3.22 – ESPN Std H2H Draft Recap #1

So finally broke my baseball draft cherry and jumped right into it. Just a standard 10-man H2H league. I was hoping to find a 12-teamer, but didnt see any when I logged on, so I just joined the first draft I saw.

My strategy was pretty simple – Draft hitting and then try and find value at pitcher. From what I had read, pitching was plentiful and hitting was down. I tried a mock draft before this one to get used to where ESPN had everyone ranked, but I dropped out after the third round. I find that mock drafts on sites like ESPN/Yahoo arent that helpful since there’s no commitment and rarely do people stay for the whole thing (guilty). To that end, I find “real” drafts better for practice. Just taking one year off, I didnt recognize anyone. I was shocked, some players that had been mid-late round picks for me two years ago were now early rounders. Past studs seemingly had fallen off the cliff, lost to the abyss. There were definitely players I straight up didnt recognize. To that end, I used Razzball’s rankings to help me with this one.

Typically I favor corner infielders with good power profiles. For infielders, I dont necessarily look for hitting studs, but someone who can give me positive contributions and add to my bottom line. In the outfield, I love toolsy players that can chip in HRs and STLs. In my starting pitchers, I will chase strikeouts like a hound. In years past, I would always find myself unable to resist the allure of players like Brandon Morrow, no matter the ERA/WHIP projections. Relief pitchers, I usually just scrap together throughout the season. I do have a special place in my heart for those set-up men with the amazing ERA/WHIP/SO #s who dont necessarily get any SV opportunities, especially near the end of the season if Im close to/at the start limit.

Here’s the results:

lemoncakezWhile Trout is the unquestioned #1, the few picks after him are kind of a “what’s your flavor” kind of deal. With the #2 pick, I snatched Stanton to start building my hitting #s. (Ahhhh I accidentally hit refresh or something and lost everything I had written….all this is rewritten >_> oops). The raw power he provides is nearly unparalleled. With my next two picks, I landed two of the best infielders in Rendon and Desmond. Instead of scraping by at 2B and SS, these two should give me a leg up over teams that have to settle for lesser options at the positions. (Note – this works if the position is as top heavy as I have read. If not and the difference between middle infielders isnt that large, I’ll be kicking myself for these picks). My next three picks were players with their fair share of questions coming into the season, but have the potential for big hitting numbers. Im hoping Harper and Davis can bounceback from down years last year; injury for Harper and a bit of bad luck for Davis. Upton may be hurt by the move to SD, but hopefully Kemp and Myers can help alleviate that a bit. Arenado I was excited to draft because I had one profiled him as a part of a project on the Rockies organization years ago when he was only a prospect. Im glad to see him find success at this level and even happier I get to root for him on my team. Razzball has him ranked as a top-20 player, but ESPN has him around where I got him.

Finally, at the end of round 8, I started to address pitching. To be totally honest, I didnt know anything about this year’s pitchers. I just went off Razzball’s ranks and picked SPs that seemed interesting. Ross and Wood are pitchers I have never heard of before but from what I read, can rack up the K’s. Cole I recognized as a once-highly touted prospect who needs to get a fully healthy season in to realize his full potential. Carrasco I remembered form his time as a great long reliever a few years ago. (Side note – When did CLE get such a stacked rotation? Seems like all of them are highly regarded for fantasy). Latos used to also be a big prospect, but seems to have bounced around the past few seasons, finally landing in MIA. Im gambling a bit on Cole and Latos’s health and pedigree, but since Im so behind on pitching, it seems like a necessity at this point.

At this point, I cant believe its only the midpoint of the draft, round 13 (out of 25). I had forgotten how many players you actually roster on a team in baseball. By this point, the names I didnt recognize heavily outnumbered the names I did. Leaning even harder on the Razzball rankings, I looks for players to fill out my roster. I still had some utility positions and RP spots to fill. Also, at this junction, I also started to see a lot of past-stars that had apparently fallen off hard.

Continuing the theme of drafting players with strong pedigrees, I picked up Wil Myers. I was kinda surprised to see him here since he had been so strongly touted as a prospect, leaving me to wonder why TB traded him away. Next, I found David Wright at #139. Years ago, Wright was a statistical monster, providing 5-cat production, but it seems those days are long gone. I came into the draft hoping to fill my corner infield spots with pure power, but Wright seemed like too good a value to pass on here. Blackmon I picked up to give my team a little bit of help in STLs which I had been quietly neglecting. Hosmer and Duda seem offer different kinds of production from the 1B spot. Hosmer a seemingly better hitter, but Duda brings much bigger power. Drafting two guys that play the same position close to each other usually isnt that good a strategy since it means there isnt much difference between them, but with these two I was hedging my bets a bit. Bogaerts will more often than not be playing SS for me, but being 3B eligible never hurt anyone. Hughes just a low-cost SP. My RPs profile like the ones you’d expect to find at the end of a draft: volatile pitchers that are more situation than talent. More than likely, SV will be a cat I wont be winning any week. I found Yasmany Tomas way down on ESPNs ranks, but he was another Razzball tout. He seems to be a young breakout candidate and at pick #202, I’ll pay a nickel to see what the hype is about. I finally drafted my catcher 2nd to last and got a guy in Ramos that actually offers a bit of pop from the position. I usually expect nothing from the C position, so any production is welcome, especially for a 24th-round pick. Finally, I took a flier on Chase Headley with the hope that Yankee Stadium treats him well.

Looking back, I think my team isnt full of big names outside of Stanton. The strength of this squad lies in its upside for maturing into big time producers, which I think we have in spades. I’ll especially be interested to see which, if any, of my pitchers provide solid returns. Even if I were to try and trade with any of my leaguemates, I doubt I would get good value on any trade simply because a lot of my players dont carry much name value. For my next draft, I think I will try and draft pitching a little earlier to snag a stud or two at the position so all the upside plays are stacked on one side of the ball. A quick aside, I was pretty amused to see I had ended up with four WAS players 😛

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