2011 LABR NL – Team Carty

This past weekend, I flew to Arizona to participate in the 18th annual League of Alternate Baseball Reality (LABR), the longest running expert league in existence. If you recall, I won this league two years ago, becoming the youngest champion in history, and am looking for another title in 2011. My draft didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped, but I still think I should be a contender. Take a look at my roster and see what you think. Keep in mind that this is a 13-team, 5×5, NL-only league with a $260 budget.

LABR NL roster


Pos       Player              Price
C         Chris Iannetta      $10
C         Chris Snyder        $6
1B        Brett Wallace        $8
2B        Clint Barmes        $6
3B        Juan Uribe          $15
SS        Ryan Theriot        $14
CI        Miguel Cairo        $1
MI        Skip Schumaker      $9
OF        Mike Stanton        $27
OF        Seth Smith          $16
OF        Carlos Gomez        $16
OF        Marlon Byrd         $14
OF        Gerardo Parra       $5
UT        Juan Miranda        $4


Pos       Player                 Price
SP        Tim Lincecum           $27
SP        Clayton Kershaw        $25
SP        Chad Billingsley       $19
CL        Jonathan Broxton       $14
CL        Joel Hanrahan          $15
RP        Mike Adams             $3
RP        Sergio Romo            $3
RP        Nick Masset            $1
RP        Matt Belisle           $1
SP        Vicente Padilla (DL)   $1
BN        Wade LeBlanc           --
BN        Alex Sanabia      --
BN        Jason Marquis          --
BN        Aaron Cook             --
BN        Chien-Ming Wang        --
BN        Ramon Ramirez          --

View the full results of the auction here.

Concluding thoughts

This was my second expert draft of the year (Cardrunners AL was the first), and I’ll be participating in three more in the coming weeks. Let me know what you think of my roster in the comments.


Also, for those who haven’t heard yet, I’ll be resuming writing a (more or less) weekly article here at THT shortly, but I’ll also be doing some work for a few other places this season. Because of this, I’ve introduced my own website, DerekCarty.com, so that you can keep track of everything I’ll be doing, learn more about me, and see some of my most prominent work compiled in one place (I’d highly recommend reading through some of it if you’re new to THTF). It won’t have much in the way of original content, but it will link to all of my work around the web, radio interviews I do, and I will be posting my expert league rosters there one day before I put them up here at THT. Be sure to check out the blog section to keep track of everything I’m doing.

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Brad Johnson
12 years ago

I assume this is an H2H league since you seem to have eschewed plate appearances in favor of IP?

Out of curiosity, how much did the top of the draft go for? Guys like Hanley, Tulo, and Pujols?

Chris R
12 years ago

I think…I think you won the league two years ago, so you know what you’re up to.  But I also think that it’s a bizarre roster, with an exceptionally weak and overpaid offense.  I like your top 3 starters and if you have enough innings, you could win the rate stats.
Love ya man, but you asked and I had to answer…

Brad Johnson
12 years ago

That’s kind of why I asked about the top of the draft. If those guys went in the mid-40’s they’ll probably single handedly outperform Uribe, Theriot, Wallace, and Schumaker (combined cost of $46). $1 options to fill those voids are scarce, but at the same time you’d have several roster spots to dedicate to the hunt for the golden goose. Inflation really seems to have bitten hard on middle infielders.

Dub Boys
12 years ago

The offense is abysmal. Not sure how you compete with that set of misfits. Where is the power coming from beyond Stanton? You should be competitive in runs and SB’s, but I think you might be light on power. There is not normally a lot of trading in the LABR leagues, correct?

Chris Greene
12 years ago

Stanton for $27? Is that a result of a particularly bullish projection on him or does it have to do with a lack of power in NL 15-team leagues?

12 years ago

Eeek! You spent way too much of your budget on pitching. There’s no need for two SP1s (Lincecum and Kershaw). That’s overkill. You suffer for it with the rest of your SPs beyond Billingsley. To put it bluntly, they’re just a load of crap.

