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RotoBaller Experts League No. 2 Draft Recap

Here at RotoBaller, there is no such thing as being in too many fantasy baseball leagues. Some of the writers here are lucky enough to participate in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, which pits writers, analysts, and experts from all across the baseball community against each other. One RotoBaller writer even started a relievers-only bullpen league--that's how obsessed we tend to get with fantasy baseball.

No matter how many different leagues we find ourselves in, we always embrace the challenge of getting in a league with our fellow writers. That's what 12 of us did in the second of two RotoBaller Experts Leagues. The league is run through Yahoo! The scoring is 5x5 rotisserie, with HR, R, SB, RBI, AVG as the offensive categories and W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP as the pitching categories. Our rosters are comprised of 30 players: one at each traditional infield position, a MI, CI, five OF, one UTIL, one SP, one RP, six additional pitching spots and nine bench spots.

What we'll do now is break down the draft, team by team, analyzing each participant's strategy and decision-making process as the draft moved along. Some of the writers have offered their own insight on their teams, and you'll hear directly from each of them when we get to their segments. Here is a link to the full draft results in order by round so you can see where every player was taken, but we'll also provide a list of each team's roster for on-page visual reference. Let's get to it.

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Team 1 - Steve Janik

  1. Ronald Acuna Jr. - OF, ATL
  2. Jack Flaherty - SP, STL
  3. Rafael Devers - 3B, BOS
  4. Gleyber Torres - 2B/SS, NYY
  5. Lucas Giolito - SP, CWS
  6. Trevor Bauer - SP, CIN
  7. J.T. Realmuto - C, PHI
  8. Liam Hendriks - RP, OAK
  9. Joey Gallo - OF, TEX
  10. Carlos Santana - 1B, CLE
  11. Andrew Benintendi - OF, BOS
  12. Miguel Sano - 1B/3B, MIN
  13. Paul DeJong - SS, STL
  14. Didi Gregorius - SS, PHI
  15. Alex Colome - RP, CWS
  16. Andrew Heaney - SP, LAA
  17. Hunter Dozier - 1B/3B/OF, KC
  18. Mychal Givens - RP, BAL
  19. Miguel Andujar - UTIL, NYY
  20. Renato Nunez - 1B/3B, BAL
  21. Brian Anderson - 3B/OF, MIA
  22. Masahiro Tanaka - SP, NYY
  23. Niko Goodrum - 1B/2B/SS/OF, DET
  24. Josh Lindblom - RP, MIL
  25. Keone Kela - RP, PIT
  26. Freddy Peralta - SP/RP, MIL
  27. Tommy La Stella - 2B/3B, LAA
  28. Teoscar Hernandez - OF, TOR
  29. Mike Fiers - SP, OAK
  30. Dakota Hudson - SP, STL

In Steve's own words, here is how he evaluates his draft: "I consider Josh Lindblom to be my best value pick. I probably even reached for him because I doubt so few know how dominant he was in the KBO the last two years. I like him a lot returning to MLB. I'm least happy with where I drafted Carlos Santana. I told myself going into the draft that I wouldn't reach for a first baseman because there is a lot of value later at the position. For some reason, he looked like the best option at the time but I almost immediately regretted it."

On Steve's general strategy: "Not that I had a set strategy coming into the draft, but whatever I had was completely tossed out the window early. Being at the front/end of every round, if I had any interest in a guy, he was more than likely swiped away from me a few picks before, and in several cases the pick right before me (thanks Ellis). It happens in every draft but this might have been the most pivoting I've ever had to do."

In my own words: As a lifelong Indians fan, I would like to encourage Steve not to kick himself for too long over the Santana pick. Santana is always on base and in position to score runs, regardless of where he hits in Cleveland's lineup. For this year, it appears he may find himself in the cleanup spot for the Tribe--right behind Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor and right in front of Franmil Reyes. A hitter with Santana's plate profile is going to yield excellent production in that situation.

Steve's team is going to be a serious problem for anyone else in our league who hopes to contend for the strikeout crown, as Jack Flaherty, Lucas Giolito, and Trevor Bauer can rack up the K's as well as any trio of starters in our league.

 

Team 2 - Ellis Canady

  1. Christian Yelich - OF, MIL
  2. Mike Clevinger - SP, CLE
  3. Xander Bogaerts - SS, BOS
  4. Jose Altuve - 2B, HOU
  5. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 3B, TOR
  6. Jose Abreu - 1B, CWS
  7. Mike Moustakas - 2B/3B, CIN
  8. Kenley Jansen - RP, LAD
  9. Yordan Alvarez - OF, HOU
  10. Roberto Osuna - RP, HOU
  11. Michael Brantley - OF, HOU
  12. Aroldis Chapman - RP, NYY
  13. Shohei Ohtani (Batter) - UTIL, LAA
  14. Khris Davis - UTIL, OAK
  15. Jake Odorizzi - SP, MIN
  16. Mike Minor - SP, TEX
  17. Aaron Civale - SP, CLE
  18. Dylan Carlson - OF, STL
  19. Mike Foltynewicz - SP, ATL
  20. Seth Lugo - RP, NYM
  21. Yadier Molina - C, STL
  22. Ender Inciarte - OF, ATL
  23. Anthony DeSclafani - SP, CIN
  24. Randal Grichuk - OF, TOR
  25. Jon Berti - 3B/SS/OF, MIA
  26. Austin Voth - SP, WSH
  27. Anibal Sanchez - SP, WSH
  28. Chris Bassitt - SP, OAK
  29. Robinson Cano - 2B, NYM
  30. Tommy Kahnle - RP, NYY

