FSTA fantasy baseball draft results: Guess not everything stays in Vegas

      January 19, 2012 @ 15:52:59 PDT



Seeing Starlin?

This is my first true work day of the week, at least in terms of KFFL day-to-day stuff. From Monday to Wednesday, I joined GM Ryan Bonini at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association's annual conference at Las Vegas.

Strangely enough, I didn't make my usual trip to the blackjack tables. The only gambles I took in Sin City came at the mic during karaoke (inquire within for more) and at the draft table Monday for the gathering's MLB experts selections, which was broadcasted by the ever-talented Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio team.

(Shamefulless plug: KFFL is lucky enough to run things on Sirius 210/XM 87 Wednesday nights from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET).

This 13-team, 29-round face-off (including defending champ and FSWA award winner Ray Flowers from Sirius) is one of the earliest single-year, for-realsies pick 'em parties in the industry. There are no trades in this weekly-lineup, standard 5x5 mixed rotisserie format, which alters draft strategies for many.

The 15 of you who read my blog know that in standardized setups, I focus on building a strong infield, collect near-ace starting pitchers and tab values at the closer, outfield and catcher spots.

This one went along that track as I picked from the No. 2 slot:

Pos Rd Name Tm Notes

C

17

Kurt Suzuki

OAK

Durable w/some HR upside

C

29

Ryan Hanigan

CIN

See CIN handcuff below.

1B

1

Albert Pujols

LAA

Albert will continue to reign.

2B

4

Dan Uggla

ATL

Power complements early-rd BA mavens.

3B

2

Adrian Beltre

TEX

Built-in DL, but elite when on field

SS

3

Starlin Castro

CHC

Best 5-category combo after studs went

CI

8

Ike Davis

NYM

Health, shorter Citi will aid breakout.

MI

11

Jason Kipnis

CLE

Danny Espinosa w/ less harmful BA

OF

5

B.J. Upton

TB

Shaky clip? Pshaw. 20-40. Drool

OF

7

Brett Gardner

NYY

Nicholas Minnix believes. So do I.

OF

12

Brandon Belt

SF

In this draft, had to reach for boom.

OF

15

Alex Rios

CWS

A better rebound bet than Adam Dunn

OF

20

Jason Kubel

ARI

Chase Field a helpful rebound locale

UT

22

Pedro Alvarez

PIT

2011? Meh. This price? Absolutely!

P

6

Yovani Gallardo

MIL

A prime candidate for roto acehood

P

9

Gio Gonzalez

WSH

Eat the BB. Savor the K.

P

10

Max Scherzer

DET

Profile suddenly ubersafe for a SP3

P

13

Brandon Beachy

ATL

200 IP? Prob not, but for a SP4? Daymn

P

14

Rafael Betancourt

COL

Old but skilled w/ elite K/9, K/BB

P

16

Frank Francisco

NYM

Health could yield 30-plus SV

P

18

John Danks

CWS

My fave from this draft

P

26

Jonathon Niese

NYM

Grounder foundation, blossoming K/9

P

27

Luke Hochevar

KC

Luuuuuke: a long-term roto crush peaks

BN

19

Bryce Harper

WSH

Little to lose, loads to gain

BN

21

Devin Mesoraco

CIN

I'll wait for C GP, eventual boom

BN

23

Jason Bay

NYM

Mets' stigma equals value

BN

24

Zack Cozart

CIN

A cheap Kipnis to round out MI depth

BN

25

Johan Santana

NYM

Declining, sure, but why not?

BN

28

Brent Morel

CWS

Here's why.
  • My focus on combining homers and stolen bases worked; this team projects for 261 homers and 195 swipes with the listed starting lineup on offense. This was a K-heavy pitching approach, as well.

  • I've covered myself at 1B with Pujols, Davis and Belt (when he's not an outfielder). Don't underestimate the lack of reliable distribution at the 3; would you rather pay for solid production or rest your mixed-league hopes on the likes of Freddie Freeman?

  • I don't necessarily think third base is as shallow as many others, but I did know that my fellow drafters would lock one up as soon as possible.

  • My Starlin Castro selection was one of the hot topics when I chatted with other drafters following the process. I considered taking Carlos Santana there and might've done it on a different day. But I wasn't confident in the shortstop lot that would've been there for me following that long turn after Pick 28. In an auction, I wouldn't hold Castro at such high esteem.

  • Closers continue to serve as middle-round fodder among industry folk - even the Craig Kimbrels and Jonathan Papelbon. This shows you how worried many are about building an offense and how abundant saves continue to be.

Some of my favorite picks from others:
  • Ryan Braun, Round 5 - RotoWire's Chris Liss echoed my approval for taking on Braun's potential suspension; as abbreviated as his numbers will be, they'll still be elite. If Braun were anything but an outfielder, his stats would be extremely difficult to front-fill without overcommitting to the position and leaving others on your team behind.

  • Rickie Weeks, Round 6 - Not even an impending Prince Fielder departure should knock Weeks that far down.

  • Matt Moore, Round 9

  • Jason Heyward, Round 11 (Another Lisser. He complained about me swiping some of his selections during our radio chat Tuesday. You did some sniping of your own, Chris.)

  • Paul Goldschmidt, Round 11 - If I hadn't needed a more helpful batting average, he would've been mine in Round 8 in place of Davis.

  • Ian Kennedy, Round 11 - Rick Wolf and Glenn Colton picked Victor Martinez. Ouch. At least they got this solid value.

  • Cory Luebke, Round 13 - My coin flip that round gave me Beachy instead.

  • Joel Hanrahan, Round 13 - No way he should've lasted that long.

  • Kenley Jansen, Round 14 - Thanks, USA Today folks, for snatching him one pick ahead of me.

  • Wilson Ramos, Round 15

  • Brandon McCarthy, Round 17

My favorite sleeper picks by others in Rounds 20-29

***

In Vegas, it was announced the projections Nick spearhead and I contribute to finished third place in the FSTA/The Most Credible Fantasy Baseball Projections Accuracy (preseason) contest. We wound up second (2009) and fourth (2010) previously. This is more motivation for us to finish first for 2012.

***

I want to end by thanking all the conference's masters of ceremony and congratulating all of the award winners for the FSTA and Fantasy Sports Writers Association, along with the six inductees into the FSWA Hall of Fame, all announced during the fantasy world's takeover of Vegas.

KFFL Hot off the Wire analyst Daniel Dobish won the Best Writer Awards for Racing and Hockey for his work with KFFL friends RotoExperts. Our own Cory J. Bonini was a finalist for the Best Football Article in Print Award, which he won in 2010. One of our NASCAR writers, Brian Polking, was a finalist in alongside Dobish in the Racing category. Eric McClung, one of our longtime contributors, was a finalist for Golf Writer of the Year for his work with Fantasy Football Toolbox.

Thanks to the newest Hall of Fame members for all they've done in the industry. All the honorees recognized at the program show how much this sector has grown; how hard we analysts work and compete; and how strong our impact is on not just fantasy sports, but also the sports themselves. That's something on which even my 12 draft opponents and I can agree.

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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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