This is the trickiest of all of the leagues that we ran this year. The strategy starts way before the first-round pick, and the pressure doesn’t let up until your 30th pick.
The idea is incredibly simple to understand but extraordinarily tough to execute. Draft a team of 30 players, but you must have one from each of the 30 MLB teams.
Do you take the best possible players in the first rounds or do you select players from the lesser teams? Who had the right strategy? Rob Noverraz, who took Oakland’s Esteury Ruiz in the second round or James Holden, who left his Oakland pick until the final round (relief pitcher (Zach Jackson).
As with the January Best Ball report, for no apparent reason, I cropped the final table after the sixth spot. Unfortunately, this shows that my fantasy baseball nemesis, David Runciman, pipped me for a Top 5 spot by the smallest of margins.
The undisputed champion of this heavyweight fantasy baseball competition was Jason Derr aka Bubba aka Ballcaps & Bagpipes host (Scottish baseball podcast) aka Tea and Topps co-host (UK’s leading baseball card podcast) aka Dugout Classics (The UK’s largest collection of vintage and throwback baseball jerseys) aka UK Mariners fan club aka Harry Ford‘s mate.
Jason’s road to victory was fascinating as he did not have any of the Top 12 points scorers. However, the only one of his 30 players that failed to produce was Washington’s Jake Alu, but as second base was already covered by Ketel Marte and Whit Merrifield, Alu’s non-production wasn’t an issue.
Looking back at the draft results, I think Jason won the league based on fantastic picks rather than any innovative strategy. In rounds 13-15, when I was taking Matt Boyd, Brendan Rodgers, and Jeff McNeil, Jason picked Ketel Marte, Bryce Harper and Cody Bellinger.
But it was a long game that Jason played. At the end of April, he was still in the bottom half, but he had future superstars like Francisco Alvarez and Josh Jung waiting in the wings. And thanks in part to post-hype sluggers Nolan Jones and Spencer Torkelson proving this was their year, Jason took the league lead at the start of July and never relinquished it.
Fascinatingly, last year’s champion, Adam Nicholson, only just scraped into the Top 10. That will teach him to miss the draft and get me to pick for him.
With these “draft and hold” formats, it’s always interesting to see which players were undrafted. And on this occasion, despite 390 players getting drafted, the 24th-highest points scorer was left on the board. Marcell Ozuna had a big question mark over his head coming into the season, but it shows the strength of the Braves roster that he wasn’t picked.
Congratulations again to Jason. A magnificent effort. A trophy will be winging its way to him shortly.
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Featured image of Ketel Marte by Harry How/Getty Images
GREAT BRITISH FANTASY BASEBALL SUPERLEAGUE 2024 #GBFBS – entries open in January 2024. Stay tuned to Bat Flips & Nerds for further details.