Enough foreplay. Here is my draft recap in all it’s flawed glory.
The players I drafted, and their organization, are in blue. The two players surrounding them were drafted one pick before, and one pick after. The players in red (or light blue) to the right represent players drafted soon after, before my next pick, whom I likely should have selected instead. As you may recall, this is a 20-team league. We drafted in November. I had the 7th overall pick.
The Faux Show – Draft Recap
There is no justifying this one. At the time it seemed like a reach, and it’s even worse now. During my scouting adventure, I became crazy for Calhoun. And now it just seems… crazy.
With the 234th pick of the draft, the Missoula Osprey select outfielder Juan Soto.
This selection has turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Meadows has taken his opportunity and run with it, showcasing a well-rounded, fantasy-friendly game. I hope it continues.
I succumbed to the chatter about Adames having a safe but limited fantasy skillset. In retrospect, I probably a could have waited a few rounds on Jones. Jones has heated up recently for the Inland Empire 66ers (Class A Advanced), but his .756 OPS isn’t helping to ease the pain of passing up Wily Adames.
Here I took a gamble on Glasnow’s Chris-Sale-like upside, and missed out on two of my favorite prospects Keston Hiura and Yordan Alvarez. Part of the appeal was that Glasnow qualified as one of the requisite 30 players on a Major League roster, while still holding many prospect qualities. This year he has continued to demonstrate that his most consistent quality is inconsistency. I’m still enamored with his talent, but I’d trade him for Keston Hiura in a millisecond.
I’ve cooled on Pratto considerably after watching him play this year. The future .300 hitter I saw glimpses of in the batting cage, now appears solid more than anything. He currently has a .673 OPS at Class A Lextington, with a ghastly 45 more strikeouts than walks. If there’s anything to cling onto, it’s that Pratto is still only 19. In retrospect, seeing Sheffield and Soroka taken later this round are a painful reminder of how potent my farm system could have been, if I hadn’t fallen into weird hipster infatuations with specific players. Which leads us to Brent Rooker.
Rooker may be the player whose perception among scouts differs most starkly from my own analysis. I scouted him vigorously and saw flashes of a power-hitting 4-hitter with a short stride and elite potential. This perception, along with the fact that roughly 20% of my league-mates are Minnesota Twins fans, led me to draft Rooker hyper-aggressively. For two months this seemed like a huge mistake, but Rooker has caught fire as of late, tapping into his raw power while improving his Walk Rate. Just when I thought I was out… he pulled me back in. Because of my personal love for his skills, in contrast to his generally modest hype, Rooker is the player I’d most love to see burst onto the scene and become a high-quality Major League Player. Still, I probably could have waited 4+ more rounds to draft him. Lesson learned.
At the point of the draft, I’d identified Quantrill as a highly overrated prospect, and Moniak as a future Benintendi-lite whom fantasy scouts had written off too soon. I believed that the skills were in place and he just needed maturing. Quantrill, a 23-year-old from Port Hope, Ontario, has been solid but unspectacular for Double-A San Antonio, posting a 4.20 ERA with nearly a strikeout per inning. Meanwhile, Mickey Moniak has been abysmal, slashing .244/.263/.307 for Class-A Clearwater – although he has multiple hits in five of his last nine full games.
Perez doesn’t have the lively fastball of pedigree superstars like Glasnow or Alex Reyes, but I love his fire and his makeup, in addition to the really good stuff. Outstanding feel for pitching. He is one of the few pitching prospects that I watch and think “he could truly become an ace”.
The scouts say the ball sounds different off his bat, which is odd for a prospect whose least impressive skill is probably his power. Still, I think he can develop 15+ home run power at his peak, in addition to a good feel for hitting, and solid steals potential. If he pans out, he has the skillset to become a Lorenzo Cain type of player.
I like to think my Jo Adell and Juan Soto picks help make up for my Nick Pratto type blunders. Adell is absolutely bursting with talent (think Byron Buxton with superior baseball skills). Click here to see his electric bat speed and raw power in action. Combine that with elite speed and freakish athleticism, and Adell has the makings of a burgeoning top-10 overall prospect.
Ruiz is super polished for a 19-year old catcher, but his plate discipline needs major work and his stock has swiftly shot toward the sky, before getting sucked down a bit by gravity. His production has dipped as of late, dropping to a cool .667 OPS, but he has flashed considerable offensive potential, along with the defensive ability needed to remain at the position. He remains one of the more valuable dynasty catchers, but his stock is falling.
