ReviewMarch 6, 2011

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Defending the Cafe: The Roto Arcade Pro-Am Preview - 6 comments

By R.J. White

Three Cafe veterans were invited to participate in this year’s Roto Arcade Pro-Am, hosted by Andy Behrens of Yahoo! Along with myself, WaCougMBS and Aquaman2342 will attempt to defend the Cafe’s honor and win the annual Pro-Am league. The auction for the league was held Wednesday, February 23, and the early verdict has the Cafe competitors looking strong in this head-to-head league.

Each of the 14 teams was given $260 to make a 27-man roster. Rosters must contain the normal 14/9 hitter/pitcher split as well as a four-man bench. Host Andy Behrens will be writing a full preview of the Pro-Am league, which we will link as soon as it’s ready. For now, here’s the Cafe representatives’ lineups.

Aquaman2342’s Team

PosNom PickName$
C10Joe Mauer (Min – C)$25
C211Jesus Montero (NYY – C)$1
1B11Miguel Cabrera (Det – 1B)$45
2B54Dan Uggla (Atl – 2B)$25
3B143Michael Cuddyer (Min – 1B,3B,OF)$7
SS46Ian Desmond (Was – SS)$11
CI120Carlos Peña (ChC – 1B)$9
MI247Eric Young (Col – 2B,OF)$2
OF128Álex Ríos (CWS – OF)$18
OF113Curtis Granderson (NYY – OF)$13
OF112Nick Markakis (Bal – OF)$12
OF142Carlos Quentin (CWS – OF)$8
OF200Travis Snider (Tor – OF)$5
UT253Alex Gordon (KC – 3B,OF)$3
P62Félix Hernández (Sea – SP)$27
P147Francisco Liriano (Min – SP)$14
P86Max Scherzer (Det – SP)$13
P167Trevor Cahill (Oak – SP)$6
P290Jonny Venters (Atl – RP)$3
P303Daniel Bard (Bos – RP)$2
P283Derek Holland (Tex – SP)$2
P293Brandon Webb (Tex – SP)$1
P306Clayton Richard (SD – SP)$1
BN337Garrett Jones (Pit – 1B,OF)$1
BN317Edwin Encarnación (Tor – 3B)$1
BN328Wade Davis (TB – SP)$1
BN345Joaquín Benoit (Det – RP)$1

Post-auction moves: Traded Quentin for Ben Zobrist (1B/2B/OF).

Aqua went after big bats early, snagging first-round nominations Joe Mauer and Miguel Cabrera back-to-back for a total of $70. After picking up Ian Desmond at a solid price, Aqua then added Dan Uggla and Felix Hernandez for another $52 combined. Having no outfielders after 100 players were off the board, he then grabbed the quartet of Nick Markakis, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin for a total of $51. He picked up Francisco Liriano and Max Scherzer to support King Felix, the ace of the team. After that, Aqua looked for bargains, spending the majority of the remainder of his funds on Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Pena, Trevor Cahill and Travis Snider. Here’s what he has to say about his team.

I didn’t go into the auction with any real set strategy. I had players targeted, but when drafting with a bunch of experts I think you have to throw most strategies out the window. The one thing I tried to make a point of was to nominate players that I knew other drafters were fond of.

I knew pitching would be cheap, but I didn’t think I’d find players at the prices I ended up purchasing them at. To me, Halladay and Felix are 1a and 1b, and to get Felix at $27 compared to $32 was great, and the five dollars I saved there allowed me to fill out my rotation and pick up a couple handcuffs who will help my ratios. Getting Liriano at $14 was even more ridiculous. I had read rumblings of a possible trade to New York before the draft, and if that was to occur his value could potentially go through the roof. Scherzer at $13 is a solid No. 2 fantasy starter with the potential to yield No. 1 numbers. Getting those three allowed me to take a chance on a guy like Webb late. I also felt the closer prices were very inflated and figured that between Venters, Benoit and Bard I might eventually have two closers in there somewhere. I don’t mind scouring the wire in pursuit of saves anyway.

I initially regretted dropping $25 on Uggla, but the thing about him is that you know what you’re getting; an almost guaranteed 30 bombs from my 2B slot is very valuable. I also really liked getting Desmond as my starting SS. Potential 20/20 candidate. He was a bit expensive, but SS was ruined after Geoffrey Stein (of MFL) spent $62 on Hanley Ramirez.

Overall, I liked my team a lot more than I thought I would. Mauer (please stay healthy) and Cabrera are a great core to build around, allowing me to take on guys like Pena and Uggla. I’d rather be power-heavy than speed heavy.

