Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Fantasy Baseball 2016: My Team

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Arenado was my #1 fantasy pick this year. Photo via legitsports.com

Arenado was my #1 fantasy pick this year. Photo via legitsports.com

Last year’s version of this post.

Standard disclaimer; I do this post every year.  If you don’t play fantasy, you probably won’t care about the 3,000 words contained herein.  You won’t  hurt my feelings by not reading.  I’ll include a  jump so it doesn’t blow out your mobile reader

Because of the sheer number of players discussed, i’ll eschew my normal bolding of all names except those picked for my team so this post is more readable.

I came in 2nd place last year, losing in the final on the last day of the season on a weird set of circumstances with pitchers.  I had Kershaw going and he got pulled in the 4th to save him for the playoffs, costing me a Win.  Meanwhile the guy I was going against got a “free win” when Toronto gave Mark Buehrle a start with one day’s rest to try to get him to 200 innings and he got shelled.  A tough pill to swallow, and it came up repeatedly last night during the “sh*t talking” that generally goes on during a fantasy draft.

For this year, our league has gone through some changes.  We went from 12 teams to 10 so the teams will be deeper.  We increased the fees to hopefully keep people interested longer.  And we changed the categories to go back to a very classic 5×5 league (R,HR,RBI,SB and OBP for offensive categories, K,SV,ERA,WHIP and QS for pitching).  Last year we were 6×6 but we just had constant complaints about using Wins and Losses as pitching categories.  I don’t think any of us knows how the conversion to QS will affect things.  So we’ll see how this goes.

My strategy for this year:

  • focus on hitting; don’t load up on OF early.
  • wait on pitching.  With the conversion to QS, I felt like there was a ton of value later on with starters instead of burning early spots.
  • I wanted four closers (and got them … though the last one is really iffy).
  • I only wanted the minimum hitters, figuring I could start churning and burning based on the lower-end starters that weren’t working out.
  • I wanted a good mix of solid dependable players with a couple of high-end rookies (advice I liked after hearing it on a podcast)
  • Lastly I didn’t want to spend early on either C or 1B; catcher since there’s just so much turnover, 1B since there’s so much value later in the draft.

I drafted 9th out of 10 spots.  Here is my team (the two numbers are Round and # overall).

  1. 9    Nolan Arenado, Col 3B
  2. 12    Jose Altuve, Hou 2B
  3. 29    George Springer, Hou OF
  4. 32    J.D. Martinez, Det OF
  5. 49    Miguel Sano, Min DH
  6. 52    Carlos Carrasco, Cle SP
  7. 69    Corey Seager, LAD SS
  8. 72    Jeurys Familia, NYM RP
  9. 89    Cody Allen, Cle RP
  10. 92    Danny Salazar, Cle SP
  11. 109    David Peralta, Ari OF
  12. 112    Carlos Martinez, StL SP
  13. 129    Adam Eaton, CWS OF
  14. 132    Salvador Perez, KC C
  15. 149    Jeff Samardzija, SF SP
  16. 152    Justin Verlander, Det SP
  17. 169    Fernando Rodney, SD RP
  18. 172    Lucas Duda, NYM 1B
  19. 189    Lance McCullers, Hou SP
  20. 192    Yordano Ventura, KC SP
  21. 209    J.J. Hoover, Cin RP

Round by Round picks and analysis.

I’ll reference Average Draft Position (ADP) as listed at fantasypros.com and will reference  Yahoo 2016 and 2015 ranks throughout.  O-rank means Yahoo’s 2016 rank, BPA = Best Player available.

Round 1 (9th overall pick, O-rank of #8, 2015 rank of #8, ADP of #8); Nolan Arenado, Col 3B.  I would have loved Correa but he went 5th.  Donaldson went right before me … so I really had no choice.  I am scared of Stanton’s constant injury issues (he went right after me) and even though I like Kris Bryant, I trust Arenado slightly more.  So really there wasn’t a ton of analysis needed here.  Hitter’s park, a ton of power.  Only issue is the “transitional” nature of Colorado, but there’s enough firepower in that lineup to ensure Arenado gets pitches to hit.

Round 2 (12th overall, O-rank of 14, 2015 rank 19, ADP of #12): Jose Altuve, Hou 2B.  So, the BPA was Machado, but I already had a 3B.  That was tough, so I reached slightly for Altuve.  That being said, Altuve was definitely one of the players I targeted ahead of the draft because of his high OBP and steals, and he may end up doing much better for me in this new format.  Lots of steals, plays a tough position for me to fill historically.   Through 2 rounds I now have two positions filled (2B and 3B) that I struggled with ALL last year.  I’m happy so far.

