Last year around this time, we were all bright-eyed and razzy-tailed youths looking forward to a fresh new season through the lens of a fresh new format: The RazzSlam, a collection of 12-team best ball leagues to determine who is the Razziest baller of them all.  

I did what I could to find my way through the field and wrote about it here in Attack on RazzSlam: The Itch’s Final Draft Rundown

Mistakes were made. I drafted 19 pitchers, which is fine, especially considering the pitchers I got: Logan Webb at pick 447, Alex Reyes at 399, Trevor Rogers at 346, Jake McGee at 327, Dylan Cease at 303 . . . Hey, how come I didn’t win this league? 

Well, outfield weakness, for starters. Christian Yelich at 2.15 was not fun. Conforto at pck 63. Teoscar at 82 and Buxton at 134 were fine, but in general, I was short on corner bats (had Dom Smith, Andrew Vaughn, Eric Hosmer at 1B) and short on outfield bats. Was also weak at catcher: Vazquez, Tom Murphy and Torrens oh my. 

In most roto leagues, I think you can cover a weak spot with a strong one. That doesn’t seem to be the case in the RazzSlam, so I guess that was our blueprint heading into the draft: have good players at every position. Seems simple enough. 

 

Catchers: 

OF Daulton Varsho 7.78

Yadier Molina 19.222

Francisco Mejia 26.307

Luis Campusano 37.438

Meh.

These men are catchers.

I wanted Varsho for the everyday outfield at bats out of the three-spot in Arizona’s lineup, Yadi for the timelessness and Mejia for the now-functional hit tool. Campusano will be in the majors for a third straight season. I expect him to push for a 50-50 timeshare with Austin Nola

 

First Basemen:

Matt Olson 3.30

OF Alex Kirilloff 12.139

Spencer Torkelson 20.235

OF LaMonte Wade 24.283

Carlos Santana 31.366

OF Darin Ruf 33.390

What the hell am I gonna do with six first basemen? 

Avoid losing due to weak corner production, that’s what. 

Ideally, Kirilloff, Wade and Ruf will land in the outfield spots because Olson and Tork are tearing the cover off the ball. I don’t think the A’s are doing the much-discussed sell-off, for what it’s worth, but if they do move Olson, that’s a good thing. 

Santana was a weird pick. Might toss that one back for a pitcher if I had it to do over again. Corey Kluber and Stephen Strasburg went shortly after him, and I’d make that swap given my build. I overcompensated for being thin at third base and figured Santana was a better bat than any 3B on the board. Mental gymnastics there. Might work out. Santana was elite in 2019. Wish we had him three years ago. 

 

Second Basemen: 

OF Ketel Marte 5.54

3B SS Luis Urias 11.126

Nico Hoerner 29.342

Probably reached for Marte. Can’t help myself. Anytime I’m close to the Ketel, I’m ready to cook. 

Didn’t handle this position especially well. Hoerner could be good in the format and save my bacon. I wanted him pretty badly because he makes a lot of contact and should add shortstop eligibility early. 

I’m open to the suggestion that I overvalue positional flexibility in this format. To my knowledge, it’s the only game of its kind in that Ketel Marte will go wherever he’s needed most in a given week: 2B or OF. I get lost in the permutations and find myself wanting to collect as many skilled multi-spot guys as I can accrue. Theory is all I have so far, but I’m leaning in anyway. 

 

Third Basemen: 

Manny Machado 2.19

2B SS Luis Urias 11.126

Landing an elite third-sacker was a priority for me, and I think Machado qualifies. 

I’m hoping Bobby Witt and/or Vidal Brujan add eligibility here, but I’m not holding my breath. Thank God for Luis Urias

 

Shortstops: 

Bobby Witt Jr. 9.102

2B 3B Luis Urias 11.126

JP Crawford 28.331

Might be my weakest spot this season. 

Nico Hoerner is currently in line to play shortstop at Wrigley, so that’s something. 

