The big draft weekend is over. We made it.

Completing multiple NFBCs has left me broken and tattered; my spirit longing for the season to start and early panic to set in signaling my investment in certain players was clearly too high or low (stupid!).

I was planning on doing a deep sleepers post for my own site, but in an effort to consolidate, I’ve decided to move that to the pantheon that is Razzball.

First, however, I’d like to leave two general thoughts and impressions regarding draft season. I’m particularly interested in whether I’m alone in these observations, whether anybody disagrees, or whether you noticed anything worth mentioning. Comment below, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.

Draft Thoughts

  • Limited deviation in pitcher ADP. I think this could be an effect of the consensus top-four pitchers going off the board in varying orders, followed largely by another 8-12 names which don’t deviate much in terms of projected output. While I tend to abide by the wait-on-pitching philosophy in roto leagues, even in this landscape of 150-inning arms, I found myself pulling the trigger on my first starting pitcher in the fifth-round, with the same names on the board. When I started to focus on starting pitching more given the construction of my team coming together, around the 10-12th rounds, the same names were staring me in the face: Trevor Bauer, Lance McCullers, Rich Hill, etc. In prior years, I felt like there was more deviation among starters, especially those in the 125-75 overall window. Maybe this is an effect of the landscape or merely a microcosm of my insanity.
  • Adjusting to draft rooms. This could be an effect of the diversity of leagues I’m in, but I had a general strategy blocked out for each kind of draft I was doing which felt tossed on its head after I began to see the draft room react to overvaluation of certain assets. In the 50-round, no-FAAB NFBC draft I participated in, closers went substantially ahead of where I expected them to land, even after adjusting for expected inflation. This left me with a combination of Wade Davis and Alex Colome, which in a 15-teamer is probably around average. The issue came with the “next-up” closers flying off the board before 200 overall, which was too rich for my liking as I tried to build out the power on my team after taking Trea Turner number three overall. Last year this effect didn’t feel as amplified, but it seems like my lone draft-and-hold league realized how coveted saves can be.
  • I’ve come away from more drafts this season where I understand the flaws in my team. Whether that is a matter of me developing as an owner and not being overly optimistic with anything, we will find out soon enough.
  • Aggression relative to ADP for Buxton and Acuna. I was willing to take either player at or near their ADP and genuinely wanted a few shares, but didn’t land either in any leagues. It seems that in nearly every draft of mine, somebody was willing to grab either a round earlier than I said I would pull the trigger. These two seemed like the poster boys for overdrafting, but it remains to be seen how overdrafted they will be.

Deep Sleepers

Targeting players with ADPs past 300 overall from the sample of this weekend’s NFBC drafts.

Chad Green – 315th overall

One value opportunity I noticed in multiple roto drafts came from targeting the high-leverage reliever coming off a dominant season with a suppressed chance of closing. It limits the saves upside many owners speculate on, but in turn, leaves players like Green available around their ADP without much value uptick. 69 innings last season with 103 strikeouts and the rare late-round talent of driving down a team’s WHIP, Green was a top 200 player now being drafted in the 27th round of 12-team leagues. One of the rare players last season to substantially increase his fastball usage, Green used it’s natural movement and his superb location to make it one of the best pitches in all of baseball. He’s an integral part of Girardi’s bullpen with the hidden ability to spot-start, which he did once last season. Sleeper may be a misnomer, as I think Green is great late-round value more so than a player with the ability to return value inside 150 overall.

Jack Flaherty – 324th overall

We do this every year with one or two Cardinal starting pitchers and with the recent news of Adam Wainwright’s DL stint, Flaherty receives an uptick in value once leagues start registering this information, likely pushing him inside the top 300 (I’m a cheater!). You’ll see reports that Flaherty has a straight fastball, but as long as he mitigates that with good top-of-zone location and complimentary pitches, I’m not concerned. He has improved his curveball and feels comparable to Dinelson Lamet from last year, with a devastating hard slider that is effective to both lefties and righties. I don’t think the strikeouts reach above 10 per nine, but there can still be value. I’d wait 50-75 picks and snag Flaherty over Miles Mikolas if I had some targets in the 250-325 range I liked.

