It would be great if you were reading this after reading the first two parts of this series. If you haven’t already checked those out, please go do so! As you’ll see in those, I have been going round by round comparing and analyzing the four players available for draft slots #1-4 and #5-8. For this part, we will be working through a faux, article-based draft for draft order #9-12. At the end, we will have a full team built for this draft slot. I think it will be helpful to pick out the best players in each round with the whole draft and roster in mind rather than just picking the best player in each round regardless of position. I will briefly repeat the disclaimers of the first two parts. They are that these articles do not specifically regard either points or rotisserie formats; I am simply trying to put together the best team with the best players. However, I will point out players that may be helpful in those particular formats. Additionally, there are sure to be disagreements and discrepancies with my outlook on players or who I take when. This is fantastic, and I am open to discussion on these pieces.
For the last time, let the faux/article-based draft commence!
Late-Round Pick (Order #9-12)
Picking in the late rounds has always been a favorite of mine. Sure, you do not get the super elite players going in the first few picks, but at the end of the first round, you get two players that are close together in ADP. Also, somebody has to fall in the first round, since there are only 12 spots in the round. There are players going later in the first round or early in the second round that will still be basically just as solid of picks as you could find with an earlier pick, as we will see.
This is a very interesting slate of players that is varied in what they are giving you. Starting with the two shortstops, Trevor Story and Trea Turner both hit and run very well. Story has the benefit of calling Coors Field his home, whereas Turner could easily break 50 steals in a season. I wouldn’t even let Turner fall that much in a points format because he is still dominant there, even though the steals aren’t as important. I think I will take Story as a better all-around player with better hitting skills, and he has the benefit of Coors. You really can’t go wrong with either, though.
|Barrel %||Exit Velocity||Launch Angle|
Speaking of Coors, Nolan Arenado almost doesn’t even need a discussion. He is consistently in the conversation for a triple crown and has incredibly consistent lines year-to-year. You know what you are getting from Arenado. While there is talk of him getting traded, I wouldn’t downgrade him much, if at all, for these rumors. He is a solid and talented hitter that still hits well away from Coors. Removing the Coors hangover effect from the equation (i.e. constantly switching between hitting in Coors and not throughout a season and all of the different hitting adjustments that take place due to this change), he should still be well in the .900s for OPS. If it wasn’t for a certain third baseman I want to take in the next round, I would take him here.
I feel like Juan Soto is being heavily overpriced in the first round. The only thing that is truly first round caliber about him is his plate discipline. Other than that, he has a good average with solid power output and maybe 5-10 steals a season. In my opinion, that is more of a late second-round player rather than a first-round player. I also think the runs and RBI are sure to come down some from 110 each without Anthony Rendon in the lineup.
|13||Alex Bregman||HOU||3B, SS||11.8|
Round 2 has one of my favorite players to draft as well, but I almost never draft him. I usually focus on pitching at this phase of the draft, and in taking a position player in Round 1, it’s even harder to not take a pitcher here. I can’t pass up Alex Bregman, though. He probably has the best plate discipline and on base potential in baseball, and in the Astros lineup, this means a ton of runs and RBI. That’s not all, though. He has plenty of power, still a solid average, and with Dusty Baker as the new Astros manager, he could steal much more. He is practically the improved outcome of Juan Soto in 2020, except for the fact that this is already who Bregman is.
Why am I not taking a pitcher here? Well, I do not want to draft Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander this high. Verlander is probably going to fall more in drafts due to his injuries, but at his age, I think time is catching up. I’m not sure that I want to risk a second-round pick on that possibility. The same goes for Scherzer. He had numerous back issues down the stretch last year. Not only are back issues a constant and nagging issue (ask Clayton Kershaw), but, again, with his age, I think a second-round pick assumes too much for Scherzer’s 2020 season.
Walker Buehler is the only pitcher that is giving me pause on my Bregman pick. His 3.26 ERA from 2019 is probably about where he will end up next season. He strikes out a good bunch of hitters, doesn’t walk a ton either, and (my favorite) keeps the ball in the yard. All of his peripherals back that profile up, but I simply cannot pass on Bregman here.
