Nationals Arm Race

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

Fantasy Baseball 2018

leave a comment

Scherzer somehow ended up being my #1 draft pick this year. photo via

Scherzer somehow ended up being my #1 draft pick this year. photo via

An annual post.  Navel gazing at my fake baseball team.  Feel free to skip if you’re not into this.

So, every year we get a year older, a year busier … and seemingly a year closer to abandoning fantasy sports altogether.  I’m already out of every Fantasy Football team I ever did (at one point I was in 4 leagues concurrently), I’m long since out of any other random fantasy sport (Basketball, Golf for example), and Baseball seems to be soon on the heels of being forgotten.  In our fantasy baseball league this year, we struggled to find a 10th player this year after having to replace at least two guys last  year … and we didn’t even bother to get a draft date settled until AFTER the season had started.

So, the first Monday of the baseball season we sat down and did an online draft, a sorry state of affairs for a crew that used to actually look forward to drinking beers, eating pizza and talking sh*t n someone’s basement while doing an interminable 21-round, 4-hour slog of snake drafting baseball players.

All that being said … i am still obsessed with Fantasy Baseball.  Its always one of the first things I check every morning and I just can’t help myself.  So here’s a run-through of my 2018 team.  For the record, I’m on a good streak of success in this league; the last three years running I’ve finished 5th, 1st and 2nd in the regular season … and then 2nd, 3rd and 2nd in the playoffs.  So I’ve lost two finals, one of which was so agonizingly close (I essentially lost because Clayton Kershaw got sat after 4 innings the last start of the year and thus cost him a “win”) that it drove me to drink.

Anyway, here’s a quick run through my initially drafted team.  I was 9th out of 10 in a snake draft.  We also had at least two auto-drafting teams, which was good and bad in a way.  Good in that some over-valued players got scooped up thanks to their being the highest remaining ranked player … but bad b/c there were definitely guys who i would have taken who lingered in this state, but who got snagged up instead of that person having to really draft.

Quick overview of my strategy: hitters early, SPs later, want at least 4 closers, don’t draft a 1B until later.  We have a couple of Nats homers in the league, so Nats players will be over-drafted.  We also have one Cub’s fan and one Brave’s fan, meaning those players will go too early too, so that’s always a factor.  We lost our Dodgers homer … meaning Dodgers players may be undervalued in the league now.

The first round leading up to my 9th pick was … well unexpected.  Trea Turner went 2nd overall, astoundingly.   Bryce Harper had an ADP of about 9 and I was extremely hopeful that he’d get to me … nope; our Nats fan boy group ensured he went a tad early as well.  Not surprisingly, Harper has exploded out of the gates, as he is apt to do, and is ranked #1 ahead of Mike Trout as we speak.

Round 1. Max Scherzer.  Kershaw went just before me as a yahoo ranking slightly better than Scherzer.  I really, really didn’t want to draft a SP first round; my strategy is mostly about picking high end hitters then poaching undervalued starters later on.  But I didn’t like the next two best hitters available (Mookie Betts  and then 1B Paul Goldschmidt under my theory of not reaching for a 1B) and i’d rather have Scherzer than the next best pitcher (the AL-east suffering Chris Sale)….  so I grabbed Scherzer.

Round 2. After auto-draft took care of the two aformentioned players I didn’t want … i snagged Kris Bryant.  I like Bryant, he’s 2-position eligible and he was slightly ahead of a run of 1B types that I hate taking too early.  He’s my 3B.

Round 3: Cody Bellinger. Another 2-position guy (1B and OF), he puts up significant numbers.  I wanted George Springer here but missed him by one pick.

Round 4: Corey Seager.  I’ve had him before,  he’s a power hitting SS and puts up awesome numbers, and I was happy.  I’m a little Dodger heavy … but these two guys have both served me well in the past.

Round 5: Marcell Ozuna; this pick fell right in the midst of a bunch of blech SPs (Jose Quinana, Yu Darvish) and I felt like I’d rather have a guy moving to a hitter’s park and a better franchise.  I think he’s a breakout guy.

Round 6: Not liking any of the other players sitting here … i pulled the trigger on the #1 closer Kenley Jansen.

Taking stock at this point: I have basically the #1 (or close to it) SP and RP, I have a 3B, SS, and two OFs.  Not too bad.  I’ve missed out on quality 2B at this point so I’ll be bottom of the barrel there.  Same with Catcher.

