This year I have the great privilege of taking part in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, thanks to Justin Mason for allowing me and some of my fellow Bat Flips and Nerds in. Of the 21 leagues I was placed in league 5, separate from any of my countrymen.
My previous piece here goes through how I generated my projections and valuations for all the players. The overview of my valuations can be found here, and the draft board for my league can be found here.
1.4 – Trea Turner, WSH (SS) – My Rank – 9 – PRE ADP – 9.9 – TGFBI ADP – 6.5
I was assigned the 4th spot and I had the plan of choosing a 5-tool hitter, but the question was who this was going to be. My rankings had Trout, Betts, Ramirez and Turner as the best of the 5-toolers, so it was down to who was going to get to me.
The reason for this is that there are very few of these players who will make it back to me at the 27th pick whereas there should be some available starting pitchers who I rank higher than 27th.
Trout, Betts went 1 and 2, followed by Acuna who was a very minor surprise. That me with the choice of Jose or Trea. This was difficult for me because I wrote about how Ramirez’s late season slump was something that worried me. I had him ranked higher but couldn’t pull the trigger and went with Trea Turner.
2.27 – Corey Kluber, CLE (SP) – My Rank – 14 – PRE ADP – 26.1 – TGFBI ADP - 26.4
This was basically my perfect result for the 2nd round, I have Kluber ranked as the 5th best pitcher. This left me with a no-brainer pick. Pre-draft I was hoping to pick up two of Bauer, Carrasco, Severino and Snell with my 2 & 3 turn picks this was better than I had hoped.
3.34 – Carlos Carrasco, CLE (SP) – My Rank – 19 – PRE ADP – 38.4 – TGFBI ADP - 35.0
The other 3 of 4 I had originally wanted went in the 6 picks between my 2nd and 3rd pick. This left Carlos as an easy pick. If any of the other 3 were still there I would have had a serious dilemma about who to go for but thankfully I didn’t have to.
This double ace plan went about as well as I could have hoped and the plan for the next few rounds was to get some power hitters.
4.57 – Edwin Diaz, NYM (RP) – My Rank – 46 – PRE ADP – 49.4 – TGFBI ADP - 58.2
5.64 – Nelson Cruz, MIN (UT) – My Rank – 40 – PRE ADP – 96.1 – TGFBI ADP - 84.1
What was that about power hitters, Russell? I didn’t expect Diaz to reach me at 57, so it was never part of my plans to draft Edwin. But this was too good a chance to pass up, he is the top ranked closer for most people and should get ample opportunity with the Mets so this meant I didn’t have to reach for a closer later on.
This was the first time I passed on a player because I thought he would get back to me in the next round, thankfully I did.
Cruz may have been regarded by most as quite a reach but I was relatively certain he wasn’t going to get back to me at 87. The TGFBI ADP suggests I was probably right but he did go as late as 111th in one league. Cruz’s ADP is adversely affected by his utility only stamp but his projections put him as a top power hitter. His lack of SBs but strength elsewhere paired wonderfully with Turner.
6.87 – Nick Castellanos, DET (OF) – My Rank – 80 – PRE ADP – 93.4 – TGFBI ADP - 95.6
7.94 – Joey Gallo, TEX (OF) – My Rank – 54 – PRE ADP – 98.6 – TGFBI ADP - 91.3
For the second time I passed on a player on my short turn but looking at TGFBI ADP I would have probably been fine the other way around and probably got lucky doing it this way around.
One of the reasons I did it this was round I wanted to make sure to pick up a reasonable AVG player before adding in Joey who will reduce my team’s AVG significantly. Castellanos is a good player across all the categories as long as has game time. His defence was awful last season, but he still played all the time for Detroit, so I expect the same this season.
Joey has plenty of power but a terrible average. I expect a .222 AVG so there is room for improvement which would provide even more value than predicted.
