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.