Hopefully, you’re joining after reading the first part of this three part series. If not, you should definitely check it out! Or, you’re here because you are drafting in the middle of a round and wanted to devise a strategy. Regardless, in the first article we looked at the players available in each round based on draft order from slots one through four. We looked at brief analyses of each player available, and in the end, we put together a strong team.
I will be doing the same thing here, but this time, we’re looking at draft order slots five through eight. As with the first part, these articles are not precisely about picking the best player in each round. Rather, we’re trying to build a team. It’s probably most helpful to look at these guys with the whole draft in mind rather than just “this guy is better than that guy.” I will briefly repeat my disclaimers from the first part. ADP is sourced from FantasyPros. These analyses are not specifically tailored to points leagues or rotisserie leagues. We are simply trying to pick the best team, but I will mark out some players that you may rather take if you were in one of those formats. Disagreements and discrepancies are encouraged.
Without further ado, let the faux draft commence…again!
Mid-Round Pick (Order #5-8)
In this spot, you have the luxury of not having to wait almost two whole rounds between picks. While you do not have a “double-pick” like the early- or late-rounders, you truly get to pick one player each round. If anything, this article structure may fit best for this draft order.
You can’t really go wrong with your pick here. Each of these players is elite in their own specific way. Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor are both elite bats that should also provide you with some speed and steals. I don’t really have any concerns for either of them, even though Lindor had an injury at the beginning of last season and Betts will be in a new home. However, both outfield and shortstop are fairly deep positions.
I’d much rather lock down a hard-to-come-by ace for my rotation. Elite pitchers are few and far between, and you have your pick of two here. There isn’t a bad pick here, and you should take whichever one you can. I prefer Gerrit Cole. His stuff is absolutely elite, and if you’re concerned about the park change to Yankee Stadium, you shouldn’t be. With pitchers this high-end, nine times out of ten the skills are what matter, and Cole have a lot of them. Jacob deGrom is an equally solid pick. He has less win potential than Cole, but both will give you well over 200 strikeouts, over 200 innings, and a mid-twos ERA. Either way, take the leg up in pitching. It will be less stressful as the draft and season play out.
|18||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SD||SS||18.8|
I also don’t think that there is a bad pick here except Fernando Tatis Jr. He strikes out a ton and barely walks unlike everybody drafted around him. Yes, he had a .311 average last year, but he had a .410 BABIP. He profiles as much more of a .280 hitter, and even that is giving him more credit than his .259 xBA. I just think that you’re paying too much for a hitter that should be going a round or two later.
Jose Ramirez had a strange 2019. He was drafted as the consensus third pick off the board in 2019, but he started off the year horribly. His slash line before the all-star break was .218/.308/.344. Even though his plate discipline remained elite during this period, Ramirez’s approach seemed to be an issue during the time. However, he must have made some adjustments, because his slash line after the all-star break was .327/.365/.739. Ramirez is at a huge discount when he could be back at the top of the first round in 2021, but I think both of the other players left in this round are safer. You want your second pick to be safe. The late rounds are for upside.
Anthony Rendon and Freddie Freeman are both picks to target here. Rendon is an absolutely elite bat, as his batted ball graph below suggests. On top of that, he has elite plate discipline and is now batting around Mike Trout. He doesn’t run that much, but this could be a huge year for Rendon. Freeman is an equally as elite bat plate discipline almost as good as Rendon. The power waned a little bit during 2017 and 2018, but it returned in 2019. This corresponds to a 2.5% jump in his hard hit rate and 3.2% jump in his barrel rate, according to Baseball Savant. It looks like Freeman figured it out. Freeman and Rendon are almost on equal footing here for me, and I would be thrilled to take either in the second round. However, I think first base is slightly shallower, so that forces my hand and I would take Freeman.
