During the 2018 offseason, Justin Mason of FanGraphs, Friends With Fantasy Benefits and Fantasy Alarm organized a new industry league, The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. TGFBI is a series of 5X5 15-team mixed leagues using the standard NFBC lineup: 14 hitters (including 2 catchers), 9 pitchers and 7 bench spots; no disabled list / injured list.
Last year there were 195 fantasy baseball writers distributed into 13 different leagues. Similar to the NFBC Main Event, Mason included an overall competition component to the event. The overall standings were compiled from 195 points to 1 point for each of the ten fantasy categories. Clay Link of RotoWire emerged as the overall champ last season.
TGFBI grew significantly for 2019! There are 315 writers forming 21 leagues. Yours truly made it in just before the cutoff and was assigned to League 21. The slow draft started on Sunday, February 24th. Gather around kids and listen to the tale of my draft, so far.
- I pick from the 10th slot. You can follow along checking the online draft board.
- I set up Draft Buddy choosing the ATC projections. Ariel Cohen’s approach is the way I would compile average projections if I did them.
- I refer to my Target Percentages philosophy / method in this draft recap.
Using last season’s data I determined the target levels needed for hitting are 294 homeruns, 1,051 runs, 1,011 RBI, 137 stolen bases and a .263 batting average. For pitching 93 wins, 79 saves, 1,440 strike outs, a 3.57 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. These are an average of 3rd and 4th place in each category. Hitting these target numbers should get me about 125 roto points and enough to win my league.
Now, on to the draft picks.
Pick 1.10, 10th overall – SP Chris Sale
With the 10th pick I knew that Trout, Betts, Scherzer, Ramirez, Martinez, Arenado, Yelich and Acuna would be gone. If one of them happened to fall to me I would pounce like a dog on a bone. So, in my head this pick is between Trea Turner, Jake deGrom and Chris Sale.
First, choosing between deGrom and Sale. Although deGrom is going before Sale in most drafts, I am firmly in the Sale camp. Here’s why: Sale gives you a much better edge in WHIP than deGrom (or any other pitcher for that matter). Also, deGrom was lucky last season so, while still a very good pitcher, I am cautious drafting him this season.
So it boils down to Sale versus Turner. Maybe it is me, but I’m not as high on Turner as many seem to be. Out of curiosity I wanted to know how he performed with Bryce Harper out of the lineup (because you may have heard that Harper ain’t coming back to the Nation’s capital).
Over the past two seasons there were 35 games Turner played while Harper was not in the lineup. In those games he hit .267/.327/.445 with 4 HR, 16 RBI and 9 stolen bases. Compare that to what ATC is projecting:
|w/o Harper (prorated)||151||99||17||69||39||0.267|
More or less the same outside of batting average. Well, this is enough to give me pause. I changed Turner’s projections to match the prorated numbers and re-compiled Draft Buddy to see the effect it would have on his value. He went down from $24 to $21. Welcome to the team, Chris Sale!
Pick 2.06, 21st overall – 1B Freddie Freeman
With pitching out of the way, I need a bat. The next group of batters and their target percentage contributions from Draft Buddy:
With my first batter I want someone who can contribute to all 5 categories. In target percentage terms that means anything 7% and over (100% divided by 14 hitters = 7.14%) and a positive batting average. That being said, Benintendi and Merrifield are eliminated from consideration. Now, Freeman has that 6% in steals that normally would eliminate him from my decision. What he lacks in steals he more than makes up for in batting average.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before but the ratio categories are harder to catch up late in the draft and even harder from the waiver wire. Over the years I’ve realized that the best strategy is to build up a surplus in the ratios and withdraw from it later in the draft to catch up in the counting stats.
Although, Stanton’s bombs and RBI are appealing, the lack of average would put me in a bad spot. So, he is out. Blackmon is an outfielder, so I removed him from my decision based on position scarcity. I can find outfielders later.
