Twenty rounds into my dynasty draft and I'm already feeling fatigued. Doing a satellite draft is not easy, especially when it seems like you're never in front of a comp when it's your turn. It's much simpler when you sit down and know the next 3 hours are all about baseball, getting alerts when you're just waking up, eating dinner, or getting ready for bed, make the selection process bothersome at times. But there's no crying in fantasy baseball right? My list of target players has dwindled fast but I'm staying course trying to find the best combination of immediate production and youth. I added some veteran bats last time around which will help me competitive in 2012. As long as I draft 2013 ready talent I should have an easy transition. My pitching corps is thin, as is my list of impact prospects and I'll need to start focusing on that in the coming set. I may reach for reserves but it all plays into the strategy of finding high ceiling-impact prospects in the latter part of the draft while everyone else tries to scrape together a sufficient bench.
Ryan Kalish- Maybe I like Kalish a little more than everyone else, it could be that he's from Jersey, or a member of the Red Sox organization, or it just could be his 20+/20+ potential, that's the most logical explanation so we'll go with that. I was excited when Reddick was dealt, as it meant Kalish had a clear path to the opening day RF job. This selection was a little untimely, as the news broke that he would be out for the first 3 months of the season, so much for my expectations. I still see him as the long term answer in RF, combining speed and power while hitting for a decent average. The combination of him and Trout at their peak performance would give me an edge over most outfield combinations, regardless of who the third is, that is assuming the shoulder and neck injuries do not have any long lasting effects on his power. If I could do this over though I would've taken Bell.
Mat Gamel- I love prospects who have seen their star tarnished a bit. The forgotten who have aged out of top 100 lists or dropped a few notches because of a poor showing when rushed to the major leagues, those are the type of players to target at this stage of any draft and Gamel fits perfectly. He should be more comfortable playing first as third base was never really his position. With less pressure this time around I can see him being a successful low end first baseman in 2012. I certainly don't expect Matt Laporta like futility. I am not sure how he is listed currently but if he is still set in the systems as a 3rd baseman that added eligibility would easily raise his value.
Other Players Considered: Roy Oswalt, Jake Peavy
James McDonald- I even surprised myself with this selection. I didn't like a lot of the starting pitching options left and I've always liked McDonald from his days in the Dodgers organization. NL Central pitchers should have an easier time sleeping this season, no Braun for first 50 games, no Fielder, no Pujols. I normally wouldn't take a pitcher on a team known for losing, but if the Pirates are to break that trend, now is as good of a time as any. By default McDonald is the fantasy ace of their staff, and with rosters this deep no one can be counted out. I like for him to improve on his ERA and WHIP this season, the strikeouts should increase as well. Essentially, I see McDonald helping more than people would expect. He's a true sleeper candidate in my book, I'm not projecting top 25 performance but I believe he'll surprise many owners this coming season.
Other Player Considered: Brad Boxberger, Jaun Nicasio, Jeff Niemann, Jake McGee
Jason Kubel- The move away from Target Field is addition by subtraction, so based on that alone Kubel should be more productive next season. I really like him in Arizona, and he was the outfielder I had in mind when looking for a back up to Beltran. Kubel could really thrive this upcoming season, with a move to the National League and a better hitter's park. Looking at some rosters, Kubel could be a starter so depending on where Trout begins the year, I could have a trade chip in Kubel.
Other Players Considered: Alex Presley, Ross Detwiler, Hak-Ju Lee
Alex Cobb- I'm a big fan of Cobb and if he was guaranteed a rotation spot I would've selected him much higher. He's first in line should any pitcher go down with an injury or be traded, and even though he's not in the opening day rotation, I still project a substantial amount of MLB innings this coming year. I expect him to be the number 5 guy heading into 2013. In selecting Cobb I kept true to form, taking a young player who may not have the ceiling of some players that are available but he will undoubtedly arrive and contribute much quicker.
