This article is part of our MLB Observations series.
The second NFBC Beat Chris Liss League took place last night – it was $350 to enter, $1400 for the league prize and $125K for the overall prize. It's a 12-team standard 5 x 5 format with the usual roster construction and snake draft. I drew the 10th pick. My Real Man Would podcast partner, Dalton Del Don, picked 11th.
Here are the results:
1.10 Max Scherzer – I wanted an ace, and I knew with DDD picking behind me Scherzer wouldn't make it back in Round 2. Thank God someone took Justin Verlander at pick 1.8 as I already had a share of that flat tire in Beat Chris Liss 1.
2.3 Nolan Arenado – I took him in a similar spot in BCL1. He was easily the highest ranked player left on my hybrid draft list, but I might have clicked the button too quickly with stolen bases at a premium in the overall contest and Jose Ramirez still on the board. On the one hand, taking Ramirez would have made my draft path a lot easier, but on the other ease of drafting shouldn't be a priority, and category balance, while necessary, also comes at a cost. With steals more scarce than ever, I've opted to accumulate value elsewhere and make them my in-season project rather than pay the premium and have forgo an edge elsewhere.
3.10 Clayton Kershaw – I love Kershaw this year now that he's shown more velocity this spring and isn't coming off an injury. This pick had the added bonus of sniping Dalton who texted me his disappointment right after I made it.
4.3 Xander Bogaerts – The same Round 4 pick I made in Beat Chris Liss 1. I actually wanted Javier Baez who Dalton took at 4.2 for his handful of extra steals, but I think Bogaerts is the better overall value.
6.3 Yoan Moncada – DDD sniped me on Robles, so Moncada, a player with more power and average upside who at least runs a little was an easy call. More value, but I was very light in steals through six rounds.
7.10 Tim Anderson – I took him in the same place I got him in BCL1. Good for 15-20 steals without compromising much value.
8.3 Liam Hendriks – This was a mistake. I couldn't decide who I wanted, and the pick clock was winding down, so I copped out with the top closer on my board. But if I were going that way, I should have taken Kenley Jansen who looks good this spring with increased velocity. And I much prefer old warhorse closers to recent flavors of the month with minimal experience. Hopefully he's more Kirby Yates than Blake Treinen.
10.3 Aaron Judge – I considered Byron Buxton for steals, but Judge, who has a broken rib, had hung around too long. Maybe he's out half the year, clogging up my roster, but if he's back in May, this is four rounds too late.
11.10 Craig Kimbrel – Unfortunately, Buxton went three picks ahead of me, so I took a sixth player from my BCL1 team.
12.3 David Dahl – Make it a seventh, in 12 rounds, this time three rounds later. I know he's injury prone, but he's always hit when healthy, and he's healthy now.
14.3 Mike Minor – The eighth player from BCL1 and another value take. I considered Garrett Hampson (I still didn't have a second basemen), but he's not assured a job, and I thought he might last another round.
15.10 Nick Senzel – The ninth player from BCL1, and one I pulled the trigger on a little early once Hampson was off the board as my steals situation was becoming dire. You don't need to get all your steals at the draft, but you must at least have a base.
16.3 Dylan Bundy – The 10th BCL1 player in 16 rounds. There was no speed to be had at this price, so why not build up my staff?
18.3 Daniel Murphy – I had played chicken for a long time at first base which is more scarce than people who haven't yet drafted realize. Murphy might be washed up, but if healthy, he could still rake in Coors Field. First base has also been an easy position to find replacements in season, even if we don't yet know who those replacements will be.
19.10 Adam Eaton – A pure value pick who will chip in some steals and score runs.
20.3 Tom Murphy – The 11th repeat player from BCL1, a catcher with some pop.
22.3 Jorge Alfaro – He's got an oblique injury, so I might have to look elsewhere for the first week or two of the year, but he's a non-zero offensive catcher who stole four bases last year, about 2-3 more than you can expect from most.
24.3 Josh Lindblom – He was a star in South Korea, and he's in the rotation on a decent team.
25.10 Yoshihisa Hirano – He might be the Mariners closer, for whatever that's worth
26.3 Miguel Cabrera – The pièce de résistance of the draft. He crushed two homers off Gerrit Cole in a spring training and claims to have lost weight. Sometimes the Twitter mob is actually correct. Moreover, my first basemen are Daniel Murphy and Cabrera, so I don't see what could go wrong.
27.10 Yusei Kikuchi – He was bad last year, but great in Japan before that, and apparently he's throwing harder this spring.
28.3 Jose Peraza – He's still only 25 and strikes me as the kind of player who could have an unexpected breakout in a new environment a la Danny Santana. He also steals bases and only has to beat out Michael Chavis or Mitch Moreland.
29.10 Jarrod Dyson – When you can roster 40 steals in the 29th round, why pay retail early in the draft? Seriously, though Dyson is the Pirates starting center fielder, plays good defense and will run in the unlikely event he reaches base.
30.3 John Means – The 12th BCL1 player for good measure. Means is a good pitcher, and if the ball is less juiced might even survive Camden Yards.
Roster By Position
2B Brandon Lowe
CI Yoan Moncada
MI Tim Anderson