Erik Siegrist already broke down his picks over at Just A Bit Outside, so I'll follow his lead and do the same. It's a 5x5, NL-only league with a load of fantasy experts. I'm not one and my last couple years show it. A 2d place finish in 2004 was followed by a 2d to last in 2005, showing a nice consistency in randomness. Brad Wochomurka came down to my version of PNC Park to help and we ended up relatively happy.
We joked over lunch pre-draft that we should write down our crazy theories, but in the end, we used a beta version of the new PECOTA Fantasy Manager to guide us. We decided early to go pitching light, but that changed slightly. We weren't consciously punting any categories or loading up on anything either, though it looks that way now. Picking in the 12 slot of a snake draft blows, with a ton of time between picks and, as Erik points out, you're forced to overdraft some people knowing there's 20-something picks before you get another chance.
There was a point where any player Brad or I spoke his name, he'd be picked next. I swept for bugs later, but all I found was Dick Cheney hiding behind a ficus.
1/12 Barry Bonds
A steal, if he's healthy and between what I know, what PECOTA thinks, and what Alou is talking about with defensive replacements, I'm comfortable taking him this high.
2/13 Pedro Martinez
So about avoiding pitching ... Pedro was too tempting. We talked about Jose Reyes and Adam Dunn, but knowing that so many guys would go off the board before our next pick, getting one good and perhaps great pitcher seemed too smart a move. Pedro has his questions, but the Mets are better which should help wins and all the pitchers that went behind him (Jason Schmidt, Jake Peavy, Roy Oswalt) have their own questions.
3/36 Brian Giles
Hey, I'm trying to look like him so why not draft him? He was the best available OF and a bit of a reach due to our draft slot. It's a pick that's neither good nor bad, but a known quantity and you need some of those.
4/37 Billy Wagner
Ok, this time, I was looking at the charts for saves and realized that there's almost no sure things. By grabbing Wagner here just after Lidge, I'm making sure that I have some saves and at worst am midpoint in the category. Rickie Weeks was discussed, but we thought he'd last to the next pick. No - he was the very next player drafted. This pick was the beginning of our problems up the middle.
5/60 Aaron Rowand
Rowand seems like Jim Edmonds lite. Changing leagues and parks really doesn't seem to affect this type of player and CF was starting to look a bit thin. A nice pick, but nothing great.
6/61 Prince Fielder
Eric Mack of Sportsline listed this as our best pick. He's certainly got the chance to be as good as Ryan Howard who went at pick 3/25. We'd already missed out on one of the New-Brews in Weeks, so Fielder's a nice consolation prize. Getting my #1 1B target in the sixth is nice.
7/84 Tom Gordon
Brad pushed for Tom Gordon, seeing that there hadn't really been a run on closers because there weren't that many good closers. This pick gives us a shot at winning the category and hedges some injury risk as well. Bit of an overdraft, but not too much.
8/85 Edwin Encarnacion
A PECOTA pick. He's got a solid upside and we'd missed out on the top tier of 3B by this point. PECOTA has him with 22 HR, 8 steals, and a 275 Avg. I'll take that.
9/108 Mike Jacobs
Here's where I think our best pick came. Sure, Jacobs isn't as sure a thing as Fielder, but he's projected with some sick PECOTA stats (29 HR, 82 RBI) but most importantly he's catcher eligible this season. It's not a keeper league, so this year's all that matters.
10/109 Orlando Hudson
Most of the good middle infielders are long gone, but somehow The Pimp slipped this far. Defense doesn't count in roto but I'll take what Hudson can offer with the bat, knowing he'll get the PAs, is usually healthy, and doesn't have much downside.
11/132 Greg Maddux
12/133 Tom Glavine
Great picks ... in 1992! In 2006, these are LAIMs who'll fill out a roster and will generate innings without killing the WHIP. Both have some W upside and since punting starters since locking down Pedro early, it was finally time to make sure I meet the innings requirement. It's interesting to note that the quality of the pitchers we ended up with, starting with these picks, is of pretty high quality overall. Nothing great, but good and relatively certain value.
13/156 Jack Wilson
A couple years ago, I went through this draft and ended up without a SS on the roster. I seem to have some mental block and with most of the value gone, Wilson's a must-pick.
14/157 Jason Marquis
He's an interesting pick this late. Our pitching staff is essentially a LIMA plan with surprising quality. Grabbing fourth starters on good teams in the middle rounds might be the way to go.
