It’s not a mock, it’s the real thing!!! (Part 2)

My first draft of the 2011 fantasy baseball season is in the books! This is a 10 team, head-to-head, OBP (sub for AVG) keeper league (keep 10 from year-to-year). We did a slow draft through email starting the first Monday in January.

We drafted 30 players each. Rosters are: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, LF, CF, RF, OF (2), UT, SP (4), P (3), RP (4), BN (6)

You can see rounds 1-15 in part 1.

Round 16: Brett Anderson

151. Aaron Hill
152. Aubrey Huff
153. Mike Napoli
154. Brett Anderson
155. Tedd Lilly
156. Ryan Franklin
157. Gordon Beckham
158. Torii Hunter
159. Alfonso Soriano
160. David Aardsma

By this round, I had two starters in Mat Latos and Max Scherzer. The next few rounds will be where I begin to load up my pitching staff. Anderson becomes my third starter. Based on how he looked late last season once he returned from his arm problems, I have confidence that he can produce at least SP3 type numbers in 2011, with upside for more.

Round 17: Ricky Nolasco
161. Leo Nunez
162. John Danks
163. Jason Bay
164. Desmond Jennigns
165. Carlos Quentin
166. Stephen Strasburg
167. Ricky Nolasco
168. Matt Thornton
169. Tim Husdon
170. Domonic Brown

I’m back on the Hot Nolasco Sauce in 2011 (shocker, I know). Yes, he has a long history of problems giving up home runs, but I’ll take my chances on a pitcher who’s K/BB rate has been over four for the last three seasons. His HR/FB rate last season was the highest of his career. If that rate regresses and he can continue to miss bats at a high rate, he could finally have his breakout season.

Round 18: Madison Bumgarner
171. Grady Sizemore
172. Brandon Lyon
173. Phil Hughes
174. Madison Bumgarner
175. Adam Jones
176. Matt Wieters
177. Pablo Sandoval
178. Carlos Lee
179. Johan Santana
180. Matt Garza

See: Bumgarner’s 2011 Fantasy Value

Round 19: Manny Ramirez
181. Aroldis Chapman
182. Michael Cuddyer
183. J.P. Arencibia
184. Kevin Gregg
185. Jhoulys Chacin
186. Chris Sale
187. Manny Ramirez
188. Rajai Davis
189. Vladimir Guerrero
190. Travis Wood

My pick came up just after Manny and Damon signed with the Rays. At this point, I had my OF filled up and was just looking to add depth. I could end up using Manny at my UT spot. Given the OBP format, Manny is much less risky than in leagues that use AVG. If he can give me a .385-plus OBP and around 20 homers, I’ll be happy.

Round 20: Tsuyoshi Nishioka
191. Jaime Garcia
192. Brett Myers
193. Gio Gonzalez
194. Tsuyoshi Nishikoa
195. Coco Crisp
196. Ike Davis
197. Johnny Damon
198. Jose Tabata
199. Ricky Romero
200. Lance Berkman

As I looked over my roster I noticed that, while I have some 20 stolen base threats (Pedroia, J. Upton, Choo, Zobrist), I needed to find a player that had 30-plus stolen base upside. It can be hard to expect much from Japanese imports given how the majority of position players haven’t translated well. However, players like Akinori Iwamura and Kosuke Fukudome were not big stolen base threats while in Japan. Nishioka, on the other hand, is not much of a home run threat, but he has not stolen fewer than 20 bases in Japan in any season in which he played over 120 games. If the Twins let him run, he should be a source of 20-30 or more steals in 2011 along with having 2B/SS eligibility. ZiPS projects .281/.337/.403 with 38 stolen bases and 96 runs scored in 156 games. I’d be extremely happy with that (That would also make him comparable to Elvis Andrus, by the way).

Round 21: Derrek Lee
201. Carlos Beltran
202. Jordan Zimermann
203. John Lackey
204. Travis Snider
205. Joel Hanrahan
206. Austin Jackson
207. Derrek Lee
208. Hiroki Kuroda
209. Adam LaRoche
210. C.J. Wilson

Since I tried to load up on more scarce positions early on, I let all the big-name 1B’s pass me by. Derrek Lee is no longer a premier 1B, but even in a down year in 2010 he posted a .347 OBP with 19 home runs, 80 runs and 80 RBI. He’ll be hitting in the middle of an improved Orioles lineup and in a great hitters ballpark in 2011.

Round 22: Logan Morrison
211. J.D. Drew
212. Matt Capps
213. Howie Kendrick
214. Logan Morrison
215. Ian Kennedy
216. Yunel Escobar
217. Kyle Farnsworth
218. Andres Torres
219. Gaby Sanchez
220. Jorge Posada

LoMo becomes my first bench player, but he also serves as a breakout candidate and insurance for the injury prone Nelson Cruz in LF. I love Morrison’s plate discipline and he has flashed 20-plus home run potential in the past. He may hit second for the Marlins in 2011, which could mean a .370-plus OBP and 90-plus runs scored. If the power shows up, even better.

Round 23: Edinson Volquez
221. Magglio Ordonez
222. Frank Francisco
223. Evan Meek
224. Luke Scott
225. Josh Willingham
226. Justin Smoak
227. Edinson Volquez
228. Ryan Dempster
229. Peter Boujos
230. Johnny Cueto

Having served a 50 game suspension in 2010 for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, Volquez only threw 62.2 major league innings. However, what he did in those innings was, peripherally speaking, outstanding. The walk rate was high, but he struck out over nine per nine innings pitched while posting an outstanding 31 percent whiff rate and limiting opposing hitters to a 15 percent line drive rate. Granted, the sample size is too small to take the numbers literally, but it goes to show that his pure stuff is still on a dominant level. I’ll take that kind of upside any day.

