Grey explored the essence of our contest in Grey’s RazzSlam Recap: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing and Neither Does Anyone Else.

The pith of that essence?

“Unlike roto leagues, I think Points Leagues are more about exploiting the format than about what players you draft.”

Dude.

Yeah.

Same.

Love it.

I wanted to recap a different points league I’m in with Grey and 28 other people, but we’re in round 32 of 50. The league’s collective will to persist, knowing we’ve missed Opening Day, is waning with every successive selection, so I guess that’ll have to wait.

But anywho, Grey’s quote up top perfectly describes how I’m playing that league. I’ve been mentioning it occasionally in this space: The Dynasty Baseball Championship. Played it last year, and it feels a lot more like a points league stretched across five years than a dynasty. Most of the league is taking players they like, irrespective of the five-year time frame. I’m playing it like a board game, or any kind of strategy game really. 

I feel an Eldritch Horror (board game) segment coming on here but suffice it to say that Eldritch is all about building up to a point and then sprinting for the finish before the turn clock runs out. I tend to walk that line too closely, preferring to build a buff enough character to actually seal the deal when the time comes rather than rushing into a battle I’m not ready for just because we might run out of turns. It’s a devastating co-op game that way. A hard cap of total turn cards and several soft caps the game can hit to kill your crew if it’s not keeping up with the pace. It’s all about timing that big push. 

Similarly, RazzSlam doesn’t give players the error bar of a season-long league or even a game of Pandemic, where the timeframe is dictated by the player’s competence. If you’re not good enough to finish top 3 during that first stretch of RazzSlam, that’s that. You’re done by July. Sure, there’s a consolation game for those who missed the cut, but who wants that? Nobody. That’s like adding turns to the Mythos deck after Eldritch Horror has ended your night. Not cool. Game’s over, bub. The elder gods have won. 

Alright, so with the fate of the world in flux, let’s see how I did.

 

Catchers (round selected.pick)

Christian Vazquez 14.159 

Tom Murphy 27.322

Luis Torrens 41.490

Wanted to get American League bats in spots where they might DH a few days throughout the season. Failed to get Captain T. Alejandro Kirk, who went at 283. I’d gotten him at 317 in TGFBI and foolishly assumed I had time to spare. 

He’s just a catcher, you might be thinking.

Which, how can I argue with that? Except, well, he was their DH in the playoffs and has been the DH several times this spring. 

Anyway, I think he’s got a chance to be among the position leaders in at bats. 

 

First Basemen 

Dominic Smith 8.87 (OF) 

Andrew Vaughn 16.183

Smith brings that sweet outfield eligibility and the likelihood that he’s about to settle in as a superstar-level hitter. 

Get Vaughn up!

Oh, they did! Woohoo! Like Andrew W.K. before him, Vaughn is ready to get this party started.

 

Second Basemen 

Ozzie Albies 3.34

Jazz Chisholm 35.418 (SS) 

Well here’s a fun one.

Always loved Ozzie. Perfect fit for the contact-happy RazzSlam scoring system.

Jazz feels like a nice backup here. Streaky players gain value in the week-to-week compilations, and the multi-positional eligibility is beautiful in this game.  

 

Third Basemen

Jose Ramirez 1.10

Jonathan India 37.442

Looks a bit light here, but that’ll change later in the piece, and I didn’t want to over-invest at a position where I employed high-end draft capital.

 

Shortstops

Adalberto Mondesi 4.39

Bobby Witt Jr. 24.279

Amed Rosario 33.394

Gotta have Mondesi. I’m always playing a game of chicken with the room on that one. Surprised myself a bit taking Albies over him, but I believed the hate would carry him through the turn and cue the music: there he was, awaiting our reunion. He’s been batting third of late, and I think that’s more or less where he’ll stay. The idea of him on first base with Carlos Santana at the plate taking pitch after pitch is exhilarating. 

News of an oblique injury for Mondesi crossed my desk just moments before sending this article to post, so that’s fun. Super cool final week of spring training all around. Good thing I’ve got Jazz on hand.

Rosario is the most likely applicant to claim the centerfield job. Sure, he made some errors in his very first in-game attempt at the position. Baseball is hard. Centerfield especially. Not because you have a lot of ground to cover but because it’s hard to get an angle on the ball off the bat. You need to see a lot of hard-hit balls from center off a lot of different pitches to get a feel for what can happen.

That said, mistakes are obvious and painful in the outfield, but every position makes errors. Outfielders just have to run after theirs and look silly for longer than a third baseman who bobbles a grounder. What I’m saying is: while it will look bad at times, Cleveland is invested in getting some kind of return on Rosario, and to do that, they need him to become a centerfielder. They won’t mind watching him chase the ball as much as the announcers will. 

 

Corner Infield  

Eric Hosmer 9.106

Hey,

I’m sorry: 

I know this is a wonky way to format the roster.

