Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2012 Draft Prep: When reaching is warranted

  •  

You don't get many early round picks. Maybe five or six. Depends where you draw the line, really.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Baseball.

But no matter how you define it, within that small window, you form the foundation of your team. Its identity rests with those few players and whatever misfortunes come their way.

What about the fortunes? Hey, those are implied. What makes an early-rounder an early-rounder is the expectation he'll perform like one of the top players in the game.

If you accept that premise, then you should also accept this one: Early-rounders will more often lose it for you than win it for you. It's the reason I was down on Matt Kemp entering last season. I saw some things I didn't like about him -- the high strikeout rate, the low batting average, the diminished playing time, the diminished steals -- and, therefore, stayed away. Dumb move? Well, I obviously missed out on a great player. But the players I drafted instead still gave me competitive teams -- and in some leagues, championships.

Granted, that's an extreme example, but you get the idea: I like to play it safe with my early-round picks. If they're all supposed to be good anyway, I want the ones least likely to sucker punch me into last place.

In the past, I could sum up the approach this way: Avoid the pitchers. Considering the amount of torque needed to throw a ball 90 miles per hour, they're all just ticking time bombs counting down to their next injury -- or perhaps even surgery. Hitters are inherently safer and, thus, more deserving of early-round picks.

But then came this year.

Perplexing would be the best way to describe my first few mock drafts. Since I adopted the tier approach however many years ago, the draft process, while still challenging, was never too much of a head-scratcher. But when I first start drafting for the 2012 season, I came across so many hitters I just plain didn't want that I found myself drafting pitchers instead. And in the end, I wasn't satisfied with my teams.

Had I lost the touch? No good explanation for that. Had my philosophy changed? Obviously not if I wasn't happy with my teams. Had I gotten too picky? Shoot, if anything, the Kemps of the world had made me more open-minded.

So if the problem wasn't me, it had to be the draft pool. What about this one distinguished it from all the others in recent memory?

Was 2011 simply a bad year for injuries? Have we hit some kind of lull between the last wave of talent and the next one? Are we at a point in the post-steroids era when we no longer expect players on the wrong side of 30 to continue doing what they've been doing all along? I'm guessing all of the above. But whatever the reason, so many of the early-round hitters are either past their prime or at less than full strength that, between them and the pitchers, the part of the draft when you can least afford a misstep has become a virtual minefield.

Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Young and Ichiro Suzuki are all on the wrong side of 35, which means they could fall off a cliff at moment's notice. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins aren't quite as old, but they're showing clear signs of decline. Josh Hamilton, Matt Holliday, Shane Victorino, Adrian Beltre, Kevin Youkilis and Aramis Ramirez are all on the wrong side of 30 and have shown enough propensity for injury that a DL stint or two is the expectation for each. They'll probably join Nelson Cruz there. It's his home away from home during the season. Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Carl Crawford and Buster Posey are all coming back -- or attempting to come back -- from specific injuries that could impact their numbers in the short term, and Jose Reyes, Ryan Zimmerman, Rickie Weeks, Joe Mauer and Shin-Soo Choo just can't seem to stay on the field.

I'd rather ...
Wait on Reach for (same position) Reach for (different position)
Joe Mauer Alex Avila Alex Gordon
Buster Posey Matt Wieters Alex Gordon
Paul Konerko Eric Hosmer Brett Lawrie
Lance Berkman Eric Hosmer Desmond Jennings
Rickie Weeks N/A Alex Gordon
Chase Utley Dan Uggla Billy Butler
Adrian Beltre N/A Ben Zobrist
David Wright Brett Lawrie Ben Zobrist
Ryan Zimmerman Brett Lawrie Eric Hosmer
Kevin Youkilis Brett Lawrie Eric Hosmer
Michael Young Pablo Sandoval Michael Morse
Alex Rodriguez Pablo Sandoval Michael Morse
Aramis Ramirez Emilio Bonifacio Jesus Montero
Hanley Ramirez N/A Ian Kinsler
Jose Reyes N/A Carlos Santana
Jimmy Rollins Emilio Bonifacio Billy Butler
Josh Hamilton Giancarlo Stanton N/A
Matt Holliday Giancarlo Stanton N/A
Shane Victorino N/A Ben Zobrist
Nelson Cruz Desmond Jennings Eric Hosmer
Shin-Soo Choo Desmond Jennings N/A
Carl Crawford Alex Gordon Emilio Bonifacio
Ichiro Suzuki Andre Ethier Jesus Montero
*N/A - no player ranked lower is worth the reach

Basically, of the 66 hitters drafted among the top 100 players in Rotisserie leagues, 23 of them -- or more than one-third -- I absolutely do not want.