WaCougMBS’s Team

PosNom PickName$
C43J.P. Arencibia (Tor – C)$6
C187John Jaso (TB – C)$1
1B21Joey Votto (Cin – 1B)$42
2B77Ian Kinsler (Tex – 2B)$24
3B80Mark Reynolds (Bal – 3B)$11
SS355Álex González (Atl – SS)$1
CI284David Freese (StL – 3B)$3
MI127Gordon Beckham (CWS – 2B)$11
OF20Carl Crawford (Bos – OF)$38
OF13Jason Heyward (Atl – OF)$24
OF48Jayson Werth (Was – OF)$23
OF372Jonny Gomes (Cin – OF)$1
OF341Chris Coghlan (Fla – OF)$1
UT332Peter Bourjos (LAA – OF)$1
P101Josh Johnson (Fla – SP)$21
P38Roy Oswalt (Phi – SP)$19
P153Wandy Rodríguez (Hou – SP)$11
P162Javier Vázquez (Fla – SP,RP)$7
P145Ervin Santana (LAA – SP)$4
P243Erik Bedard (Sea – SP)$3
P311Evan Meek (Pit – RP)$2
P321Tyler Clippard (Was – RP)$1
P360Brian Fuentes (Oak – RP)$1
BN349Dustin Ackley (Sea – OF)$1
BN363Danny Valencia (Min – 3B)$1
BN366Chris Johnson (Hou – 3B)$1
BN369Mike Moustakas (KC – 3B)$1

Post-auction moves: Dropped Chris Johnson, Moustakas and Fuentes for Ryan Madson (RP), Kyle Drabek (SP) and Brad Hawpe (1B/OF).

WaCougMBS went after stud outfielders early, landing Jason Heyward at the top of the second nominating round and Carl Crawford just seven picks later. The two elite OFs cost Coug $62 but gave him two of the leagues’ top-ten players at the position. Joey Votto was nominated just after Crawford, and Coug rode the adrenaline to land Votto for $42. I was targeting Roy Oswalt, whom Coug refused to let me have at a reasonable price, snatching up the ace at $19. He would later pair Oswalt with Josh Johnson for $21. Coug bought into the J.P. Arencibia hype, paying $6 to add the young catcher. A few picks later, Coug added another top-ten OF by paying $23 for Jayson Werth. After resting for a bit, Coug spent $35 adding Ian Kinsler and Mark Reynolds within a couple picks. After mid-round pickups of Gordon Beckham, Wandy Rodriguez, Javier Vazquez and Ervin Santana, Coug had precious few dollars left and precious little time left at the auction. The last handful of his picks were made by the computer, which was evident when he made three pickups after players cleared waivers. Let’s here how he felt the auction went.

Winning high-priced players Crawford and Votto back-to-back early in the draft definitely had a huge impact on how my draft went from the early going. Both guys were targets, and while neither were true bargains I got them at or below what I was willing to pay for them, securing a nice foothold in all five categories with ostensibly two “first-rounders”.

After sprinkling in Kinsler, Heyward and Werth at decent prices, I was pretty much out of money for hitters, as Beckham, Reynolds and Arencibia were the only other non $1-2 offensive players I won. After the first two, I was kind of committed to a “stars and scrubs” approach – something I’ve never tried – so I allocated enough money for two top 20 arms (Josh Johnson and Oswalt) and then more arms in the $6-11 range (Vazquez, E. Santana and W. Rodriguez).

I got caught raising the price up on Oswalt pretty early on and paid about $3 more than I wanted in winning him for $18, as I hit bid a second after someone else had changed the increment; it cost me a few extra bucks. That said, I really like him and think he still has the skill set and opportunity in Philly to at least break even with a bid like this. In a 14-teamer, I’m comfortable with him as a solid No. 2 for his ratios and wins upside (especially with the Ks upside I bought later on).

I really didn’t plan on a guy like Arencibia being my main option at backstop, but with that said I think he has strong upside for a top-10 finish at C this year. Six dollars is not bad for his power upside at all, especially after I spent so much before considering adding a catcher and that I was out of the market for the Napolis and Monteros of the draft. He and Jaso might only get me (combined) what Buster Posey can do alone, but you have to sacrifice somewhere and I’m not unhappy with getting these two for $7 total.

The auction drug on about an hour too long for me to finish pulling off the draft-while-at-work strategy I was employing, so eventually when I had about $11 left for nine spots with no end in sight, I had to abandon the quest to go after my own $1 scrubs. The computer made a weird move, grabbing me four young third basemen (Moustakas, Valencia and C. Johnson for $1 and David Freese for $3), but other than that and a weird Brian Fuentes sighting, the computer admirably filled my pitcher spots with some solid RPs like Clippard, Meek and Madson (I punted saves, not really by choice at first), and my OF with some guys I didn’t hate like Ackley, Bourjos and Coghlan. I later flipped some of the 3Bs for some upside in Kyle Drabek and bench depth in Brad Hawpe, and now I’m ready to play this thing out and cull the wire to better fill the end of my roster.

