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Beat Chris Liss 1 Results
I drafted my first team of the year last night and had the dumb idea to livestream it while drafting. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed broadcasting with my old RotoWire partner Jeff Erickson, but for my first draft of the year when I was still getting to experience the player pool under draft-induced time constraints, it probably wasn’t ideal. You can catch the live broadcast (felt like being on SXM again) here.
That said, I’m pretty happy with the team. I made one, arguably two, errors, and by errors I mean things I’d probably change if I could do it again, not necessarily picks that will turn out poorly — it’s not like I drafted an injured player or someone who was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison.
My plan was to get outfielders and/or corners early and wait on middle infield as there’s so much depth there. I also like young hitters and old pitchers. Hitting is more of an athletic skill, while pitching more of a cerebral one. And the young pitching phenoms who rely on athleticism often get injured doing it.
One thing that occurred to me while researching is how many hitters are in their early 30s — there are just legions of them on every roster, mid-end, 20-homer, .240-hitting guys littering the diamond. It’s a dull player pool this year, duller than I can remember.
In any event here are the results. (I picked 12th).
1.12 Fernando Tatis — I made 12th my first choice because I wanted Tatis (ADP17), and I figured pick 13 was about as late as I could go to make sure I got him. Tatis is underprojected because while he’s suspended for 20 games you don’t have to leave his lineup spot empty. If you were to add 20 games of a 20-70-70-4 guy (3-10-10-1) to Tatis’ stats, he’d be projected as a top-five hitter.
2.1 Yordan Alvarez — I was hoping to get Juan Soto with my other pick, but he went much earlier at 1.7. If Soto were gone, I told myself I’d consider Mookie Betts (gone at 1.10) or Alvarez. Alvarez has some hand discomfort, but he played through it last year and was obviously just fine. The other player I considered was Bobby Witt who qualifies at 3B, but I went Alvarez because Witt has some run/RBI risk with that bad Royals lineup.
3.12 Justin Verlander — Verlander was arguably the most valuable pitcher in the league last year, so I had him pegged for this turn even though his ADP is half a round lower. I like old pitchers, and he’s in a favorable park on a good team.
4.1 Daulton Varsho — This was arguably my first mistake, and I blame Jeff Erickson. Why? Just because he was there. If Varsho does what he did last year — and he’s in a better park and lineup — this will be a fine pick, but he’s coming to a new league with new pitchers and is hardly an established star. I do love a catcher who doesn’t play catcher and can get full-time at-bats too. But it was a bit of a panic pick because my target Matt Olson (the last good first baseman) went ahead of ADP, one pick before me. If I could do it over again, I would have pivoted to pitching and taken Max Scherzer even though I had ID’d lots of pitching I liked later in the draft. But Varsho it was, and it could certainly pan out. And given I got Alvarez over Soto, those catcher-eligible steals are nice too.
5.12 Devin Williams — Erickson didn’t like this pick, but what does he know? He pointed out correctly that I usually fade new stuff-based closers who haven’t done it before in favor of crafty old warhorse veterans. But Williams has been great for a few years now as as setup man, so it’s not like he came out of nowhere. In fact, the guy he replaced (Josh Hader) carved a similar path too. Either way, I was glad to get what I considered a top closer at the end of the fifth.
6.1 Corbin Carroll — I knew I wanted another hitter here, preferably an outfielder as the quality corners had dried up, so I swung for the fences with baseball’s top prospect. Between Tatis, Varsho and Carroll, I was feeling good about steals too.
7.12 Wander Franco — Looking back, this is my favorite pick in the draft. Franco will earn this if he simply stays healthy over a full season at last year’s rates. But he’s an elite talent and more than six months younger than Carroll! Last year’s numbers mean little for a player who could take a massive leap at age 22.
8.1 Kenley Jansen — This is my kind of closer. An old warhorse who got paid to be the guy. Now I had two high-end closers, didn’t have to chase, but still only one starting pitcher through eight rounds.
9.12 Lance Lynn — A player I had ID’d early as a must-draft at his price. Lynn struggled initially after coming back from a knee injury last year, but dominated down the stretch. Old pitchers, young hitters.
10.1 Alejandro Kirk — I love batting average, and Kirk is one of the top batting average players in the league when you compare him to the baseline at his position. He’s also another catcher than doesn’t have to play a lot of catcher. My only concern is his body type — 5-8, 265! Will he hurt himself running the bases?
11.12 Jesus Luzardo — He was a massive pitching prospect who seemed to find it last year. Some big-time pitching prospects get hurt and never make it, but when they do, sometimes you wind up with Carlos Rodon.
12.1 Jordan Walker — I have Carroll and Franco, so why not Walker? He’s killing it in spring training, and the Cardinals are usually good at developing players. He’s also my first corner, though there’s some risk he gets sent down if he cools off during the second half of March.