You can only punt pitching for so long. Duplantier flashed nasty sink and movement in film, and his numbers were outrageously good. I view him as a future SP3 with the upside for more if his stuff plays at the big league level. Of course, there is also the risk his stuff doesn’t translate to the upper levels, and he becomes a career long-reliever – or worse. Such is the hypothetical future of a pitching prospect.
Kendall is a hyper-talented speedster with sneaky raw power for his frame. In a big league landscape relatively devoid of speedsters, I liked the idea of snagging a toolsy outfielder in a great organization with 30-steal potential. In film it’s easy to see why he is frequently compared to Jacoby Ellsbury. But unlike Ellsbury, Kendall has major holes in his swing, and for a prospect whose carrying tool is speed, his ability to make consistent contact is largely in question. High upside, incredibly low floor. At Advanced-A, Kendall is currently slashing .225/.329/.393 with 5 home runs and 20 stolen bases, with a ghastly 29:74 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
A 19-year-old out of Mexico, Albertos has gotten absolutely gutted this year, posting a comically high 18.69 ERA and 3.77 WHIP in four games started. The one silver lining is his 17 K’s in 13 innings, but pipedreams of a John Lackey/Aaron Harang kind of horse have been stopped in their tracks. I once fell in love with Albertos’ changeup, but as we learned from Sheila in Wild Wild Country, “a love affair can never die; but it can end in hatred.”
A former touted outfield bat, Jackson’s transition to catcher gave him a renewed fantasy appeal. He is a big boy with hypothetical 25+ home run pop, and I liked him as a high-risk, high-reward pick with considerable fantasy potential. Jackson tore apart the Arizona Fall League, but he has been abysmal in 151 at-bats for Double-A Mississippi, which includes 40 games at catcher (.172/.254/.285). The threshold for relevance at catcher is low, but not that low. I’m losing hope fast.
White doesn’t blow you away with sexy tools, but he gets results. I love his plate approach, and he offers a solid hit tool with speed. The end result, if things pan out, could be a Hunter Pence kind of player. With speed grades as high as 60, if White can ever reach 18+ home run pop, he will be a unique and valuable fantasy player. Beyond that, I believe he has the (brace yourselves) intangibles to craft a strong big league career.
This was a “welp… I’ve gotta fill out my Majors roster somehow” kind of pick. A toolsy post-post-hype-sleeper, 4th or 5th outfielder whom, if you squint really hard and chug some hand sanitizer, could somewhere, down the line, in a parallel universe, while soaring in a pipe dream, maybe, just maybe, have a Tommy Pham-like trajectory. Having said that, I dropped his *** about three weeks into the season.
One cloudy afternoon I was cruising MLB.com’s MLB Pipeline rankings for the Cardinals and came across this image of Randy Arozarena.
At the time, I believe he was ranked as their 11th prospect. Sometimes, a guy just has “the look”. “Damn, who is this cat?” I wondered.
I dug a bit deeper… good speed, solid hit tool and power. He seemed to have a fantasy-friendly skillset, so I took to Youtube, where his home run heroics in the Mexican League were on full display. It quickly became clear that he sells out for pull power – and it’s hard to accurately gauge the true talent of Mexican League pitchers – but Arozarena’s bat speed and athleticism were undeniable. I saw visions of a poor man’s Starling Marte – a 15 home run, 25-steal OF3 whose batting average fluctuates between .250 and .270 depending on BABIP fortune. He lacks the plate discipline and truly electric tools to be a top prospect, and I think his pop/speed combo is more appealing in fantasy than real baseball, but I like Randy Arozarena as a dynasty asset. Randy has been okay thus far in 2018: .751 OPS between two levels, with 14 steals in 20 attempts.
34. Jazz Chisholm | Mauricio Dubon (Brewers) | Robinson Chirinos | Jesus Luzardo
Unfortunately, Dubon was bitten by a season-ending ACL injury. Entering the year Dubon was one of the most underrated Minor League prospects. Hit slick fielding skills overshadowed his sneaky offensive ability, and I likened his potential to everything his teammate Orlando Arcia wished he could be. Dubon has above-average bat-to-ball skills, good speed, and sneaky power potential, particularly for his wiry frame – which he showcased in batting practice at the Futures Game.
