Minor League Ball Fantasy League Update
It has been 20 years since I've run or participated in a fantasy league, so the CBSSports.com Minor League Ball Fantasy League has been quite an experience so far. I will be posting a weekly update on this league. Minor League Ball and SB Nation members can get a 50% discount on their own CBSSports.com leagues by using this link
The Minor League Ball League has 24 teams, divided into two divisions, the Bob Feller Division and the Satchel Paige Division. My team is the Free State Liberators. Each roster has 35 spots: 23 active players, six reserve players, six minor league players, plus two disabled list spots that don't count against the 35-man limit. It is a keeper league: we can keep as many as 18 players from year-to-year, so some long-term investment in prospects can be useful. The rules may be tweaked in coming seasons, depending on how things go this year. The CBSSports.com software package is not without flaws, but it has excellent adaptability on most issues, including customizable stats.
In the Minor League Ball League, we are using the following statistical categories, a mixture of tradtional and sabermetric stats, using Roto-style scoring:
HITTERS: Batting Average, Homers, RBI, Net Stolen Bases, OBP, SLG, Secondary Average
PITCHERS: ERA, FIP, Wins, Saves, Holds, Strikeouts, Quality Starts
We filled our rosters using automatic draft (each player created their own ranking list for the computer to use) for the first 23 players, followed by waivers and free agent pickups to get to 35. Starting Sunday, all free agent pickups will have to go through waivers first, for competitive balance reasons.
Here is a look at my team, the Free State Liberators.
I ended up with a lot of veterans out of the draft, but was more or less okay with the roster that resulted. The main thing I needed to do was add catching and a closer: I got stuck with Rod Barajas (one of my least favorite players) as my catcher, and I didn't have anyone who was likely to pick up saves. I also had lots of speed, but little power. I loaded up on catching prospects in the waiver process, picking up Alex Avila, Hank Conger, and Wilson Ramos. Here are the trades I have made so far:
I traded Brendan Ryan traded to Anything's Possible for Kosuke Fukodome.
I did this because I wanted Fukodome's Secondary Average skills and Ryan seemed fungible to me, though it left me short at middle infield.
CURRENT FREE STATE LIBERATORS ROSTER
CATCHERS: Gerald Laird (Active), Alex Avila (reserve), Wilson Ramos (minors)
FIRST BASE: Paul Konerko (Active), Luke Scott (CI active)
SECOND BASE: Kaz Matsui (Active), Rusty Ryal (reserve)
THIRD BASE: Scott Rolen (Active)
SHORTSTOP: Derek Jeter (Active), Ramon Santiago (MI active), Hak-Ju Lee (minors)
OUTFIELD: Kosuke Fukudome (Active), Matt Holliday (Active), Ryan Ludwick (Active), Nyjer Morgan (Active), Juan Pierre (Active), Rajai Davis (reserve), Allen Craig (minors), Cole Gillespie (minors)
STARTING PITCHERS: Josh Beckett (Active), Matt Cain (Active), Zach Duke (Activ), Tim Hudson (Active), Dan McCutchen (Active), David Bush (reserve), Daisuke Matsuzaka (injured list), Aaron Miller (minors)
RELIEVERS: Danys Baez (Active), Juan Gutierrez (Active), Brandon Medders (Active), Darren Oliver (Active), Chad Qualls (Active), C.J. Wilson (Active), Craig Breslow (reserve), Aaron Heilman (reserve),
My group of rookies/prospects are Alex Avila, Wilson Ramos, Hak-Ju Lee, Allen Craig (although he just made the major league roster), Cole Gillespie, and Aaron Miller. While I don't have anyone like Strasburg or Heyward, I'm comfortable with this: Lee and Miller are long-term guys, while Avila, Ramos, Craig, and Gillespie are all capable of contributing very soon.
This is probably a different roster than you would expect a minor league/prospect guy to end up with, but I wanted to win this year while also setting some foundation for the future. My offensive core is old, and am really counting on Jeter, Rolen, and Konerko not to fall apart this year.
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