As Major League players start preparing for the 2013 season, those of us who participate in fantasy baseball have to begin to evaluate these same players for our upcoming drafts. Last season, I had three members of the Arizona Diamondbacks on my team: Aaron Hill, Trevor Bauer and Kirk Gibson. That’s not a typo. We draft managers as part of our rosters and each win by their team gets us five points. I also drafted Paul Goldschmidt last season but cut him when he started out slowly and decided Paul Konerko would remain my first baseman every week. After reaching the finals in 2011, I missed out on the playoffs in 2012 as a sub-par outfield and underachieving starting pitching doomed me after a quick start. I vow to return to the finals and capture my third title with some wise drafting and better luck.
My league is a keeper league which means I am able to hold onto ten players on my final roster from the previous season. The draft is 16 rounds long making our rosters 26 deep with two DL spots. Keeping Hill is obviously a no-brainer. He is one of the best second baseman in baseball and his Silver Slugger award proves that he was no worse than the second best offensive player at his position. Also obvious is that Gibby will not be retained; no one in the history of the league has ever kept a manager from one season to the next. Bauer will also be let go as he it makes no sense to use a spot on a guy who pitched three times last season. The only other D’Back that is a slam dunk to be protected is Miguel Montero. I am about 90% sure Martin Prado will be kept but his owner is deep in pitching and would probably only keep five position players. Heath Bell and Jason Kubel are owned by the same person and both will not be retained. I would say Ian Kennedy is a 50/50 shot at being kept about the same as J.J. Putz. No other D’back was on a roster at the end of the season, not even Goldschmidt and Wade Miley.
When we do draft, Goldschmidt will be on my radar with my first pick even if I end up protecting Konerko. Goldy actually finished with more points than Konerko and has a brighter future. I don’t want to end up with an all-D’back squad but if Kubel is around with my fourth or fifth choice I would have to get him. I would love for Tyler Skaggs to be there with one of my final two picks. If he doesn’t make the club out of Spring Training, I can draft him and maybe stash him on my DL until he is ready to go. I can think of only one owner who would know enough about him to squash my plan. Protected lists will probably have to be submitted by March 1st. After that, a clearer strategy will emerge and with it the molding of a future champion.
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