Fantasy Baseball Draft Review – FSWA Mixed 6×6 Roto League

On March 15, 2015, I participated in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (“FSWA”) 16-team, 6×6 mixed Roto league captained by the one and only Jason Collette,  The unique aspect of this fantasy baseball league is that it has the following categories: Runs, Total Bases, RBI, Stolen Bases, On Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, Strikeouts, Quality Starts, Saves, ERA, WHIP, and K/BB.  I had the fifth overall pick in this deep 28-round draft which contained one starting catcher and two utility players.  Here are my picks in order of when they were drafted and some commentary on the first 10 rounds:

  1. Giancarlo Stanton (OF-MIA)

After Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen and Miguel Cabrera were off the board, this pick was a no-brainer.  The only other option would have been to take Clayton Kershaw, but I wanted to make sure I got a dependable power bat and there are few better options than Stanton.  He is an elite player that is capable of hitting 40-45 home runs and should easily surpass 100 RBI.

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury (OF-NYY)

Normally I wouldn’t take another outfielder with my second pick, but Ellsbury is too valuable in this format to pass up here.  With the categories in this league, Ellsbury will produce across the board and all of his doubles and triples will count even if he does not hit the ball over the fence.  NOTE: this draft took place before Ellsbury was diagnosed with an oblique strain that will keep him sidelined for at least a week.

  1. Jose Reyes (SS-TOR)

Reyes is similar to Ellsbury in terms of his value in a league that counts on base percentage and slugging percentage instead of home runs.  He is an extra base hit machine and will still steal 30-40 bases if he can stay healthy.  Pairing him with Ellsbury could pay huge dividends if they can both stay healthy.  Plus, he has great value in the third round of this deep draft.

  1. Adam Wainwright (SP-STL)

After bypassing pitchers through the first three rounds, I needed to make sure I got at least one ace.  Wainwright is probably beyond his years as a dominant fantasy pitcher, but he is still a reliable option.  He was the best starting pitcher still available, but there is no question my pitching staff will be a weakness with him as my first one selected.

  1. Craig Kimbrel (RP-ATL)

Since I didn’t get a top tier starter, I wanted to ensure I at least got an elite closer.  Kimbrel showed he was human in 2014 with a few speed bumps, but he is still the league’s most dominant closer.  The Braves won’t be great this year, but the games they win will be close and Kimbrel will still get over 40 saves with dominant peripherals.

  1. David Wright (3B-NYM)

I might have been able to wait another round to take Wright, but I did not want to take any chances letting him go.  He clearly is not the same player he was just a few years ago and is coming off a terrible season in which he only hit eight home runs.  However, I expect a rebound but not of epic proportions.  If his shoulder is healthy, Wright should hit 15 home runs and provide good value for a sixth round pick.

  1. Eric Hosmer (1B-KC)

This pick was a bit of a stretch because Hosmer had such a disappointing 2014 season.  But the talent is there and I think this is the year he finally figures it all out.  He is another player who has more value under the format of this league because he does hit a lot of doubles and I won’t be hurt if he does in fact have another power outage.

  1. Huston Street (RP-LAA)

I didn’t like the starting pitcher options here, so I decided to grab my second closer.  Street had a great season with the Angels last year and should approach 40 saves again.  The combination with Kimbrel gives me a great 1-2 punch in the saves category.

  1. Gregory Polanco (OF-PIT)

My style in redraft Roto leagues is usually to punt stolen bases and avoid young, unproven players.  However, after already having Ellsbury and Reyes, I decided to go for a trifecta of speedsters.  Polanco is one of the best young players in baseball and may struggle a bit in his sophomore season.  But the upside was too high to pass on and he will still steal at least 30 bases.

  1. Adam LaRoche (1B-CHW)

Given my skepticism over Hosmer, I was very pleased to land LaRoche at this point in the draft.  I have waxed poetic about him all winter on the Fantasy Alarm Podcast as I really liked his signing with the White Sox.  LaRoche will provide solid power numbers and fit in very nicely in Chicago’s loaded lineup.