15/180 Danny Baez
Brad was pushing for Baez for a couple rounds. With Gagne's status a bit uncertain, Baez is a decent pick here. With the lack of saves, a quick start for Baez could make him trade bait in some leagues. I think the experts won't make such a rookie mistake. The only downside of picking Baez rather than punting relief until late means we have an opportunity cost. Not a lot of good stuff went before our 17th pick, but we could have taken Paul Maholm here. It ended up not hurting us. We also won't really have the slots to pick up on this year's Derrick Turnbow or Bobby Jenks.
16/181 Jeff Francis
A Rockies pitcher? Francis isn't a horrible risk this late. We were considering Paul Maholm and Brian Lawrence here as well. I've had Francis for a couple years and if anyone's figured out Coors, it's him. Getting a potential 10-game pitcher down here is never a bad thing.
17/204 Jose Cruz Jr
Ok, we're short some outfielders and Cruz is an outfielder. It's hardly an exciting pick. We had some thoughts of reaching for Jeff Bagwell or grabbing Brandon Backe here, but went with need. Both Astros went before our next picks.
18/205 Yorvit Torrealba
He's a Rockies catcher, so it's an upside pick at a scarce position. The risk is that he doesn't get much playing time.
19/228 Brian Lawrence
Lawrence comes out okay on PECOTA in large part due to RFK, but it's not like he was good in Petco. Down this low, it's a decent pick but I still don't like Lawrence.
20/229 Mark Sweeney
Brad had pushed for this one, insisting that he'd read somewhere that Sweeney would be getting more time at 1B in San Francisco. With 1B, CI, and OF eligibility, Sweeney's flexible enough to not hurt.
21/252 Hector Luna
The Cards are uncertain at 2B and Luna's in the mix, if unlikely to win the job from Junior Spivey or Aaron Miles. La Russa loves guys who can play all over the place and Luna has eligibility at every infield slot and the OF, so there's value in flexibility. At worst, he plugs the middle infield worries somewhat
22/253 Ian Snell
Throws real hard, but needs to grow up. For roto, only the first really matters. Snell's penciled in as the #5 in Pittsburgh, so that's better than nothing. He's an upside pick and insurance against of couple risky pitchers. (This league has almost no waiver material with 30 rosters slots and 12 teams, so depth is important.) In retrospect, we should have taken Yusmeiro Petit here. Way more upside.
23/276 Kaz Matsui
Eligible at 2B and SS, Matsui could still figure things out and play like he was expected to after he came over. This low, it's a decent risk and again, we needed to cover the middle infield. We were also hosed for steals. Our team combined for 67 steals in 2005 with only Rowand (16) and Giles (13) in double digits. It's a risky pick, but slim pickins at this stage.
24/277 Chris Denorfia
It's always smart to pick up the fourth OF behind a fragile player. With Ken Griffey and Austin Kearns (as well as the chance of deals with new GM Wayne Krivsky), Denorfia's a nice upside play. His OBP wouldn't make him a bad leadoff guy, something the Reds don't have. I'm happy with this pick.
25/300 Tom Gorzelanny
300 picks in, you go for upside. Gorzelanny is the most talented of the young Bucs lefties and figures to be in Indy for much of the 2006 season. He's got a chance to be this year's version of Zach Duke, so why not at this stage in a draft.
26/301 Anibal Sanchez
Joe Sheehan has a nice column today at BP about the Marlins' haul in the most recent fire sale. Sanchez is, per Joe, one of the top 15 pitching prospects in baseball. I'd rather have picked up Yusmeiro Petit, but he went 40 picks earlier. Again, a pure upside pick.
27/324 Dan Kolb
Heck, why not? By now, we'd abandoned a four hour draft and gone to autopick. Kolb's back with Doggy in Milwaukee and at worst, he's fodder to drop for someone who gets hot. Nothing better went between this set of picks and the next that makes me regret it.
28/325 Dewon Brazelton
Another why not pick. Brazelton gets a change of scenery and still has some upside. Would Sidney Ponson or Victor Zambrano have been a better pick here? Maybe.
29/348 Gio Gonzalez
PECOTA loves him. Had we been picking rather than running on autopilot, I probably would have grabbed a position player. He'd be a better pick in a keeper league, but the Phillies could use him late in the season with their odd rotation.
30/349 Rick Ankiel
He's listed as a pitcher, but could be in the mix for the fifth OF slot with the Cards. That'd be a good story. At this stage, a good story's enough.
So there's the team. Like the Giants, it's going to rely a lot on Barry Bonds coming back and playing like Barry Bonds. There's some decent upside with some of our players, the rotation turned out well, but right now, objectively the team is mid-pack. If anyone's going to take out Alex Patton in this league -- he's won both years I've played -- it doesn't look like it will be us, so we'll have to be smart with trades and waivers.