This goal of this column is not only to give opinions on individual players, but to show how those players are incorporated into a broader strategy. The first part is easy. The second is less obvious. Before we look at Rounds 5–6, remember that the strategy in Rounds 1–4 was to be conservative and take “safe” players. Moreover, the goal was to avoid players who were deemed risky due to inconsistency, injury, or a limited track record. However, it’s rare that a can a team win without taking some chances. You have to take the training wheels off eventually, right? The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, so long as you take most of your shots towards the end of the draft.
In that vein, I like to view draft day as a gradual progression from early-round conservatism to late-round liberalism. In Round 1, I’m thinking Glenn Beck. After Round 20? Keith Olbermann. Now, I’m not suggesting you arrive at your draft unstable or that you leave it unemployed. I am, however, suggesting you take on more risk as the value of the players you select approaches that of a replacement-level player.
In Round 5, you’re obviously not thinking about replacement-level players. Still, it’s time to begin to move away from “safe” mode. With the early rounds in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for Draft Him, Not Him for Rounds 5–6.
Draft Him – Zack Greinke. (ADP: 49) The 2009 Cy Young award winner didn’t put up much of a fight in 2010 with respect to defending his title. However, an xFIP of 3.76 says he didn’t fall as far as his surface stats would indicate. While that alone means 2011 could present a buying opportunity, it’s certainly not the only reason to be optimistic. Greinke’s move from Kansas City to Milwaukee has implications in both fantasy and reality. First and foremost, it’s going to be a long year for the fightin’ Billy Butlers. Second, a move from the AL to the NL should help Greinke a little. Third, a move from the Kansas City to anywhere should help him a lot. Greinke will now being pitching for a contender or at least for a team that is unlikely to be mathematically eliminated before the All-Star break. Put it all together and you have a talented pitcher moving to a relevant team playing against easier lineups. Throw in the fact that he didn’t pitch as bad as some would think last year and Greinke should provide great value this year.
Not Him – Buster Posey. (ADP: 44) Posey’s rookie campaign was something of a mixed bag. On the plus side, he put up outstanding numbers across the board, won a World Series and took home National League Rookie of the Year honors. On the down side, he took a called third strike back on August 23rd. Okay, fine. There’s nothing bad you can say about Posey in 2010. So why is he in the “Not Him” section? Well, for starters, it’s not 2010; it’s 2011. And, while that may seem obvious, an ADP of 44 suggests many people aren’t so sure. At 44, Posey has no room for error. In fact, according to most player raters (standard scoring), he’d need a modest improvement to justify a fifth-round selection. Considering he plays in a pitcher’s park and doesn’t have the benefit of occasionally being a DH, any improvement is going to be hard-earned.
Draft Him – Alex Rios. (ADP: 60) If you look up the word undervalued in the dictionary, you probably won’t find a picture of Rios. However, with an ADP of 60, I’ll assume it’s because the fine people at Merriam-Webster aren’t known for their sense of humor. Last season, Rios had 15 home runs and 23 stolen bases … before the All-Star Break! Most guys would be happy to put up those numbers in a full season. Anyone who could fit a year’s worth of production in to half a season has a chance to be great. At this price, it’s a chance I’m more than happy to take.
Not Him – David Price. (ADP: 62) Pitching is deep this year and you just took Zack Greinke last round. It’s a free site people. Somewhat more seriously, Price was great last year, but he saw his innings jump by almost 50. That increase is substantial, especially considering he’s only 25 years old. It’s going difficult to repeat his 2010 performance given this increased workload and the fact he calls the AL East home. There’s not much room for error here.
Drew is a born Yankees fan who, not surprisingly, doesn’t particularly care for the Red Sox or Mets. He does, however, have a soft spot in his heart for most small market franchises. He gets an uneasy feeling every time the Yankees overpay for latest big name, and fears they may someday begin to acquire whole teams. Drew has been playing both fantasy baseball and football for 10 years. You can catch up with Drew in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name Case Ace.
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