The K-BAD Experts League Draft

by Howard Bender on March 5, 2013

cespedes slideOnce again, the boys over at invited me to join the annual K-B.A.D. League, their fantasy baseball experts league and obviously, I was happy to oblige. For those who don’t know, B.A.D. stands for Baseball Analysis Draft and its purpose is so the readers can follow along and get an explanation/understanding as to the reasons behind each pick. Write-ups are done after each selection so the thought process is fresh in our minds.

The draft style is a 28-round, snake-style slow draft which takes place over the span of about two weeks. For each pick, you’re on the clock for two hours so you have time to wrap up whatever else it is you’re doing at the moment and still have time for a little side research. The clock shuts down each night at 10pm (ET) and resumes the following morning at 9am (ET). There is no clock over the weekend, hence the reason the draft takes about two weeks. Roster requirements for the draft are: 2 C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, MI, CI, 5 OF, UT, 9 P, 5 BN

Last year was actually my first year in this league, and while I hovered around the top three for most of the season, a combination of injuries and an overwhelming amount of work from other sites, diverted my focus and my team fizzled out. I didn’t finish in last place, but if I recall correctly, I still landed in the bottom three. Well, all that changes this year and it changes in a big way. I am determined to have a better showing and I will not settle for anything but first place.

In a 12-team league, I was awarded the 11th pick. Can’t say that it’s really my favorite spot to draft from, but sometimes being on or so close to the wheel can have its advantages. I had already completed an inordinate number of mock drafts and had also begun a series of Average Draft Position (ADP) analysis articles on Mock Draft Central , so while I didn’t have a particular plan or strategy in mind, I had a pretty good idea of the players I wanted and where they were all roughly going in most drafts. Well, maybe saying that I didn’t have a particular strategy isn’t exactly correct as I guess I sort of did.

Given the size of the league I knew I would focus on hitting in the first five rounds and not even think of taking a starting pitcher until at least the sixth. Starting pitching is always so deep, particularly in a league this size, that waiting is always a good idea. Sometimes I like to go as far as the eighth without grabbing a pitcher, but in this crew of amazing fantasy minds, I knew the upper echelon of starters would disappear fairly quickly. I also knew that I could wait on speed. Not only am I not enthused about my usual target, Michael Bourn’s signing with Cleveland, but there is really a lack of true burners out there capable of producing more than just a fat stolen bases total. Early power was a goal of mine, as was balanced players with multi-position eligibility for good roster flexibility.

So how did I do…? Not bad actually.

Below is a rundown of each of my picks with their write-ups as well as a detailed look at the whole league and a quick peek at the draft board.

1.11 Giancarlo Stanton, OF MIA — This kind of power is just too hard to pass up, regardless of position scarcity. Might not see growth in runs or RBI total given the surrounding lineup, but few 23-year olds hit 37 home runs and still have more to come. Thought about Troy Tulowitzki and even Buster Posey here, but again, the power trumps the position.

2.2 Troy Tulowitzki, SS COL — Surprised to see him here, especially when Pasko Varnica took a shortstop with his turn pick. The injury risk is obviously in the forefront of everyone’s mind, but there’s a degree of injury risk with everyone. When healthy, he’s the best shortstop out there and given the lack of depth at the position, he’s a no-brainer. Thought about Buster Posey for a fleeting moment.

3.11 Ben Zobrist, 2B, SS, OF TB — Being a second baseman with 20 home runs and 15-20 stolen bases stands well enough on its own, but adding in the fact that he qualifies at both shortstop and the outfield is huge for my roster flexibility, especially with an injury-prone Tulowitzki already on the roster.

4.2  Yoenis Cespedes, OF OAK — He proved himself worthy of the Showcase nickname last year with a strong showing of both power and speed in his first year and looks primed for steady growth as he gets more comfortable. The dings and dents that kept him out at various times were frustrating, but he spent most of his offseason working on his overall conditioning. A 30-20 season is not far away.

