In fantasy baseball, especially only leagues, position flexibility and an above average batting average are two player traits that can often be overlooked. Anyone playing this game for long enough knows that digging your squad out of a batting average hole is damn near impossible. Most owners will approach their roster construction with the idea of balancing a low BA guy with a high BA guy which is a great place to start. I like to give myself a little added protection in the batting average category however, and typically prefer to roster a 2-1 split of high BA guys to low BA guys. As we see each year, certain players we project out to hit .275+ can easily post a .255 average over the course of the year and all of a sudden your BA category takes a major hit, or is sunk completely. This leads certain owners to say “screw it” and punt the category on draft day, or pay little attention, which can work, but in an only league format is a pretty poor way to tackle the season.
This leads me to Jeff Keppinger. Keppinger is boring, no doubt, but often times boring is what stabilizes a fickle roto category such as batting average. Last year Keppinger hit .325/.367/.439 in 115 games for the Rays, and while he didn’t post mind-blowing numbers in the counting categories (9 HR, 46 runs, 40 RBI, 1 SB) he was a helpful MI/CI option for owners who invested very little on him during the draft.
While the .325 mark Keppinger posted last season was his highest since a .332 BA in 67 games for the Reds in 2007 and is more than likely not repeatable, a .280 to .290 batting average is easily obtainable for the 32-year-old in 2013. Considering in a 12 team AL only (MI/CI 5 OF) league I am shooting for a .265-.270 team projected batting average when I leave the draft table, Keppinger’s batting average will be more than serviceable. Keppinger’s batting average is driven by an above average contact rate, which sat at 92.6% last season (MLB average 79.7%) In fact Keppinger has posted a contact rate above 91.3% every season since 2007 which should boost the confidence of prospective owners next season.
In terms of counting stats, we should also see a boost in every category except for steals. Projected as the every day starter at third base for the White Sox, a 500 at bat work load alone will give owners more runs and rbi’s. Currently I see many sites projecting Keppinger to hit second for the White Sox this year, behind de Aza and in front of Dunn and Konerko. Last year with the Rays Keppinger hit second or third in 6 games, 22 games hitting fourth (yeah the Longoria injury really hurt the Rays last year) and the other 87 games hitting anywhere from 5th to 9th. If he can settle in the two-hole, his runs scored should improve dramatically, with his RBI total increasing slightly only due to playing time.
As I mentioned in the open, position flexibility is increasingly important in AL only leagues. Especially if you play in shallow to no bench leagues as many AL only leagues do these days. Last season Keppinger appeared in 50 games at 3B, 27 games at 2B and 27 games at 1B, which should give him position eligibility at three in field positions in most leagues. When injuries strike, or players under perform, Keppinger’s added positional flexibility will open more doors when searching the barren waiver wire for replacement help, or negotiating a trade for a potential fill in.
You might get one “nice pick” at the draft table if you select Keppinger in 2013, you may just sit back and smile at the undervalued selection you just made, or maybe your ego isn’t as big as mine and you just move on to your next area of concern. Whatever the reaction, Keppinger is a solid back-end option at both 2B & 3B and is a top option to fill either your MI or CI roster spot if your team is looking for a batting average stabilizer.
People are drafting him way too early, even in AL Only formats. 12 words, done. *Cracks open beer*
Last season Mark Trumbo got off to an insane start to the 2012 campaign. In April and May Trumbo mashed his way to a .304/.373/.543 and a .367/.407/.670 line in the respective months. That’s insane. The power was there for Trumbo which is not something I except to fall away, the dude can hit a homer, posting 10 long balls in the first two months. But let’s take a look at the batting averages and on base percentages Trumbo posted to start the season.
Trumbo is a free swinger and in his short career has shown he’d rather walk back to the dug out with his bat on his shoulder, than take a free pass and put himself on base. For his career, Trumbo has a 5.3% walk rate (although it is trending in the right direction, improving from 4.4% in .2011 to 6.1% in 2012) and a 23.9% strike out rate, which actually increased by nearly 6% from 2011 to 2012. How then did Trumbo post such impressive batting averages over the first two months of the season? BABIP.
