Some details about this specific NFBC league: It is the Rotowire Online Championship 12 team mixed roto. It is a snake draft and there are 30 roster spots per team.
When the league filled and the draft spots were allocated, I was very excited to see that I had the #1 overall pick. I was hoping to pick close to either end of the draft, and really like getting back to back picks. In that spot, I feel you have the ability to set the tone in different rounds and if you're fortunate, even kick off some runs without being stuck in the middle of them. But enough about strategy, onto the picks:
- Mike Trout (Round 1, pick 1): I thought about Goldy for about 2 seconds thinking I could get a number of different other outfielders later, but I have Trout projected to return the most value, and really am only concerned with max value early in drafts.
- Starling Marte (Round 2, pick 24): After making the first pick, it feels like an eternity waiting for the next 2 picks, especially watching a ton of talent come off the board. Doing a million mock drafts already this year, I had a good idea who I though could fall to me at 24/25. In a perfect world, I wanted one ace and another top tier bat in this spot and I was lucky to get them. While I would have rather had a non-OF to fill another position, Marte was the best bat here. I project him to have 20 HR and 30 SB this year so he's a 5-tool player that fills all catrgories.
- Madison Bumgarner (Round 3, pick 25): Sale was also here so I had my choice of 2 aces I was hoping would fall to me. While Sale has a better K-rate, I think Madbum is just overall a bit safer. He'll still strikeout 200+, and in a good park in the NL was my preferred option.
- Troy Tulowitski (Round 4, pick 48): While I'm fine with who I picked at the 4/5 turn, they are probably the 2 picks in the whole draft I'm least happy with. I really wanted to get a second ace with one of these 2 picks to backup madbum, but all of my targets were taken within the last 22 picks. Being flexible with strategy, I took who I thought the next best two bats were... somewhat. I could have gone OF/OF here and gotten a bit more value, but chose to leave myself a bit of roster flexibility for later. The overall values were close enough that I was comfortable with this. Even projecting Tulo to miss a bit of time, he would still return excellent value in the games he plays as he always does in his career.
- Adam Jones (Round 5, pick 49): This was a boring pick. I had Jones projected as my 31st best player available so getting him at 49 was a great value, however Upton was also still there and I strongly considered him. I have Upton projected to provide slightly less value, but I do think has more upside. I stuck with my projections and took Jones. 3 OF out of my first 5 picks was not ideal or the plan, but they are all studs and should provide the most value to my team.
- Johnny Cueto (Round 6, pick 72) and Sonny Gray (Round 7, pick 73): At the 6/7 turn, I was REALLY hoping two pitchers would be there that I was comfortable with as my SP 2 and 3. Missing out on a second ace was not the plan, but I was quite happy to get Gray and Cueto. Had they not been here I would have also considered Salazar and Wainwright, but I did have them a reasonable amount lower in my ranks. I felt very lucky these two guys fell here.
- Mark Melancon (Round 8, pick 96) and Zach Britton (Round 9, pick 97): Closers are always a debated position. Some like the elite ones while others punt closers all together. I'd rather invest early and get guys that have great skills as well as job security. Since my last 2 picks, a good number of closers went off the board and only 3 were left in my second tier. I felt it was a must to get 2 good ones here and then hopefully force other managers to continue the run of closers; Which did happen a bit.
- Ian Kinsler (Round 10, pick 120): I thought about Kinsler at the 8/9 turn so was thrilled to take him here. Hitting at the top of the DET lineup should have 100 run opportunity as well as 10 HR/10 SB potential.
- Jonathan Papelbon (Round 11, pick 121): He was the last closer on my list before a big drop off in tier. While he's a bit older now, his skills are still solid and his contract essentially guarantees him the job all year. Very happy I have 3 closers that I likely do not need to think about most of the year.
- Matt Duffy (Round 12, Pick 144): I love Duffy and have him in my top 80 overall. Getting him at 144 was a steal. You can read all about my love for Duffy here.
- Jeff Samardzija (Round 13, pick 145): Pitchers were going off the board quickly and there were only a couple left that I would have been comfortable with as a 4th starter. I debated between Shark and Iwakuma. I went with Shark for the higher K potential.
