2013 True Diamonds Leagues Filled

We have filled the last of our leagues for 2013.  Many of our new owners were recruited from the ESPN boards and several long time players have joined one of our other leagues to experience a different format.  This year we added a Weekly Roto format to provide a low maintenance alternative to daily leagues.   We moved our Franchise league to CBS this year to take advantage of their minor league slots and advanced league management tools.  All other leagues are run on ESPN.  Here is the final list of leagues in the True Diamonds portfolio:

  • $80 True Diamonds H2H Points (auction, farm systems and keepers) 12 owners
  • $80 True Diamonds Roto (auction) 12 owners
  • $25 True Diamonds H2H Power (draft) 14 owners
  • $50 True Diamonds Weekly Roto (draft) 10 owners
  • True Diamonds Free Roto (draft) 12 owners

All leagues are full, most are in their second or third years.   I am taking reservations for a H2H Cats league for 2014, and that will be our final offering.

Felix and Cain Bring Pitching Back

Thanks to the 50+ happy owners who have made this venture so successful.   If you have contacted me about a league then I have added you to the list for 2014 already.  I will be posting fantasy articles on this site throughout the season.   We will also be publishing our owner rating system and owner profiles.

Good luck to everyone this season, and I will see you around the boards…

True Franchise Playoffs Preview

The final standings are set and the 2 week playoff periods begin Monday.  For the first time in league history commissioner Mick Ortwein did not make the playoffs, despite ranking 6th in scoring. The Head to Head format can be a cruel mistress. However, one owner’s bitter disappointment is another’s reward. One of the most successful teams this year is Mike Moretti’s BIGBOYS who just clinched their first American League pennant behind Miguel Cabrera, Bryce Harper and fantasy ace Johnny Cueto.

The other three representatives in the AL are Chris, Kevin and Hart. Kevin’s Time Travelers are going to sneak into second place and face Chris’ Springfield Homers in a matchup that will feature rookie sensation Mike Trout against the Travelers’ Ryan Braun. Chris would seem to have the advantage here with a more formidable lineup. Kevin’s team finished dead last in regular season points, suggesting that good fortune played a part in his second place finish.

The BIGBOYS will face Hart’s Dream Team that boasts a Yankee heavy lineup and Clayton Kershaw on the mound. It won’t be a cakewalk to beat the fourth place team, but Mike has been red hot the past few weeks and enters the playoffs riding a 9 game winning streak. Our prediction is the BIGBOYS versus the Homers for the right to play for the title. Chris has been the only representative from the American League for both True Diamonds World Series, despite losing twice to Robert. He has a chance to return for a third try.

Felix and Cain Bring Pitching Back

Craig has been here before. Winning the National League regular season title is a fine victory, but if he gets knocked out in the first round again this year it will be a hard pill to swallow. Felix Hernandez delivered the third no-hitter for the Binghamton Mets and joins Cain and Santana as part of Craig’s formidable staff. If Christa is going to pull off a miracle she’s going to need Halladay, Hanson and Josh Johnson to match the Mets start for start. Neither team has a particularly impressive offense, so the best performance between the two pitching staffs and choices on starts are going to be the difference. Will the Wesley Crushers crush?

It’s playoff time so that means Robert is ready to rock. Every time we count him out based on regular season statistics, he defies the odds and emerges from the NL to win the World Series. If he’s going to three-peat he’ll have to get by a very talented Storm County Thunder rotation. Mark has been leaning on Verlander and Weaver for the last couple of years, but it might be newcomer Chris Sale who pushes him over the top. This is the tightest matchup in the first round and could go down to the final Sunday.

All four teams are capable of getting hot for a month and advancing to the World Series, but Christa seems like the most obvious underdog since she hasn’t received dominating performances from any of her pricey pitchers and is losing the arms race. Much like in MLB, the National League is heavy on pitching and the AL is heavy on hitting. Craig is a slight favorite to unseat Robert, however it is shaping up to be a very competitive battle.