Here are the rest of my selections:

11. Michael Pineda (SP-NYY)
12. Matt Wieters (C-BAL)
13. Jake Odorizzi (SP-TB)
14. Desmond Jennings (OF-TB)
15. Brett Lawrie (2B-OAK)
16. Mark Teixeira (1B-NYY)
17. Brett Cecil (RP-TOR)
18. Michael Bourn (OF-CLE)
19. Jesse Hahn (SP-OAK)
20. Kendrys Morales (1B-KC)
21. Brandon Phillips (2B-CIN)
22. Mike Leake (SP-CIN)
23. Tim Hudson (SP-SF)
24. Will Middlebrooks (3B-SD)
25. Bartolo Colon (SP-NYM)
26. Jake Marisnick (OF-HOU)
27. Dan Haren (SP-MIA)
28. Stephen Drew (2B-NYY)

Best Pick: Jake Odorizzi in the 13th round – without having a real dominant starter, I needed to make sure my staff was comprised of pitchers with upside.  Odorizzi is primed for a breakout season as part of Tampa Bay’s young and talented rotation.  He could easily become one of the best young pitchers in baseball and I really like the value I got for him at that point in the draft.  It is also a good representation of a positive selection when several other GMs start groaning in the chat room that they have been sniped or had Odorizzi up next in their queues.

Worst Pick: Eric Hosmer in the 7th round – he has failed to live up to expectations through this point in his career.  Relying on him as my starting first baseman is risky, especially after taking him at that point.  I could have opted for someone with more established power a few rounds before, but I waited on first base which necessitated me drafting additional depth with players like LaRoche, Teixeira and Morales.

Riskiest Pick: Michael Pineda in the 11th round – he is being relied up to be an ace pitcher for both the New York Yankees and my fantasy team.  There is no disputing how talented Pineda, but there are serious questions about his health and mental make-up.  He is now being thrust into a position where he is the Yankees’ second starter behind Masahiro Tanaka whose season could end at any minute depending on how his UCL in his pitching elbow holds up.  Pineda has not been on the mound enough to know with any confidence that he can sustain success throughout the course of any entire season.  He is my second best starting pitcher so this selection was clearly made based on a risk-reward analysis.

Biggest Sleeper: Brett Cecil in the 17th round – he is dealing with a shoulder injury in spring training but is slated to be the Blue Jays’ closer when the season starts.  He got some closing experience last year, but this will be his first prolonged foray into ninth inning duties.  Cecil has the stuff to be a successful closer, and the Blue Jays should be a good team that will provide him with many save opportunities throughout the season.  If he can rack up 25-30 saves and maintain his strong K/BB ratio, then I should be in good shape in several of the pitching categories.

Biggest UGH Pick: Tie between Desmond Jennings in the 14th round and Michael Bourn in the 18th round – Jennings has been a disappointment thus far having issues staying on the field healthy and has yet to really put his power and speed to good use.  He has 20/20 potential and will need to establish himself this year in a Rays’ lineup that doesn’t have much else besides Evan Longoria.  As for Bourn, he has been a disaster since signing a big contract with Cleveland before the 2013 season.   He also had dealt with a variety of injuries which has diminished his stolen base attempts and totals.  I have drafted him two years in a row and been disappointed each time.  I am hoping the third time is the charm and we see a return to at least 30 stolen bases and close to 90 runs scored.

Most Sentimental Pick: Tim Hudson in the 23rd round – I added him as a free agent in 2002 before he was called up to the big leagues for the first time.  All Hudson did as a rookie was go 11-2 with a 3.23 ERA in just 21 starts.  Now 17 seasons later, Hudson has indicated that this will be his last year playing in Major League Baseball.  He has had a brilliant career for both Oakland and Atlanta, and now gets to ride out in the sunset after winning a World Series championship with the Giants in 2014.  Hudson canno strike batters out like he used to earlier in his career, but the man know how to pitch and get people out.  He may not even strike out 100 batters this year, but you can count on 15-20 quality starts and a respectable ERA and WHIP than that is more that can be said about most other starting pitchers still available this late.

ANALYSIS: Overall I am very pleased with the team I drafted.  My offense is deep and should thrive with the categories in this league.  However, I recognize that my starting pitching is not great.  I should be fine with closers between Kimbrel and Street, along with Brett Cecil who is pegged to be Toronto’s closer after he is fully recovered from his shoulder injury.  At some point I may have to use some of the offensive depth I have and make a trade for a pitching upgrade.

UPDATE:  A couple days after the draft, I made a trade addressing my need for pitching.  I acquired Madison Bumgarner in exchange for Gregory Polanco and Brett Lawrie.  I did not want give up Polanco, but I obtained a bona fide ace and should still have enough offense to give me a chance to win this league.

Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry’s premier dispute resolution service, and co-host of the Fantasy Alarm Podcast.  You can contact him at michael.stein@fantasyjudgment.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment),

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