Can I Ever Quit Kershaw?

On Saturday, March 24, I drafted my $100k grand prize NFBC RotoWire Online Championship team. I drew the 5th pick, which marked the second time I drafted from that position within the last week. I didn’t write up my first Online Championship entry yet — a co-own with my friend Chris Hahn — so stay tuned for that. Here are the results from last night’s draft (scroll down to see the full draft board):

1.5 (5) – Clayton Kershaw – This was the third straight year I’ve taken Clayton Kershaw in the first round of the NFBC Rotowire Online Championship. I took him with the 2nd overall pick in 2016 and 2017 and got a bit of a discount this year. Taking Kershaw was my Plan A, but if he wasn’t available – a very real possibility after he went 2nd overall in my OC draft last weekend – I was planning on taking Bryce Harper (does he explode in his contract year?) or Mookie Betts. Harper ended up falling to the 14th overall pick.

2.8 (20) – Francisco Lindor – I might have been extremely stupid to pass on Freddie Freeman and Joey Votto, but I’m such a homer for Lindor. He’s so fun to watch, always smiling and enjoying the game while performing at an elite level. Lindor really flashed his upside last season, hitting 33 dingers in his age-23 season. He’s been showcasing his power in Cactus League play (5 homers in 61 plate appearances) and I love that he offers some speed. Will he run even more hitting out of the Indians’ lead-off spot? I’d love to see a 30-20 season from Frankie. While Lindor was atop my queue, I did briefly consider Noah Syndergaard to pair with Kershaw after I witnessed someone draft Kershaw-Thor-MadBum (pre-injury) in last week’s OC.

3.5 (29) – Alex Bregman – It was a tough choice with Anthony Rizzo and Christian Yelich also atop my queue, but I’m a Bregman mark and wanted a share after missing out on him in my other drafts. I’m expecting a 20-20 season and I love his multi-position eligibility (3B/SS).

4.8 (44) – Andrew Benintendi – I just missed Yu Darvish and Brian Dozier, but was thrilled to get a Benintendi share. Another 20-20 guy with the potential for even better numbers. I’d like to see him take a step forward against left-handers though.

5.5 (53) – Dallas Keuchel – I was a Keuchel owner during his breakout season in 2014 and have targeted him in drafts ever since. If he stays healthy, can he reach 20 wins again? Love his ratios. I didn’t think Keuchel would make it back to me and I like him more than Archer, Nola and Carlos Martinez, who all went ahead of this pick.

6.8 (68) – Roberto Osuna – After posting a 83:9 K:BB ratio in 64 innings last season, Osuna is my No. 2 closer this year ahead of Kimbrel, who went 2 rounds earlier. That’s not because I don’t believe Kimbrel’s talent. His daughter is dealing with a congenital heart condition and I have a friend who is going through the same situation. Thankfully, both children are doing well, but there is a chance Kimbrel will require time away from the Red Sox this season for appointments as doctors continue to care for and monitor his daughter.

7.5 (77) – Jean Segura – This was my first tough decision of the draft. I had planned to take Ozzie Albies with this pick, but he went 69th overall to Team Piechowski. After I snagged Albies with the 92nd overall pick (Rd 8) last week, I was certain he’d be there, but I know better than to pencil anything in during NFBC drafts. Unfortunately, Luke Weaver and Luis Castillo also disappeared from the top of my queue, and I was left scrambling. Looking at the draft board, I should have drafted Yoenis Cespedes for some much-needed power, but I’ll take a 15-30 season from Segura if he stays healthy.

8.8 (92) – Yasiel Puig – It’s hard to believe Puig is only 27 years old. Love his power-speed combination here and think he surpasses 30 homers for the first time in his career. I also considered David Price and Joey Gallo with this pick.

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9.5 (101) – Ryan Braun – I’ll take a 4-round injury discount on a player we were taking in the 4th/5th round last year. Another power-speed guy, which is the theme of my roster to this point. Brewers manager Craig Counsell has already gone on record to say Braun will start at first base against southpaws, so I look forward to Braun obtaining multi-position eligibility.

10.8 (116) – Javy Baez – No, it was not my intention to horde all the shortstops (I have 4 on my roster through 10 rounds), but Baez will play 2B for me. After setting career-highs in plate appearances, home runs and slugging percentage last season, I expect him to exceed those marks again this year. Baez plays excellent defense which should keep him in the Cubs lineup. I’d love to see what he could do with 600+ plate appearances, but I think 550 is more likely. Even still, a 30-15 campaign could be on the horizon.

