This week has been a theme week for me. Tuesday was “Radio Day” – I did our two-hour radio show on SiriusXM Fantasy, then recorded a 75-minute podcast with DVR, and finally was part of a four-hour broadcast of the Tout Wars Mixed League draft. Then on Wednesday after the show I had not one but two drafts. The Yahoo Friends & Family draft, followed by the epic RotoWire Staff Keeper League auction + minors/reserves draft. As a result, this week has been a bit of a blur – which is pretty much par for the course for March, but it was a little more concentrated than it usually is this week.
It’s in this context that we review this draft, which flew by on Wednesday afternoon. I drew the first pick after league commissioner Scott Pianowski ran a KDS (Kentucky Derby Style) preference system for the draft order. I was actually the third to choose positions, and the first two selectors went with fifth and second respectively, so Mike Trout, here we come! As I wrote to Scott Pianowski for his recap, when you draft first or second, you have the obvious big advantage of starting off with Mike Trout or Mookie Betts, but there’s a secondary advantage. You get an opportunity to plan ahead for the next few rounds without having to worry as much about who is going to be available for your next couple of picks. Sure, there’s some devil in the details, but I pretty much knew I was going to snag two aces at the 2-3 turn – it was just a matter of which two I were going to get, absent an unexpected run. In this case, I was able to get two of my favorites in the tier in Aaron Nola and Blake Snell. The down side to being on one of the ends is that you’re subject to more runs, so I tried to get out ahead on closers in particular, given how much currency that they have in this league. Even with that intent I’m still a little light, with only two full-time closers.
My full team is after the jump:
And here’s the draft in round-by-round format:
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As with the “Beat Jeff Erickson” draft, I tried to load up on Reds hitters when I could, but missed out by one pick on Scooter Gennett, had to decide between Joey Votto and Yasiel Puig at the 4-5 turn, and missed out on Nick Senzel (140 overall) by a lot and Jesse Winker (176 overall) by a moderate amount. I would have considered him at the end of that 12th round, but that he doesn’t run would have worked against him anyhow.
For a lot of people in this room, it was a “get your guys” draft, and definitely not a “slave-to-ADP” draft. I’m usually an even money favorite to draft Kirby Yates, but this time he went 86th overall, four picks ahead of my sixth round. This draft traditionally favors closers some – there’s an innings cap, for one, and there’s daily moves, so you can stream a little easier, thus inflating the value of locked in closers and high-strikeout relievers. I had to settle for Jose Leclerc as my top closer as a result. I’m a little more confident in him now that the Rangers signed him to a contract extension – that lessens the likelihood of a midseason trade, though it doesn’t entirely preclude one.
This league also has one unique feature – a “NA” spot where you can stash anyone in the minor leagues, or is a real life free agent. Thus I took the plunge on Fernando Tatis Jr. in the 18th round (270 overall), whereas in the NFBC I’d be less inclined to take a stab on him. This league also has two DL spots, plus four reserve spots. There are a few other quirks that I like:
- We cut the moves limit down from 125 to 80 this year. That doesn’t include active/reserve moves, but it does essentially limit some streaming, or at least force you to plan ahead so you have some room to maneuver in September when streaming can be so fruitful.
- This is a one-catcher league, with four OF spots and two UT moves. That’s different than most of my leagues, yet common for the average fantasy league. It’s always good to have some of that balance in my leagues.
- Another quirk of the league is that your active roster doesn’t have to be full at any given moment. If you don’t want to draft a catcher or have one active at any given moment – good for you! It’s allowed. You’ll save on batting average, but maybe cost yourself in the counting stats.
It’s been my experience that maxing out each hitting slot has been important in doing well in this league. You are limited to 162 games in each slot, and with active hitting streamers you can come close to filling each spot. So I’ve preferred to be strong at the top of my starting rotation so that I don’t have to stream SP’s as often. That’s one of the reasons why I doubled up with Nola and Snell at 2-3.
I have three “vanity picks” in this league – Victor Robles at 6.15 (90), Ramon Laureano at 12.15 (180) and Tyler Glasnow at 13.1 (181). Glasnow actually went later here than he goes in most leagues that I’ve played, Robles is around par (and wouldn’t have made it back to me) and Laureano is a little earlier than ADP. In Laureano I see a guy that could be a 15-homer, 20-SB guy with potentially good batting average potential. Moreover, his defense is so strong that his defense will keep him in to work through potential slumps. This was the first time I got both Glasnow and Danny Jansen since writing about them in December.
You won’t be shocked to see the RotoWire Draft Software likes my team. Duh … again, it’s using my projections! I’d be worried if it *didn’t* like my team. Still, sometimes that projected standings tab can be handy when you’re looking to see whether you’re projected to be weak in a given category. Here’s the breakdown:
Again, take this with the appropriate pound of salt. I’ve already moved Tatis into my “NA” slot, where I might not have done the same with other rosters. Moreover, this was a “get your guys” draft, so naturally there’s going to be more aberrant results. As it’s also a league with daily moves, roster manipulation is a more-important skill here than it might be in other leagues, plus it raises the value of some players. For instance, you can optimize the likes of German Marquez or Kyle Freeland, benching them if you desire against their stronger opponents in Coors Field. Or if a player has a strong platoon split, you can bench on the weaker side, or against tough matchups. Plus, if they are platooned by their real-life team, you don’t have to have him active on days he’s not in the starting lineup, if you have the depth to have a replacement. Finally, this draft was in a Yahoo room – meaning it was fueled by their projections, rankings and defaults, which might skew the results when trying to find a particular player.