Even more on why I took Starlin Castro in Round 3

      January 23, 2012 @ 15:36:44 PDT

All Starlin, all the time

Can't say I'm upset that people are still talking about my Starlin Castro pick in Round 3 of last Monday's 13-team, 29-round Fantasy Sports Trade Association MLB experts draft from Las Vegas. (No such thing as bad press, right?)

Some found it surprising. Some reminded us of the risk.

Castro, this year, is worth the chance. The capable skills he has shown heading into his age-22 season already place him well ahead of most shortstops out there. The raw dollar valuation - his five-category contribution - puts him at an advantage on its own.

What other direction should I have gone instead of going with Albert Pujols and Adrian Beltre?

  • Troy Tulowitzki? Even before I had a chance to consider him, he went first overall.

  • Jose Reyes? Goes against my strategy to build an early power base; didn't fit in my first two selections. Was gone before my selection.

  • Hanley Ramirez? Hardly No. 2 pick territory, and he didn't make it back to me.

The only other logical choice for a SS at 3.2:

  • Elvis Andrus? Sure, Andrus has some power upside, but Castro has already shown more in less MLB time.

You think I should've waited on these cats?

  • Asdrubal Cabrera? Not waiting on hoping to be stuck with his palpable downside.

  • Jimmy Rollins? Briefly considered waiting on him. He wound up as a solid value, as I believe he will in many setups this year, but again, another one I didn't want to wind up getting burned on.

  • Derek Jeter? I'm not playing that fantasy game again, no matter how good his second half was.

  • J.J. Hardy? Power? Yes. Everything else? He's an Oriole with poor batting average foundation.

  • Alexei Ramirez? Castro-ish numbers with less certainty for steals and a much worse batting average foundation. He's a nice value, but he's not worth planning your draft around.

  • Jhonny Peralta? Safe, of course, but what if that average tanks? It won't stay that high.

  • No thanks on Erick Aybar, Dee Gordon and other speed-first (-only?) commodities as my starter. MI? OK.

I had a healthy discussion with KFFL friend "Lord" Todd Zola about my Castro pick when we were both in Vegas the Wednesday after the draft. He noted that he would like more counting stats from that Round 3 spot, and I admitted my possible course to take Carlos Santana.

Well, don't Castro's across-the-board stats count for something? Todd, like me, isn't married to positional scarcity, but I've seen him make vows once in awhile in our industry mocks.

I'm surprised he hasn't kicked me out of the Roundtable.

Elvis needs to leave the building more

My Castro selection is a stark example of how snake drafts differ from auctions. I likely wouldn't pay a third-round-equivalent price in bidding for Castro. But in a first-come, first-served party, I'll grab the positional advantage. In auctions, everyone can, in essence, acquire any player, which doesn't force you to follow patterns dictated by snakes.

A proper serpentine plan, with scarcity in mind, will accumulate enough numbers for you. Others who took big-name outfielders in the FSTA had to sweat out low-end shortstops and other relatively scarce spots. All I have to do after compiling a top-shelf infield is cycle through the deepest offensive position if I need help there.

Castro, meanwhile, is no slouch. He's still growing into his body, and he's already two seasons into his career. That extra comfort in plate rhythm might be all it takes for the switch to flip on what's already a tantalizing batting average foundation, even if he doesn't increase his walks. Heck, he looked quite comfortable hitting seven post-July homers last season.

It doesn't hurt to have a more progressive philosophy in the organization that will embrace his talents, as well. With "Send 'em" Dale Sveum managing, the Cubbies should be more aggressive on the basepaths.

As for Castro's off-field issues, it looks as if charges won't be filed. Plus, heading into the draft, I didn't let it bother me that much. I'm no legal expert, but - at the risk of sounding crass - would you expect The Law to interrupt an athlete's season for any notable length, even for such a serious accusation? The judicial system typically works around such "inconveniences" with postponements and whatnot. For 2012, I don't foresee it being a deal-breaking issue.

Sure, he's raw, but what other tantalizing five-category contributor do you see after Tulowitzki, Reyes and Han-Ram?

I'm on board with something around 15 homers and 25 steals with a .300-plus clip as his ceiling. The fast-rising shorty should at least graze it with his fingertips in 2012.

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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.

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