Sunday, January 28, 2007

CBS Sportsline Expert League Draft - Wrap up Part 3

Like I said Friday, I don't intend to go through a blow-by-blow of the final 10 rounds of the draft, simply because the last few rounds are typically an exercise in picking minor leaguers or trying to fill in at spots where your team might be weakest. Since each active roster of each team has 23 slots, I'll review the 21st-23rd rounds and just generally discuss my thoughts.

Round 21
241 Baseball Prospectus Todd Walker (2B SD)
242 Matt Diaz (OF ATL)
243 Mike Lamb (1B HOU)
244 CBS SportsLine (Mack) Mike Hampton (P ATL)
245 Adam Everett (SS HOU)
246 CBS SportsLine (Tighe) David Wells (P SD)
247 CBS SportsLine (Gonos) Jason Marquis (P CHC)
248 Baseball Info Solutions Jason Lane (OF HOU)
249 Felix Pie (OF CHC)
250 Roto Times Adam Eaton (P PHI)
251 Patton & Co. Miguel Montero (C ARI)
252 Elias Sports Bureau Marlon Anderson (2B LA)

Montero got me a pat on the back from a number of the experts. I know John Sickels likes him, ranking him 4th overall on his website and giving him a B+. It remains to be seen what he'll do, but I like him as my second catcher.

There a lot of people in this round recognizing they'll need innings. I don't like Jason Marquis, but he'll grace Gonos' roster at some point this season.

Round 22
253 Elias Sports Bureau Jamie Moyer (P PHI)
254 Patton & Co. Cesar Izturis (SS CHC)
255 Roto Times Ryan Klesko (1B SF)
256 Scott Hairston (OF ARI)
257 Baseball Info Solutions Ryan Spilborghs (OF COL)
258 CBS SportsLine (Gonos) Javier Valentin (C CIN)
259 CBS SportsLine (Tighe) Jorge Julio (P ARI)
260 Hunter Pence (OF HOU)
261 CBS SportsLine (Mack) Ryan J. Braun (3B MIL)
262 Brian Schneider (C WAS)
263 Andy LaRoche (3B LA)
264 Baseball Prospectus Chris Coste (C PHI)

Will Izturis start in Chicago? I don't know. Theriot went higher in this draft, and Eric Patterson went to SportsBlurb in the 24th Round. I might have been better off rolling the dice here on someone like Pence or Braun. This round is where the minor leaguers began getting drafted in earnest.

It's interesting how the pendulum shifted all the way back to hitters. Only Moyer and Julio are drafted on the pitching side this round.

Round 23
265 Baseball Prospectus Brent Lillibridge (OF ATL)
266 Willy Aybar (3B ATL)
267 Juan Cruz (P ARI)
268 CBS SportsLine (Mack) Ronnie Belliard (2B STL)
269 Tim Lincecum (P SF)
270 CBS SportsLine (Tighe) Ryan Doumit (1B PIT)
271 CBS SportsLine (Gonos) Olmedo Saenz (1B LA)
272 Baseball Info Solutions Eliezer Alfonzo (C SF)
273 Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C ATL)
274 Roto Times Jayson Werth (OF PHI)
275 Patton & Co. Carlos Villanueva (P MIL)
276 Elias Sports Bureau Alex Escobar (OF WAS)

There's really a lot of wishcasting in this round. I like the Belliard pick a lot if he stays in the N.L. and, honestly, he's probably a better gamble than Lillibridge or Saltalamcchia in 2007.

Villanueva was rated highly by Rotoman and, as I've pointed out before, I need the innings.

My last 7 picks:

Joey Votto (1B CIN)
Jose Cruz (OF SD)
Shane Youman (P PIT)
Troy Patton (P HOU)
Mike O'Connor (P WAS)
Brady Clark (OF MIL)
Pedro Feliciano (P NYM)

I went heavy on potential innings, drafted Sledge and Gross' fallbacks in Cruz and clark, and simply took Feliciano as a safety net if I don't want one of my starters pitching on a given week.

Looking back at it three days later, I think I did very well. I need pitching and a little more power, but I like the balance I achieved for my squad.

One of the perils of drafting early is that you have no idea what is going to happen in Spring Training. One school of thought is that instead of drafting established players in the middle rounds, it's worth taking a flyer on a hot minor leaguer or a guy who could break out, rather than the steady, dependable player who isn't going to be a Top 50 player no matter what.

I don't completely reject this theory. However, I've always had success trying to draft a team with as many AB and IP as possible. On offense, in particular, getting 7000 very good AB is a sure way to finish near the top of your league. I'd love it if my Joey Votto or Troy Patton picks worked out, but my team won't be decimated if they don't. And, more importantly, Patton at #323 has almost as good a chance of producing value this year than Homer Bailey does at #213.

An additional wrinkle this year also made me wary of drafting too many flyers. In previous years, all pickups were unlimited. If I wanted to make 500 moves over the course of the season, I could. This year, the league added FAAB with a $100 budget. So, yes, in theory I could pick up 100 free agents. In practice, my budget is limited. The last thing I'd want to do is go into the season needing to fill 5 or 6 holes. In 4x4 or 5x5, I've rarely seen a team with that much dead space at the opening bell do more than finish in the second division.

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