Round three presents an interesting slate of possibilities between the five and eight spots. Let’s start off with Starling Marte. He is coming off of a career year, batting .295/.342/.503. The power breakout last year is not something to buy into. He doesn’t hit the ball incredibly hard or barrel up as many balls as elite power hitters do. His plate discipline is equally suspect. You’re really only drafting him here for steals, but he’ll play this season at 31, so don’t be surprised if that starts to wane. Don’t waste a third-round pick here. Javier Baez is almost an equal, if not worse, case of Marte. His plate discipline is absolutely awful. He hits the ball fairly hard, but look at the track record. He has over 30 homers once in his career! He also only stole over 12 bases once in his major league career. Don’t be surprised if he stops running a lot. He is equally not worth a third round pick.
That leaves the breakout Xander Bogaerts versus the aging Jose Altuve. I really do not have any issues with Bogaerts here, but Altuve plays second base. It’s definitely worth taking care of second base to avoid digging into the shallow player pool at the position, so let’s look into him more. In 2018, Altuve’s surgery at the end of the season led many to believe that playing through injury led to his somewhat disappointing season relative to his MVP-level 2016 and 2017. In 2019, he again landed on the IL with leg issues, and during his rehab, he had a setback related to discomfort with the knee he had surgically repaired at the end of 2018. As a possible consequence, Altuve is not a huge base stealer anymore, but it would be misguided to believe that steals were the only thing keeping his value afloat. Since returning from his injury in June, Altuve had an OPS of .916 with an OBP of .338 and slugged .578. During his 2016 and 2017 campaigns, he had an OBP/SLG/OPS of .396/.531/.928 and .410/.547/.957, respectively. While he traded some of his batting average for power, he sat right about where he was on the hitting spectrum during what many call his best seasons from June onward. The increase in power can explain some—not all—of his decrease in steals. If you disregard the fact that he’s not a supreme steals source anymore, he still has elite production from his bat.
|41||Ketel Marte||ARI||2B, SS, OF||39.2|
|43||Kris Bryant||CHC||3B, OF||44.6|
|44||Austin Meadows||TB||OF, DH||45.2|
I have been waiting for a pitcher to come back across the draft slate, and Luis Castillo is quite the pitcher to be considered. He became a borderline-ace in 2019 after a disappointing 2018. What changed? He returned to elite levels in generating ground balls and increased his swinging strike rate. As a result of both of those things, he also kept the ball in the yard more. He struggled a little later in 2019 even though his walks issue that was prevalent in the first-half was pretty much resolved in the second half. For a pitcher with as much potential as Castillo and such an elite changeup, I would take him here, but I would like to get at least one elite outfielder before they’re gone.
Austin Meadows’s breakout 2019 season seems entirely legit, but I am concerned about all of the cooks in the kitchen in Tampa Bay. Meadows was also caught stealing seven times in his 19 attempts. Kris Bryant doesn’t really hit the ball hard at all and had a drop in line drives, so his batting average and power are suspect. However, Bryant’s line is similar from year-to-year. I don’t dislike Bryant here, but I think there is downside without a lot of upside.
Now, to the pick of the round. Ketel Marte broke out in 2019. While it seems isolated and out of nowhere, Pitcher List’s Ryan Amore dug into the adjustments and improvements in the realm of Marte at the end of 2018. After you read his article, you’ll notice that this breakout wasn’t out of left field (#unintendedpun). He hits all types of pitches well and will give you a few steals while you’re at it. It’s reasonable to expect some regression, but he will still give you production worth a pick here in Round 4, and he is eligible at multiple positions, giving you some injury contingencies.
If you have read the first part of this series, you know my philosophy on relief pitcher. I do not like taking relief pitchers early. Aside from job security, there aren’t really many major differences in outcomes between relievers this early or any other time. Speaking of job security, I don’t think that Josh Hader is for sure going to be the Brewers closer for the entirety of 2020. His skills are without a doubt, but the Brewers have Corey Knebel coming back at the beginning of the season. They have used Hader in a multiple inning and/or set-up fashion before. It is possible that he becomes more of a guy to put out fires rather than a bona fide closer. There’s no reason to take that risk in the fifth round.