Ellis' second-round snag of Mike Clevinger announced quite loudly that ADP was not going to make a difference in how each of us approached our draft. I was 12th in the draft order, and Clevinger's ADP was in the 50s. I foolishly believed he would still be on the board when I made my third and fourth picks. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat. Clevinger is a totally valid preseason candidate for the AL Cy Young in 2020 and should make a fine ace for Ellis' staff.

Ellis also drafted the closers from each of the three teams many believe will finish with the best records in this 60-game season: Aroldis Chapman, Roberto Osuna, and Kenley Jansen. Potentially threatening this otherwise lights-out bullpen is the fact that Chapman is already on the 10-day IL after testing positive for COVID-19 and Osuna has just begun ramping up his activity following a slow start to summer camp, the reasons for which are shrouded in mystery but evidently not injury-related. Neither of these developments would worry me much in a normal season, but with so many fewer opportunities to earn saves in 2020, missed games will add up pretty quickly. In any case, Ellis should be in a position to contend for our league lead in saves if Chapman and Osuna are able to resume their ninth-inning roles in short order.

Besides Clevinger, my favorite pick for Ellis's team is Mike Moustakas. He'll be surrounded by a solid lineup in a hitter's ballpark with the Reds, which should yield a ton of power and run production. Further down the draft board, Ellis swiped another Cleveland pitcher I was targeting in Aaron Civale. Ellis is looking at elite levels of offensive production from his top few position players, with a starting rotation anchored by Clevinger and rounded out by a solid stable of relatively high-floor hurlers.

 

Team 3 - Euan Leith

  1. Mike Trout - OF, LAA
  2. Walker Buehler - SP, LAD
  3. Ketel Marte - 2B/SS/OF, ARI
  4. Anthony Rendon - 3B, LAA
  5. Patrick Corbin - SP, WSH
  6. Jonathan Villar - 2B/SS, MIA
  7. Jose Berrios - SP, MIN
  8. D.J. LeMahieu - 1B/2B/3B, NYY
  9. Zac Gallen - SP, ARI
  10. Yasmani Grandal - C/1B, CWS
  11. Jesus Luzardo - RP/SP, OAK
  12. Max Kepler - OF, MIN
  13. Cavan Biggio - 2B/OF, TOR
  14. Madison Bumgarner - SP, ARI
  15. Lorenzo Cain - OF, MIL
  16. Edwin Encarnacion - 1B, CWS
  17. Zack Britton - RP, NYY
  18. Shin-Soo Choo - OF, TEX
  19. Adam Ottavino - RP, NYY
  20. Gavin Lux - 2B, LAD
  21. Will Smith - RP, ATL
  22. James Karinchak - RP, CLE
  23. Eric Hosmer - 1B, SD
  24. Corey Dickerson - OF, MIA
  25. Drew Pomeranz - SP/RP, SD
  26. Steven Matz - SP, NYM
  27. Jose Martinez - OF, TB
  28. Will Harris - RP, WSH
  29. Jose Urquidy - SP, HOU
  30. David Fletcher - 2B/SS/3B/OF, LAA

"I don't know if anyone in the draft picked off more of my targets than Euan. Like Steve with the first overall pick, I had a very difficult time gauging who was going to be around when I picked at the other end of the board. Waiting too long on Jose Berrios was my own fault, but watching Euan grab Zac Gallen and Jesus Luzardo before I could was brutal."

Euan also took the leap of faith on the idea that Mike Trout will not abstain from playing a significant portion of this truncated season. Trout has expressed reservations about potentially putting his family at risk, and though those talks have subsided somewhat, he is still due to welcome his first child in August. It seems reasonable to expect he'll miss roughly a week or so, at best, when that time comes. If it's just a week, then Euan will be handsomely rewarded by having taken the best baseball player alive with the third overall pick.

Euan's opportunistic approach to bullpen construction could wind up being the difference in where his team finishes in the standings. Whether he intentionally avoided drafting incumbent closers or simply kept getting sniped I am not sure, but he grabbed a solid stable of high-leverage relievers who could step into closer roles at some point in 2020. Zack Britton is expected to be Aroldis Chapman's stand-in if the latter is forced to miss any time to start the year, and would be a natural replacement if Chapman goes down at any other point as well. Adam Ottavino once served as a closer in the past with Colorado, and could wind up as a right-handed complement to Britton in a "closer platoon" if such a need should arise.

Cleveland's James Karinchak has some of the nastiest stuff of any relief pitcher in the league, and Brad Hand has had his fair share of ninth-inning struggles recently. Should those continue, don't be surprised if Karinchak is given save opportunities. Atlanta possesses a logjam of relievers with ninth-inning experience, but Will Smith could earn a few chances for saves under the right set of circumstances.

