The league that got me into fantasy baseball was started by a guy, Andy Beame, with whom I went to Fordham Law School in the ’90s. I’ve been playing in some version of it since 1996, making it easily the longest running league in which I’ve participated.
I’ve been on a nice run of late, having won it the last two years ($2,100 for first place) and taking second three years ago. It’s a 14 or 15-team format, depending on the interest level among the NY crew (this year, 15), and it’s a 5 x 4 (no WHIP) because Beame decided it was like “double ERA.” There’s also only four OF instead of five this year because we added a 15th team and six bench spots.
I drew the first pick, and while I’ve been beating the drum for Kershaw at No. 1 overall, that’s for the standard 5 x 5 format. Remove arguably his strongest category (WHIP), and I’m going with Trout.
Here’s my team, pick by pick:
1.1 Mike Trout – I got my only share, and it was an easy call. Kershaw is still a first-rounder in this format, but he loses a good chunk of his value.
2.15 Yu Darvish – I don’t like Darvish much this year – AL, bad park, fair amount of injury risk – but I took him as an agnostic play, given the format. Put differently, while I like Corey Kluber, Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander (all available) more, many disagree, and one area where Darvish is weaker than those pitchers is in WHIP. So why not bet against Darvish everywhere else where they have the advantage and on him here where the format favors him? Even though it makes sense to me, I’d probably have gone Verlander if I had a chance to do it over again.
3.1 Giancarlo Stanton – I wanted to have at least one share of Stanton, and now I have two. I was going to take Trevor Story instead because you need only four OF, and I already had Trout, but I got cold feet. A few picks later, I started to feel like I’d rather have gone Verlander/Story at this turn.
4.15 Hanley Ramirez – Maybe people were using my ranks, or maybe they were just waiting on closers more in a non-overall contest that allows trades but this was worse than the NFBC Main in terms of what was left here. I took Ramirez who should rake in that park and lineup if healthy, but there wasn’t anyone I particularly liked at this price.
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5.1 Alex Bregman – See Ramirez, Hanley. I also wanted to avoid outfielders because I had two already, we only need four total and the position is deep.
6.15 Gerrit Cole – I like him near the top of the tier-three starters just behind Carlos Martinez and Carlos Carrasco.
7.1 Jose Peraza – This is my first share, and I’m not proud of it. But in a league where I was determined to tank catchers and wait on closers and outfielders, I wanted a MI, and I needed some speed.
8.15 Rich Hill – I like Hill, and this is what he typically costs. Plus I needed to bolster my pitching.
9.1 Dustin Pedroia – Another middle infielder and prominent bat in the Red Sox lineup. I was dead set on Pedroia and Hill at this turn.
10.15 Jamison Taillon – One of the tier of pitchers who could easily break out. I love the set-up for him.
11.1 Byron Buxton – I’m not a “Buxton guy.” He just winds up on all my teams.
12.15 Jim Johnson – I thought about punting saves altogether as closers aren’t worth what we pay for them but opted instead to grab two on the relative cheap. Johnson was good down the stretch last year and has *some* job security.
13.1 Cam Bedrosian – I have too many shares of Bedrosian who’s an excellent reliever but stuck with a manager who might not reward him for that.
14.15 Yasiel Puig – Maybe the timing of the draft – started midnight my time – and the slowness between picks (2:30 per) was getting to me, but I decided to lock into “my guys” and swing for the fences. Puig was also my fourth OF, but I had to fill up somewhere, and I wasn’t taking a catcher.
15.1 Robert Gsellman – This was probably a reach, but I had just read something about his velocity being up, he was good last year and is in a good situation in that division and park. The other pitchers that went this round were Aaron Nola, Jeff Samardzija and Garrett Richards, and I see them all in the same tier.
16.15 Nomar Mazara – I had already filled my OF, so Mazara’s my UT, but I like this value on a former top prospect who was decent last year and hitting third in Texas this season.
17.1 Tyler Glasnow – This truly was a reach, but he made the rotation, and I had missed out on shares elsewhere.
18.15 Julio Urias – Another “get shares” pick, also probably a mistake. One quirk in this league is free agent pickups are only once every two or three weeks, so you need some depth and can’t carry too many injured or minor-league guys.
19.1 Orlando Arcia – I probably have too many shares of him, but he’s got a job, the Brewers run a lot, and he was a good prospect. The downside is he’s hitting eighth for now, but a move to the two-hole is possible of Eric Thames and/or Keon Broxton fails.
20.15 Yan Gomes – You must fill your 22-man starting roster in this format before the reserve rounds, so I needed two catches. I don’t like Gomes, but he raked this spring, so at least he’s healthy now.
21.1 Pablo Sandoval – I actually like him this year. He’s only 30, playing in Fenway, in a great lineup and is apparently healthy and in shape.
22.15 Manny Pina – I took him over Jett Bandy who have I in a couple places. Pina crushed it this spring and should share the job in some capacity.
23.14 (order switches for reserves) Delino DeShields – I didn’t need an OF or steals particularly, but he had reportedly won the job after a huge spring, so I took what I thought was the best player available. Unfortunately, he’s started the year on the bench.
24.2 Mike Foltynewicz – I’m not a fan of this pick, but pitching was thin, and I needed a starter to replace Urias who’s in the minors.
25.14 Jurickson Profar – I wanted Profar and Matt Boyd in this turn, but figured Profar – who also qualifies at MI was at greater risk for being taken.
26.2 Wei Yen Chen – Of course, Matt Boyd went at the turn, so I grabbed Chen
27.14 Yonder Alonso – It’s my second share after his big spring. It’s probably a mirage, but other hitters like Justin Turner, J.D Martinez and Josh Donaldson have re-made themselves the last few years too.
28.2 Huston Street – An acknowledgment I have too many Bedrosian shares.
Lineup By Position:
C Yan Gomes, Manny Pina
1B Hanley Ramirez
2B Dustin Pedroia
3B Alex Bregman
SS Jose Peraza
CI Pablo Sandoval
MI Orlando Arcia
OF Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, Byron Buxton, Yasiel Puig
UT Nomar Mazara
SP Yu Darvish, Gerrit Cole, Rich Hill, Jamison Taillon, Robert Gsellman, Tyler Glasnow, Julio Urias, Mike Foltynewicz, Wei-Yen Chen
RP Jim Johnson, Cam Bedrosian, Huston Street
B Delino DeShields, Jurickson Profar, Yonder Alonso.