We’ve all been there: it’s Round 17 in your re-draft league. You’ve gone overboard with pitchers or outfielders or third basemen (take your pick) and now you’ve got two or three holes in your lineup that are in dire straits. You know you should have addressed them earlier and now your top 15 in every position is gone. Even your wildcard/longshot picks are gone. You’ve scoured the remaining draft pool. It seems like everyone who will play second base this year has been picked. You’re panicking. All you can think of is: “I just need someone who will play. How come there isn’t some kind of list that will help me figure out if there is any new blood?”
That’s when I walk in, smack you in the face, and say, “Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers. Haven’t you heard of the Pitcher List Draft/Stash Challenge?”
Eleven of our top writers (and Adam Lawler) drafted the 120 rookie-eligible players who are most likely to play in 2020. This is no mock draft. These picks matter! We will be keeping track of each writer’s roster to figure out who’s picks recorded the most games played + innings pitched. First place is a Cadillac El Dorado (not really). Second place is a set of steak knives (maybe). Third place is you’re fired (probably). Fourth place and below are fine (definitely).
Why This is Important to You
Hopefully an annual exercise, the Draft/Stash Challenge is designed to provide fantasy baseball managers with a hierarchy of rookie-eligible players that combines skill level, minor league level, organization philosophy, roster need, and precognition. All factors that will contribute to whether a rookie is playing in the majors in 2020 are taken into consideration as each of us tries to accumulate the most service time through our picks. There is no waiver wire so everybody who is picked will remain on their roster throughout the season.
Not only will this be helpful if you want to know the likelihood of a prospect being called up, but how much our writers are expect these players to play. Simply put: if a rookie is going to play a lot, he will be picked very high.
Don’t Get Confused
One thing this exercise is not going to tell you is how good a rookie will be when he is in the majors. At least not directly. The object is to accumulate the most GP + IP, but if we expect a player is going to play all season, it is likely for two reasons: (1) that he is very good or (2) his team doesn’t have any other choice at that position. Now, both could be true for a single player, but in most cases, it’s one or the other. The difference between this draft and probably all of the other drafts you’ll read about on Pitcher List is we don’t care why a player is playing.
Now, we covered why we are doing this, how one of us wins and what you can get out of it. Now let’s talk about the rules. First of all, there aren’t many:
- All players drafted must have rookie eligibility on as of Opening Day, March 26, 2020.
- Each manager can draft any 10 players (positions don’t matter).
- The highest total of GP + IP will win.
- Only regular-season totals count (no playoffs).
One caveat: a player can earn both GP and IP — but only one at a time. For example, if Brendan McKay pitches six innings and moves to DH after, we will count his innings and not his game played.
There was a debate as to whether to use Plate appearances vs. IP as a scoring system, however, if a hitter plays all season, that is like 600 PAs compared to at most 180 innings pitched for a rookie pitcher. This is too much of a disparity and would make relief pitchers virtually worthless, which is something we know is not true. Relievers should count and if a rookie happens to accumulate a full season in the bullpen and gets 50-60 innings, that is half of what a rookie starter would get — at most. That said, there were four rookie starters who pitched more than 162 innings, making them the top of the market. I can live with that.
Each manager will be posting the information they gathered/considered while making their picks in the coming days, starting with mine tomorrow. Here…we…go…
Image by Michael Packard