Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire.com and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).
My entry in the RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Online Challenge was Sunday afternoon. These are my observations made on Twitter during the draft - this is a 12-team mixed league, 5x5 categories, 30 rosters spots (23 active), with no trades in the league.
1.07 - Andrew McCutchen; it was either McCutchen, Bautista, Stanton or CarGo.
2.06 - Justin Upton. Was hoping to get Harper or Stanton, but both gone. Also looked at Kershaw (Strasburg already gone).
3.07 - Edwin Encarnacion. Also looked at Goldy, Pedroia, Jay Bruce.
4.06 - Jay Bruce. Don't love having 3 OF's already, but he was far and away top remaining on my board.
5.07 - Jason Kipnis. Thought about taking pitching here, but I don't like the top options; think I can wait one more round.
6.06 - Wilin Rosario - There's one SP hanging at the top of the queue that I just don't want, remaining in the tier are fungible.
7.07 - James Shields - also looked at Dickey, Cueto, Zimmermann.
8.06 - R.A. Dickey. Likely to take another SP with one of my next two picks. Will likely hold off until 13 or later on closers.
(Interlude - OK, I lied about waiting on closers, probably - huge SP run pushed me in this direction.)
9.07 - Fernando Rodney. Team Regression probably hates this pick, but I think this was pretty decent value. Drafted after Motte & Papelbon.
10.06 - Kyle Seager - I'm a believer in the power, and the dimension changes in Safeco can't hurt.
11.07 - Mariano Rivera; What has he ever done?
12.06 - Justin Morneau. I'm required by RotoWire law.
13.07 - Angel Pagan - averaging 30+ SBs, 81 R's over the last three seasons.
14.06 - Jon Niese - Yes, I guess I will own him everywhere.
15.07 - Ryan Vogelsong - Another frequent draftee for me.
16.06 - Jarrod Parker - Making up for the lack of an ace with volume among SPs. Also looked at Burnett, Bailey here.
17.06 - A.J. Burnett. After waiting longer than most if not all for a SP, I now have eight pitchers, 6 SP.
18.06 - Alexei Ramirez. EH, needed a SS. Amazingly just barely missed on Jeter in round 17.
19.07 - Coco Crisp - Gets me needed SBs and runs.
20.06 - Alex Avila - Good last year's bum.
(Second interlude - Missed out on Simmons, Profar, Taveras and Billy Hamilton. These are the sort of 20th round picks I would have liked to have.)
21.07 - Wil Myers - Got the last of the elite hitting prospects that I was targeting for this pick.
22.06 - J.J. Hardy - I don't like where my BA is going, but needed this for the counting stats.
23.07 - Brandon Moss - Just absolutely nobody believes.
24.06 - Al Albuquerque - Another one of my guys. My favorite to win the job for the Tigers, still.
25.07 - Jose Veras - Sure, he's an Astros closer, but a closer(ish) nonetheless.
26.06 - Ross Detwiler - I know he is a fifth starter, but man, he cooks with gas.
27.07 - Wily Peralta - Stabbing at upside.
28.06 - Carlos Quentin - Just in case "everybody" is right about Brandon Moss.
29.07 - Dan Straily - Strictly a K-rate pick.
30.6 - Hiroyuki Nakajima - Because I don't know, but the promise of an unknown beats the mediocrity of the known.
The critical picks for me were Jay Bruce, Jason Kipnis and Wilin Rosario in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds respectively. With each pick I passed on taking the next best pitcher - Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish in the fourth round, Madison Bumgarner in the fifth, and Jered Weaver in the sixth. I have some regrets about Weaver, but the velocity drop and his short trip to the DL last season have scared me away. As a result, I was the last to take a starting pitcher (or pitcher of any kind), and took more in the middle 10 rounds than anyone else. I'm ok with this - when I mapped it out, that was one of my scenarios. But I clearly don't have a traditional ace - and that puts more pressure on my third, fourth and fifth starters to be good. I'm also going to have to shuttle more guys in and out to maximize my two start weeks and better matchups. I'd have to do the latter anyhow, but it's more of an imperative.
The two categories where I'm most vulnerable as a result are WHIP, and batting average, a category where I'm finding myself a little short in multiple drafts, especially snake draft formats. It's always good to audit your own drafts, and find if you have any tendencies. Come NFBC Main Event time, which is a 15-team snake draft, I'll be more cognizant of that issue.