As you may remember, I also have a similar philosophy regarding catchers. There is a wider range of outcomes for catchers than for closers, but there are plenty of serviceable catcher options in the later rounds that I simply have bigger and better priorities this early. J.T. Realmuto is a solid talent that is consistently among the best of the best at catcher, so we do not really need to discuss his talent. We only really need to discuss whether or not he’s worth taking here, and as my explanation above states, I do not think that he is a priority at this spot.
My priority in Round 5 is starting pitcher. Unlike catcher and relief pitcher, there is a vast range of outcomes at the position. I want a dominant rotation, because the guys you can rely on at pitcher are few and far between. Chris Paddack is a hard case to tackle. His rookie performance was outstanding, but I can’t help but notice that he overperformed. He gave up more fly balls than ground balls, and his FIP and xFIP both sat around four. This is a far cry from his 3.33 ERA. He also is due for some BABIP regression in that he’s not a ground ball pitcher, and his BABIP was only .237. That’s not to say that I do not like Paddack, but I think that he is being drafted above his most likely outcome. Lucas Giolito would be my pick here. He has absolutely ridiculous strikeout stuff and win potential too. He still won 14 games with a White Sox lineup that is certainly inferior to the one they’ll have in 2020. Unlike Paddack, his FIP, xFIP, and SIERA are all right around where his ERA was in 2019. He doesn’t give up a lot of loud contact either, which is especially important in the current environment. I think he is the safer bet of the two pitchers in this round.
|66||Tyler Glasnow||TB||SP, RP||68|
|67||Max Muncy||LAD||1B, 2B, 3B||68.6|
|68||Yoan Moncada||CWS||2B, 3B||68.8|
Ah, yes. We encounter yet another relief pitcher. Kirby Yates is a great talent at the position, but with the Padres adding Emilio Pagan from the Rays, I’m not entirely comfortable that Yates will get every save opportunity or a long leash in the unlikely event that he does struggle. Again, it’s just not worth the gamble in Round 6. Max Muncy is in sort of a similar boat. The Dodgers have so much depth that I don’t feel comfortable with many of their hitters’ playing time, especially when this Dodger in particular has had playing time issues in the past. Muncy is going to give you plenty of walks and around 35 homers (where he finished in 2018 and 2019). The issue is that he will only have about a .250 average. There are plenty of high power and middling average guys in 2020, and ones that do not have this much of a question mark regarding playing time.
Yoan Moncada had a breakout season last year, and it’s worth looking at. I do think that the batting average is going to come down from .315. We’re talking about a guy who batted in the low-.200s the past two seasons with a low-to-mid-.300s BABIP. His 2019 BABIP of .406 is wholly unsustainable. My worry, then, is that if his BABIP regresses back into the .300s, how much does his batting average come down? I don’t think he’ll be a .230 hitter again, though. He hits the ball with a lot of power, but he also hits too many ground balls for this to matter as much as it should. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has the same issue. Moncada does have a little bit of speed, which is nice, but I feel very uneasy about Moncada’s breakout.
It’s not hard to see why Tyler Glasnow is going this early. He had a 1.78 ERA last year, but it was only over 60.2 innings. We have a very small sample size of Glasnow being even a good starting pitcher. I’m not doubting the talent increase and the Rays’ ability to turn pitchers into talents, especially when they came from a technologically-behind Pirates’ coaching staff. You can even see that his walk rate came down substantially, which was Glasnow’s main issue. I am uneasy as well about Glasnow, but the upside is so high and he’s a pitcher. I will hold my nose and take him here.
|80||Tommy Pham||SD||OF, DH||80.8|
I’ll start off by saying that I am not a big Victor Robles fan at this cost. He makes abysmally weak contact, and on top of that, he strikes out a ton. Just look at his batted ball graph. There is nothing to like here, except steals. Not at this cost though.
