I recently participated in a 12-team auction draft comprised entirely of folks from across the fake sports industry. We drafted 21 starters and 5 bench spots with a standard $260 budget. The wrinkle (for me) is that this is a points league. Yours truly plays 100 percent head-to-head (blame fantasy football) so putting $25 USD on this squad was likely a mistake. Here are the touts, along with their respective outlets:
- Malamoney (Razzball)
- Joe Bond/Anthony Applegarth (Fantasy Six Pack)
- Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)
- Tanner Bell (Smart Fantasy Baseball)
- Ryan Fowler (Fox Sports)
- Steve Rapin (Fighting Chance Fantasy)
- Chris Meaney (FNTSYSports)
- Kyle Bishop (RotoBaller)
- Lance Brozdowski (BigThreeSports)
- Scott Barzilla (thefantasyfix.com)
- Michael Florio (RotoExperts)
- me (Fake Teams)
Since this was my first draft of the season, I probably made a few mistakes. I do value speed and I think that shows. I also don’t value spending much of my budget on pitching, and that shows as well (I basically allocated 80% of my budget to hitting). That might be a mistake given the strength of my competition, but I think I came away with some decent rotation pieces. I’m also not too far off from a 70/30 split, which is pretty typical of most teams. Anyway, let’s jump in and check out some dollar values.
C J.T. Realmuto ($11) - I definitely spent a couple of extra dollars for the “speed.” I know I can grab 10 steals almost anywhere, but I wanted speed top to bottom. I’m a fish for Realmuto...
1B Wil Myers ($23) - This seems like a discount for a guy with his tools, despite the poor second half last season. Incidentally, Myers went for $23 in the Tout Wars draft the following evening...so I can’t be too far off on my valuation.
2B Logan Forsythe ($10) - I have a lot of love for these “floor” types. Forsythe should hammer 15-20 home runs and swipe double-digit bags this season, even if his talents aren’t league-winning. They aren’t league-losing, either.
3B Justin Turner ($10) - Turner has been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball the past couple of years. I am fine with his steady production at the hot corner, especially since he will bat in the heart of the order this season.
SS Jean Segura ($14) - I was a Segura ‘truther’ last season, and I am still singing the same tune. He gets a park downgrade but a lineup upgrade...those two balance out pretty well in my opinion.
CI Edwin Encarnacion ($22) - Encarnacion for $22 was one of the draft surprises for me. Maybe I’m missing something, but why is this prodigious power so cheap? Sure, he may lose a handful of home runs from last season due to the park downgrade, but I was excited at this price point.
MI Javier Baez ($5) - Baez should return value at this price, even as a super-sub. He is one of my favorite late picks this year. I don’t wish injuries on anyone, but it only takes one for Baez become a regular. That, and Ben Zobrist is 35 and not getting any younger.
OF Bryce Harper ($47) - Trout was too rich for my blood and Harper epitomizes my faith in the ability of veteran players to bounce back from down years (see Jean Segura last season).
OF Giancarlo Stanton ($24) - Another established veteran at a what I feel is a discount, based on the ceiling we have previously witnessed. Health is his primary barrier, but Stanton has as high a ceiling as any player in the fake game. I’ll take that for $24...for reference, Stanton went for $28 in Tout Wars.
OF Starling Marte ($21) - More than just a steady contributor, Marte could go for 20/30 and it would surprise no one. Back issues last September likely cost him some pop, as his .145 ISO was the lowest mark of his career. A rebound closer to his career .158 ISO is likely, which would mean a floor of about 15 home runs to go along with his excellent speed totals. He is a top 15 outfielder in the fake game.
OF Jackie Bradley, Jr. ($9) - I am a South Carolina native so this is a bit of a homer pick. I rode his blistering 29-game hitting streak in MLB DFS last season and I didn’t see many appetizing options after him. Even without any growth he would be a solid OF4—and he’s still only 26 years old with room to improve.
OF Dexter Fowler ($6) - He is leading off for one of the best franchises in baseball...what’s not to love?
UT Billy Hamilton ($4) - Hamilton at under $5 is a great value. He is a legitimate threat to swipe 70 bags this season. I can always pawn him off on a speed-deficient team at some point during the season if necessary. Or I could bask in the glory of dominating the steals category. Options are nice.
B Keon Broxton ($5) - For $5 I am willing to see if Broxton can curb his massive 36.1% strikeout rate enough to remain on the field. If so, he offers an appetizing combination of power and speed. His 14.8% walk rate last season gives him a safe enough floor, too. So long as he’s getting on base, the bags will come (Broxton was successful on 23 of 27 attempts in only 244 PA last season). Over the course of an entire year, his counting statistics could be as obscene as his batting average...