Speaking of Kershaw from last round’s discussion, he has trouble staying on the field. But after his IL stint to open the season last year, he played through just fine. His strikeout potential has gone down in the past two seasons. I don’t think he is a bad pitcher, and in fact, he’s probably comparable and only slightly behind Buehler from almost 20 picks earlier. However, he is in the Verlander and Scherzer discussion of outrunning the inevitability of time. He’s not a bad pick here, but with two other pitchers, it’s hard to take him here.
The other pitchers, Mike Clevinger and Patrick Corbin, are both extremely solid options. Clevinger has the potential to be in the top five pitchers in fantasy next season. Yet, he struggled with injuries last season, and history repeated itself during spring training this year. I think he is already at a significant discount in Round 3, and if he was my second pitcher, I would take him. Although, we need our first pitcher to be somebody that I feel confident can go the whole season with ace-like production. Corbin is that guy. He has arguably the best slider in the game, and on top of that, he posted 200+ innings in the past two seasons, with 189.2 in 2017. He gets a decent amount of ground balls in place of fly balls and line drives, which mitigates the harder contact that he gives up. The strikeout potential with the slider is deadly, and add a likely 3.50 ERA on top of that. Yes, please! I should note that the 3.50 ERA is probably not giving him as much credit as he deserves.
Charlie Blackmon deserves to be taken here as well. I have absolutely no idea why Blackmon is consistently downgraded outside of the top 20 picks, despite posting first-round caliber numbers year after year. It seems like it’s the Jose Altuve situation, wherein fantasy players are overcorrecting draft value to account for steals no longer being part of their game even though the bats are still first- or second-round caliber. Yes, you won’t get steals anymore, but Blackmon is ridiculous with the bat that it doesn’t really matter in Round 3. Yes, he is worse on the road than at Coors, but a) who isn’t? and b) he is so good at Coors that again, it doesn’t really matter at this cost.
|37||Yordan Alvarez||HOU||OF, DH||37.4|
I think for most people, Yordan Alvarez is only available at DH to start the season. If not, then there is absolutely zero reason that he should be going in Round 4 and not Round 1. Look at his batted ball metrics from Baseball Savant, and he had a 1.067 OPS in 2019! AND, he has great plate discipline. There is nothing to dislike with Alvarez here except that he would be DH only in a lineup. That is hard to work around for an entire draft, even with somebody at as good of a bargain as Alvarez.
I won’t bog down the article with Baseball Savant’s batted ball graphs, but George Springer‘s isn’t that different from Alvarez’s. In fact, his 2019 didn’t look that different from Bregman. However, he didn’t really change all that much except for the fact that he barreled up more balls. Other than that, nothing really significant changed for him. That makes me a little uneasy for a player that didn’t have over an .826 OPS once in his career before 2019.
Ozzie Albies is a strange case, where he doesn’t really excel at anything in particular. His average is probably his best part of the line, and it’s only .295 for 2019. Again, .295 is not bad at all, but when it is the best part of your line, it’s hard to compete with the other two players already mentioned. He doesn’t steal a significant amount or hit a ton of dingers. What he does do is get a ton of doubles and triples. The power is created with his feet. I don’t really mind this in a points format, especially with how shallow second base is. However, it may not be enough in a categories-based format.
The only pitcher in the round’s slate, Blake Snell, has a decent amount of discount baked in for Round 4. The 4.29 ERA for 2019 seems concerning, but when you see the 3.32/3.31 FIP/xFIP, it’s hard to be too concerned. His strikeouts were still there, but his main issue was an increased line drive rate leading to a higher BABIP and more runners on base. That’s not really my main concern with Snell though. He struggled to stay on the field for a second straight year, and he only went 6 or more innings in 11 of 20 starts before his injury in 2019. That’s hard to swallow for a pitcher in Round 4.
I will take Ketel Marte, who is going one pick after Snell. I also took him in part two of this series. I like the positional flexibility with 2B, SS, and OF, and he has the hitting skills to be going way earlier than this. More importantly regarding the former point, it opens up more roster possibilities for us going forward.
|57||Manny Machado||SD||3B, SS||57|
|58||DJ LeMahieu||NYY||1B, 2B, 3B||57.2|
Do I want to talk about Manny Machado? Not really, but I will. His first season in San Diego was a pretty big disappointment. It’s about what you should expect though. Look at the table below, and the story is told.