But here we are doing it that way,

and I suspect you get it. 

 

Middle Infield 

Ty France (2B) 18.207

Thing is, I could put India here, and France is likely to add 3B eligibility. Shizz gets complex pretty quickly in a RazzSlam draft recap. Glad we’ve got computers to add it all up each week. The permutations are thick even before we throw stats into the equation. 

 

Outfield

Christian Yelich 2.15

Michael Conforto 6.63

Teoscar Hernandez 7.82

Byron Buxton 13.154

Dylan Carlson 15.178

Alex Kirilloff 20.231

Jackie Bradley Jr. 30.351

Gregory Polanco 31.370

Might need another outfielder, but Dom Smith helps. Amed Rosario and Andrew Vaughn should join the group in early April. 

Yelich was a win. Didn’t see that one coming. After an awful opening month, he was regular Yelich in September.

Conforto is in the middle of a profile transformation, using the whole field and taking the hits where they are rather than trying to lift every single thing out of the park. Will he repeat his feat from 2020 and hit .322 across a full season? No, probably not. Is he going to return to 2019 when he hit .257? No, probably not. I think he’s roughly  a .300/.400/.500 guy for the rest of his prime.

Teoscar Hernandez is a monster in this format. The cleanup hitter in Toronto is going to smash as an everyday player, something I only mention because people are assuming he’ll lose time on a deep team. If he does lose a few games, that’s what it’ll be: a few. His breakout began in 2019 and carried over. I rarely hear that in the conversation around Hernandez, which often treats his 2020 as a one-off fluke given his swing and miss. Nobody thinks Aaron Judge is a fluke though, and Teoscar’s plate skills and batted ball metrics (98th percentile exit velocity, 98th percentile barrel rate) look a lot like Judge’s.

I think Jackie Bradley Jr. is set up for a career year in Milwaukee–an elite setting for left-handed bats. Boston, on the other hand, can force a lefty to alter his approach to fit the dimensions, something Bradley has mentioned this winter in the context of how excited he is to return to just hitting the ball where it’s pitched, allowing his more natural swing to take hold. We’ll see. 

Polanco’s long been a personal favorite of mine. Happy to see him looking good this spring, posting big exit velocities and looking relaxed but quick in the box. 

 

Utility 

Shohei Ohtani 11.130

Ke’Brayan Hayes 12.135

Boom! Didn’t see this coming, did ya?

Hayes looks like a monster in RazzSlam, where making contact is king. Not a big deal if he doesn’t clear 20 home runs. Incredible value here in my opinion. With Hayes, Ramirez, India and France, third base should be a high-scoring position for me. 

Shohei Ohtani is a cheat code in this format. If he pitches well, he’ll fill a P slot at week’s end, unless of course he absolutely smashes the baseball that week, in which case he’ll fill Util with precisely zero thought or effort from yours truly, making the RazzSlam Shotime’s best format. 

 

Starting Pitcher 

Zach Plesac 5.58

Ian Anderson 10.111

Shohei Ohtani 11.130

Jose Urquidy 17.202

Brady Singer 19.226

Cristian Javier 21.250

Jameson Taillon 22.255

Tarik Skubal 23.274

Tejay Antone 25.298

Dylan Cease 26.303

Jake McGee 28.327

Trevor Rogers 29.346

Tanner Scott 32.375

Alex Reyes 34.399

John Gant 36.423

Logan Webb 28.447

Tyler Anderson 39.466

Jose Alvarado 40.471

Gregory Soto 42.495

19 pitchers. 23 hitters. 

I kind of love all these late arms, but I’ll talk about one I don’t think gets enough coverage.

I seriously doubt John Gant is ever going back to the bullpen. He’s got an ideal innings-eater skill set: plus command of three above average pitches that access three different velocity bands. The defense loses Kolten Wong but adds Nolan Arenado: might be a huge exchange given that Edman is much closer to Wong than 2020 Matt Carpenter is to Nolan Arenado and that Paul DeJong is a great defender but could use some help going to the hole. 

 

I feel like I missed on three picks here: 

1: P Zach Plesac 5.58 — bit of a bad read on the room here. I wanted Plesac badly as a fit for a league in which decisions and innings are even more valuable than in 5×5 roto. Cleveland leads the league in starters’ innings year over year as Francona combines some new school numberwang with some old school feel-it-out and gets more out of his arms than anyone in baseball. Still, no matter how I can justify it, this pick is a reach.  

2: SS Bobby Witt Jr. 24.279 — chance I was happy to take: a potential top 100 bat the moment he makes the team and a cut on the first faab run if it looks like he’ll be a while, which it does. 

3: P Jose Alvarado 40.471 — probably unfair to call this a miss, but I was rolling with the echo chamber narrative here, something I typically avoid. I’m not certain the pick was born from a bad process: I mean who really cries over 40th round picks? Still, it doesn’t feel like good process when, just a few days after the draft, I would’ve been happier with just about anyone else in my queue at the time. 