OK, that's an overstatement. Some -- such as Konerko, Hamilton, Holliday, Victorino, Beltre, Weeks and Choo -- are less risky than others, given their track records, and if the draft unfolded in such a way that I felt like I had to draft one of them, I would. But I wouldn't do it with a smile on my face.

Perhaps that sounds self-defeating to you. If I really can't get excited about those hitters, why not just give in and take a stud pitcher instead? In years past, I might have defaulted to that Plan B. But since the Year of the Pitcher in 2010, starting pitcher has become such an amazingly deep position, with just about any of the top 30 options capable of putting up top-10 numbers, that drafting an ace seems like a misuse of resources. On the one hand, yeah, the shortage of enticing early-round hitters is an excuse to reel in a Jered Weaver in Round 3, but on the other hand, if I can have a Madison Bumgarner or Mat Latos four, five or even six rounds later, what's the point?

Besides, I tried going that route in those early drafts, and in the end, my hitting just wasn't up to snuff. The truth is, in this pitching-heavy era, the need for elite hitting is greater than ever.

But if that's true and the idea that early-rounders are more likely to lose it than win it for you is true, what do you do when your pick comes up and one of those treacherous 23 is the highest-rated hitter on the board?

After a few more mock drafts and a few more disappointing rosters, I finally arrived at what I consider to be the best solution: Skip him. If you don't like the next-best hitter but feel like you should take a hitter, go ahead and take the next one you do like even if, objectively speaking, it's something of a reach.

Like Eric Hosmer better than Youkilis? Hey, me too. No need to shy away from him in Round 5. Want an outfielder but can't bring yourself to draft Cruz? No one says you can't take Desmond Jennings or Michael Morse instead. Need a shortstop and trying to talk yourself into Jimmy Rollins in Round 7? Man, just take Billy Butler instead. You can always fall back on an Emilio Bonifacio or Erick Aybar later.

Obviously, how much you like a guy can't be the determining factor for each and every one of your draft picks. You still have to pay attention to your tiers, after all. You wouldn't want to deprive yourself at a position for a player you could have potentially had two rounds later. But at the same time, if you've been reading any draft prep content this spring, you know how hot names like Brett Lawrie, Hosmer and Jennings are right now. If you like them more than Zimmerman, Berkman and Choo, you're not alone, which means the only way you can ensure you get to them first is by drafting them ahead of Zimmerman, Berkman and Choo.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

And that's OK. Sometimes we -- and by "we" I legitimately mean both you and me -- get so caught up in the analyst role, assessing how "good" and "bad" every pick is, that we forget to build a team we actually like. Granted, if you reach on every pick, you forfeit the advantage of having players fall to you and defeat the purpose of tiers altogether. But then again, if you end up with a roster full of players you don't like, the approach didn't do you much good, did it?

In our most recent Head-to-Head mock draft, I made a decision that would qualify a healthy marriage between the tier approach and this little sidebar. I could have selected Josh Hamilton or Matt Holliday in the third round, but aiming for what I consider to be a safer pick and realizing I needed a second baseman anyway, I went with Ben Zobrist instead. It wasn't the textbook pick by any means, and the naysayers are sure to say nay over it. But whatever. Ultimately, I'm the one who has to live with my team, and I think the pieces fit together better with Zobrist in there.

The downside is I'm forgoing a potential MVP candidate in Hamilton, who at his best is far better than Zobrist, but at that point in a draft where I have only three outfield spots to fill, the risk of the Rangers slugger playing only 120 games again -- if not fewer -- wasn't worth the reward to me.