Quite simply Trumbo was a little lucky to begin the 2012 season in terms of balls not finding defender’s gloves. His .379 and .402 BABIP in April and May are well above his career .293 rate and was destined to come down in the following months. That’s exactly what happened as Trumbo posted BA/BABIP combo’s of .260/.261 in June, .269/.262 in July, .204/.302 in August and .214/.302 in September/October.
As the dog days of summer continued, Trumbo also watched his power decline severely hitting 5 homers in August, September and October combined. Part of this could be due to a young player getting tired over the course of a long season, or perhaps there was an injury not disclosed, but if I am investing in Trumbo I’d prefer to see a constant power output over the course of the season.
That leads me to the 2013 season. With Kendrys Morales now a Seattle Mariner, Trumbo appears to have a firm grip on the DH role in LA. If in fact he did get tired down the stretch in 2012, perhaps getting more of his playing time at DH will keep him fresher, longer. His power is tempting, especially in an only league, but we need to take a look at the full picture before jumping in with both feet. At this point I’d say a .265 batting average is Trumbo’s ceiling in 2013, and to plan accordingly and batting average protect, I’d feel much safer pegging him at .250 for this season. For owners in OBP leagues it actually gets worse, as I don’t see Trumbo all of a sudden becoming the second coming of the Greek God of Walks. The power will be there, and assuming regular playing time he should help in RBI’s as well. As of today I see Trumbo hitting 5th for the Angels, but if he struggles early could see him dropping down a spot with Howie Kendrick sliding up to drive in Pujols and Hamilton. Either way, Trumbo won’t be a staple for runs score and of course provides an underwhelming total in stolen bases (think 3 tops) If Trumbo struggles to his the ball again in 2013, his lack of walks will keep him off the base paths making him a much riskier play and someone I’d only invest in if the price was reduced. With a current ADP of 31, he’s going about 35-40 picks before I’d like to pull the trigger, meaning I won’t be a Trumbo owner in 2013. I’m okay with that, and will find my power elsewhere, perhaps with someone like Dayan Viciedo who is going 51 picks later.
I recently made a trade in my AL Only Keeper league acquiring the services of Royals first baseman, Eric Hosmer. Hosmer you’ll remember was about as hyped as one could be entering the 2012 fantasy baseball draft season. After going 19-66-78-11-.293 in 128 games his rookie season, many targeted Hosmer as early as the late 4th / early 5th round in mixed league drafts. Obviously things didn’t quite work out for the owners who targeted Hosmer that early, but is that reason enough to just write him off for this coming year? After all, didn’t Jason Heyward, another promising young player, have a very similar rookie and sophomore year campaigns? One thing I really like about Hosmer is he brings a nontraditional skill at first base (speed) to the table. Last year Hosmer swiped 16 bags and in case you were worried that was a fluke, look no further than his 128 games his rookie year and 11 stolen bases. The guy can run. Well at least he can run when you compare him to other first basemen. Only Paul Goldschmidt (more on him later) had more stolen bases last season among first basemen (he had 18)
My keeper league is set up with a contract type system, where a player is considered in their A year the first year you draft him, B year the following at the same salary as the A year, and either an Option Year, or the right to extend the player prior to the season his third year on a roster. I acquired Hosmer in his third year at $1.00 ($26 budget - Think $260 as normal, but drop a number) Ray Flowers, someone I recently started to really enjoy reading, has Hosmer’s 2013 draft auction price around $22 this year, meaning I have quite a valuable asset in Hosmer from a price stand point. The only problem is if I don’t extend Hosmer before this season starts, I lose him after this year (or any team I trade him to, severely hurting his trade value) This is why I acquired Hosmer with the intent of offering him a 2 year contract extension. Each year of an extension makes the player’s salary increase by $.50. Therefore I will have Hosmer at $1.50 this season and $2.00 the following. When a player is extended in this league you are unable to cut the player before the long-term contract is up without paying a penalty of half his remaining salary, so there is that to weigh into my decision. At the end of the day, it’s a risk worth taking, after all, this time last year people were comparing him to a mini Joey Votto type hitter.