Again, I don’t feel the need to pay up for relief pitcher at this stage of the draft, but Roberto Osuna is a solid closer who will get a lot of save chances.
The only question with Giancarlo Stanton is health. He missed almost the entirety of 2019 with injury after injury. If he’s healthy and returns in true Stanton form, he will be the biggest bargain of the draft in Round 7. Am I confident Stanton can get through a whole season? Not enough to draft him here, especially considering how poorly the Yankees’ training staff has handled injuries this offseason. In fact, he already had a calf strain at the beginning of this year.
Tommy Pham is a player that I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, he is going to provide you a solid amount of steals for a player going in Round 7. Unlike Robles, he should also hit pretty well. Not great though. Barring 2018, he sits at about a low .800s OPS, which is fine but nothing to get excited about at this cost. I don’t think there is tremendous upside here with the 32-year-old Pham, and because of his age, don’t be surprised if the steals start disappearing.
Yes, Alonso hit a whopping 53 homers in 2019 to Chapman’s 36. However, I think Alonso regresses in that regard slightly. I would not be surprised at all if Alonso was within 10 homers of Chapman at the end of the season. Furthermore, Chapman hits the ball even harder than Alonso!
Spoiler alert… I’m also not going to take anybody from the slate this round. In fact, I will be reaching a couple picks later for Nick Castellanos. I also took Castellanos in part one of this series, so go check that out for my analysis. In summation, Castellanos outside of Comerica Park could be an early round level hitter at a mid round cost.
At 34, Josh Donaldson is not slowing down, and honestly, I don’t really expect him to. He hits the ball with hard, barreled up contact and also sports some really solid plate discipline. I would have taken him here instead of Chapman last round, except for the fact that 2019 was the first season since 2015 that Donaldson has played over 120 games. His age exacerbates this issue and scares me off of him here.
Luis Robert is a highly regarded prospect that should get called up soon into the new season. His elite track record speaks for itself. I mean, he had a .974 OPS in AAA last year, although in a limited, 47 game sample size. It seems like a no brainer, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez seemed like no brainers last year. The adjustment to major league pitching seems to be underestimated. What are the holes in Robert’s game? Until late last year, he was extremely pull happy, and he doesn’t walk a ton either. However, those are very minor issues that I don’t think will get exposed too much. I think it’s realistic that he could bat in the .270 range, and that would be a little optimistic considering the projections for him. I like Robert, but Castellanos edges him out here.
Corey Kluber is a similar case to Stanton. He missed almost the entirety of the 2019 season, and his few results in 2019 were horrific. I am not going to hold those against him since a lot of pitchers struggled early in 2019, and it was a small sample size. Yet, Kluber had sort of the same issue that Stanton had; that is, he had new injuries pop up as he was rehabbing last year. At 34 years old, it’s entirely possible that he’s done. It’s also possible that he becomes an ace again. He’s on the Rangers this year, and the AL West looks pretty formidable. It could be a difficult road back for Kluber.
I really like Mike Soroka here too. It doesn’t seem like people are overvaluing his breakout 2019, wherein he looked like an ace. It’s reasonable to expect some regression here, and looking at his 4.28 SIERA, some regression could turn into a lot of regression. It’s sort of surprising that he had minor strikeout results with a swinging strike rate over 10%, but take that out and he is still a solid ground ball pitcher. If it weren’t for Castellanos, I would also take him here.
Now that we’re almost in the double-digit rounds, I would begin to consider the relief pitchers available. However, we only have three starting pitchers right now, and with how limited trustworthy talent is at the position, I would like to take another one as soon as possible. Both Brand Hand and Taylor Rogers are solid closers that will have plenty of save chances. Both have pretty solid track records, and I don’t foresee any highly realistic threats that would overly concern me here regarding their hold on the closer role.