D.J. LeMahieu had a late-age breakout season in New York. The short reason is that he made better contact. It led to him having batted-ball metrics all within the top 12% of the league, and expected stats that entirely back up his .893 OPS. He should continue to be a batting average machine, and playing in the Yankees’ lineup should only help matters further with counting stats. I would take him here if we didn’t desperately need to start building our pitching staff.
Anthony Rizzo is one of those boring players that is in the Albies class of not really standing out at anything in particular (except plate discipline in Rizzo’s case). Rizzo is also pretty consistent from year to year. If you look at his batted-ball data from year-to-year, it stays pretty consistent aside from a bump up in ground balls hit in 2019. You’re going to get around a .900 OPS player with 25 homers and not that many steals. That’s worth it here in Round 5, but again, we have other priorities. Also, I don’t see him exceeding this value (i.e. not a ton of upside).
One of the bigger prospect disappointments last year was Eloy Jimenez, which is surprising given his draft price here. He did finish the season in a particularly hot fashion, so that may be the cause. Regardless, there is a ton of swing-and-miss in Jimenez’s game. Even though his xBA says that he entirely earned his .267 average, I think it’s fair to assume, given the track record, that Jimenez’s line drive skills will recover at least somewhat given a second look at major league pitching. He hits far too many balls in the ground for a guy that hits as hard as he does, so the power is somewhat downplayed (a similar issue is present with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.). It’s strange to say for an up-and-coming prospect, but I think the 31-year-old LeMahieu is far more exciting at this cost.
That leaves the pitcher I will reach for two picks later, Yu Darvish. Starting out the year, Darvish struggled with walks greatly. He posted a 2.76 ERA after the All-Star break after posting a 5.01 before. What was the big change? He walked seven batters in the second half to 49 in the first half. The swing-and-miss is still abundantly there and was for the entirety of the 2019 season. It was the walks that caused him troubles. Now that that’s ironed out, I have solid confidence in taking him here.
|64||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||TOR||3B||64.4|
Ah, we finally get to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. I’m actually pretty surprised that he is going after Jimenez. Either way, Guerrero’s 2019 season was a disappointing relative to the fact that he had an unprecedented amount of prospect hype going for him. On average, he didn’t hit the ball particularly hard, despite his amazing Home Run Derby performance. He also struck out a lot more than he did in the minors. The biggest disappointment, however, was the lack of power. Sure, that stems from the overall lack of hard contact, but it also stems from the fact that he hits far too many grounders. Without this issue remedied, he won’t gain ground in power even if the hard contact does come around. It’s not out of the question that Guerrero could be a first rounder next year, but he also did not perform like a Round 6 player. You’re paying for improvements that he has yet to make and is not guaranteed to make in 2020. I wouldn’t bite here.
Speaking of disappointing 2019 seasons, Paul Goldschmidt seems to be on the downswing of his career. After being a fairly consistent hitter in the past, Goldschmidt didn’t hit all that great considering he was going in the second round last year. The steals are definitely gone, but that’s not necessarily a reason to downgrade a player significantly (e.g. Altuve and Blackmon). He still had a decent amount of pop off the bat, but that was about it. He sacrificed some line drives for some fly balls, which could cause the downtick in average. However, his launch angle was actually lower on average than in 2018, so it’s an interesting case. Under the hood, Goldschmidt doesn’t look that different than he did in 2018, but you also have to bank on the fact that he doesn’t lose ground in his age 32 season.
Matt Olson absolutely crushes the ball. Like 94th percentile in exit velocity crushing. Similar to other pure power hitters, Olson strikes out quite a bit. If that matters to you, it should be considered with him. Unlike other power hitters, Olson isn’t too bad in the batting average department. He posted a .267 average in 2019 with an xBA of .276 suggesting he did even better than the average suggests. His tendency to hit the ball on a line or in the air makes him the opposite case of Guerrero, and he hits the ball really hard. Olson is a great pick here, but I want to focus on pitching for this pick. You can get a player quite similar to Olson at first base next round.
