My last draft of the season is this one, a 12-team mixed league held with the other hosts from SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM87). After a long an arduous draft season, this will be my sixth draft of a league in which I will play it out (that’s a good number of leagues for me, with all I have to do, and the oncoming onslaught of fantasy football). So how did I put my team together, one that I drafted out of the #3 hole? Did I go pitching early? Did I wait and go pitching early? Did I learn any tricks through the draft season that helped me to put together a strong team, or did I simply wear out from all of it and mail it in? Read on to find out.
1) Anthony Perri
2) Howard Bender
3) Ray Flowers
4) Todd Zola
5) Kyle Elfrink
6) Steve Phillips
7) Jim Bowden
8) Schuyler Dombroske
9) Clay Link
10) Jeff Mans
11) Adam Ronis
12) Lenny Melnick
12-teams, Mixed League
5 x 5 Rotisserie style scoring.
Hitting Categories – BA, HR, RBI, Runs, SB
Pitching Categories – W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV
ROSTER: 2-C, 1-1B, 1-3B, 1-CI, 1-2B, 1-SS, 1-MI, 5-OF, 1-UT, 9-P, 6 reserves
Each player will have $1,000 in FAAB money to spend on changes for his team.
The minimum bid on any player will be $1.
entirely different at the draft table.
*Round taken in parenthesis.
Catcher: Jorge Alfaro (22), Austin Hedges (24)
First Base: Joey Votto (5)
Second Base: Yoan Moncada (10)
Third Base: Nolan Arenado (1)
Shortstop: Andrelton Simmons (20)
Middle Infielder: Brian Dozier (11)
Corner Infielder: Jay Bruce (23)
Outfield: Charlie Blackmon (2), Andrew Benintendi (3), Lorenzo Cain (4), Billy Hamilton (14), Franchy Cordero (27)
Utility: Cesar Hernandez (16)
Pitchers: Zack Greinke (6), Madison Bumgarner (7), Clayton Kershaw (8), David Price (9), Craig Kimbrel (12), Masahiro Tanaka (13), Cody Allen (15), Mychal Givens (18), Ryan Pressly (20)
BENCH: Marwin Gonzalez (17), Shohei Ohtani (19), Ty Buttrey (25), Miguel Sano (26), Dylan Bundy (28), Chris Taylor (29)
*What follows is a running diary of my thoughts during the draft.
ROUND 1: Jeff Mans and I have said all along that we like the idea of Arenado as the third pick. I finally get to live the dream here and grab him for my squad. There is no more of a rock available past the top-2 in a draft. Too bad Max Scherzer didn’t go in one of the two spots.
ROUND 2: Andrew Benintendi, Manny Machado or Blackmon. I went with Blackmon, who likely will be seen as a boring safe pick. I’ll take it. The last four years his average effort is .308-28-78-115-22. He won’t get there in steals, probably 10 less, but the rest of the numbers are doable. I will hope that Benintendi falls to the next pick.
ROUND 3: Benintendi is just so stable, so I gladly grabbed him here. In two seasons he’s gone .280-18-88-94-20 as an average effort. That’s virtually 20/20 with stability across the board, a good home park and a good lineup around him. He’s an ideal third round pick.
ROUND 4: To pitch, or not to pitch? The hurlers came off a little slow to start, but then picked up. Folks panic if you don’t go arms, and as Mans and I continue to discuss, I’m not sure why that really is. Tough call here. Could have gone an arm, but I’ll just get a guy in the 5th, or maybe I’ll wait even further? Could have gone Joey Votto and locked down batting average, but instead I went for a second pick in a row with 20-steal upside in Cain. LoCain isn’t that bad an option in batting average either, now is he? Over the last two years he’s hit .304 with an averaged of 28 steals and 88 runs scored.
ROUND 5: I don’t own Votto anywhere. Why the hell not here? His “fall” has been greatly exaggerated. Greatly. Through five round my team is likely batting about .300 meaning I don’t have to worry about rostering any batting average risks at any point moving forward. I have both corner spots filled – and they can get thin quicker than folks think. I’ve got two guys with 20-steal potential as well in my Rockstar top-5.
ROUND 6: No one looks at Greinke as they should it seems. Sexy? No. Velocity down? Yes. Who cares? Ray Flowers. Last season Greinke went 15-11 with a 3.21 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 199 strikeouts. That works. Period.
