature. Moving on …

The Pitching

Position

Player

Team

Bid

SP

Stephen Strasburg

Nationals

$20

SP

Zack Greinke

Diamondbacks

$13

SP

Julio Teheran

Braves

$13

SP

Lance McCullers

Astros

$7

SP

Jon Gray

Rockies

$4

SP

Eduardo Rodriguez

Red Sox

$1

CL

Kelvin Herrera

Royals

$14

CL

AJ Ramos

Marlins

$11

RP

Hector Nerris

Phillies

$1

Total

$84 (32%)

See, not as bad as you thought! Strasburg, Greinke and Teheran are a risky 1-2-3, but they sure do come with a ton of upside. Strasburg is a top-5 guy when he’s on the mound, and while I don’t feel particularly strongly about Greinke, I couldn’t pass up his ceiling for just $13. I’m ride-or-die for Teheran, who is the platonic ideal of a no. 3 starter given the way I build my staffs. Pretty much all of our teams end with cheap, high-upside arms, and the three I picked are McCullers, Gray and #Ed. They have injury concerns, pitch in Coors and have injury concerns/pitch in Fenway, respectively, but if they were perfect they wouldn’t be so cheap.

I went lightish on the bullpen, as I always do. I ended up with Herrera and Ramos because they were a bit cheaper than the truly premium guys, but I like em both and think they’ll hold onto their jobs all year, barring a trade. I know Kyle Barraclough will push Ramos, but people overlook how good Ramos has been over the past few years. Nerris is your standard speculative saves buy, and I’d rather go cheap with him than get cheap elsewhere to go with a nominal closer like Ryan Madson. You’ve all done this before. You’ll all do it again.

This pitching staff won’t have my competition shaking in their boots, but it’s got a good chance to succeed. And since I think my most reliable skill as a fantasy player is my ability to pick up cheap starters mid-season, this is an approach that’s worked for me in the past.

The Prediction

I think it’s pretty easy to envision a scenario in which my team is good. If three of my top four starters stay healthy/productive and three of Baez, Franco, Lamb and Peraza pan out, I’m going to have a very deep, very productive, upside-heavy team. That being said I’m also betting heavy on guys with injury histories (Marte, Beltran, Strasburg, Feliz) and volatile performances (Hosmer, Ozuna, Greinke, Teheran), so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see it all fall apart. I’m also light on saves and mayyyybe a little light on power, but as I addressed above, those would be easy fixes to make in-season.

Anyway, this is a very me team, and so it will suffer a very me fate. What does that mean? Last season I finished in the money in three of the five leagues I was in. The year before that I went 0-6. Life’s a crap shoot, so you may as well trust your evaluations and draft some of your favorite players.