Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fantasy Baseball Draft Analysis Cont'd: Rounds 7-14 - Fantasy Gameday Keeper

This is a continuation of my Fantasy Gameday Keeper League draft analysis post from last week. I know this is kind of a long post, so I'm hoping I won't lose your interest mid-post. If that happens, I'd suggest breaking it down into smaller bite-size morsels; mmmm...bite-size morsels of Roto Advice goodness.

My round 7-14 picks were as follows:

Round (overall pick) Player (player picked before / after)

7 (82) D Young (OF) - (N Swisher/ J Bay)
-This was the first of two picks I made completely disregarding the walks category (intentional or not, it still happened). Young's current ADP is 106, which is about the end of the 9th round for a 12 team league. Given that he walks very little, his value probably should have pushed down a little in a league like this (where walks count just as much as HR).

So maybe I reached a little for Young, but boy, does he have upside. He's still only 22, and he was universally viewed as the #1 prospect heading into last season. Considering he hit .288 with 13 HR, 93 RBI, and 10 SB in his rookie season, I can't help but think things will only get better from here. He played very consistently as well, hitting well against both left handers & right handers, along with hitting well before & after the all star break.

I view Young as a poor-man's version of Corey Hart or Hunter Pence, although he arguably has just as much, if not more, upside than them both & could outproduce each of them this year. He's young, strong, fast, and has a great major league career ahead of him in Minnesota. His lack of walks will hurt me a little, but I was willing to take a chance on him given his enormous upside.

Pecota - .294/17 HR/81 RBI/14 SB

8 (87) A Gordon (1B / 3B) - (B Jenks / F Hernandez)
-This was another high risk / high reward pick on my part. Some of the third basemen left on the board at this point were Gordon, Beltre, Lowell, Encarnacion, Longoria, and Kouzmanoff; so given my options, I think Gordon was the best choice, especially since this is a keeper league (I didn't seriously consider Longoria at this point in the draft).

Gordon had a very slow start to his rookie season last year, after the jump to the majors from AA ball. Although he struggled to find his groove, the Royals stuck with him & he rewarded them with 15 HR & 14 SB; unspectacular but solid. As the season wore on, he seemed to get more comfortable & more confident; this is evident by the 8 HR he hit in the final 186 AB over the last two months of the season. I'm expecting a minimum output of the Pecota projections below, although I see him as a major breakout candidate. Upside - .280 / 25 HR / 90 RBI / 25 SB; if he goes 20/20, I'll be pleased...especially since I know there is much more to come.

Pecota - .269/18 HR/75 RBI/16 SB

9 (106) S Kazmir (SP) - (B Wagner / A Beltre)
-At this point, I wanted to start building my rotation with another solid starter; little did I know that I would be able to grab a 1A starter in the 9th round in Kazmir. I think his spring injury might have scared off some managers, but with an ADP of 68, or late 6th round in a 12 team league, I saw this as an immense value pick at this point. Kazmir was simply lights out in the second half of last season, putting up a line of 94 IP/2.39 ERA/1.14 WHIP/124 K/31 BB/8 W. What makes it even better, is he's 24 years old, which makes him a great candidate to improve even further. Although I'm a little nervous about the injury risk, he's still young & along with Smoltz, should be able to give me a solid 1-2 punch in my rotation at a much lower cost than some of the other top pitchers.

Pecota - 195 IP/29 GS/197 K/3.24 ERA/1.23 WHIP/13 W

10 (111) H Kendrick (2B) - (Y Gallardo / P Burrell)
-Walks be damned! That should be by team name in this league.

I picked Kendrick right around his current ADP of 117, but again, his value will be slightly lower in this league since walks matter...and he NEVER walks. OK, to his defense, he did walk 9 times last season in 338 AB, but boy, can he ever HIT.

