Based on ESPN’s Live Draft Results, let’s see what a team constructed around non-top 10 players at each position looks like.
Please note: I’m ranking by Outfield overall, but I will list the LF/CF/RF eligibility.
Also, for pitchers, we’ll do those outside of the top 25, and try to descend in tiers of ten.
C - Welington Castillo, CWS, 13th Catcher drafted, 228 Average Draft Position (“ADP”) overall
1B - MFing Miguel Cabrera, DET, 14th 1B drafted, 125 ADP overall
2B - Ian Kinsler, LAA, 15th 2B drafted, 170 ADP overall
SS - Ketel Marte, ARI, 32nd SS drafted, 260+ ADP overall (6% ownership)
3B - Kyle Seager, SEA, 11th 3B drafted, 110 ADP overall
OF1 - Andrew Benintendi, BOS, LF, 12th OF drafted, 48 ADP overall
OF2 - Yasiel Puig, LAD, RF, 24th OF drafted, 103 ADP overall
OF3 - Kyle Schwarber, CHC, LF, 39th OF drafted, 169 ADP overall
OF4 - Delino DeShields, TEX, CF, 41st OF drafted, 181 ADP overall
UTIL - Brandon Belt, SF, 28th 1B drafted, 260+ ADP overall (20% ownership)
SP1 - Jose Berrios, MIN, 26th SP drafted, 107 ADP overall
SP2 - Zack Godley, ARI, 36th SP drafted, 136 ADP overall
SP3 - Danny Salazar, CLE, 50th SP drafted, 192 ADP overall
SP4 - Jeff Samardzija, SF, 57th SP drafted, 212 ADP overall
SP5 - Patrick Corbin, ARI, 72nd SP drafted, 224 ADP overall (really?)
RP1 - Chad Green, NYY, 26th RP drafted, 218 ADP overall
RP2 - Chris Devenski, 38th RP drafted, 260+ ADP overall (21% ownership)
RP3 - Drew Steckenrider, 56th RP drafted, 260+ ADP overall (4% ownership)
That’s not bad! I kind of love it, actually, especially if Kinsler has a bounce back year (he was unlucky last year), and Marte (who will start at 2B, and thus will have 2B/SS flexibility) continues to improve. The starting pitching is risky, but, DUH, we’re picking dudes who aren’t universally acclaimed as sensational. The Shark is injured for the first month of the season, but he’s one of the most dependable SPs out there. Salazar is only 28, and there’s no reason to think he won’t improve and refine his craft and control. And Corbin is a stud, I have no idea why he isn’t being drafted higher. He’s the Opening Day starter for the Diamondbacks, isn’t he?
Anyway, here’s that roster with their ESPN projections:
C - 20 home runs, 108 hits, .265 batting average, .773 OPS
1B - 25 HR, 145 hits, .289 BA, .867 OPS
2B - 21 HR, 143 hits, 12 steals, .251 BA, .732 OPS
SS - 5 HR, 123 hits, 16 steals, .265 BA, .693 OPS (FWIW, I think he hits 10+ HR)
3B - 27 HR, 155 hits, 4 steals, .265 BA, .807 OPS
OF1 - 19 HR, 163 hits, 21 steals, .280 BA, .803 OPS
OF2 - 27 HR, 139 hits, 10 steals, .267 BA, .828 OPS
OF3 - 31 HR, 118 hits, 3 steals, .241 BA, .812 OPS
OF4 - 8 HR, 131 hits, 39 steals, .260 BA, .687 OPS
UTIL - 18 HR, 120 hits, 3 steals, .263 BA, .845 OPS
SP1 - 18 Quality Starts, 170 strikeouts, 3.58 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
SP2 - 17 QS, 196 Ks, 3.46 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
SP3 - 11 QS, 146 Ks, 3.93 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
SP4 - 13 QS, 149 Ks, 3.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
SP5 - 15 QS, 162 Ks, 3.76 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
RP1 - 0 Saves, 133 Ks, 2.80 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
RP2 - 2 Saves, 98 Ks, 2.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
RP3 - 0 Saves, 73 Ks, 2.82 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
That’s a useful team. Obviously, the bullpen could improve vis-a-vis Saves, but closers are going to be in flux throughout the entire season, just like always. These three are RPs that can legit help you with your ratios, and also may be closers-in-waiting, depending on how things go (injuries, trades, demotions, etc.).
The point is, you can craft a solid-to-good fantasy baseball team even if you miss out on the elites. Every draft is different, but if you’re able to take advantage of ADP and sit on a few good, unheralded guys, then you might be able to acquire REALLY good players earlier in the draft.
The season starts Thursday. Best of luck!