ROUND 7: Bumgarner is a fine add, given the cost according to yours truly, though obviously others disagree At least in my mind. He fell off a bike, and got hit by a line drive. Too much is being made about his diminishing stuff. Is it at peak levels? No. Is it good enough to be a higher end arm? I think so.
ROUND 8: Kershaw misses April, then posts a season like he did last year from May on... I’m totally fine with that at this cost. Kershaw threw more innings than Sale last season, he had a better ERA last season than Cole and had a better WHIP than Bauer. Kershaw sure seems like an ideal third starter to me.
ROUND 9: Price isn’t an ace, and he completes my great staff from 2016 (this wasn’t a plan by any means, but something I noticed as I was hitting select on Price). He’s an ideal fourth starter in a 12-team league. The WHIP will be solid, the strikeouts about one an inning, and he should pile up plenty of wins on a Red Sox squad.
ROUND 10: Wanted to target the middle infield here. Had names like Brian Dozier, Amed Rosario and Moncada in mind. Was hoping to be able to get two of those guys in Rounds 10 and 11. I have no shares of Moncada, and I lost him by one spot in the NFBC, so I just went for it and grabbed him. A 20/20 season is doable, and even if he’s not able to close the holes in his game, i.e. not making contact, his batting average is absorbable given my early strength in batting average. Give Moncada’s Player Profile a read.
ROUND 11: Perfection. Dozier is an ideal middle infield option, with power and speed, even with some batting average concern that was covered at the top with my squad. As I wrote in his Player Profile, Dozier was just about the second baseman to own from 2013-17 before that knee injury last season. Even last year he had more homers than Odor, the same RBI total as Albies, more runs scored than Lowrie and the same steal total as Moncada.
ROUND 12: Was hoping that Wade Davis would fall here, but he went three picks before me. The fallback was Kimbrel. He has to sign somewhere, soon, to close. Right? Please?
ROUND 13: There just isn’t a need to go bonkers crazy on arms. Case in point – Tanaka. Even as his game has slowed a bit the last two years, we’re still taking about a 1.19 WHIP and 9.5 punchouts per nine innings last season. Can’t quibble at all with him sliding in as a fifth starting pitcher.
ROUND 14: At some point, someone has to take Hamilton. I figured I would be that guy when he was still sitting there in Round 14. I truly believe that he’s gonna make a run to 50-steals with the Royals. The power will need to be found elsewhere on the team (the Dozier middle infield addition should help a bit). Now it’s mashers with less than ideal averages coming up as targets.
ROUND 15: Allen isn’t very good. However, with no saves to this point of the draft, sans Kimbrel, I took the plunge. Allen has 24 saves in 5-straight seasons, but he limped to 27 saves last season with a 4.70 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Gotta hope to grab Ty Buttrey late.
ROUND 16: Hernandez was a luxury pick. Love the player, but he will be hitting toward the bottom of the order with the Phils. Probably shouldn’t have made it if being honest as he’s my third second baseman. Want the truth? I was texting, writing this article and on IM with Mans, so I was a bit distracted. Don’t be me. Don’t do that.
ROUND 17: Marwin is very useful in a daily change lineup league as he qualifies at first, second, short and the outfield. Just a safety pick for coverage with this being a daily lineup change league. Boring, potentially a slight reach too, but worthwhile given the setup.
ROUND 18: Givens should get me 20-saves. If he does, I will be happy. He has a nice arm, and there’s a chance that number gets pushed to 30 if the Orioles don’t committee the hell out of this thing in the ninth.
ROUND 19: I almost went with Shane Greene here, but if Kimbrel signs, and he has to (please) then Greene wouldn’t be necessary. I obviously went with Ohtani. We have five DL spots in this league, so I’ll just park him on that, and wait for that .900+ OPS to find his way into the lineup in May. In fact, his .925 OPS last season was better than Goldschmidt, Story, Rendon, Machado, Freeman, Harper…
ROUND 20: Greene went three picks before me. Dang it. Would have been a nice, cheap saves option and one I could have better accepted a round later than the last. Simmons over Willy Adames was the choice in the 20th. Simmons nearly hit .300 last season, and the last two years his average effort has been .285-12-72-72-14. I’ll take that up the middle.
ROUND 21: Pressly was a dominant force last season. He should be again this season. He’s an ideal middle reliever to target. In fact, see Bullpen Arms to Know.
