For the third year, I headed out to First Pitch Conference put on by Baseball HQ. The conference is held during the Fall Stars Game and is a baseball lovers’ dream weekend. I had never participated in a draft at the conference but looked forward to drafting with some great players, including Derek Van Riper and Justin Mason. Overall, this draft was fun but also challenging. In normal drafts, we have ADPs and information from teams about player roles. We do not have that luxury during this draft. Here is a review of each of my picks and my thoughts at each round.
Here is the Draft Board. (Keep in mind the positions are entering 2019, and not 2020 eligibility.)
Round 1.13 – Freddie Freeman 1B
I was one of the last players to pick their drafting position. I knew I didn’t want to be in the middle and was pretty happy to have the 13th overall pick. Being towards the end of the first round, it gave me the opportunity to see if pitching was going to fast in my league. By the time my pick came around, I knew pitching was going to go “slow”. Only one pitcher, Gerrit Cole was selected before the 13th pick. I thought about grabbing Jacob deGrom here but thought he would last until the second. I went with Freddie Freeman here. 1B is one of the positions that drop off very quickly so snagging the cream of the crop seemed like a no brainer. He struggled in the postseason and then had surgery on his elbow. Even with this news, hitting cleanup in the Braves lineup gives him 20+ HR, with 100+ in both RBI and Runs. You cannot win your draft in the first round but you can sure lose it. You cannot lose it with Freeman.
Round 2.3 – Anthony Rendon 3B
Yeah..so my plan on taking deGrom with my second pick was quickly snatched away from me. Team 15 took Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom at the 1-2 turn and then Team 14 took Walker Buehler with their second pick. No need to panic Shelly, just adjust to the room. Looking at the pitcher available, I thought about Justin Verlander but Anthony Rendon was still sitting on the board. The idea of a Freeman/Rendon combo was too much to pass up. If you know me, I absolutely love Anthony Rendon. The dude just produces year after year. After my first two picks, I have 2 100+ RBI and Run guys and I feel like I am sitting pretty.
Round 3.13 – Jonathan Villar 2B
A bunch of pitchers go in the second and third rounds including Stephen Strasburg and Mike Clevinger, who were hoping would drop. However, knowing that Team 15 went pitcher-pitcher and Team 14 went Hitter-Pitcher, I was pretty confident a great arm would fall to me in the fourth round. Freeman and Rendon give me plenty of counting stats but the one category they do not help in…steals. So I decided to take Jonathan Villar. Villar had an amazing season for the Orioles. He swiped 40 bags but also hit 24 home runs and 111 runs. Fingers crossed the Orioles do not trade/DFA him because there is no one to challenge him for playing time.
Round 4.13 – Lucas Giolito SP
Well, I was sort of right. Team 15 went hitter-hitter but Team 14 snagged Patrick Corbin has their second starter. I was afraid to go any further without a SP so I took Lucas Giolitio. Giolitio was the worst SP in 2018 but in the offseason went back to his high school pitching coach and remade his mechanics. I wrote about his breakout here. I trust in GioDude. He is a totally different pitcher now.
Round 5.3 – Marcell Ozuna OF
After seeing a couple more pitchers go in the fourth and fifth round, I went with another hitter here. I struggled a bit with who I wanted to take here but ultimately decided to go with Ozuna here. It will be interesting to see where he lands next year. I hope the Cardinals re-sign him but it looks like they will be looking elsewhere. With that being said, Ozuna is a great hitter and should not kill my team.
Round 6.13 – Victor Robles OF
Ugh. I made a mistake. Team 14 takes Jorge Soler right before I picked in the sixth round. I should have gone that route in the fifth. After a deep breath, I decide to take another hitter. This time, I select a player with some speed upside in Victor Robles. Let’s be honest here. His StatCast data is not great but I still believe in him. Even without the possibility the changing of the ball, I think he can still hit double-digit home runs with double-digit steals. His defense is also ELITE so the Nationals would be foolish to platoon him.
Round 7.13 – Brandon Woodruff SP
Okay. I HAVE to get some pitching here. There were a couple more starters taken but also the first two closers in Josh Hader and Kirby Yates in the seventh round. As my second SP, I chose Brandon Woodruff. He battled some injuries this year but was hitting 95+ MPH in September. That will do. He should be the Brewers #1 starter and if he can stay healthy throughout the season, he is a perfect #2 SP.
Round 8.3 – Ramon Laureano OF
I have always been afraid of not being able to fill my OF spots in drafts. There are a bunch of great OFs but with best ones are snatched up very quickly. Lucky for me, Team 14 and 15 did not take an OF with their picks so I decided to pick up Ramon Laureano with my 8th round pick. If we are being honest, I wad fading Laurano coming into the year. I loved his game but thought he was being drafted way too early. Well…I was wrong. If with an injury, he had an amazing season for the A’s. My biggest hesitation is what makes him exciting. He goes all out defensively and with that brings a major injury risk.
