The first experts fantasy draft of the season took place on Wednesday night in Las Vegas (lucky bastards!). The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) experts league participants got together in one of the best cities in the US for a 13 team, 29 round fantasy baseball draft, giving fantasy writers everywhere the opportunity to critique their draft, and gain insight into who the experts like in 2014.
You can find the complete draft results here.
I wrote this article offering my thoughts on the first round on Wednesday night, and here are some of my thoughts on the rest of the draft:
Masahiro Tanaka was drafted with the last pick in the ninth round, and was the 30th starter off the board. The following starting pitchers were take right after Tanaka: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Cobb, Johnny Cueto, Sonny Gray and Danny Salazar. I think this pick shows that the experts are confident that Tanaka can make a successful transition to the major leagues.
Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton was taken in the SIXTH round, pick number 77 overall, and the 25th outfielder off the board. Seems too high for me, but the experts couldn't resist his speed and stolen base potential. I wouldn't draft him this high, especially when he was drafted before the following: Mike Minor, Gio Gonzalez, Hisashi Iwakuma, David Ortiz and Ben Zobrist, among others. Hamilton could provide owners with plenty of stolen bases this season, but his inability to get on base in AAA has me worried.
Another outfielder, Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers, was taken in the third round, the 28th player overall, and 27th hitter off the board. He was the 11th outfielder off the board, just ahead of Justin Upton, Jay Bruce and teammate Matt Kemp. I think Puig makes sense in the early third round, as he has the potential to hit 25+ home runs and steal 20+ bases with a solid batting average in 2014. He hit very well in his rookie season, and actually improved his walk rate to around 10% in the second half, which bodes well for his runs and stolen base totals.
I was a little surprised to see Mets third baseman David Wright get drafted at #13 overall, the last pick in the first round, ahead of Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Chris Davis and Adrian Beltre, who I have ranked ahead of Wright in my third base rankings.
It appears the experts are still going with the draft hitting first strategy, but there are small baby steps toward drafting pitching early. I compared this draft to the Tout Wars mixed league draft results from last March and saw that the first 12 starters were drafted in the first 52 picks in the FSTA draft, while the first 12 starters were drafted in the first 53 picks in the Tout Wars mixed league draft last season. Looking deeper into the drafts, the top 30 starters were selected in the first 117 picks in the FSTA draft, while the top 30 starters were drafted in the first 141 picks in the Tout Wars draft. Baby steps.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols was the 48th player drafted in the FSTA draft. This has to be the first time he hasn't been drafted in the first round since his rooke year, no? He was drafted at #8 in the Tout Wars draft last season. Some think he can return to be the hitter he was in 2012, where he hit .285 with 30 HRs, 85 runs and 105 RBI. I will take the under on the BA and RBI. He might reach the 30 home run level, but I think the odds are slim.
White Sox new first baseman Jose Abreu was the 14th first baseman off the board, and the 104th player drafted overall. He is getting some love this offseason, where some are saying he is the best hitter to ever come from Cuba. We shall see. ZIPs projects him to hit .273 with 26 HRs.
I recently traded a $15 Glen Perkins (last year of contract) and the 21st pick in the MILB draft for $2 Jason Castro and $5 Corey Kluber in an AL-only keeper league. I have to say I was completely surprised to see Kluber taken in the 11th round of the FSTA draft, the 37th starting pitcher taken overall, ahead of the likes of CC Sabathia, Andrew Cashner, Francisco Liriano and C.J. Wilson. Am I missing something here on Kluber?
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