8.117 – Salvador Perez, DET (C) – My Rank – 50 – PRE ADP – 108.9 – TGFBI ADP - 116.5
9.124 – Rougned Odor, TEX (2B) – My Rank – 65– PRE ADP – 136.6 – TGFBI ADP - 118.0
10.147 – Buster Posey, SF (C) – My Rank – 62 – PRE ADP – 140.7 – TGFBI ADP - 150.1
This was the start of my big plan for the draft. I wanted to take two top catchers, but my initial thought was I would have to do this a couple of rounds later. I hadn’t planned on taking a closer already and thought I would have to grab one around now to make sure I had a semi-decent first closer. Taking Diaz allowed me to go for Perez.
Posey completed the second part of my grandmaster plan, 260 combined games from Perez and Posey would have been a lot stronger than any other catcher tandem.
I drafted Perez about 24 hours before the news came out that he had been scratched from a game and 48 before the season-ending Tommy John surgery rumours started. This was a blow to my team; the better set of catchers had already gone by the time this came about so I didn’t draft another and will pick one up in the first free agency window when we know more about who might get the lion’s share for some teams.
I had passed on Odor for 3 picks by the time my 9th round pick came up and was confident he wouldn’t make another time through. I am uncertain why the ADP was so high for him, I know he would have a poor AVG but the production from the 4 counting categories more than make up for it. I have him similar to Justin Upton, for AVG and overall but Upton on average went 25 picks earlier in TGFBI.
11.154 – Nick Pivetta, PHI (SP) – My Rank – 140 – PRE ADP – 152.8 – TGFBI ADP – 144.5
12.177 – Rich Hill, LAD (SP) – My Rank – 113 – PRE ADP – 172.9 – TGFBI ADP - 169.2
13.184 – Will Smith, SF (RP) – My Rank – 181 – PRE ADP – 209.6 – TGFBI ADP - 195.2
14.207 – Joey Lucchesi, SD (SP) – My Rank – 169 – PRE ADP – 205 – TGFBI ADP - 199.3
After a few rounds of hitters, I wanted to pick up 2 or 3 more SP and an RP with my next few picks. With my rankings and who I thought might be available in rounds to come, I went with Pivetta. Also, I thought there was some value in hitters which I was expecting to pick up in 200-300 range, so I chose to attack pitching here.
Rich Hill has been undervalued in the last few seasons of fantasy baseball because people know you know you will have to manage him during the season, taking him in and out when he goes on and off the IL. I am an attentive player, so this won’t be an issue.
I wanted another relief pitcher who had a high-ish probability of starting the season with the closer role. Smith was the best that was available, I will have to monitor the SF season to make sure I am on top of it if he looks like he is losing the role.
Lucchesi had quite the range in TGFBI going from with the lowest being 129 and the highest being 263. That was surprising to me as the all the projection systems were very similar on him overall. His ERA and WHIP were very good for the pitchers around where I picked him up.
15.214 – Marcus Semien, OAK (SS) – My Rank – 162 – PRE ADP – 224 – TGFBI ADP – 222.4
16.237 – Odubel Herrera, PHI (OF) – My Rank – 159 – PRE ADP – 252.7 – TGFBI ADP - 246.9
17.244 – Maikel Franco, SF (3B) – My Rank – 184 – PRE ADP – 351.8 – TGFBI ADP - 256.2
I took a bit of a gamble here hoping that Herrera would make it back to me in the 16th but he did so I was able to get Semien. I wanted Semien then as the next middle infielder in my rankings was quite a bit down and below a lot of corner infielders.
Odubel and Franco were landed just after the confirmation of Harper to Philadelphia which should improve their projections for R and RBI. But wasn’t included in their value here, so hopefully more upside.
The pace of my draft helped me here, we were a mid-paced league so by the time we in this part of the draft there was 10 leagues ahead of us. This enable me to track the PRE ADP against the ADP for those 10 leagues. It showed that Franco was going way lower, so I pulled the trigger earlier than I planned to.