Was a little surprised Witt Jr. made it out of the top 100, if only by a hair. Not much risk here compared to the reward. 

My best pick of the whole draft might have been Luis Urias. Nice little security blanket having him around to paper over any early-season struggles across my infield. Over his final 45 games, Urias slashed .282/.372/.510 with a 10.9 percent walk rate and 17.8 percent strikeout rate. I’m up for some variation of that. As an in-draft bonus, having Urias emboldened me to make some picks I might have otherwise avoided in search of infield depth. Probably overdid that in the end. Will need to add a middle infielder if Brujan isn’t playing there. 

 

Outfielders: 

Eloy Jimenez 4.43

2B Ketel Marte 5.54

1B Alex Kirilloff 12.139

Michael Conforto 16.187

Jo Adell 18.211

1B LaMonte Wade 24.283

Julio Rodriguez 25.294

Vidal Brujan 30.355

1B Darin Ruf 33.390

Bryan De La Cruz 36.427

Michael A. Taylor 39.462

Jarren Duran 40.475

Yadiel Hernandez 42.499

Can’t accuse me of losing the same way twice. 13 outfielders here with Varsho not listed as a 14th for obvious reasons. Four of them can kick in elsewhere on the diamond, with Brujan a likely fifth at some point this season. 

Probably a little early for Eloy here. Weird pressure, knowing I need outfielders but looking at that empty spot. The position thins out in a hurry, so I don’t hate getting him here by any means. 

Dang, I got Conforto again! He better have my money this time. He hit .322 in the short season and seemed to be on a new path as a hitter, valuing contact over power and employing an all-fields approach. He played injured off and on throughout 2021, so we don’t know what we’re getting this year. Don’t even know where he’ll be, among other things we don’t know about the 2022 season. 

Love Adell in the format. Want him this year in any format, honestly, but his batting average means little to me here, where his streakiness could be a boon.

I will be dropping one of these guys for a third baseman or pitcher, and I’m looking at you, Michael A. Taylor. He started hot last season then faded fast, and I’m honestly hoping for something similar, at least in the hot-start sense. 

Ruf is a ridiculous value down here in a best ball draft. The hard part with Giants is knowing how many games they’ll play each week, but that doesn’t matter here, where I only get him when he’s good. Topside involves the Universal DH adding a few new chances a week for Ruf, who slashed .271/.385/.519 in 312 plate appearances last season with a 14.7 % walk rate, which was almost exactly his slash line across 100 plate appearances in 2020: .276/.370/.517. 

That combo of Duran and Hernandez is going to bring me some points. Or get dropped. Maybe both. 

 

Pitchers: 

U Shohei Ohtani 1.6

Bit of a false start here, as Ohtani is listed as a pitcher in the system and may very well wind up filling a pitcher spot once in a while, but primarily, he should hold down the utility role. It’s a wonderful aspect of the Slam that Ohtani just goes wherever he’s best. I was choosing between him and Juan Soto with the sixth pick. If I had it to do over again, I would probably take Soto. I don’t regret having Ohtani, but I have had him in basically every league since he came to the states, and I’ve only ever had Soto in one league that dissolved. Soft factors like that are pretty much useless brain-noise, so I dismissed them while on the clock, but for whatever reason as I lay out the team, I’m pining for the more clear-cut outlook that Soto provides. Ohtani, kind of like Mondesi, is a piece you almost have to build a team without, if that makes any sense. If Mondesi is your only speed player, you’re in trouble. You need enough steals to get by without him. Similarly, if Ohtani is your best pitcher, you’ll need enough pitching to survive without him. Let’s see if I’ve got enough.

Freddy Peralta 6.67 

Max Fried 8.91

Alek Manoah 10.115

Justin Verlander 13.150

Tyler Mahle 14.163

Zac Gallen 15.174

Ian Anderson 17.198

Camilo Doval 21.246

Jose Urquidy 22.259

Casey Mize 23.270

David Bednar 27.318

Joe Barlow 32.379

Nestor Cortes Jr. 34.403

Robert Suarez 35.414

Art Warren 38.451

Reiver Sanmartin 41.486

16 pitchers, not counting Ohtani. Five are relievers. I’d like to have more than 11 starting pitchers heading into week one, but I’ll just have to keep an eye toward that on the first faab run. 