In summary, I think this team is good.

We’d have a real problem if it didn’t look that way to me the day before the season.

It’s a 12-team mixed league with 42 roster spots–don’t have to be a genius to find some talent–but I feel like I have good read on what’s required to succeed in the format, and even compared to other builds, I like this one, especially my value-priced pitching. 

First faab run is April 12, and I’ll probably be seeking a pitcher or two. Alvarado and Witt are on the bubble. If I drop them and wind up with 20 arms and 22 bats, I’ll be rolling. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 

20 Comments
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Jr
Jr
1 year ago

Itch! I know you’re the prospect guy so I wanted to ask you, in a dynasty league where prospects and rookies are extremely valuable (most team friendly tags) what do you think it should take to move Wander Franco? Would you even entertain offers to move him?

My team is likely a year or two away from competing, but might be able to make a run if I got a good enough haul for Franco.

Cable
Cable
1 year ago

Why isn’t Framber Valdez not on the IL when he’s out till June at least

happyharry
happyharry
1 year ago

Dang, purty good team..I like Singer and Cease. Your advice please on WW OF’s for Grisham IL. Rank top 3: Robles, Haniger, McCutchen, Hicks, Dozier, Solak, A. Dickerson, F. Cordero, Dahl
Thanks Man!

Jolt In Flow
Jolt In Flow
1 year ago

Itch, it’s been a while. Hope all is well.

Great team! I’d take it. I’d love to have seen the other teams, but am going out on a limb and saying this is easily a better than middle of pack team. Definite contender for the title. Great pieces all over the board. A combo of Ramirez and then Yelich (at 15!) to start it off? I hope you thanked the other managers for the early Christmas present they gave you to start off your team.

FYI – as a side, I believe Vaughn is now 1b/OF eligible in most formats (which is massive).

One small question for you; you have a chance to take Bohm or Kelenic in a keep forever format. Who do you take? I’m torn on what is (Bohm) and what should be (Kelenic).

Thanks a mil, Itch.

Jolt

Dratsab77
Dratsab77
1 year ago

I was in the draft room with you and it was a pleasure. I was feeling pretty good about myself until Yates and Jimenez both went down for the season After I drafted them. Ended up 26 hitters and 16 pitchers so maybe a little light on the P side but kind of focused on high innings and high SO relievers to feed that machine every day and tried to get multiple options at each position to keep the points rolling in daily. Just wanted to say thanks and good luck

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
1 year ago

Don’t forget our little side bet:

My Lou Bob vs. Your Arozarena.

You’re going to be really disappointed when the season’s over. Actually, you’re going to be really disappointed by the All-Star break!!!

Dan The Mets Fan
Dan The Mets Fan
1 year ago

Hey Itch

Who else besides Plesac was available in Round 5?

I draft tonight 12 team-24player roster Pick 9 Snake Draft

What Round do I pull the trigger on a SP?

toolshed
toolshed
1 year ago

Thanks Itch. Good luck this year in your leagues. I want to ask one final question since you have Polanco. I too was high on him and thought he was going to be a star. He is healthy and the bucs would love for him to produce so they can get his salary off the books. I have an opening on my team in a deeper format. Would you rather take a chance on Polanco while healthy or give tsutsugo a shot who now is getting playing time with Choi out. Obp format. Need an OF. Thx

toolshed
toolshed
1 year ago

I see you own soto. Do you think he is the closer? Tbey haven’t named anyone.

Also wanted to get your thoughts on David bednar, I think he is still considered a rookie. I am looking for a reliever in a dynasty league. These guys always pop up out of nowhere. Spring stats don’t mean much but 18:1 K:BB caught my eye. Thanks

Commish Cauda
Commish Cauda
1 year ago

Thanks for the great draft analysis. I play in 16-team and 20-team points leagues, and the review of a deep draft like RazzSlamm has been very helpful.

Speaking of points leagues….

16-team H2H-Points League (W=7, L=-5, QS=5, Inn=1, Walks allowed=-0.3, Hits allowed=-0.1, SB=3)

My SPs:

Bieber (keeper), Kershaw, Burnes (keeper), Luzardo (keeper), Lynn (keeper)
Bench: Ray and Trevor Rogers

Went bats early and often because of all the keeper arms. Now have been offered Freddie Freeman straight up for Kershaw by a team with weak pitching.

I don’t have a lot of SP depth, and my offense is solid, but I’m crazy not to take it, right?

My bats:

C – Will Smith
1B – Olson
2B – Solak
3B – Machado
SS – Javier Baez
MI/CI – France
OF – Conforto, Lewis (inj), Haniger, Victor Robles
U – Y Moncada

Bench: Chris Taylor, Willy Adames, R Tellez

**Kelenic in single minors spot

Thoughts?

Thanks