Roster Doctor 4/6/09

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Today’s edition of Roster Doctor features a lineup put together by Nathan:

Player pool: Mixed
No. of teams: 16
Categories: Traditional 5×5
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Carlos Guillen
2B: Kaz Matsui
SS: Jose Reyes
3B: Felipe Lopez
OF: Carl Crawford
OF: Lastings Milledge
OF: Willy Taveras
Util: Fred Lewis
BN: Randy Winn
BN: Ronnie Belliard

SP: Brandon Webb
SP: Roy Oswalt
RP: Francisco Rodriguez
RP: Jonathan Broxton
P: Joba Chamberlain
P: Brandon Lyon
P: Manny Corpas
BN: Zach Greinke
BN: Todd Wellemeyer
BN: Jordan Zimmermann
BN: Trevor Cahill

Nathan is employing a strategy that Derek discussed here. While most managers employ a drafting strategy that focuses on power and balance throughout the roster, this strategy focuses on punting categories to “guarantee” wins in other categories.

While this lineup will almost never win the home runs and RBI categories, the trio of Jose Reyes, Carl Crawford and Willy Taveras essentially guarantees a win in stolen bases. The majority of the hitters in this lineup are projected to hit in the leadoff spot, which will help with runs. And due to the depth of this league, I think there will be plenty of weeks when this team will compete in batting average despite not having a single batter projected to hit over .300. A weekly average of .280-.285 may be good enough to win a fair share of weeks.

A couple quick suggestions would be to start Randy Winn over Fred Lewis, if only to give a slight boost to the team batting average. A decrease in stolen bases shouldn’t be a concern since Reyes, Crawford and Taveras will steal a boat load and Winn should steal about 15 himself. While Lewis may get more at-bats at the top of the order, there will be plenty of times when Winn will bat first as well, as he had 224 plate appearances batting leadoff last year. This means that any decrease in runs will most likely be very small. But the benefit in starting Winn over Lewis is that Winn projects to hit about .285 while Lewis will most likely hit closer to .270.

The other suggestion is to simply bench your catcher. Molina won’t contribute much in many categories, and his projected batting average of .270 might hurt your team more than it might help.

As I mentioned before, most managers will tend to stress hitting over pitching and we are going against the grain by punting home runs and RBIs. In doing so, this strategy dictates that we focus on pitching and make hitting somewhat secondary. So let’s check out the pitching staff.

Brandon Webb is a solid anchor in any league format, and Roy Oswalt has thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last five years, which will definitely help in accumulating strikeouts. Everyone knows about Joba Chamberlain’s potential, and he is a high strikeout pitcher. He also plays for one of the best teams in all of baseball, which ought to help with wins. While Francisco Rodriguez won’t come close to saving as many games as he did last year and, despite all of the talk regarding his declining skills, he should still provide you with good numbers for this season. Jonathan Broxton is also another good closer to have on your team.

I think its pretty clear though that you could use another closer. I would hang onto both Corpas and Lyon in case Huston Street or Fernando Rodney falters. But I wouldn’t bother starting either of them until they take over their respective closer positions. I definitely like that you were able to grab Zach Greinke, as he is a (popular) breakout candidate with legitimate potential. Hopefully, for this team’s sake, he breaks out in 2009.

The remaining few pitchers are dispensable. While Trevor Cahill and Jordan-Zimmermann both have potential, it is highly unlikely that they will reach that potential this year. This strategy places too much stress on pitching, and while they may have their moments this year, a large majority of pitchers simply need more than a year to adjust to major league hitting. So if a closer becomes available on the waiver wire, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop either Cahill or Zimmermann to get the extra saves.

Overall, I think Nathan did a pretty good job executing Derek’s strategy. Adding an extra closer or two is essential for this strategy to really work but considering the depth of this league, I think this team will end up winning more categories than it will lose.

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  1. JTIn said...

    I tried this strategy over the weekend, with an even more extreme focus on pitching. How do you think it went?

