I recently had the pleasure to take part in an Expert League draft sponsored by our friends at Greener on the Other Side. The league setup is the standard 12-team, 5×5 league. Rosters include C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 5 OF, 2 Util, 9 P and 5 bench spots. Thanks to Adam at Newsday, the entire draft results are available here.
The expert league participants are:
Adam Ronis of Newsday
Jordan Frank of Roto Rob
Brad Stewart of MLB Front Office
Geoff Stein of Mock Draft Central
Mike Sessa and Chris Corcione of Pseudo Sports
Rudy Gamble of Razzball
Eric Stashin of Roto Professor
Sean Salsbery of Warning Track Power
Ken Mathe (that's me) of Roto Advice
Arnie The Regular Guy
Jay and Brett of Greener On Other Side
Here is how my draft went (which wasn’t at all like I expected):
1 (1) Álex Rodríguez
The first overall pick; I can pick anyone in the entire fantasy baseball world…and what do I do? Make the obvious selection. I’ve never had the #1 pick before, so this honestly caught me by surprise & caused me to develop an entirely “on the fly” draft strategy as we went along.
Arod is awesome, and even if he regresses by 20% or so from last year’s performance, he’s still the #1 player available.
2 (24) Russell Martin
Getting the #1 pick was great, but getting only 1 of the top 23 players was tough. Seeing player after player going off the board was painful, but I got one of the guys I wanted with these two picks in Martin. I think I picked him a little earlier than I normally would have, but he absolutely would not have been available the next time around at pick 48.
3 (25) Carlos Lee
I was wavering between Lee & Rios with this pick, and ultimately picked the guy who has been Mr. Consistency for the past few years. He’ll get me a .300 avg, 30 Hr, 100 RBI, and 10 SB. Not bad from my third round pick.
I was hoping to get any of the 5 guys who ended up getting drafted before my two picks, but they went off the board in the following order leading up to my 2nd round pick – Upton, Phillips, Teixeira, Soriano & Beltran. Oh well…at this point, I’m feeling pretty good with my draft.
4 (48) Hunter Pence
I really wanted to get Markakis, Hart, Hafner, Byrnes, or Hamels with this pick, but they were all off the board when it finally got back to me. I think Pence is going to be an excellent major leaguer, and should put up 25 HR & 10 SB this year, so it’s not a bad selection.
5 (49) Carlos Guillén
I picked Guillen hoping to put him at SS, although some of my later selections changed this strategy. I like Guillen’s place in the Tigers lineup & his SS / 1B eligibility. He should also give me a low double digit steal total – good value at this point.
6 (72) Jonathan Papelbon
I never pick a top closer in the draft, so I figured why not. I was really hoping to pick my ace SP in this round, but all of my favorite SP targets were already off the board; the best remaining were Lincecum, Dice K, Smoltz, and Harang, and I thought Papelbon gave me more value here.
7 (73) Matt Kemp
I was looking to get a OF with speed & upside at this selection; Kemp certainly fits the bill. I was hoping Victorino or Chris Young (OF) would fall to me at this pick, but they both went in the 6th round. If Kemp ends up splitting time this year, this will end up being a reach pick; but Kemp truly has .300, 25 HR, 25 SB potential, and he was too tantalizing to pass up. I also didn’t think he’d be around come pick 96.
8 (96) Ben Sheets
OK, I really needed some starting pitching at this point. Sheets always ends up disappointing, but I was willing to roll the dice at this point. If healthy, he has the ability to end up being a top 10 SP, but it’s a risk. We’ll see…
9 (97) James Shields
After taking risky Ben Sheets the pick before, I picked a much safer starter here. He might not get as many wins as some of the top SP, but he gets K’s, will have a low WHIP, and is still young. Amazingly, since I was so focused on SP here, I missed out on picking Alex Gordon, who was selected two picks later at pick 99 by MLB Front Office. Stupid tunnel vision…I think Gordon’s going to break out big time this season.
10 (120) Dan Uggla
I was still looking for a 2B, and this is the point I decided to go with a HR heavy strategy. I was wavering on Uggla, Kendrick, and Kelly Johnson, but I think Uggla will be very solid this season. I see his average improving some from last year, and he could hit 35 or more HR. Solid from the middle infield, and good value at pick 120.
11 (121) Jacoby Ellsbury
At this point, I still didn’t have a top steals guy, so I reached a little for Ellsbury. If he is the full time CF this season (a big IF), he could get 35-50 steals this year; and hit .300 in the process. Nice but risky…
12 (144) J.J. Hardy
This pick was just about value at the position. All of the 1B I was targeting were gone by this point, so I decided to go with Hardy at SS / MI & put Guillen at 1B. He’s not a superstar, but he should be good for a .275+ Avg & 20 HR.
