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

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