Round 3 (29th overall, O-Rank of 27, 2015 ranked #202 (he only played half a season), ADP of #27):  George Springer, Hou OF.  I’m right on target in terms of Yahoo and ADP rank here for Springer, who in half a season last year had fantastic fantasy numbers: high OBP, 16/16 Homers/SBs.  He could be a 25/25 guy.  I like Springer and like Altuve he plays in a hitter’s park.  Right in the same area possible candidates over Springer were Chris Davis (1B and injury issue), Todd Frazier (again, already have a 3B), and Charlie Blackmon (who just doesn’t have the numbers i’m looking for).  Springer a no-brainer for me.

Round 4 (32 overall,  O-rank of 32, 2015 rank of 27, ADP of 31): J.D. Martinez, Det OF.  38 homers last  year, good OBP.  I’m still right on line with ranks and ADPs, not really reaching.  Others considered here were still Davis and Blackmon on the board, plus a couple of starters in the likes of Gerrit Cole and Matt Harvey.  Slightly too early for them … but the two guys who went off the board ahead of Martinez were deGrom and Fernandez … so I missed out on a big-time Ace.  This is one of the problems with being at the end; by not picking a starter i’m committing to basically not getting one of the top 10 pitchers b/c there’s going to be nearly two full rounds of players taken before I pick again.

Round 5 (49 overall, O-rank of 52, 2015 rank of 366 (only played half a season), ADP of 58: Miguel Sano, Min DH/3B eligible: So, here’s the first lottery ticket.  18 homers in 279 ABs last year with a .385 OBP; that works.  Sano is a beast and he’s 3B eligible.  He’s my Utility hitter.  This was a slight reach by both O-Rank and ADP … i was looking at starting a pitcher run here; both Chris Archer and amazingly Felix Hernandez are on the board at this point.  I really like Archer, Felix not so much.

Round 6 (52 overall, O-rank of 57, 2015 rank of 55, ADP of 54):  Carlos Carrasco, Cle SP.  So Archer goes off the board just ahead of this pick (dammit; 2nd time i’ve  just missed out on a significant starter I wanted).  I’m not in love with Carrasco, he’s in the AL, but he gets a gazillion Ks.  He fits the mold of a younger guy who may be turning the corner.   The only other name at this point is Felix, who I’m just not trusting this year for some reason.  I  basically went BPA in terms of SP at this point, knowing there was a huge gap and I had no starters yet.  Still no closers off the table  yet at the beginning of round 6 (you can thank Chapman for that; he’d have gone by now).

Round 7: (69 overall, O-rank of 88, 2015 rank of 1005 (he only had 98 abs), ADP of 64): Corey Seager, LAD SS.  I like this pick.  Looking at the board throughout the end of 6 and beginning of 7, I targeted him and wanted him.  I have historically struggled filling SS and really wanted Seager, who i think is going to be a monster.  He’s a reach in terms of Yahoo rankings, but a half a round steal by ADP.  So i’m ecstatic.

Round 8 (72 overall, O-rank of 85, 2015 rank of 51, ADP of 85): Jeurys Familia, NYM RP.  BPA for closers; i had missed several already and Familia is 4th best closer in my book.  A reach inarguably, but one that I had to make here because two more rounds without a closer would mean I had no top-end closers.

Round 9 (89 overall, O-rank of 113, 2015 rank of 114, ADP of 103): Cody Allen, Cle RP.  Again, BPA for closers.  Allen was the 12th closer off the books in this draft and he at this point was the last of the “lock solid” closers on my notes.  I’ll take Familia and Allen as my 1-2 punch of closers; both on winning teams, both with success last  year.

Round 10 (92 overall, O-rank of 83, 2015 rank of 73, ADP of 79): Danny Salazar, Cle SP.  Another BPA for starters and I think I got a steal.  He should have gone at least a round an a half earlier; he was 73rd ranked in 2015 and (like his rotation mate Carrasco) should only get better.  I now have two starters and a closer from Cleveland, which goes against my typical NL-only pitcher stance … but I also have two of the starters from a rotation that some pundits think is as good or better than New York’s.  So I’m happy here.  I needed a starter here.