And yeah, as someone else pointed out, where’s the power? Stanton, sure, but who else on your team hits 30 home runs? Even 20 home runs is a stretch for the vast majority of your players. Geez, just saying those names as you go around the horn: Wallace, Barmes, Uribe, Theriot, Schumaker… ugh.

I’m gonna go ahead and predict that you do not win (or really, even place ITM). Sorry, man!

12 years ago

Looking at the other teams in your NL LABR league, I think Davenport has the best overall team.

There are a couple of teams with strong hitting and weak pitching, but this just reinforces my belief that your offense is spectacularly weak compared to the rest of your league and it’s gonna be a long year for you.

Jason B
12 years ago

Agree with a lot of the above comments – generally solid pitching, but your offense may need all kinds of help.  I do an auction every year, and just *hate* the notion of paying inflated prices (see: Theriot, $14; Gomez, $16) for mediocre prodction.  There’s little difference between Theriot at $14 and a $1-2 scrub in terms of production.

Not saying that I’m “stars and scrubs” all the way, but if I’m going to pay 2nd or 3rd tier prices, I want 2nd or 3rd tier production (like you should get out of Byrd) not 19th tier production (like Theriot provides).

Jason B
12 years ago

Other examples of “you paid that for THAT” from the auction results – Dexter Fowler (19), Ian Desmond (17), Ben Francisco (12!!), Freddy Sanchez (10).  You were by no means the only offender.  smile

Brad Johnson
12 years ago

In a 13 team NL only league, that price for Francisco isn’t terrible now that Brown’s down and out. Ben’s in line for 80% playing time.

Jason B
12 years ago

He’s in line for the majority of playing time…but they may plug that hole with a trade, and he’s one of those that is a super sub and fantastic in part-time duty, but is likely to become more exposed the more he plays (recall Seth Smith playing against lefties, Matt Diaz playing everyday, etc etc etc).  For many of these guys,we quickly find out that they’re subs and platoon fits for a reason.

(Or, more simply, I’ll let someone else for over $12 for him.  Gladly!!)

Jason B, speller extraordinare
12 years ago

*fork* over $12 for him.

Brad Johnson
12 years ago

Keep in mind, in an NL only league with 5 OF slots and 13 teams, there is a huge shortage of outfielders. The NL has 48 roster spots for OF, the league requires 65. That makes a guy who figures to get 400 PA pretty valuable even if he’s mediocre and could end up being replaced. Likewise, a Seth Smith who should be mainly given extremely favorable matchups can provide great value. Some teams probably have an OF slotted in for UTIL or on the bench too. I’m guessing about 75 outfielders were drafted.

Derek Carty
12 years ago

Thanks guys.  I have to admit, I expected this kind of reaction.

Brad, it’s a roto league, but I’m not so sure I eschewed PA in favor of IP.  While my team seems plain, at the very least I think I’ve got guys who will get playing time.  Aside from Cairo, they should all be part-timers at worst and all should start aside from Miranda and Parra.  Miranda could start yet, and with injury risks in the AZ outfield (Nady, Upton), Parra could find himself getting quite a few ABs.

No problem, Chris R.  I appreciate honesty.  Offense certainly isn’t as strong as I hoped, but bidding was super tight, so you do the best you can.  Look through the results and try to find more than a handful of guys that’s are very clearcut bargains.  Very few.

Derek Carty
12 years ago

Hanley went for $41, Pujols $41, and the Braun’s and Fielder’s of the world in the 30s.  Inflation seemed to hit MIs because one team (NFBC) picked up three top shortstops, which took everyone for a loop.  That said, I do actually believe I got bargains on my MIs.

Dub Boys,
While I don’t have any monster HR hitters aside from Stanton, I think a lot of guys should contribute.  As long as Iannetta is the regular catcher, he should hit 20 and Snyder should hit 15.  I think catchers often get overlooked, and we need to remember that in a league starting 26 catchers drawing from just 16 actual starters, there are going to be teams with huge holes at C.  Wallace, Barmes, Uribe, Smith, and Byrd should all be in the 15-20 area, and Miranda’s got great power potential.  He could hit 10-15 in part-time ABs.