Daullaz’s Team

PosNom PickName$
C1Buster Posey (SF – C,1B)$22
C192John Buck (Fla – C)$2
1B33Kendry Morales (LAA – 1B)$26
2B35Robinson Canó (NYY – 2B)$38
3B150Casey McGehee (Mil – 3B)$14
SS2Jimmy Rollins (Phi – SS)$21
CI314Scott Rolen (Cin – 3B)$1
MI310Jason Bartlett (SD – SS)$2
OF137Hunter Pence (Hou – OF)$19
OF72Grady Sizemore (Cle – OF)$9
OF209Vernon Wells (LAA – OF)$9
OF156Torii Hunter (LAA – OF)$7
OF325Raúl Ibañez (Phi – OF)$1
UT334Josh Willingham (Oak – OF)$1
P14Roy Halladay (Phi – SP)$32
P49Jon Lester (Bos – SP)$23
P139Brett Anderson (Oak – SP)$10
P234Huston Street (Col – RP)$5
P298Koji Uehara (Bal – RP)$4
P231C.J. Wilson (Tex – SP)$2
P248John Lackey (Bos – SP)$2
P270Scott Baker (Min – SP)$2
P309Jake Peavy (CWS – SP)$2
BN262Matt Capps (Min – RP)$1
BN289Carl Pavano (Min – SP)$2
BN302Brandon League (Sea – RP)$1
BN343Octavio Dotel (Tor – RP)$2

Post-auction moves: Traded League for Derrek Lee (1B).

I certainly didn’t intend on adding the first two players nominated, but I felt Posey was a big bargain at $22 in a two-catcher league. Rollins also eventually wound up being a bargain in my eyes, going for $10 less than Jose Reyes and just $3 more than Alexei Ramirez.

Not shying away after adding the first two players, I refused to give up the bid on Roy Halladay, adding fantasy’s best pitcher for $32. I would then add a second ace a bit later by paying $23 for Jon Lester. I did anticipate there being quality starters later in the draft, but I wanted to have two aces to balance the ups and downs cheap SPs are likely to go through.

First basemen predictably went fast, and after I saw that Kendry Morales was the only top option remaining, I spend a couple extra bucks bringing him into the fold. He’s still recovering from injury, but he had Kevin Youkilis-like numbers two seasons ago, and was on his way to topping them last season before his freak injury. I anticipate a nice bounce-back campaign.

Two picks later, I saw the top 2B in the land go up for auction. Looking at the prices of other “first-round” picks, Cano seemed to be a nice pickup at $38. Chase Utley only went for $1 cheaper four picks later. Between Cano, Posey, Morales and Rollins, I knew I had the makings of an excellent infield but that my outfield would suffer.

After overspending on Grady Sizemore early (my biggest regret), I grabbed Hunter Pence to be my top outfielder. I eventually went after veterans Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells to give me cheap production at the position, paying a total of $16 for the pair. This group needs one more strong bat, but I’m confident my pitching surplus will allow me to add that outfielder down the line. Until then, Raul Ibanez and Josh Willingham should be serviceable.

After playing it mostly quiet in the middle part of the auction, I saved up enough extra money to be able to grab key targets when most other managers couldn’t manage counterbids, including potential top-of-the-line starters John Lackey, Jake Peavy, C.J. Wilson, Scott Baker and Carl Pavano at $2 each. If three of the five pan out, I have an excellent six-man rotation (along with Halladay, Lester and Brett Anderson). If four excel, I could win all the pitching categories except for saves.

I feel those starters will give me some trade ammunition to support any weakness I have on offense. I already swung one deal, adding underrated veteran Derrek Lee, who should be an above-average corner infielder in our 14 team league.

How do you feel the Cafe competitors did in the Roto Arcade Pro-Am auction? Let us know in the comments section.

R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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6 Responses to “Defending the Cafe: The Roto Arcade Pro-Am Preview”

  1. User avatar AquaMan2342 says:

    I like Aqua’s team the most.

  2. User avatar AquaMan2342 says:


  3. Hamels4CY says:

    I really hope your boy EE has a big season. Im relying on him in my deep 16 team league.

  4. User avatar MashinSpuds says:

    Pretty good job, guys. Aqua and Daullaz look ready to go while WaCoug may have to get on the trade market to bring in some more power.

    I’m a little surprised at the closer situation and would be interested in seeing the list of values that they went for. Of the three teams, only one closer was taken in Street. However, Street only fetched $5. How did he go for that cheaply if Aqua commented that the closer prices were inflated?

  5. I played in the Pro-Am last year and was really surprised that people were willing to shell out a premium for closers when holds were counted. Even Grey from Razzball paid close to $20 for Broxton that time. I wound up punting saves entirely and spent a total of $4 on RP.

  6. User avatar daullaz says:

    For what it’s worth, holds aren’t counted this year.


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