In part one of my draft recap article, I described my 12-team 5×5 fantasy baseball league and gave some insight into my picks drafting 7th overall. I drafted Matt Scherzer, Joey Votto and Josh Donaldson with my first three picks and formed a solid Opening Day roster for the season ahead.
For part two, I thought it would be interesting to get perspective on how the draft went by other owners in the league. The group we have are all huge baseball fans and come from a variety of areas around the U.S., including Gilbert, Arizona; West Palm Beach, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; Denver, Colorado and Underwood, Iowa. We are fairly scattered, so thank goodness for the benefits of technology impacting fantasy sports!
Each owner gave me their best and worst picks of the draft. Some gave commentary – mostly to talk about the “best” picks as opposed to the “worst” – or I included my own thoughts supporting their choices.
1st pick – Des Moines, Iowa
Best Khris Davis in the 11th round. Davis has huge upside with his power but a big knock against him is strikeouts. A sub-.250 average for four straight seasons, Davis is very good one or two category player (home runs and RBI), but a big negative for batting average and little to no help on the basepaths. Even with his K’s though, Davis mocked in the Top 60 so it’s possible he provides good value in the 11th round.
Worst Rafael Devers in the 9th round. Devers doesn’t seem to be thought of too highly of by the pundits so taking him in the 9th round is early. Perhaps Adrian Beltre in at least the 12th round or later would be a better use of draft capital.
2nd pick – Gilbert, Arizona
Best Greg Bird in the 14th round. One fantasy “expert” boldly predicted Bird could hit more home runs than Giancarlo Stanton. If Stanton stays healthy, I don’t see it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Bird leaves the yard 35 times this year. Unfortunately, Bird is now on the 10-day DL and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. If the ankle was 100% at draft time, then it would look like a steal in the 14th.
Worst Jake Lamb in the 12th round. I thought I needed a 3rd baseman and had Kyle Seager available but he went earlier in the round resulting in a snap-decision to take Lamb. Although he had 30 bombs last year, that is sure to drop with the humidor install at Chase Field plus he is brutal against lefties.
3rd pick – West Palm Beach, Florida
Best “I didn’t have one… Don’t like my team I drafted at all… Worst in three years.” Looking at my fellow owner’s team, he might be on to something. There isn’t a whole lot of value or star power outside of the first three rounds.
Worst Ken Giles in the 5th round. “Take your pick from many… probably Ken Giles.” I agree with him. The last time we saw Ken Giles, it was October and he was still tracking the GPS on all the baseballs that the Dodgers and Yankees were hitting all over the field. He did have a good regular season but unfortunately, we tend to remember the last thing a player is known for, which for Giles was the playoffs.
4th pick – Des Moines, Iowa
Best Xander Bogaerts in the 6th round. In the 5th round, this owner actually changed his mind and took Aroldis Chapman but then was able to still get Bogaerts in the 6th. Chapman was a better choice in the 5th no doubt but getting a solid shortstop in the 6th round in Bogaerts was a good value pick.
Worst Javy Baez in the 9th round. I think he’ll have a solid year. However, this team already had a second baseman in Rougned Odor and SS in Bogaerts. Having to put a 75/25/75/15 guy at a utlity infield spot doesn’t excite me, especially without a solid option at third base. It will also be interesting to see where Baez fits in offensively with Ian Happ pushing for time in centerfield and second base.
5th pick – Kansas City, Missouri
Best Josh Reddick in the 15th round. Yahoo listed him as the number 109 player overall. I don’t see it but if he was going on potential based on offensive protection and where he is playing 81 of his home games, he could be a steal in the 15th.
Worst Wilson Ramos in the 14th round. “I needed a catcher,” was the response on why this owner didn’t like this pick. It’s hard to argue against that sentiment until you see that outside of Gary Sanchez and to some extent Buster Posey, the catching position isn’t very strong to begin with.
