DRAFT RECAP: Completed my first NFBC Rotowire OC last night and drafted with a NFBC Hall of Famer...
With the absence, for the most part, of sports, my excitement level for my first NFBC draft of the year was higher than normal. I set my KDS, and soon found out I picked sixth. Not bad. I preferred 3, 4, 5, 1, and 2 before 6, but being in the middle is where I prefer this year because it gives you protection against the crazy SP and RP runs.
As usual, once the draft order is set I scan the names of the league members to see if I notice anyone. Didn't take long. Picking No. 1 was Lindy Hinkelman. Yes, the back-to-back Main Event overall winner in 2010 and 2011, last year's overall Draft Champions winner, the subject of a 2011 New York Times feature and one of the select few NFBC Hall of Famers. That Hinkelman. Shout out to the Rotowire guys for having him on a podcast in April. I listened, and true to his word, Lindy drafted a few of the guys he mentioned liking, including Max Muncy after I passed him knowing Lindy would take him and burn me.
I suppose if I win this league I can say I beat the GOAT. Immediately, my excitement level turned from giddy to prepping for battle.
How'd it go? I think it went pretty well. Of course how many people leave a draft thinking it sucked? With the help of Razzball.com's War Room tool, I know I'm probably a little thin at HR, RBI and pitcher wins. That's okay. Power is easiest thing to find and if I maximize my lineup I'm not worried about RBI. What I always want is a great batting average base, and I did that. Let's take a look:
Heading into the draft, I debated over Lindor and Turner thinking Bellinger and Betts wouldn't be available. Was thrilled to see Turner go off the board a pick ahead and quickly pulled the trigger on Betts.
After selecting Betts, I prayed for Tatis Jr. to make it back at pick 19. Yeah, that didn't happen. I strongly considered a SP and preferred Buehler or Clevinger. Both went right ahead of me. So, I bet on my research and ADP to project rounds three and four hoping I could get a 3B I'm higher on than the rest and a 2B I really like. I settled on Bregman, a safe pick with two-position eligibility who was actually going 8th overall in Feb/March drafts.
My bet proved accurate. I agonized over Devers/Rendon in the third round and used the Rendon injury as a tiebreaker to go with Devers. Also strongly considered Ozzie Albies. At this point, I knew my SP would have to be young and upside oriented because of how many SPs flew off the board. That doesn't bother me because I'm probably most confident in my ability to find and manage SPs.
Was ecstatic when Ketel Marte, the exact guy I wanted, was waiting for me in the fourth round. Another two-position eligible player, I think people are shying away after the breakout season because that's what many in the industry say - don't pay up to buy a guy's previous year breakout. He finished 18th last year. I used pick 43 on him. So, I'm not paying up for the breakout, and if he's similar to last season, I gain real value here. Plus, 2B can be a wasteland in the middle rounds.
In normal years, I wouldn't spend early on a closer. But if you want to compete for an overall prize, I don't think you can afford not to. There really wasn't anyone I loved on the board in the fifth round after Hinkelman snatched Bichette, who I love. Yordan has COVID; Judge and Stanton are injury risks; didn't want to reach for Olson this early and liked the SP that would make it back to me. So, I went with the best closer.
Yes, I went five full rounds without taking a starting pitcher. You won't see many drafts like that. Could it burn me? Sure, but I trust my research and like the upside of my staff. Glasnow was very good in his return to Rays camp; Montas is Oakland's Opening Day starter and his stuff and velocity were identical post-PED suspension. Both these guys weren't just good last year. They were dominant. But they didn't throw full seasons, which I think is baked into the ADP.
Really wanted LeMahieu in the eighth round, but my batting average base was so strong early that I felt I need to add a little more speed. Would have definitely snagged Luis Robert if available because my batting average could have afforded it.
Notice Hinkelman has locked up all the speed he needs and then some with Bichette, Yelich and Starling Marte. That's how it's done, folks.
In the midst of a closer run, I knew I needed another one and selected Brad Hand. Getting him 102nd overall would have set the high mark in NFBC Main Event drafts, so thrilled with the value.
