(This is the fantasy guide I was using. It was for auction draft strategy only. And I thought I was completely prepared.)
I don’t want to sit here and brag about my roster and sing the praises of the perfect draft like I did last year. I’ve said before on these very pages that 2011 was proof to me that you can’t judge fantasy teams on paper. You just can’t. Guys who don’t look all that appealing (I wanted nothing to do with Lance Berkman this season) can sometimes go off and pitching staffs who are full of “aces” end up floundering out. You just have to go out and play the games.
Teams also seem to look more stacked in a 10-team league. Play in a 12 or 20 team fantasy league and you won’t feel like you are loaded with studs or names.
That said, I like how yesterday went. I built the kind of team that I wanted to build. I went in prepared, I had some guys fall to me, and I made a few unique plays and calculated risks. I’m ready for this season to begin and see how these guys stack up. I think it would take an extreme run of bad luck for these guys to finish 9th out of 10 again, but never say never. I think I’m going to be closer to winning the thing than the basement.
Here’s my 2012 squad for the Summer of Sizemore League:
Catcher: Matt Wieters
First Base: Billy Butler, Gaby Sanchez
Second Base: Brandon Phillips, Danny Espinoza
Third Base: Brett Lawrie
Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins, Jhonny Peralta,
Outfield: Jason Heyward, Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Upton, Jose Tabata, Ben Revere, Bryce Harper, Michael Bourn
Analysis: You always hear about mixing in solid pros with big time youth prospects. I’ve sprinkled them all over here. The one thing I’m happy with was landing Wieters later in the draft than I thought he would be available. He’s not Johnny Bench, but I think the guy is going to be an All-Star caliber guy and it’s now or never for him. And I have another guy who it’s now or never for most likely, Jason Heyward. I probably reached on Brett Lawrie (2nd round), but I had to have him and I wouldn’t have caught him a round later I don’t believe.
Phillips and Rollins fall in the Sabathia category. Guys I never own but seem to always watch other more successful teams enjoy all season long. Now I suppose these two and Justin Upton could get hurt and I could watch this team (without one projected .300 hitter on some sites) really flame out. But I don’t think so. I’m looking at things positively and I think I got Billy Butler the year he hits 30 home runs and becomes a household name. I think I got Heyward, Wieters, and Lawrie for their breakout years. Upton and Stanton, welcome to Superstardom. Oh, and a signature move was picking up Bourn (whom I traded down the stretch last year for that Bryce Harper kid) to help in the SB category.
I have Ben Revere as a break-out candidate for those of you that want sleepers this season. Revere is going .315/40 stolen bases. And if he doesn’t, Tabata will.
Starting Pitching: CC Sabathia, Josh Johnson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Cory Luebke, Trevor Cahill, Jair Jurrjens
Analysis: I always stay away from Sabathia because in my mind he’s always “old”. He’s got a lot of mileage on him and every year he helps my opponent get his 200 K’s and around 20 wins. Need Josh Johnson or Ubaldo Jimenez to return to form. Really happy I ended up with Cory Luebke but I’m scared last year was an aberration. If I get anything in the way of a Cy Young type year out of Jurrjens or Cahill like they’ve done in their careers, look out league.
Relief Pitching: Jason Motte, Ryan Madson, Carlos Marmol, Addison Reed, David Hernandez
Analysis: I love this group. I’m high on Motte because the Cardinals are going to win some ballgames this year and I think he’s got the stuff to strike a lot of people out. That seemed to be the theme here–I wanted guys who strike a lot of people out. Also, I have the handcuffs–or at least the keys to the handcuffs in Arizona. I’m looking at guys who if they aren’t closer, the next best thing. Hernandez is going to be the incumbent. I have a strong feeling about J.J. Putz this year losing the closer job. A really strong feeling.