13 (145) A.J. Burnett
Are you starting to see a trend with my staff…that’s right, I have a few huge question marks. Sheets & Burnett was both extremely talented, but they both have #1 stuff. Burnett was completely dominant last season when he was healthy, so I’m hoping for a repeat, and a full year of heath. If these guys either stink or get injured, I’ll be desperate for pitching.
14 (168) Justin Upton
Upton is going to be good. It’s that easy.
15 (169) Khalil Greene
Another value pick; he should put up 30 HR, and matched with Uggla, gives me the most powerful middle infield in the league. This is helpful, since I have a mediocre HR 1B in Guillen (although he show good spring power #s).
16 (192) Brian Wilson
I was looking for more saves at this pick; I think Wilson will be solid.
17 (193) Rick Ankiel
Good value at this pick; he should be an easy bet for 25+ HR in a full season.
18 (216) Matt Garza
Here is a starter will good upside. He has #1 starter stuff, but he’s still young.
19 (217) Joba Chamberlain
I was looking at Chamberlain for a few rounds leading up to this selection. Even if he pitches out of the bullpen all season, he will help me in ERA, WHIP & K’s. I saw this as an excellent value pick, especially if he moves into the rotation at some point this season.
20 (240) Nick Johnson
I took a chance here hoping Johnson would beat out Young for the Nationals 1B job, but it looks like the risk will pay off. He is an excellent hitter, who could very easily put up .300, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 100 Run season if healthy, which would be great output from my CI. One of my top sleeper picks.
21 (241) Jason Kubel
Kubel might share time with Craig Monroe, but he’s close to breaking out big time. Good value at pick 241.
22 (264) Justin Duchscherer
People have been ignoring Duchscherer in most drafts I’ve taken part in this year, but he could be a very solid selection. He began his career as a starter, he was successful as a reliever, and he’s still young.
23 (265) Jeremy Guthrie
I’m not overly thrilled with this pick, but I was looking for another SP, and he was one of the best left. Should be solid, and he’s the O’s #1.
24 (288) Akinori Iwamura
Basically, I drafted Akinori due to his upcoming 2B / 3B eligibility. I was looking for an adequate backup, and I could do worse at this point in the draft.
25 (289) Bronson Arroyo
Innings eating SP.
26 (312) Tom Gordon
Should get me a few saves while Lidge is on the DL.
27 (313) Richie Sexson
Nobody wants him, so why not. He could be good for 30+ HR if he finds his swing. If not, this is a very low risk. I expect a solid season if he stays healthy.
28 (336) Masa Kobayashi
I’m an Indians fan, and this guy is supposed to be good. Plus I like his name.
My roster to start the year is:
C Russell Martin (LAD - C)
1B Carlos Guillén (Det - 1B,SS)
2B Dan Uggla (Fla - 2B)
3B Álex Rodríguez (NYY - 3B)
SS J.J. Hardy (Mil - SS)
CI Nick Johnson (Was - 1B)
MI Khalil Greene (SD - SS)
OF Carlos Lee (Hou - OF)
OF Hunter Pence (Hou - OF)
OF Matt Kemp (LAD - OF)
OF Jacoby Ellsbury (Bos - OF)
OF Justin Upton (Ari - OF)
Util Rick Ankiel (StL - OF)
Util Jason Kubel (Min - OF)
P Jonathan Papelbon (Bos - P)
P Ben Sheets (Mil - P)
P James Shields (TB - P)
P Brian Wilson (SF - P)
P Joba Chamberlain (NYY - P)
P Justin Duchscherer (Oak - P)
P Jeremy Guthrie (Bal - P)
P Tom Gordon (Phi - P)
P Masa Kobayashi (Cle - P)
BN Akinori Iwamura (TB - 3B)
BN Richie Sexson (Sea - 1B)
BN A.J. Burnett (Tor - P)
BN Matt Garza (TB - P)
BN Bronson Arroyo (Cin - P)
I think my two biggest weaknesses are SB & my entire pitching staff; we'll soon find out how competitive my team will be against the other experts.
That’s all for now. I’ll be providing league updates at a minimum of bi-weekly during the season, so keep reading. Please feel free to leave your thoughts / feedback on my team & draft.
And in case you missed it, you can check out analysis from some of the other contenders here.
Until next time...