5.11 Brett Lawrie, 3B TOR — Felt like 3B and SP needed to be addressed here and even though Varnica had A-Ram, I opted to grab Lawrie just to feel at ease. So many great starters still available. Lawrie may not have the power most like at the hot corner, but he’s another great 5-category guy with killer upside. The move down in the order should help increase the RBI total.

6.2  Zack Greinke, SP LAD — Varnica made this decision easy with his double-tap into the starter well. Greinke was my highest ranked starter remaining; great strikeouts to begin with and a move back to the NL will help even more. The dimensions of Chavez Ravine should bring that HR/FB down to single-digits again.

7.11 Chris Sale, SP CHW — With four more starters off the board, we’re moving down another tier so grabbing a solid number two starter is necessary. Sale is still learning the ropes as a starter so while there was a decrease in strikeouts and a slight increase in ERA in 2012, he shows his overall potential with a much improved 3.76 K/BB ratio.

8.2  Anthony Rizzo, 1B CHC — Two others need a first baseman and Rizzo’s power potential puts him at the top of those remaining. Still solid, proven talent on the board, but I don’t see him coming back to me in the next round. Hitting in Wrigley and batting third offers some serious promise for a 30-100 season.

9.11  Wilin Rosario, C COL — The only thing better than a power-hitting catcher is a power-hitting catcher who plays half his games in Colorado. Last year he hit .247 with 14 HR and a .274 ISO and then followed it up with an even better second half, hitting .291 with another 14 HR and a .248 ISO while lowering his strikeout rate and increasing his walks. He should settle in somewhere in the middle this year which should prove to be an outstanding season.

10.2 Fernando Rodney, RP TB — I’m a huge proponent of locking in closers and Rodney’s job is, comparatively speaking, pretty secure in Tampa. A competitive Rays team means plenty of opportunity for saves while the team defense is a ground-ball specialist’s best friend. Solid strikeout rate to boot!

11.11 Danny Espinosa, 2B, SS WAS — The batting average is a bummer, but the power/speed combo makes for an extremely productive roto player. Throw in the eligibility at both second and short and my middle infield has great coverage should someone get injured. Thought about possibly waiting another round on him but with Pasko needing a second baseman, the time was right for this move.

12.2 Norichika Aoki, OF MIL — Needed to fill up the outfield soon and could use some plus-speed. Aoki platooned for almost the entire first two months of last year and still hit 10 HR and swiped 30 bags. He’s full-time headed into this season and even just a repeat of last year’s totals makes him a solid pick.

13.1 Cameron Maybin, OF SD — He’s my fantasy Achilles heel. So much love for his skill set, yet only one season where he’s really shown great fantasy production.Every year I say this is the year he’s going to put it all together, but this really could be the year. He’s just turning 26-years old, entering his prime, the fences at Petco are coming in…no really, I mean it!

14.2 Marco Estrada, SP MIL — Felt the need to address pitching here and thought about Hiroki Kuroda and Doug Fister. But Estrada’s 9.30 K/9 was in the top 10 of pitchers who threw 100-plus innings last year and he does a tremendous job of limiting the walks (1.86 BB/9). He’s just coming into his own right now and I expect him to move up a level of performance this season.

15.11 Glen Perkins, RP MIN — Still reeling from Heaney stealing Greg Holland back in round 13, but I’m in need of a second closer and one whose job security is fairly solid. Nothing worse than having to spend all your FAAB money chasing saves. He may not rack up a ton of saves, but his ratios and rate stats are fantastic. He’ll do just fine as a complementary closer.

16.2 Kyle Seager, 3B SEA — He’s another strong addition who follows my strategy of drafting solid power/speed guys. He’s got 20-HR power and double-digit steals potential and should see his batting average climb soon enough with those tasty line drive rates of his. The fences coming in at Safeco should also help those home/road splits of his.