A great way to be very successful in fantasy baseball is to nail post-hype sleepers. Basically, guys who went way earlier in drafts the previous year, particularly younger players, who didn't return the value. The talent didn't change. Benintendi is a guy I'll take on every team if it fits. He's hitting leadoff in a good lineup, and offers contributions in all five categories.
With a good offensive base, had to dip back into pitching again. I considered Soroka, Ray and Gallen. I settled on Soroka because I viewed him as the safest option of the three and though for sure Ray would make it back to me. Plus, I think he has higher strikeout upside than people think because of how good his slider is. When Ray went off the board, I was irate. Then, my anger turned into jubilation when Gallen inexplicably made it back.
This is the point in the draft when I realized I was probably screwed at first base, but I liked enough cheap guys I felt I could wait another round. That proved costly when Carlos Santana didn't make it back, but Edman's versatility and speed will come in handy. Kepler, like all Twins, is an underrated bat. If he can provide the slugging he did last season, it'll greatly help me.
Team 11 isn't afraid to pay up on last year's price in the name of speed and upside, like Robert, Soler and Danny Santana. Boom or bust, especially if Tatis Jr. doesn't return the No. 11 overall value and doesn't provide a high batting average.
By the way, you'll notice Lindy picked seven-straight pitchers, including a few guys I really like as breakout candidates like Musgrove and Boyd. You'll also notice team 10 drafted four-straight closers and if two of them keep the job all year I'll be impressed. I want nothing to do with Kimbrel. People forget his command has never been great, his control fell apart late in his time at Boston, and he was terrible last year in Chicago. In a short look during July, he got blasted with lower fastball velo.
My power and first base situation began to look like a bed following a weird fight with Amber Heard. I reached a little for Cron, but he's always been high on my list. He's going to hit cleanup all the time and hit for power. I can deal with the batting average. This is the point in the draft when ADP matters less and if you feel good about your roster construction and balance, you can start to take some of your guys.
Mitch Keller and Brandon Lowe are definitely a couple of "my guys." Is Lowe a platoon risk? Yeah, his numbers against lefties sucked last season, but he's currently projected to be an everyday player. I love the batted ball profile. As for Keller, he looked sharp recently and was literally the unluckiest pitcher in history last season. The poor guy didn't even know what analytics truly were. He does now. Thank God. The Pirates new leadership should help.
Sign me up for David Peralta at this price every time. Against righties, he'll hit cleanup. He's a career .290 hitter with a 30-homer season in 2018. As for Stroman, I wanted a safe pitcher. We know who Stroman is.
Look at some of the closers going off the board while others are drafting SPs and everyday players. Kela hasn't been in camp and is a mess; Britton is a reach while Chapman is out; is Gallegos the closer?; the Houston situation is impossible to project and I'm not sure how Pressly, who has been dealing with his own issues, fits. Again, buy legit closers early.
Hell yeah I reached for big Nate Pearson. If the Blue Jays skip more than one start, we riot. All signs point to him coming up as soon as the service clock time ends. If he's who I think he'll be, he'll be a top 60 overall pick next year.
I'm betting many of the guys taken by Hinkelman in these spots had interesting 1H/2H splits.
My deep dives on pitchers resulted in a lot of love for Sandy Alcantara and Aaron Civale. Alcantara's spin rate increased significantly to end last season, and his numbers greatly improved. That's not a coincidence. Civale was terrific in a small sample, and has two strikeout weapons with good command and control. Another Bieber in the making?
I can't quit Yandy Diaz.
Some are projecting Grisham to hit No. 2 in the Padres lineup. Sign me up. Why Hernandez was here I have no clue because it would have set a new max pick in Main Event drafts. People forget when he was allowed to run he was nearly a 20-steal guy. Now, he's batting leadoff for a good lineup with a team that should run.
Kiner-Falefa is a reach, but reports out of Rangers camp have been glowing and he is likely to start at third base. Getting everyday at-bats at catcher is huge.
Interesting to see Hinkelman spend his final picks on speculative closers, and Hicks and Lamb with eyes on the start to the season.
The Alberto pick was dumb... I don't know why I did it besides him being an everyday player with two-position eligibility. I made up for it with Kyle Lewis, who is fully healthy, finally, and is going to hit 10+ homers this year. Hopefully, he'll hit over .240 in the process.