I already took Darvish last round, but I will reach two picks beyond Guerrero and take Tyler Glasnow. I also took him in part two of this series, so refer to that for a lengthened analysis.
|84||Jorge Soler||KC||RF, DH||84.6|
This might be one of the best slates of players in any part of this series. Starting from the top, Nelson Cruz performed like a first rounder last year. Even at age 39, he still continues to absolutely crush the ball year after year with an almost identical exit velocity. I would expect the batting average to come down slightly from .311. While he did hit more line drives, it’s an outlier for his career. Look for him to regress to more of a .280 average. Aside from that, the only concern should be age. If Cruz makes it through a season without an IL stint, he’s easily returning top-30 production. I should note that he did have a wrist injury at the end of last season. It doesn’t seem like it was too major, and it won’t make me downgrade him any. However, it should be noted.
Marcus Semien broke out in 2019. What changed? He started making hard contact at a higher rate, and his plate discipline increased substantially. This likely led to him getting better pitches that he could barrel up. Other than that, he hit pretty similarly to his past self. He’s one of those guys that produces power with his feet. By that, I mean that he has some speed that allows him to get plenty of doubles and triples. I don’t think he will be quite as good as he was in 2019, but he should be in the same ballpark (#shamlesspun).
We’ll skip over Bell for a second and go to Jorge Soler. He finally made it through a full season, and look at what happened! 48 homers! It’s hard to compare Soler to his past self, since he hasn’t had a season with a sample size larger than 101 games in the majors. He did start demolishing the ball in 2019, but the plate discipline and hitting outcomes (line drives, fly balls, ground balls) all stayed about the same. I think for Soler it isn’t a question of skill but health. For a player that has injury issues year after year, you need to ask yourself if you want to take that chance. It likely comes down to how strong your hitting core is by this point.
While I would take everybody in this slate, I will pick Josh Bell. I also took him in the first part of this series. Go check that out for my mini deep dive on him.
|85||Brandon Woodruff||MIL||SP, RP||85.8|
|86||Jeff McNeil||NYM||2B, 3B, OF||86.4|
We’ll start with Brandon Woodruff. I’m unsure of how I feel about him. On one hand, his skill indicators suggest he could have been even better than his 3.62 ERA in 2019. He has great swing-and-miss potential that materialized last season, and most importantly, he limits hard contact. However, he just started really diversifying his arsenal last season, and it was only 121.2 innings. The sinker that he started featuring along with his slider among his secondary pitches to his dominant fastball performed well. I do worry though about his volatility if his fastball slips even a little, especially in Miller Park. He’s probably worth the gamble in Round 8, but I’m not willing to do it.
I don’t think I buy Jeff McNeil as much as others do, judging by his ADP here. His plate discipline is great, and he has a tendency to hit for a high average. There’s even some steals potential there. Other than that, I honestly think that his 23 homers in 2019 are likely more than he will have next season. He doesn’t hit the ball that hard at all, and his hitting tendencies weight significantly toward hitting for average that it will lead to compromised power. Honestly, he seems pretty similar to Bryan Reynolds who is going at an average ADP of 180.2.
I’m honestly not that big of a fan of Eddie Rosario here either. He sells out for power and tends to hit fly balls. That doesn’t really fit how hard he hits the ball, which is about an average exit velocity. He also does not walk at all, so if that matters to you, factor that in. His BABIP took a dip in 2019, but his line drive rate and tendency to hit fly balls didn’t really change relative to his past. However, I think that his hitting profile is a lot more suited to a sub-.300 BABIP, which is what it became in 2019. I would expect similar, if not a little worse, production next season, and that is not worth an eighth round pick.
I actually took Matt Chapman in the second part of this series. Go check that out for a deeper dive, but judging by the fact that I took him, I like him the most of these four players. However, I do not like him as much as Nick Castellanos seven picks later, especially considering the fact that we desperately need to begin building our outfield. I actually took him in all three parts of this series, so you can guess how much I like his upside. Check out the first part of the series for my look at him.
|107||Rhys Hoskins||PHI||1B, OF||110.8|
If we’re being completely honest, Andrew Benintendi had an incredibly similar 2019 season to his 2017 season. His career OPS, slugging percentage, and batting average just barely sit above his disappointing 2019 season that came off of a solid 2018. All of the peripheral numbers of his batted ball outcomes are very similar year-to-year, including 2018. Actually, his Hard Hit percentage was significantly lower at 28.0% than his career average of 33.2%, according to FanGraphs. I think we just need to accept that Benintendi is the high-.700s OPS guy that he has been for most of his career, and that is just not worth a Round 9 pick.
