The 2019 fantasy baseball season is officially open for business. Not only has the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) been conducting Draft Champion leagues, private Draft & Hold (D&H) Leagues have also begun their 2019 drafts. If you’re unfamiliar with this format, each team drafts 50 players - that’s it. Once the 50 players are rostered, teams simply set their lineup each week and watch the statistics accumulate.
For years I’ve participated in a handful of these leagues each season. In the past, I’d start on New Years Day, with our famous New Year’s Draft & Hold League. Since everyone in that league seems to have some sort of fantasy addiction we introduced a December D&H league last year. As you may have guessed, we’ve since moved the first D&H league to November.
“Hi my name is Scoby and I’m a fantasy baseball addict”.
We’re officially through 20 rounds and I’d like to share my roster, reflect on the thought process behind some of the picks and comment on the overall roster building process. Today I’ll cover the first five rounds.
Rounds & Player:
- Trea Turner - 8th overall: Not many players have stolen more bases than Turner over the previous two seasons (89 stolen bases). The beauty with Turner is the fact that he also contributes non-zero power to a team’s bottom line. While another 18-20 home runs this season is not a wild projection, even 12-15 home runs will go a long way towards fulfilling this first round selection.
- Charlie Blackmon - 23rd overall: It seems as though the fantasy baseball community has moved on from Blackmon. A former first-rounder, Blackmon is now available into the second round and honestly in some drafts I would not be shocked to see him fall into the early third round. Even if we use a conservation projection such as 25 home runs, 10 stolen bases and a .285 batting average, we’re still talking about a very productive fantasy baseball asset. Coors Field and a powerful supporting cast could easily help Blackmon blow past that projection, which would be all profit.
- Carlos Carrasco - 38th overall: Health will always be the concern with Carrasco, which is why he’s available in the third round. Over 101 second-half innings pitched, Carrasco had a 2.59 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. If that was not impressive enough, a swinging strike rate of 18% and an elite command ratio of 6.4% shows that a Cy Young Award is still a possibility for Carrasco in 2019. That type of upside available in the third round is always welcome on Team Scoby Snacks.
- Jack Flaherty - 53rd overall: I’ll be honest, I had my eye on Walker Buehler here. Unfortunately, Buehler was selected just a handful of picks before it came back around to me. Once Buehler was gone I was left with deciding between James Paxton (pre-trade) and Jack Flaherty. The National League advantage that Flaherty has played a role in my decision. As a number two fantasy starter I believe Flaherty provides enough across the board - strong strikeout total, decent enough ratios - that going pitcher/pitcher in the third and fourth round was the correct decision. Remember, in a D&H teams do not have waiver wire additions or trades. While I’m not a 25/25 hitter/pitcher split player in this format, I felt like balancing my roster at this point was a sound decision.
- Tommy Pham - 68th overall: I feel like some fantasy owners are staying away from Pham because of his eye condition. Of course additional risk may be associated with Pham due to his condition, however, Pham’s 2018 season should show he is able to continue producing despite it. While 2018 was a slight pullback in terms of counting statistics, the underlying skill metrics were as strong as ever. In fact, Pham actually hit the ball harder in 2018 compared to 2017. Pham’s speed skills are also firmly intact, meaning a real run at 25/30 HR/SB could be in the cards for 2019.
I’m extremely excited about the core foundation of this fantasy team. Trea Turner, Charlie Blackmon and Tommy Pham could easily provide this roster with 60 home runs & 70 stolen bases. The best part is that there’s upside from those numbers if everything breaks right.
On the pitching side I feel confident in my team receiving at least one SP1 performance (assuming injuries don’t strike) and of course there is upside from there as well.
We will dive into rounds six through 10 soon.