February 15, 2010

Behind the Numbers: Prime Pairings

Going into a Ruth's Chris and ordering the biggest steak they have would be amazing. Pairing that glorious chunk of meat with a heaping glass of moldy milk will really spoil that experience. That's how I look at the first 3 rounds of my fantasy drafts. The 1st pick is designed to be the steak whereas the other picks are meant to be the wine you pair with it that will help to make a glorious meal that you can sit back and enjoy.
One of the goals I like to make is to target 75 HRs and 75 SBs within the first 3 rounds. With that in mind, these are some of the players I'm looking to pair with this year's 1st round picks (according to Mock Draft Central).

1. Albert Pujols - Grady Sizemore(2nd round)
Pujols has a built in insurance policy which will get you 40 HRs and heaps of RBIs, Rs and an Avg out the roof. Sizemore uses these tools well. He will help to boost your steals numbers, contribute some more power and will provide you with good value as people pass over his mediocre BA, which you can afford to absorb.
2. Hanley Ramirez- Dustin Pedroia/Ryan Zimmerman (3rd) If you can seal up two of the shallower positions in the first 3 rounds I call that a win. If you pick Pedroia the next pick wold be a quality 1B or OF who can hit for power, whereas Zimmerman would go with an OF with speed.
3 & 4. A-Rod/Chase Utley- Jimmy Rollins/Jose Reyes (2nd) This goes along the same lines as the Hanley line, only in reverse. You get the power guy in the 1st and couple it with some speed, while filling two difficult positions.
5. Ryan Braun- Carl Crawford (2nd) Even though they play the same position, these guys work together well Braun provides the pure power and Crawford the pure speed. Pair them with a 20/20 guy in the 3rd and you'll be on the right track.
6 & 8. Mark Teixeira/ Prince Fielder- Jacoby Ellsbury (2nd) Both of these guys will have very similar lines, high HRs and no sign of speed. But that will be fine as long as you pick up a guy like Jacoby in the 2nd the stats will balance out in the end, at a very high level i might add.
7. Matt Kemp- Justin Upton (2nd) Kemp and Upton would make for an excellent start as they both will contribute heavily in all five categories. Kemp will provide more SBs and Upton will help to up the HRs. They may play the same position, but they do it well.
9. Evan Longoria- Ian Kinsler (2nd) Same story as the A-Rod/Utley/Hanley pairs. You'll get a high HR/SB total, good production in every other category and two tough positions filled.
10. Ryan Howard- Ichiro (3rd if you can get him there) Ichiro would be the perfect pair for the big Ryno. They contribute where the other person lacks. You'll end up with an even line, which is what you should be shooting for in roto.
11. Miguel Cabrera- Ian Kinsler (2nd) I know I recommended him for Longoria, but he actually fits a little better here. Whenever I get someone with a high BA, I look to find a guy who hits for a lower average but contributes elsewhere. Cabrera's overwhelming number of hits makes it easier to absorb Kinsler's lower number and get you great 4-cat production at 2B.
12. Tim Lincecum- David Wright (2nd) If I were to ever reach for a pitcher in the 1st round it would be here at the turn with Lincecum. It is a given that he will dominate. My next pick would have to be someone I could count on to provide all sorts of production. That's why I'd stick with someone like Wright. Even in his down year last season, he still got owners a high BA and a fair amount of HRs and steals. He has nowhere else to go but up, so if I can get vintage David Wright in the 2nd with the complete pitching package in the 1st I will be happy.

So there are my picks for pairs. If you have any thoughts don't be afraid to comment. I'd like to know I'm not just talking to myself.