The thing about now is that writing about anything feels like writing about nothing. Thus is the nature of fantasy sports in a global crisis. The nature of sports themselves, we’re seeing.
I’m supposed to be on Spring Break, man.
Or my students are. I never do much with it, if I’m honest. Just baseball stuff, really. I’ll watch last year all winter and try to see as much as I can in Spring, which is typically a lot over Spring Break. Used to play some video games. These days it’s just Fifa 16 because it only takes about ten minutes to pop in and finish a game. Think I just won the 2022 World Cup with Portugal. Just a fluke they offered me the job all those years ago.
Still had time for a draft with CBS around noon Friday. 15-team roto. First one post-shutdown for me, and though it was just a mock, it felt pretty serious. I’m not sure why. I think it’s the fourth mock I’ve done with them this off-season, and I’m very thankful to Scott White and the crew for inviting me, but the previous ones were very clearly mocks while I was in the room, if you know what I mean. Maybe it was just me feeling like everything is serious. My wife can’t stop coughing and can’t get tested. Our daughter is around her a lot. It’s hard to avoid.
Anyway here’s the team: (overall pick number in parenthesis)
C Yasmani Grandal (133)
C Omar Narvaez (228)
1B Matt Olson (73)
2B Gleyber Torres (48)
3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (78)
SS Adalberto Mondesi (43)
CI Starlin Castro (258)
MI Kevin Newman (253)
OF Eloy Jimenez (103)
OF Byron Buxton (163)
OF Jo Adell (223)
OF Teoscar Hernandez (313)
OF Gregory Polanco (288)
U Roman Quinn (348)
P Walker Buehler (13)
P Jack Flaherty (18)
P Shohei Ohtani (108)
P Jose Urquidy (193)
P Josh Lindblom (318)
P Sandy Alcantara (343)
P Nick Anderson (138)
P Giovanny Gallegos (168)
P Ian Kennedy (198)
B Nate Pearson (283)
B Jordan Yamamoto (373)
B Kyle Wright (378)
B Jonathan Loaisiga (403)
B Kwang Hyun-Kim (408)
B Justin Smoak (433)
B Jesus Aguilar (438)
I wanted to try a Buehler Flaherty build, and I have to say I love it. I started feeling very mock draft about the whole thing, which allowed me to pass Soto at 13 and Tatis Jr. at 18. I’m about 99.9 percent sure I’d have taken those two in a real draft, and I can’t shake the feeling this team turned out better than that one would’ve.
I’d rather start with a better pick than 13, but if you do get stuck at the back end, I think the player pool is designed perfectly for the double ace opening.
Just occurred to me that there’s going to be a huge run of fantasy drafts.
I mean once we get through this Corona thing, the fantasy baseball party and resulting cash grab by the big companies is going to be epic. Might not be much interest in the short term as the escapism folds in on itself with no games on the schedule, but as soon as we know something like a timeline for the season, we’ll enter a draft season that feels almost entirely disconnected from the one we left behind.
The shifting sands of Coronapocalypse benefit Shoehi Ohtani as much as anyone in the game, it seems to me. Kind of paint-by-numbers here, but if he wasn’t going to pitch until May 23, and the season doesn’t open before May . . .
I’m not sure if this was a daily game or not–pretty sure we didn’t clarify–but now that I have Ohtani, it’s definitely daily. With CBS, I tend to assume daily anyway–not sure if I could back that up with data.
And I haven’t seen that variation of Star Trek in a boldly long time.
There’s some other paint-by-number winners, too. ClevinLander and such. I don’t have them in this mock tho, so who cares about them?
Maybe I missed on Loaisiga. If Paxton comes back . . . but who are these guys throwing to? I saw a story about Michael Lorenzen planning to rent a catcher, but maybe Loaisiga doesn’t have the scratch to field a practice squad.
Nate Pearson at 283 seems incredible to me. I’m low-key shocked by his cheapness all around. Got him at 312 in TGFBI, but that league is pretty stash-light in general. I go the other way there because a prospect won’t exist in that player pool if he doesn’t get drafted, so I can take Tarik Skubal at 372, drop him if I have to, and track him closely to get him back before his debut.
Byron Buxton is cheap at 163. He hasn’t really moved all draft season. I know he’s wearing a scarlet B, and he’s coming back from a shoulder issue, and he plays recklessly on defense– . . . man . . . what do I like this guy so much?
Oh yeah: the speed, power and everyday gig in a monster offense. I even think there’s a hit tool in there somewhere. He’s always been behind his age curve on reps, and that hasn’t improved. If he ever gets through a thousand at bats without incident, he could become a sensational player. He’s been caught stealing eight times in 68 career attempts, and he’s 48 for his last 52.
Speaking of shoulders, Gregory Polanco is a bright blinking buy for me right now. He’s looking healthy, and I’m buying into Pittsburgh’s hitting coaches. New guy last year rocked it. They added talent to his staff this year. Let’s party. Maybe he can’t get back, but Polanco has all the talent he needs to be a fantasy monster.
Teoscar Hernandez’s stretch run is forgotten, but he slashed .259/.346/.592 with 18 home runs in 60 games. He was 26. I get that he strikes out a lot, but he walks a lot, too: 11.4 %BB in that second half. He’s kind of a Miguel Sano light. Or Joey Gallo. That half added up to a 142 wRC+. His outside-zone swing rate across the whole season went down, from 32.5 percent to 27.8. That’s a pretty huge jump in eye/discipline. His O-Contact went up, from 42 to 53.1 percent.
While his strikeout rate went from 31 to 33 percent between 2018 and 2019, he’s clearly making gains where it really matters.
In Nick Anderson and Giovanny Gallegos, I think I have two top ten closers. Anderson could push for the top overall spot. Ian Kennedy did not inspire confidence this Spring, so much so that Matheny hasn’t named him closer, but I took him anyway. Don’t love it, but would quite like him as a third closer if that’s indeed what he is when play resumes.
Kwang-Hyun Kim looks like a draft-season gem to me, for what it’s worth. Command and diversity of repertoire are big advantages when hitters haven’t seen a pitcher before and need time to adjust. Kim has been great for a long time among his peers and has likely been looking forward to this challenge.
Alright I’m bleeding into that thing where I talk about every pick I made, and that’s not my intent here–just to share some areas where I’m hoping to find value.
Stay safe out there!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter if you’re curious.