Trout For MVP

The fantasy regular season MVP votes are pretty easy to tally. It has to be Mike Trout. The guy is averaging 5.0 points a game, exceeding even Pujols’ lofty standard, which using falls in the mid-4s. His combination of speed and power produces the kind of stats our system rewards and he has shown no signs of slowing down. We could be witnessing the emergence of the best fantasy player of our generation and, at his price, Springfield’s cornerstone for years to come.

Memorial Day Standings

It’s the end of the first quarter of the season and a great time to see who jumped out of the gate with a hot Spring. As expected, all of our feature leagues have some intriguing battles raging even before the summer kicks into full gear. The early fantasy MVP race looks to go to Josh Hamilton. Click the links under the Leagues menu for more detailed summaries and standings for each league. Keep an eye on our snapshots in the right side column.

Roto Draft Results 2012

Urban Shockers (jonmarkland)
The Red Pill (mickthedude)
Where’s Carl? (solarkg)
Commander’s Palace (cdel)
Haight Ashburys (Phantasy PhD)
Team Chickensoup (zneitzel)
Chicken Fried (jebron60)
Pork Chop Express (ninja.topher)
Lucky Charms (Juice_for_Prez)
MickeyRoto (Illinois306)
Rodgers Hood (BaylorMatt7552)
Springfield Homers (blnfbbs)


The Red Pill
C Mike Napoli 20
1B Paul Goldschmidt 7
2B Rickie Weeks 13
3B Jose Bautista 42
SS Starlin Castro 18
LF Brandon Belt 1
CF Michael Bourn 29
RF Jayson Werth 13
UTIL Aramis Ramirez 18
UTIL Freddie Freeman 10
P Cliff Lee 30
P Felix Hernandez 30
P Jonathan Papelbon 12
P Tim Hudson 2
P Daniel Bard 4
P Antonio Bastardo 1
BE Mike Carp 3
BE Chris Iannetta 1
BE Brennan Boesch 1
BE Bud Norris 1
BE Brad Peacock 1
BE Drew Pomeranz 1
BE Luke Gregerson 1
BE Eric O'Flaherty 1

Springfield Homers
C Brian McCann 11
1B Joey Votto 38
2B Howard Kendrick 11
3B Evan Longoria 35
SS Marco Scutaro 2
LF Carl Crawford 15
CF Yoenis Cespedes 1
RF Hunter Pence 23
UTIL Billy Butler 16
UTIL Adam Dunn 4
P Clayton Kershaw 35
P Zack Greinke 28
P Francisco Liriano 3
P Mike Minor 5
P Chad Billingsley 2
P Clay Buchholz 2
BE Stephen Drew 1
BE Javy Guerra 5
BE Greg Holland 8
BE Justin Morneau 3
BE Alex Rios 5
BE Colby Rasmus 1
BE Kenley Jansen 4
BE Dayan Viciedo 1

The Urban Shockers
C Matt Wieters 17
1B Paul Konerko 19
2B Chase Utley 2
3B David Wright 26
SS Jose Reyes 27
LF Martin Prado 4
CF Coco Crisp 9
RF Jay Bruce 19
UTIL Ichiro Suzuki 13
UTIL Adam Jones 11
P Roy Halladay 34
P Stephen Strasburg 20
P C.J. Wilson 17
P Yu Darvish 11
P Brian Wilson 10
P Gio Gonzalez 8
BE Jesus Montero 5
BE Jamie Moyer 1
BE Francisco Cordero 1
BE Chris Davis 2
BE Allen Craig 1
BE James Loney 1
BE Koji Uehara 1
BE Carlos Quentin 1