ROUND 22: Jay Bruce, Jose Martinez, Jorge Soler were some of the options. Alfaro ended up being the choice though. I love his power bat, I’ve compared him to Salvador Perez, and this was an example of building a power base without worry about batting average because of those first five rounds.
ROUND 23: Same three names as above were under consideration. I should have taken Soler if throwing the dart (see his Player Profile), but I went with Bruce because he qualifies at first base and the outfield, and I needed that corner guy. I went Bruce over Martinez, not because he’s a better hitter (he’s not), but because Bruce has the spot in the daily lineup whereas Martinez just doesn’t. Bruce’s blah average shouldn’t be much of an issue for the squad either.
ROUND 24: Hedges, like Alfaro, was a power add with little concern about the potentially poor batting average. It will be really interesting to see how the Padres handle the workload behind the dish as Hedges is superior to Francisco Mejia with the glove.
ROUND 25: I took Allen earlier, so the need to handcuff was paramount leading to the Buttrey selection here. It’s not ideal to handcuff bullpens, but with my lack of 9th inning certainty, I thought, why the hell not do it here. Buttrey throws 96 mph, struck out 11 per nine last season and had an impressive 57 percent ground ball rate. He’s a strong add even without saves.
ROUND 26: Sano, like the Hamilton pick, was one that I had no intention of making before the draft. But with five DL spots, I took the plunge, especially since my corner option, Jay Bruce, isn’t likely to rise above a solid contributor. Further, when Sano is back, if he can take over the corner infield spot, I can move Bruce to the outfield, a spot needing some depth on my squad.
ROUND 27: Cordero isn’t likely to play every day. Still, I just can’t shake the idea that he’s a legit power/speed combo, one who swings left-handed, so he should see a fair deal of work early on. With the fast forwarding of Fernando Tatis to the bigs, I’m thinking that the Padres are going to be aggressive this season. That means, as I’ve stated a whole bunch of times, that I have to think that they deal some of their outfield depth at some point for another starting pitcher. If that happens, and Cordero plays daily for someone, this will be a steal. If it doesn’t happen, well, then I burned a pick up an upside shot that didn’t work out.
ROUND 28: Bundy was the selection after Lewis Brinson was taken a few picks before I had the shot in the 28th. Brinson would have been ideal here, and really was who I wanted to add as I was gonna take an arm in the 29th. Bundy has homer issues, we all know that, but he is someone I like, someone who can strike out a batter per inning, and a good deal of his measures suggest improvement is coming this season.
ROUND 29: Eric Thames or Taylor to wrap things up. I went with Taylor who qualifies at shortstop and the outfield. He can run a bit, and despite Enrique Hernandez being named the starter with the Dodgers, Taylor should still see more than enough work as a super sub to get his 450 at-bats this season.
Just like my foray into The NFBC, I assumed way more risk than usual. We have five DL spots, so the adds of Ohtani/Sano are understandable (don’t forget that when we run waivers this weekend that I will be able to add two players for the open roster spots). I will also be able to DL Kershaw, meaning that I’ll likely be looking at adding a couple of arms (guys like Godley, Wood, Fiers, Rodon, DeSclafani weren’t drafted) and one hitter right away with the three spots.
Kimbrel is a key. I can’t envision him sitting out much longer, and even if he appears in 2/3 of the season, he’s still a solid bet for 25 saves, is he not? He could also sign soon and give his typical 35-save outing. There’s still hope. His situation determines if I have enough save strength, or if I need to go a trading or waiver-wire diving.
I really do like the top of my offense, and my infield in particular, as well as my top-3 outfielders. Things get a bit spotty at spots 4/5 in the outfield, but if Hamilton is who he has been in 4-of-5 seasons, I’m right up at the top of the league in steals. Perhaps a trade with Steve Phillips for a rock in the outfield is forthcoming.
This team has obvious strengths, and certain weaknesses. In some respects, it’s stable and boring. In some respects, there a whole lotta of risk (perhaps too much). I’d say it’s a B type of team that could perform at an A- level. We shall see.
Ray Flowers is the EVP of GuruElite. While others have dabbled, Ray is one of the few who has worked in the fantasy industry full-time for each of the last 17 years. A multi-time FSWA Award winner for Best Baseball Series, Ray also hosts The Fantasy Drive six days a week on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, a position he has held since the first day of the network's existence.