I'm a big fan of Euan's selection of Jose Urquidy in the 29th round. Urquidy is on the 10-day IL, and the Astros are playing that one pretty close to the vest in terms of disclosing exactly why. Euan might have to keep him on the injured list for a while to start the season, but Houston's reputation for molding pitchers into the best versions of themselves is universally renowned. With Gerrit Cole gone, a healthy Urquidy should have more chances in the back end of the Astros rotation in 2020, providing Euan with a potential breakout that he essentially got for free at the draft.

 

Team 4 - Elliott Baas

  1. Cody Bellinger - OF/1B, LAD
  2. Javier Baez - SS, CHC
  3. Shane Bieber - SP, CLE
  4. Austin Meadows - OF, TB
  5. Aaron Nola - SP, PHI
  6. Victor Robles - OF, WSH
  7. Giancarlo Stanton - OF, NYY
  8. Corey Kluber - SP, TEX
  9. Brad Hand - RP, CLE
  10. Eduardo Escobar - 2B/3B, ARI
  11. Matthew Boyd - SP, DET
  12. Brandon Workman - RP, BOS
  13. Archie Bradley - RP, ARI
  14. David Dahl - OF, COL
  15. Kyle Tucker - OF, HOU
  16. Luke Voit - 1B, NYY
  17. Luke Weaver - SP, ARI
  18. Scott Kingery - 2B/3B/SS/OF, PHI
  19. Howie Kendrick - 1B/2B/3B, WSH
  20. Caleb Smith - SP, MIA
  21. C.J. Cron - 1B, DET
  22. Tony Watson - RP, SF
  23. Kolten Wong - 2B, STL
  24. Dallas Keuchel - SP, CWS
  25. Ryan Braun - OF, MIL
  26. Jon Gray - SP, COL
  27. Miles Mikolas - SP, STL
  28. MacKenzie Gore - SP, SD
  29. Wilson Ramos - C, NYM
  30. Trevor Richards - SP/RP, TB

Back in winter and spring, Austin Meadows was my favorite outfield target heading into the 2020 fantasy season. Then America descended into madness and baseball went away for four months. Just as some semblance of normalcy started to return (at least to baseball), Meadows tested positive for COVID-19 and his status to begin the season is in doubt as a result. I wasn't completely out on him for obvious reasons, but one of the few strategies I was actually able to commit to in this draft was, "try not to take players who are already at risk of missing 15% of the season in the first few rounds." So instead of getting a guy I was prepared to place a dark-horse MVP bet on back in March, I'll have to watch as Meadows does damage for Elliott's team.

really wanted one of Shane Bieber or Mike Clevinger with my third pick. Elliott's selection of Bieber in the third round made it so I would not have either. Apparently no one got my pre-draft email instructing my league mates to leave all Indians players on the board for me.

My favorite part of Elliott's draft came in rounds 6-11. I'm curious to see if the absence of Anthony Rendon causes a shake-up in the Nationals' batting order, potentially providing Victor Robles a chance to hit in closer proximity to Juan Soto. Tossing Robles and Trea Turner into the top two lineup spots for Washington creates an immediate nightmare on the base paths for any opposing pitcher in the first inning, and would greatly improve Robles' run-scoring ceiling. If he remains at the bottom of the order, he's still a solid fantasy player with high stolen-base upside.

Corey Kluber in the eighth round could wind up being the biggest steal of the draft. Yes, he was showing some red flags early last year before a line drive off the wrist ended his season, but would you rather trust the five-year sample size from 2014-18 that includes two Cy Young awards, or the one month he struggled in 2019? That risk was appropriately factored into this eighth-round pick.

Giancarlo Stanton is one of 10 or 15 players I can see flirting with 25 home runs as long as he plays enough, which we all know has been the glaring weakness in his fantasy profile ever since coming over to the Yankees. A bounce-back season from Brad Hand gives Elliott the undisputed (for now) closer on a team that should win enough games to contend for a playoff spot. Matthew Boyd in the 11th was just another example of me losing out on a player I really hoped to get.

Extra credit to Elliott for his sneaky grab of Caleb Smith in the 20th round. It's easy to forget Smith looked like one of the better pitchers in the National League early last year before a hip issue sent him somewhat off the rails. If Smith returns in 2020 as the guy we saw in April and May of 2019, Elliott just found himself a borderline staff ace at a consignment shop.

 

Team 5 - Eric Samulski

  1. Gerrit Cole - SP, NYY
  2. Alex Bregman - 3B, HOU
  3. Freddie Freeman - 1B, ATL
  4. George Springer - OF, HOU
  5. Nelson Cruz - UTIL, MIN
  6. Eugenio Suarez - 3B, CIN
  7. Carlos Carrasco - SP/RP, CLE
  8. Frankie Montas - SP, OAK
  9. Michael Conforto - OF, NYM
  10. Taylor Rogers - RP, MIN
  11. Willson Contreras - C, CHC
  12. Elvis Andrus - SS, TEX
  13. Carlos Martinez - RP, STL
  14. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. - 2B/OF, TOR
  15. Danny Santana - 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, TEX
  16. Ian Kennedy - RP, KC
  17. Garrett Richards - SP, SD
  18. Avisail Garcia - OF, MIL
  19. Jean Segura - SS, PHI
  20. Trent Grisham - OF, SD
  21. Ross Stripling - SP/RP, LAD
  22. Daniel Hudson - RP, WSH
  23. Austin Hays - OF, BAL
  24. Christian Walker - 1B, ARI
  25. Yoshi Tsutsugo - 3B/OF, TB
  26. Austin Adams - RP, SEA
  27. Jose Peraza - 2B/SS/OF, BOS
  28. Kyle Crick - RP, PIT
  29. Will Smith - C, LAD
  30. Matt Strahm - SP/RP, SD