Rogers is a 6’6 lefty drafted by the Marlins organization. He is raw as sashimi and his velocity doesn’t pop, but I think he has elite potential, and the velocity will increase with physical maturity. I love his frame, I love his delivery, and in a best-case-scenario I can see him developing a poor man’s Blake Snell kind of skillset. Or perhaps he’ll go the way of Mark Hendrickson, as he has been lit up with a 8.78 ERA in 4 starts at Class-A. However, at this point I’m far more attached to developmental strides than statistical outcomes. Click here to see Rogers in his professional debut.
Peterson got on the map with a 20-strikeout performance for the University of Oregon. Like Trevor Rogers, he is a 6’6 lefty. In 9 games started at Class-A, Peterson has a stellar 1.86 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and exactly one strikeout per inning. His college dominance has trickled over into the Minors, and his arrow is pointing up. At age 22, I’ll be keeping a close eye on his production as he (hopefully) climbs through the ranks.
This pick fulfilled the roster requirement for both a catcher and players with Major League experience. While I think Caratini can ultimately be a serviceable player, I dropped him recently based on the thinking that a tank team should be built around upside. At the moment, the catchers on my depth chart are Seby Zavala (.254/.349/.459 with 11 home runs), Keibert Ruiz (.250/.295/.372), Alex Jackson (.172/.256/.299) and Hendrik Clementina (.329/.402/.615 with 9 home runs).
Ramirez has been shelved for weeks with an injury and hasn’t been able to showcase his blazing fastball. He is completely droppable in dynasty, but I have no reason not to let him sit in the IR slot.
Some real studs flying off the board here in round 40. The Dickerson pick (Dick pick?) was fueled by faint memories of him blasting a ball into the upper deck at Rogers Centre… and the notion of him being a solid buy-low candidate, after missing a year due to injury. Dickerson was unable to stay healthy, and is currently watching Netflix in my IR slot along with Jose Ramirez.
I drafted Mata after hearing a podcast in which a Red Sox reporter mentioned that the Sox management considers Mata one of the most untouchable prospects in the system. Unfortunately I cut ties with Mata prior to Opening Day, as my roster needed to be trimmed to match league requirements (the draft was fairly loose, but teams were required to field a roster with a 30-30 Major/Minors split by Opening Day, including an active roster filled with Major Leaguers). I suppose it’s the league’s way of forcing tank teams to maintain at least a shred of dignity. Because starting Victor Caratini, Jake Marisnick, and Phillip Ervin due to their “Major League experience” is incredibly dignified.
42. Yoan Lopez | Tony Kemp (Astros) | Nicholas Lopez | Ronaldo Hernandez
Kemp has a sneaky fantasy skillset, particularly in a steals-deprived climate. I dropped him at one point to meet roster requirements but was able to reclaim him around his call-up.
Gibson has been surprisingly good for the Twins this year, and he would have been the best pick here. In a 20-team league, pretty much any starter with a heartbeat holds trade value, particularly one with a 3.45 ERA and 9.3 K/9. Alex Lange is a pitcher whose stock plummeted as his college career went on, and in film, I see a long-reliever with only back-of-the-rotation upside. Having said that, he has been quite good at Class-A Carolina, posting a 2.89 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, which includes only one earned run over his last four starts (22 innings – 21 K’s). I aggressively tried to package Lange with a higher-end prospect (McMahon type) for an even higher-end player, but interest in him was slim. At this point, I might as well hold onto him and see what he blossoms into.
I whiffed on one of the years biggest pitching risers (Paddack) in order to land a low-ceiling backup catcher. In a related anecdote, I once ordered a fish burrito in Flagstaff, Arizona, when carne asada was available. I regret it to this day.
Garcia is a wiry shortstop for the Cincinnati organization. The footage of him is extremely limited, and news and insight on him are scarce. I did stumble upon a comment that likened his raw ability to Manny Machado, which prompted me to take a flier on J.I.G.
Garcia is currently slashing .197/.248/.266. which come to think of it, is a lot like Manny Machado – if Machado were given copious amounts of Quaaludes and forced to bat left-handed while wearing Crocs.
I may have found a diamond in the rough here. I was impressed with Martin’s raw arm and thought he showed promise in the video I scouted. Pitching for an organization known for its ability to develop pitching, Martin has ascended the prospect ranks and currently sits with a sparkling 1.89 ERA and 0.90 WHIP through 52.1 innings at Class-A-Advanced and Double-A.
