Friday, October 22, 2010

Advice: 2011 OBP League Starting From Scratch

I received a very interesting e-mail from a long-time reader. Mike also presents some great ideas for those teams that may be considering re-building. My response to Mike is below. If you have questions feel free to e-mail anytime.

Here's Mike:
For the first time in this century my favorite league (the OBP league) is performing a one time scratch draft reset. It will be critical to get the very best keepers (since we have no contracts or salaries, once a player is owned he can be kept forever among the team's 10 year-to-year keepers). I'll be trying to draft a competitive team for 2011, but my emphasis will be on getting the best of the best in draft/trades. I'd be interested in your $0.02 on who your top ten for targets and/or strategies might be.
Here are some of mine thoughts:
  1. If he's not in AA yet, unlikely to help in this scenerio. Bryce Harper might eventually be a A+ Stud, but I'd still be unlikely to carry him all of 2010 on the bench and as one of my 10 best keeper options headed into 2011.
  2. Hitters early an often. They're the best keepers, so maximizing my roster with big bats just makes sense.
  3. Best player drafting. Don't take a closer based on a run. In this scenerio, Andrew McCutchen and a waiver wire RP are better than Jenks and a ww bat,
  4. What Kutchera calls the Combo makes sense. Sure there's a warm place in my heart for 35HR guys, but 15/40 or 25/25 is very sweet.
  5. During the draft, remember to use the six bench slots AND the five DL slots. Plan to draft Strasburg. And who cares if I have four 3B? One can play 3b, one CI, and the other two either become excellent trade bait from the bench.
  6. Punt catchers. It's a one catcher league. If I'm drafting Doumit or Jaso as the last catcher off the board that's because I went strong earlier in the draft.
  7. Punt closers. Only once in the last 5 years have I kept a closer from year to year. At ten keepers/yr that's 1/50 times I've elected a closer to keep. Don't bother ... I can use that 11th round pick on another big bat who might actually have a chance to be a keeper.

I know, I know ... you always play to win. But having won this league the last two years, I can see finishing 3rd and ready for 2012. That seems better than scratching out another win in 2011 but having a lesser 2012 & beyond possibility.

Talk to me ... I value your input.

Big Mike

Hey Mike, I think you have a lot of great ideas already. While I do believe we should play to win every season I also know that sometimes timing and certain events (like starting from scratch) make it advantageous to consider a more long-term view. However, as much as I agree you should seek out the best possible keepers I don't think that is necessarily mutually exclusive from also trying to win in 2011.

Minor Leaguers: You suggest limiting any minor leaguers you acquire to those at the AAA-level and in general that is good thinking when considering the present season only. However, I think in the case of minor league players it is better to look at the resume and accomplishments of the hitter rather than the level they've reached. For instance, I'd take Angels outfield prospect, Mike Trout (who reached High-A in 2010) over just about any minor leaguer at a higher level. When it comes to minor leaguers I want the greatest star potential over experience. I would definitely consider carrying him on my bench for a year in a team-building situation.

Starting Pitchers: If you chase big name pitchers like the Phillies' Roy Halladay and the Giants' Tim Lincecum chances are you will have to overpay for them. It doesn't matter that they are the best at their position if they cause you to sacrifice in other areas. The key to building a cost-effective and winning pitching staff is to be ahead of the game.

Here are some pitchers that could potentially be undervalued for various reasons and also worth drafting in 2011 (in no particular order):
Catchers: In a one catcher league it does make sense to wait and pick the 12th ranked player rather than over draft a slightly better one. However, In a one catcher league having a catcher that is clearly superior to the other options can be a huge advantage. Consider using a pick in rounds four to six on Buster Posey or Joe Mauer. Mauer was banged up in 2010 and should be better in 2011, keep the faith. Posey is an extremely talented hitter and a capable catcher, he is a fantasy superstar in the making.

If you choose to pass on those guys here are a few sleepers I like at catcher in 2011:
Fantasy's Most Wanted: I am far from ready to present my sleepers and position rankings for 2011 but I do have some players I would like to see on a bunch of my rosters in 2o11. Some of these guys will be early picks and others middle round picks but all will be contributors on fantasy leagues of all types in 2011.
Thanks for writing Mike, I hope I sparked some ideas for you.

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