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Beat Chris Liss 2
This time I was smart enough not to try and livestream while drafting. That works just fine for NFL, but baseball requires more attention.
I drew the ninth pick, my first choice, hoping I could take Juan Soto in the first and Fernando Tatis in the second.
Here’s how it actually went:
1.9 Mookie Betts — Juan Soto (ADP10) went at pick seven, so I had to pivot. I could have taken Tatis there, but there was a good chance I got him on the way back, so I took Betts narrowly over Bobby Witt. Betts is now 30, but give me the guy on the Dodgers over the one on the Royals.
2.4 Bo Bichette — Tatis went one pick before me, so I was stuck. I really wanted an outfielder or a corner, but Manny Machado might not run enough, and I have a bad vibe about Vlad Guerrero this year, in part due to his knee. The next outfielder on my board was Mike Trout, who no longer runs and is always hurt. So, with the clock winding down, I took a player I never thought I’d take in Bichette. There are just too many good shortstops later in the draft, but Bichette is young, in a good lineup, healthy and he runs.
3.9 Matt Olson — It was he or Justin Verlander, though I thought about Jacob deGrom who never hangs around this late. In the end, I wanted the scarce cornerman, and I figured Verlander might be there on the way back.
4.4 Jacob deGrom — I had resolved to take Verlander over him if they both fell, but Verlander went one pick before me, so I snapped-called deGrom. I meant to get Tatis, but instead I landed the pitcher version two rounds later.
5.9 Zach Wheeler — I was set to take Raisel Iglesias, but then I realized I had to take Wheeler who was by far my top starter left on the board. Plus, given deGrom is always good for missed time, I needed a workhorse starter.
6.4 Raisel Iglesias — I also considered Cedric Mullins, who I don’t even like, but I was light on steals, and I wanted to fill up my outfield (which gets thin early.) Then Mullins went one pick ahead of me anyway, so it was an easy call to take Iglesias.
7.9 Wander Franco — I mentioned in BCL1 that Franco was my favorite pick of the draft, so I took him in roughly the same place. He’s six months younger than Corbin Carroll and has the same upside at a lower price.
8.4 Starling Marte — Kenley Jansen went one pick before me, so I snapped up Marte to fill an outfield slot and solidify steals.
9.9 Tyler O’Neill — Another outfielder who should supply some speed and hopefully power.
10.4 Christian Yelich — I was loading up on outfielders who contribute in speed and power categories, and Yelich is still only 31, i.e., maybe he’s got a chance to get halfway back to his former MVP level for one more season.
11.9 Lance Lynn — A target of mine. A big workhorse who pitched well in the second half after he got healthy last year.
12.4 Anthony Santander — One of my least favorite picks. I wanted Giancarlo Stanton or Chris Sale, and both went shortly before my pick, so I just forced in a power-hitting outfielder that other people like, but I don’t really see it. The only good thing about this pick was he’s a full time outfielder.
13.9 Nick Lodolo — He lasted longer than usual, and I figured I could get my other pitching targets on the next go-around. With Lynn and Wheeler as anchors, I like Lodolo’s upside.
15.9 Jonathan India — I broke my rule about not taking a player whose last name is a country. Seriously, though, I passed on him in BCL1, but like his chances to bounce back as a young player in that park.
16.4 Kelbert Ruiz — Catcher is deep this year, and Ruiz is a prospect who can hit and should get plenty of at-bats in a decent park.
17.9 Evan Phillips — I had played chicken on my second closer for a while. I think it’s a mistake to pay a mid-round pick for a shaky option, but at this point why not gamble on the home run? If Phillips gets the nod for the Dodgers he could lead the league in saves. He probably won’t, but then whoever’s running this team can drop him.
18.4 Whit Merrfield — This was not a player I had envisioned drafting, and in doing so I filled up my utility spot. But I looked into him a little bit, and I had to pull the trigger at this pick. Merrifield had 11 homers and 16 steals in 139 games, many of which were in a worse ballpark and lineup last year, and he qualifies at two positions. He’s also getting nearly $7 million, so he’s being paid like someone with a regular lineup slot.
19.9 Jack Flaherty — I got him in BCL1 too. He’s been injured and ineffective the last two years, but there’s no reason he can’t bounce back now that he’s mostly healthy. He’s in a good situation in St. Louis, didn’t lose velocity last year and is still only 27.
20.4 Anthony Rendon — The Flaherty pick cost me Josh Jung, so I pivoted to Rendon’t. He’s got a massive contract, so he should play as much as he’s able to, and he probably didn’t forget how to hit.
21.9 Josh Naylor — I got him in BCL1 too. A decent source of power who doesn’t kill your batting avearge while filling my corner spot. He’s also young enough to improve.
22.4 Eric Haase — It annoyed me to see Yasmani Grandal go a couple rounds earlier so I settled for Haase who has a little pop for a catcher.
23.9 Luis Rengifo — I needed a backup third baseman, and Rengifo showed some power and even ran a little last year. I figured he’d get a lot of at-bats if Rendon gets hurt too, and he also qualifies as a backup MI.
24.4 Liam Hendriks — I have no idea if or when he’ll pitch, but is there some reason it couldn’t be May 1? Apparently he’s already throwing bullpen sessions, and I imagine it’ll just be a matter of his energy level. If we find out he’s not due back until August, we can drop him.
25.9 Eduardo Escobar — I actually should have taken him over Rengifo, as he has more pop and finished strong last year. My third basemen are weak, so it’s good to have three of them.
26.4 Mike Clevinger — He should be the White Sox’ No. 5 starter. He was good once and not terrible last year.
27.9 Ian Anderson — He was good as a rookie, bad last year. I like pitchers on good teams, and it looks like he should have a rotation spot at least until Mike Soroka gets up to speed.
28.4 J.T. Brubaker — He’s striking out a ton of batters this spring, but this was probably a wasted pick because you’re conceding wins on the Pirates, and non-elite starters only help in two categories.
29.9 Dylan Carlson — He’s still got the pedigree and a chance to win a starting job, especially if Jordan Walker misses time with today’s shoulder injury.
30.4 Jimmy Herget — Someone has to close for the Angels.
C Kelbert Ruiz/Eric Haase
1B Matt Olson
2B Jonathan India
3B Anthony Rendon
SS Bo Bichette
CI Josh Naylor
MI Wander Franco
OF Mookie Betts/Starling Marte/Tyler O’Neill/Christian Yelich/Anthony Santander
UT Whit Merrifield
SP Jacob deGrom/Zach Wheeler/Lance Lynn/Nick Lodolo/Chris Bassitt/Jack Flaherty
RP Raisel Iglesias/Evan Phillips/Liam Hendriks
B Luis Rengifo/Eduardo Escobar/Mike Clevinger/Ian Anderson/J.T. Brubaker/Dylan Carlson/Jimmy Herget