Romano’s encouraging performance in 2017 led me to boldly predict that he’d become the NL’s version of Michael Fulmer in 2018. Unfortunately, he evolved into Sal Romano. I dropped him two months ago and he hasn’t been touched.
No regrets here. I paid attention to the Kluber Formula and was handsomely rewarded. Stripling has been stellar, and at the moment I am debating whether I should sell him to a contender for a good prospect or draft pick, or keep him on my squad (he is 28 years old).
Modest-pedigree lefty with underwhelming stuff who pitches at Coors Field!? Sign me up!
Not bad for the 994th pick of the draft. Austin has flashed prodigious power and now holds significantly more dynasty value than he did entering the year.
Since I filled up my 30 Minor League slots early, it was slim pickins’ for my Major League roster. The thinking with Valaika was the non-zero-chance-hypothetical that Trevor Story was so abysmal he played himself out of a job, the club wanted to give Brendan Rodgers more Minor League seasoning, and Valaika stepped in as a middle infielder with decent pop who plays at Coors and hits alongside Blackmon and Arenado. That’s the kind of imaginative stretching you end up doing with the 1,007th pick of a fantasy draft.
Marisnick got off to a hot start and for a minute there I thought I had a late-round draft steal. But then he crashed like a meteor, showcasing a Walk Rate so pitiful that it required a second take to believe. Marisnick has above-average power and athleticism, but he is not a quality Major League hitter – yet another example of the cerebral component needed to compete at the highest level. Baseball combines the physicality of battle with the intellect of chess, and it’s extremely difficult to succeed without a bit of each.
Shortly into the season, I made the gut-wrenching call to cut Astros prospect Corbin Martin in order to meet roster requirements. He was quickly scooped up and I regretted not cutting someone like Jose Israel Garcia instead. Fortunately, I was able to re-acquire Martin by flipping Adeiny Hechavarria to the contending team who had snagged Martin. Adeiny is now on the DL, Martin is slaying Minor League foes like Aragorn at Weathertop, and I’m feeling optimistic about the trade.
There must be a graveyard of Bowman rookie cards somewhere with Rafael Montero, Lastings Milledge, Alex Ochoa, Fernando Martinez, and Paul Wilson.
I envy that Myles Straw pick something fierce. Nice one, Cameron. You found a needle in a haystack (Strawstack?). As for Homer Bailey, it didn’t take long to see that his arm was cooked and it wasn’t coming back.
I write to you broken, withered… a traveler amidst the Sahara… thirsty and exhausted and sunburnt in round 57. I do, at times, have doubts about my prospect strategy. Is patience really a virtue? But I’m also an idealist. Isn’t there a world, somewhere out there under the sun, a parallel universe maybe, where a significant amount of my picks are impact players? Bryant, Moncada, Rodgers, Kingery, Guerrero, Tucker, Adell, Calhoun, Trammell, Soto.
While I believe this group of young players has tremendous upside, I also regret reaching so early for some of them, lacking the awareness that they’d probably slide a bit, and I was squashing some of their draft value.
On the pitching front, I feel like I’ve fared okay, snagging some of my personal favorites like Franklin Perez and Shane Baz. But with a glut of outfield prospects, it may be wise to test the trade market and attempt to acquire some young pitching and balance out my roster.
Duffey was another player who was sensed on radar by The Kluber Formula. He has not pitched well in 2018.
This would have been an awesome pick and terrific value if only I hadn’t dropped Strickland about one week into the year. I’ve always thought he had the cookie cutter outline of a closer (the intimidating physique, the blazing fastball) and didn’t understand why things weren’t coming together for him. I didn’t listen to my gut and cut ties at the worst possible time. If nothing else, he would have been a nice trade chip.
If you are still reading here around the 1,194th pick of the draft, I am both truly honored and slightly disturbed by your commitment. But I thank you. It’s nice to know I’m not alone on this voyage.
This is some V.I.P. never-been-released-to-the-public kind of stuff, and I hope you enjoy it. The Jose Fernandez part is a bit tough to watch, I understand if you skip ahead. But the David Ortiz tribute is epic, and I will be offended if you skip ahead.