Where's Carl?
C Carlos Santana 21
1B Adrian Gonzalez 37
2B Kelly Johnson 1
3B Mike Moustakas 3
SS Alexei Ramirez 9
LF Ryan Braun 42
CF Matt Kemp 40
RF Jason Heyward 11
UTIL Derek Jeter 6
UTIL Ryan Howard 5
P Matt Moore 15
P David Price 23
P Michael Pineda 9
P Brandon McCarthy 7
P Edwin Jackson 4
P Huston Street 8
BE Vernon Wells 1
BE Chris Sale 3
BE Brett Myers 2
BE Aaron Hill 1
BE Daniel Murphy 3
BE Mat Gamel 3
BE Sergio Romo 2
BE Addison Reed 2

Haight Ashburys
C Yadier Molina 5
1B Adam Lind 9
2B Ian Kinsler 29
3B Kevin Youkilis 15
SS Elvis Andrus 17
LF Logan Morrison 7
CF Jacoby Ellsbury 42
RF Giancarlo Stanton 27
UTIL Jemile Weeks 9
UTIL Erick Aybar 5
P Jeremy Hellickson 10
P Carlos Marmol 6
P Drew Storen 10
P Max Scherzer 14
P Heath Bell 9
P Joe Nathan 6
BE Anibal Sanchez 8
BE Gaby Sanchez 3
BE Jonathan Broxton 2
BE Matt Capps 6
BE Lorenzo Cain 2
BE Angel Pagan 6
BE Jonathon Niese 1
BE Wandy Rodriguez 12

Commander's  Palace
C A.J. Pierzynski 1
1B Prince Fielder 40
2B Neil Walker 6
3B Ryan Zimmerman 18
SS Jhonny Peralta 2
LF Brett Gardner 16
CF Andrew McCutchen 30
RF Lance Berkman 17
UTIL Josh Willingham 5
UTIL Ike Davis 4
P Dan Haren 27
P Cole Hamels 25
P Matt Cain 19
P Jordan Zimmermann 13
P Jordan Walden 11
P Matt Thornton 4
BE Nick Swisher 8
BE John Danks 1
BE Dexter Fowler 2
BE Tyler Clippard 1
BE Matt Joyce 3
BE David Robertson 1
BE Vinnie Pestano 2
BE Derek Holland 1

Chicken Fried
C J.P. Arencibia 1
1B Michael Cuddyer 15
2B Dan Uggla 21
3B Adrian Beltre 27
SS Dee Gordon 12
LF Michael Morse 14
CF Shane Victorino 15
RF Ben Zobrist 21
UTIL Carlos Lee 7
UTIL Ryan Raburn 1
P Justin Verlander 33
P Craig Kimbrel 15
P James Shields 19
P J.J. Putz 12
P Adam Wainwright 14
P Yovani Gallardo 23
BE Doug Fister 2
BE Scott Baker 2
BE J.D. Martinez 1
BE Joaquin Benoit 1
BE Hector Noesi 1
BE Felix Doubront 1
BE Francisco Rodriguez 1
BE Mark Trumbo 1

Lucky Charms
C Geovany Soto 3
1B Albert Pujols 45
2B Robinson Cano 36
3B Edwin Encarnacion 2
SS Yunel Escobar 1
LF Alfonso Soriano 1
CF Curtis Granderson 29
RF Corey Hart 11
UTIL Mark Teixeira 30
UTIL Jeff Francoeur 1
P Tim Lincecum 29
P Ian Kennedy 17
P Mariano Rivera 15
P CC Sabathia 29
P Ryan Dempster 2
P Colby Lewis 1
BE Peter Bourjos 1
BE Omar Infante 1
BE Ricky Nolasco 1
BE Wilson Ramos 1
BE Sean Rodriguez 1
BE Mitch Moreland 1
BE Kurt Suzuki 1
BE John Mayberry Jr. 1

AZ MickeyRoto
C Joe Mauer 15
1B Michael Young 15
2B Brandon Phillips 15
3B Alex Rodriguez 16
SS Jimmy Rollins 17
LF Matt Holliday 20
CF B.J. Upton 14
RF Nelson Cruz 19
UTIL Andre Ethier 14
UTIL Nick Markakis 3
P Jered Weaver 26
P Jon Lester 21
P Rafael Betancourt 8
P Jason Motte 9
P Jose Valverde 9
P Shaun Marcum 7
BE Kyle Farnsworth 6
BE Ted Lilly 2
BE Ervin Santana 9
BE Grant Balfour 7
BE Aroldis Chapman 3
BE Jason Kubel 1
BE David Freese 2
BE Danny Espinosa 2