Chris Greene,
Probably a bullish projection as I’ve got him down for close to 40 HRs.  I don’t think he was a bargain, but I don’t think I overpaid either.

Derek Carty
12 years ago

Not sure I agree on pitching.  With three top SPs, two great closers, and five elite relievers, I should dominate ERA and WHIP, be at the top in saves, be in the top third in Ks, and middle of the pack in Wins.  That should net me between 50 and 55 points in pitching.  When I won in 2009, I had 98 total points.

I realize my bench starters are nothing special, but that’s the point.  This is actually a tweaked version of the strategy I won with in 2009 but with *stronger* pitching.  I won’t be playing the bench starters every week, just picking my places and spot starting them to pick up extra innings, wins, and Ks while not destroying ERA and WHIP.  And if you hit on one of them breaking out (2009 I had De la Rosa and Ohlendorf, 2010 Silva, Livan, and Marquis), your bench becomes one of the most valuable ones in the league.

Jason B,
I don’t see how Theriot is equivalent to a $1 or $2 scrub.  In a 13-team NL league, those $1 and $2 players are guys like Jamey Carroll and Wes Helms and Jeff Keppinger who will struggle to get 200 ABs and have no power, speed, or acceptable BA.  Theriot, if he leads off for STL, will hit .275 with 20 steals and 90-100 runs.  That’s easily worth $14 in a league like this.

I am complete against stars and scrubs or even a less extreme variation in a league this deep because you will essentially be taking zeroes at all your scrub positions.  As I’ve said, I agree that I didn’t get quite the caliber of player or the bargains I was hoping for, but Theriot is easily a $14 player.

Derek Carty
12 years ago

I think it’s more complicated than looking at raw HR totals.  If Albert Pujols only got 200 ABs, he’d hit less than 15 HRs too.  Playing time is the other half of the equation that shouldn’t be ignored.

If you look at it given the context of 2011 expected playing time, we’d see that Byrd’s 4-year average would put him at 15 HRs in 560 ABs, Barmes at 17 in 550 ABs, Iannetta at 19 in 400 ABs, Snyder at 16 in 370 ABs, Smith at 25 in 550 ABs (or 22 in 500), Uribe at 22 in 570 AB, etc.

Sure, Wallace and Miranda are unproven at the major league level, but MLEs aren’t that much worse in terms of predictive accuracy than actual major league data, and Oliver (which has one of the best MLE systems around) likes both of them.

12 years ago

You seem to be a bit optimistic on the power potential of your guys. You said:

“Wallace, Barmes, Uribe, Smith, and Byrd should all be in the 15-20 area, and Miranda’s got great power potential.  He could hit 10-15 in part-time ABs.”


Wallace – Never done it in the majors.

Barmes – 20 home runs once (23 in 2009). Highest total for any other season is 11 (2008).

Uribe – At least 15 home runs in 6 out of the last 7 season played.

Smith – Last two years has hit 15 and 17 home runs.

Byrd – Has hit more than 15 home runs once in his career (10 in 2009) and never more than 12 home runs in any other season.

Miranda – Never done it in the majors.

Iannetta – Has never hit 20 home runs in the majors (highest was 18 in 2008).

Snyder – Has hit at least 15 home runs 2 of the last 3 seasons.

So of the 8 guys you pegged at 15 to 20 home runs, 5 are at a major risk of not fulfilling your predictions (either they’ve never done what you’re predicting for them or they’ve only done it once). That’s a lotta risk, especially considering that you’re getting so little (relatively) from them.

I think your team will be power-starved all year.

12 years ago

True, but tell me, does this league count “raw home run totals” or do they use some other method that I’m not aware of?

Are you trying to make the case that your team is NOT short on power?

