Going into LABR: Brains over Braun?

      February 29, 2012 @ 22:21:10 PDT


Milwaukee Brewers OF Ryan Braun
Passed him up? Really?

I wrote that Ryan Braun was third on my overall board last week, behind Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera. So, at the fifth pick in Saturday's LABR mixed draft, I had the opportunity to pick the recently exonerated masher, who boasts one of the most stable - if not the most stable - five-category profiles in fantasy baseball.

I chose Joey Votto.

I went against my own advice. But those who know me know I couldn't take an outfielder in the first round. Not even Braun.

Instead, I stuck to my position-scarcity guns and took Votto, whom I believe gets the edge over Adrian Gonzalez thanks to his stolen-base potential.

Man, I'm probably going to take some heat for that decision. USA Today scribe and LABR master of ceremonies Steve Gardner already hinted that the pick was a slight surprise.

Well, Votto isn't a clear-cut top-fiver, but he was the best player at what would turn out to be my chance to land one of the top eight first basemen - my Elite Eight, if you will: Pujols, Cabrera, Votto, Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, Eric Hosmer and Paul Konerko. The last two are slightly weaker but included because of the absurd drop-off after them.

In a 15-teamer, I wasn't taking the chance on whiffing on one of them. I might've landed Teix, but the odds were slim.

More LABR recaps

I'll say it again: Outfield is the easiest position to insure, but there are so many that if you commit too heavily to the position too soon, you're left choosing from the likes of Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt and Gaby Sanchez for your three and equally second-rate scraps elsewhere. They're all fine hitters, but your corner infield power foundation? You're walking a tight rope there.

I wound up taking 20-40 outfielder B.J. Upton five rounds after my Braun Ultimatum. OK, so the batting average is killer, and Braun's .300-plus would've been nice. But batting average fluctuates; it ranks just above the last-place ranking of saves as a category that I bank on.

As you'll see, my draft took some more interesting directions, especially in Rounds 2, 3, 8, 11, 12 and beyond.

Ros
Rd
Player
Tm
Notes
C
15
Geovany Soto
CHC
Value power, an example of why I wait on the position.
C
19
A.J. Pierzynski
CWS
Playing time, and I'll have his heir apparent lined up.
1B
1
Joey Votto
CIN
4.5-category player at first base. Don't. Wait. On. First. Base.
2B
4
Dan Uggla
ATL
Bankable power to balance out my first 3 picks
3B
3
Ryan Zimmerman
WSH
Got his $. A healthy year should recall 2010.
SS
2
Starlin Castro
CHC
Were plenty of 3B left, so I waited for Round 3 and snagged the SS that stood out.
CI
8
Ike Davis
NYM
Higher on him than most. Ankle has had proper time to heal; confident in re-breakout.
MI
11
Jason Kipnis
CLE
Make-or-break pick: Sacrificed SP depth for his 15-15 and greater upside.
OF
6
B.J. Upton
TB
Why I didn't take Braun - pleased he fell a bit
OF
7
Brett Gardner
NYY
Built up SB quicker than usual
OF
17
Vernon Wells
LAA
Fantasy poison? 20-plus HR? 10-ish SB? Howdy, value.
OF
20
J.D. Martinez
HOU
Sleeperific masher has tools that deserve late attention.
OF
25
Marlon Byrd
CHC
Nicholas Minnix shows why this pick works in a 15-teamer.
UT
14
Adam Dunn
CWS
Felt he wouldn't last longer, so pulled the trigger. Potential difference-maker at a flier's price
P
5
C.J. Wilson
LAA
Undervalued ace: Seriously, look at his profile. Proved skills were for real.
P
9
Tommy Hanson
ATL
Undervalued ace: Seriously, look at his profile. Shoulder fine, concussion not scaring me off.
P
10
Max Scherzer
DET
Undervalued ace: Seriously, look at his profile. 2011 surface stats hiding a gem.
P
12
Sergio Santos
TOR
Gots mad skillz. Passed up other flawed options for him.
P
13
Joe Nathan
TEX
Hoped Huston Street, Jason Motte or Andrew Bailey would make it back. Nope
P
16
Bud Norris
HOU
Waited too long for SP depth, so I started collecting
P
18
Tim Stauffer
SD
collecting
P
21
Roy Oswalt
FA
collecting
P
22
Jeff Niemann
TB
and collecting backend options. Not bad for waiting
BN
23
Mark Trumbo
LAA
Not likely a full-timer but has power for miles in a pinch- 3B eligibility soon, too
BN
24
Mike Aviles
BOS
2B-3B qualifier soon to add SS. HR-SB combo has upside in this lineup.
BN
26
Grady Sizemore
CLE
Paid for the once-talented glass man with loose change in my couch. Why not?
BN
27
Rick Porcello
DET
Run support will be there, and I sense a K/9 growth coming this year.
BN
28
Rajai Davis
TOR
Speed flier. This OF is hardly settled.
BN
29
Jorge De La Rosa
COL
Lotto ticket will hibernate on my DL until return from Tommy John surgery.

Lessee:

  • Elite 1B? Check
  • Strong infield? Check
  • 3 K aces? Check
  • 2 midrange but skilled closers? Check
  • Value C with history of power? Check
  • Value C with playing time and some semblance of useful BA? Check
  • Shaky but promisingly cycleable outfield depth: Check
  • Intriguing benchwarmers: Check

My work here is done. It's a solid enough team to compete in nearly every counting category. I'll probably have to fish for some saves, but odds are all 15 teams will at some point.

Thoughts?

Facebook Twitter Google +

KFFL Baseball

Follow me on Twitter! | Follow other KFFL tweeters!

About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

Don't miss these great reports....


Comments



Recent KFFL releases