Mr. Rodgers Hood
C Miguel Montero 7
1B Carlos Pena 2
2B Ryan Roberts 4
3B Emilio Bonifacio 10
SS Troy Tulowitzki 36
LF Alex Gordon 21
CF Melky Cabrera 7
RF Carlos Beltran 13
UTIL Hanley Ramirez 34
UTIL Delmon Young 3
P Mat Latos 12
P Tommy Hanson 10
P Ubaldo Jimenez 20
P Josh Johnson 24
P Johnny Cueto 4
P Justin Masterson 4
BE Raul Ibanez 1
BE Frank Francisco 5
BE Jonny Venters 3
BE Chris Perez 8
BE Mark Reynolds 13
BE Cameron Maybin 9
BE Jim Johnson 5
BE Mike Adams 5

I'm Bill James Bitch
C Alex Avila 6
1B Miguel Cabrera 42
2B Dustin Pedroia 35
3B Pablo Sandoval 20
SS Asdrubal Cabrera 13
LF Carlos Gonzalez 32
CF Josh Hamilton 23
RF Torii Hunter 4
UTIL David Ortiz 9
UTIL Drew Stubbs 10
P Daniel Hudson 13
P John Axford 11
P Hiroki Kuroda 6
P Matt Garza 9
P Jaime Garcia 8
P Sean Marshall 7
BE Chris Carpenter 3
BE Neftali Feliz 3
BE Johan Santana 1
BE Mike Aviles 1
BE Fernando Salas 1
BE Alfredo Aceves 1
BE Joel Peralta 1
BE Ben Revere 1

Porkchop Express
C Buster Posey 6
1B Eric Hosmer 19
2B Jason Kipnis 9
3B Brett Lawrie 19
SS J.J. Hardy 7
LF Desmond Jennings 12
CF Chris Young 14
RF Justin Upton 33
UTIL Shin-Soo Choo 13
UTIL Kendrys Morales 13
P Madison Bumgarner 15
P Ricky Romero 11
P Josh Beckett 11
P Joel Hanrahan 8
P Brandon Beachy 11
P Cory Luebke 8
BE Andrew Bailey 9
BE Brandon League 8
BE Lucas Duda 2
BE Sergio Santos 7
BE Brandon Morrow 14
BE Ryan Doumit 1
BE Dustin Ackley 9
BE David Hernandez 1

Franchise League 2012 Schedule

The 2012 head-to-head schedule for the Franchise League has been released. Each team plays 12 games in the division and 6 games outside of the division. The top 4 teams from each league play in their own the playoffs before meeting in the World Series. Each playoff round is 2 weeks long and the GS limit is doubled to 18 games.

AL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Blouses Ham Drm Far Big Hmr Chm Trv Ham Bea
BIGBOYS Hmr Ham Thu Bls Trv Far Drm Hmr Chm
Travelers Drm Hmr Ath Ham Big Thu Bls Drm Far
Ham Bls Big Cru Trv Drm Ath Hmr Bls Thu
Homers Big Trv Bea Drm Bls Cru Ham Big Ath
Dream Trv Bls Chm Hmr Ham Bea Big Trv Cru
NL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Fargo Bea Thu Bls Ath Chm Big Cru Bea Trv
Thunder Ath Far Big Chm Cru Trv Bea Ath Ham
Athletics Thu Cru Trv Far Bea Ham Chm Thu Hmr
Crushers Chm Ath Ham Bea Thu Hmr Far Chm Drm
Bears Far Chm Hmr Cru Ath Drm Thu Far Bls
Champions Cru Bea Drm Thu Far Bls Ath Cru Big