B Mitch Moreland ($1) - Mitch and I are from the same hometown and played on the same soccer team for a year (he was a freshman when I was a senior). I love drafting the hometown hero, but I also expect to get some value from him in Fenway. Mitch is an upgrade for Boston defensively and is a solid bat against right-handed pitching. Red Sox fans will love him soon enough.
SP Carlos Martinez ($14) - He has a career 54.5% ground ball rate to match his solid 22.5% strikeout rate. Teams tend to stack lefty bats against C-Mart, but he’s shown growth against left-handed hitters the past two seasons. He is a safe investment once you get out of the top 15 starters or so.
SP Aaron Sanchez ($9) - He was tops in the American League in ERA last year, is only 24 years old, and is no longer on an innings limit...why is he going for single digits? The only “negative” is his 20.4% strikeout rate, but over 200 innings he should still amass 170-180 strikeouts. With the shiny ratios, I’ll take that all day on my limited pitching budget.
SP Felix Hernandez ($7) - Just call me a sucker. I drafted him aggressively last season too, though this price feels like highway robbery. Last season’s abnormally high 14.5% HR/FB rate should stabilize, especially in the confines of Safeco Field (career 10.9% mark). Decreasing fastball velocity (down to 90.5 mph in 2016) is a concern, but last season’s abnormally high BB/9 (3.82) should ‘regress’ closer to his 2.59 BB/9 career average. People are discussing King Felix like he’s Bartolo, but despite the mountains of innings logged he is still just 30 years old. Even though the skills are eroding, a guy of his talent level should be able to make adjustments.
SP Mike Foltynewicz (1) - “Folty” is intriguing due to his fastball/slider combo and to his job security—the Braves are not exactly drowning in alternatives. Folty does throw flames (95 mph fastball) and showed some growth in 2016. For a buck, we’ll see if the 25 year-old can continue to improve his command.
SP Alex Cobb (1) - Like Foltynewicz, I am happy beginning the year with Cobb at the back of my fake rotation. He has had ongoing injury issues, including Tommy John surgery in May of 2015. 2017 should be better, as Cobb has a career 3.44 ERA and is a much better pitcher than the 8.59 ERA we saw over 22 innings at the end of last season.
SP Jason Hammel ($1) - An autopick. This draft went until 1am so it was bound to happen. Hammel gave up way too much hard contact in 2016 (32.5%) and his statistics continue to trend in a negative direction. I’ll be cutting bait soon when something magical appears on waivers.
RP Wade Davis ($11) - Last season’s arm injuries are of some concern; but if he’s healthy he will close out games for one of the best teams in baseball. Here is Cubs manager Joe Maddon expressing zero concern about Davis, citing his velocity and health. Still, a couple of scoreless outings to lower his 19.64 spring ERA sure would be encouraging.
RP Greg Holland ($1) - Boasts a career 33.2% strikeout rate but dropped all the way to 25.4% in 2015 when he was pitching through pain (Holland had Tommy John surgery in 2016). Now healthy, beat writers speculate the closer’s gig is Holland’s to lose in 2017. Adam Ottavino is lurking, though, and might represent better upside if his price drops steeply in your league.
B Hector Neris ($1) - Neris had a stellar 31.1% strikeout rate in 2016. He is probably the best reliever in Philadelphia. We shall see if that translates into the closer’s role or not...if it doesn’t, enjoy the strikeouts.
B Addison Reed ($1) - Reed was tops in the MLB with 40 holds last season and will close out games for the Mets should incumbent Jeurys Familia be suspended for domestic violence. If he does not obtain a closing role, his career 25.6% strikeout rate (29.9% in 2016) will come in handy.
B Brandon Kintzler ($1) - He only posted a 15.6% strikeout rate last season but he currently has possession of the closer’s role with Glen Perkins on the shelf with a shoulder injury. His stuff may be better suited to middle relief, so I will not be surprised if he loses this gig. For now, I’ll take the cheap saves since they are weighted heavily in this league.
Some draft values stood out: Matt Kemp ($9), Tim Anderson ($2), Trevor Story ($18), Lance McCullers ($8), Jonathan Villar ($16), Dansby Swanson ($2), Nelson Cruz ($16), Carlos Gomez ($4), Aledmys Diaz ($10), Robinson Cano ($23), and Ryan Braun ($21).
Some prices that seemed high and/or players that caused bidding wars: Danny Duffy ($15), Chris Sale ($34), Kenley Jansen ($20), Kevin Kiermaier ($7), Maikel Franco ($14), Corey Seager ($29), Nick Markakis ($6). There really weren’t any obvious mistakes that I saw, something you would expect in a room full of people who spend a lot of time on this fake world.
Share your thoughts on my inaugural effort and let’s chat about your favorite draft day values and guys to avoid. Happy drafting season, ladies and gents!