Aside from wanting another dude or two, I love this staff. The price on Bednar and Barlow makes no sense to me. Kind of a fluke of the RazzSlam draft room, I think, where closers get dinged on the front end even though they’re great to have in-season. Hell I took Doval 100 spots higher in the TGFBI, where Barlow and Bednar went about a150 spots higher in my league. 

Manoah is a great RazzSlammer. If he has a six-walk game, so be it. Doesn’t hurt me. 

Can’t do a whole lot better than Ian Anderson has his first two seasons. Has been a value in every room I’ve seen this year. 

Mize and Urquidy feel like better Roto pitchers than Razz-Slammers, given their solid ratios and bland strikeout rates, but they’ll be key safety valves and double-starters for me. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

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junior56
junior56
5 months ago

Hi Itch!

RazzSlam! Sounds interesting! I have a 12 team 5×5 redraft league today. Picking 11th not ideal but be interesting to see who falls to me there. At what point would you start looking at drafting SP’s?

I was offered Jordan Walker for Grayson straight up… Saw Walkers swiped a few bases this past year, do you think that speed will still be there when he hits the big leagues?

packers2018
packers2018
Reply to  junior56
5 months ago

My 2 cents.

Grab Devers if he is available along with Tucker, Roberts or Albies. If you take Devers you would need some speed (SB’s).

Take Olson or Alonzo with a SP at your next turn 3 and 4.
Getting a top 3B early makes the rest of the draft flow better. OF thins out kind of fast.

Ante GALIC
Ante GALIC
5 months ago

The Itch!!!

Awesome!

a. I have my first RCL draft this afternoon out of the #5 slot. I did a mock draft yesterday. Mocks are fun more a situational test to assemble the best team in moment X versus preparation for the real deal. Although I am sure Cole or Burnes or Woodruff or all 3 could go in round 1. Question. In my RCL, I checked Shohei on his eligibility in my league and it says ‘UT/P’. Not all leagues are alike but to have him in the U and then say a bench bat when he pitches as I toggle him between the two sounds too good, right? Question, sorry. Who would you take with the #5 pick in a standard RCL

1 Shohei
2 VGJ
3 JoRam
4 The next best player available on Grey’s top 500 (like yesterday in that mock I took Bichette out of the 5 hole)

If I go Shohei, I’m limiting myself or am I overthinking it.

b. No real prospect questions. Does Witt at 60 seem fair in RCLs?

c. Norm MacDonald quote of the day for March 6, 2022

‘The Diamond council of America advises that men spend two months salary on an engagement ring while the American Housing Company suggests you spend 25% of your salary on rent. Interestingly, the US Crack Association recommends you spend all your salary on crack.’

d. Marx Brothers quote of the day for March 6, 2022

‘If things get too much for you and you feel the whole world’s against you, go stand on your head. If you can think of anything crazier to do, do it.’

Harpo Marx

Cheers,
Ante

Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo
Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo
Reply to  The Itch
5 months ago

was likely during that m.berry was caught smoking crack era, there were just a TON of those. anchorman 2 dealt with it in even funnier way.

toolshed
toolshed
5 months ago

I am working on finalizing my keepers for a 16 team dynasty league. We keep 30 including prospects. I am about a year away from competing. I inherited this team 2 years ago. What should I do with soroka? Is he worth holding onto and putting him in an IL spot and picking up someone else? Not sure about his recovery timeline or quite frankly if he will ever make it back. There is no standout player left to make that final cut for man #30 on this roster. I am keeping all of my prospects and it would come down to soroka, lamont wade, garver or a non closing reliever. We will have a 6 rd draft after roster cuts somewhere. Thanks