6th pick – Denver, Colorado
Best Ryan McMahon in the 21st round. It’s tough to gauge what impact a rookie will have on his Major League team, but the Rockies are in win-now mode so they must have thought very highly of McMahon to keep him on the Opening Day roster. A colleague of mine actually boldy predicts him to win the NL Rookie of the Year this year. If Ronald Acuna is moved up and is as good as advertised the award could be over by May. If he isn’t promoted or isn’t able to live up to the astronomical expectations, then McMahon could be a sleeper pick in the light air of Colorado.
Worst Danny Salazar in the 13th round. Salazar is such a tough pitcher to figure out. When he’s on, he’s lights out and has top of the rotation stuff. When he’s not on, he’s a good AAA pitcher. The problem with drafting him is what are you going to get? The 13th round was probably a little high for Salazar and he easily could have been picked in the later rounds or on the waiver wire.
7th pick – Underwood, Iowa
Yours truly, I discussed my picks in part one.
8th pick – Underwood, Iowa
Best Travis Shaw in the 12th round. A 30 HR, 100 RBI, 10 SB guy for a team that will score a ton of runs and really utilize Miller Park’s hitter’s dimensions. Good value for a third baseman in the 12th.
Worst Justin Upton in the 4th round. Characterized as, “the type of pick I told myself I wouldn’t take, and hated it as soon as his name rolled off my tongue”. He’s basically underachieved his entire career except in a walk year. Now he’s got his big deal and legitimate questions exist about his motivation.
9th pick – Kansas City, Missouri
Best Ian Kinsler in the 17th round. Kinsler has always put up solid numbers and that shouldn’t change with his move west. With Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun, adding Kinsler to that offense should help escalate his run totals. He also should be able to run the bases with some ease as pitchers are not going to want to throw fastballs to those 2, 3 and 4 hitters in that lineup.
Worst Fernando Rodney in the 11th round. See Danny Salazar, above. The problem with Rodney is you don’t know if he’s going to be April 2017 Rodney or the Rodney the Diamondbacks had at the end of last year. Taking Rodney in the 11th round was a stretch regardless.
10th pick – Kansas City, Missouri
Best Daniel Murphy in the 13th round. Murphy underwent knee surgery last off season and is just now getting into game shape. When healthy, he’s one of the best hitters in the game and the lineup will provide plenty of opportunities for strong RBI and runs. He was listed as the 5th best second baseman and a Top 50 overall player when he is on the field. Patience will pay off with this draft pick.
Worst Jonathan Villar in the 16th round. Taking Villar probably wasn’t a horrible pick in the 16th round but with Milwaukee’s depth, Villar may not see a lot of at-bats. Granted, he has middle infield eligibility but Orlando Arcia and Eric Sogard seem to have the middle locked up.
11th pick – Kansas City, Missouri
Best Ian Happ in the 14th round. This was a player that I really wanted and couldn’t pull the trigger on earlier. Happ is penciled in as the starting center fielder for a Chicago Cubs team that has World Series aspirations. I think Happ is going to have a huge year.
Worst Billy Hamilton in the 7th round. Hamilton is your one-trick pony. When he gets on, he’s almost guaranteed to get you a stolen base. The problem is him getting on base. Taking him in the 7th round was a stretch for a one category player.
12th pick – Kansas City, Missouri
Best Jonathan Schoop in the 5th round. I think Schoop is an under the radar player who doesn’t get a lot of attention because of teammate Manny Machado and the fact he’s a second baseman. I have him as a Top 3 position player and with him being projected anywhere from 30-31 home runs and 91-99 RBI (Steamer, Zeile and ZiPS), that is a solid 5th round middle infield pick.
Worst Gerrit Cole in the 7th round. This was this team’s first starting pitcher. He took Kenley Jansen in the 4th round. I think Cole will have a good year as a number three or four for Houston but having him as your number one fantasy starting pitcher probably isn’t a good sign for your starting pitcher depth.
So there you have it. The best and worst picks of the draft as selected by my league mates. As always, a fantasy baseball draft is a great time to get together with friends, catch up on life events and, most importantly, ridicule each and every pick. With that said, let’s play ball and see how right or wrong we are with these picks 162 games from now.