And here we are at last with the final installment of the draft recaps from a fantasy draft we completed nearly a month ago and was written about 10 days ago. As John Jaso said, "Such is this game, and such is life."
My initial reaction to this draft was that I’m screwed. I felt like I didn’t get enough pitching (especially starting pitching), and had to fill a couple position player slots with total bums. Not to mention the fact that I paid money for Wade LeBlanc, which just feels weird.
After a second look and a look at Tim’s team overall, I actually felt much better. I had two good starters in Jameson Taillon and Ivan Nova, along with Felipe Rivero coming out of the bullpen. I also dominated many of the regular starters, including getting McCutchen, Polanco, Cervelli, Bell, and Freese. Getting both catchers notwithstanding (which I actually realized screwed me a little bit because it forced me to fill my U slot with a catcher, since there aren’t any benches in this league), I think my offense was primed to destroy Tim’s, who really only had Starling Marte, Josh Harrison, and Jordy Mercer.
One of my biggest takeaways is that the format is a little limiting — having to fill all the slots on the roster, including SS/MI after Mercer and Harrison were taken by my counterpart, was a bit challenging, but I think I have a better handle on how things are in this type of league now. I did leave $31 on the table, which seems excessive, but Tim also left money out there and I think we’ll both do a little better in player valuation come next season.
I dominated many of the position players, pushing money out to grab both main catchers along with Bell, Freese, Polanco, and McCutchen. I also managed to grab Adam Frazier, which I think will pay dividends down the road both in terms of numbers as well as positional eligibility, which could be a huge boon in this league with so few players eligible at multiple positions.
There are only so many starters to go around, which means that perhaps this league will come down to who avoids injuries the best. However, I managed to get a large majority of the position player starters, which is huge for counting stats like R, RBI, and HR. I also think that, despite missing out on Marte, I overall got better value through the players I did get, like having both McCutchen and Polanco as well as some deeper value in a guy like Phil Gosselin, who at least gets playing time and will give me some stats.
I also really like the two starting pitchers I got in Taillon and Nova. I was worried that having the minority of the starters was going to be troublesome, but with appearances as a category, along with SV+HD and K, there’s a lot of value placed on good relievers. Felipe Rivero is going to be the Bucs’ best reliever this year and Tim let him go to me for only $10, which I found baffling. Other than him, though, I have a bunch of the potential scrubs/early May DFA candidates, including Trevor Williams, Wade LeBlanc, and Daniel Hudson. We’ll see how this plays out since the waiver wire is really thin in this league.
Middle infield. This is most definitely where I’m weakest, but I think given the weak nature of this position relative to others in fantasy baseball, I’m okay with that. However, I am starting Phil Gosselin, Gift Ngoepe, and Max Moroff, only one of whom is actually on the big league club right now. Both teams were bound to have guys on the squad who saw little to now playing time, but this is a real weak spot for me.
Having only two of the starters is also rough in terms of getting wins and Ks. Relievers can at least make up for the Ks, but I’m basically resigned to losing the wins category from the get go, unless I can make it up somehow with an injury to one of the regular starters (which, given that we’re all Pirates fans here, we obviously don’t want to have happen). My relievers also suck — Felipe Rivero is great, but having Williams, LeBlanc, Hutchison, and Hudson behind him doesn’t inspire much confidence. Mitch Keller could be a great keeper for next year but he isn’t getting much done for me this year.
I’m going to be bold and say not much is ugly about my team and, in fact, I’m predicting a pretty strong victory come early October. I did leave $31 on the table, which is really disappointing in retrospect, but I’m not sure either of us really had a good idea of how this draft was going to go, so I’ll give myself (and Tim, too) a pass.
I think that there’s a bit more strategy in this draft than usual fantasy drafts. Not only do you want to spend the right amounts on players, but you don’t want to end up with a guy you don’t actually want, since the roster spots are limited and everyone is in the starting lineup. A good example of that is Daniel Hudson. Tim nominated him and I bid $2, and that was that and I had Daniel Hudson taking up one of the eight pitching spots on my roster before guys like Taillon, Rivero, and Kuhl were even nominated. Knowing when to stop bidding was tough, even though I know Tim well and know who he likes and doesn’t like, but overall it was a fun exercise between two Pirates fans.
Overall, I like my squad a lot. Freese could lose playing time to Kang come visa time (if that happens at all this year), but he’s been playing well thus far and I think they’ll find a spot for him. I think that overall, everything else fell well for me and I played the draft
This is one of the more fun things I’ve had the pleasure of doing. Tim and I actually just did the draft on the phone, so there was a palpable nervousness in the “room” while we were drafting since you could hear the other person make each and every bid. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this plays out all year and I’m keeping my fingers crossed my squad doesn’t experience any injuries.