Fantasy Baseball 2012

2011 was a pretty frustrating fantasy baseball season for me: I drafted what I thought was a terrific team, and then got slammed by injuries and slumps (such as Albert Pujols’ ineffective-then-injured first half, Rafael Furcal having nothing left, and Chad Billingsley turning into a pumpkin) and struggled to cover for the pieces, ultimately finishing 8th out of 16 teams. On the bright side, finishing 8th gave me the first overall pick for 2012, so I decided to come back for my 20th year of fantasy baseball.

My keeper roster was tough to figure out, since Albert Pujols and Cliff Lee seemed clearly better than anyone else I had to keep, but they also used 3/4 of my keeper years. I considered not keeping Pujols and drafting him with the first pick, but I had trouble figuring out how to turn James Shields (or Ryan Zimmerman) + 5 more years into something equivalent to the guy I was planning to take, Roy Halladay. So ultimately I traded Lucas Duda and Jamile Weeks for a 3rd and a 7th round pick, and kept Pujols. I tried mightily to acquire enough years to keep Shields, but couldn’t do it, alas.

I went into the draft with two solid starters – Lee and Jordan Zimmermann – and with Halladay I figured I’d start working on hitters. A good strategy, since the pitching pool felt quite deep this year. But the hitting pool seemed so shallow that this year really tested my maxim that you can always draft hitting.

Here’s the team I drafted:

Pos Player Team Round/
Age Comments
C Miguel Montero ARI 2/17 28 I took him in the 4th round last year, and he had a breakout season. I sure hope he can do it again.
1B Albert Pujols LAA Kept 32 Let’s see whether moving to the American League perks up his bat this year.
1B Ryan Howard PHI 14/209 32 Taking a gamble that he’ll play this year and hit a bit.
1B James Loney LAN 16/241 27
2B Neil Walker PIT Kept 26 Another guy I’m hoping will repeat his 2011.
3B Ian Stewart CHN 12/177 26 Whether he’s really my third baseman remains to be seen. I have other options as backups.
SS Jimmy Rollins PHI 4/64 33
OF Nick Markakis BAL 3/43 28 Another year, another weak outfield.
OF Josh Willingham MIN 7/97 33
OF Alfonso Soriano CHN 8/113 36 Drafted purely for his power.
C Tyler Flowers CHA 24/373 26 Marginal backup catcher, maybe Pierzynski will get hurt and he’ll break out.
C Gorman Erickson LAN 25/400 24 Might get called up if the Dodgers can’t stand their current options.
1B/3B Mat Gamel MIL 10/145 26 At least, I hope he plays enough – and plays well – to qualify at 1B this year.
2B/OF Howie Kendrick LAA 4/49 28
3B/OF Martin Prado ATL 7/107 28
SS Clint Barmes PIT 23/361 33 Another guy I just hope plays and hits some dingers.
SS Jonathan Villar HOU 22/348 21
SS/OF Grant Green OAK 25/393 24
OF Peter Bourjos LAA 18/273 25
OF Brett Jackson CHN Kept 23
OF Domingo Santana HOU 21/335 19
OF Michael Choice OAK 24/383 22
SP Roy Halladay PHI 1/1 34 I don’t think there was anyone else available who was clearly a better choice for the first overall pick this year.
SP Cliff Lee PHI Kept 32 I was surprised he fell to me with the 8th pick. Taking him was a no-brainer, as Halladay and Sabathia had already been picked.
SP Jordan Zimmermann WAS Kept 25
SP Matt Garza CHN 3/33 28
SP John Danks CHA 6/81 26
SP Ryan Dempster CHN 9/129 24 How did I end up drafting so many Cubs?
SP Brett Cecil TOR 19/289 25
SP Josh Tomlin CLE 20/305 27 There wasn’t much left in starting pitchers at this point.
SP Julio Teheran ATL Kept 21
SP Wily Peralta MIL 21/321 23
RP Addison Reed CHA 13/193 23
RP Grant Balfour OAK 15/225 34
RP Sergio Romo SFN 17/257 29

I’m definitely gambling on a few players coming through rather than washing out (Mat Gamel, for instance), and as often happens I hate my outfield. But it could be much worse, and I do have quality starting pitching. It’s not a world-beating team, but it has potential.