I liked Ramon Laureano last year but that’s because you could probably have gotten him off the waiver wire rather than investing a ninth round pick in him. This feels a bit too rich considering he’s not really a standout in any one particular category. He’s probably a .270 bat with below average plate discipline and moderate power and steals potential. He doesn’t steal so much that I would consider it something you should rely on. Again, he’s a good player, but I cannot justify taking him. That leaves a sort of all-over-the-place Zack Wheeler. Look at how varied his skill indicators were.
He’s okay at missing bats, and I’m surprised that he isn’t a WHIP liability. His BABIP is always pretty high, and justifiably so, since he gives up quite a few line drives. His one major pro is that he went deep into games consistently for the Mets in 2019, but with the team change to the Phillies, this might not remain the same. I just don’t think I can rely on him as much as who is going six picks later and will be my pick, Frankie Montas.
Montas pitched 96 superb innings in 2019 with a 2.63 ERA and 3.00 FIP before getting hit with an 80 game suspension for PEDs. The PED issue is not really one to be concerned about since most players, surprisingly, don’t really have vastly different results after a PED suspension. Montas is a really good groundball pitcher with a decent amount of swing-and-miss and a varied arsenal. I don’t expect him to be as good as he was in 2019, but at this cost, you don’t need him to be. I could see him having an ERA in the 3.40-3.50 range with 160 innings and 175 strikeouts. You’ll take that any day of the week.
|114||Miguel Sano||MIN||1B, 3B||119|
I hate to break the rules again, but I would prefer to fill out my starting pitching rotation, and Madison Bumgarner is not the guy. Hee just hasn’t been the same since his dirt bike accident in 2017. His receding skillset has been propped up by calling the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball his home. He doesn’t throw very hard, and he gives up a ton of hard contact. The latter of those issues, again, was minimized by Oracle Park in San Francisco. Additionally, the two pitches he throws the most (his fastball and cutter) had the worst results among the pitches in his arsenal in 2019. Things could go very wrong here.
Edwin Diaz was the best closer in baseball in 2018, and then he fell off and struggled in 2019. This is one example of why I don’t take closers early. I expect him to bounce back a good bit—yet not fully—in 2019. We have seen the downside, and while at this cost it’s not a bad idea to take a gamble on a bounceback, I have other priorities when I look at my roster at the moment.
Michael Conforto is a solid hitter with great plate discipline. If you compare him with Max Muncy, he’s really not that much different than but is going three rounds later. He struggles against lefties, and while I’m not worried about a platoon when I look at the Mets depth chart, I do think this could be the hitter equivalent of German Marquez. He may only be worth the cost here when he plays against righties.
Miguel Sano is right up there with the guys who hit the ball the hardest in baseball. He absolutely crushes the ball…when he makes contact. He also strikes out at an absurdly high rate. He is basically Joey Gallo but 40 picks later. Honestly, he would maybe be who I’d bet on if I was told that only one player next season exceeded 50 home runs. If you need power this late, he’s a great pick, but he won’t help you much in the other categories. If strikeouts are an issue in your league, you might want to consider someone else. He’s a fine choice, but again, my priority is starting pitcher. That’s why I’m reaching one pick beyond the slate to Zac Gallen. I wrote about him in the part one of this series, and the gist was that he could be a top 20 pitcher next year. At this cost, I’m taking him.
|126||Cavan Biggio||TOR||2B, RF||127.6|
|127||Shohei Ohtani||LAA||SP, DH||130.2|
|128||Max Fried||ATL||SP, RP||130.6|
Let’s start with Shohei Ohtani. He had Tommy John surgery back in 2018, and as he was recovering as a pitcher, he still hit for the Angels in 2019. That is, he hit for them until his season was cut short again by surgery, this time for his knee. I don’t want to argue that Ohtani is a poor player. However, I think he is a better baseball player than a fantasy baseball player. On any given week, he probably will never be a two-start pitcher. In 2018, he almost exclusively pitched on Sundays. If the Angels continue to do this, you’re out a start if for some reason there is a postponement or they skip him. As a hitter, he probably is only going hit in 4-5 games a week at most. If there’s an interleague series, he probably will only have a pinch hit opportunity. The steals might go down quite a bit too after the knee surgery. Even though he is both a great hitter and a great pitcher, you’re not really getting the most out of a roster spot if you use him as either.
