Tout Wars – Draft & Hold (Draft Recap)

The Chief Justice passes judgment on his own team.

Tout Wars – Draft and Hold

By: Michael A. Stein (@FantasyJudgment)                             

It was an honor to be invited to join Tout Wars new Draft and Hold fantasy baseball league.  This is a 15-team league comprised of some of the best and brightest minds in the industry.  The draft is 50 rounds and there are no transactions throughout the season.  It is a 5×5 Rotisserie league with on base percentage instead of batting average.  Coming into this draft, I was focused on getting balance throughout my roster meaning I did not want to reach for a specific category.  Rather, I wanted a roster comprised of players who contribute enough in all categories while also having positional flexibility since we cannot make add/drops.  Here is a breakdown and some analysis of my starting lineup including the round and overall pick number they were drafted. 

C             Robinson Chirinos-HOU (22.322)

I admit that I punted the catching position despite being required to start two of them in this league.  I waited until the 22nd round to take my first catcher and ended up with Chirinos who signed as a free agent with the Astros.  Chirinos will be an albatross for on base percentage but he should hit 20 home runs which would be tremendous for a catcher at this point in the draft.

C             Brian McCann-ATL (28.412)

To continue my punting of catchers, my second backstop is McCann who is in the twilight of his career as he makes his return to Atlanta.  McCann will likely be splitting duties with Tyler Flowers so I am not expecting much from him at this point in his career.  I am hoping to squeak out double digit home runs from him which is really all I can ask for a 28th round second catcher.

1B          Anthony Rizzo-CHC (3.39)

First base is not as deep as it used to be, so I did not want to pass on the opportunity to get a bona fide 30-home run bat at the position.  Rizzo had a streaky year in 2018 but he is a consistent power hitter who scores a lot of runs and provides a solid enough OBP to stay competitive in the category.  He also does steal a few bases throughout the season so that only added to his value.

2B          Gleyber Torres-NYY (4.52)

This selection falls in line with my thought process on multi-position eligibility.  Torres had a great rookie season showing tremendous power, and his output will only continue to increase as he gains experience.  His eligibility at both middle infield positions gives me great flexibility and I am not hesitant to expect 30 home runs and 90 RBI from him in his sophomore season.

3B          Miguel Sano-MIN (14.202)

I made this pick before Sano underwent a debridement on the wound on his heel so I will be without him until at least May.  Sano had a disastrous 2018 season and I was counting on him bouncing back in an improved Twins offense.  Assuming he comes back healthy, I am still banking on 20 home runs from him although there is definite risk in him replicating some horrendous numbers.

SS           Alex Bregman-HOU (1.9)

This pick caused some buzz on Twitter because some people thought I reached too early for Bregman.  I cannot deny that is a possibility, but I made this pick before Manny Machado and Bryce Harper signed with their new teams.  I really liked Bregman’s potential in all five categories plus his eligibility at two positions.  The elbow injury does not worry me since he is already on track to be ready by Opening Day. 

CI           Miguel Cabrera-DET (11.159)

I acknowledge that I am taking a big chance here as Cabrera is coming off an injury-shortened 2018 season when he had surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon.  The future Hall of Famer is clearly on the downside of his career as his best days are far behind him.  However, he was hitting well last year before the injury so there is some hope he has something left in the tank.  If he can stay healthy, he should get on base frequently being the only legitimate bat in the Tigers lineup and can possibly muster 15-20 home runs along with 75 RBI.

MI          Dee Gordon-SEA (9.129)

Speaking of speed, I admit I specifically targeted that need with this pick.  It may have been a little ahead of his ADP, but I did not think he would be available to me in the next round.  Gordon is expected to move back to second base where he is comfortable, and that bodes well for his offense.  He obviously does not provide anything in the power or run production categories, but he is a lock for at least 30 stolen bases which puts me well in the mix to lead that category.

OF          Marcell Ozuna-STL (6.82)

My first outfielder is also coming off an injury as Ozuna had shoulder surgery to repair an issue that clearly affected him in 2018.  He is expected to be fully healthy and will now have Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup with him in St. Louis.  I like the value of getting 30 home runs and close to 100 RBI from my sixth round pick in a player motivated to prove his health and worth to the team.

OF          A.J. Pollock-LAD (8.112)

I had Pollock sitting in my queue for several rounds as he epitomizes what my strategy was with having balance.  The obvious risk with him is his injury history as he has not been able to stay healthy for most of his career.  Now he is starting fresh in Los Angeles and will be hitting atop a very good Dodgers lineup.  I am banking on 140 games out of Pollock who should be able to provide solid production in all five categories and give me some much needed speed.

OF          Michael Brantley-HOU (10.142)

Brantley is another player of the same ilk as Bregman and Pollock in that he can contribute solid numbers in all categories.  He had some injury issues over the past few years in Cleveland, but he was healthy for the most part in 2018 and now he joins a great Astros lineup.  Brantley never puts up sexy numbers, but the accumulation of his statistics helps build what I need which is balance throughout all five categories.  An outfield with Ozuna, Pollock and Brantley is certainly one I am happy to build around.

OF          Corey Dickerson-PIT (16.232)

Dickerson falls right in line with my other outfielders as a player who will produce a good on base percentage and hit 15-20 home runs while driving in 75 runs.  He is a fixture in the middle of the Pirates lineup, especially while Gregory Polanco is out recovering from his shoulder surgery.  Dickerson is not a flashy player but he is plenty suitable for my OF4.

