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Value Hunting (Fantasy Baseball Edition)

My 2010 auction league keepers are in. Before I divulge my team’s core, let me just quickly explain the rules. Each team can keep up to 8 players (it’s an 11 team league) and receives $260 in bidding dollars for the auction. For those experienced fantasy baseballers, you’ll know what I mean when I say the rules are standard 5 x 5 with one slight twist–rather than K’s we use K/9. Any player at <$4.5 in the prior year is kept for $5 the present year; any player greater than $4.5 but <$9.5 is kept for $10; and any player kept for >$10 gets hit with a 50% inflator. For example, Albert Pujols, drafted at $49.5 last year would be $74.5 (round to the nearest 1/2) in the present year. Pujols is unquestionably an amazing player; however no team can afford to allocate nearly 30% of their cap space on one player. In the end, the draft and trading end up playing out as one big math puzzle/stock market where the variables/equities are baseball players.

And the last bit of relevant info I’m sure everyone is dying to know: this year my team name is “It’s Al-Wright.”  Not sure I believe that, but 2010 in the stock market is all about complacency; why should baseball/the Mets be any different?  2008-09, the Mets followed the economy and stock market lower.  I’m calling for a reversal in 2010.

With the framework of this puzzle now clear, here are my 2010 keepers (salaries in parenthesis) and my brief thoughts about each player:

  • Ryan  Braun ($15)–The “Hebrew Hammer” is a consensus first round pick this year. After last year’s injury bug bit hard, I traded Carl Crawford ($40), David Price (unkept) and Matt Cain ($18) for what should hopefully end up as 3+ years of solid value and production.  Approximately $30 worth of value this year.
  • Ryan Zimmerman ($10)–I drafted him in year one of the history of this league at $12 and kept him for $18 the following year.  Sure enough in year 3 I scooped him up for $9.5 in the auction last year.  With 3b particularly thin and Adam Dunn finally giving Zimmerman some protection, my bullishness is reaching bubble-like proportions.  I am triple leveraged to Zimmerman (drafted him in my 2 other leagues already) and anticipate approximately $25, and maybe $32 worth of value.
  • B.J. Upton ($15)–“The Bossman” or other Upton coming into Spring Training was a borderline keeper for me; however so far he has effectively demonstrated that last year was an injury-riddled fluke.  Slightly less bullish here, but still anticipate a modest $10 in value.
  • Adam Jones ($5)–“I’m not Pacman” should be able to build upon last years breakout.  I love that Orioles lineup and think they have the potential to all grow well together.  Anticipating approximately $15 in value here.
  • Joey Votto ($10)–Another triple leveraged player for me (yes I know in the market those triple levered funds can get dangerous…I know my risks). Two years ago I packaged Ervin Santana and Votto for Pujols in a failed late-season dash for first place.  This offseason I finally righted my past wrong in trading Kendry Morales ($5) and Julio Borbon ($5) for this slugging Canuck.  This is the year that Votto steps into the top tier of 1b and gives me a solid $30 worth of value.
  • Clayton Kershaw ($10)–This up-and-coming lefty pitcher emerged as a stellar prospect two years ago and has done nothing but back up the hype since then. The ceiling is unknown (over time you’ll see that with both baseball players and investments I look for situation the young upstart with a limitless ceiling). It would not shock me to see a Lincecum-type season within the next two years. Pitching in the friendly confines of Chavez-Ravine certainly doesn’t hurt. Pitchers don’t go for quite as much as hitters; however, I anticipate a solid $10 of value with the chance for an upside surprise.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez ($5)–This is an outright steal. Last year, Ubaldo owned the best fastball in the league. Forget about Coors Field–Jimenez’ fastball is so effective that he would quiet the juiced up bats of the 90s. I am looking for a strong $20 in value with this keeper!
  • Adam Wainwright ($15)–Might end up giving my team the least “value” out of the pack; but he definitely has the highest floor out of my pitchers. Ever since he buckled Beltran’s knees I have had a fantasy baseball man-crush (was gonna link to the picture but couldn’t stomach the idea of finding it…unfortunately I was at that game). That curve ball is flat-out nasty. Looking for about $10 in value right here.

So there you have it. The 2010 “It’s Al-Wrights” are the envy of the league to start that season. That means only one thing: the pressure is on for the draft! Tomorrow evening Day 1 of the 2 day event begins. There will certainly be updates about this team throughout the season.  Sometime before Opening Day I’ll step up with my Mets preview.

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  1. May 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm

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