Rhys Hoskins is a similarly overvalued hitter in Round 9. He walks and strikes out a ton. There is a significant batting average liability with Hoskins, but he doesn’t have the outlandish power to counteract that like a Joey Gallo or Miguel Sano. In fact, Hoskins might be better suited not trying to elevate the majority of his contact. He has a really high 24.0 degree launch angle, which is a major reason that he has a low batting average. Until he stops trying to force everything over the fence without elite power and hard contact skills, he won’t be worth it here.
Among catchers, Wilson Contreras is a really solid option. His year-to-year stats remain fairly consistent at about a .275 average, 20-25 homers, and a .355 OBP. That will certainly do at the thin catcher position. In fact, he had a spike in hard contact last year that didn’t necessarily result in more power, since he hits plenty of grounders and not many line drives or fly balls. However, this could be an interesting building block in 2020. If I didn’t desperately need more starting pitching at this stage of the draft, I would take him.
Tim Anderson had a breakout 2019 season with the AL Batting Title to show for it. Expect that average to come down a bit from .335. He did it with a ridiculous .399 BABIP that wasn’t the result of hitting the ball harder or more on a line. The only change Anderson made was that he started hitting the ball to the entire field. I will credit this as an improvement, so I would expect his average to be around .290-.300. On top of that, he has likely 20/20 potential. He’s not a bad pick here by any means.
I will elect to reach two picks after this slate to fulfill my pitching needs with Frankie Montas. I also took him in part two of this series, so go check that out for my analysis of Montas.
|109||Eduardo Escobar||ARI||2B, 3B, SS||112.6|
|112||Carlos Santana||CLE||1B, DH||118|
You may ask why I didn’t just wait until this round to take Montas, but I actually would like to take another pitcher here by the name of Zac Gallen. He also was a part of my rotation in the second part, so again, please check that out.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into this slate. Barring homers, Eduardo Escobar was pretty much who he always is. That is, around a .260-.270 hitter with not much else except some solid doubles potential. I am highly skeptical of the power breakout. Under the hood, it doesn’t look like Escobar changed that much. He had a minimal jump in his hard contact rate, but both his Exit Velocity and Hard Hit % are pretty abysmal for a 35 dinger season. On top of that, he needed one plate appearance shy of 700 to get there. I would definitely not expect more than 25-27 homers next year (maximum), and without those, there’s really not much justification for Escobar here.
If Mitch Garver played consistently as the Twins’ starting catcher in 2019, he would have been possibly the best catcher last year. He had a breakout .995 OPS with 31 homers in only 359 plate appearances. He has great batted ball skills that result in loud contact. With the lineup around him, he is likely to have solid runs and RBI potential as well. Not to mention, both of the players that stole playing time from Garver in 2019 are no longer on the team. This is a great pick in Round 10.
Possibly an even better pick, Carlos Santana is entering his age 34 season, but he has had over 600 plate appearances in each season since 2011. The always reliable plate discipline is supported by great hard contact skills that result in solid power potential. Add a probable .260 average and a handful of steals on top of that, and we’re talking about a player who should be going many rounds earlier than Round 10. If you need to fill first base here or build up some hitting, he is a steal at this cost.
|129||Yuli Gurriel||HOU||1B, 3B||131.2|
|132||Franmil Reyes||CLE||OF, DH||133.2|
Let’s start with Yuli Gurriel. The plate discipline and average skills are without a doubt and consistently solid. He did start hitting the ball harder and more in the air in 2019, so the huge power boom is not completely out of nowhere. Would I count on another 31 homers from him? I wouldn’t. Especially at age 35, I don’t expect the breakout to stick 100%. Also, the breakout was almost entirely in the second half of the season. Before that, Gurriel was middling at best. He’s not a terrible pick here, but if you need a first baseman, take Santana a round earlier.
I’m going to assume that Oscar Mercado is a mid-round attempt to gobble up some steals. He’s sort of Victor Robles-lite; he doesn’t hit the ball that hard at all. Trade some of Robles’s speed potential for a slightly higher average here, and you have Mercado. I don’t like him at all even at this cost, and that’s probably predictable given that I think that Robles is extremely overvalued.
