LABR NL 2010: Team Carty

This past weekend I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to defend my title in USA Today’s League of Alternate Baseball Reality (LABR) NL. I know at least a few of you have been anxious to see my roster, so here it is. If you have any comments, thoughts, or opinions, feel free to post them in the comments. Just keep a few things in mind.

First, I realize I’m light on starting pitching. I went with the same strategy I did last year, which is loading up on offense and using my six reserve picks on SPs and playing the matchups with them. Second, Elijah Dukes at $20 looks bad out of context (especially once you see what some better OFs went for), but I had a few extra bucks, had altered my strategy mid-draft a couple times, and he was the best player left on the board (and I do like him a lot anyway — I had him valued in the high teens). Ditto Ricky Nolasco. I was in on all the top tier starting pitchers, but they all went a little higher than I wanted. When Nolasco was the last one left, I had to splurge to make my strategy work. That’s the risk in waiting.

That being said, here’s my roster:

LABR NL 2010 — Team Carty

C: Gregg Zaun – $4
C: Nick Hundley – $3
1B: Prince Fielder – $37
2B: Ian Stewart – $22
3B: Andy LaRoche – $10
SS: Ronny Cedeno – $3
CI: Adam LaRoche – $24
MI: Adam Kennedy – $9
OF: Jay Bruce – $23
OF: Elijah Dukes – $20
OF: Ryan Ludwick – $18
OF: Kosuke Fukudome – $6
OF: Angel Pagan – $2
UT: Jeff Clement – $8

P: Ricky Nolasco – $26
P: Joe Blanton – $10
P: Clayton Richard – $8
P: Francisco Rodriguez – $16
P: Takashi Saito – $4
P: Pedro Feliciano – $3
P: Joe Thatcher – $1
P: Kiko Calero – $1
P: John Smoltz – $1
P: Edinson Volquez – $1

RSV: Chien-Ming Wang (SP)
RSV: Kevin Hart (SP)
RSV: Livan Hernandez (SP)
RSV: Fernando Nieve (SP)
RSV: Carlos Silva (SP)
RSV: Brian Moehler (SP)

The rest of the LABR results will appear in USA Today’s Sports Weekly next week along with some comments from each of the participants. Feel free to share any early thoughts on my roster below.

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  1. Jay said...

    Even some NL-only (or AL-only) leagues draft two catchers? That is flat-out crazy. There are barely even ten worth drafting out of all MLB.

    I do like the strategy of picking pitchers as reserves and playing matchups.

  2. Andrew said...

    Interesting roster. Lots of upside plays here with Bruce, Stewart, Clement, and the LaRoches.

    I like the balanced attack, only spending more than $30 on Prince.

  3. obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

    Nice overall, but I would have to see how scoring is done in your league to have a better feel for how good it is.  Is there a link to the LABR 2009 rules?

    Still, nice mix of players, I would normally want more in SP but you noted what happened there.  I particularly like the young guys on the cheap, Andy LaRoche, Clement, plus I like Fukudome at that price.  And Volquez at $1, pure upside there, Smoltz too.

  4. mymrbig said...

    Not a big fan of spending $8 on Clement (lots of competition at 1B/RF for the Pirates) or $9 on Kennedy, but when those are the only complaints I can come up with, you had a pretty good auction.  Really like all the $10 or more guys on your offense, I just think maybe it would have been worth combining the $17 from Clement/Kennedy into someone a little more guaranteed for one of those spots and another flier guy.

  5. Jonathan Sher said...

    I share your philosophy about spending money on hitters—I’m in an A.L. only league and usually target $70 for pitching and $190 for hitting.

    Since my league is also a keeper league with a deep reserve, I tend to use a few slots among my nine pitchers for top prospects who aren’t likely to debut until later in the season. Last year I picked up Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman for $1 each, for example. This is especially helpful in our league because, while we don’t pay for reserve draftees, a salary is assigned to them that will be used the following year if they lose rookie status this year. Our first reserve pick is assigned a salary of $15 and it isn’t until the 17th pick that the price drops to $1.

  6. Derek Carty said...

    Thanks guys.

    Yeah, Jay, two catchers in a 13-team NL-only league means all starters and a good portion of backups get drafted.  While Zaun and Hundley aren’t sexy, they should get the majority of the catcher ABs for their teams.  I did try to go after guys like Martin, Soto, and Montero, but they ended up going for too much (Martin I could have gone a little higher on but decided not to – he could end up being a decent bargain).