Round 24: Jorge De La Rosa
231. Bud Norris
232. Hong-Chih Kuo
233. Ryan Raburn
234. Jorge De La Rosa
235. Mitch Moreland
236. Carlos Zambrano
237. Clayton Richard
238. Chris Johnson
239. Gavin Floyd
240. Brian Matusz

Along the same lines as my Volquez pick, Jorge De La Rosa represents huge upside and, in round 24, a very low risk. An arm injury squewed his numbers a bit in 2010, but his ground ball to fly ball ratio was the best of his career and his 15.8 percent HR/FB rate should regress (his career HR/FB rate is 11.7 percent), which should result in less damage done via the home run. As far as missing bats and getting hitters to chase bad pitches goes, JDLR is among the best in baseball.

Round 25: Jonny Venters
241. Jair Jurrjens
242. Jesus Montero
243. Carl Pavano
244. Ervin Santana
245. Erik Bedard
246. Edwin Jackson
247. Jonny Venters
248. Koji Uehara
249. Javier Vazquez
250. Tyler Clippard

I selected Craig Kimbrel earlier, so adding Venters as a handcuff pick just made sense here. I didn’t think he would last much longer anyway, a thought that was confirmed by another owner.

Round 26: Dexter Fowler
251. Danny Espinosa
252. Tim Stauffer
253. Jason Kubel
254. Dexter Fowler
255. James McDonald
256. Brandon Belt
257. Alcides Escobar
258. Dallas Braden
259. Cameron Maybin
260. Raul Ibanez

I’ve liked Fowler for a couple of years now and in 2011 he’ll enter his third major league season, which makes him a prime breakout candidate. His good plate discipline and 25-30 stolen base potential make for a fine 26th round flier.

Round 27: Scott Baker
261. Dan Johnson
262. Pat Burrell
263. Kurt Suzuki
264. Derek Holland
265. Bronson Arroyo
266. Mike Minor
267. Scott Baker
268. Brandon League
269. Omar Infante
270. J.P. Howell

Not that I don’t like Baker, at least a little, but this was an auto pick due to internet issues at home. I would LOVE to see Baker continue to work on and perfect his two-seam fastball this spring. We’ve seen this pitch help increase pitchers’ ground ball rates in the last few seasons. Baker’s biggest problem is allowing too many line drives and home runs. I could see a two-seamer leading to improvements in both categories in 2011 (look what it did for his teammate Carl Pavano last season). If Baker can mix in a two-seamer 25-30% of the time in 2011, he could be in line for a nice season.

Round 28: Asdrubal Cabrera
271. Mike Adams
272. Joaquin Benoit
273. Edwin Encarnacion
274. Asdrubal Cabrera
275. Jed Lowrie
276. Ryan Theriot
277. Jake Peavy
278. Juan Uribe
279. Dustin Ackley
280. James Shields

There isn’t a ton of upside in this pick, but it does give my team depth at SS and MI.

Round 29: Luke Gregerson
281. Homer Bailey
282. A.J. Burnett
283. Tyler Colvin
284. Brandon Webb
285. Mike Moustakas
286. Miguel Montero
287. Luke Gregerson
288. Kevin Slowey
289. Jason Bartlett
290. Rich Harden

Two reasons for this pick: 1) Strikeouts and 2) Potential for saves with a Heath Bell injury or trade.

Round 30: Alex Gordon
291. Jack Cust
292. Jhonny Peralta
293. Freddie Freeman
294. Alex Gordon
295. Angel Pagan
296. Chris Coghlan
297. Scott Downs
298. Mike Pelfrey
299. Joba Chamberlain
300. Kila Ka’aihue

There were small steps forward for Gordon in 2010 (Contact rate, walk rate and line drive rate), so there is at lest some hope for a .350-plus OBP with 20-ish home runs and 15 or so stolen bases. He’ll still have 3B eligibility in 2011, so should he put together a decent season, he’ll have good value as my last pick.

My team
C Joe Mauer (2)
1B Derrek Lee (21)
2B Dustin Pedroia (3)
3B Evan Longoria (1)
SS Stephen Drew (13)
CI Pedro Alvarez (8)
MI Tsuyoshi Nishioka (20)
LF Nelson Cruz (5)
CF Ben Zobrist (10)
RF Justin Upton (4)
OF Shin-Soo CHoo (6)
OF Nick Swisher (15)
UT Manny Ramirez (19)
SP Mat Latos (7)
SP Max Scherzer (11)
SP Brett Anderson (16)
SP Ricky Nolasco (17)
P Madison Bumgarner (18))
P Edinson Volquez (23)
P Jorge De La Rosa (24)
RP Brian Wilson (9)
RP Craig Kimbrel (12)
RP Jonathan Broxton (14)
RP Jonny Venters (25)
BN Logan Morrison (22)
BN Dexter Fowler (26)
BN Scott Baker (27)
BN Asdrubal Cabrera (28)
BN Luke Gregerson (29)
BN Alex Gordon (30)

I’m really confident that my OBP numbers will be very good and I feel comfortable with my offenses’ power/speed balance and depth. My pitching staff has the upside to be one of if not thee best in the league, but it also comes with considerable risk. Overall, I’m very happy with how things turned out.

Feel free to add your thoughts on my team or the draft as a whole.