For the second year in a row, I added a second “Beat Jeff Erickson” draft two days before Opening Day, on the NFBC’s RotoWire Online Championship platform. First of all, I love the format, but even though I need another league like USC’s Athletic Department needs another scandal or disappointing team, here I am. There’s always a subset of players I regret not getting – my “Fear of Missing Out” players – in my various drafts, so adding one more draft seems like a good solution!
Once again, I failed to draw the first or second slot, so there’s no Mookie Betts for me this year. I probably should have set my KDS to try to get at the wheel or the 11th spot, to get a better chance of drafting either Chris Sale or Jacob deGrom, both pitchers that I don’t have yet this year. But while this was a FOMO draft, I vowed not to pass up obvious value when it was presented, and one of the benefits to drafting seventh, right in the middle, is that value frequently presents itself. Your next pick is never that far away, so there’s less pressure to “jump” a player or position. Yes, of course you will miss out on some targets along the way, but rarely will you get shut out on an entire class. It’s especially handy when planning how to handle the aces at the beginning the draft.
So at 1.7, I could have taken deGrom, but once again “obvious value” was there for me in the form of J.D. Martinez. He’s my number four overall player – the best hitter not named Trout or Betts, and also behind Max Scherzer. I couldn’t pass him up just for the sake of having a different team. Luckily for me, another ace I coveted was available to me at 2.6. His identity, and my full team, after the jump and the full draft grid.
As I tend to do during these drafts, I shared my thoughts on Twitter as the draft commenced. There will be some repeat here-and-there from that string, but with some commentary added here-and-there when pertinent.
1.7 J.D. Martinez, BOS – I was curious to see where Jose Ramirez would go – that got answered pretty quickly at 1.4. I was prepared to take deGrom if Martinez fell, though Trea Turner would have been difficult to pass up. But when Turner and Acuña went fifth and sixth respectively before me, I took Martinez pretty readily. In the 12-team format, I’m less afraid of not getting an ace.
2.6 Gerrit Cole, HOU – As I said on Twitter, I was happy to finally get some Gerrit Cole in my life after missing out on all of my other drafts. Of course “missing out” doesn’t properly construe the events as they unfolded – I passed on him to take hitters in the second round plenty of times, though I was targeting him harder the later it got in draft season.
3.7 Starling Marte, PIT – One pick away from getting Whit Merrifield, who I preferred by a hair. Marte is a better hitter, Merrifield has a higher stolen base ceiling. It’s a tradeoff I can definitely live with. I was resigned to not taking my second pitcher until the fifth round or later, assuming that Carlos Carrasco, Noah Syndergaard and Walker Buehler would be gone – but I was only 2/3 right, as …
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4.6 Walker Buehler, LAD – Buehler made it to my fourth round pick, also going after Clevinger and Corbin. Good by me.
5.7 Xander Bogaerts, BOS – Toss-up between him and Carlos Correa, with Correa already aching being the tiebreaker. Like the Merrifield/Marte pairing, I didn’t have a share of either of them prior to this draft, and was happy to get one. As it turns out, I could have had both had I wanted.
6.6 Gary Sanchez, NY-A – Second share of him this year, thought that the price was right at pick 66. In some leagues he and J.T. Realmuto go next to each other, but in this league Realmuto went at 4.12.
7.7 Eddie Rosario, MIN – Went with the balance over a guy that runs more (I can say it now – Lorenzo Cain – in case anyone from the league was reading my tweets during the draft, I wanted to preserve the chance that I’d get him still.). Rosario is the type of guy that shows up high on rankings without too many people targeting him, making me wonder – “why do I have him so high?” But the batting average, if he maintains what he’s done over the last two years, plays better than people think. A .290 average is significantly over league average, especially with so many at-bats. The Twins lineup is better around him, and the division’s pitching is worse, with the exception of Cleveland’s rotation.
8.6 Corey Seager, LAD – Don’t need another SS with Bogaerts, but at pick 90 I think he fell too far, and want to be there if he approaches his pre-injury form.
9.7 (103) Jose Abreu, CWS – Not exactly a FOMO pick, but I didn’t have him anywhere else earlier, like the cost and like what he brings to the table. I suppose I could have taken Josh Donaldson here and addressed third base instead of fudging the position later, but both corner spots were open at the time.
10.6 (114) – Robinson Cano, NYM – My reservation is that I *know* I’m going to be lacking speed, but I think that I have a better chance of finding it in the 12’s. But my numbers have him as a value there. Moreover, Cano is one of the few guys in the 145-200 range that addresses batting average in addition to providing some power. I can pair him with a stolen base guy with a lower batting average floor later. (Foreshadowing alert)
11.7 (127) Masahiro Tanaka, NYY – After taking six consecutive hitters, I needed a third starter with K’s. I also love the team context – the Yankees are going to score a ton of runs, and they have a great bullpen to lock down Tanaka’s leads. He came at a cost, though. Miggy went at pick 132. Guess I won’t get him this year. He’s your MVP on a losing team, I suppose. My way around this, if I wanted to do so, was to take a pitcher (David Price? Charlie Morton? Miles Mikolas?) instead of Abreu, and used this 11th round pick on Miggy. But I won’t lose much sleep over this – I understood the risks of pushing him back one more round. Consider it a mild disappointment rather than a regret.
12.6 (138) Jordan Hicks, STL – Closers were falling off the board pretty quickly early but had slowed down some. Hicks is my favorite of this tier. The only difference between this draft and Saturday’s draft is that Hicks is my first closer, albeit in a 12 team league.
