Having completed my first NFBC Online Championship draft just 7 days ago, I felt a bit better going into this one. Not that I wasn’t prepared the first time, but just seeing how things played out the first time was a bit different than what I expected. Overall I was pleased with my first team, but I also think with 1 draft under my belt; I should be even better prepped to draft this time around.
In the first draft I pulled the #1 overall pick, which was a nice luxury. This time I drafted out of the #12 slot. This was also one of my preferred slots, so I was very happy when the draft order was released. When you draft from either of the ends, I feel you actually have some control in beginning runs with back to back picks. It doesn’t always work out, but it can at times. If/when it does, it’s to your advantage. I also feel this year that there is a drop-off after the top 14 guys on the board. If I have the 11th or 12th pick, it guarantees me that I end up with 2 guys in my top tier; also a nice luxury. All of that said, let’s see how my team turned out:
Initial thoughts: At first glance, I really liked the way this team shook out. In the early rounds and even through the middle rounds I didn’t really miss out on many guys I wanted. A few times I can remember someone leaving my queue just before it was my pick, but not as much as one would expect for an expert draft of this level.
Greatest strengths: Overall I think my pitching is very strong. More-so from a starting pitching perspective, but I like my 3 closers as well. I knew my first 2 picks would be bats and that essentially forced me to go SP, SP in the 3rd and 4th rounds. I had a small group of pitchers I really hoped fell to me and while I would have loved Strasburg and Price, I was very pleased to get Price and Keuchel. Then to fill out the rest of my starters with Liriano, Iwakuma, Samardzija, and Kazmir; I felt was tremendous value in the rounds I was able to get them in. I might not win K’s, but I should have a competitive chance to win ERA and WHIP. These guys are on good MLB teams for the most part, and while wins is a volatile stat, I think I should be in good position for a lot of them.
I also like the three closers I was able to snag. Melancon is a lock to have the job all year and had a tremendous track record. While job security isn’t quite as safe for Rondon and Casilla, they have enough to allow me to sleep at night. All 3 are on good teams that should have an opportunity for a lot of saves; their ratios should be good as well. Overall, I should be able to compete at a very high level in all 5 pitching categories
From a batting perspective, I think I’m very strong in AVG and should be reasonable strong in Runs. I have a number of guys that should be hitting in the 1 or 2 hole for their respective teams and while that wasn’t a goal, it was nice for a lot of them to fall to me later in the draft.
Greatest weaknesses: Power and speed. Those are two pretty big weaknesses at first glance, but let’s look a bit deeper. While I think I’m weaker from a HR and SB perspective, I don’t think it’s to the point where I won’t be competitive. I should have a good chance to finish in the middle of the pack in both categories and I’m fine with that so long as my strengths come through. I also think that if some of my bench guys work out, this may not be as glaring of a hole as it seems.
Best Values: There were a few times in the draft I found myself thinking “Please don’t take this guy”. I thought Lorenzo Cain at the end of the 5th and Kyle Seager at the end of the 7th were probably the two best early round values. I’d argue both should have easily gone a round earlier based on their projected value. I was also really close to taking Pillar in the 16th, so when I saw him fall another 24 picks, I was really excited to take him.
Most questionable picks: Puig is risky as my 6th round pick. I could have gone Heyward and been a bit safer, but I just think the skills upside for Puig was too great to pass on. Is there a lot more downside… absolutely. But he was the only guy I saw there that could potentially return 1st or 2nd round value. David Ortiz is old. However falling to the 11th round really felt like a steal. I think playing time might be the biggest concern for him, but he tries to hit a HR every single plate appearance and I don’t see him dropping off completely in his farewell tour.
Guys I missed out on: Luckily this isn’t a long list. While I could name 100 guys I like and wish I could have had, there were only a few that stood out where by not getting them, I had to settle for a lesser pick at the time. I really would have liked Freeman in the 7th and he went 1 pick before I took Seager. I like Seager, but getting both at the 7/8 turn would have been tremendous. With my Liriano pick, I had 5 other SP’s queued up (Stroman, Ross, Wacha, Martinez, Matz) and would have been happier with any of them. Though having Price and Keuchel already, this wasn’t as big of a miss to me. Lastly, I wanted a better 3rd closer than Casilla, someone with a better grip on the job. I was targeting Papelbon, K-Rod, or even McGee for his elite skills. All of them went and Casilla was the best available left for a 3rd closer.
Conclusion: I feel like I have a lot more strengths than weaknesses, and that’s a good feeling. When the draft was over, I immediately though: “This was a team that had a chance to win the league”. I don’t feel as though my weaknesses are insurmountable, but I will need to work on them through the season. It should be a very fun season with 2 NFBC leagues now complete and I expect to be competitive in both.
Again, special thanks to Bob Burlone who drafted this team with me as well as the first team. Anyone interested in the results of our first draft, they can be found here.
Questions, comments or concerns: leave a message on here or connect with me directly on Twitter @y2trips.