Cavan Biggio has amazing plate discipline and it’s almost too good to believe. He barely swings, and even though that will result in a lot of walks, it also means he’s letting good offerings to go by. Aside from his steals and walk potential, there isn’t really much else here.
Lance Lynn had a career resurgence in 2019. He halved his walks-per-nine. He keeps the ball in the yard at an exceptional rate. This is a valuable skill in the current homer-friendly environment. At 32, there is injury concern, of course. I think it is entirely possible that Lynn gives you at or slightly below a 4.00 ERA with plenty of innings and strikeouts. It’s a boring play, but if you have a volatile pitching staff, a boring addition can be a big help.
I’m going to take Max Fried here. After his amazing 2018 ERA of 2.94 (albeit in a small sample size), he had a slightly disappointing 4.02 ERA in 2019. Yet, I would expect some positive regression. His FIP, xFIP, and SIERA are all well below 4.00. Walks have always been an issue for him, but he greatly improved in this aspect in 2019. He has a history of being a groundball pitcher, which will help keep the ball in the yard. I think we have only seen the beginning of a bright future for this 25-year-old.
|137||Tommy Edman||STL||2B, 3B, SS, OF||137.6|
I remember having Kyle Hendricks on my fantasy team in 2018, and even with a 3.44 ERA, I struggled to get much out of him. His ERA stays fairly low, but he has barely any strikeout potential. If you’re not missing bats, I worry about how effective you can be as a pitcher. However, Hendricks has solidified himself as somebody that can succeed despite that. He’s in the Lance Lynn class of pitchers that doesn’t have a ton of upside but is a boring, stable play. With a pitcher already on my bench, I’m not concerned about taking him here.
After getting signed in the middle of the 2019 season to the Chicago Cubs, Craig Kimbrel struggled quite a bit. Most of it resulted from an absurd 36.0% HR/FB rate. I wouldn’t expect this to continue. He has always kept hard contact down, and again, that is an absurd rate that should regress. He still missed a ton of bats, and the Cubs gave him a pretty long leash despite his struggles. I expect Kimbrel to return closer to his elite form, but you should be wary of his declining velocity.
David Dahl was having a really solid 2019 campaign before an ankle injury cut it short. He was a batting average stud, even though he did have a high .386 BABIP. This isn’t necessarily a concern, due to Coors Field being a BABIP machine and Dahl always being a high BABIP hitter. He struck out quite a bit and doesn’t hit the ball particularly hard. His softer contact mixed with his tendency to hit more balls on the ground than in the air may also aid his batting average. He could maybe be a .290 hitter with about 85 runs, 85 RBI, 20 homers, and 10 steals. That’s actually pretty solid for a hitter in Round 12.
I would like to fill shortstop though, and Tommy Edman is the guy to do it. He is a speedy steals source that doesn’t create much power from the bat but does with his feet. He had seven triples in around a half season of work in 2019! Like Dahl, he is a high BABIP, high average hitter historically. I honestly don’t think that the outcome I gave for Dahl above is far off from what Edman could do this season, except I would add 15-20 steals to the 10 I projected for Dahl.
|149||Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||TOR||2B, SS, OF||151|
|152||Trey Mancini||BAL||1B, OF||152.8|
This is quite a varied slate of players. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is a mixed bag. His plate discipline is suspect, but he hits the ball decently hard and in the air. His power production in 2019 is likely legit, but expect his batting average to go down slightly. Yes, he is consistently a high BABIP hitter, but judging by his tendencies in 2019, it seems like he’s sacrificing line drives for fly balls. Hopefully, this will result in more homers, but the batting average will suffer.
