Waiver Wire Offseason: AL Draft Recap

At the considerable risk of undermining my credibility, I’ll share the results from the Fantasy Pros 911 (.com) Expert Draft, the invite to which was passed along to me by Derek Carty. As I won’t be continuing as a writer in this column after Opening Day, any further discussion of the season will take place at Baseball Daily Digest.

Nick Swisher in Spring Training (Icon/SMI)

It’s not an excuse, in the sense that I knew the draft was coming a month ago, but I was only able to take about 60 minutes to prepare, and—despite that—I thought I was in great shape after taking Neftali Feliz, as having $53 remaining put me almost in control of the auction as people had been splurging early. Sure, I was pitching-heavy, but I was set to grab some guys I thought would hit well and be underpriced, such as Daric Barton, Travis Hafner, Carlos Guillen, and Magglio Ordonez. Instead, I made a rookie mistake and got into late-auction bidding wars on a couple players who were replaceable, Scott Downs and Nick Swisher. I was trying to handcuff my Jason Frasor position as best as possible, and I think Swisher will be great this year, but the inflation in the draft at that point meant that I shouldn’t have been paying more than 65% for anyone.

Here is my draft, with the “Value” column coming from the convenient $ valuator at lastplayerpicked.com, using combined projections:


Having discussed the land mine I stepped on, here are some things I think I did do well:

1. Pitching is budgeted at 30% (approximately) in most drafts, due mostly to the fact that it’s amazingly unpredictable. I feel like I invested in three pitchers who are among the least likely to crater: Felix, with that park and defense supporting his amazing skills; Papelbon, with more than his share of easy saves available, due to Boston getting big leads more than most teams; and Lackey, for the run support he’ll receive in Boston.

2. Aaron HillI’ve reviewed Hill in this column in the past, and discussed his power/contact combination, and how he’s similar to Aramis Ramirez in that regard. The lack of walks may hurt the Blue Jays, but I think the typical projections—which put him around 20 HR—are pessimistic.

3. Asdrubal Cabrera—Usually, I like taking a 2B/SS type early so that I have flexibility, but I already had Hill in this case, so there’s no excuse. Except that he hits really well for a shortstop.

4. Brendan Harris—Sure, he’s not very good, but he’s slated to be the starting third baseman for the Twins.

5. da Aza—Don’t ask. I figured that I’d need some $1 guys eventually, and didn’t have a nominee queued up. But he’s young, and probably has more core ability than Juan Pierre, and is crushing the ball in spring training, so you never know.

Anyway, it was a long draft, and it’s NCAA Tourney time (except for Georgetown). Here’s the league link; happy to field questions: FantasyPros911.com Expert League

Rob McQuown is a lifetime Cubs fan, longtime SABR member, and former STATS, Inc. employee. He also writes for Baseball Daily Digest and other sites and can be reached via email (
; baseball email is always welcome) and followed on Twitter (robmcquown).

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  1. dan said...

    Is this a keeper or a redraft league (the latter, I assume)?  I like Chisenhall as a prospect, but I can’t imagine he’ll receive MLB playing time this year.

  2. Jonathan Sher said...


    First, thanks for sharing your insights and observations on A.L. players; I’m in a 12-team A.L. only league and I found your articles helpful. What will be your focus at Baseball Daily Digest?

    Did you have a budget in mind for pitching v. hitting in your auction? I see you spent more than $120 on the former, which is a lot higher than what I usually target (closer to $70).  Your pitching staff looks strong; You may need to watch the waiver wire to pick up your offense—eyeballing your team it looks to me you will finish in the bottom half in hr, rbis, sb and middling in average.

    Looking at the rest of your league, Mastrodonato will be tough if his injury risks prove healthy, Captain Hook seems to be going for punting the wins (and Ks) categories if you have it (do you have a minumum inning requirement?) but the team I like best is Zola—Jones, Choo and Hunter surrounded by a lot of guys that won’t be great but look to me to have been under-priced, he has a solid starting rotation and the potential to take the save categor with a low-prices Gonzalez and Fuentes/Jepsen/

    Second, my own auction is still two weeks away but seeing your league results makes me feel pretty good. We’re allowed 15 keepers and right now I have a list of keepers that cost me $68 but who went for $241 in your auction – Greinke, Scherzer, Matusz, Hughes, Aardsma, Wieters, Morales, Andrus, Scutaro, Lind, Choo, Borbon, Jackson, Jennings and Montero. Since our league is a keeper league, inflation compared to a non-keeper league runs about 20%, so I can use the numbers from your league, add 20% and get a sense of how much available players will cost.

    Is your league 5 x 5 (ours is old-fashioned 4×4)?

  3. joeymitch said...


    Could you expand on why you are so high on Swisher. I haven’t heard much about him other than the fact that he came to camp lighter than last year. He had a marginally good year last year, but not one that would warrant a $20 bid?!?

  4. Jonathan Sher said...

    joeymitch—If you read Rob’s comments you’ll see he essentially views his high bidding on Swisher as a mistake, that he shouldn’t have bid more than 65% of his value which would be about $10. As someone who has participated in auctions, even when I a well-prepared, it’s rare I don’t regret a pick or two.

  5. rs said...

    no offense!  no chance!  Why didn’t you buy some cheap starters after acquiring King Felix, Pap, and Lackey?  Your team is out of balance big time. How did Scutaro go so rich, yuk!

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