11.5 (125) – Blake Treinen – There was a huge pitching run prior to my Baez pick in Round 10. Many of my targets like Sean Doolittle, Rich Hill and Lance McCullers were long gone, so I thought this was a good spot to grab my second closer. I already have a couple Brandon Morrow shares this year, so I mixed it up a bit with Blake Treinen, who noted A’s fan Scott Jenstad discussed in his latest Oak’s Corner article.

12.8 (140) – Matt Olson – I needed power and Olson left the park 47 times between Triple-A and the majors last season. I know he won’t hit a HR every 9 plate appearances again, but I’ll be pleased if he tops out in the 38-42 range at pick 140.

13.5 (149) – Kyle Schwarber – It was a tough debate between Trey Mancini, Jay Bruce and Schwarber – Schwarber may end up being the worst pick of the 3 – but I’m intrigued by the reports that he slimmed down and worked on his approach at the plate. 6 stolen base attempts this spring has me raising the People’s Eyebrow.

14.8 (164) – Mike Clevinger – I was absolutely thrilled to land Clevinger, especially after reading this from RotoWire’s Derek Van Riper. I’ve got him on most of my teams this year and hoping it pays off in a big way.

15.5 (173) – Kenta Maeda – Perhaps I should I have taken Jon Gray, but Maeda offers a steady WHIP and double-digit wins.

16.8 (188) – Blake Snell – He’s dominating Grapefruit League hitters with a 27:5 K:BB ratio in 17.1 innings. I do realize his team sucks and he pitches in the AL East, but if his walk rate dips again like it did last season, this pick will pay off.

17.5 (197) – Michael Conforto – Set to open the season on the DL with a likely return in April. I probably could have drafted him a few rounds later considering who I picked up in Rounds 20 and 21. Love the power potential, but tempering my expectations due to his offseason shoulder surgery.

18.8 (212) – Patrick Corbin – Take your pic from Corbin, Tanner Roark and Jake Faria. I didn’t want 2 Rays starters, so Faria was an easy pass. I picked Roark in my other OC, so Corbin to mix things up.

19.5 (221) – Yasmani Grandal – I hate drafting catchers. I normally wait even longer than this to grab my C1, but I wanted one who should provide 20+ homers. Grandal fits that bill.

20.8 (236) – Dexter Fowler – With Conforto on the DL, I needed a 5th outfielder and Fowler was my favorite one available. Let’s see if bulking up in the offseason will result in his first 20+ homer season. Hope to see double-digit steals again after swiping only 7 last year.

21.5 (245) – Corey Dickerson – Can’t complain about Dickerson in Round 21, especially after I was considering him a round earlier. One surprising stat about C-Dick: he hit .308 against LHP last year in 156 at-bats.

22.8 (260) – Logan Morrison – A late start to spring and a new team, but tough to ignore his power potential this late in the draft. I wanted a solid backup at 1B too if Olson is terrible and Braun somehow doesn’t end up qualifying at the position.

23.5 (269) – Brad Boxberger – I expect Boxberger to open 2018 as the D-Backs’ closer, so I thought this was a steal. I don’t think Arizona would limit Bradley’s innings to strictly closing duties and Hirano doesn’t have the strikeout upside that Boxberger does.

24.8 (284) – Eduardo Rodriguez – I’ll have to wait until mid-April for Rodriguez to return from the DL, but I think it will be well worth the wait.

25.5 (293) – Matt Chapman – I really wanted a player with stolen base upside, but Cameron Maybin and Victor Robles immediately left my queue after taking E-Rod last round. *sad emoji* Chapman is a solid consolation prize, however, with 25-30 HR potential. His excellent defense should keep him in the A’s lineup.

26.8 (308) – Chris Devenski – A ton of pitchers flew off the board as I was waiting for this pick, so I grabbed an elite middle reliever who should get a ton of usage on a great team.

27.5 (317) – Christian Vazquez – I like what Vazquez as my second catcher. A good batting average and a handful of steals.

28.8 (332) – CC Sabathia – Trust me, I never envisioned I would be drafting Sabathia here, but as I mentioned previously, pitching was FLYING off the board. The former Cy Young Award winner has been steady over the past 3 years.

29.5 (341) – Emilio Pagan – RotoWire is high on Pagan and for good reason. Elite ratios and strikeouts galore. He’s Treinen insurance for me, but could find his way into my lineup even if he isn’t closing for the A’s.

30.8 (356) – Tyler Mahle – A bit of a dart throw, but encouraged by his spring performance.

Overall, I’m fairly pleased with the results.  I’ll definitely be scouring the waiver wire for steals and I might be lacking a bit in RBI and Runs, but I’m expecting big seasons from my core offensive players.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the squad. Feel free to share your honest opinions with me on Twitter.