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Beat Chris Liss 3
Last night, I did my third (and likely final) Beat Chris Liss draft. I didn’t set KDS on purpose, since I had already done two drafts in the back half (from slots 12 and 9), and I knew my Main Event slot already (14). I figured why not give myself a shot at an early pick and see how it goes, even though I like the way the values fall while picking late. As luck would have it, I drew the first pick.
I knew I was taking Ronald Acuna. I thought about Aaron Judge, but he missed too much time due to injuries before last year, and Acuna is younger and should be 100 percent off his knee surgery from two years ago.
I had already resolved to take Michael Harris at pick 24 — he’s got Acuna-like upside himself — but the question was what to do at pick 25. I could go J.T. Realmuto for speed/power at catcher or maybe Jazz Chisholm with first-round upside at second base. Or even Matt Olson, who is crushing it this spring, lock up first base and have a nice Braves stack.
In any event, here’s what I did and how it actually went:
1.1 Ronald Acuna — The power should rebound, he’s still only 25 and hitting in a good park and lineup.
2.12 Michael Harris — He was a monster as a 21-YO, hits in that lineup and park too. I liked having speed more or less locked up after two rounds too.
3.1 Justin Verlander — This was a reach per ADP, but if you look at the first day of Main Event ADP (five drafts), he averaged pick 28, so 25 isn’t that far off. But bottom line, I trust him a little more than Spencer Strider and the other pitchers in that range, so why not take the guy you want if he won’t be there on the way back? I almost took Matt Olson (another ADP reach), but figured it was better to build around an ace. This is why I prefer drafting later in the 12-teamers — I don’t love the values in the early third.
4.12 Kyle Schwarber — My first two teams were a little light in power, and I wanted to make sure there were no issues here. Plus Schwarber might get a small batting average boost from the new shift rules.
5.1 Daulton Varsho — I didn’t anticipate getting him again, but it was a pure value pick, as his recent ADP was in the 30s. Speed shouldn’t be an issue whatsoever.
6.12 Oneil Cruz — I was surprised he fell this far, but it was an easy call, especially in what is traditionally my FOMO draft. I really wanted Wander Franco also (who I have in my first two leagues), but opted for Cruz instead.
7.1 Zac Gallen — He’d be a fourth-rounder on a better team, but the Diamondbacks have some good young players, so maybe he’ll get run support yet. But given all the pitching I got later, maybe I should have double-dipped and taken Franco.
8.12 Kenley Jansen — This was a nervous wait, as Jansen was the closer I had to have. I don’t love the guys behind him, as I prefer highly paid old warhorse closers.
9.1 Jake McCarthy — Maybe an odd pick considering I don’t need steals, but injuries happen, and I thought McCarthy had the most overall upside on the board.
10.12 Lance Lynn — My obligatory Lynn pick. An old pitcher who was lights out down the stretch last year once he got healthy.
11.1 Chris Sale — I was a little stuck here. I thought about Christian Yelich, but I really didn’t need speed, so his value was marginal. I could also have taken a closer like Jhoan Duran. Sale could come back and win the Cy Young or be out for the year in May.
12.12 Nick Lodolo — I was dead set on Giancarlo Stanton, but he went one pick ahead of me. So just took another high upside starting pitcher. I realize I like the pitching values in this range much more than the hitters.
13.1 Jesus Luzardo — Why not? These pitchers are all league-winner types, and maybe one or two will pan out. Luzardo looks like an obvious breakout to me, health permitting.
14.12 Chris Bassitt — I have to get The Hound in every league if he’s available at his rough ADP.
15.1 Alec Bohm — I was hoping for Jordan Walker in Round 10, but once he went, Bohm was my fallback. He’s a former high pedigree prospect who had a decent year, is raking this spring and plays in a good park.
16.12 Jonathan India — He seems like an no-brainer buy-low bounce-back candidate in that park.
17.1 C.J. Cron — Back spasms must have depressed his price, but I needed a first baseman, and this seemed like the time to grab that value.
18.12 Josh Naylor — With Cron iffy for Opening Day, I took Naylor who has some pop and doesn’t kill your batting average.
19.1 Anthony Rendon — I think Rendon is mispriced. He’s old and he gets hurt a lot, but he’s healthy now, has a massive contract (they’ll play him as much as he’s able) and has always hit when healthy.
20.12 Luis Urias — Another mispriced player who plays multiple positions, hits in a good park and at age 25 still has upside. I love the hitting values in this range.
21.1 Yasmani Grandal — He was hurt last year, but when healthy is a top-10-ish catcher.
22.12 Adam Ottavino — It’s probably David Robertson, but Ottavino is good, and the Mets haven’t named the closer yet.
23.1 Carlos Carrasco — He was good for stretches last year and just had a strong spring outing, i.e., he’s healthy. Old pitchers, young hitters.
24.12 Chris Taylor — I was still short one outfielder, and Taylor should get regular at-bats in a good lineup. A floor pick in case my bench bats don’t pan out quickly.
25.1 Brusdar Graterol — Like the Mets, the Dodgers haven’t named a closer, and Graterol fits the profile. A home run pick that’s an easy drop if he’s in a setup capacity.
26.12 Dylan Carlson — Oddly, a must-have for me this late. He’s a former big-time prospect who more than held his own in the majors at age 22 two years ago. An obvious buy-low.
27.1 Marcell Ozuna — I needed OF depth, he’s in that Braves lineup and he’s only a couple years removed from being a monster.
28.12 Giovanny Gallegos — While I was researching who to pick for spec saves, randomly the first RotoWire note I came across said Gallegos closed out a game for Mexico against Puerto Rico, so I took him. It’s not that getting a save in the WBC means anything for what will happen on the Cardinals, but I was looking for saves, his name popped up in that context, so I took it as a sign. Remember last year people were taking Gallegos roughly where Ryan Heisley is going this year?
29.1 Liam Hendriks — I really have no idea whether Hendriks will be back May 1 or August 1, but in Round 29, it’s worth rostering him and finding out.
30.12 Brandon Belt — He raked two years ago, and now he’s in the right park and lineup.
Roster By Position
C Daulton Varsho/Yasmani Grandal
1B C.J. Cron
2B Jonathan India
3B Alex Bohm
SS Oneil Cruz
CI Anthony Rendon
MI Luis Urias
OF Ronald Acuna
OF Michael Harris
OF Kyle Schwarber
OF Jake McCarthy
OF Chris Taylor
UT Josh Naylor
SP Justin Verlander/Zac Gallen/Lance Lynn/Chris Sale/Nick Lodolo/Jesus Luzardo/Chris Bassitt
RP Kenley Jansen/Adam Ottavino
Bench Carlos Carrasco/Brusdar Graterol/Dylan Carlson/Marcell Ozuna/Giovanny Gallegos/Liam Hendriks/Brandon Belt