So what is it about Hosmer that I like for 2013? First off he was playing hurt last year. Obviously anytime a shoulder is involved and the player opts to not have surgery, it’s still a concern, but I am betting on Hosmer strengthening the area as well as letting it heal over the off-season. In my opinion his bum shoulder can be attributed in the massive drop in ISO we saw last year (.127 in 2012 as compared to .172 in 2011). What I really like to see in a young hitter is an increase in his BB%. In 2011 Hosmer took a free pass in 6.0% of his at bats. That number increased to 9.4% last season, with his K% increasing only slightly. Give me a player that has shown the ability to take a walk any day of the week. Of course Hosmer also has a skill that is particularly helpful to fantasy owners in that he steals bases at a position where most of his counter parts do not. I’m not banking on a huge power out put from Hosmer in 2013, but 18-22 seems more than do-able this season, while his presence towards the middle of the order should keep his counting stats strong.
In fantasy baseball we’re always looking for great value. To me a post-hype sleeper 1B, who steals bases, and continued to show growth in his batted ball profile is a great place to unearth hidden value. Don’t let your 2012 Eric Hosmer experience hold you back from reaping the 2013 Hosmer benefits.
Mark Teixeira is one of the more polarizing players among fantasy owners. On one hand he possess massive home run power, as evidenced by the fact his 24 HR 2012 was only the second time in his career he missed hitting at least 30 (his 2003 rookie season being the other). On the other hand he’s no longer the .300 hitter we were growing accustomed to. Since 2010 Teixeira’s batting average has been far from the .300 level, as he posted averages of .256, .248, .251 in that time frame.
This next part is where fantasy owners begin to divide. Over that same time frame we’ve watched Teixeira’s BABIP continue to trend away from his career mark (.292 for his career) with yearly averages of .268, .239, .250 since 2010, the first year he hit under .280 since his rookie campaign.
The problem with regressing back towards his career BABIP is the massive introduction of the shift in baseball, and especially in the AL East. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, and quite frankly, I’m not sure they matter, because if you’ve ever watched a Yankee’s game, you’ve witnessed the opposing team over shifting on Teixeira. A player who is always battling the shift will almost always have a lower BABIP than a player who does not have to go up against the shift. So while it’s easy to look at Teixeira’s BABIP and figure his average should rebound considerably, I believe you’ll be disappointed by the end result. With three seasons worth of data at this point, it’s fairly safe to assume the days of a .285+ BA are gone with Teixeira.
The question then becomes what is his new ceiling in terms of batting average? As I mentioned above, Teixeira has averaged a .252 BA over the last three years. In terms of his new ceiling, .270 has to be the very top of the mark. This would involve Teixeira hitting more balls out of the park, and some of his grounders (which rose to 41.1% last year, 2nd highest mark of his career) finding holes, albeit much smaller holes due to the shift. A .260 something average isn’t out of the question, and with his power he’s still a viable option in all formats, and a great power option in AL only leagues.
I currently have Teixeira as my number 5 first baseman in AL only leagues between E5 and Konerko. If you’ve built a comfortable pad in batting average by the time Teixeira is nominated, he’s a top power option in 2013 and should be rostered as such.
The new posts have been few and far between here lately, but I have a good reason. Three weeks ago I was contacted by the guys at Fake Teams – SB Nation’s fantasy blog, to be a contributor on their site. Needless to say I jumped at the chance to write for such an amazing website. I still plan on getting some AL Only based draft pieces up as the season draws near, as well as tracking AL Tout later this year. In the mean time, make sure to check out my articles over at Fake Teams.
It’s inevitable, we all get old, we all slow down, we all lose a step or two as the years pass. It’s basic human nature to assume that as we get older the things we used to do in our daily life get harder to achieve. Fantasy owners are no different and after a player passes their “golden age period” (27-30.5 or so) most are ready to cast aside once useful fantasy commodities.
These same owners have been missing out on Paul Konerko since 2009. Since that time Konerko has posted wRC+ totals of 115, 158, 138 and 131. (For those unfamiliar with wRC+, it’s basically a park and league adjusted stat that measures offensive production on a similar scale to OPS+. A score of 100 is average, anything higher is above average, and lower, well you get the point)
Konerko’s 2012 season, matched with the fact he’ll play the entire 2013 season at age 37, is the exact fuel the “anti-old guy” crowd needed. In 144 games (his least amount played since 2008) Paul produced the following 5×5 roto line: 66 runs, 26 HR, 75 RBI, 0 SB, .298 BA. This was good for 15th among all 1B and 23rd among all CI players, according to the ESPN Player Rater (make of that what you want)
So this is the end, right?
Not so fast.
