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Monday, July 20, 2020

TP Wiz

My long-time American League fantasy baseball league decided to set aside our "keeper" squads until spring 2021. Restocking the rosters would require a long all-day auction to establish players salaries. We drafted new teams online Saturday in about 3 hours, using a standard snake draft. 

I had the 5th pick based on my 8th place finish last year (of 12 teams). That was true through all odd-number rounds. In the even numbered rounds, I picked 8th. 

We continued to use AL-only players, agreed to use 5 hitting (R, HR, RBI, SB, and OBA) and 5 pitching (W, 2SV+H, ERA, WHIP, and K) categories.  We only use 4 OFers, but 10-man pitching staffs on our otherwise standard 23 man roster. We also select 3 reserves to make this a 26 round draft. Finally, we require 1000 innnings in a regular year, so 370 are needed in this 60 game season to avoid last place in ERA and WHIP.

Rather than use the moniker Hardy House for the league, I set it up to be the KBO Western Division. If you have followed the KBO, you may know there's a team called the KT Wiz. My team is the Tyler Park Wizards of Armageddon, or TP Wiz. I live in the TP neighborhood and Wizards of Armageddon was a terrific book I read in graduate school about the nuclear scientists who developed the US deterrent force posture. The name seems appropriate for the unusual season and it references my Hardy House league team name, the Bolts from the Blue (which is a nuclear strategy term). 

This is how my draft went, round-by-round:

1. P/DH Ohtani LAA

A stretch, perhaps, but my software had Ohtani as a top tier player when his hitting and pitching dollar values are combined. I hope it is correct. Most draft software said I should have selected 3B Ramirez of CLE, OF Martinez of BOS, or P Justin Verlander of HOU ($38). Ramirez and Martinez are supposed to be worth about $31 in a standard 5x5 roto league. While Ohtani's hitting is only projected to be worth $20, his pitching is forecast at just over $13. That's $33, which is greater than $31. 

I wasn't going to take an old pitcher using that high pick, so Verlander was out for me. Forecasts suggest Ohtani pitching on Sundays will get 10 starts. Verlander in 60 games on 5 day rotation will likely get 12 to 14. And he might be a lot better in that role, but he might not be.

2. OF JD Martinez BOS
3. SS Bichette TOR
4. C Grandal CHX

I didn't really intend to pick Martinez, but had to get him when he was still there as the 20th player picked. After all, my software said he was the hitter I could have picked in round 1.  Bichette was perhaps a reach in round 3, but I really wanted to be strong at key positions -- 2B, SS, and C. 

5. P Paxton NYY
6. OF Verdugo BOS
7. OF Tucker HOU
8. P Puk OAK
9. OF Buxton MIN

I didn't intend to fill my OF so quickly, but I really like these guys for their youth, speed, and potential for a breakout performances. Paxton is a very solid pitcher, if healthy, and I think Puk will be too. Both have had serious injury problems in the past.

10. 2B Chavis BOS
11 OF Calhoun TEX
12. P Canning LAA
13. 2B Madrigal CHX

At this point, I basically decided to go all-in on youth. Chavis is really a corner IF who happens to qualify at 2B. Calhoun is going to mash. Canning has really good upside, especially as a #4 starter. Madrigal is an outstanding potential rookie, especially valuable in a league using OBA. Hopefully I have enough power elsewhere. 

14. 2B Alberto BAL
15. 1B Nunez BAL
16. P Magill SEA
17. 3B Franco KC

I think the Baltimore guys were undervalued because of their team. They are not stars, but it is surprising they lasted this long. Also, at this point in the draft there were many teams drafting young guys with upside, so I reversed my earlier course and zagged when others were zigging. 

Magill supposedly has the inside track to closing for the Mariners, but who knows. All the real closers were gone by this round. Franco was picked as a token Royal at a position I needed to fill, though I ended up with another KC pitcher later.

18. P Ottavino NYY
19 1B Tellez TOR
20. P Lyles TEX
21. P Buttrey LAA

Ottavino and Buttrey are second in line for saves on their current teams. That's true largely because Aroldis Chapman apparently has tested positive for COVID19 and will likely start the year on the injured list. 

Tellez has real power, but was hurt by the decision to move Vlad Guerrero to 1B. Hopefully, he gets plenty of ABs as a DH. Lyles had a fairly good year last season and the new Texas park is supposedly more favorable to pitchers. We'll see.

22. OF Margot TB
23. C McGuire TOR
24. P Singer KC
25. P Andriese LAA
26. P Edwards SEA

Margot provides some needed steals, hopefully, and plays on a team that uses its depth and has a good track record of getting performance out of imported NL players. 

McGuire is a young backup catcher with upside. Brady Singer is KC's top prospect (unless Bobby Witt Jr. has already usurped him) and is likely to get some starts in the majors this year sooner rather than later.  Edwards is insurance on saves, though I suspect he'll have a short leash in my bullpen. 

In all, I have young bats all over my lineup. I have four Angel pitchers in part because they work in one of the AL's better pitcher's parks. Plus, this season they only play against AL West and NL West teams. That's also true of the Mariner and Oakland pitchers I selected. The best pitcher's parks in the AL include Oakland and Seattle and the best in the NL include LA, SD and SF. I'll want to bench my pitchers when they appear in Coors and maybe Arizona. Of course, some of the western teams have great offenses -- especially Houston and the Dodgers -- so this strategy may backfire. We'll see.

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