Franmil Reyes is a slugger. He makes absurdly hard contact. In fact, I wouldn’t put it past Reyes to hit even more than his 37 homers in 2019. He tended to hit the ball on the ground more than in the air, and yet, he still had almost 40 homers. Back that up with average batting average skills (#shamelesspun), and Reyes is a pretty solid pick here. The caveats are that Reyes is a fairly streaky hitter who will have elite stretches and stretches where he will be sitting on your bench. The other caveat is that, like other elite power hitters, his plate discipline is terrible.
On the other hand, Max Kepler has pretty solid plate discipline and a hard contact/hitting balls in the air tendency that led him to 36 homers in 2019 (one shy of Reyes’s total). Behind him is the dominant Twins lineup that will help his counting stats quite a bit. I would expect the homers to come down slightly, and the batting average is pretty middling. This is more of a lineup dependent pick. If you have a solid hitting and outfield core and want a high upside play, take Reyes. If you need somebody that will be a little bit more reliable to fill a consistent starting spot, take Kepler.
|133||Danny Santana||TEX||1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF||134|
Let’s look at the pros and cons of Danny Santana. A pro is that he is multi-eligible, so he is likely to find a way into your lineup and the Rangers’ lineup. He also hits the ball really hard and has the potential to steal 25 bases. Despite his poor track record in the batting average arena, I would even expect him to hit for a decent average with his tendency to hit line drives combined with his speed. What are the cons? The plate discipline is absolutely atrocious. On top of that, he has had about a half season of fantasy usability. If you look at his OPS from month-to-month in 2019, he is pretty inconsistent. He’s sort of in that Franmil Reyes category of hitters, where the upside is there. If your lineup needs him here, then there are worse picks. However, there could be multi-week stretches where he will sit on your bench.
Hector Neris is a pretty simple case for me. He has elite swing-and-miss stuff with the ability to limit hits and keep the ball in the yard. Everything you want out of a closer is here, and on top of that, he doesn’t have the playing time threat that was present with Gabe Kapler’s coaching philosophy.
Under the hood, Rasiel Iglesias‘ peripherals don’t look that different from Neris’. It’s pretty amazing that he still posted 34 saves with a 4.16 ERA, 12 losses, and not having the closers role for the entirety of 2019. I think Iglesias’s struggles were fairly exaggerated in 2019 and unlikely to happen to the same extent next season. Why? As I mentioned, he has the same skills that Neris does that are what you want out of a closer. I would be fine with taking either here.
That leaves Corey Seager. If we didn’t already have a shortstop, this choice would be very difficult. Seager battled his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2019 after a UCL strain in 2018 and a 2016 and 2017 that would have landed him in the single-digit rounds. He suffered a hamstring strain in the middle of the 2019 season. I hear you. The injury history is scary, but he is only 25! He has the Dodgers’ hitters backing him. This led to him having a career-high in RBI despite missing time with injuries. Let’s call April 2019 as the month that Seager was still readjusting to the league following surgery, and let’s remove July 2019 for him coming back from the hamstring injury. Look at how good Seager is when he’s healthy. You could be getting that in Round 12.
|153||Gavin Lux||LAD||2B, SS||156.8|
|154||Edwin Encarnacion||CWS||1B, DH||157|
Gavin Lux is a tough call here. The prospect hype was there, and the potential is high. However, I am significantly worried that you could be taking a platoon player in the thirteenth round. The Dodgers have a ton of pieces to plug in anywhere, and Lux is abysmal against lefties (a .417 OPS in 2019). That was in only 12 plate appearances, but that should go to show you how resistant the Dodgers were at the end of last year to start him consistently.
If I didn’t need a catcher desperately, I would take Edwin Encarnacion here. Yes, he is entering his age 37 season which is a cause for concern, but in Round 13, I’m taking that risk. He has the potential to give you solid power numbers with below-average (but not dismal) batting average and better plate discipline than other power hitters. There is less power upside than with Miguel Sano or Joey Gallo, but you don’t have as many of the downsides here either. It’s not the safest of plays, but it could pay off.
I will take Will Smith here, as I need a catcher. I hate to keep referring back to these, but I took him in the second part of this series. Check that out for my analysis of Smith.