 

So through 10 rounds, I had 2B,SS,two 3B, two OF, two SP and two RP.  No 1B or C (per my strategy), so from here out I can just focus on picking off OF and SPs who are BPA, find value in C and 1B, and then pick a couple of RPs off the back-end of the closer ranks.  I’m in good shape.  I like my team; i wish I had a couple more front-line starters, having just missed as noted above on the likes of Archer, deGrom and Fernandez.


 

Round 11 (109 overall, O-rank of 116, 2015 rank of 87, ADP of  117): David Peralta, Ari OF.  I’ll admit, I don’t love this pick.  I did like that he was higher ranked last year and seems like a good bet to do 20homers/10sb with good OBP.  Plays in a hitter’s park for a team trying to win, so that will count for something.  I was looking for BPA for OF and he was it.

Round 12: (112, O-rank of 117, 2015 rank of 101, ADP of 92): Carlos Martinez, StL SP.  BPA for SP.  I like Martinez though, and I think this is a good value pick.  I’m getting a guy with an ADP of 92 at 112, so two rounds of value.  He’s got great numbers for StL and should continue.

Round 13: (129, O-Rank of 87, 2015 rank of 57, ADP of 108): Adam Eaton, CWS OF.  Kind of a “meh” pick until you look at his 2015 season.  57th ranked player; that’s 6th round production.  14 homers, 18Sbs last year.  He’s not a sexy pick but he works.  I was looking at Hanley Ramirez at this pick too … but something just tells me Hanley may be done.

Round 14 (132, O-rank of 129, 2015 rank of 258, ADP of 115): Salvador Perez, KC C.  At this point in the draft, there just was nothing there that really stood out for me.  There were a number of higher ranked players with warts or guys I wasn’t willing to take.  So I grabbed Perez; this was a good value pick by ADP but right on in terms of Yahoo O-rank.  I’m concerned by his crummy OBP from last year but he did get 20 homers.  Its the catcher; what are you gonna do.  There’s like 4 good catchers these days.


From here out, we’re doing “pairs” of picks to focus on need.  Its round 15 and I only have 3 starters.  So I’m banging out two starters here.

Round 15: (149, O-rank of 148, 2015 rank of 710, ADP of 132): Jeff Samardzija, SF SP.  So, here’s my big sleeper pick of the season.  I think Samardzija is going to rebound big-time in SF, pitching in those big NL West parks and pacific climate.  Scouting reports noted he was probably badly tipping pitches last year and goes to a team with a fantastic pitching coach and staff.  I think he’s back to being a stud and am happy to have him here.  15th round for Samardzija; just a couple years ago he was going in the 6th or 7th.

Round 16: (152, O-rank of 122, 2015 rank of 182, ADP of 116): Justin Verlander, Det SP.  This pick was panned in the room.  Look at his ADP; I got him nearly 40 picks/4 full rounds after he should have gone.  Yes he struggled in the first half of last year; in the 2nd half of 2015 he was good: 12 of his last 14 starts were QS last  year and he still finished with a 3.38 ERA.  He’s still an Ace on a Detroit team that is going to compete.  My take on him is this: he’s making the adjustments needed as he ages and loses velocity.  This could be a steal of a pick; he was a 3rd round pick just recently.

Round 17:(169, O-rank of 253, 2015 rank of 314, ADP of 276): Fernando Rodney, SD RP.  Honestly, I’m not sure if he’s the closer in SD.  At this point there were really just two “presumed” closers on the board and one of my competitors unhelpfully gave one of them to a guy picking just ahead of me.  From all the sites I could find, Rodney is the closer.  We’ll see if he stays there.  With a bottom-5 ranked closer taken in the 17th round, there’s no real point in looking at ADP versus where I got him honestly.

Round 18 (172, o-rank of 152, 2015 rank of 183,  ADP of 155): Lucas Duda, NYM 1B.  And this is why I wanted to wait on a 1B.  By round 18, nobody’s looking at 1B.  I had Duda last  year and while he’s streaky, when he’s hot he’s capable of being the best fantasy player in the game for a week or two stretch.  I’m happy here and may go dumpster diving for backup 1B to spell Duda during his cold stretches.  Or perhaps wait until Sano gets 1B eligible and play matchups in my DH/Utility position.

Round 19: (189, o-rank of 163, 2015 rank of 181, ADP of 167): Lance McCullers, Hou SP.  Nice value here, getting the #3 starter of a WS favorite team in the 19th round for value in terms of his draft position versus ranks/ADP.  I noticed after taking him that he’s got some shoulder issues, so we’ll put him on the D/L quick and pick up another player.  He may be hurt, maybe not; shoulder issues are tough.  But I had him down the stretch last year off waiver wires and he was solid.