AL 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Blouses Big Drm Cru Hmr Ath Trv Thu Big Ham
BIGBOYS Bls Ham Bea Trv Cru Drm Ath Bls Hmr
Travelers Ham Hmr Chm Big Bea Bls Cru Ham Drm
Ham Trv Big Far Drm Chm Hmr Bea Trv Bls
Homers Drm Trv Thu Bls Far Ham Chm Drm Big
Dream Hmr Bls Ath Ham Thu Big Far Hmr Trv
NL 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Fargo Thu Ath Ham Cru Hmr Bea Drm Thu Chm
Thunder Far Chm Hmr Bea Drm Ath Bls Far Cru
Athletics Cru Far Drm Chm Bls Thu Big Cru Bea
Crushers Ath Bea Bls Far Big Chm Trv Ath Thu
Bears Chm Cru Big Thu Trv Far Ham Chm Ath
Champions Bea Thu Trv Ath Ham Cru Hmr Bea Far

Power League 2012 Schedule

The 2012 head-to-head schedule for the Power League has been released. Each team plays 12 games in the division and 8 games outside of the division. The top 4 teams from each league play in their own the playoffs before meeting in the World Series.

AL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Texas Bal Cal Atl Bos Sfo TB Min Oak Az Bal
Baltimore Tex Min Bos Cal Atl Az Oak TB Chi Tex
Boston Oak TB Bal Tex Cin Cal Col Min Sfo TB
Oakland Bos Sfo Cal TB Mia Min Bal Tex Col Cal
Minnesota Cal Bal TB Mia Col Oak Tex Bos Atl Chi
California Min Tex Oak Bal Chi Bos TB Cin Mia Oak
Tampa Bay Chi Bos Min Oak Az Tex Cal Bal Cin Bos
NL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Atlanta Az Chi Tex Cin Bal Mia Sfo Col Min Az
Arizona Atl Cin Chi Col TB Bal Mia Sfo Tex Atl
Colorado Sfo Mia Cin Az Min Chi Bos Atl Oak Cin
San Francisco Col Oak Mia Chi Tex Cin Atl Az Bos Mia
Miami Cin Col Sfo Min Oak Atl Az Chi Cal Sfo
Cincinnati Mia Az Col Atl Bos Sfo Chi Cal TB Col
Chicago TB Atl Az Sfo Cal Col Cin Mia Bal Min

AL 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Texas Cal Mia Cin TB Chi Min Atl Bos Col Oak
Baltimore Min Cin Mia Cal Col Bos Cin TB Oak Sfo
Boston Oak Chi Az Atl Mia Bal Sfo Tex Min Cal
Oakland Bos Az Atl Min Az TB Chi Cin Bal Tex
Minnesota Bal Sfo Col Oak Cin Tex Az Cal Bos TB
California Tex Atl Chi Bal Sfo Az Col Min TB Bos
Tampa Bay Mia Col Sfo Tex Atl Oak Mia Bal Cal Min
NL 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Atlanta Chi Cal Oak Bos TB Cin Tex Mia Sfo Col
Arizona Col Oak Bos Chi Oak Cal Min Sfo Cin Mia
Colorado Az TB Min Sfo Bal Mia Cal Chi Tex Atl
San Francisco Cin Min TB Col Cal Chi Bos Az Atl Bal
Miami TB Tex Bal Cin Bos Col TB Atl Chi Az
Cincinnati Sfo Bal Tex Mia Min Atl Bal Oak Az Chi
Chicago Atl Bos Cal Az Tex Sfo Oak Col Mia Cin

Power Surge

The first True Diamonds draft of the year is only 10 days away, and it is time to start thinking about strategy. The reason the Power league is so popular is that the scoring is so simple. You don’t have to focus on roster positions since there are just 4 infielders, 4 outfielders and 1 utility spot. The only hitting categories that count are HR, RBI, K and BB. It is all about taking it deep. Homers are worth 10 points, RBI are worth 3 and BB and K are worth plus or minus 1. Any batter who can score 4 points a game is a clear first rounder. With Ryan Howard wearing a boot that leaves 11 players as elite (4.0+) power hitters.

