A TALE OF 20 TEAMS
Welcome to the next installment of "A Tale of 20 Teams", a series of articles that try to capture the current fantasy baseball landscape by using the rosters from 20 actual teams as its foundation.
I will analyze current roster movement and player performance for nearly all players that would be rostered in a standard 5X5, 10 Team ESPN League Format.
I chose 20 teams to analyze because it seemed like a manageable number of teams that should still provide for a large sample of players and distinct roster decisions. The breakdown of the leagues are as follows: 9 Roto/11 H2H, 6 Auction Draft/14 Snake Draft.
We will focus on the Corner Infield and identify who ended up on these teams from a cumulative perspective. I tried to draft for value at nearly every opportunity while going a little more starting pitcher heavy than most; after all pitching wins championships. ESPN utilizes 25 man rosters with slots for C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 1B/3B, 2B/SS, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, U, 9 Pitchers, and 3 B.
Remember, just because someone is rostered (more often) than someone else does not mean that I think they will be more productive. However if someone is selected on numerous occasions it is not by chance.
These were all real drafts so I tried to take the best player available while accounting for both the player’s position and team needs. Some minor preseason and very early transactions have already occurred. So let's move on to the Corner Infielders.
Simply put, MVP candidates man these spots. While I focused on value and felt that there were solid options later in the Draft at Middle Infield I took the exact opposite approach on the corners. Both 1B and 3B appear to be quite thinner than usual and the drop-off in production is much greater at these positions.
That is why legitimate All-Stars with great batting averages and lots of power are all over these rosters.
Miguel Cabrera – 1B Seven 35%
Joey Votto – 1B Six 30%
Albert Pujols – 1B Five 25%
Kevin Youkilis – 1B/3B Five
Lance Berkman – 1B Five
Every one of these guys hits for a solid average with plus power.
Miguel Cabrera is a four category super-stud who is just 26 and acclimated to the AL last year much better than people realize. He is capable of leading the league in a number of categories and may even compete for the vaunted Triple Crown.
Joey Votto is coming off a solid rookie year and fits right in this group with his .300 avg and 30 homers. He is one of the cornerstones of the Reds recent youth movement, hits in a great park, and has solid potential value as an early middle-round selection.
Albert Pujols is the preeminent hitter in the game today. He is an amazing four-category contributor who will solidify batting average, runs produced, and homers in one pick. I was able to get him on 25 percent of my teams and even picked him over Hanley Ramirez as the first overall selection in one draft. His consistency is astonishing and he physically hasn’t felt this good in years so I think he is primed for a career year.
Lance Berkman and Kevin Youkilis are both coming off huge first halves last year and look to maintain those MVP levels for all of this season. Berkman added some stolen bases to his impressive arsenal and Youkilis qualifies at both 1B and 3B, hits clean-up in a premier lineup, and has improved every year.
Ryan Zimmerman – 3B Four 20%
Edwin Encarnacion – 3B Four
David Wright – 3B Two 10%
Mark Teixeira – 1B Two
Adrian Gonzalez – 1B Two
Jorge Cantu – 1B/3B Two
Chris Davis – 1B/3B Two
Pablo Sandoval – 1B Two
Carlos Delgado – 1B Two
Melvin Mora – 3B Two
Todd Helton – 1B Two
Adam LaRoche – 1B Two
Billy Butler – 1B Two
This group has a lot of power with 25HR/90 RBI seasons coming from most of them albeit with a wide range in avg.
Some are old (Helton, Delgado) and some are young. (Sandoval, Butler) There are proven All-Stars (Wright, Teixeira) and potential All-Stars (Zimmerman, Davis) and solid late-round values. (Encarnacion, Cantu)
These positions always seem to have players come out of nowhere and produce so there will be a short leash on some of these guys early if there are more intriguing options available on the wire.
Evan Longoria – 3B
Prince Fielder – 1B
Alex Rodriguez – 3B
Justin Morneau – 1B
Chipper Jones – 3B
Aubrey Huff – 1B/3B
Adrian Beltre – 3B
Alex Gordon – 3B
Mike Lowell – 3B
Paul Konerko – 1B
Mike Jacobs – 1B
Most of these players were simply being drafted higher than I was willing to take them although their abilities are unquestioned. The last three are most likely placeholders for the next big thing, yet with a hot start you might be finding more of them on these squads.
First Base – R. Howard, D. Lee, C. Pena, C. Jackson, J. Loney
Third Base – A. Ramirez, G. Atkins, C. Figgins, C. Guillen
As always thanks for reading.
The Outfielders preview will be up in a couple of days. Be sure to check back in throughout the season for add/drop info, positional rankings, in-depth "team" analysis, and much more. Please respond with article topics or ideas utilizing the 20 Teams angle as well as any Fantasy Baseball questions you may have.