One of the “skills” in fantasy sports is the ability to see both the strengths and the weaknesses of your respective teams. Since it’s not only me saying it, I think you’d better reconsider your notion that your team is fine when it comes to power.

But, do what you will. It’s your team and your funeral, as they say (or victory parade, if your predictions come out true).

12 years ago

I’m going to have to quibble with your designation of Broxton and Hanrahan as “two great closers”. Broxton just lost his job last year, along with a couple miles off his fastball. I’d be a little more concerned about his job security this year rather than designating him as “great”.

As for Hanrahan, you’re putting a lot of faith in a guy who A) hasn’t yet been designated as the closer B) has a career ERA of 4.45 and a career WHIP of 1.50 and C) has blown nearly as many saves (13) as he’s actually converted (20). “Great” is not the first word that would come to mind here.

However, looking over the pitching staffs, you are definitely in the upper half as far as top 3 starters go. I still question your starter depth, but you may have a point that your starting pitching will be a strength of your team.

12 years ago

Correction on my hitting post… Byrd’s home run total for 2009 is 20, not 10.

The main point stands though: he’s only hit 15 or more home runs once in his career.

Derek Carty
12 years ago

I definitely understand that my team is underwhelming, and I’ve said several times that the hitting is not as strong as I hoped it would be.  But I don’t think it’s all gloom and doom either.  It’s true that the league counts “raw home run totals”, but it doesn’t count 2010 raw home run totals.  Or 2009.  Or 2008.  Only 2011.  Context is everything in this game, and we can’t assume that context will stay the same from year to year.

Seth Smith hit 4 raw home runs in 2008 when he received 108 ABs in a crowded Rockies outfield.  The outfield remained crowded in 2009 and 2010 and he never eclipsed 400 ABs.  But now that Holliday, Hawpe, Taveras, and Podsednik have all moved on, Smith is slated to start for the Rockies this season.  Assuming he’s going to continue to receive fewer than 400 ABs is ignorant, as is assuming he’ll hit the same number of HRs he did in those 400 ABs in the past.  It’s only logical to have a higher HR expectation if he gets more ABs.

I’m not arguing that my offense is a HR powerhouse, just that we need to look at things in the proper context.

David Gassko
12 years ago

I think you guys are underestimating how deep the LABR league is. According to the THT Forecasts Price Guide, Derek got $284 of value for his money, making for a strong draft.

12 years ago

Actually, Seth Smith is one of the guys I included in the “he probably will reach what you predict for him” category, along with Chris Snyder and Juan Uribe. Sorry I didn’t make that clearer and you had to waste a paragraph defending your Seth Smith prediction when I wasn’t questioning it.

The five I was questioning that you said would get 15 to 20 home runs were Brett Wallace, Clint Barmes, Marlon Byrd, Juan Miranda (10 to 15 for him), and Chris Iannetta. Predicting that these guys would get such home run totals seemed overly optimistic to me. Having 5 of these guys on your offense is a killer, IMO, especially since you lack power throughout your lineup.

I hope this clears things up. I often try not to be ignorant.

Derek Carty
12 years ago

I wasn’t really defending the Smith projection – just using him as an example.  You can run through the same exercise with any of the guys I listed.  Let’s take Iannetta.  With Torrealba and Olivo gone, Iannetta should start most games.  With 400 AB, based on his prior home run rate, 15-20 HRs should be easy.  He’s hit 16 in 289 AB (2009) and 18 in 333 AB (2008).  Based on his three year HR rate, he’d hit 21 in 400 AB.  Byrd I had down for 14 HR, so he’s one that might struggle with 15-20.  But this should be reasonable for Wallace, Barmes, and Miranda (if he beats out Branyan) based on this exercise, and based on more sophisticated projection methods.

I wasn’t accusing you of being ignorant.  I just meant that basing your expectations off of raw home run totals while ignoring context entirely is ignorant.

12 years ago

Well, there’s a reason Iannetta’s at-bats have gone down the last 2 years, even beyond who else was wearing catcher gear for the Rockies: he just wasn’t that good.