Albert Pujols, LAA IF
Jose Bautista, Tor IF/OF
Adrian Gonzalez, Bos IF
Mark Teixeira, NYY IF
Evan Longoria, TB IF
Miguel Cabrera, Det IF
Ryan Braun, Mil OF
Troy Tulowitzki, Col IF
Prince Fielder, Det IF
Adrian Beltre, Tex IF
Paul Konerko, CWS IF

Any of these guys are excellent first round picks, but only Bautista and Braun qualify as outfielders. In the next tier of hitters (3.0-3.9) the positions are fairly split. You’ll find Votto, Cano and Berkman all clustered around the high 3s. This is where Stanton, Granderson, Hamilton and Cruz make their appearance. It is very likely you will be able to snag a powerful outfielder in the second round to go with a Longoria or Konerko if you find yourself somewhere in the #10 to #14 draft position.

After three rounds you should have your top 2 bats and one ace starter. That leaves 7 batter slots to go. Projecting accurate power numbers on the pack of remaining players and making shrewd matchup substitutions will win this league. You need to pay attention to the opposing pitchers and ballparks to maximize the lower half of your roster.

The biggest challenge in the draft is deciding when to pick each of your starting pitchers. You have to build a staff that will spread your starts to cover each day of the week. There is only one SP slot. Otherwise you risk having two aces on the same day and have to sit one of them. While it is true that rotations stagger during the year, you’d be surprised how often the #1 starters on different teams pitch the same day. The best approach is to plan to grab quality #2 and #3 starters and a couple of top closers. It’s not a bad strategy to get the top 3 pitchers from the same team.

There are a dozen power starting pitchers who will score 600+ points a season and average between 18-20 points per appearance. The point system awards strikeouts and quality starts. These guys are comparable in value to late first round hitters and should not be overlooked in the second round:

Justin Verlander, Det SP
Clayton Kershaw, LAD SP
Felix Hernandez, Sea SP
Zack Greinke, Mil SP
Tim Lincecum, SF SP
Yovani Gallardo, Mil SP
Cliff Lee, Phi SP
Dan Haren, LAA SP
Roy Halladay, Phi SP
Jered Weaver, LAA SP
James Shields, TB SP
CC Sabathia, NYY SP

While you should target one of these guys, you probably do not want two or you may end up looking around for a trade. Once you pick your ace you should compliment him with a Matt Cain, Cole Hamels or Matt Moore for a 1-2 punch. If you can pick the #2 from the same team, even better. No one can argue with Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. A certain amount of streaming is encouraged in this league, but don’t count on quality arms on waivers when so many teams will be searching. You should plan to snag at least 4 starting pitchers at the draft.

2012 Rookie Draft

The 2012 four round Prospect Draft in our Franchise League is over and 13 picks were made the first day. The owners kept a spirited pace and we finished the entire draft in one weekend. Starting pitcher Yu Darvish was the clear #1 selection, and Casey wasted no time making the Rangers’ prize acquisition the top fantasy pick. Four catchers were selected by the end of round two, foreshadowing an exciting generation of future backstops. When the dust settled the farm system consisted of 21 pitchers and 27 hitters to start the season. Players can be taxied to and from the minors during the year, as each owner sees fit.