- Hisashi Iwakima (Round 14, pick 168): Considering I was thinking of taking him 2s picks ago, I was really happy to see Iwakima fall to the 14th round. He's looked healthy this spring and if he pitches close to a full season, this should prove to be a great pick.
- Gerardo Parra (Round 15, pick 169): I love the move to COL for Parra. He is a 5 tool player that should benefit from Coors and provide HR and SB upside.
- Josh Harrison (Round 16, pick 192) and Ben Zobrist (Round 17, pick 193): Harrison and Zobrist at the 16/17 turn I liked for a few reasons. Both should be leading off for great hitting lineups and have tons of run potential. The both qualify for multiple positions including 2B, 3B, and OF and provide flexibility. I have them much higher in my projected ranks and by a good margin. Everything to love about these 2 picks.
- Josh Reddick (Round 18, pick 216): I could make the argument that Reddick is a solid #3 outfielder so having him as my #5 is wonderful. Here I detail why I think he's in line to be a top 100 player.
- Dustin Pedroia (Round 19, pick 217): Not sure I would call Pedrioa a bad pick, but maybe a poor investment. I say that because I already had three potential 2B at this point in Kinsler, Harrison, and Zobrist. The only place to play Pedroia would be at Utility. That's fine with me, but wasn't the plan at all. He was the guy on my board that I felt had the most value left so he fell to my team
- Derek Norris (Round 20, pick 240) and Nick Hundley (Round 21, pick 241): At some point I needed to pull the trigger on catchers. I hate reaching for a catcher early and leaving value on the table for other possible players that would better help my team, but in the 20th/21st rounds it felt like the right time. The greatest weakness my team had was power so I targeted the two that I felt had the most HR upside at this point in the draft. Was actually pleased and thought I would have had worse options at this point.
- Mitch Moreland (Round 22, pick 264): Crazy to believe I got my first baseman in round 22. There were many points in the draft where I considered other players, things just didn't fall my way. Moreland has a full time job with decent power and average. Clearly my biggest weakness, but one I can accept. Knowing this, I also tried to address with later picks.
- Matt Holliday (Round 23, pick 265): Holliday is older but coming into the year healthy and will be playing 1B for the majority of the season. As soon as he qualifies, if he's 85% of old Holliday, he may surpass Moreland for 1B on my team.
- Marco Estrada (Round 24, pick 288) and Clay Buchholz (Round 25, pick 289): I only had 5 SP's and needed at least one more starters to fill out my rotation. Talent was getting thin at this point to I took a shot at the top 2 guys left on my board. If either of them figures things out, this should be fine to complete my already strong staff.
- Jorge Soler (Round 26, pick 312): Just amazing value outside of the top 300. I get he doesn't have a job, but he's one team injury away from a full time high upside job.
- Jarrod Dyson (Round 27, pick 313): Analyzing my team, speed was my greatest weakness so I targeted Dyson as the best option left on the board for speed.
- Travis Shaw (Round 28, pick 336): Total upside pick. He's crushing spring and if none of my shaky 1B options work out, a flyer on him could be a home run late in the draft.
- Pablo Sandoval (Round 29, pick 337): He can't possibly be as bad a last year, right? This late in the draft, worth a flyer.
- Jose Iglesias (Round 30, pick 360): Mr. irrelevant. I didn't have a backup for tulo and options were thin. Iglesias has always been a great hitter when healthy with .300+ AVG upside. Hopefully he's not needed, but I'm sure he will be.
All things considered, I really liked the draft. I have a great chance to dominate Runs, Average, Saves, WHIP, and ERA. I have room to improve with K's, HR's and SB's but I don't think I'm terrible in those categories by any stretch.
Going by my auction values, I drafted $328 in value for my 23 starters. If an average team would theoretically be 260, this basically means I killed it! I have another NFBC draft on 3/31 and am already looking forward to it.
Special thanks to Bob Burlone who drafted this team with me and is also looking forward to our $125,000 prize :)