March 1, 2010

Pirates Fantasy Values

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / March 1, 2010

It's March, and that means we've turned the calendar from Fantasy Winter Olympics season to Fantasy Baseball season.

While most Pittsburghers do not view the Pirates through black and gold goggles, I saw Nate McLouth go in the fourth round last year in a Pittsburgh-based draft. I perrsonally was pleased to get Ryan Doumit in like round 7. If you have ever even considered picking up Mewelde Moore in Fantasy Football or Mark Eaton in Fantasy Hockey, you could be susceptible to a similar mistake in baseball.

The Pirates have a balanced team that will win the World Championship, but fantasy baseball is not real baseball. The Pirates do not hit that many home runs or attempt that many steals, and they don't have pitchers who get many strikeouts. Here's where you should draft your Buccos players in a 12 team league. Adjust accordingly if you're playing NL Only or with a larger league.


Andrew McCutchen - 9th Round

Cutch was a great player to pick up on waivers last year, but I have seen him go too early in every draft this spring. He'll score 100 and steal 30 bases, but I don't think he has more than 15 homer power. He definitely can't drive in many runs batting leadoff behind Ronny Cedeno and the pitcher's spot. So the only thing making him better than Rajai Davis or Juan Pierre, who you can get in the 14th round, is 10 home runs and 20 RBI.

Garrett Jones - 11th Round
Garrett Jones is somewhat of a question mark. But there are actually not that many outfielders who hit with power anymore. If you took a guy like Carl Crawford early it makes sense to fill out your outfield with a guy like Jones who has 25 home run power and 15 steal speed. He'll also bat third which is a great spot for runs and RBI. The reason he falls to round 11 is that he is too risky. If he doesn't hit at the beginning of the year he'll get dropped in the lineup and could even lose his starting role.

Octavio Dotel - 14th Round
Compared to other lower tier closers, Dotel's advantages are strikeouts and a secure job. He was brought to Pittsburgh to close and as we saw last year, there is really no set of facts that would cause JR to change his closer. His ratios won't be that great but I'd certainly take him over a guy like Bobby Jenks who could lose his closing job in April. In a non-Pittsburgh draft you can get him much later, like round 18.

Ryan Doumit - 16th Round
Ryan Doumit was rather terrible last year, and could easiliy lose his starting job. The Pirates aren't showing great confidence in him by attempting to trade him. However, he has a spot in the middle of the order and if he doesn't get injured and hits like 2008 could be a top 5 catcher. The odds of both of those things happening are pretty low.

Lastings Milledge - 17th Round
Lastings has 25 home run/25 steal talent, but it's risky to bet on whether he'll achieve that. But none of the other outfielders going this late have the same combination of talent and starting job, making Lastings a solid fourth or fifth outfield choice.

Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Ross Ohlendorf - 20th Round
The Pirates' top three starters are way better in real life than in fantasy. They won't hurt your ratios but none of them are strikeout pitchers and wins are too unpredictable. One guy like that is good in the late rounds, where you're hoping for a sixth starting pitcher who won't kill your team. Any more and you'll lose points in strikeouts.

Jeff Clement, Andy LaRoche - 21st Round
Clement will probably be the Pirates' first baseman but still qualifies at catcher. He has the potential to hit 25 home runs which makes him worth drafting if you punted your catcher spot. The problem with Clement is that even if JR names him starter, which is not certain, I think he'll start maybe 75% of the time. He'll also hurt your batting average.

Unless he gets moved up in the lineup, Andy LaRoche won't score enough runs to be worth a higher pick. A guy who doesn't steal bases needs a little more power to help, and in fantasy you won't get points for his defense.

Akinori Iwamura - 22nd Round
Iwamura is not a terrible second base option if you don't get any of the top ten second basemen. If he's healthy all year he'll score 100 runs and steal 25 bases. He's never healthy all year so you drop him when he gets hurt.

The reason why nobody else is on this list is because you shouldn't draft him. For various reasons, every player on here except Milledge and Jones is way more valuable in real baseball than in fantasy. It's more fun to win your league than to have a team of all Pirates.

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