Round 9.13 – Jesus Luzardo SP
I cannot keep taking hitters here. I have to take some pitchers at some point. I decided to go with Jesus Luzardo in the ninth. He looked nasty after returning from a couple of major injuries this season. He should be getting plenty of run in Oakland next year.
Round 10.3 – Sean Doolittle RP
After the first closer was taken in the sixth round, they went VERY quickly. I missed the first closer run so I went with Sean Doolittle here. I’m pretty confident he will have the role in Washington next year, but unsure if he will keep the role the entire season.
Round 11.13 – Paul DeJong SS
Shortstop might be one of the deepest positions in the game. After the first 10 rounds, Paul DeJong was still available. I’ll take that. Let’s be honest, I could have done better at the position but DeJong should give the PAs with some HR and RBI upside.
Round 12.3 – Andrew Heaney SP
After taking DeJong in the eleventh round and knowing that Justin Mason was also in my draft, I decided to jump in and take Andrew Heaney in the twelfth round. It might have been a bit early but I knew with Justin at the other end of the draft that he wasn’t going to be around in the thirteenth. Sometimes you just have to have fun in drafts.
Round 13.13 – Trent Grisham OF
After the Christian Yelich injury, Trent Grisham performed well for the Brewers. I’m hoping that most draftees remember that bobble in the Wild Card game so I can grab him in a bunch of drafts. His performance in AAA and MLB has me believing that his talent will push him through the roadblock in Milwaukee’s OF.
Round 14.3 – J.D. Davis 3B
After locking up my starters, I started to look into filling out my MI or CI spots. Seeing the pitchers come off the board right before I picked, I was excited to pick up J.D Davis If you have missed what Davis did in the Big Apple this year. Take a look at his StatCast page. I ‘ll be here when you get back. You back? Yeah, his page is nice. All the red. He is pretty bad in the outfield but should get plenty of playing time at the hot corner for the Mets.
Round 15.13 – Sandy Alcantara SP
I’m afraid that Sandy Alcantara is going to make or break my season next year. I’ve been drafting him everywhere. I loved how he finished the season. His sinker is really good, especially when he can sling it low in the zone about 95 MPH. He has a pretty decent four-seam and that changeup has shown some potential. It is a money pitch (44 o-swing%, 41.1 zone%, 16.6 swstk%) but he has not thrown it consistently. While I’m not expecting an ace here, Alcantara has my fifth starter, I could do worse.
Round 16.3 – Nick Anderson RP
Ugh. It happened again. I missed out on another closer run. So instead of picking up someone who has the job but is pretty bad, I went with a lights out reliever that may come into a few saves. Nick Anderson was lights out in Miami at the beginning of the season and then had a few outings that wrecked his ERA. Don’t be fooled because he was back to his old self dominating hitters in both Miami and Tampa Bay.
Round 17.13 – Sean Murphy C
Most teams had a catcher at this point so I decided to jump in and pick up Sean Murphy. He battled injury while in the minors this year but still put up some great numbers. He is a defense wizard behind the dish so he should get most of the playing time next year in Oakland.
Round 18.3 – Luis Arraez 2B
Once Hanser Alberto went, I knew MI positions were going to fly off the board so I went with Luis Arraez. Arraez walked more than he struck out during his time with the Twins. He might not have that much power but with his hit tool and hitting leadoff for the Twins, he is not a bad pick here.
Round 19.13 – A.J. Puk SP
As I mentioned earlier I missed out on a bunch of closer runs so I decided to take a gamble with my next pick, A.J. Puk. I’m pretty sure he will be starting in Oakland next year but on the off chance the A’s decided to Josh Hader him, I think he could be a great reliever and Liam Hendricks insurance. Probably will not happen because Oakland needs starters and always seems to find bullpen arms.
Round 20.3 – Kyle Seager 3B
Seven pitchers went off the board before I took Kyle Seager. His first half was pretty poor but in the second half Seager went off showing fans he was not healthy at the start of the season. He hit 0.260 with 17 HR, 38 Runs, and 45 RBI. Getting a full-time player this late is a great value.
Round 21.13 – Tyler Mahle SP
I’m really interested in seeing what Tyler Mahle is going to do next season. He traded his changeup and slider for a splity and curve. He also decreased his walks and increased his velocity. I believe in Derek Johnson as a pitching coach, see Sonny Gray’s season. Also, if the ball changes back maybe some of those home runs will only be loud flyouts,