Owners target players and strategies in their home leagues every year, but I tried to go with a different strategy this year to compete in an 18-team points league. Pitchers are extremely valuable, and owners need an ace that can score 1000 points when Mike Trout will score 750 points or so. There are at least 15 starting pitchers that are projected to cross the 1000-point barrier. Each team kept six players, and the draft consists of 18 rounds with 432 players being kept or drafted. I kept five bats (1B-Freeman, 3B-Machado, OF-B. Hamilton, OF-Soler, OF-W. Myers) in an attempt to solidify my offense with youth that I can keep for the next few years. I wanted to grab one strong #2 in the draft and support the pitcher with cheaper options at SP.
I took Gerrit Cole with my first pick, which works out well because he should post 900-1000 points this season if he stays healthy. A number of other starters flew off the board in the first round (James Shields, Adam Wainwright, Carlos Carrasco and Jacob deGrom ) Huge bats that will post 575-600 points went after the SP. (Starling Marte, Jason Heyward and Matt Kemp ) Most of the viable closer options were gone at the turn so I turned to SS and drafted Starlin Castro with the 144th pick. I drafted Yordano Ventura at 145 for his upside as my #2 starter, and I hope he can stay healthy this year. Castro should score 525 points in our league, and Ventura could score between 825-875 points this year. I then focused on grabbing a RP and a C or 2B on the snake back in the 4th and 5th rounds. I altered my plan to grab a SP in the 4/5 because their prices were too inflated to justify drafting my third starter that early. I was able to grab Brad Boxberger at RP, which will hopefully lead to 15 saves in 2015, and I started the C run with Yan Gomes, Salvador Perez, Matt Wieters, and other C's went later in the 5th round.
While I focused on filling holes in my team, I missed the opportunity to grab a 475-point 2B. (like a Howie Kendrick) I tried to think about letting players fall to me instead of reaching to fill holes in the lineup, which may come back to bite my team at RP and 2B. I grabbed Shelby Miller with an extra pick, and I took Kevin Gausman and Steven Souza at the turn of rounds 6/7. Now that my Starting Rotation was almost set, I focused on filling roles and grabbing bargains in the middle rounds of the draft. In hindsight this week, Gausman's demotion to the bullpen will hurt my staff, and Souza hasn't hit well in spring training. Grabbing those players over Mike Fiers and Oswaldo Arcia may turn out to cost me points in the overall standings. Sergio Romo could save 10 games in 2015, and I drafted him in the 8th round to fill my other RP slot. I paired Romo with Scooter Gennett. Gennett could only cost me 50 points when compared to Kendrick.
The second-half of the drat centered on taking chances and finding guys that could provide a decent value in 2015. Daniel Norris, with his starting job in Toronto, landed on my staff as my fourth starter if Gausman starts the year in the bullpen. I like Norris' ability to strikeout batters, but his shallow track record scares me. I took another Bat, Khris Davis , to back up Souza at Utility. I am hoping that Davis can hit 25 homers, and he may provide serviceable value at pick 288. I then focused on RP without saves and guys with upside or injuries to stash away for the first-half of the year. Adam Ottavino, of the Rockies, fell to me in the 12th in hopes that LaTroy Hawkins loses his job in April/May. He will stay on my bench unless he finds his way into the closer role in Colorado. I drafted Nick Castellanos to fill in as Machado's backup at 3B if more injuries occur in 2015. I missed my chance to take Byron Buxton and Arismendy Alcantara in round 13. With Javier Baez's demotion this week, Alcantara looks like a good stock to bet on in 2015, especially if he reaches 500 AB.
The last four picks of my draft do not look as strong as some of other choices. I filled out my roster with Matt Moore, Jaime Garcia, Roenis Elias and Dexter Fowler. Garcia and Elias lost their spots after the draft occurred, and I will be scurrying to the waiver wire to find help for my SP. I am hopeful that Moore can provide 75 IP, and Fowler is a decent backup that will score 400 points. Looking back on last week, Castro, Cole, and Gomes could provide the most value this year, but I whiffed on Gausman, Souza, and Gennett.
Bats were a huge surprise in the draft. They kept falling for good value if they were veterans. (Castro, Kemp, and Heyward) Youngsters like Gregory Polanco and Joc Pederson were drafted before pick 150. I will need to remember that SP and Closers are overvalued, but some are worth taking before the bottom drops out to guys that don't have jobs in 2015. I may have to deal a bat to secure another decent arm to prevent losing too much ground in the standings before June. I will be happy if one of my RP options can save more than 20 games, but I have to rely on the right closers losing their jobs this year. The strategy of upside and the best player worked until round nine, and I hurt my team by focusing on 2B and SP too late with the news on Gausman. I hope that he finds his way back into the rotation, but my team may be too far behind in June if Gausman and Danny Salazar aren't up with Baltimore and Cleveland. I hope that you found good value in your drafts, and I hope your teams aren't searching for AB's and starts this year.