As part of my trip to First Pitch Arizona earlier this month, I decided to participate in Baseball HQ’s Roto 350 contest. Basically, I got $350 (fake) bucks to spend on 40 players, which are the players I will be stuck with for the majority of the season (there are only a couple of chances to add free agents throughout the summer and you’d need to free up cap room to add them). All of the player values were pre-set at their average 2010-2011 dollar values, so the very first thing I did was scan the list for potential values. After highlighting these, I then observed the values of the players I most wanted.
The league uses OBP, HR, SB and (I honestly can’t remember, but I think it was something like TB-SB) for hitters and W, ERA, SO and (SV+HOLDS-Blown Saves) for pitchers. I spent every last dollar of my allotted $350. Here are the 40 players on my team…
C Buster Posey $6 – This was an easy one. Posey should be a top catcher in both AVG and OBP formats and his injury-shortened 2011 makes his $6 price tag a bargain.
C Carlos Santana $13 – Anyone who follows this site is well aware of my love for Santana. He’s one of my few fantasy baseball man-crushes (currently battling with Matt Wieters for top man-crush as a catcher). Santana is a walk machine and should see a rise in AVG and OBP with a better BABIP next season. A .370 OBP with 30 home runs from a catcher for $13? Why, yes, I would like that very much.
1B Ike Davis $8 – I’m taking a little risk on with Davis, who never came back from a nasty ankle injury last season. However, for $8, I think he’ll be a bargain capable of a .350-plus OBP and 25-plus home runs.
3B Jose Bautista $47 – No bargain shopping here. In an OBP league, Bautista is that car that you pay over sticker price for because you just have to have it.
2B Dustin Ackley $9 – Ackley posted a .348 OBP as a rookie and has 15/15 potential in his first full big league season.
SS Troy Tulowitzki $28 – Yeah, he’s good. $28 is a fair price.
2B/SS J.J. Hardy $5 – Hardy won’t help in the OBP department, but if he stays healthy 20-30 home runs are in the cards.
OF Mike Stanton $15 – Good luck getting Stanton for only $15 in any auction draft in 2012.
OF Jacoby Ellsbury $24 – While I don’t expect Ellsbury to hit for as much power in 2012, I do expect him to steal more bases, something I tried to focus on with a few of my outfielders.
OF Peter Bourjos $6 – I’m not expecting Bourjos to help much in the OBP department, but 15-plus home runs and around 30 stolen bases will help at $6.
OF Desmond Jennings $10 – Last season, between triple-A and the majors, Jennings hit 22 home runs and stole 37 bases. You see what I’m doing here? Ellsbury, Bourjos and Jennings all represent power/speed threats that lean toward the stolen base side.
OF Jason Heyward $16 – Heyward posted a .393 OBP as a rookie, but his OBP fell to .319 last season due to injury and mechanical issues. He still has all the talent in the world and I’m willing to bet on a bounce-back season in 2012.
UT Brett Lawrie $8 – As long as Lawrie stays healthy, he is almost certain to be a bargain at $8.
SP Clayton Kershaw $29 – Unlike what I would normally do in an auction draft, I decided to spend more on pitching in this format. Given that there aren’t many chances to add free agents, I knew that I needed pitching depth. Kershaw is my number one ranked starting pitcher for 2012, so I had to have him on this team.
SP CC Sabathia $25 – Not many pitchers have been as consistently good as Sabathia.
SP Jon Lester $18 – I’d guess that Lester goes for $20-25 in 2012 auctions. He still has a very good strikeout rate and the offense/defense to help him win 20 games.
SP Madison Bumgarner $11 – An excellent K/BB rate, a good ground ball rate, a low number of home runs allowed and room to improve? All for the bargain price of $11? Yes please.
SP Stephen Strasburg $2 – This was one of the first names I penciled into my roster. Missing almost all of 2011 due to Tommy John Surgery made Strasburg and absolute no-brainer at $2. He should easily be worth $20-plus in 2012.
SP Jordan Zimmermann $4 – Just as I took advantage of the low cost of Strasburg, I simply had to have Zimmerman, who also missed time due to Tommy John surgery, at a mere $4.
RP Kenley Jansen $3 – With the potential to post huge strikeout numbers, I don’t care if Jansen closes or not in this format given the use of saves and holds.
RP Jonathan Papelbon $8 – His 3.90 ERA in 2010 helped to keep his cost down, so I jumped at the chance for a value on saves (this was before he signed in PHI, but I think $8 will be a value either way).
RP Ryan Madson $8 – Madson should end up signing as a closer somewhere. He could be a better pitcher than Papelbon in 2012.
BN David Freese $5 – While I’m affraid that his incredible postseason performance will overvalue him a little on draft day 2012, there is no way I could pass up on a $5 cost for a potential $15-20 value at third base.
BN Grady Sizemore $1 – Who wouldn’t spend $1 on a potential bounce-back season from Sizemore, even if he doesn’t play 120 games.
BN Chris Davis $1 – As depth at 1B and 3B, I take the $1 flier on Davis’s power potential.
BN Brandon Morrow $3 – If he lives up to his peripherals, he’s a $20 pitcher. If not, at least I get good strikeout numbers for $3.
BN Joe Nathan $1 – Due to time missed with injury and poor numbers when he returned from injury, Nathan was a potential bargain at $1. Now that he has signed with Texas, there is no question that he will be worth a buck.
BN Bobby Parnell $1 – If he closes, great. If not, fine. I’ll take the saves or the holds along with good strikeout numbers and the potential for an ERA under three.
BN Derrek Holland $4 – The breakout potential is there (3.76 xFIP in 2011) and at $4 Holland adds some cheap pitching depth.
BN Kurt Suzuki $2 – I was looking for some depth at catcher here. Suzuki should be good for around 15 home runs.
BN Kyle Blanks $1 – The power potential is there and he has shown good OBP potential in the minors.
BN Eric Bedard $2 – Pitchers that missed time with injury seem to be potential bargains in this format. Taking Bedard for $2 gives me depth at a low cost and I don’t need him to stay healthy for a full season to earn that value.
BN Bud Norris $3 – Norris may not win many games due to a pathetic team around him, but he will give my team good strikeout numbers and a high-threes ERA.
BN Ricky Nolasco $2 – I’m slowly getting over my Hot Nolasco Sauce man-crush, but for $2 I’ll give him and his peripherals another shot.
BN Nolan Reimold $3 – If he wins the starting left-field job in Baltimore, he could be a cheap source of a .350 OBP and 20-plus home runs.
BN Ryan Kalish $1 – It’s yet to be seen how the right field situation sorts out in Boston, but a healthy Kalish has enough upside to spend $1 as a roster filler here.
BN Joel Peralta $3 – I love me some holds!
BN Rich Harden $1 – I’m not among those who think Harden can succeed as a starter anymore, but he has strikeout potential and could be a dominant reliever, in my opinion, should someone sign him to that role.
BN Jed Lowrie $2 – We’ll see how the Sox use Lowrie in 2012, but he can be extremely useful in streaks and provides depth for my team at both 3B and SS.