Machado or one of the first baseman. First, Freeman or Goldschmidt? They are very close. Freeman nearly doubles up Goldy in average which makes up for the home run and stolen base difference. So, Freeman versus Machado. Maybe it was the thought of Machado in San Diego surrounded by that so-so lineup or maybe it is because I’m a Braves fan. Either way, I went with Freeman.
Pick 3.10, 40th overall – OF Starling Marte
With Sale in the 1st I am comfortable focusing on getting another batter.
Even though I just mentioned I have a nice surplus of batting average from drafting Freeman, I’m not quite ready to start making withdrawals. For that reason, I’m passing on Davis and Hoskins here. At the same time, I’m admitting to myself that I’ll be chasing home runs later in the draft.
Some may disagree with this approach but I am going to pass on Rizzo since I don’t need another 1B and don’t want to fill my corner infield spot right now.
So Bellinger, Marte or Rendon. As much as I would love to take Bellinger and his 11% dingers, he neither hurts nor helps me in average and my strategy is always to bank the ratios early. I have to pass. I ultimately went with Marte solely for the stolen bases. He’s the only player out there that gets you nearly 25% of your steals and doesn’t handicap you in the other categories.
So with Freeman and Marte:
Pick 4.06, 51st overall – SS Xander Bogaerts
I probably should take another pitcher but there is player available that is too good to pass up – Bogaerts.
I mentioned early when I selected Freeman about trying to get a player that helps me in all 5 categories. I call them the 5-star players. Well, the last 5-star player is still out there. I noticed that his ADP 48 put him just before where I would be picking in the 4th round but I didn’t want to reach for him back in the 3rd. I don’t hesitate and snag him quickly here.
|Previous Batting Total||15%||17%||17%||30%||4.75|
|New Batting Total||22%||25%||26%||38%||6.50|
Pick 5.10, 70th overall – RP Kenley Jansen
I’m predicting a #closerrun so I decide to grab Jansen who is number two overall on my sheet.
Pick 6.06, 81st overall – OF Eddie Rosario
I was wrong on the closer run, only two were drafted after I picked Jansen. Nothing really appeals to me on the pitching side, so I take Rosario whom I picked over Castellanos due to the slight advantage in steals.
|Previous Batting Total||22%||25%||26%||38%||6.50|
|New Batting Total||31%||33%||34%||45%||7.75|
Pick 7.10, 100th overall – SP Charlie Morton
I was off by one round on the closer run, five went off the board since my last pick. Time to take another starting pitcher.
|Previous Pitching Total||19%||48%||23%||3.75||5.25|
|New Pitching Total||32%||48%||35%||3.75||4.75|
Pick 8.06, 111th overall – 1B Matt Olson
Time to get some home runs. Using the “Top 25” tab in Draft Buddy, I see that Olson is at top of the list of undrafted hitters for HR and RBI. He’s also second in Runs. It is time to make a withdrawal from the batting average surplus.
|Previous Batting Total||31%||33%||34%||45%||7.75|
|New Batting Total||42%||41%||43%||46%||6.75|
Pick 9.10, 130th overall – 2B Brian Dozier
Time to grab my second baseman. Again, since I am +6.75 in AVG, I can afford to take the -1.50 hit from the highest rated 2B left on my board.
|Previous Batting Total||42%||41%||43%||46%||6.75|
|New Batting Total||51%||49%||51%||55%||5.25|
Pick 10.06, 141st overall – SS Tim Anderson
There were a few pitchers I was hoping would fall to me here. Unfortunately, Darvish, Hendricks and Tanaka were all selected so I turned my attention towards a bat.
|Previous Batting Total||51%||49%||51%||55%||5.25|
|New Batting Total||57%||56%||57%||73%||4.50|
After 10 rounds I’m more than halfway towards my target levels in all hitting categories and my average is positive. This is good because, I will need to continue to chip into that batting average surplus in the later rounds.
As for pitching, I’ve got some work ahead of me but I am in good shape. Much like batting average, I’ll be siphoning off of my ERA and WHIP surplus as I continue to add arms throughout the last 20 rounds.
Make sure to cheer me on for the League 21 and overall title in TGFBI!