Manning for MVDbag

Peyton’s current world tour spectacle has reached LeBron Jamesian proportions, and I don’t care for it.  He travels from city to city, dangles his junk in front of millions of  hopeful fans… and leaves.  He leaves prospective football teams hanging out to dry with their Plan B quarterbacks – AWKWARD!  And he leaves fans (one of my friends, yeah that’s right a friend of mine, she – I mean he was a really really big fan!) betrayed and bewildered at why Peyton possibly wouldn’t want to be HIS hometown hero!!! I’m speaking of Arizona, the A frickin’ Z.  What’s not to love about Larry Fitgerald, a kick-ass dome, and the last team to go to the Superbowl other than teams who don’t NEED a quarterback?

I’m afraid my friend is starting to see “His Can-do-nothing-wrong-ness” in a much different light.  Scorned by his hero, he revisits recent events and thinks, “Maybe Tracy Porter didn’t deliver the worst moment of my life,”  “Maybe Tom Brady isn’t the Anti-Christ,” and the thing of which we NEVER spoke: ” Maybe Eli IS better!”….  Oh Yes I Did!!

If Peyton would have just taken a couple of private meetings and settled his business succintly, it would have been consistent with his supposedly humble persona.  Unfortunately, his drawn-out, over-hyped post-cut rendevous makes me want to Bavre!

Suppose I’ll just switch teams – I’ve done it before:  from Jacob to Edward, Jolie to Aniston… now it’ll be Peyton to Colts – or Peyton to Brees or Peyton to Ray Lewis AKA “Procedure #5”

… what is that hell hath no fury like?

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.

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.