Old Bridge Fantasy Baseball League – 2016 Draft Review

I have been the commissioner of the Old Bridge Fantasy Baseball League since its inception in 1999 when a group of friends and family got together at my dad’s house for a live draft using oak tag paper to mark our picks.  Now 17 years later, the league is still running strong with our live draft just completed on March 20, 2016.

The OBFBL is a 16-team, head-to-head points redraft league with a scoring system that is very favorable towards pitching.  Starting lineups consist of one catcher, one first baseman, one second baseman, one third baseman, one shortstop, three outfielders, two utility hitters, and six pitchers.  Dominant starters and closers are the cream of the crop in this league, and that continued to be reflected in this year’s draft.

I had the ninth pick with my sights set on Madison Bumgarner (for several reasons including the fact that my daughter’s name is Madison).  I have made the mistake of not drafting a dominant starter in the early rounds the past couple years, so my strategy heading into the draft was to ensure I locked one down.

1st Round – Madison Bumgarner (SP-SF)

With Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta and Max Scherzer already off the board, I pounced on Bumgarner as soon as he fell to me.  The only other consideration at this point was Chris Sale, but I like Bumgarner more and was excited to tell my daughter that Madison was on my team.  He is a true ace with dominant statistics, and this is exactly what I wanted to accomplish with my first pick.

2nd Round – Nolan Arenado (3B-COL)

I was shocked to see Arenado fall to me with the eighth pick in the second round.  This was a no-brainer as he is unquestionably an elite third baseman with incredible power and run production.  I had him last year and was ecstatic to land him here after already securing my ace pitcher in the first round.

3rd Round – Noah Syndergaard (SP-NYM)

Pitchers continued flying off the board as Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, Cole Hamels and Gerritt Cole were some of the names who went before my turn.  Since I got my elite power bat in the second round with Arenado, I decided to bolster my pitching staff with another potential ace and took Syndergaard.  The man they call Thor had a great rookie season and was even better in the playoffs.  With that experience and without an innings limit, Syndergaard should win 15 games and collect well over 200 strikeouts.

4th Round – Trevor Rosenthal (RP-STL)

As I previously said, dominant closers are very valuable in the OBFBL because saves are worth ten points and strikeouts are worth two points.  Kenley Jansen, Wade Davis and Craig Kimbrel were already gone, so I went for Rosenthal who should be a lock for 40 saves.

5th Round – Justin Upton (OF-DET)

After taking three pitchers out of my first four picks, it was time to start building my offense.  Upton signed an enormous contract with the Tigers and will have the luxury of hitting in the middle of a potent batting order surrounded by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez.  It doesn’t appear that Upton will be a 30-home run/100 RBI type of hitter, but he is solid enough to be my first outfielder at this point of the draft.

6th Round – Carlos Gomez (OF-HOU)

Gomez certainly has more appeal in a Roto league due to his speed and stolen bases, but I think he was a bargain as a sixth round pick.  He dealt with some injuries last year which blew up the potential trade to the Mets, but he will be playing for a contract this season which should give him extra motivation to show off that rare power and speed combination.

7th Round – Freddie Freeman (1B-ATL)

I waited long enough to fill first base and could not pass on Freeman any longer.  He has always been a fantasy favorite of mine even though he is hitting on an island in Atlanta.  Freeman dealt with wrist injuries in 2015 so he may not hit for a lot of power, but he accumulates points in other areas and provides solid value at this point of the draft.

8th Round – Jason Kipnis (2B-CLE)

Heading into the draft, I was targeting either Kipnis or Anthony Rendon at second base.  I like Rendon better despite his injury-plagued 2015 season, but he was sniped the pick right before me.  I did not want to take the chance that Kipnis didn’t make it back to me, so I grabbed him here banking on a full season with 20/20 potential.

9th Round – Julio Teheran (SP-ATL)

Pitching was running thin at this point, so I took Teheran based on his status as Atlanta’s ace with a lot of upside.  He definitely took a step backwards in 2015, but the talent is there and he is quite capable of striking out 200 batters.

10th Round – Matt Kemp (OF-SD)

I filled out my outfield with a former top-five draft pick in Matt Kemp.  Kemp finished 2015 strong in his debut season with the Padres after several injury-riddled seasons in Los Angeles.  Hitting at PetCo Park is a big detriment, but he still provides enough offense to warrant being a third outfielder.