Looking at Konerko’s monthly splits, it was pretty clear he was going to slow down some after hitting .383 and .379, with 11 long balls, in April and May. In June however, Paul would only appear in 22 games, hitting .241, with his ISO dropping to .133. Age related decline has to start sometime I suppose, but after his red-hot start, I am not sure that June 2012 is that starting point.
Coincidentally Paul’s missed time in June lines up with a procedure he had to take care of some loose bodies in his wrist. These loose bodies have been around since the 2008 season; however they typically hadn’t been an issue for Konerko, who could dislodge and move them around if they were causing pain or irritation. This past June however, he was not able to move them, prompting the procedure, which involved sticking a needle in the joint for 20 minutes. Yikes. Paul has maintained the loose bodies did not impair his swing, other than the fact it “hung around a little longer” in reference to his wrist after the June procedure.
Getting back to the monthly splits, July saw Konerko hit .301 in 93 at bats, however his power was greatly diminished, posting an ISO of .118. I won’t pretend to have any medical back ground, and couldn’t even guess if the June procedure on his wrist sapped Konerko’s extra base power. These July numbers show he was still making contact at least, proving his overall approach at the plate was still alive and well.
Unfortunately for Paul, the calendar flipped to August, and he had another down month in terms of batting average, hitting .231 in 20 games (78 at bats) Konerko did miss some time on the 7 day concussion disabled list after taking an elbow to the head. Could there have been some lingering effects from his concussion that played into his down month? Are we starting to see a trend between down months and injury in Konerko’s 2012 season? Again, I cannot comment with any certainty on the medical portion, but in fantasy baseball we’re all about trends, and this trend seems pretty clear. Konerko would hit 4 homers in August, but only 1 double, producing a .167 ISO.
After a season where Konerko came out of the gates swinging, was slowed by a wrist procedure and a freak play concussion, Paul would finally stay in the lineup for 29 games in September/October. Over those 29 games Konerko would tally 4 doubles to go along with 5 long balls (.184 ISO). Paul also reached base on 13 free passes over those 29 games, with a modest batting average of .252.
At age 36, and after a long season with nagging injuries, it’s positive to see Konerko’s ISO climb each month after his wrist procedure. While you can point to his very high BABIP in April and May, you can also point out his BABIP was below career averages (.288 Career – .304 Average BABIP for last 3 years) in June, August and September. While BABIP is always risky in such small sample sizes, his .325 BABIP to .301 BA in July rings true with the Konerko we know and love. Also, according to RotoChamp Konerko’s xBA for 2012 was .306.
While some age regression is probably in the cards for Konerko in the coming seasons, don’t fall into the trap that he’s cooked for 2013.
How much to spend, where to draft, $1 flyer, this is the common discussion (or argument) many fantasy owners have with one another when it comes to your catcher roster spot. I’m not sure there is a right answer in mixed leagues, as I see a very large second tier that in the case of 12 team leagues, should supply most owners with a fantasy backstop. For the sake of this blog and AL Only managers however, the picture painted seems to be a little clearer.
I wrote earlier this offseason that Carlos Santana would make a great 2013 target player. My main point was that some owners might be down on Santana after a disappointing 2012, creating additional value. After running further projections I have him as my No. 1 Catcher heading into 2013, a little ahead of Joe Mauer.
Now I want to take a look at the general land scape of Catchers for 2013, and see if spending big on a Santana or Mauer really makes sense.
The main reason behind drafting a Santana, a Mauer, a Napoli, or Montero is the fact they also either DH or play 1B, keeping them healthier, as well as limiting their days off, which creates more at-bats and counting stats. But is the inflated price of these catchers really worth it when compared to much cheaper options in AL only set up?
RotoChamp’s draft software has a great feature called the Strength Index. Strength Index (SI) is basically a numerical tier system, which shows how far above (or below) average a certain player is relative to every other player eligible at that position.
Based on my projections, only 5 American League, catcher eligible, players have a positive SI. They are, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters, Mike Napoli and Jesus Montero. The spread on the SI however is not that drastic, and as such, the converted auction dollar figures are all pretty similar. Santana leads the way at 2.3 on the SI & $16, with Mauer (2.0) – $16, Wieters (1.5) -$14, Napoli (1.4) – $14 and Montero (1.2) – $13. This grouping makes quite a bit of sense as Wieters catches quite a few games, and the others see playing time at 1B or DH.