He's been described as a future batting champion ever since he entered the majors, and those projections might not be far off. He's never hit less than .317 in any of his 5 or so seasons in the minors, and he's hit .288 & .322 in his first two partial seasons in the big leagues. He's also been consistent in his lack of walks & with his ability to put the ball in play; he hasn't walked more than 24 times in any full season in professional ball.

I see his upside this season at around .325/15 HR/25 SB, which is a nice line in the middle infield & would make up for his lack of walks. Even if he hits in the .280-.300 range with 10/10 output, I'll be happy since I think his best is yet to come. Overall, I was happy to fill my MI position with Howie.

Pecota - .287/14 HR/73 RBI/10 SB

11 (130) J Shields (SP) - (M Corpas / R Soriano)
-I was quite happy to be able to grab a pitcher of Shields' quality in the 11th round. I view him as a proven commodity, and a low risk for any regression. Shields is a control fiend, and proved he can strike guys out at an above average rate as well. I think the Rays are a team on the rise, so his wins will likely increase as the team improves. He’s a good third addition to my rotation, and another solid value given his ADP of 116.

A general note - I was pleased to get solid pitching value in the mid rounds, since I focused on hitting & didn't pick one of the top 10 pitchers early in the draft.

Pecota - 190 IP/29 GS/148K/3.88 ERA/1.24 WHIP/12 W

12 (135) J Soria (RP) - (J Hamilton / R Hill)
-I thought it was about time to take my first closer, and Soria is a young stud with major upside. The negative? He plays for the Royals, so he probably won't get too many chances this season.

After the all star break last season, he pitched 32+ IP, with 5 BB, 33 K, 2.78 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and only a .183 BAA - good stuff. I still expect 30+ saves out of Soria this year, and he'll certainly help my team in ERA, WHIP, and K's.

Pecota - 75 IP/36 SV/3.16 ERA/1.19 WHIP/81 K

13 (154) S Drew (SS) - (J Peralta / I Snell)
-I realized during this draft that SS is not the deepest position around this year. This pick was again based on upside, and the realization that Drew is a good big league hitter who was just too unlucky last season. With Peralta going off the board the pick before this, I was down to a handful of targets at SS - Drew, Greene & Escobar; since at least two other teams didn't have a starting SS at this point, I felt I needed to pull the trigger on who I viewed as the best SS left - Drew.

I think he'll surprise some people this season by having a good year; many people forget that he hit .316 in 200+ AB the previous year. He has a good eye for the ball, walking 60 times last season, and he also chipped in 12 HR & 9 SB (in 9 attempts). Even if he hits the conservative Pecota projections, I'll be satisfied. And he's young & still has major upside, so this pick was a no-brainer at this point in the draft.

Seeing how Kelly wasn't happy after the pick, chances are Drew wouldn't have been available when I drafted next time around.

Pecota - .270/18 HR/64 RBI/6 SB

14 (159) A Wainwright (SP) - (R Ibanez / R Betancourt)
-I couldn't pass up a starter that I see as a possible breakout candidate this season. In the second half of last season, he put up the following line - 15 GS/99 IP/2.71 ERA/1.25 WHIP/77K/7 W. I expect him to carry that performance over into this season, as it appears he's re-adjusted to being a starter. The Pecota line is quite conservative, but that would even be acceptable from my 4th starter, especially given Wainwright's youth. Overall, a solid pick to fill out my rotation.

Pecota - 175 IP/27 GS/4.09 ERA/1.37 WHIP/120 K/10 W

Amazingly, I'm only about half done with my analysis. I'll probably take a look at the rest of my drafted team next week, so stay tuned.

In other upcoming posts, I'll be highlighting some web based research tools that can be used to help you during the baseball season, along with re-visiting the world of fantasy basketball for a brief moment.

With fantasy basketball playoffs just around the corner (for H2H leagues), I'll be highlighting waiver wire or fringe players that can either make or break your season - players that are hot, and players who are not-so-hot.

Until next time...

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