11th Round – Gio Gonzalez (SP-WAS)

Gonzalez has flown under the radar the past couple years because he was the Nationals’ number four starter behind the likes of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann.  Now he moves up the chain after Zimmermann left and he will take on a more prominent role on the staff.  He doesn’t blow anyone away with dominant statistics, but he will easily accumulate double-digit wins and over 150 strikeouts.  He’s my fourth starter so I can live with that.

12th Round – Alex Rodriguez (DH-NYY)

I cringed when I made this selection, but hear me out.  Rodriguez surprised everyone in 2015 after missing most of the past two years thanks to hip surgery and a drug suspension.  Despite his advanced age, A-Rod proved he could still for power and drive in runs in the middle of the Yankees’ batting order.  He only qualifies as a utility hitter so he is pigeon-holed in my lineup.  But I think I have accumulated enough offense at other positions to be able to afford the luxury of plugging in 25-30 home runs into one of my utility spots.  He should have enough left in the tank to repeat in 2016.

13th Round – Sean Doolittle (RP-OAK)

I wanted to get a second closer but the pickings were slim.  Doolittle was injured for most of 2015 and has even dealt with a sore triceps in spring training.  However, all indications are that he will be fine for Opening Day and have ninth inning duties for the season.  I also enjoyed sniping one of my friends in the league who served in the military with Doolittle’s father.  I’ll use this as leverage and try and use Doolittle as trade bait.

14th Round – Ketel Marte (SS-SEA)

I’m not sure what to expect from this pick.  Marte had a solid rookie season in 2015 and will be Seattle’s starter this year, but he is not much of an offensive player despite having some speed.  In a points league, players like Marte are not all that valuable because they don’t accumulate massive totals over the course of a week.  That being said, he has some upside although this is one position I will look to upgrade at via trade.

15th Round – Wilson Ramos (C-WAS)

If you have ever read my tweets or listening to me on the Fantasy Alarm podcast, then you know how much I hate catchers in fantasy baseball.  I typically punt the position because there is not enough of an advantage to spending an early pick on Buster Posey.  By the 15th round, I gave in and filled the position with Ramos.  I am quite pleased with this pick because Ramos can hit for power in the middle of a solid Nationals’ lineup.

16th Round – Jayson Werth (OF-WAS)

I rounded out my starting lineup by taking Werth as my second utility player.  He was injured for most of 2015 and struggled mightily when he played.  However, Werth is a proven veteran who is still an anchor in Washington’s lineup.  He appears fully healthy now and could provide sneaky production assuming he can stay on the field.

17th Round – Brett Lawrie (2B/3B-CHW)

Positional eligibility at multiple positions is very valuable in big leagues like this because you need depth with a limited bench.  Lawrie has been a big disappointment throughout his big league career thus far, but a fresh start with the White Sox could be exactly what he needs.

18th Round – Andrew Heaney (SP-LAA)

Heaney will serve as insurance for my pitching staff as he likely won’t play much for me outside of replacing someone injured or having an advantageous two-start week.  He has been a highly-touted prospect for a couple years and should finally be given the chance to pitch an entire season in the big leagues.

19th Round – Chase Headley (3B-NYY)

At this point in the draft you are looking for players to fill your bench who will see a good amount of playing time.  Headley is the Yankees everyday third baseman and has hit over 30 home runs in a season before.  He was terribly inconsistent in 2015 but still has the fortune of hitting in Yankee Stadium which makes him a potential 20-home run reserve on my roster.

20th Round – Steven Souza (OF-TB)

This could be my best pick of the draft.  I am very high on Souza who will be given the chance to become a star in Tampa Bay.  He has both power and speed, and the only question surrounding him is whether he can stay healthy.  I can easily see him cracking my starting lineup when and if Jayson Werth craps the bed.

21st Round – Tyler Glasnow (SP-PIT)

We are allowed two minor league slots which do not count against roster limits, so I drafted Glasnow and immediately moved him into one of them.  He dominated the minor leagues and could be called up to pitch during the season.  There is no downside to this pick as he can remain in my minor league slot and potentially turn into gold if he is called up.

Let me know what you think by emailing me at michael.stein@fantasyjudgment.com or find me on Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).

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