After these five, I see pretty distinctive tiers forming, with about three or four catchers per tier. The converted auction dollar figures range from a buck up to about $6, but as with most auctions, a couple of guys will go for slightly more due to owners panicking when they realize all the “good guys” are off the board. That’s okay, the difference in value isn’t much and if you’ve waited, just wait for the next guy, assuming there’s another guy in the tier you’re targeting.
So when is the right time to buy a catcher, and what price tier should you be looking at in 2013 AL only leagues.
In two catcher leagues there is no doubt in my mind owning one of the positive SI catchers above is crucial to fantasy success. If you end up with a Santana or Napoli, your next catcher should come from the tier that includes John Jaso, Salvador Perez, or Ryan Doumit. These three will help balance any BA risk that could come with Santana or Napoli, while still providing solid Catcher 2 production.
Note: In two catcher leagues it’s wise to let one or even two of the big name catchers come off the board before bidding aggressively. This will set the price for the top guys, and if the price comes in much higher than their converted auction dollar value, don’t be afraid to let others over spend. In this case, you will target two of the best “negative SI” players, such as Salvador Perez and Alex Avila.
For managers in AL only, one catcher leagues, I don’t place as much value on the top-level back stops. This is because most owners will not carry a second catcher on their roster, making the available replacement level talent on the waiver wire a little deeper. Remember, in AL only leagues, that is a big issue. You can’t leave black holes at many positions because the talent is just not there on the wire to fill in for underperforming players. Since the very best catchers aren’t substantially more productive than the mid to lower level guys (compared to other positions), the advantage you gain, versus the risk of drafting a dud, in one catcher leagues is pretty minimal. Take the extra money you save in one catcher leagues, and apply it towards an outfielder.
As far as targets in one catcher AL only leagues, I like, John Jaso quite a bit, but I want to see how the offseason shakes out to make sure his playing time will be there. The Mariners used him at DH this past season also, but with word Montero will see less time behind the plate, I’m not sure Jaso will see many AB’s there. Also with talk of Napoli visiting the Mariners, we’ll have to wait to see what shakes out. I also really like Salvador Perez, but worry the hype may drive his price passed my comfort level. Surprisingly his missed time could create a mystery to fantasy owners, who will over-estimate his stats over the course of a full season. This leads me to Alex Avila and Ryan Doumit. Both make great targets for managers not wanting to spend big on catcher in 1 catcher leagues. Neither will kill you in BA, while producing decent counting stats and power.
As with all positional draft strategy, it really comes down to league set up. As I detailed above, the big name, high-priced guys are a must in 2 catcher, AL only leagues. While the middle of the pack, cheaper options will more than suffice in 1 catcher, AL only leagues.
I recently wrote an article arguing that fantasy owners should take Cano over Trout in 10 team AL Only leagues come 2013. While I won’t always link back to articles I write for other sites, I thought this one was important enough to share here as well.
Head on over to Rotoprofessor and check it out.
It could be the fact I am a huge Mariner fan, or the fact that Montero’s cup of coffee with the Yankees in 2011 clouded my vision, but I made a point to own Montero in all leagues last year. The price wasn’t horrible (at the time) and he was a top 3 prospect in baseball coming into the season. Nothing could go wrong.
Well, I found Jesus, and I found out I was early to the party. You see, I fully understand the importance of not going all in on rookies for fantasy purposes, but he was different. Or he was just a Mariner, with a wide open door for every day at bats and that was more than enough for me.
Montero actually had a pretty decent season for a 22-year-old rookie who played his home games in Safeco (more on that later) and was expected to bat in the middle of an anemic Mariner lineup. His final line for 2012 went as follows: 135 games, 15 HR 46 runs, 62 RBI and a .260 average. His OBP left a big something to be desired thanks to a 5.2% BB%, which is something I am going to continue to be concerned about in the future. As a side note, I always prefer the player who can at least take a walk at a respectable clip, but when it comes to young players, I will almost always pass them up if they haven’t shown the ability to take a free pass at some point in their brief career.