18.267 – Kevin Pillar, TOR (OF) – My Rank – 197 – PRE ADP – 307.7 – TGFBI ADP - 276.1
19.274 – Kevin Kiermaier, TB (OF) – My Rank – 230 – PRE ADP – 307.7 – TGFBI ADP – 282
I hadn’t ignored speed deliberately in my team so far, Turner had given me a buffer, but there weren’t many above replacement players with 15+ projected steals left so I pulled the trigger on both. I like this pair as both should hold down the CF role for the entire season due to their defensive class, the only issue is injury potential. But with my projections having them playing 140 and 130 games respectively I have baked in some time on the IL.
20.297 – Wilmer Flores, ARI (1B) – My Rank – 203 – PRE ADP – 476.7 – TGFBI ADP - 272.1
21.304 – Ryan Zimmerman, TB (1B) – My Rank – 211 – PRE ADP – 356.3 – TGFBI ADP - 309.5
After finding both these players in my lower rankings, I had wanted to make sure I picked them up as late as I could without missing out. The TGFBI ADP again highlighted to me that I should be able to get them in this area.
I think Flores was criminally underrated in the PRE ADP, I have him in a lot of leagues this season. That left me with two more pitchers to go for to complete my initial roster before taking some reserves.
22.327 – Sonny Gray, CIN (SP) – My Rank – 246 – PRE ADP – 265.5 – TGFBI ADP - 328.7
21.334 – Sergio Romo, Mia (RP) – My Rank – 458 – PRE ADP – 466.3 – TGFBI ADP - 380.1
The TGFBI participants seemed to be much lower on Sonny Gray than the general public and myself. I was more than happy to pick him up as my SP6, I think there is potential for an above-average season from Sonny, but his numbers aren’t bad for an SP6 even without an uptick.
Romo is my first full on gamble, I think that he will get the closer job from Drew Steckenrider at Miami at some point during the season, if not to start the year. I think he is a much better pitcher and he showed he is capable of the closer role with his performances for Tampa Bay last season.
My rankings by design had 345 (23×15) players above replacement level, so I was very happy that the lowest ranked player I took for my starting roster, bar the Romo gamble, was 246.
24.357 – Evan Longoria, SF (3B) – My Rank – 219 – PRE ADP – 471.6 – TGFBI ADP - 354
25.364 – Jason Kipnis, CLE (2B) – My Rank – 265 – PRE ADP – 432.4 – TGFBI ADP - 361.7
26.387 – Josh Harrison, DET (2B) – My Rank – 325 – PRE ADP – 647 – TGFBI ADP - 404.9
A lot of fantasy players will use the late rounds to aim for boom or bust young players. My approach was slightly different, I picked up veteran hitters who are guaranteed a good amount of playing time and hope one of them will have an improvement on last season. Kipnis and Longoria also have no competition for their position either.
27.394 – Yonny Chirinos, TB (SP) – My Rank – 429 – PRE ADP – 536.6 – TGFBI ADP - 463
28.417 – Andrew Suarez, SF (SP) – My Rank – 442 – PRE ADP – 683 – TGFBI ADP - 572,4
29.424 – Trevor Rosenthal, WSH (SP) – My Rank – 342 – PRE ADP – 556.9 – TGFBI ADP - 423.1
30.447 – Mike Soroka, ATL (SP) – My Rank – 528 – PRE ADP – 283.6 – TGFBI ADP - 408.5
Here I have 3 young pitchers whose level of playing time is a complete guess. Suarez and Soroka should get a chance at some point but I have no idea when. Yonny is probably going to pitch behind an opener which will reduce his IP and strikeouts but worked well for Ryan Yarbrough last season with him still picking up a good number of wins.
I was very happy to get Rosenthal, he is the closer in waiting behind Sean Doolittle in Washington, who hasn’t managed to pitch more than 53 innings in any of the last 4 seasons. I am expecting an injury at some point which should give Rosenthal some saves and when that happens, he can start for me, otherwise happy to keep him on the bench.
I am sat 2nd on these rankings, that includes me have nothing projected from Perez so I would have been top without that TJ issue. My team ranks 18th for hitters and 4th for pitchers. Suffice to say, I am very happy with this draft. I would have expected to be close to the top of any projections due my ranking merging various projections together with no manual adjustments, but second suggests I did about as good as I could.