Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Benchwarmer Baseball Top 16 Draft Targets

Despite not having participated in a Benchwarmer Baseball league from the start-up draft stage since the Beatleball League was added as the 2nd BWB league in 2004, I have been giving a lot of thought to who I would select in the first round of a new league in 2009 if I were drafting. Here a my thoughts on the Top 16 players given the assumptions that:
1) the primary goal is to win the championship this year; and
2) the secondary goal is to lay the groundwork for a dynasty that can win each and every year.

To reach goal #1, one needs to maximize roster productivity by acquiring the players with the most expected BWB utility. Many of these players will be "established" players (ie. not prospects). Established players' salaries should be reasonably expected to already fully reflect such utility (or even be at a premium due to the fact that MLB awards earned by players further increase BWB salaries), so few discounts will generally found here.

To reach goal #2, one needs to acquire longer-term productivity at a discount. This is achieved by drafting prospects and younger stars and sign them to multi-year contracts before their salaries as established players trade at par or a premium to their productivity.

An optimal mix of "premium established", "par established", and "discounted" players is the key to winning now (maximizing productivity), and later (paying the least amount for that productivity).

With that framework established, these would be my Top 16 targets in a new league:

1. Evan Longoria 1437 -- could be your #3-hitter for a long time
2. Ian Kinsler 2276 -- only behind Utley at 2nd but at a fraction of the cost
3. Carlos Quentin 2325 -- see Evan Longoria
4. Carlos Lee 3220 -- star player, but at deeply discounted price
5. Joey Votto 1569 -- rising star; salary low enough to extend several years
6. Chris Davis 698 -- not sure if he's a star yet, but salary is sooo low
7. B.J. Upton 2485 -- if the playoff power is here to stay, major bargain
8. Chase Utley 5738 -- par established player in scarce position
9. Mark Teixeira 5104 -- star player at small discount
10. Ryan Braun 4612 -- could be going for 1500 more after this season
11. Matt Kemp 2727 -- see Joey Votto
12. Jay Bruce 918 -- see Chris Davis
13. Jonathan Broxton 1794 -- blown saves in 08, but could dominate
14. Francisco Liriano 751 -- if he regains old form, CY Young for pennies
15. Ryan Ludwick 2733 -- can he repeat? salary worth finding out
16. David Price 100 -- hasn't proven himself yet, but can't get any cheaper

The more of these 16 players you can get into your roster, the better chance you have of achieving both objectives:
1) winning this year by adding discounted utility which further results in having more funds to spend on the better established players in later rounds; and
2) building a dynasty by securing controllable assets.

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