K – keeper from 2011     @ – acquired through trade     3.2 – third round, second pick

Fargo Fireballers (Casey)
K Jacob Turner, SP, Tigers #18
1.1 Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers #4
2.1 Yonder Alonso, 1B/OF, Padres #28
3.1 Danny Hultzen, SP, Seattle #25

Time Travelers (Kevin)
1.2 Jesus Montero, C, Mariners #9
2.2 Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals #20
K@ Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates #16
4.2 Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs #27

Bad News Bears (Dave)
1.3 Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati #12
2.3 Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox #30
3.3 Drew Pomeranz, SP, Rockies #21
4.3 Starling Marte, OF, Pirates #64

Rum Ham (Gage)
K Shelby Miller, SP, Cardinals #6
1.4 Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Athletics #17
2.4 Jarrod Parker, SP, Athletics #22
3.4 Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians #46

Dream Team (Euhart)
K Kyle Gibson, SP, Twins
1.5 Tyler Skaggs, SP, Diamondbacks #23
2.5 Manny Banuelos, SP, Yankees #45
3.5 Carlos Martinez, SP, Cardinals #33

Game…Blouses (Mick)
K Matt Moore, SP, Rays #2
K Randall Delgado, SP, Braves #41
1.6 Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers #5
2.6 Archie Bradley, SP, Diamondbacks #24

Storm County Thunder (Mark)
K Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins #31
K Julio Teheran, SP, Braves #10
1.7 Trevor Bauer, SP, Diamondbacks #7
2.7 Addison Reed, RP, White Sox #44

Chatham A’s (Craig)
1.8 Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies #13
2.8 Dylan Bundy, SP, Orioles #19
3.2@ Zach Wheeler, SP, Mets #36
3.8 Matt Harvey, SP, Mets #35

Duh Winning! (Christa)
1.9 Arodys Vizcaino, SP, Braves #32
2.9 Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins #34
3.9 Taijuan Walker, SP, Mariners #15
4.9 Zack Cozart, SS, Reds

Sicilian Bigboys (Mike)
K Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals #1
K Manny Machado, SS, Orioles #8
K J Singleton, 1B, Astros #47
1.10 Anthony Gose, OF Blue Jays #51

Springfield Homers (Chris)
K Wil Myers, C, Royals #14
K Mike Trout OF, Angels #3
1.11 Bubba Starling, OF, Royals #38
2.11 Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates #11

Damascus Medias Rojas (Robert)
K Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs #37
1.12 Travis d’Arnaud, C, Blue Jays #26
2.12 Jake Odorizzi, SP, Royals #60
3.12 Mike Montgomery, SP, Royals #101

Refer to Top 120 Prospects for rankings.

Going The Extra Five

Rather than go through some boring rookie rankings or sleeper lists that you can find on any typical preseason blog, I thought I would dedicate some words to guys I will be overpaying for this season. Let me repeat myself. I am going to overpay for these players. Weird, huh? Well I have long held the theory that you do not win leagues by getting steals, but rather by making your premium players count. I would rather secure guys I think will have big seasons than worry if I saved a buck on Jeff Francoeur. Furthermore, I think I can buy all of the guys on my list with a $260 budget in a 12 team league, assuming none of my competitors read this ahead of time. This is a realistic squad and I challenge you to build it.

C Carlos Santana

I recognize he is at the top of most catcher lists, but I selected him because I think he should be taken before you would normally take a catcher. I think he is far enough ahead of the rest of the field that I would go the extra 5 bucks and make him my guy. His OBP is going to reflect in his average this year and he will pound 30 homers.

1B Eric Hosmer

First base is the deepest position. Hosmer, believe it or not, is not ranked in the top 10 due to his age and the quality bats at this position. Therefore it makes sense to gamble on a guy with a lot of upside. If I can not get him then I will take Freeman.

Eric Hosmer

2B Ian Kinsler

I have to go with a star at 2B because there is a big dropoff after the top tier. He has to have speed and he has to get on base. Kinsler had the fewest strikeouts of any 2B with over 500 ABs last year. I am betting that he stays healthy and secures my middle infield.

3B Ryan Zimmerman

Of all the busts last year at third base, and there were a lot of them, I believe in the 26 year old Zimmerman the most. He will probably be a little underpriced, so I will scare my competitors and bid until they drop. I think the Nationals are going to put together a very competitive season and a healthy Zimmerman is a lock for 30-100.