Round 20 (192, o-rank 193, 2015 rank 223, ADP of 166); Yordano Ventura, KC SP.  How is this guy still available in the 20th round?  We’re talking either the #1 or the #2 of the defending WS champs.  Great value by ADP.

Round 21 (209 , o-rank of 217, 2015 rank of 215, ADP of 241): J.J. Hoover, Cin RP.  With my last pick I went for a 4th closer, picking from the best of the “closer by committee” types.  Hoover seemed like a better choice than attempting to guess who will get to close games in Philly or Atlanta, or to second guess the Houston management’s announcement that Gregerson is the closer over Giles … but we’ll keep an eye on these situations and see who’s really getting saves.


By position:

  • 1B: Duda
  • 2B: Altuve
  • SS: Seager
  • 3B: Arenado, Sano
  • C: Perez
  • OF: Springer, J.D. Martinez, Peralta, Eaton
  • SP: Carrasco, Salazar, C. Martinez, Samardzija, Verlander, McCullers, Ventura
  • RP: Familia, Allen, Rodney, Hoover

I like my offense, especially the middle infielders.  I have to admit, I like the outfield too.  I think Duda is a good sleeper and Sano could be a monster.

I’m less liking my Starters overall; I don’t have any “big names” for the first time ever.  My best starter is the 17th highest ranked guy in Yahoo.  But, that’s the gamble i’m taking this year.

I also don’t like the relievers as much, wishing I had a 3rd solid closer, but the timing of the picks didn’t work out.

 

6 Responses to 'Fantasy Baseball 2016: My Team'

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  1. Couple thoughts for you, Todd:

    1. Machado is actually SS-eligible in Yahoo, since he started six games their last season (threshold is 5 starts / 10 appearances). I’d call it a missed opportunity, but Altuve’s an excellent pick, and Seager in 7 is about right for him, so I don’t think you really whiffed here.

    2. With a QS league, keep an eye on Salazar and Ventura. Both can be absolutely lights-out, but high-K guys are also usually high-pitch count guys. If they get pulled after 5.1 with the lead, you won’t get a QS. Longball can also hurt some of your pitchers, which can result in them going, say 7.2 with 4 ER, getting the W but no QS.

    Don’t sweat the “no aces” scenario. Keep an eye on the waiver wire for pitchers who get off to a hot start, and don’t be afraid to stream one or two and see if they’re worth keeping. There’s *tons* of pitching available out there.

    Natsochist

    6 Apr 16 at 4:01 pm

  2. A pox on Familia and Duda, particularly Familia. No offense to your team intended, though! Wally should be very happy to see all your CLE pitching, which do seem to be good under-the-radar picks. Alas, my fantasy time vanished as the kids got older.

    And welcome back Matt den Dekker. I wonder whose bat he used since he came straight from the airport!

    KW

    7 Apr 16 at 8:49 am

  3. If Machado was SS eligible then that’s bad on me for sure. I did not see that. I kind of have an excuse though: even though we use Yahoo, we were drafting from some rotoworld site real-time, and I was depending on ESPN’s fantasy tracker to track players … and neither of them had him as SS eligible. But i see it clear as day; damn damn.

    Good points on Salazar and Ventura for sure; i did see they had middling QS numbers last year.

    I do like my strategy though of holding off on starters for the same reason you mention; its a more shallow league (10 vs 12 teams) and therefore the waiver wire is healthy. I’m looking at it now and there’s guys like Parra, HOlliday, Joc Pederson, Gorden, Josh Reddick still on waivers. I jokingly took A-Rod 21st round last year and was rewarded with Yahoo #77 player … he’s on waivres too.

    Thanks for the feedback though! I feel dumb for not knowing Machado was SS eligible. But hey … it did enable me to get super SB guy Altuve instead, AND I got a great SS guy in Seager that I was dying to get and who I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

    Todd Boss

    7 Apr 16 at 12:44 pm

  4. Too many Mets? :-) Fair enough. We have a couple of total “homer” guys in the league who snap up all the Nats and Cubs early. So its definitely hard to get quality guys from either team.

    Todd Boss

    7 Apr 16 at 12:45 pm

  5. […] are doing their playoff finals this week.  This is my post-mortem for the year.  Here was my 2016 team preview article at the beginning of the year to show my drafted […]

  6. […] Last year’s version of this post. […]

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