Hansel Robles‘ killer fastball and changeup make him a pretty solid closer. The strikeout rate is sort of on the lower side for a closer, and he has had troubles with walks earlier in his career. He also had quite a bit of home run luck in 2019. There are concerns here, but he still deserves to be right behind the closers from the last round.
Along with his teammate, Lance Lynn, Mike Minor had a mid-career breakout. Behind the curtain, there isn’t much significantly different with Minor, and his FIP, xFIP, and SIERA all suggest that his 2019 was on the fluke-ier side. Expect Minor to regress from his 3.59 ERA last season.
On the other hand, I do find Matthew Boyd interesting. There is a lot of swing-and-miss(ing bats) in his profile. He got burned pretty significantly by the long ball in 2019, but it was almost to an absurd degree–especially considering he pitches in a pitcher-friendly park. He has a pretty diverse arsenal, even though not all of it is great. I’m not saying Boyd is a great pick here, but he is interesting at the very least. If he can keep the ball in the yard more, there is upside here.
Alex Colome doesn’t have the swing-and-miss stuff of other closers, and he is unreliable in the not-allowing-walks department. On top of that, he gives up too much hard contact for a closer. As I mentioned in the other parts of this series, I do not trust closers that give up a lot of hard contact. It only takes one ball to go over the fence to blow most save opportunities. The White Sox should provide at least a decent amount of those, though.
Before missing the entirety of the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery, Salvador Perez was high in the ranks of catchers. It’s hard to say how much he will bounce back next season, and the lineup around him is pretty weak. I think the batting average rebounds a little from 2018, wherein he batted .235. The power has always sat at around a 25 homer pace. I’m not a huge fan of Perez over somebody like Carson Kelly who you can get more than 45 picks later.
I’m going to opt to fill out my outfield by reaching later in the round for J.D. Davis. If you’ve read the other two parts of this series, I absolutely love drafting Davis. Alexander Roche wrote a Going Deep piece on him earlier this year, so go check that out!
I like most of the players in this slate. The one exception is Yasiel Puig. He doesn’t have a team yet. Even then, I’m not entirely confident he’s so much better than the other two outfield options in this round that you can risk that.
I typically like German Marquez more than the average person. His 4.76 ERA is not representative of where I think he will end next season. He doesn’t have a half-bad ground ball rate, which is important in Coors Field. Really that is the only issue with Marquez. He misses bats, doesn’t have a huge walk issue… but he plays in Coors. In 2019, he had a 6.26 ERA at home and a 3.67 ERA on the road. However, his FIP was still only 4.00 at home. In fact, it was actually lower than his 4.10 road FIP! I think that the problems Marquez has at home and had at home in 2019 have been largely overblown by the fantasy community.
Bryan Reynolds was just shy of snagging the NL batting title in his rookie season! He had a .314 average that dipped in September. Before that, he had a .332 batting average. If you look at his minor league track record, that is basically who he is. The power was a little light in 2018, but he actually doesn’t make that poor of contact. He simply hits more balls on the ground or on a line than in the air, hence his high batting average. I don’t think it’s out of the question that he could reach 20 homers next season, hit over .300, and give you a handful of steals. It’s not guaranteed, but that is some crazy upside in Round 15.
Willie Calhoun is similarly undervalued this late. In a little over a half season’s worth of work, he had 21 homers and a .269 average. Top that off with an .847 OPS, and it begs the question…what is Calhoun doing here in Round 15? If I’m nitpicking, the power seems a little too good to be true. I’d say he would more than likely max out at 30 homers next season. Yet, the plate discipline is very good, the Rangers’ new park is pretty hitter friendly, and the batting average from 2019 seems entirely realistic. I think both him and Reynolds are great picks here (Marquez too). It really just comes down to what you need, and we need a utility hitter.
|182||Scott Kingery||PHI||2B, 3B, SS, OF||182.6|
|183||Lance McCullers Jr.||HOU||SP||182.8|
Lorenzo Cain had a severely disappointing 2019. There is room for optimism, though. His xBA is a whopping 30 points higher than his .260 average, and his slugging percentage was 50 points lower than his xSLG. The plate discipline is still pretty good and he didn’t really hit the ball any different. His main issue was that he could really only hit fastballs in 2019, whereas he hit every kind of pitch well in 2018. I also haven’t mentioned the fact that he still provided 18 steals which is pretty low for him! There’s significant bounceback potential here, and while I don’t like him as much as Reynolds or Calhoun in the last round, he is very close.