    The way the NL breaks down this year I thought going with upside picks was the way to go, supplementing them with a few surer things (like Prince and Adam LaRoche).

    I don’t believe the constitution has been posted online ever.  Basically it’s a 13-team, 5×5 NL-only league with 24-man active rosters and 6 reserves – so it’s very deep.  The reason I did the pitchers as I did was to capitalize on a rule that disallows any player auctioned on draft day or FAABed throughout the year to be placed on reserves.  They must stay active or be dropped.  But the original 6 reserves can be moved back and forth at will.

  7. Jason B said...

    Silva may have some decent matchups with either the Iowa AAA affiliate, or the Hanshin Tigers.

    Or the buffet.  Silva vs. a slab of ribs?  He will utterly *DOMINATE.*

  8. MDS said...

    overspend on Elijah Dukes much? I think hes a good late buy, but why is he going for $20 when Bruce went for $23? Carlos Silva? really? good luck lol

  9. Andrew said...

    Keep in mind Derek is probably only going to use Silva (and the other reserve SPs) against weaker offenses

  10. Jason B said...

    Andrew—we know.  That’s why I pointed out the only times Silva would be worth using—that is, the only situations that could conceivably be deemed “favorable” for such a bad, bad pitcher—would be matched up against the Memphis Redbirds, the Nippon-ham Fighters, and/or a pie. 

    Pizza or apple.

  11. Derek Carty said...

    Jason B,
    You could definitely be right.  My 6 reserve pitchers have more question marks than my group from last year, unfortunately.  I’m just hoping Silva makes the team.

    Also, I realize Carlos Silva is terrible.  Fully aware.  Last season I drafted (and successfully used) guys like Jeff Suppan and Brian Moehler knowing that they too were terrible.  Fantasy leagues are all about gaining advantages where you can, and I feel that taking terrible pitchers in the reserve rounds is one such way of gaining an advantage in LABR (as counterintuitive as that sounds).  I won’t win every category playing these kinds of pitchers, but I don’t need to.  I think the benefits of the strategy outweigh the drawbacks.

    As I said, $20 for Dukes looks really bad out of context.  But context is extremely important, especially in auction leagues.  It’s not like when you’re in an auction you get to see what everyone is going to go for ahead of time.  Guys get nominated at random times with no rhyme or reason, and a confluence of factors specific to that exact point in the draft determine how high the player is going to go.  Had Dukes not been the last starting OF left on the board (or one of them), had he been nominated at the beginning of the draft, he certainly would have went for less.  But when he *is* the best and last starting OF on the board and you have a few extra dollars laying around, you’re left with the choice of either spending them on the best player left (even if you end up paying more than he would otherwise be worth) or saving them… but for what?  You just let the best player left go.

  12. Derek Carty said...

    Haha, in normal circumstances, you’d absolutely be right Jason.  I’m not expecting Silva to post anything resembling a decent ERA or WHIP against big leaguers.  With the strategy I’m using, it’s more about the innings, wins, and strikeouts.

  13. MDS said...

    i would hate to be in the position where you have $20 to blow and elijah dukes is the last starter available. sounds/looks like you didnt spend enuff early on

  14. PJBRW said...

    I like your picks. I know last year you had some people who didn’t understand your strategy but you won, so here’s hoping you do it again!!! Good luck, it should be fun!

  15. Derek Carty said...

    Thanks for the honest comments, MDS.  I don’t know if I necessarily agree, though.  Perhaps I should have spent a little more earlier on, in retrospect, but earlier in the draft no one would have guessed that Dukes would have gone for $20.  Also, having to change up my in-draft strategy a couple times makes it even harder to say what I should or shouldn’t have done at any given point.  You only have a finite amount of information during the draft, and it’s very easy to look back on it once it’s over – out of context – and say that you should have done this or you should have done that.  Having seen how everything turned out, sure, I wish I went an extra buck or two on a guy like Ibanez, but when you think other guys will come at a bigger discount a little later on, waiting is a viable option.  And sometimes (as was the case in this draft), those guys you’re waiting on don’t end up going as low as you thought.  It’s just one of the risks you run.

    Also, in overpaying, I have no problem that it ended up being Dukes that I spent the money on.  Sure, he’s risky, but I also think he’s very talented.

  16. Jason B said...

    Derek -

    Just having some fun with ol’ meatball Silva.  I really do like the upside of the trio of $1 pitchers you closed with – Calero, Smoltz, and Volquez.  Well played.

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