Robbie Ray is commonly referred to as a frustrating fantasy option, and it’s easy to see why. He will give you plenty of strikeouts, but it comes with a ton of walks and a lackluster ERA. I don’t think he’s worth the headache in Round 13. Chris Archer has equal or greater potential with an equal amount of headaches, and he’s available over 100 picks later.
Elvis Andrus must be entirely a steals play here. He did have 31 steals in 2019, but it also came with a .707 OPS that his expected stats completely support. Andrus doesn’t hit the ball very hard, and he hits the ball on the ground over 50% of the time. On top of that, his sprint speed isn’t anything to write home about, and it shows in his eight failed stolen base attempts.
After he had a scary malignant tumor removal surgery earlier this year, it’s great to see that Trey Mancini should make a full recovery, especially after his excellent 2019 campaign. However, it seems like the Orioles are being cautious with his recovery, due to both the mental and physical aspects of the situation. It’s hard to expect what the road ahead is for Mancini, and while I look forward to him in 2020, I cannot justify taking him here with all of the questions in his road ahead.
We do need a catcher, so I would like to reach four picks later for Will Smith, the Dodgers catcher that broke out in 2019. There are holes in his game. His batting average potential is miniscule because he hits so many fly balls. However, he hits the ball fairly hard, so he should make up for this a little in terms of power. The lineup will prop up his counting stats. He certainly has plenty of upside, and he is only 25. The cost here is around his probable outcome, so I’m willing to take a gamble. Players like him can be pretty hard to find at the most shallow position in fantasy baseball.
Wilson Ramos hit the ball softer in 2019 and with literally a zero degree launch angle. I think there is plenty of room to rebound for him, but I’m not sure how drastic or likely that rebound will be at age 32.
Sean Manaea spent the majority of 2019 rehabbing a shoulder injury. When he returned, he was out-of-this-world dominant. He had a 1.21 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. This was in a ridiculously small sample size, with a .194 BABIP, and a 100% strand rate, so we’re not talking about a sustainable hot streak. In fact, the contact that Manaea was giving up was pretty similar to his past self. To put this in context, his “past self” never had a FIP or xFIP below 4.00. This is an easy pass here.
I don’t have a ton to say about Archie Bradley other than you could do worse. He doesn’t really have much competition at closer in the Diamondbacks bullpen, so that’s something.
The Astros finally gave Kyle Tucker consistent playing time at the end of 2019, but this was due to George Springer getting a concussion. It seems like the Astros are dedicated to playing Josh Reddick, which doesn’t make sense to me at all. If Tucker got consistent playing time, he could easily be a 25/25 player. I think the better pick here is my favorite player to draft in 2019, J.D. Davis. He goes two picks later than this slate, and our own Alexander Roche wrote a great article on why he is worthy of being my favorite player to draft.
Khris Davis had an incredibly disappointing 2019 season. After hitting .247 in four straight seasons and over 40 homers in three straight seasons, he looked like he was the most consistent hitter in baseball. I do think that the multiple random injury flare ups that Davis had in 2019 contributed to his poor performance, even though the way he hit the ball entirely supports the bad numbers. However, I’m not entirely convinced that Davis fully rebounds—especially at 32—and is worth taking if you need a relief pitcher.
That is why I will take Giovanny Gallegos. I also took him in the first part of this series, and you can check out my reasoning there.
The new baseball caused some troubles for Masahiro Tanaka in 2019. His grip for his splitter was affected by the change in the placement of the seams. I think he might be around a 4.00 ERA next season, but my biggest issue with Tanaka is his volatility. He will have a fantastic outing and then give up four-plus runs in his next outing. This unpredictability is a huge issue for a starting pitcher, and I’m not having that issue on my roster.
