Thursday, March 22, 2012

Expert League: Triple Crown AL-Only

posted by Jon Williams
Earlier this week I participated in the Triple Crown Al-Only expert league auction. The league is run on CBSSports.com and is sponsored by RotoExperts.com, where I used to work.

The league includes a lot of talented writers - Dave Gawron, RotoExperts.com; Al Melchior, CBSSports.com; George Fitopoulos, Baseball Professor; Matt Torvomina, Fantasy Gameday; Steve Parsons (freelance); Nick Fleder, HardBallTimes; Keith Hernandez, KFFL; Ian Riley, RotoExperts.com; Michael Pichan, RotoInfo.com; Eric Stashin and Will Overton, RotoProfessor.com; and William Bender, Sporting News.

The Plan
I have the unfortunate distinction of coming in last two years running in this league. That will not happen again. Part of the problem has been not focusing enough on the league. bad luck also played a large role. Either way, I fully intend to do everything possible to win this league this year.

My strategy was to use my first 160-180 on as many studs as possible and save 80-100 for the middle and late round bargains. I overshot the mark on the studs and spent over 200 before reaching even the halfway point. I got caught trying to price enforce a couple of times, which is something much easier to do in a live auction. In an online auction you can't read body language and other signals that will tell you an owner is willing to go further. Lesson learned.

Still despite the budget problems I like this team much better than the ones I drafted in 2010 and 2011. I am already on the hunt for saves which I failed to acquire, not unusual for me.

C Ryan Lavarnway 1 - A very good hitter, Bobby Valentine is a big fan, he'll be a factor
C Hank Conger 1 - Not scheduled for many at-bats but Chris Ianetta has disappointed before

1B Adrian Gonzalez 36 - I didn't mean get him but I'm okay with a potential Triple Crown
3B Alberto Callapso 1 - I can't believe Mark Trumbo will last at third base, he'll get At-Bats
CR Prince Fielder 35 - I really wanted him, I think the Tigers are going to have a big year.

2B Johnny Giavotella 8 - One of my favorites, I think he'll hit for average and score tons
SS Nick Punto 1 - Not great, but hopefully he will steal bases
MI Reid Brignac 1 - he'll start the season on the DL, he used to have some potential...

OF Curtis Granderson 36 - I love him, I think he'll come close to a repeat of 2011
OF Alex Gordon 27 - I have him projected for a big year following his breakout 2011 season
OF BJ Upton 35 - His skills are coming together and its a contract year
OF Yoenis Cespedes 13 - He may start slowly but I see 25-30 homers
OF Rajai Davis 5 - Even off the bench he'll steal 20-30 bases

U Travis Hafner 1 - A solid bat in a productive Indians lineup

SP CJ Wilson 19 - My favorite for American League Cy Young
SP Brandon McCarthy 13 - If he stays healthy he'll be in the Cy talk too
SP Yu Darvish 18 - He has ace potential and I think he'll live up to it
SP Derek Lowe 1 - The strikeouts are low but he is a solid and usually dependable starter
P Blake Beavan 1 - I think he will be a lot like Lowe, Safeco helps
P Alex Cobb 1 - If he could get free he could pitch in the middle of a dozen rotations
RP David Robertson 4 - Mariano's understudy, a great pitcher
RP Scott Downs 1 - The guy I think backs up Jordon Walden
RP George Sherrill 1 - A solid relief pitcher likely to get cut for saves at some point

R1 Ryan Flaherty - The Orioles Rule V pick could be the starter at second base
R2 Brandon Inge - Fighting for a job, if he finds one he can provide some power with a low BA
R3 Kila Ka'aihue - A candidate for the first base job, he can hit
R4 Russell Branyan - If Ibanez doesn't get it together, he could get major at-bats

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