After batting .264 with 18 HR in 333 at-bats in 2008, he did hit 16 HR in 289 at-bats in 2009. But he also batted .228 that year.

Things only got worse in 2010, as he managed only 9 HR in 188 at-bats and posted a measly .197 BA.

Now it may be true that, given 400 at bats, Iannetta would be a lock for 20 home runs. Based on that rapidly declining BA though, I strongly question whether he will get those 400 at-bats. I know Olivio’s gone, but I have a hard time believing the Rockies are going to give 400 at-bats to a player dancing on the Mendoza Line.

I’m not sure why you’re optimistic on Wallace. Sure, great minor league pedigree, but in 144 major league at-bats last year, he hit 2 home runs and batted .222. Sure, small sample size and we can’t necessarily write him off yet, but he’s beginning to resemble Alex Gordon (another guy who’s never hit 20 home runs in a season).

Barmes is in kind of the same boat as Iannetta. I doubt if he gets enough plate appearances to threaten 20 home runs if he keeps batting in the low .200s. But, then again, he is playing in Houston, so maybe they won’t care?

My overall point is that you seem to have a lot of hopey/changey optimism about your team, especially when it comes to your skinny offense. I’m trying to be the cold bucket of water of reality, but you are free to ignore all of this static and bask in the glory of your team. We all do it! wink

Good luck, either way.

Ben Pritchett
12 years ago

I agree with David Gassko. You guys aren’t seeing the whole picture.

This league is a 13 team NL Only league with 2 catchers and 5 outfielders. You’re talking 16 starting catchers and 26 starting LABR roster spots to fill and likewise, 48 NL starting outfielders and 65 LABR starting postions to fill.

I’m not saying Derek’s team is elite, but this is a hard league to have a glaringly, amazing team. The balanced (somewhat poor) hitting will be ok as his above average pitching will carry his team.
I actually think he could do better than 55 points in his pitching.

Brad Johnson
12 years ago

He’s needs to really pick his spots with the back end of his pitching roster, but I do like that staff in this league. He got some really great value there.

As you pointed out, he did very well for himself at catcher. Only the teams with Posey or McCann should feel better about their situation.

this guy
12 years ago

People underestimate the depth of a 13 team NL only league. On top of that, you’re using an unorthodox strategy, given conventional wisdom says to invest more heavily in hitting, so its a double whammy for the zealots.

You’re going outside the scope of the consensus, so you can’t really expect an intelligent discussion about it in a forum like the internet.

I disagree with your strategy, but it worked for the guy who won my NL league last year. (he needed a nice little gimme trade halfway through to do it, but he was ITM either way.)

There’s no “winning strategy” that wins. Execution and luck wins. Zealots don’t like “gray”, because then they are reminded that they’re zealots.

12 years ago

What happened to your team? Did you autodraft?

eric kesselman
12 years ago

I disagree with the commentators. Looking at the roster certainly does give the occasional pause, and makes you winder if X was necessary, but if its a tough and deep league, you take what value is available.

People generally prefer to gamble on the pitching, and load up on hitting. Maybe that makes sense given the respective volatility. But this team has amazing pitching, and some clear bargains in my opinion. So it needs to get a bit lucky on the hitting. There’s no reason it can’t happen. I’m a bit tired of everyone looking at a squad, seeing a loaded offense, one $20 pitcher, two 8$ pitchers, and 7 ‘good gambles’ $1 pitchers and pronouncing the team amazing. Pitching is still half the scoring points.

12 years ago

Yeah a tough deep league, but hitting 55+ pitching points is going to be tough, though i like those who zig when the majority are zagging.

Your top 3 SP are delighful…but, there is a considerable downside to them as highish BB/9 guys – they are no lock to be era/whip elites – other anchors are Roy/Oswalt; Hamels/JJ (of course Tim and Clayton could be CYA-1 and -2 this year and no-one would be surprised)

And your CL alos have era/whip implosion potential

But good luck DC, you have your previous silverware putting your $$ where your mouth is