In Eric's own words: "I think getting Christian Walker with the 284th pick was pretty great value. I know he has a groin injury, but he's already back to working out on the field. I didn't really need a first baseman, but he was too good to pass up on there. I was also really happy to get Taylor Rogers with the 116th pick. Either he's the closer for the team with the easiest schedule in baseball or he'll close some games, be in line to pick up wins some games, and help my ratios in all games. (Red Sox homer pick--Jose Peraza was announced as the starting second baseman, so I was happy to get him as the 317th pick with his speed and multi-position eligibility.) In terms of players, I'm not happy with where I drafted them, I think I blacked out when I took Michael Conforto as the 101st pick. I needed a higher-average bat and didn't love the value, but I had been sniped two picks before and was second-guessing my queue."

On Eric's general draft strategy: "My strategy was to get at least one ace early and then load up on bats. I got Gerrit Cole fifth overall and then went with five straight hitters and was feeling good, but arms were flying off the board. I wound up okay with Cole, Carlos Carrasco, and Frankie Montas as my top three, but I over-thought my pitching values after that and waited too long to snag multi-inning relievers I have been getting a lot of like Seth Lugo, Drew Pomeranz, and Yusmeiro Petit. This team wound up being unlike any of the others I've drafted, so I'm hoping to work the wire and find those multi-inning guys who pop."

I think I like Eric's draft better than he did, though I was surprised to see anybody take a pitcher in the top five overall. Eric was clearly able to adhere to his initial strategy early, and if he's worried about question marks in his pitching staff, he can take solace in the fact that all of his top five position players wake up in the morning and hit a base-clearing double before they've even had breakfast. I agree wholeheartedly with Eric's sentiments on the way this whole draft unfolded with pitching, but the complete abandonment of default rankings and ADP were also what made it so fun.

My favorite pick in Eric's draft is Eugenio Suarez--another Reds player who doesn't get the recognition he deserves because he plays for the Reds, and was consequently just sitting there in the sixth round. The dude has hit 83 home runs in the last two years with a .277/.362/.550 slash line, making him the perfect grab for upper-echelon power production without sacrificing in batting average.

 

Team 6 - Dave Swan

  1. Mookie Betts - OF, LAD
  2. Starling Marte - OF, ARI
  3. Stephen Strasburg - SP, WSH
  4. Tyler Glasnow - SP, TB
  5. Kris Bryant - 3B/OF, CHC
  6. Paul Goldschmidt - 1B, STL
  7. Josh Hader - RP, MIL
  8. Tommy Pham - OF, SD
  9. Marcus Semien - SS, OAK
  10. Jorge Polanco - SS, MIN
  11. Max Fried - SP, ATL
  12. Rich Hill - SP, MIN
  13. Eduardo Rodriguez - SP, BOS
  14. Adam Eaton - OF, WSH
  15. David Peralta - OF, ARI
  16. Salvador Perez - C, KC
  17. Ryan Pressly - RP, HOU
  18. Yuli Gurriel - 1B/3B, HOU
  19. Starlin Castro - 2B/3B, WSH
  20. Diego Castillo - RP/SP, TB
  21. Giovanny Gallegos - RP, STL
  22. Corbin Burnes - SP/RP, MIL
  23. Daniel Murphy - 1B, COL
  24. Corey Knebel - RP, MIL
  25. Jesse Winker - OF, CIN
  26. Yasiel Puig - OF, FA
  27. Nick Madrigal - 2B/SS, CWS
  28. Matt Barnes - RP, BOS
  29. Anthony Santander - OF, BAL
  30. Carson Kelly - C, ARI

If we were having this draft today, I feel safe saying Mookie Betts would decidedly not have fallen to Dave. Betts' astronomical extension with the Dodgers is probably going to extinguish whatever embers remained of the uncertainty regarding his status for the 2020 season, and he'll be back to being viewed as a top-three overall fantasy value.

Elsewhere on Dave's roster, Tyler Glasnow serves as another stark reminder that getting too caught up in ADP was a death sentence in this draft. I had hoped to grab Glasnow with my fifth pick, and his ADP indicated he'd be available. Dave shot my hopes clean out of the sky when he took him in the fourth. So anyway, Dave, if you're reading this--wanna make a trade?

It's been announced that Ryan Pressly will begin the season as Houston's closer while Roberto Osuna gets himself back into gear. Dave should be able to log a few saves early thanks to this development, and Pressly could easily earn himself more opportunities as the season progresses.