Risk-reward picks have their time and place. In the late rounds, I'll take Alejandro De Aza over Alfonso Soriano any day of the week. But if I'm handing over my Fantasy life to a player, as is the case with every early-round pick, I want to make sure he's the kind I can trust with it.

In a year like this one, those types are well worth the reach.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Error puts damper on Yohan Pino's strong start
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:34 pm ET) Twins pitcher Yohan Pino was nearly sunk by an error Saturday against the Tigers.

Pino allowed four runs, one earned, on six hits over five innings. He struck out six and walked two. Pino allowed one run in the second inning, but was otherwise strong early. He ran into trouble during his final inning. Pino gave up a single to open the frame, and a second runner reached on an error. Pino struck out the next batter, which would have ended the inning had the previous play been made. Pino then gave up three straight run-scoring singles. He was finally able to get out of the inning, but the damage had been done.

The Twins blasted Buck Farmer early, giving Pino the win. Pino improved to 2-5. He'll take on the Orioles in his next start. 


Hiroki Kuroda rolls to ninth win by limiting White Sox
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:33 pm ET) The steady production of Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda continued Saturday against the White Sox.

Kuroda managed his sixth quality start in the last eight outings by holding Chicago to just two runs on five hits in six innings. He walked two and fanned six.

It didn't look pretty in the first two innings when Kuroda gave up three doubles, including one to Aramis Ramirez that drove in the first run of the game. But Kuroda settled down to retire 10 of the next 12 batters he faced.

Kuroda is set to start again Thursday in Detroit.


Buck Farmer gets knocked around
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:27 pm ET) Tigers pitcher Buck Farmer got knocked around Saturday against the Twins.

Farmer allowed seven runs on five hits over 1 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two during the outing. The Twins got the scoring started in the first inning. After a one-out walk, Joe Mauer managed to drive in a run from first on a single. Farmer was able to get out of the first inning without giving up any further damage. Things really fell apart in the second, though. Farmer put the first three batters on. He then allowed a bases-clearing single to Jordan Schafer. He was able to pick up a strikeout, but then allowed a walk and run-scoring double. Farmer was pulled at that point. Another run came around to score, and was charged to Farmer.

With the loss, Farmer dropped to 0-1. He’ll take on the White Sox if he gets another start.


Derek Holland scratched from rehab start with back issue
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:23 pm ET) Back spasms will prevent Rangers rehabbing lefty Derek Holland from making his rehab start on Sunday. The setback could push back his timetable to return to the big leagues this season.

Holland has been sidelined all year after undergoing knee surgery.


Athletics bench Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick against lefty
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:18 pm ET) A matchup against tough southpaw C.J. Wilson has Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss and outfielder Josh Reddick out of the lineup Saturday night.

Moss is in a 0-for-12 slide. Reddick has just 15 hits in 83 at-bats against left-handers this season.


Mike Adams scheduled to begin rehab stint Tuesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:10 pm ET) Phillies right-handed reliever Mike Adams will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.

Adams has been sidelined since June 6 with a shoulder injury.


Frank Garces sent down to Double-A
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:03 pm ET) The Padres have optioned left-hander Frank Garces to Double-A San Antonio to make room on the roster for fellow pitcher Andrew Cashner.

The 24-year-old Garces performed well in his brief stint with San Diego, throwing three hitless shutout innings.


Yan Gomes still out Saturday against Astros
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:54 pm ET) Indians hot-hitting catcher Yan Gomes remains sidelined Saturday against Houston after sustaining a mild concussion Thursday.

Gomes owns a stat line of .284/.324/.477 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI.


Jim Miller let go by Yankees
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:49 pm ET) After pitching just three games in the bigs over two years and posting an ERA of 20.25 in both of them, reliever Jim Miller has been released by the Yankees.

The 32-year-old right-hander got into two games in the bigs this season and gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings.


Matt Dominguez grabbing some pine Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Astros slumping third baseman Matt Dominguez has been benched for the Saturday game in Cleveland. Gregorio Petit is set to start instead at that spot.

Dominguez has just five hits in his last 35 at-bats.


 
 
 
Rankings