    Mixed League
    Traditional 5×5

    C: V.Martinez (11)
    1B: Conor Jackson (12)
    2B: H.Kendrick (13)
    3B: C.Figgins (10)
    SS: J.Reyes (1)
    MI: J.Peralta (15)
    CI: C.Kotchman (16)
    OF: L.Milledge (14)
    OF: W.Tavares (18)
    OF: S.S.Choo (20)
    OF: D.DeJesus (22)
    OF: F.Lewis (24)
    Util: C.Guillen (21)
    Bn: Matt Wieters (19)

    SP: CC.Sabathia (2)
    SP: R.Halladay (3)
    SP: D.Haren (4)
    SP: R.Oswalt (5)
    RP: J.Papelbon (6)
    RP: J.Nathan (7)
    RP: J.Soria (8)
    SP: C.Billingsley (9)
    Bn: C.Marmol (23)
    Bn: J.Arredondo (25)

    I expect to win at least 4 pitching categories each week, with a very real shot at sweeping. Steals also project to be mine, with Reyes, Figgins, Tavares & Milledge, not to mention a handful of other guys chipping in 10-15 over the season.

    I should be competitive in Runs and Average, not dominant but good enough to win sometimes. Overall, I think I’m almost guaranteed 5 categories a week – on a BAD week. On a good week, I sweep the pitching categories, SB’s, and win either Runs or Average. I like it.

  2. Nathan said...

    Apparently I left out the fact that I also have Javier Vazquez on this team.  Do you have any other ideas for relatively high average hitters that may be available?  Given your analysis, that seems to be the spot to improve.

    At the time of draft, both Corpas and Lyon were expected to be closing.  Given the league is so deep, two closers is not bad, but I have definitely been looking around for possible trade partners.

  3. Marco Fujimoto said...

    Unless you want other readers to analyze your team, please direct all team-analysis requests to the roster doctor email address linked above in the first paragraph.

    You (and others) may have noticed, but we at THT are pretty high on Vazquez this year. So this pitching staff looks much better now, and I feel more confident in its ability to win more categories, more weeks than not.

    I completely understand the reasoning behind having drafted Corpas and Lyon. You aren’t the only one who drafted those two guys. But, drafting them wasn’t necessarily a mistake, as the jobs of Huston Street and Fernando Rodney aren’t exactly secure. Street has been a bit shaky the last couple of years, and even now, from reading Leyland’s comments over the last week, it sounds as if Lyon will get some opportunities anyway. I would hold onto the both of those guys, and see how their situations play out.

    And you’re right, having two closers in a 16-team league is not bad. But again, given that this strategy places so much emphasis on pitching, it is much safer to add a third if possible.

    As far as low-demand, relatively-high average guys? Colorado’s Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborgh, Detroit’s Josh Anderson, and Washington’s Cristian Guzman, if available, are all guys who could hit between .285-.295.

  4. rated said...

    This is the strategy I use.  I like getting all those leadoff hitters, and the power guys I do have are 20/20 potentail, ie Nate McClouth, Jayson Werth, & especially Randy Winn. 

    What I do differently is I get Brian Roberts in the 2nd or 3rd round & for SS I get Jason Bartlett toward the end of the draft, SS of the Rays who can get you 30+ SBs and hit around .280.  Jose Reyes doesn’t seem worth it to me that early, I would get someone like Santana, Lincecum, or possibly a power guy there instead (or especially Sizemore if he was there). 

    I had an idea I was thinking of in a regular 5×5 league with no waiver rules.  What if you draft nothing but closers & lead off hitters in the first half of the draft, then draft good-value SPs and save the final 2 bench spots for streaming SPs?  This would seem to guarantee W, K, S, & SB every week against non-streamers, and you would still have a very good shot with avg & runs with a chance at ERA & WHIP (depending on how well you streamed your SPs).  You would only need to win 1 out of the 6 just to get to .500.

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