I haven’t really thought much about Scott Kingery in the time I’ve been playing fantasy baseball. Is that for better or worse? He does provide a decent amount of steals, but like in the cases of Adalberto Mondesi or Victor Robles, is there anything else there? The answer is no. His expected stats show that he significantly overachieved his .788 OPS. He doesn’t hit the ball incredibly hard, and he tends to hit more fly balls than grounders. That’s going to lead to a lot of fly outs and a low batting average. I think Kingery probably sits at around a .700 OPS and gives you 15 homers and 15 steals. That’s not useless, but it’s not something I’m really interested in either.
I am pretty interested in taking pitchers in the late rounds just to see if I can catch a breakout pitcher to backup my rotation. Let’s look at our options here. Jake Odorizzi is not a bad pitcher this late by any means. I do worry that he is almost entirely fastball dependent, so if that pitch isn’t working for him in any given start, things can go wrong fast. I really do not know how he has managed to limit home runs throughout his career. He is a fly ball pitcher that doesn’t give up weak contact. Aside from the swing-and-miss potential that he has, there are a ton of red flags. This could go very wrong.
I would like to take Lance McCullers Jr. here. He’s only 26, and he was pitching like a borderline ace in 2018 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing all of 2019. There will be an innings limit here, but while he is allowed to start, he could realistically have a mid-to-high threes ERA with more than a strikeout per inning and solid win potential pitching for the Astros. His extreme ground ball tendencies allow him to limit home runs, which is huge in this environment. There is massive upside here.
As with the other two parts of this series, I will only be discussing the player I am taking once we enter the reserve rounds. At this point, it’s more about who you like than who is going in a particular range. If you look at the other parts of this series, you can clearly see who I like taking.
For example, I will take Keone Kela (ADP 206.2) in Round 17 to fill out my relief pitchers. I also took him in part two of this series. My brief explanation repeated here is that Kela is much better than he gets credit for, and the Pirates are typically dedicated to keeping a closer in the role.
In Round 18, I will take Mark Canha (ADP 215.8). My outfield was not quite as strong as I would have liked it to be in this part of the series. Canha had a .913 OPS last season, and while I do not expect him to repeat that next season, I think he will still perform well. He has great plate discipline, quite a bit of power potential, and a little bit of steals potential. This seems like a no brainer, all-around decent player for Round 18.
Because you can never get too much pitching help, I will be taking Josh James (ADP of 239) and Mitch Keller (ADP of 259) in Rounds 19 and 20, respectively. Both are high upside plays that could very well be top 30 pitchers by the end of season. In Keller’s case, he may have been the most unlucky pitcher last season. James, on the other hand, is a proven solid pitcher that really just needs a rotation spot for the Astros. Verlander’s injuries that began during Spring Training could open that door. I took Keller in all three parts of this series and James in the second part of this series. There is a lengthier explanation in those respective articles.
My last round pick will be Dansby Swanson (ADP of 270.2). I took him in the second part of this series as well. Instead of directing you to that article, I will direct you to Alexander Roche’s article on Swanson here on Pitcher List.
|OF||Max Kepler/Franmil Reyes||MIN/CLE||11|
|U||Willie Calhoun/Bryan Reynolds||TEX/PIT||15|
|RP||Hector Neris/Rasiel Iglesias||PHI/CIN||12|
|Bench||Lance McCullers Jr.||HOU||16|
Last but not least, this is my team for draft order #9-12. Like the second part of this series, there were too many hitter bargains early that I simply could not pass up that led me to have a slightly less strong pitching staff than I would like. However, the team is still all-around pretty solid. I have a few lottery ticket pitchers late that may save me in the event that one of my riskier rotation pieces falls through (e.g. Tyler Glasnow).
Below is a comparison of my teams’ starting lineups from each part of this series based on their ATC projections. In cases where I have multiple players listed as possible choices for a position in a certain round, I chose to use my preference which is consistently the first player listed. For example, I would use my preference of Gerrit Cole for the projections if the line read “Gerrit Cole/Jacob deGrom”.