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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eric Hosmer 9.106
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.