13.7 David Robertson (151), PHI – When I missed out on the top tier of closers, I knew that I’d take two in pretty short order. Had hoped Giles would make it back to me, but he went immediately after Hicks. This makes both OC’s of mine where Robertson is a pretty important aspect of my team. In … Gabe Kapler we trust?
Meanwhile, Madison Bumgarner falls to pick 153 (not me, though). He is your Draft Lead (instead of helium) guy, at least in terms of healthy players.
Never thought I’d do this, but … he fits the need, as
@MikeGianella predicted… 14.6 (162) – Billy Hamilton, KC. I have to admit a little self-loathing here, but it’s the rare instance where I felt cost matched need. Mallex Smith actually fell to a reasonable price in this league (158), just before this pick. I don’t enjoy being so reliant upon one player to hit a category like I am with Hamilton – but it’s the price of taking Cano at a position where so many others do run.
15.7 (175) Joey Lucchesi, SD – First share of him. I’m persuaded by talk of him adding a cutter, the improvements the Padres made and their other decisions to try to win now, like calling up Fernando Tatis Jr. to begin the season.
16.6 (186) Matt Strahm, SD – Vanity pick, but I don’t think it’s too much of a reach. His first start won’t be until Monday, so he’ll be on my bench this week – more on that momentarily.
17.7 (199) – Ramon Laureano, OAK – Some gamble here on job security, but I think he’s a “do something of everything” type player.
18.6 (210) Yuli Gurriel, HOU – The game requires us to play a third baseman, he’s cromulent enough. Again, he’s likely to be a high-average hitter, and that gives me the latitude to take other chances later.
19.7 (223) Jake Arrieta, PHI – What’s the opposite of FOMO? My least favorite pick of the draft, by far. It’s not that I think it will be a flop, but I’m just so lukewarm on his upside. Tatis went one pick ahead of me here – the news that he made the team came somewhere around the 14th or 15th round, but (a) I already had three MI’s, including two shortstops, and (b) I think Tatis is going to be overdrafted in redraft leagues. He struck out 27.7% of the time in Double-A last year and 25.0% in spring training. So really the equation was Arrieta vs. “other pitcher” in my situation. Solving for X by looking at the SP’s in the next two rounds, here’s who went:
- Jon Lester
- Steven Matz
- Zack Godley
- Marco Gonzales
I’m ok with the choice. Just not excited.
20.6 (234) Justin Smoak, TOR – Has the trappings of an anti-FOMO pick, but I actually like him. And he pairs pretty well with someone like Gurriel.
21.7 (247) Matt Boyd, DET – Love the pitcher, hate the team context, but think he still has value as my SP7.
22.6 (258) Ryan Brasier, BOS – I only have two closers, so I thought I’d take a stab at a share of the Boston job. I like his skills still. Barnes went
5 or 6 seven rounds earlier.
23.7 (271) Mike Zunino, TB – With another team I might have waited longer to fill my second catcher slot, but I think Zunino’s power really stood out, plus I have BA to burn (and burn I did!).
24.6 (282) Maikel Franco, PHI – power in a good lineup. Obviously he’s risky and could also tank my batting average. He was the best 3B available on my board, and with Gurriel as my starter there, I wanted to make sure my UT qualified at 3B. Jeff McNeil went three picks later, and that was a better pick. He’ll be 2B/3B/OF at some point early in the season, and has a higher ceiling.
25.7 Jakob Junis (295), KC – Because any time you can pick up a Royals starter, you do it! In all seriousness, I love his slider, and I’m hoping his usage of it starts rising to Corbin-like (40%) levels.
26.6 Shohei Ohtani (306), LAA – A token stash. In a 12-teamer I’m willing to do that more than in a 15-teamer. I’d rather wait for Ohtani at this juncture than Nick Senzel.
27.7 (319) Chad Pinder, OAK – I got more Twitter reaction on this pick than the 10 before it combined – and not all of it was clever wordplay from noted wordsmith Scott Jenstad. He’ll be active in place of Cano through Thursday (see below).
28.6 (330) Dakota Hudson, STL – I have some reservations, but what if this breakout is legit? He has the draft pedigree at least, plus the promise of Cardinal Magic.
29.7 (343) Zac Rosscup, SEA – Stealing a win. I’m not too proud. The NFBC allows for you to retroactively start or bench players used in the two Japan games – in the case of the pitchers, they have to be active through Sunday, for hitters they can be swapped out Friday morning. He takes Strahm’s spot for four days. Just hope that he doesn’t get torn asunder by having four games against the Red Sox.
30.6 (354) Zach Eflin, PHI – I have two-thirds of the possible “Zac/Zach/Zack” spellings with my last two picks. Britton will be a FAAB later! Ok, probably not, but Eflin at least has a job with a good team.
Laid out by position, here’s my roster:
C – Sanchez, Zunino
1B/3B/CR – Abreu, Gurriel, Smoak
2B/SS/MI – Cano, Bogaerts, Seager
OF – Martinez, Marte, Rosario, Hamilton, Laureano
UT – Franco (Ohtani, Pinder)
SP – Cole, Buehler, Tanaka, Lucchesi, Strahm, Arrieta, Boyd (Junis, Hudson, Eflin)
RP – Hicks, Robertson (Brasier, Rosscup* – nearly automatic cut next weekend)
That concludes my series of draft reviews. Hopefully they helped to give you an insight into your own draft process, even if it’s in what not to do. Good luck this season – go tear it up!