I waited too long for Nick Madrigal, and Dave made me pay for it when he took him in the 27th. Madrigal has a great chance to carve out a semi-regular (at least) role for himself at second base in the increasingly scary White Sox lineup. Though the incoming rookie is probably best suited to round out the batting order as opposed to hitting near the top of it, there are worse nine-holes than the one directly in front of defending batting champion Tim Anderson. Dave landed himself some cheap run-scoring and stolen-base potential here, as one of Madrigal's most intriguing traits is his speed.

An all-around solid draft with some intriguing bullpen arms sprinkled in as the later rounds progressed. But yeah, if Dave could please trade me Tyler Glasnow at his earliest convenience, it would be much appreciated.

 

Team 7 - Michael Florio

  1. Trea Turner - SS, WSH
  2. J.D. Martinez - OF, BOS
  3. Yu Darvish - SP, CHC
  4. Blake Snell - SP, TB
  5. Zack Greinke - SP, HOU
  6. Manny Machado - 3B/SS, SD
  7. Kirby Yates - RP, SD
  8. Marcell Ozuna - OF, ATL
  9. Josh Bell - 1B, PIT
  10. Franmil Reyes - OF, CLE
  11. Amed Rosario - SS, NYM
  12. Kenta Maeda - SP/RP, MIN
  13. Hansel Robles - RP, LAA
  14. Joe Musgrove - SP, PIT
  15. Justin Upton - OF, LAA
  16. Joe Jimenez - RP, DET
  17. Brandon Lowe - 1B/2B/OF, TB
  18. Yoenis Cespedes - OF, NYM
  19. Mark Canha - OF/1B, OAK
  20. Kwang Hyun Kim - RP, STL
  21. Yandy Diaz - 1B/3B, TB
  22. Wil Myers - 1B/OF, SD
  23. Joey Lucchesi - SP, SD
  24. Gio Urshela - 3B, NYY
  25. Austin Riley - 3B/OF, ATL
  26. Jorge Alfaro - C, MIA
  27. Pablo Lopez - SP, MIA
  28. Matt Shoemaker - SP, TOR
  29. Travis Shaw - 3B, TOR
  30. Carter Kieboom - SS, WSH

With all five of the truly elite outfielders off the board, Michael clearly elected to give himself an edge in steals by taking Trea Turner at seven. While there were still plenty of power bats available, Turner provides an exceptional blend of speed, batting average, and run-scoring ability. And of course, Michael was able to grab a top-tier power bat in the second round anyway, with J.D. Martinez.

Michael then wasted no time in building what should be a solid top of his rotation before grabbing arguably the best fantasy closer in baseball, Kirby Yates. Michael's 10th and 11th picks could help propel him to the top of our offensive leaderboard. Franmil Reyes came out of his shell after a rough first few weeks with the Indians following last year's trade deadline. Now he's settled into a fantasy-friendly environment that affords him the luxury of hitting directly behind Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Carlos Santana. Reyes' ability to put a charge into a ball makes him a sneaky threat to lead the league in RBI with that trio of hitters in front of him.

Amed Rosario, who Michael grabbed in the 11th, figures to hit leadoff for the best Mets lineup in recent memory. Rosario came on strong in 2019 after a tough first couple of years, offering value in batting average and stolen bases while also providing serviceable numbers in runs and RBI. He also chipped in 15 home runs for good measure. We'll dial back the power expectations for now, but the 11th round is great value for a leadoff hitter on a team that is going to score a ton in 2020.

Grabbing Austin Riley in the 25th round could turn out to be highway robbery for Michael. Josh Donaldson is no longer blocking Riley at third base, and then there is the implementation of the universal DH. In other words, Riley should have an easier route to regular playing time in 2020.

Joey Lucchesi is a player I eyed up for several rounds, and had I felt the need for more pitching, I'd have taken him earlier than Michael did. Lucchesi ranked 21st among all qualified starting pitchers in ground-ball rate last year, and he pitches in a home park that's difficult to hit home runs out of to begin with (Petco Park). He'll perform admirably on Michael's roster, which is all you really need out of a 23rd-round pick.

 

Team 8 - Marc Hulet

  1. Nolan Arenado - 3B, COL
  2. Fernando Tatis Jr. - SS, SD
  3. Charlie Blackmon - OF, COL
  4. Keston Hiura - 2B, MIL
  5. Luis Robert - OF, CWS
  6. Eloy Jimenez - OF, CWS
  7. Robbie Ray - SP, ARI
  8. James Paxton - SP, NYY
  9. Corey Seager - SS, LAD
  10. Julio Urias - RP/SP, LAD
  11. Lance McCullers Jr. - SP, HOU
  12. Hector Neris - RP, PHI
  13. Mitch Garver - C, MIN
  14. Sam Hilliard - OF, COL
  15. Sean Doolittle - RP, WSH
  16. Alex Verdugo - OF, BOS
  17. Ryan McMahon - 1B/2B/3B, COL
  18. Nate Pearson - SP, TOR
  19. Nick Solak - 2B/3B, TEX
  20. Yonny Chirinos - SP/RP, TB
  21. Rafael Dolis - RP, TOR
  22. Tyler Duffey - RP, MIN
  23. Kyle Lewis - OF, SEA
  24. Willy Adames - SS, TB
  25. Ian Happ - 2B/3B/OF, CHC
  26. Joey Votto - 1B, CIN
  27. Brett Gardner - OF, NYY
  28. Spencer Turnbull - SP, DET
  29. Chris Taylor - 2B/SS/OF, LAD
  30. Ryne Stanek - RP/SP, MIA