Round 7: Tommy Pham, OF.  Another guy in STL outfield who produces, though if I’d read his quotes of discontent maybe i’d have gone a different way.

Round 8: Jonathan Schoop, 2b.  I know nothing of him, never had him before, but the pickings at 2B were pretty slim after this.

Round 9: Corey Knebel: my 2nd top-line reliever.  Unfortunately he’s already on the D/L: I picked up Sean Manaea off waivers in his place.

Round 10: Joey Gallo.  So, I was looking hard at Braves uber-rookie Ronald Acuna here … but was sold on Gallo’s multi-position capabilities and big bat versus the “what if” nature of Acuna.  He ended up going 2 picks later to super-fan Braves guy, who crowed about how awesome he was for drafting Acuna (similarly to the way he crowed when he drafted Dansby Swanson last year).

Round 11: Justin Smoak: finally get my 1B only guy.  I’ll take round 11 for a guy who finished #61 last year in fantasy.

Round 12: Shohei Otani (pitcher): yup.  You read that right; i got this guy in the 12th frigging round. So far i’m the genius of the league.  Through 2 weeks he’s the 4th best starter.  too bad I didn’t get his bat too; his bat went un-drafted then I couldn’t bring myself to get both sides and lost him on the waiver wire.

Round 13: Brandon Morrow: 3rd reliever.  I’m getting close to my set of decent relievers.

Round 14: Ryan Zimmerman: ok …. so this may have been a mistake.  Was a mistake.  I already have dropped him and … well i’m not sure what the heck is going on with him this year, but this was a bad pick.  He was so frigging good last year … I just couldn’t believe he was still available in round 14.  Nonetheless … by this round hitters are nearly indistinguishable from waiver wire fodder, so I’ll keep an eye on him.  Something seems  up though with Zimmerman, a topic we’ve talked about here before.  There has to be a reason he didn’t play all spring.

So, from here out I need arms and a catcher.  So that’s the focus.  its pretty clear that I’m getting a catcher in the last round.

Round 15: Dellin Betances: so, I got this guy b/c I thought my commissioner was changing one of the categories to K/9 … and Betances is basically the best K/9 guy in the league.  Except that we didn’t change the settings .. so i’ve already dumped him as useless.  I picked up Arizona’s Patrick Corbin instead.

Round 16: Garrett Richards: not a bad starter for round 16.  Pitcher’s park, good numbers.

Round 17: Mike Clevenger: a nice little steal here for Cleveland who has good numbers and looks like he may contribute.

Round 18: Shane Greene: can’t complain about getting a starting closer in round 18, even if its a low-end one.

Round 19: Chase Anderson.  Milwaukee’s opening day starter!

Round 20: Aaron Sanchez.  So, I had him a couple years ago and he was awesome.  If he’s healthy, then this is a massive steal this low.

Round 21: Best remaining catcher on the board …. Wilson Ramos.  I’m not sure if’ i’ll be keeping him, but he’s better than anyone else at this point (and i’ve already dumped him for Chris Ianetta).


So, here’s the summary/here’s how my team looks right now (I’ve updated the below for my first few waiver wire moves):

  • C: Ianetta (was Ramos)
  • 1B: Smoak, Bellinger
  • 2B: Schoop
  • SS: Seager
  • 3B: Bryant
  • OF: Pham, Gallo, Ozuna (picked up J.D. Martinez on waivers for Betances)
  • SP: Scherzer, Ohtani, Clevinger, Sanchez, Corbin (waiver pickup), Manaea (waiver pickup), Richards, Anderson
  • RP: Jansen, Greene, Morrow, Knebel.

So.  Probably not a lot of speed here; only Pham is really a base stealer.  Decent OBP expectations, lots of power (6 guys hit 30+ homers last  year), and lots of OPS value.  I’ll be tough to beat on the offense.

I’m depending on two newish relievers for saves, one of whom is already hurt.  But my weakness will be Starters.  I’ll need bounce back seasons from some guys like Sanchez.  I’ll need some up-and-coming guys like Clevinger and Anderson to pitch well.  My season is staked on Scherzer repeating his Cy Young season plus Ohtani living up to the hype.


That’s it!  Hope you enjoy.


Written by Todd Boss

April 16th, 2018 at 10:11 am

Posted in Fantasy

Leave a Reply