Tyler Glasnow – 372nd overall

I will never give up! 25 strikeouts to five walks in spring training is what my eyes keep going to. The WHIP concerns are still apparent (1.68) and everything else is pretty bad, but I have irrational faith he succeeds in a small, high-leverage role out of the pen this season. Dismiss this all you want, but if he can strikeout 80 batters over 60 innings and use his breaking ball at an elevated rate, he can return value over his ADP. I will always extend chances to players with large, lanky frames and this kind of pedigree.

Dansby Swanson – 393rd overall 

I conducted a deep dive on Swanson a few weeks ago after watching him turn on an elevated Max Scherzer fastball during the first weekend of spring training. There’s a new tendency in Swanson to move away from getting his front foot down early and a substantially more relaxed hand motion into his load (reminiscent of Zack Cozart). He’s 24 years old, touted as a nearly 70-grade prospect that has drawn a lot of yawning early in his career. I can’t get over his adjustments and the effects hopefully bringing more power and an even more refined approach. I think there is a chance he hits over .260 and posts 18 home runs with 10 stolen bases. Even more encouraging? This isn’t a high-strikeout, low-walk bat with glaring concerns. Swanson is a 20 percent strikeout, 10 percent walk prospect with a 12-homer, 16-bag season in the minor leagues. His plus defense should hold him at short and Camargo’s injury leaves him wide open for playing time early. Seize the opportunity, Swanson.

Chance Sisco – 355th overall

Austin Hays and Try Mancini, along with the remerging Dylan Bundy are considered the future of Baltimore, but Sisco is right in that conversation. I admit this is a subjective play because I tend to buy into compact power from the left side, but I have a weird feeling Sisco catches more games than Joseph this year. The term “backup” shouldn’t deter you from Sisco given Joseph is 31 years old without 100 games behind the plate in one year on his resume. There is little reason for the Orioles to not give Sisco reps with pitchers he’ll be working with for some time into the future. If the Orioles have any shot at improving over the next few years, Sisco is a big part of that for me.

Joey Lucchesi – 664th overall

This was bound to get funky. Navigating outside of the top 600 is like not slurping your boba – it shouldn’t happen! (Grey! You better be reading this!) I imagine it will be difficult to sell you a player who won’t break camp on a team that probably won’t come close to .500, but Lucchesi is one of the arms in the Padres’ rebuild I expect to first make an impact in San Diego. He faired extremely well in High-A and Double-A last season and put together a spring that had him in consideration for Luis Perdomo’s spot in the rotation for much longer than I expected. There isn’t insane strikeout upside, as he’ll settle in below a 9 K/9, but he’s shown advanced control at higher levels, giving him an outside chance to post a WHIP around the 1.20 mark – better than league average – with a lower ERA than his ability to miss bats would suggest. His mechanics are unique, with a big leg kick that he uses before re-centering his weight and driving towards the plate. He hides the ball well with a big reach-back and achieves great extension with an active lower half. I’m fading reports I’ve seen that he’s a potential reliever. He’ll need to improve his changeup to produce against right-handed bats, but his curveball was better this spring than I have ever seen it. He’s a long shot for value, but in some deep leagues, all you need is reasonable innings and I think Lucchesi can provide them if he gets the call.

 

Twitter – @LanceBrozdow

More content – BigThreeSports.com

  1. Bthe Esq. says:
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    Seen a lot of hate for Eric Hosmer. Why? Just SD or……what?

    Had a choice of Hosmer, W-Hit Merrifield and Lorenzo Cain. How do you rank these 3?

    Thanks

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Bthe Esq.:
      Hosmer is just a perpetual target of the sabermetrics community because of his “ehh” batted ball profile. I think this spills over into the fantasy hate, as there is considerable overlap.

      I think as a fantasy asset, he’s completely fine going around 85th overall, where he is currently sitting in NFBC leagues. I don’t think there’s much upside, and 1B is deep, but I don’t have a problem owning shares of him.

      • Bthe Esq. says:
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        @Lance: Thanks for the thoughts…I think thats probably the case….he isn’t a huge standout anywhere.

        If you had the choice today would you go Hosmer, Merrifield or Cain?

        Is it team context dependent based on a need for steals (Whit or Cain) vs. the slightly more power/overall numbers of Hosmer?

        • knucks says:
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          @Bthe Esq.: I’d lean Hosmer unless I had speed need like you mention here. However, I’ve noticed that sometimes there are few names like Smoak or Bour that I don’t really have much room for on my roster when I clog my CI up with Hosmer. 1B is deeper than usual this year, it seems like. But I’ve owned Hosmer the last few years and he’s been steady, so I’m with Lance regarding the decent ADP you can get him at. I’ve gotten him later than that and been pretty happy about it.

