As I have noted before, I never really know what I am going to do when I enter the draft room for the various leagues in which I play each year.
Of course, there are some basics I try to follow, such as making sure I have both a closer and a base stealer. I also try to cop at least one big bat, and one big pitcher, but for the most part I try to avoid spending more than $30 on any players, while also trying to keep from trolling for $1 bargain basement purchases as part of the end game.
Not that those buck fliers are a waste: they are just hard to peg, and harder to get production from.
What if? What ... if?
Basically, I look for balance on my roster, trying to nab as many everyday position players as I can to grace my hitting roster, and six dependable starters - at least going into the season - as I can, along with a couple of setup men to complement my closer. It is even better if I can grab a second closer at a reasonable price, but that is another story.
Going into this season's LABR and Tout auctions, I had targeted a number of players I thought would be good buys and productive, but the reality is until the auction really starts, and the players and dollars start flying around the room, I am unsure exactly who I will get let alone for how much.
Since the LABR auction occurs nearly a month before the Tout fete, that draft feels more speculative, but, this year, as I considered players I wanted, I did target the likes of Alex Gordon, Gordon Beckham, Justin Morneau, and a handful of performers whom I hoped would be undervalued and subsequently turn in improved seasons over 2010.
Still, when I was able to nab CC Sabathia for $26, and Jose Bautista for $29, I knew I had at least a solid core of players to build around.
As it turned out, I also got both Gordon and Beckham, along with Coco Crisp, Gio Gonzalez, A.J. Burnett, and closer Andrew Bailey. I also nabbed the disappointing and injured Morneau, but, despite that, my LABR team has been holding steady atop the AL LABR standings for the bulk of the season. And, though there is a lot of season still to play, the one thing I can say for this squad is they are both stable and consistent, meaning whether I win or not, I will likely be in the hunt from now on out.
In AL Tout the story is a lot different, for though I still managed to get Crisp and Gordon and Burnett, along with Morneau, instead of Bautista, my big stick was Josh Hamilton, and instead of Sabathia for the $26 Matthew Berry paid, I spent the same $27 on the combination of Jake Peavy and Brian Matusz.
Needless to say, that should tell you all you need to know to determine that my Tout team is struggling while my LABR squad cruises.
Obviously taking Bautista in Tout over Hamilton would have made a big difference, but ultimately each cost the same, and I think Hamilton has a major hot streak in him we have yet to see in 2011.
But, how different would my place in the standings have been had I simply bid three more bucks on Paul Konerko instead of Morneau? Or, taken one of those end game chances on the Angels' Mark Trumbo?
Or, had I spent the $27 on Sabathia instead of the same on Peavy and Matusz, the former having been erratic, at best, and the latter being useless on all accounts?
It is funny how those two simple changes would make a 15 point or more swing in the standings and relative prospects for my Tout team.
Of course in this season of playing hunches on 2010 failures, had I spent the $19 on Chone Figgins in Tout on just about anyone short of Russell Branyan, who knows what place I would be in?
About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com
Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.
Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.
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