Besides from walking at a very poor pace, (and if you’ve ever watched him run, running like his legs don’t bend) Jesus also had a problem with right-handed pitching. For the year, Jesus hit .228 against same handed pitching, as compared to a .322 average against southpaws. Unfortunately about ¾ of all pitchers are right-handed, so you can see where that might be a problem. On top of that Jesus had some pretty significant home/road splits. In 2012 Jesus could not wait to leave Safeco where he hit .227/.268/.337 for the season. This compared to a much higher .295/.330/.438 on the road. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’d say it’s safe to assume he didn’t only face left-handed pitching on the road and right-handed pitching at home. That would be crazy though, wouldn’t it?
So let’s see what we have to look forward to in 2013. As Jeff Sullivan details here, Jesus was able to almost cut his strikeout rate in half between the first half (23%) of 2012 and the second (12%). While this is nice to see, we must remember it’s a pretty small sample size. To go along with this positive reduction in strikeouts was also an improved contract rate from the first half to the second. In 563 swings during the first half of 2012 Montero made contact 77% of the time. Compare this to the 83% in 440 second half swings, and it’s another positive sign for the young Jesus. As Sullivan also points out, Jesus was able to make steady improvement to his strike out rate versus right handers as the season continued on. Good things happen in threes, and we’re already there.
The number that jumps off the page to me is Montero’s 24.6% LD%, which ranked 14th in all of baseball. Among those 14 hitters, Montero’s .292 BABIP was the lowest, coming in right behind Freddie Freeman at .295. Sure Jesus is one of the slowest runners in baseball, in fact, according to the speed data on Fangraphs, only Paul Konerko has less speed, but even Konerko was able to post a BABIP of .312 with similar LD, GB, and FB production. Interestingly enough Konerko is the exact type of player I’ve pointed towards when projecting Montero in the future. The Miguel Cabrera comps are nice, but realistically, future Jesus has Paul Konerko written all over him.
Lastly, the fences are coming in and Montero should be one of the players that benefit the most. According to his Inside Edge Spray Zone, 55% of Montero’s batted balls in play went to the left field zone. The fences are coming in anywhere from 4 to 17 feet from left field to the left – center power alley. On top of that, the hand-operated score board in left is being removed, making the outfield wall an even 8 feet all the way around Safeco.
If owners at the draft table have soured on Montero, pick him up on the cheap and expect continued growth from the young hitter.
My early projection for Montero: 69 Runs, 21 HR, 79 RBI, 0 SB, .285
Everyone has an opinion, and typically a strong one at that, in regards to how much to spend on starting pitching for a fantasy rotation. More and more people tend to lean towards building a strong offense and putting together a rotation with a much smaller portion of your draft day budget. For mixed leagues I am 100% behind this strategy and season after season shows, pitching can be found on the wire and later/cheaper in drafts. In AL Only formats however, it is very important to have a staff ace. Someone who will anchor your rotation, provide strong strike out numbers and help stabilize your WHIP and ERA.
Of course names like Verlander, Hernandez, Price, Weaver and Sabathia jump off the page at you, but with these big names, also comes a big time price tag. If you want the best of both worlds, a fantasy ace, who won’t break the bank, look no further than Tampa’s James Shields.
After his 2010 unlucky season, Shields was a very popular sleeper pick for many fantasy owners. Shields did not disappoint in 2011, winning 16 games, striking out 225 batters, with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Plain and simple, James Shields was one of the best value picks that season.
While some regression was expected coming into 2012, (2.58 BABIP, 79.6% LOB%, 3.42FIP and 3.25 xFIP in 2011) Shields once again delivered a solid fantasy season for owners who selected him quite a bit earlier, or for more than a dollar this past draft season.
Looking at the numbers it appears his 2012 season is a pretty good snap shot of what we can expect from Big Game James in 2013. His FIP of .347 and xFIP of .324 show that the 3.52 ERA mark in 2012 is about right considering a bad bounce here or there can sway this number. While both his K/9 of 8.82 and HR/9 of 0.99 are both below his career averages, 7.73 and 1.14, respectively, the trends are positive for both over a couple of seasons now, which leads me to believe it’s sustainable.
Now let’s get to the early 2013 projections for Shields: 13 wins, 201 K’s, 3.65 ERA & a 1.17 WHIP should mirror his final line next season. Considering what we’re looking for in our fantasy ace (solid WHIP, high K’s, chance for Wins and a decent price) James Shields is a no brainer as your first pitcher purchased next draft season.