          Last year, I had a roster with Hosmer, Rendon, Schoop. Most underrated championship squad I can remember having in recent years as far as bats go.

          • Lance

            Lance says:
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            @knucks:
            Ditto here. Well said.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @Bthe Esq.:
          Jeeze, glazed over your first point haha my bad

          I think I have them Cain-Hosmer-Whit based on pure roto value. I’m probably lower on Whit than most. But yes, team dependent for sure. 2B isn’t deep, 1B is, OF steals aren’t. But I rank on aggregate value with some positional considerations.

          (This hasn’t been updated since the beginning of March, but really only injuries would change things – Bum, JT, Shark, etc)

          https://www.bigthreesports.com/fantasy-baseball-rankings-top-100-overall/

  2. Marker says:
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    Draft upside think is the game.

    Keeper h2h 5×5
    Trade Sevirino, JD Mart, Billy Hamilton for Trout?

    • Bthe Esq,' says:
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      @Marker: Which side are you on? If you get Trout, what can you fill the other 2 spots with off waivers or additional parts to a deal?

      In a keeper its hard to pass up Trout, so I would lean that way. But Severino has the potential to be a top 5 SP for a bunch of years and JD in Boston should be very good.

      But, Trout!

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Marker:
      Man, Trout trades are always tough. Would depend heavily on who you’re able to fill the spots with, as Bthe Esq,’ says below.

      First impression is to lean Trout way. BHam is a one-category guy, JDM is 30, Sev is the big piece here.

  3. Robpopp says:
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    LOL @ “microcosm of insanity”. I notice the same trend in my draft year after year. Unless there’s hype ppl lump the generic name players together w/o realizing a new situation that will boost them. Also ppl get excited when there’s a trade (C-Sant went like rd.5 this year, after rd 14 last year) even though he is the same player (and aging) — still in a good spot but just as an example. Also… that urge to fill the roster out of comfort often drives ppl to make lesser quality picks. Just some thoughts

    Great stuff, looking forward to all yr articles this year

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Robpopp:
      Glad I got a chuckle out of you.

      The trade aspect is something I actually haven’t thought about much, but I think that might ring true. Noticed a slight uptick in Arrieta’s value when he was signed by the Phillies, whereas before, most people were fading him (he was an FA, but same logic might apply).

      Fill-out-your-roster issues might have to do with the positional scarcity factor a little bit. I catch myself doing this in drafts and adjust out of it all the time.

      “Oh – Outfielder A is substantially better than these two middle infielders, but I feel weird not having an MI going into round seven, so let me reach!” Seen many a good teams get slightly derailed in drafts because of this.

      Thanks too! Looking forward to writing them.

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    I’m addicted to boba and I’m longing for help, yet I think everyone’s laughing at my slurping.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Grey:
      I gotta admit, Grey.

      I don’t think I’ve ever had boba…

      New season, new Lance. I have to try some.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Don’t! Are you crazy?! You’ll never be able to stop!

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @Grey:
          Boba talk will creep over to the prospect pod.

          Ralph is going to go insane!

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Ralph is the one person who can really enact difference in my life, and save me from this boba addiction, but he’s failed to heed my pleas

            • Lance

              Lance says:
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              @Grey:
              We need to have an intervention with you, Grey.

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                I’m crying for help!

  5. Ryan says:
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    Lance, I’ve got a bullpen question for you. I’m in a funny 10×10 league.

    Pitching categories are: W, QS, IP, Games Started, ERA, WHIP, K, SV, Relief Wins, Relief Appearances.

    I kinda punted Saves, thinking they were one of 20 categories and not worth squabbling over. Only one other owner did the same; most drafted closers as if they were playing 5×5.

    My bullpen is: Giles (13), Robertson (18), Hader (20), Devenski (22), Betances (23), Green (26).
    I tried to buttress my rotation w/ lots of K’s and good ratios, and guys who might earn more W’s by pitching multiple innings.

    But I only have one closer. Eventually I’d like to have two, maybe three if I can trade for a top guy like Diaz or Doolittle.

    On the waiver wire are Minter and Edwards Jr. I could see both these guys being closers in 2018, fetching lots of K’s and good ratios.