In Marc's words: "I was picking eighth, which is a fairly ugly spot in a snake draft. Eloy Jimenez could be a sixth-round steal. He got off to a bit of a slow start to his MLB career but he has shown the ability to hit for average and power. He's just scratching the surface of what he can do. Corey Seager in the eighth round was also a great value pick if he's fully healthy. A short season could really help someone like him. As the 'prospect guy,' I always try to use that knowledge to my advantage and I was very aggressive in seeking HR/SB potential with Luis Robert (fifth round) and Sam Hilliard (14th round). I'm least happy with where I drafted Hector Neris (12th round). I was mostly willing to punt the reliever category given the volatility of the position and I figure I can get some waiver wire value later on. But Neris is my top reliever and I'm not thrilled at that. I was eyeing up Roberto Osuna, who lasted until the late 10th round and I was poised to jump on him in the early 11th."

On Marc's general strategy: "With it being a short season, my focus was primarily on offense and I figured I could get some risky, high-ceiling arms later on. I was fairly successful nabbing Lance McCullers Jr., Julio Urias, and Nate Pearson. I narrowly missed out on Carlos Martinez as the run on pitching happened sooner than I expected. I think veterans Robbie Ray and James Paxton should have solid seasons."

Despite not drafting a pitcher until the seventh round, Marc wound up with a pitching staff he can work with. Lance McCullers Jr. gets forgotten about after missing all of last season, but by all accounts has looked impressive this summer. It's also worth mentioning he still wears the uniform of the Houston Pitching Factory. Nate Pearson is my favorite pick on Marc's roster, as the incoming Blue Jays rookie was someone I coveted in the back half of this draft. Pearson will likely be eased into a full workload whenever he gets the call-up in 2020, but the abbreviated season should allow Toronto to ride with him more heavily than they would over a traditional schedule. He has a chance to be the second-best starter in Toronto behind Hyun Jin Ryu.

Marc also stole Kyle Lewis, who I was looking for as an early-season bench stash with upside, in the 23rd round. Who knows what we'll get out of the Mariners from a fantasy perspective this season, but Lewis is a guy we should all be willing to take the chance on late.

 

Team 9 - Frank Ammirante

  1. Juan Soto - OF, WSH
  2. Max Scherzer - SP, WSH
  3. Clayton Kershaw - SP, LAD
  4. Luis Castillo - SP, CIN
  5. Bo Bichette - SS, TOR
  6. Aaron Judge - OF, NYY
  7. Matt Olson - 1B, OAK
  8. Gary Sanchez - C, NYY
  9. Ken Giles - RP, TOR
  10. Carlos Correa - SS, HOU
  11. Craig Kimbrel - RP, CHC
  12. Oscar Mercado - OF, CLE
  13. Mallex Smith - OF, SEA
  14. Rhys Hoskins - 1B, PHI
  15. Mark Melancon - RP, ATL
  16. Dylan Bundy - SP, LAA
  17. Rougned Odor - 2B, TEX
  18. Mitch Keller - SP, PIT
  19. Marcus Stroman - SP, NYM
  20. Josh James - RP, HOU
  21. Matt Carpenter - 3B, STL
  22. Nathan Eovaldi - SP/RP, BOS
  23. Alex Wood - SP, LAD
  24. Dylan Cease - SP, CWS
  25. Dansby Swanson - SS, ATL
  26. Reynaldo Lopez - SP, CWS
  27. Eric Thames - OF/1B, WSH
  28. Jay Bruce - OF/1B, PHI
  29. Johnny Cueto - SP, SF
  30. John Means - SP, BAL

Frank was very vocal throughout the draft about how much he loved his team, and for good reason. Luis Castillo is my long-shot NL Cy Young bet this year, and Frank drafted him after selecting two multiple-time winners of the award. He built himself an impenetrable starting rotation early, and then piled on with excellent offensive options over the course of his next several picks.

If Frank had consulted me, the resident Indians fan of this league, I'd have advised against drafting Oscar Mercado in the 12th. Mercado had a deceptively productive rookie season with some concerning underlying metrics, and was buoyed by batting second in a strong top of the order for the Tribe. He's more likely to hit ninth in 2020, which means he'll no longer be sandwiched in between the likes of Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana. Mercado should still provide value in steals, however, which appears to be what Frank drafted him for anyway.

Rhys Hoskins in the 14th seems like some kind of glitch. Did he just disappear from the rest of our queues for 14 rounds? I know he won't help much in batting average, but he's smack-dab in the middle of a potent Phillies lineup and we know he can put one over the fence in a hurry. Frank's first baseman tandem of Hoskins and Matt Olson could produce the most home runs of any such duo in our league.

