Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Draft Weekend Reax

A Visit to the Mound

Baseball fans over-analyzing an over-analyzed game

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Son, I'm cutting you loose from my 16 team H2H Categories league
A Visit to the Mound is regularly updated series of email touching on a wide range of baseball subjects. Its like a podcast only in words and can be consumed in short bursts.

Uncle Bones

Well Josh,

Our draft season came and went. Weeks & weeks of preparation crammed in to 72 hours of hand wringing and binge drinking.

Now that you've had a few days to digest both drafts & get in some early jabs at the waiver wire its time to really make heads or tails of this situation.

Tell me in both leagues your favorite, "I'm the smartest guy in the room" picks & your "oh crap, this could go bad quick" picks.

Please be prepared to explain your answers.


Ah yes.  Much like Christmas, fantasy baseball draft season brings much hype, needless preparation and overall undue anxiety.  And also much like Christmas, it ends in a flash and you leave saying "welp, I don't need to see that person for another 365 days."  

To get to the Monday morning draft quarterbacking (insert Peter King coffee reference here), let's start with the 12 team H2H auction points league.  The most obvious "oh crap" pick comes from the events surrounding what shall now be referred to as the "Edwin Encarnacion incident."  Double E is a fine player, but through spontaneously coordinated coercion and collective ruthlessness, one of our league members was bid up to $41 for a guy who could have been kept at 30, or won by reasonable people for roughly $29-33. Said member is a Blue Jays fan, so once he entered the bidding for Edwin, the rest of the league started working with with the chemistry of a grizzled group of bank robbers, donning the Reagan masks for one last score. Once the vault was blown and the dust settled, our poor friend spent $3 less than the price paid for Paul Goldschmidt on Edwin.  Cut to the rest of the league walking away in slow mo, putting on sunglasses, slinging their tuxedo jackets over their shoulders and smoking cigars to the sounds of Thin Lizzy.

The cheer to Edwin's jeer comes at the price of tooting my own horn, but I really liked getting Anthony Descalfini for $1 late in the draft.  This bid came during the phase of the draft when at least 3 members passed out with beers in hand, or were called away to watch Dinosaur Train with their future assistant managers. Descalfini has already been declared a member of the Reds rotation, and both his xFIP and the fact that opponents batted .306 on ground balls against him points to some bad luck that is due for a regression back to the mean.  The Reds plucked him from Miami, the same team that sent Jacob Turner to the Cubs and Andrew Heaney packing as well. The Marlins are the used furniture store in your neighborhood that always throws a "going out of business" sale, but somehow has been in business for a decade and can afford expensive commercial time slots.  

On to the 12 team H2H snake draft. Most people say once you do an auction draft, you'll never want to go back to snake. I am now one of those guys, and doing snake second in the rotation felt like ordering a beer flight that went from Heady Topper to half of a Keystone left in the cup holder in a Dodge Ram at a Foreigner concert. Yet, we still carried on.  The head scratcher pick of this draft was naturally the selection of Jake Arrieta over Giancarlo Stanton AND Miguel Cabrera.  Sure, we're in a keeper league and pitching was scarce.  Arrieta was the best pitcher there, but to let Miggy and Stanton pass by you makes me think Phineas Gage may have had a better plan here.  As for the STRONG PICK of the draft, call this a hot take if you must, but I'm going with Jayson Werth.  He went in round 7, which is round 12 if you count the 5 keepers.  Werth is likely going to be ready for opening day, and there's no reason to think he can't still produce in that line up. He may look like he sells baja jackets outside of burning man, but the guy can still hit. 

Also of note, I am high on Mark Trumbo this year. I compared his 2013 stats to Yasiel Puig's 2014 stats using CBS' standard scoring format, and the basic production was very similar. Obviously they are different players and got there different ways, but in H2H points are all that matters.  Trumbo came at $14 while Puig is priced at $28, and Trumbo offers 1B/CI eligibility. Puig is younger sure, but give me Trumbo and let me put that $14 toward filling out the rest of my roster.  Do you KNOW how many Kyle Gibsons that buys?  14 Kyle Gibsons, to be exact.   Remind me of this paragraph in August when Trumbo is on the bench and Puig is bat flipping his way into the hearts of Americans everywhere

Uncle Bones

I giggled pretty hard imagining 14 Kyle Gibsons. Like you could do damn near anything with that many of them. I think I would rent them out in the spring to do landscaping. Do you know how much brush 14 Kyle Gibsons could clear in 8 hours? Its a lot.

That being said, in the 2015 auction league your Kyle Gibson pick may go down as one of the best over all values. For example, I was left in a situation where paying $10 for Carlos Rodon somehow made sense. I don't regret it, but I'd much rather have 10 Kyle Gibsons running around that one Carlos Rodon. He'd barely clear any brush at all.

Beyond that there was not a lot of "value" to be found in a traditional sense. With keepers the way they were, you could not expect to pay any kind of reasonable amount for anybody since most of the "value" in the league was already kept. And while I do expect that the Edwin Encarnacion debacle will probably go into the Pantheon of Fantasy Foibles, I'm gonna lay an under the radar angle on you here:

The owner who kept Clayton Kershaw at $40 of his $110 really put himself in a pickle. He had over half of his keeper budget invested in 2 players (Altuve @ $19), and while those both seem like good values compared to what he would have paid for them in the 2015 auction, it left him with way to many holes to fill & no money to do it. His outfield of Ozuna, Rios, and Arcia is a train wreck for a 12 team 3 OF league and he's starting Buster Posey at first base!!! Posey is a fine player, but you don't spend $24 on the best catcher in the game only to put him at 1st. Its gonna be a long season and he knows it.

The live auction draft was really thrown off kilter by the announcement that this would be the final year of that scoring format. Not that any owners in the league draft with much of an eye on the future, but the general sense in the room was "eff it, I'm taking who I want". I know that's how I wound up with Mookie Betts at second base in the like 5th (10th round w/ keepers). I know it was a reach at that point in the draft and I don't care. That's how Jake Arrieta went off the board with the 2nd or 3rd pick and how Miguel Cabrera fell to me with the 4th pick.

In a way, winding up with Miggy is a nice piece of symmetry as I started the league with him on my team. Its like everything came full circle. Unfortunately, this off-season I have told every one who will listen that I think the Tigers are just about done. So what did I do? Kept Victor Martinez and drafted Miguel Cabrera as soon as I had the chance. On the one hand, if I'm wrong about the Tigers? Ballin'. But if I'm right about the Tigers, well some small consolation that's going to be.

The pick I like the most from that draft was Xander Bogaerts in the 13th (18th) round. I remember thinking 'Damnit, I would much rather have Bogaerts than Elvis Andrus'. And I took Andrus sooooo many rounds earlier. But at that point I had drank so much coffee that I thought I could stop time and go back and do it over. Turns out not so much.

One final note on the auction draft: right now its a league of haves and have-nots. Some owners managed the keepers system well, and others were totally unprepared. I think it will make for an awfully interesting season and a very active trade market.

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