By Brodie Barrick — @BarrickMLB
This past Sunday night, my fantasy baseball league, N.A.R.P. Baseball held it’s annual draft. Briefly, it is a 12-team, mixed league with head-to-head scoring. The scoring categories are: Runs, Hits, Homeruns, Runs Batted In, Strikeouts, Total Bases, and On-Base Percentage for batters, and Wins, Saves, Outs, Walks, Strikeouts, Earned Run Average, and Walks/Hits per Innings Pitched for pitchers. Your starting line-up is comprised of: 1 player at each infield position, 3 outfielders, 1 utility player for batters, and 3 Starting Pitchers, 3 Relief Pitchers and 1 additional Pitcher spot for pitchers, along with 7 bench positions. We have 3 keeper players per team (1 pitcher, 1 batter, and 1 of either).
Last season, I was leading in 1st place for much of the season before trading away a few players to obtain multiple more draft picks for this year’s up coming draft. I traded for Mookie Betts during the season and named him my keeper for batters. I drafted David Price last year and selected him as my keeper pitcher (cue the criticism). Lastly, I pulled off an off-season trade, giving away one of my three 1st round picks, along with a 3rd round pick, to obtain Madison Bumgarner as my final keeper. Going into the draft, I was selecting at 8th and 10th overall in the 1st round, followed by 2 picks in the 2nd round, and 2 picks in the 3rd round. My first 11 picks sat within the first 7 rounds, giving me a sizeable advantage in terms of drafting this season.
I cringed when I watched Xander Bogaerts go 1st overall this season as he was on my team last year, but I made the decision to pick Betts as my keeper over him. At 8th overall, I was pretty happy to have Freddie Freeman slip down there given his .400 OBP and 91 RBI from a season ago. My plan was to take a bat and a SP in the 1st round, so at 10th overall I took Masahiro Tanaka (after Verlander got selected 9th).
I did very well in the pitching categories last year due to loading up on some quality starters followed by 2 great closers. In my fantasy bullpen last year I had Zach Britton and Craig Kimbrel. My plan was to take Britton in the 2nd round and Kimbrel in the 3rd round this season, but when Roughned Odor and Kyle Schwarber were both available in the 2nd round, I decided to change my plan and grab two more big bats. I watched Aroldis Chapman, Wade Davis and Kenley Jansen all get selected before I was picking in the 3rd round, and I began to get nervous that Britton would be off the board and my plan would be ruined. Thankfully, he remained on the board just long enough for me to select him with the 6th pick of the 3rd round.
One of the more exciting parts of the draft for me was having 3 picks in a row near the top of the 6th round. The only difficult part about selecting these 3 picks in a row was only having one pick in the 7th round and then not selecting again until the 10th round. My plan all along was to pick Andrew Benintendi to add to my outfield alongside Mookie Betts. Benintendi was not projected to go as high as the 6th round but I knew he wasn’t going to last until the 10th (or even the 7th for that matter) so I made him one of my 3 picks in the 6th round.
The two picks I think I’m most happy about were taking Ian Desmond in the 7th round and getting Ben Zobrist in the 11th round. Although Desmond suffered a fractured hand and is likely to be out until May, I feel he’s going to have a huge year playing for the Rockies. Not only will he benefit from playing 81 games at the high altitude Coors Field, the Rockies line-up is almost a sure bet to score a TON of runs this year. Slot him anywhere in the mix with Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado, and Carlos Gonzalez and he’ll do just fine. The list goes on and on of guys in the Rockies line-up who can smash the ball.
I was pretty excited about taking Zobrist in the 11th round. Last year, my 11th round pick was Daniel Murphy and he had quite the season for me before I moved him and Buster Posey to get a 1st and 2nd round pick in this years draft along with Xander Bogaerts. Zobrist is a guy who is listed as a second basemen and also an outfielder. For anyone who plays fantasy baseball you know that guys who are listed at multiple positions are very versatile when setting your lineup. Hopefully Zobrist works out to be a steal in the 11th like Daniel Murphy was.
Overall, I feel pretty confident heading into this season. After finishing 4th a season ago, I need to have a bounce back season this year. With the amount of early draft picks I had I was able to selected guys like Fowler and Desmond to compliment my big name guys. With the quality of players I believe I selected, hopefully I can come out on top this season.
Complete Draft Picks by Round for my team (Round, Overall pick):
1 (8th) Freddie Freeman, 1B
1 (10th) Masahiro Tanaka, SP
2 (16th) Roughned Odor, 2B
2 (19th) Kyle Schwarber, C/OF
3 (30th) Zach Britton, RP
3 (34th) Carlos Martinez, SP
4 (39th) Craig Kimbrel, RP
6 (62nd) Felix Hernandez, SP
6 (63rd) Alex Bregman, 3B
6 (64th) Andrew Benintendi, OF
7 (80th) Ian Desmond, OF
10 (110th) Dexter Fowler, OF
10 (112th) James Paxton, SP
11 (129th) Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF
12 (136th) Brandon Crawford, SS
13 (153rd) Brandon Maurer, RP
14 (165th) Adam Wainwright, SP
14 (168th) Jose Peraza, 2B/SS/OF
19 (225th) Travis Shaw, 1B/3B
20 (232nd) Tyler Glasnow, SP
Mookie Betts, OF
David Price, SP
Madison Bumgarner, SP