Byron Buxton is another interesting case. He has the potential to have a 20/20 season, but his batted ball profile doesn’t really match his skill set. With his speed, he could likely beat out plenty of grounders rather than fly out. I think a low-to-mid .700s OPS with 20 homers and 20 steals is about what you could expect from Buxton with a solid Twins lineup around him. There are worse picks in Round 15.
|187||Ian Kennedy||KC||SP, RP||188.4|
Even at this price, I do not like Ian Kennedy. He likely will not get many save chances playing for the Royals, and if he does turn out to be the closer, he could be traded halfway through the season.
Paul DeJong doesn’t have a lot of batting average potential, and he doesn’t hit the ball very hard. I’m not sure why you’d take him here.
Mike Foltynewicz had a breakout 2018 season, but aside from that, he has had a pretty consistent track record of a mid-fours ERA. The underlying skills haven’t really changed all that much, so I don’t expect him to recreate 2018, especially considering that he overachieved then based on FIP, xFIP, and SIERA.
I don’t really like Luke Weaver here either. He had a really solid 2019, albeit in a small sample size. However, he cut down drastically on his walk issue. He does give up pretty hard contact, and his strikeout potential is average-to-below average. In the humidor-ed Chase Field, these issues could be blunted somewhat. With all that being said, I still don’t expect Weaver to have a fantastic 2020 campaign, but he could give you a 4.00 ERA in 130-140 innings.
I would take Luke Voit here, which is a reach two picks beyond this slate. I also took him in the first part of this series, so please visit that for a deeper dive. All in all, Voit’s injury could have disrupted a truly dominant 2019 campaign. If things break right in 2020, he could be going in the first ten rounds next year, and I will take that chance in Round 16.
As I did in the first part of this series, I will only be analyzing the player I am choosing when we enter the reserve rounds.
In Round 17, I will fill out my relief pitcher spot with the Pirates’ closer, Keone Kela (ADP 206.2). I don’t think Kela gets enough credit for how skilled of a pitcher he is, and he is only 26. What I am primarily looking for in the skills of a closer are strikeout potential and the ability to limit home runs, and Kela fits both of those criteria. The Pirates have historically been committed to keeping their closers in the role, even through struggles. This could change with a new managerial staff, but again, Kela is such a talented pitcher that this is only a minor concern.
I would fill out my utility spot with Giovanny Urshela or Avisail Garcia here ( ADPs of 223.6 and 222.8, respectively). I looked at both of these players in the first part of this series, so I will refer you to that for a deep dive. Not to mention, Matt Wallach wrote a piece on Avisail Garcia that you should check out. I will say that I prefer Urshela over Garcia.
At this point, I’ll take a lottery ticket on Astros pitcher Josh James (ADP of 239). He’s not guaranteed a rotation spot, but if Justin Verlander misses more time due to injury, he could be a part of that rotation. His swing-and-miss potential is absolutely incredible. Walks and home runs could be an issue for him, but I mean look at his pitching graph on Baseball Savant. You’re not going to get this kind of upside this late anywhere else.
In Round 20, I am going to take another pitcher, Mitch Keller of the Pirates (ADP of 259). I also took him in the first part of this series, so I will again refer you to that piece for a deeper dive. The gist is that he has the potential to be a top 20 pitcher, and he performed much better than his numbers show in 2019.
For my last pick, I will take Braves’ shortstop Dansby Swanson (ADP of 270.2). Alexander Roche wrote a Going Deep article on him that I highly recommend checking. Swanson has fairly good batted ball results, speed potential, and he improved his platoon splits in 2019.
|Util||Giovanny Urshela/Avisail Garcia||NYY/MIL||18|
|SP||Gerrit Cole/Jacob deGrom||NYY/NYM||1|
I think I like this squad slightly less than the team from the first part. An obvious reason is that you don’t have one of the elite hitters from the early first round in your lineup. Another reason is that good values at hitter popped up in the earlier rounds, and this caused me to not go as aggressively for starting pitchers as I would have liked. Regardless, I think this a solid team with a lot of upside and would give you a chance to compete in your league.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Rick Orengo (@OneFiddyOne on Twitter and Instagram)