MLB Remix League: AL West Preview

The Angels' divisional rivals breakdown their blueprints.

After illustrating my pre-draft strategies for the Angels, we forge along to take a look at our MLB Remix League divisional clubs’ plans of attack. This should provide an inside look at each General Manager’s thought process going into the draft and potentially give you some strategies to implement in your next team build. With no salary restrictions and the parity of a snake redraft of all players, this (and each) division figures to be very balanced, and potentially a five-team race before attrition sets in. Without further ado, we’ll start with the team that received the highest draft slot and work our way down.

 

Rangers

 

Our very own Andy Patton (@andypattonSEA) took over the GM chair of the Rangers and was awarded the 10th selection in the draft. Below he lays out his pre-draft strategy as he begins the quest of building a championship squad:

“I’ve actually done an exercise like this for the last four years with a group on Reddit, although it’s a 10-year sim as opposed to just three years, so it skews very heavily toward young prospects. I tend to favor going for the older, more established players in that exercise, as most of the folks go really prospect heavy. I figured I would adopt the same strategy here, as more established players who are in or even just exiting their prime, are going to maintain value for the majority of a three-year exercise.

Additionally, as the prospect manager here, I figured I have advanced knowledge of some of the more obscure prospects who might have an impact at the major league level in the next three seasons. While others will snag the young, high-profile prospects, I planned to build a team of active major leaguers first, and focus on some of the lesser-known prospects in the later rounds, hoping that builds a team that can maintain competitiveness for all three years.”

 

Astros

 

Gary Wise (@GaryWise1) took on the challenge of reimaging the Astros and was given the 17th pick in the draft. Since Gary is one of the few non-affiliated General Managers, here is a quick rundown of his background so Astros’ fans can get to know their new GM:

“I’m a former professional game player-turned professional game writer with professional-level experience in Magic: The Gathering, poker, and sports betting. I’ve been playing fantasy baseball for a long time—my first league was in 1987 when I was 14—and am generally successful because of a combination of game selection, knowledge, tenacity (I really like to play) and application of the strategies I’ve taken from the games I’ve taken seriously.”

And here are his pre-draft strategies as he takes the reigns of the Astros:

1. Minute Maid Park – My home ballpark has inflated home run numbers, while suppressing doubles and triples, especially since the (criminal) removal of Tal’s Hill**. I wanted pitchers who’d keep the home runs to a minimum. **I’m a big fan of unique ballpark features.

2. My opposition – I’m literally the only non-fantasy industry guy in this draft. Historically, I’ve always adhered to a belief that when there are elements my opponents are unaccustomed to, I should draft them hard. With a bunch of fantasy guys, I didn’t expect to see any value in stats like SBs that the other drafters were used to treating with extreme gravity relative to how MLB does. While it was obvious that, given the caliber of the guys I was drafting with, any edges I could find would be small ones, I knew a strong defensive strategy was something I was at least interested in. Still, I was keeping my options flexible enough to draft what others weren’t.

3. The sum of parts – One thing this exercise offered was the chance to use players to build on one another. I was looking for ways to do that.

4. Risk Assessment – I’m a firm believer in not over-investing in volatile assets. That means I wanted my first pick to be a hitter, with my SP investment more spread out.

5. Culture Change – I’m in professional communications and the realities of reforming the Astros’ image wasn’t lost on me. I joked initially that I was announcing Curtis Granderson as my manager. My plan wasn’t to completely ignore clubhouse and public relations elements.

 

Athletics

 

Steve Silverstri (@SidelineSquib) has signed up to try his best Billy Beane impression as he will be the GM of the Athletics. He drew the 20th selection in the draft. Below is the breakdown of his approach heading into the draft:

“When you’re in a league filled with 33 extraordinary baseball minds, the first thought of strategy can be somewhat overwhelming. As the new Oakland Athletics General Manager, I had some time to decide on a strong game plan by the time our pick was due from the 20 spot. With my mind swirling with ideas, plans, and different ways to gain an edge on the league, I stuck to my roots. I have decided to deploy a strategy that has brought me great success in the fantasy sports realm. The rule of five—as I like to call it—or in this case the rule of 3 because the number of players taken between draft picks is double what we are used to.

Building a dynasty to last, in this case, a three-year simulation, I figured I would need both a competitive win now lineup as well as young talent lurking in the minors that are churning out developmental traits just waiting for that call up to the show. Three producing veterans to every one prospect is how I am going to attack such a grueling draft and build the roster I envision.

The only way to win a World Series is to make the playoffs right? While I piece together my 3:1 roster construction, I will pay close attention to what the division rivals are doing as my approach is to win the division and worry about navigating the playoffs later. I will work to roster hitters with good splits against opposing pitching and pitchers that match up well against the new look AL West.

Ultimate roster control is the key to the MLB Remix League and I plan on taking full advantage of my opportunities. Utilizing platoons at certain positions and capitalizing on defense and outfield arm strength off the bench late in games. If all goes as planned, the Athletics should have a handful of athletic, young talent in the minors ready for the future while competing for a playoff spot in year one.”

 

Mariners

 

The Mariners’ new GM is a co-operation with Corbin (@fantasyaddict21) and Stompy (@FFStompy) teaming up to attempt to steer the team back to playing games in October. They drew the 22nd selection in the draft:

“We are determined to change the path of the Mariners. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2001 when they won 116 games. We plan to build a team focused on youthful players that have immense potential.”

  • T-Mobile Park is known to be a pitcher-friendly park. However, they did move in the fences in 2013 in hopes of more offense, which is exactly what the Mariners in the MLB Remix League are bringing. We want to build a core of guys that can really hit.
  • Our ideal plan for the first two rounds is to grab a young bat and an ace.
  • Team defense is not as much of a priority over good hitting. We plan to prioritize building a very strong hitting foundation.
  • We want to select players we like so we plan to still be flexible and not tied down to one or two strategies.

The MLB Remix League is sponsored by Out of the Park Baseball and can be found on Twitter at @MLBRemix and searching #MLBRemixLeague.

Feature Graphic Designed by James Peterson (Follow @jhp_design714 on Instagram & Twitter)

Will Garofalo

Will Garofalo has been playing fantasy baseball since 2002. He attended MLB Scout School in 2015 which further enhanced his love for the game. He also writes for spstreamer.com, and has worked for the Hillsboro Hops, Portland Trail Blazers, and Nike. Follow him on Twitter at @Wgarofalo2.

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