Fantasy draft dissection: TTFB’s A League

Ryan Braun was a choice pick at number seven. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

If you come to this site regularly, you may have noticed there was a Yahoo fantasy baseball league open to the public. At first, I was hesitant because I am already in three leagues but, with a little convincing, I quickly grabbed one of the last remaining spots.

Since this is my first year at Through The Fence Baseball, I want to win, and I want to win badly. I went in with only one draft strategy in mind. I was gong to hold off on pitching as long as I could. If a pitcher popped up that I could not resist, then I would grab; otherwise, I wanted a very strong batting lineup. In the end, I came away with only two positions I’m worried about (first and third) but feel confidant about the rest of my selections (as do most people in 10-team mixed-leagues.). So, I thought I would share my thoughts and draft choices so someone could bring me back down to reality. My team, the Springfield Isotopes ended up with the seventh overall pick.

1 (7) Ryan Braun (Mil-OF)
2 (14) Hanley Ramirez (Mia-SS)
3 (27) Andrew McCutchen (Pit-OF)
4 (34) Matt Holliday (StL-OF)


My first four rounds, from my perspective, could not have gone any better. I missed out on Adrian Gonzalez by one pick (I did not cry too much over Gonzo; Braun did just fall to me), but I ensured myself plenty of power and speed with my picks as well as a very dominant outfield. Through these first four rounds, I got everyone I was after (with the exception of Gonzo).

5 (47) Alex Rodriguez (NYY-3B)
6 (54) Mike Napoli (Tex-C, 1B)
7 (67) Eric Hosmer (KC-1B)


I had my heart set on Zack Greinke with my fifth-round pick, but he was off the board at this point. So, I went to my next biggest need, which was third base. I was not thrilled with A-Rod but, he was the best available (other than Brett Lawrie, who I am not buying this season), so I put my faith that the German voodoo doctors had fixed his knee and selected him. I was starting to worry about first base, but it came back around to me and I snagged Hosmer. He, in my opinion, is the last first baseman of the elite tier.

8 (74) Madison Bumgarner (SF-SP)
9 (87) Rickie Weeks (Mil-2B)
10 (94) Josh Johnson (Mia-SP)
11 (107) Mat Latos (Cin-SP)


Finally, with the 74th overall pick, the Springfield Isotopes took a pitcher. With Bumgarner and Johnson, I went with pure upside. If both pan out to be top-15 guys, I may cruise through this league. If they struggle or get hurt, I could be in some trouble. By the way, if you are keeping track at home, I have my starting batting rotation at this point and have yet to grab a guy that will hit less than 20 home runs.

12 (114) Emilio Bonifacio (Mia-3B,SS, OF)
13 (127) Joel Hanrahan (Pit-RP)
14 (134) Sergio Santos (Tor-RP)
15 (147) Melky Cabrera (SF-OF)


By the 12th round, I knew I was in good shape with power, so I wanted to grab a speedster. Bonifacio’s floor in steals is around 30. His ceiling should be around 60 steals. My plan going into this draft was to dominate in power and in steals. At this point of the draft, I was feeling pretty good about my lineup. I also have insurance in case Hanley or A-Rod goes down.

16 (154) Kendrys Morales (LAA-1B,OF)
17 (167) Mike Minor (Atl-SP)
18 (174) Adam Dunn (CWS-1B)


My philosophy after the 150th pick: You should look for pure-upside guys. Morales and Dunn give me just that. This also gives me first-base insurance in case Hosmer falls victim to the dreaded sophomore slump. I pulled the trigger way early with Minor, but I knew for a fact there were some Braves fans in the draft. In order to get this guy, I took him very early, which I am okay with. I have the bats to make a trade for pitching or I can always stream pitchers off the waiver wire. Minor’s 9-1 KK/BB this spring training definitely caught my eye.

19 (187) Sean Marshall (Cin-RP)
20 (194) Francisco Liriano (Min-SP)
21 (207) Chase Utley (Phi-2B)
22 (214) Brandon McCarthy (Oak-SP)
23 (227) Grant Balfour (Oak-RP)


With all of these guys, I was reaching for upside. If Marshall and Balfour end up as closers for the entire season, I could dominate saves and WHIP in pitching. I have the bats to wait on a guy like Utley, and if he does not pan out, I can always replace him. More than likely, some, if not all, of these guys on this list will see the waiver wire. But if I strike gold with one of them, they may win me this league.

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