Further down the draft board, Frank continued to reinforce his rotation with a blend of veterans and young upside plays. He also sniped Ken Giles from me three picks before it was my turn in the ninth round, creating a domino effect in my approach to relief pitchers from that point forward. The X-factor on Frank's roster could be Aaron Judge. As long as he's on the field, he provides Frank with a lethal one-two punch among outfielders when combined with Juan Soto. I don't believe in "grading" other people's drafts, but I'd be very happy if I ended up with this roster in any league.

 

Team 10 - Brian Entrekin

  1. Jacob deGrom - SP, NYM
  2. Jose Ramirez - 3B, CLE
  3. Adalberto Mondesi - SS, KC
  4. Charlie Morton - SP, TB
  5. Anthony Rizzo - 1B, CHC
  6. Yoan Moncada - 3B, CWS
  7. Tim Anderson - SS, CWS
  8. Jorge Soler - OF, KC
  9. Lance Lynn - SP, TEX
  10. Kyle Schwarber - OF, CHC
  11. Edwin Diaz - RP, NYM
  12. Andrew McCutchen - OF, PHI
  13. Zack Wheeler - SP, PHI
  14. Byron Buxton - OF, MIN
  15. Dustin May - RP/SP, LAD
  16. Aaron Hicks - OF, NYY
  17. Willie Calhoun - OF, TEX
  18. Shohei Ohtani (Pitcher) - SP, LAA
  19. Cesar Hernandez - 2B, CLE
  20. Brandon Kintzler - RP, MIA
  21. Wade Davis - RP, COL
  22. Tyler Rogers - RP, SF
  23. Blake Treinen - RP, LAD
  24. Matt Magill - RP, SEA
  25. Nick Burdi - RP, PIT
  26. Ryan Helsley - RP, PHI
  27. Kevin Ginkel - RP, ARI
  28. Domingo Santana - OF, CLE
  29. Yusmeiro Petit - RP, OAK
  30. Tom Murphy - C, SEA

I'm not sure if it was Brian's plan all along or if he just rolled with the punches, but his relatively zero-reliever strategy is one I admire. Brian grabbed Edwin Diaz in the 11th and then didn't draft another bullpen arm until the 20th--at which point he drafted eight in a row. Brian probably needs a lot of bullpen turnover in real-life baseball in order for his fantasy team to contend in saves, but his decision not to chase closers allowed him to strengthen many other facets of his roster. Then when the time came, he loaded up on relievers who can help his team without recording saves.

Once I passed on Jorge Soler in the eighth round, I knew I'd regret it. Brian grabbed him two picks later, so at least he spared me a slow death. Brian also nabbed Cesar Hernandez, who looks poised for Cleveland's leadoff spot. Hernandez's career track record of being a solid on-base guy should result in tons of run-scoring chances in that lineup.

Where Brian's team could truly do some damage on the leaderboard is in his starting rotation. After securing arguably the best pitcher alive in Jacob deGrom and adding Charlie Morton and Lance Lynn, Brian pounced on some value plays in Zack Wheeler (14th round) and Shohei Ohtani (18th round). There are questions surrounding whether Wheeler will actually pitch this year or not, but if everyone knew he was going to, there's obviously no way he'd still have been sitting there in the 14th round.

I think Ohtani's fantasy value is influenced by the fact that we're really just not sure how to approach a player who is great at both hitting and pitching. Stepping back onto the mound after Tommy John surgery is naturally a concern as well, but there's no denying Ohtani looked every bit the part of an ace in 2018. If things break right for Wheeler and Ohtani, Brian has one of the most stacked rotations in our league--and possibly the best.

 

Team 11 - Connelly Doan

  1. Justin Verlander - SP, HOU
  2. Trevor Story - SS, COL
  3. Pete Alonso - 1B, NYM
  4. Whit Merrifield - 2B/OF, KC
  5. Eddie Rosario - OF, MIN
  6. Sonny Gray - SP, CIN
  7. Ramon Laureano - OF, OAK
  8. Jeff McNeil - 2B/3B/OF, NYM
  9. Josh Donaldson - 3B, MIN
  10. Hyun Jin Ryu - SP, TOR
  11. Raisel Iglesias - RP, CIN
  12. Kyle Hendricks - SP, CHC
  13. Justin Turner - 3B, LAD
  14. Jose Leclerc - RP, TEX
  15. Shogo Akiyama - OF, CIN
  16. German Marquez - SP, COL
  17. Garrett Hampson - 2B/SS/OF, COL
  18. Kevin Newman - 2B/SS, PIT
  19. Ryan Yarbrough - RP/SP, TB
  20. Nick Senzel - OF, CIN
  21. Adrian Houser - RP/SP, MIL
  22. Omar Narvaez - C, MIL
  23. Griffin Canning - SP, LAA
  24. Nomar Mazara - OF, CWS
  25. Trevor May - RP, MIN
  26. A.J. Pollock - OF, LAD
  27. Hunter Harvey - RP, BAL
  28. Mauricio Dubon - 2B/SS, SF
  29. Kevin Gausman - SP/RP, SF
  30. Christian Vazquez - C, BOS

At two relatively critical junctures of the draft, Connelly snagged the primary player I was targeting one pick before I could get my guy: once in the 11th with Raisel Iglesias, and a second time in the 23rd with Griffin Canning. I already had the rug pulled out from under me in the ninth round when I missed out on Ken Giles, and Connelly spiked a handful of salt on my wounds two rounds later by snatching my second-most highly coveted reliever. Canning was more of a late-round lottery ticket for me, but he's going to have plenty of opportunities to pitch in an underwhelming Angels rotation and he's got good stuff.