OF          Jay Bruce-SEA (19.279)

The Mariners roster overhaul brought back several new players including Jay Bruce who is coming off a terrible injury-plagued 2018 season.  Moving to Seattle will not help his power numbers, but if healthy he should still be able to crank out 20-25 long balls.  In addition, Bruce has eligibility at first base so he does provide some added value in that sense.

U            Yuli Gurriel-HOU (18.262)

Gurriel fills my utility spot and also provides positional eligibility at first base and third base.  He could also see some time elsewhere on the diamond this year so he has value in adding flexibility.  Gurriel has yet to really emerge as an offensive force in the big leagues, but this is now this third season and he will be playing every day in the middle of a potent Houston lineup.  He would be better in a batting average league but he still has solid value here.

P             Corey Kluber-CLE (2.22)

I targeted an ace pitcher with one of my next two picks and was very happy to land Kluber here.  He is a dominant starter who should come close to 20 wins again and provides stellar numbers with ERA, WHIP and strikeouts on a very good team.

P             Madison Bumgarner-SF (5.69)

Coming into the draft, I wanted to get two stud pitchers within my first five picks.  I opted for Bumgarner over Zack Greinke banking a bounce back season in which he could be used as trade bait.  He is coming off two consecutive seasons marred by fluke injuries so he is well rested after having a lot of mileage on his arm throughout his career.  The velocity isn’t what it used to be, but I am expecting 12-15 wins from him with solid peripherals in a full season.

P             Aroldis Chapman-NYY (7.99)

The closer run was bound to happen as the top choices of Edwin Diaz and Kenley Jansen went off the board.  I did not want to run the risk of not getting one of the premiere closers, so I went with Chapman over Blake Treinen.  There is no disputing how great Treinen was last year, but I think it will be very difficult for him to come close to those numbers again.  I know what I am getting out of Chapman who will be shutting things down for a team that will win 100 games.

P             David Robertson-PHI (12.172)

My second relief pitcher is not a lock to close games as David Robertson joins the Phillies bullpen this year.  They signed him to a free agent contract but Gabe Kapler has been hesitant to anoint Robertson or any other reliever as the closer.  He carries a lot of closing experience so he should eventually become the de facto closer as the Phillies are expected to compete for the NL East title. 

P             Rick Porcello-BOS (13.189)

My third starting pitcher is not a sexy pick, but one that should provide solid and consistent statistics.  I am not expecting another Cy Young season from Porcello, but he should be good for 12-15 wins and decent peripherals.  He needs to keep the ball in the park and he does lose some value by not having Craig Kimbrel shutting things down in the 9th inning. 

P             Arodys Vizcaino-ATL (15.219)

I went for a third closer here because I cannot definitively count on David Robertson to be the full-time closer yet in Philadelphia.  Vizcaino was effective before he got hurt in 2018 and he will assume his closing responsibilities again this season.  A.J. Minter’s injury issues should solidify Vizcaino’s role and he could easily get 30 saves on a good Atlanta team that can win 85-90 games.

P             Zack Godley-ARZ (17.249)

Godley regressed in 2018 as his ERA jumped significantly compared to 2017.  That being said, he does strike batters out at a solid rate and could provide solid value for his draft position given how much he slipped last year. 

P             Marco Gonzalez-SEA (21.309)

Gonzalez was great for most of 2018 until he hit a wall in August and finished the season with some crooked numbers.  He has earned the start on Opening Day for the Mariners and is expected to be the ace of the staff now that James Paxton has been traded and King Felix has fallen off the throne.  Gonzalez could be a sleeper here if he is able to regain his early 2018 form and maintain it over the course of a full season.

P             Tanner Roark-CIN (24.352)

Roark was traded to the Cincinnati which is an immediate red flag given that he will pitch his home games in a great hitters’ park.  However, he will have a much more prominent role in the Reds rotation than he did in Washington and it is not unreasonable to expect some improvement now that the Reds have put together a competitive roster.  I’ll take 10-12 wins and respectable peripherals from my ninth pitcher.

Bench Players

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B-DET)

Evan Longoria (3B-SF)

Jose Urena (SP-MIA)

Yoenis Cespedes (OF-NYM)

Lewis Brinson (OF-MIA)

Tyson Ross (SP-DET)

Greg Bird (1B-NYY)

Zack Britton (RP-NYY)

Alex Cobb (SP-BAL)

Michael Taylor (OF-WAS)

Chris Davis (1B-BAL)

Aledmys Diaz (SS/3B-HOU)

Dakota Hudson (RP-STL)

Kevin Plawecki (C-CLE)

Joe Panik (2B-SF)

Brock Holt (SS/3B-BOS)

Greg Bird (1B-NYY)

Carter Kieboom (SS-WAS)

Jordy Mercer (SS-DET)

Melky Cabrera (OF-PIT)

Austin Slater (OF-SF)

Victor Victor Mesa (OF-MIA)

Hunter Pence (OF-TEX)

Austin Riley (3B-ATL)

Chance Adams (SP-NYY)

Adam Wainwright (SP-STL)

Cam Bedrosian (RP-LAA)

Robert Gsellman (RP-NYM)

Remember, this is a draft and hold league so there are no transactions during the season.  These bench players are on my roster to be used when (not if) there are injuries.  The key is to accumulate as much depth at each position as possible while also getting players who qualify at multiple positions.  I also took some fliers on rookies such as Austin Riley, Victor Victor Mesa, Carter Kieboom and Chance Adams in case they are promoted during the season. 

Evaluation

I would give myself a B for this draft.  I don’t think this roster is going to blow anyone away, but it is versatile and deep enough that I should be in contention throughout the season barring any catastrophic injuries.  This roster will not dominate in any one category, but my focus on players who contribute across the board should have me in a competitive position throughout the year.

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