17.11 Dayan Viciedo, OF CHW — Too many strikeouts and a weak walk rate will hinder the average, but the 25-home run power is legitimate. The fact that he is just 24-years old also means there’s room to grow so it is quite possible that there is even more power on the horizon. Word out of Sox camp also says he may see time at first base so dual-position eligibility could be in play at some point too.

18.2 Matt Harvey, SP NYM — Sure, what we saw in 2012 was a small sample size, but Harvey definitely has the skill set to be a fantastic pitcher in the majors. He’s got a four-pitch arsenal that includes 95-mph heat and he struck out more than a quarter of the batters he faced last season. If he can improve his command just a bit, he’s got the potential to be a dominant force on the hill this year.

19.11 Jeremy Hellickson, SP TB — Big fan of third-year starters who have shown growth over their first two seasons and Hellickson has done just that with an increase in strikeout rate and a decrease in walks issued all while indicing more ground balls.There’s more than just a chance he takes another step forward this year. Was going to take Alex Avila here but Pasko looked like he was primed to pounce on some starters.

20.2 John Jaso, C OAK — Kicking myself for not grabbing Avila with previous pick as Pasko runs off two from my queue in Avila and Adam Dunn. Catcher position is near-barren, so Jaso as the new primary in Pakland is really the best option out there. Fantastic walk rate with decent contact numbers will hopefully keep the  average respectable and add in some decent runs scored. Not thrilled with the pick but it’s better than getting stuck with nothing as your second catcher.

21.11 Brandon Belt, 1B SF — All he’s been waiting for is a consistent opportunity to play and he finally has it. Modest power potential, a splash of speed and should achieve added eligibility in the outfield by no later than mid-season.

22.2 Andrelton Simmons, SS ATL — If he can hold the leadoff spot for the Braves all season, he’ll have massive runs scored and some solid stolen bases. He’s a good contact hitter who should be able to provide decent totals from a weak position.
23.11 Trevor Bauer, SP CLE — How quickly people forget. He was one of the most highly touted, young pitchers last season and a less-than-spectacular debut that was rushed to begin with, coupled with some unconventional warm-up practices, put him out of favor with the stodgy, old-school critics. A move to a more neutral park should help counter any alleged issues with moving to the American League.

24.2 Jose Veras, RP HOU — Closers seem to be a hot commodity in this draft so a third seemed like a good idea. He’s dealt with command issues in the past, but for this late an investment, I’ll be very happy with 20 saves from a Houston pitcher.

25.11 Peter Bourjos, OF LAA — Yes, the Angels outfield could be a little crowded and yes, Mike Scioscia has a knack for killing the fantasy value of his players, but if Bourjos does get the full opportunity and plays up to his potential, he could end upo be a great source of runs and cheap stolen bases.

26.2 Jason Vargas, SP LAA — He’s not going to dazzle you with strikeouts, but he can maintain decent ratios for a back-of-the-rotation guy to stream in. His home/road splits indicate that Safeco has helped him, but Angel Stadium plays very well to pitchers too. A good innings-eater to have as depth.

27.11  Dylan Bundy, SP BAL — Looking for pitching depth but nothing on the board looked attractive to me. I opted for a stash and was wavering between recovering Tommy John surgery alum like Danny Duffy or Corey Luebke who could be back mid-season or baseball’s hottest young pitching prospect in Bundy. The orioles have already said that there’s a strong chance he contributes in the second half this season so rather than fight for him later, I’d grab him right now.

 28.2  Carlos Pena, 1B HOU — I have back-ups for the outfield and middle infield, so an extra corner guy was in order. He’s seen a dramatic decline these last two seasons, but perhaps staying in the AL while calling a hitter’s park home can help lead to a resurgence. Should he continue his descent, he’s an easy drop for my first waiver pick-up.
So that’s the team, that’s the reasoning and now it’s just a matter of implementing all that I know with all that I have. The team isn’t perfect, by any means, but it’s a great starting base with good balance. A few waiver claims during the season should round out the rough edges. I don;t want to sound too bragadocious here, but these guys are in trouble this year!





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