    Would you drop any of my pitchers for either of these players? Also, would you rank my bullpen in terms of least to most expendable? Thanks!

    Ryan

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Ryan:
      Man, 10×10 has my head spinning. I can’t say I have any idea how that rearranges value for SPs and RPs, but it seems to make those tweener relievers better options and devalues saves.

      I’ll say I’d want Minter on this team for the saves upside. Maddon is too weird for me to bet on Edwards although I do like him.

      Dropping though, hmm, I’d probably cut Robertson for Minter and hope that Betances or Green gets the save chances if something happens to Aroldis.

      • Ryan says:
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        @Lance:

        Thanks!

    • The Theory says:
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      @Ryan:
      I played in an 8×11 league for a number of years (8 hitting stats, 11 pitching stats) and having that many categories definitely devalues the category specialists like closers. ESPECIALLY if the league is h2h each category (you don’t mention whether it is or not; mine was) where the natural variance of category accumulation can give you a win in weak categories with a bit of luck.

      If it’s a h2h league (esp. each cat), I’d be very comfortable going into the year with that bullpen, especially if you’re proactive about snagging new closers/injury replacement guys off waivers when those opportunities arise. I’d be less comfortable in Roto, although I’d be reluctant to make a trade specifically to address saves.

      But yeah, that many categories I’m more interested in drafting relievers with high Ks, good ratios, and am doubly pleased when they’re “next man up” so I can, perhaps, luck into a top-tier closer for a bottom-tier price.

  6. Slick says:
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    Speaking of digging deep, what are your thoughts on the following two players?

    I’m in a 20 Team H2H League.

    I picked up Jed Lowrie off of waivers. I couldn’t believe that the third batter in the Oakland A’s lineup is being given so little credit. I would think he could replicate last season’s numbers given the better lineup around him. Is it fair to consider that he could come close?

    Also, Nick Delmonico is sitting on the waiver wire. Thinking about taking a stab at him. Your thoughts on this kid?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Slick:
      Jed is perpetually injured. I think he can come close last year if he somehow gets to 145-150 games. Past injury and health is a decent predictor of future injury and health, and while he was healthy last year, you have to factor in the age (33).

      A’s also have some tantalizing talent in Mateo (SS) and Barreto (SS), who I think can both push Jed off 2B full-time if he isn’t doing it for Melvin, whether directly or indirectly.

      Nicky takes the upside tag over Lowrie for sure. the results of his approach were pretty impressive last year, I honestly thought he K’d more than he did after I just refreshed myself on his stats. He was actually a pretty good breaking-ball hitter last year, which you often see the inverse of (good FB hitter, poor breaking ball hitter).

      That makes me think 1) he either doesn’t have the greatest bat speed or 2) there is room for improvement if he does have that bat speed and if he can adjust to a little above league average, even out his BB% and K% even more, CHW is going to have a tough time not playing him more.

      Both players, however, are probably worth a stab in a 20-teamer.

  7. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    Just traded cobb for jordan montgomery. I know I won the trade, but it’s not THAT egregious is it?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @TobiasFunkeAnalRapist:
      I like Mont, I wouldn’t say it’s egregious at all. Any swap of guys past 200 overall in redraft can’t be egregious to me. Never know what’s going to happen.

  8. Micah says:
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    Thames or Yuli? Also when is it acceptable to draft Chris Davis or is it even worth it?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Micah:
      Assuming Yuli’s injury isn’t bad and it doesn’t linger, I’d go him.

      It’s fine to draft Davis, absolutely. Everybody hates him, but if you stick with projections, he’s basically a 200-250 player. Rosterable even in deep 10-teamers. One of the biggest power boosts late.

      He’s an avg hit late, but it’s tolerable if you need the power. Maybe don’t combo him with Gallo though hahahaha

  9. Padres says:
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    Who wins this trade?

    Trout, Bregman, and Alex Wood
    For
    Springer, Turner, and Darvish

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Padres:
      Trout side, not really close to me.

      (Assuming Justin Turner too…)

      Trout > Springer
      BRegman > Turner
      SPs are irrelevant after knowing those two things

      If Trea Turner, it’s closer, but I think I still want Trout side.

    • Hawk says:
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      @Padres:

      In any reasonable trade for Trout, and this looks reasonable to me, the side getting Trout probably comes out ahead. Reasonable being the operative word.

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