An after-the-fact review of one team’s acquisition strategy at the Baseball America NL-Only fantasy league auction. Full rosters here.
Team: Stat Zombies
Manager: Matt Eddy
Budget Allocation: Hitting 69% ($179), Pitching 31% ($81).
Overall Auction Strategy
• Emphasize consistent hitters for average with home run power who bat in the middle of the order, e.g. Freddie Freeman ($31), Carlos Gonzalez ($43), Matt Holliday ($25) and Hunter Pence ($19). Bonus points if they can swipe 15-20 bases.
• Where applicable, acquire those on my preference list of age-27, potential-breakout batters. Acquired: Charlie Blackmon ($5), Kyle Blanks ($1), Welington Castillo ($6) and Pablo Sandoval ($18). Targets I missed out on: Yonder Alonso, Peter Bourjos and Gerardo Parra.
• Buy a rotation anchor and then fill in with pitchers who won’t torpedo overall WHIP. This turned out to be Cliff Lee ($30) paired with Marco Estrada ($8) and Travis Wood ($5), two NL Central righties who rank inside the top 30 in the NL for WHIP since 2011 (min. 300 innings). As an added bonus, Estrada throws to Jonathan Lucroy, one of best pitch-framers in the business.
• Don’t take for granted that the health or success in 2013 for pitchers will carry over to 2014. In other words, don’t go the extra dollar for non-elite arms.
• Don’t overbid for starting pitchers or chase saves, because good arms come into the league more often than good bats.
• Annual source of cheap speed Emilio Bonifacio ($6) plays several positions—2B, CF, LF—where Cubs might be able to use a lefty bat
• A move to the NL and to Petco Park could revitalize Josh Johnson ($5). (This sentence was written in early March.)
• One can envision Joaquin Benoit ($5), Rex Brothers ($5) or J.J. Putz ($1) moving into the closer’s role if the opportunity arises. They can be pushed aside if a more attractive closer hits the waiver wire.
• I feel good about the Cardinals magic dust rubbing off on Jhonny Peralta ($16), but the shortstop I really wanted—Everth Cabrera ($14)—went for less. I should have bid more aggressively after I brought up Cabrera during the auction
• Betting on a repeat by Francisco Liriano ($12) seems dicey—he had a 4.59 ERA and 1.39 WHIP from 2010-12.
I didn’t have the money left over at the end of the draft to buy real solutions at corner infield (Eric Chavez, $1) and middle infield (Mark Ellis, $1), so I focused on veteran players in supporting roles with competitive teams. Lacking any upside potential, Chavez and Ellis at least will be easy to push aside if suitable replacements are found.