14.1 Vaughn Grissom — Mistake No. 2, also Erickson’s fault. I asked him about Jonathan India of his Reds, and he gave a lukewarm response about taking him at ADP rather than this early. I panicked and pivoted to the more ADP-appropriate Grissom who has plenty of upside but could lose playing time to Orlando Arcia.
15.12 Javier Baez — If this one doesn’t work out, blame the projections nerds whose systems seem to like Baez way more than the NFBC’s ADP. It’s actually a good pick for me because with all the prospects and risk I need locked-in at-bats, and I have some batting average to burn. I could have taken India there too, but Erickson’s lukewarm endorsement soured me too much. Plus, you never take a player named after a country as I learned 10 years ago after wasting NFL FAAB on Taiwan Jones.
16.1 Kyle Wright — He was just kind of hanging around in the queue, maybe due to his shoulder injury, but that’s been known since spring and priced into his much higher (142) ADP. This was pick 192. As I told Jeff during the livestream, when you have no idea what you’re doing, you take the value. Maybe if I knew what I were doing, I’d have the luxury of passing it up.
17.12 Alex Cobb — Cobb is a good pitcher in a good park, and another old guy I like. I also needed to beef up pitching in these rounds because I went light on it early.
18.1 Josh Naylor — I finally got my first baseman, and it’s a guy with some pop who’s still young enough to have another level and who doesn’t kill your avearge. This is the kind of player I figured I’d be taking once I missed Olson by one pick.
19.12 Michael Conforto — I used to mock people for reaching for this guy in the middle rounds when he was on the Mets, but the price was right here, albeit the park still isn’t ideal.
20.1 Trevor Rogers — He was terrible last year, but there was no velo drop from 2021 to 2022, i.e., his arm seems to be okay. Another last year’s bum at a discount.
21.12 Jesse Winker — Yet another last year’s bum who goes back to the league where he had success and to a hitter-friendly park after being in Seattle last year. It’s unlikely a 29-year old with a .950 OPS in 2021 suddenly forgot how to hit. I actually should have taken him where I took Conforto.
22.1 Josh Jung — I needed another corner, and it was Jung or Josh Rojas who runs. Jung is 25 now, so I imagine it’s his job if he finally stays healthy and hits at all.
23.12 Brandon Belt — This was an important pick because I needed corner depth, and I really like Belt in that park as the DH, just two years removed from a .975 OPS season in San Francisco.
24.1 Spencer Torkelson — Why not? More corner depth from an elite pedigree player. Of course, he was terrible in his major league debut last year, but young players don’t grow linearly, but in fits and starts.
25.12 Jack Flaherty — Maybe he’s done, but he was once an ace, the velocity was totally intact last year and his current injuries seem relatively minor.
26.1 Anthony Volpe — Mistake No. 3, also Erickson’s fault. I picked Flaherty and forgot I had to make a second pick! So Jeff and I are amiably chit-chatting, and all of a sudden the clock is below 10 seconds, and the dude doesn’t even remind me! He claims he thought I knew! So I just panicked smashed a random guy in my queue who not coincidentally is yet another top overall prospect with uncertain playing-time prospects. The good thing about this is if he doesn’t secure a role, you can drop your 26th round pick without feeling badly about it.
27.12 Dylan Carlson — Another last year’s bum who’s still young enough to make good on his prospect pedigree.
28.1 Brusdar Graterol — As far as I know the Dodgers haven’t named a closer yet, and Graterol throws 100 mph.
29.12 Alex Kiriloff — Remember last year when I had him on five teams? If anyone owes me, it’s him. Plus he was a decent prospect and just got hurt too.
30.1 A.J. Minter — He’s blocked by Raisel Iglesias, but he’s one of the best setup guys in the game. Probably a Week 1 drop, but could be useful in the Thursday through Sunday opening week when not all my starting pitchers will necessarily have starts.
C Daulton Varsho/Alejandro Kirk
1B Josh Naylor
2B Vaughn Grissom
3B Jordan Walker
SS Wando Franco
CI Josh Jung
MI Javier Baez
OF Fernando Tatis/Yordan Alvarez/Corbin Carroll/Michael Conforto/Jesse Winker
UT Brandon Belt
SP Justin Verlander/Lance Lynn/Jesus Luzardo/Chris Bassitt/Kyle Wright/Alex Cobb/Trevor Rogers
RP Devin Williams/Kenley Jansen
B Spencer Torkelson/Jack Flaherty/Anthony Volpe/Dylan Carlson/Brusdar Graterol/Alex Kiriloff/A.J. Minter
. . .
Okay, so this is the team. Tons of upside, tons of risk. But what did you expect from one of my teams? The next task is to find a manager. Who’s interested, now that you see the merchandise?