Other Players Considered:
Alex Presley, Yasmani Grandal, Deck McGwire
Matt Barnes- Now it's time for me to mix and match. I need to add some prospect depth but I want the best combination of ceiling and MLB readiness available. I've been itching to take Barnes since around the 18th, actually it was since I saw Anthony Ranaudo go off the board. I couldn't have been more thrilled about Barnes dropping to the Sox at 19 in this past year's draft. I like his stuff more than some of the pitchers that went in front of him, and since he's a college arm the adjustment to professional ball should be shorter. Since I prefer Barnes to Ranaudo, this was an absolute steal.
Other Players Considered: Chris Volstad, Brennan Boesch, Jordan Lyles
Jonathan Lucroy- More young depth for me who could be a starter on a lot of teams. He gives me pretty good protection should something happen to Ramos and at 25 he has value going forward. When drafting my depth, I try to find players who offer similar production to the starter therefore making an easy transition should injury happen. Lucroy gives me a solid back up, and I'm positive I'll be able to exploit a catcher injury and turn Lucroy into a valuable prospect.
Other Players Considered: Jordan Lyles, Andy Dirks, Taylor Guerrieri
Cheslor Cuthbert- See what I mean about waiting on prospects? I got Cuthbert in the same round as Torii Hunter, Bret Myers, and Angel Pagan. Maybe he's under the radar to some degree, maybe owners have the same positional concerns that I do, but there's a huge Royals fan in here and that team has scooped up quite a few of KC's young stars, a deal is just waiting to happen. I've got a couple more highly rated prospects on the radar then it's back to the bench depth, we'll see if these guys are still around by the time this set of ten is done.
Other Players Considered: Francisco Lindor, Hector Noesi
Nestor Molina- Kenny Williams said Molina could see time at the back end of the pen this year, given their recent trades and the uncertainty with the usual suspects, he could be a nice source for some K's and holds come mid-season. I pretty much new after Cuthber that I was going to take one of Lindor or Molina. Given all the hype surrounding him during the time of the Sergio Santos trade, I would've expected him to go much earlier. There's some risk with this pick, as he might not really be a starter long term, this is an important year in his development so I'll be paying especially close attention to his coming season.
Other Players Considered: Francisco Lindor
*I made a trade with the team drafting last to swap picks from here on out. I get his pick in all odd numbered rounds, he gets the evens. Wish I would've though of this sooner, at the beginning perhaps.
Gary Sanchez- So my plan worked out, Molina and Sanchez were the two young high upside prospects I was hoping to get. I wouldn't have got Sanchez without pulling off this latest swap, as someone made the mistake of trying to draft him 5 picks later. I know there are maturity issues, that's normal and not an area of concern. He is said to have a higher ceiling than Montero, with a greater probability to stick at catcher, thus making him a more valuable fantasy contributor should everything break the right way. I can certainly wait for his development since I have Ramos at the MLB level and when he does get closer to the majors it makes one of the two even more expendable, should they both be rostered at that point.
This latest set of 10 was a solid mixture of young depth and high ceiling prospects, well except for Kalish. I'm 30 rounds in, and I am now ready to make my first selection for a relief pitcher! If he's there I'll be taking Glen Perkins from Minnesota. He looked pretty good in the bullpen role last year, and since Matt Capps is not the epitome of consistency, he could move into the closing role if/when Capps struggles. Or I could take Luke Gregerson giving me the other probable San Diego set up man. The plan for the next twenty rounds is to make sure I have a quality back up at ever starting position and to continue building prospect depth. I'd like to select 3 sure fire set up men and another 2-3 starting pitchers, as well as a middle infielder who will have multi position eligibility but none of that is guaranteed. The prospects should continue to fall into my lap as players reach for veterans to plug holes and fill depth.
#Update: Remember that KC fan I mentioned? I moved Cuthbert for Javier Baez and a draft pick. I approached Ray about a Cuthbert/Baez comp and he sent me some pieces from Jason Parks and others. While Law loves Cuthbert, it appears others also have questions about his thick lower body and what that can mean for his defense going forward. Not to mention Baez is said to be talented and athletic enough to play almost any position on the field. I like this deal for me, he has the arm to stay at SS, all depends on how much he grows between now and his debut. He very well could arrive at the same time as Cuthbert too, maybe even sooner, depending on the adjustments he makes to his approach of course.