FSWA Fantasy Baseball Draft Review

Mookie BettsOn March 26, 2017, I participated in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association fantasy baseball league draft hosted on ESPN.  This league is run by Michael Rathburn of Rotowire and is a unique 15-team, 5×5 Roto league with the following categories: home runs, RBI, runs scored, net stolen bases, OBP, quality starts, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and Saves/Holds.  I had the second overall pick which made my choice fairly easy assuming Mike Trout went first.  I targeted Mookie Betts with the second pick over Clayton Kershaw, Nolan Arenado and Jose Altuve because this is a big league with five outfield spots and I paid attention to my colleague Howard Bender’s advice on outfielders in deep leagues in one of his recent columns in the New York Post. 

While I didn’t follow up with another outfielder for several more rounds, I felt I had to grab the best player available at different positions since I had so many picks in between mine.  I also knew I needed at least one starting pitcher in the first three rounds because if I passed on them completely then I wouldn’t have much to choose from by the time my turn came around in the 4th round. 

Here are my picks in order of each round:

1.       Mookie Betts (OF-BOS)
2.       Jake Arrieta (SP-CHC)
3.       Daniel Murphy (2B-WAS)
4.       Jose Abreu (1B-CHW)
5.       Kenley Jansen (RP-LAD)
6.       Julio Teheran (SP-ATL)
7.       Evan Longoria (3B-TB)
8.       Felix Hernandez (SP-SEA)
9.       Ian Desmond (OF-COL)
10.   Carlos Gomez (OF-TEX)
11.   Troy Tulowitzki (SS-TOR)
12.   David Robertson (RP-CHW)
13.   Carlos Beltran (OF-HOU)
14.   Robbie Ray (SP-ARZ)
15.   Hunter Pence (OF-SF)
16.   Jose Reyes (3B-NYM)
17.   Jacoby Ellsbury (OF-NYY)
18.   Greg Holland (RP-COL)
19.   Brian McCann (C-HOU)
20.   Nick Markakis (OF-ATL)
21.   Brandon Maurer (RP-SD)
22.   Howie Kendrick (2B-PHI)
23.   Alex Cobb (SP-TB)
24.   Luis Severino (SP-NYY)
25.   Chris Carter (1B-NYY)
26.   Chris Tillman (SP-BAL)
27.   Nathan Karns (SP-KC) 
I would give myself a “B” for this draft.  It’s difficult picking from the #2 slot in such a big league because there are almost 30 picks in between the turn and it’s almost impossible to react to runs at certain positions.  I could have taken Christian Yelich or Gregory Polanco with my second pick (they both went to Team #1 after me on the turn), but I felt I needed a stud pitcher and could not pass up on Arrieta who is pitching for a contract.  I went with Murphy in the 3rd round because of his elite production in four categories as a second baseman and the pickings would be slim at that position by my next turn.  This roster lacks speed besides Betts but if some older veterans like Jose Reyes, Carlos Gomez and Jacoby Ellsbury find the fountain of youth I could sneak 60 stolen bases collectively out of them.  I’ll also need some fragile players like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Beltran to stay healthy which is questionable, but the upside could be huge as both are capable of providing 20-25 home runs and 75-80 RBI.  I feel like I got great value with Greg Holland and Brian McCann in the 18th and 19th rounds respectively as Holland is coming back from Tommy John surgery and will close for Colorado McCann is a 20-home run catcher.  This roster will be competitive but I admit I have some work to do on improving in certain area through trades and the waiver wire.
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