Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 Draft Results: First Basemen Targeted

If you are new to the world of fantasy baseball, you should be very aware that first base is traditionally a position of great depth filled with some of the most impactful players. Heading into the 2011 season, this still holds true. is showing 10 of the top 50 players being drafted currently qualify as first basemen. If your league uses a corner infielder (CI or 1B/3B), extra infielder (IF), designated hitter (DH) or even a utility slot (UTIL) or two, there's a great opportunity to add one or more of these highly coveted players.

I went into all of my drafts having some players within the different tiers of first basemen as targets but draft position was really going to determine who I grabbed in the early rounds and how that would shape my entire roster. I wound up drafting 1st, 6th, 8th and 7th in my four snake drafts which meant three of my four drafts would have a lot of familiar I thought.

But before getting to the snake draft results, I wanted to talk about my online auction draft, which had me aggressively biding for the players I deemed "must have" and produced some interesting results:
I was in on all of the big name first basemen (Pujols, Miggy, AGon, etc) early but wound up bailing when I realized the prices were going to go a lot higher than I was willing to go. That strategy allowed me to focus in on and win such big names as Tulo ($39) and CarGo ($34) and drop down into the next tier of players and outbid everyone for a nice Dunn/Konerko duo to fill my 1B and CI roster slots. Moreland was a definite "sleeper" target while  Johnson was simply a late-round flier to add some possible depth to my bench, IF he wins the starting job in Tampa Bay. There were 390 players drafted in this league, so I fell pretty confident in what I was able to acquire and look forward to putting this plan into action.

Snake drafts definitely allow you to focus in on player tiers a little easier than an auction because most people are choosing from the best available ranked players (minus the ones you know will be autopicked). And here are the results of my four snake drafts for players that currently qualify at first base (draft pick in parenthesis):
Okay, so I may have a man-crush on Adam Dunn. What's not to love about a guy that can crush 40 bombs in his sleep? The possibility of a devastatingly low batting average will always be there but I try to balance that out on my roster with a player that might offset the two categories where Dunn won't help you much these days (batting average and stolen bases). I believe so heavily in this strategy that one of the first fantasy baseball articles I ever had the opportunity to write was titled "Surviving Adam Dunn" in August of 2008.

The league where the only first baseman I drafted was the best one, Pujols, was a lot shallower than the other three and I was able to grab the versatile Michael Young (97) for my CI slot and heavily invest in quality outfielders in the early rounds; Matt Kemp (24), Ichiro Suzuki (48), Jayson Werth (49) and Hunter Pence (73).

Heavily investing three very late-round picks in Brandon Belt ("sleeper"?) seemed worth the upside risk of him becoming this season's Buster Posey. There's still a chance he will break camp with the Giants and receive a ton of playing time but, if not, June could be more realistic for his arrival. Either way, I was willing to take a shot to see how the first few weeks of the season play out and whether or not Belt will bring me any value on this relatively inexpensive investment.

Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez are similar offensive players (.270/20/80) and the best available to fill a roster need in the middle rounds. Period. I may not be overly excited to own either but I think, at the end of the year, their steady production will prove to be valuable to the overall success of my teams.

Similarly to my catcher targets, my teams have a lot of commonalities on purpose. One, it makes it easier to manage multiple teams when it comes to injuries or slumps and two, these are the players I am most interested in following. The goal of all of my teams is to win (especially the one money league I decided to join) but I also enjoy having fun as a fan of the game of baseball.

What strategies did you use when it came to drafting players that qualified at first base? What unique settings does your league have in place that made some players more favorable than others? Do you change strategies based on a classic rotisserie league versus a head-to-head scoring league? Please feel free to comment on my players or share your personal experiences when looking back on your draft(s) outcomes.

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