After spending his second and third picks on two players who could combine for 40-plus home runs in this short season in Trevor Story and Pete Alonso, Connelly built himself a solid foundation in batting average with Whit Merrifield, Ramon Laureano, and Jeff McNeil. McNeil could easily win a batting title this year. He and Laureano should provide a ton of value in runs scored as well, given the strength of their respective lineups. With a little luck, Laureano and Merrifield could offer Connelly respectable stolen-base totals.

Nick Senzel in the 20th round could wind up being Connelly's best value pick if everything comes together for the second-year outfielder. Senzel dealt with injuries as a rookie and was never truly able to take off. In 2020, he remains a high-upside youngster with an improved lineup around him. There is still plenty of shine on Senzel's prospect profile, and he could be in line to provide Connelly with above-market value in steals and runs scored at least.

 

Team 12 - Chris O'Reilly

  1. Francisco Lindor - SS, CLE
  2. Bryce Harper - OF, PHI
  3. Chris Paddack - SP, SD
  4. Ozzie Albies - 2B, ATL
  5. Brandon Woodruff - SP, MIL
  6. Nick Castellanos - OF, CIN
  7. Mike Soroka - SP, ATL
  8. Max Muncy - 1B/2B/3B, LAD
  9. Dinelson Lamet - SP, SD
  10. Matt Chapman - 3B, OAK
  11. Nick Anderson - RP, TB
  12. Tommy Edman - 2B/3B/OF, STL
  13. Hunter Renfroe - OF, TB
  14. Bryan Reynolds - OF, PIT
  15. Sean Manaea - SP, OAK
  16. J.D. Davis - 3B/OF, NYM
  17. Sandy Alcantara - SP, MIA
  18. Spencer Howard - SP, PHI
  19. Emilio Pagan - RP, SD
  20. Luis Arraez - 2B/3B/OF, MIN
  21. Rowan Wick - RP, CHC
  22. Joc Pederson - OF/1B, LAD
  23. Aaron Bummer - RP, CWS
  24. Sean Murphy - C, OAK
  25. Amir Garrett - RP, CIN
  26. Mike Yastrzemski - OF, SF
  27. Justus Sheffield - SP, SEA
  28. Vince Velazquez - SP, PHI
  29. Francisco Mejia - C, SD
  30. Shed Long Jr. - 2B/OF, SEA

Let's start with what I don't like about my draft. I love Francisco Lindor more than I love most things, and I couldn't believe he fell all the way down to me in the first. I think he and Bryce Harper win their leagues' respective MVP awards in 2020. But I had just drafted those two to begin another league right before this one, and I wish I had a little more diversity in my top picks. I just couldn't talk myself out of either one, so I put my money where my mouth is. I'm also not crazy about Ozzie Albies in the fourth. That was sort of a panic pick as the clock was down to seven seconds. I figured I might as well grab a second baseman who hits in close proximity to Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman.

As I mentioned several times throughout this piece, I was snake-bitten on several occasions in the pitching market. My plan going in was to land any two of Chris Paddack, Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, Tyler Glasnow, and Luis Castillo. Once I saw I was picking 12th, I had a feeling that was not going to happen. In Brandon Woodruff and Dinelson Lamet, I feel like I made up for missing out on my top targets by grabbing two high-strikeout guys. Those two and Paddack give me a strong case for the top of the strikeout leaderboard.

Relief pitching is where I ran into the most razor wire. I wanted one of Ken Giles or Raisel Iglesias, and I didn't get either. I was never going to place much emphasis on saves to begin with, but once I missed on those guys, I pivoted completely to a focus on high-leverage relievers who aren't currently closers. Nick Anderson is probably the best pitcher in a loaded Rays bullpen, but I won't be surprised to see multiple guys in that group being given save chances (even if he is listed as their closer).

Positional versatility, batting average, and runs were a focus as the draft wore on. I strayed a bit with selections like Hunter Renfroe and Matt Chapman, but their power bats are tough to pass up. Having Luis Arraez, Tommy Edman, J.D. Davis, and Bryan Reynolds should keep my overall average from bottoming out at any point, and all except Reynolds are eligible at multiple positions.

All in all, I am very happy with this team. I wish I had landed a few more of my top pitching targets, but that is the only way in which this draft ever felt like it got away from me.

That, as they say, is a wrap. Whose team do you like the best? Feel free to reach out to any of us on Twitter if you'd like to discuss our rosters, or just have questions on fantasy baseball in general: @cjoreillyCLE (Chris), @bdentrek (Brian), @RotoStevieJ (Steve), @marchulet (Marc), @SamskiNYC (Eric), @EuanOrYouOut (Euan), @MichaelFFlorio (Michael), @ElliottBaasBB (Elliott), @ConnellyDoan (Connelly), @FAmmiranteTFJ (Frank), @EllisCan2 (Ellis), @davithius (Dave).



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