SS Elvis Andrus

This has as much to do with opportunity as anything else. Texas is going to score runs in bunches and Andrus will be much cheaper than the big names ranked ahead of him. I like to grab at least 40 stolen bases at shortstop and he is a guy I believe I can count on to perform. Gordon has a higher upside, but Andrus is a lock.

OF Jason Heyward

Call this one a hunch, but this is my post-hype player of the year. I saw this guy play up close, and the only thing stopping this guy from being a Triple Crown winner is attitude. If he matures as expected then this 22 year old is going to make a lot of owners happy in 2012.

OF Mike Stanton

Outside of Bautista no one has more power than Stanton. I can live with one sub-par average in my lineup, and I expect the Marlins to put a lot of men on base. He is the guy who is going to benefit from a faster leadoff man, not Hanley Ramirez.

Mike Stanton Power Surge

OF Hunter Pence

As a long time Astros fan I know what this guy can do, even in a weak lineup. As he settles into his first full year in Philly, he is going to benefit from the aging veterans who need an emotional spark to make it back to the World Series. His hustle will keep his average over .300 and he will balance out Stanton’s whiffs. He is a good fit for this lineup.

UT Paul Goldschmidt

I am running out of money and I need a bargain player who can fill in at 1B and provide the production you would expect from an extra bat. This guy could be Stanton-light, and hitting in Arizona will only increase his power numbers. He is the cheapest sleeper on my list.

SP Felix Hernandez

I believe in the staff anchor. I thought about all the other premium starters but I settled on Hernandez because he pitches in a park where it is difficult to give up the home run, and he has a young arm with plenty of consistency. I will have to cross my fingers that he can record 15 wins, but the other numbers will be money.

SP Matt Cain

Call this guy Mr. Bread and Butter. Cain helps you across the board and is the definition of an innings eater.

SP Neftali Feliz

I am one of the few who does not fear his lack of major league workload. I hope this makes him a bargain at the draft. I consider him my riskiest pick, but I think he will get the cheap wins to make up for Hernandez.

SP Matt Moore

I do not care how much I pay, this guy is going to be worth it. I like him better than Strasburg and he has been on my radar for months. I have to see him through.

SP Brandon Beachy

Atlanta is wonderful pitcher’s park and Beachy is the best #4 starter in the National League. He will have easy matchups and a good defense behind him. He is a nice filler for my staff.

RP J.J. Putz

The Diamondbacks are my sleeper pick to win the NL West and I think Putz is a solid closer in the prime of his career. I believe he will be the steady force I need to feel secure about my bullpen while taking a chance on a young gun like Jansen.

RP Kenley Jansen

I have had my eye on him for a year and when he wins the closer job he is going to be a brutal force on the mound. This is a pure power pitcher who is made for the role. Even though the Dodgers will not win often, I think he will get 30+ saves.

Two More Prize Leagues

Hi Sports Fans and True Diamonds Fanatics!  I hope you had a good off season. Stephen Strasburg did. He tops the list of comeback candidates for 2012.

Strasburg Leads Comeback Candidates
We are running three money leagues this year, the True Diamond Franchise, Power, and Roto Leagues. The rules are provided at the links below:

The Franchise league is in its third year and all 12 owners are returning. If you would like to get on a waiting list, then email gamedriven@gmail.com and I will add you. This league is an elaborate auction league with 8 keepers, FAAB and minor league draft. If I get enough interest then I will run a second Franchise league next year. You must be insanely committed to be awarded a Franchise. These are very coveted properties.

The Power league is converting to a money league this year. I expect many returning owners, but there are still a few open spots. The premise here is that you have 9 generic batters and a single SP slot. The points are concentrated on homers and strikeouts. It was our most popular league last year.

The Roto league brings back the category fun that started Fantasy Baseball in the first place. It’s a 6×6 league with QS and BB added to the standard categories.  There is a strict 162 GP limit on each batter and 162 soft cap on GS.   We use CF, LF, RF and a deep bench. This league will have 12 to 14 teams. There is a fresh auction each year.