On Saturday, March 23, I drafted my second and final entry into the $125k grand prize NFBC RotoWire Online Championship. One advantage to drafting on this day, in particular, is hundreds of the world’s best fantasy baseball players were in Las Vegas for the live NFBC Main Event drafts. No NFBC draft is ever a cake walk, but avoiding some the best players could improve our chances of assembling an overall contender.
Speaking of the NFBC Main Event, it’s definitely something I’d like to experience in the near future. Reading draft recaps via the Rotowire MLB Blog and seeing all the pictures on Twitter had me feeling a bit jealous. Not to mention, there are dozens of NFBC veterans and people in the fantasy industry that I’d love to meet in person. One day it will happen – I promise you that!
I drew the 8th pick, which was my 3rd KDS preference. My plan going in was to hammer pitching early. There are plenty of hitters I love in Rounds 3-15, but I’m not confident in the starters being drafted in that range. Here are the results (scroll down to see the full draft board):
1.8 (8) – Chris Sale – Two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have even considered Sale in the first round. I may have even passed on him in the 2nd. Rotowire’s Clay Link and Jeff Erickson had me convinced after listening to the Rotowire Fantasy Baseball podcast that the velocity dip and health risk was far too great to spend an early round pick on him. Then the Red Sox signed him to a contract extension. This alleviated any concerns I had and the Las Vegas Main Event participants agreed, pushing Sale up their draft boards to the 5th-13th pick range overall (at the time of my draft). Granted, pitching inflation is more apparent in the Main Event vs. the Online Championship, but Sale quickly went from potential draft bust to a FOMO (“Fear Of Missing Out”) target of mine. Jacob deGrom was available, but Sale has the better track record, better team and higher strikeout upside. deGrom and Aaron Judge were my backup plans if Sale wasn’t available.
2.5 (17) – Gerrit Cole – I shared my thoughts on Cole in last week’s draft recap and my stance hasn’t changed. Aaron Nola and Trevor Story were my backup plans. Team 12 also double-tapped starters with deGrom/Verlander at the turn.
3.8 (32) – Juan Soto – Another FOMO player who is an absolute stud considering his age. I briefly considered Thor and Walker Buehler for a dominant trio of starters, but I felt Soto’s value was too good to pass up. He’s going to be a first-rounder next season if he starts making noise on the base paths.
4.5 (41) – Anthony Rendon – I passed on Cody Bellinger (another FOMO who went 4.11), but this is my only share of Rendon whose high-average power is as solid as they come. The Nats mini-stack with Soto is a plus.
5.8 (56) – Mike Clevinger – I had Victor Robles (5.3) atop my queue as perhaps my biggest FOMO of all, prepared to take him a full round ahead of his Main Event ADP (71.7). Unfortunately, Team 3 spoiled those plans and loud expletives ensued. Clevinger fell 10 picks past his Vegas ADP (46.7), so he was an easy choice. That’s an easy 700+ strikeouts from my trio of aces.
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6.5 (65) – Gleyber Torres – I considered Torres last round, so this was another easy choice. Gary Sanchez (who I already have some shares of) and George Springer were other considerations.
7.8 (80) – Kenley Jansen – A favorite of mine that I couldn’t pass up since Blake Treinen (6.2), Aroldis Chapman (6.3) and Brad Hand (6.10) were already off the board.
8.5 (89) – Kirby Yates – Nelson Cruz was probably a better pick, but I hate chasing saves and Yates could be a top 5 closer. I took him over Felipe Vazquez (8.6) who I had plenty of shares of last year.
9.8 (104) – Amed Rosario – With an elite pitching base, now it was time to hammer the sticks. Cruz was still available, but I realized how light on was on stolen bases after Bryon Buxton (8.10) flew off the board and panicked. I took Rosario over Dee Gordon as he has similar SB upside with more HR and RBI at the expense of average and runs.
10.5 (113) – Mike Moustakas – One of the best power bats available. Could provide additional position flexibility if he doesn’t trip over his feet at second base. That gave him an edge over Josh Donaldson for this pick.
11.8 (128) – AJ Pollock – I grabbed Pollock in Round 9 last week (pick 105) and he didn’t fall past pick 126 in the Vegas Main Event drafts, so this was a no-brainer.
12.5 (137) – Garrett Hampson – This could be my worst pick of the draft, or it could end up being one of my best if he ends up as a regular in the Rockies’ lineup. He still has Ryan McMahon to contend with, but at least Pat Valaika was sent to minor league camp.
13.8 (152) – Miguel Cabrera – This came down to Miggy (who I drafted last week) or Luke Voit. Voit has higher upside, so I’m regretting this one. I do expect Miggy to return plenty of value on this investment, however.
14.5 (161) – Domingo Santana – I just can’t help myself. I knew his price would go up a bit after hitting a grand slam in the Japan series. I didn’t think he’d make it back to me so it was now or never. Sure enough, a run of outfielders started after this pick.
15.8 (176) – Stephen Piscotty – I considered Piscotty last round and I needed to fill another OF spot. He also has underrated power, which I needed before the HR drop-off.
16.5 (185) – Yusei Kikuchi – After drafting 7 straight hitters, there were 5-6 starters I liked in Rounds 16-20 and I was fortunate to land three of them in a row, beginning with Kikuchi.
17.8 (200) – Brad Peacock – Houston’s fifth starter is a lot better than the “ace” of a handful of teams.
18.5 (209) – Matt Strahm – No matter how he is utilized, I expect excellent ratios and plenty of strikeouts.
19.8 (224) – Justin Smoak – I was sniped on Harrison Bader (19.5) and Yan Gomes (19.7), so I took the best power bat remaining.
20.5 (233) – Asdrubal Cabrera – Love his position flexibility (2B/3B/SS) and the value was too good to pass up.
21.8 (248) – Jorge Alfaro – When I passed on Gary Sanchez in Round 6, I knew I’d be waiting until after Round 20 to draft my catchers. Seven catchers flew off the board between Rounds 18-20 and Alfaro was the best one remaining that should see regular playing time.
22.5 (257) – Delino Deshields Jr. – Apparently, I didn’t learn my lesson last season. I was one of the many who pushed Double D up to Round 10 for his steals and he ended up being one of the most disappointing players. This price is much better, but I’m still not very confident that Deshields is a good major league player.
23.8 (272) – Jimmy Nelson – Will start the season on the Injured List after missing all of 2018. His team context is much better than it was when he last pitched in the majors.
24.5 (281) – Willians Astudillo – My favorite 2nd catcher target this year.
25.8 (296) – Jay Bruce – Injuries plagued Bruce in 2018 and he failed to reach double-digit HR for the first time in 10 years. A great value pick that could help at 1B or OF.
26.5 (305) – Kevin Gausman – Value was too good to pass up.
27.8 (320) – Brandon Lowe – A pure flier that will strike out a ton, but could still hit 25-30 HR. Go check out his spring numbers.
28.5 (329) – Avisail Garcia – Took him last week as my 5th outfielder. Probably should have drafted Chad Pinder instead to mix things up.
29.8 (344) – AJ Minter – Saves speculation, but will open the season with a short stint on the IL.
30.5 (353) – Wily Peralta- Everybody is drafting Brad Boxberger (11.57 ERA, 2.57 WHIP this spring) for some reason. Assuming Peralta earns the closer role in Kansas City, I’ll probably use him the first few weeks of the season until Nelson and Gausman are healthy. If he chips in 5-7 saves and some strikeouts, that’ll do.
I welcome your feedback via Twitter.