Here is my (deeply flawed) roster, as seen immediately upon completion of the draft
OF. Kyle Tucker, Willie Calhoun, Austin Meadows, Juan Soto, Taylor Trammell, Jahmai Jones, Brent Rooker, Yusniel Diaz, Jeren Kendall, Mickey Moniak, Phillip Ervin, Randy Arozarena, Alex Dickerson, Tony Kemp, Jake Marisnick
P. Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, Jon Duplantier, Franklin Perez, Alex Faedo, Shane Baz, David Peterson, Trevor Rogers, Jose Albertos, Corbin Martin, Bryan Mata, Alex Lange, Ross Striplin, Sal Romano, Tyler Anderson, Steven Wright, Dillon Maples, Jose Ramirez, Rafael Montero, Homer Bailey, Joe Biagini, Tyler Duffey, Hunter Strickland, Eddie Butler.
In the moment, it felt so right. But seen from afar, this roster looks like I went to Hometown Buffet and just started piling bit of random things on top of each other. I know you’re envious of my pitching staff though… I mean Tyler Glasnow as my SP2. Watch out, league.
But keep in mind how thin rosters are in a 20-team league. For example, the following team is currently in 1st place by a mile:
Still, I’ve got some major, major tinkering to do. I think for a ‘tank’ strategy to work, you’ve got to be on point with your draft picks. In many cases, I was not. I made a lot of unnecessary reaches (“infatuation kills!”) and compromised value. I doubled up on positions (2B) when it would have been wise to spread the wealth.
And so, reader, I find myself in a hole. Despite drafting my own team, I feel like a new owner who has volunteered to take over an oddly managed team; one of those guys in eight dynasty leagues who is looking for a new re-build challenge.
One thing I will not do, under any circumstance, is say “crap! I botched this draft hardcore!” and run for the hills. I wouldn’t do that to the other managers. So as a symbol of my commitment, I paid for future years. As a consequence, I’m now living out of an old car seat in the local apple orchard. But it will all be worth it.
It’s going to be an uphill climb. And a highly risky one.
Look at any old prospect list and it’s full of flame-outs. For every Carlos Correa who hits big, there are four Colby Rasmii (plural Rasmus).
But what choice do I have but to be optimistic?
“A lot of my draft picks will become stars. In a few years, my team will be littered with fantasy studs. They will lead the Missoula Osprey to the Promised Land.”
That’s the world I’m hoping to live in. It’s idealistic, and it’s improbable because no one can predict the future. And in reality, more of these prospects will fail than succeed. Kyle Tucker has a much better chance of becoming Kyle Seager, than Lance Berkman. And he probably has a better chance of never cracking a starting outfield, than becoming Kyle Seager.
Brendan Rodgers could put up Jeff Kent-like power numbers at middle infield. He could. He also could be overmatched by big-league stuff, never improve his plate discipline, and be his generation’s Brandon Wood.
Things could click for Austin Meadows and he could become a fantasy stud in the Bregman/Benintendi mold, a yearly candidate for the .290-20-20 club. He also could be a mirage – a guy with all the tools, but lacking the internal goods. He could be a star, he could be no one.
Tyler Glasnow could fix his walk issues and become a top-5 pitcher. A dominant 200-strikeouts-per year ace. Tyler Glasnow could flame out hard, and never crack a rotation again. Tyler Glasnow, for all we know, could follow the Andrew Miller trajectory, and in six years, be a dominant reliever for a playoff contender.
We don’t know. We aren’t Bran in the cave.
But I do know this: whether or not they pan out, there is a lot of talent in my dynasty nest.
I hope they grow wings, and fly.
Part 5 coming soon
Note to the readers: While my prideful side is reluctant to agree with criticism (must. not. show. weakness.) I am not above conceding that I’ve made mistakes. In particular: some of my… err… lofty player comparisons, which were seen as blasphemously outlandish. At face value, I agree that it’s ridiculous to compare Brent Rooker to Mark McGwire, Nick Pratto to Joey Votto, and Colton Welker to Frank Thomas. I’d like to clarify that I am in no way suggesting that those prospects will become Hall of Fame players, or even all-stars. The player comps are largely aesthetic or skill-based. For instance, Colton Welker is about three inches shorter and sixty pounds lighter than Frank Thomas. And Frank Thomas is one of the best right-handed hitters to ever live. In itself, that’s an absurd comp. It’s borderline sinful to even compare Vladdy Jr. to Frank Thomas. The reason for the comp was his playing style. Balanced in the box. Approach to all fields. Union of contact+power. That’s all. But, in the future, I pledge to find more reasonable comparisons. For Colton Welker, whom you can see in action here, a more fitting comparison might be Michael Cuddyer or Allen Craig. And he’d be fortunate to have a career even 70% as good as Cuddyer’s.