Hey guys, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted but I’m knee-deep into Scoresheet season and thought I’d bring you the yearly update.
I’m in the BP Kings Scoresheet league — loosely affiliated with Baseball Prospectus — and it’s both leagues with a soft-10 keeper setup. You can keep up to 10 major leaguers, with each player sacrificing a pick atop the draft, and as many minor leaguers as you want, counting rounds back from 35.
The short explanation is that you build a full MLB roster — utility players, middle relievers, the whole gamut — with up to 30 players active at any given time. I’ve had some good seasons and some bad seasons, but I think we’re lined up to be fairly solid this year.
Also, it’s a 24-team league — so keep that in mind.
Here’s a look at how previous seasons have gone:
2017: Panik at the Sisco – 78-84
2016: Jedd, Ed and Eddie – 88-74
2015: Wasted Aces – 95-67
2014: Ricky Nolasco is not very good – 95-67
2013: new Warne order – 76-86
2012: Warne – 76-86
2011: Warnhardt Dynasty – 68-94
So yeah, last year didn’t go great — though we finished nine games out and were in the mix late into the season — but we’re looking to get back over .500 and into contention.
First, let’s dive into the keeper portion of things. A lot of times I have trouble figuring out who I’m going to keep — usually due to quality, which I swear is not me bragging — but this time around I was looking at who everyone else was dangling in trades prior to the deadline, and ended up making a couple moves to use up my last two slots of 10.
These are the eight MLB keepers I started out with (no particular order):
Marcus Stroman, SP – Toronto Blue Jays
Masahiro Tanaka, SP – New York Yankees
Yasmani Grandal, C – Los Angeles Dodgers
Xander Bogaerts, SS – Boston Red Sox
Andrew Benintendi, OF – Boston Red Sox
Jose Abreu, 1B – Chicago White Sox
Danny Salazar, SP – Cleveland Indians
Joe Panik, 2B – San Francisco Giants
I realize not all of these are popular picks, but with Salazar I’m gambling on the talent and with Panik, I just felt like second base was going to be super shallow.
I also selected eight minor-league keepers, which is….kind of a lot?
Fernando Romero, SP – Minnesota Twins
Chance Sisco, C – Baltimore Orioles
Isan Diaz, IF – Miami Marlins
Brendan Rodgers, IF – Colorado Rockies
Brent Rooker, 1B/DH – Minnesota Twins
Alex Kirilloff, 1B/OF – Minnesota Twins
Lewis Brinson, OF – Miami Marlins
Trevor Hildenberger, RP – Minnesota Twins
Couple things here….first of all, I never keep relievers, but Hildy was just under the innings threshold, so as a minor-league keeper he’s easily defensible as using a 28th-round pick on. I like to prioritize talent in the middle of the field, but Rooker will give me the chance to have a masher who is almost MLB ready, Brinson will start for the Marlins and I’ve heard good things about Kirilloff’s swing and polish despite his age and having missed all last season.
Anyway, here’s how I filled out my final two spots:
- Round 16 pick traded for Sean Manaea – pick used to select Adam Wainwright
- Round 20 pick traded for Aaron Hicks – pick used to select Nate Jones
I would say those are both net wins for me in the trade department.
Now onto my actual picks in the draft (with rationale):
Rd 11: James McCann, C – Detroit Tigers
Catchers are in rare supply in this league, and I have two guys who’ll start, which is a luxury. McCann also crushes lefties (.928 OPS) which is the perfect platoon partner for Grandal (.790 v. RHP last year, .824 the year before). I don’t know what to make of Sisco as a prospect, but I always like to have a catcher in that group since up-the-middle talent reigns supreme. I think this was a fine pick. (Players selected before and after, in order: Adam Duvall, Sean Newcomb)
Rd 12: Jorge Polanco, SS – Minnesota Twins
I’m a huge Polanco fan. He never looks rattled at the plate, makes a ton of contact and is getting better defensively at short. He had a super rough start last year — coinciding with the death of his grandfather — but was insanely good in the second half (.293/.359/.511). Maybe I’m in the minority, but I think he’ll be a keeper for me. It’ll be dicey with Bogaerts on the team, but nobody offered me anything reasonable for him. I was hoping to get a stud third baseman, but the best offer was Travis Shaw. I like Shaw, but if I’m moving up-the-middle talent that’s still just 25 years old, I need more. (Mike Foltynewicz, Kevin Pillar)
Rd 13: Carlos Rodon, SP – Chicago White Sox
I know he isn’t fully healthy, but since I went into the draft with four keeper starters, I felt I could take a gamble like this. Getting a potential long-term keeper in the 13th was huge for me, and I have backfilled the rotation to allow me to wait out this injury. (Jhoulys Chacin, Matt Harvey)
Rd 14: Jerad Eickhoff, SP – Philadelphia Phillies
I don’t think Eickhoff is a stud, but if he simply repeats 2017 he’s a decent enough No. 5 starter and if he repeats 2016, he’s more like a No. 3-4. He doesn’t do anything spectacularly, but he’s good enough to round out my rotation — for now. And for crying out loud, wait until you see who I selected him after. (Jordan Zimmermann, Luis Perdomo)
Rd 15: Ben Zobrist, UTIL – Chicago Cubs
There’s certainly a chance Zobrist is washed, but if he’s not, I’m more than happy to give him a shot as my top utility guy with no pressure to start him. He’s good Panik and Brinson insurance, if nothing else. (Jed Lowrie, Keibert Ruiz)
Rd 17: Derek Dietrich, 3B/OF – Miami Marlins
I didn’t want to wait this long to add a third baseman, but none of the options were really that great earlier in the draft so I kept letting the spot drift. I had my eye on Eduardo Escobar, but he went a round earlier to Mike Gianella, and two rounds before that was Matt Davidson. To me, it really came down to Dietrich and Chase Headley. Neither hit lefties, but I decided to go with the guy I felt had a stronger grasp as a full-time player plus fewer age concerns. It’s a low ceiling, but whatever. (Hunter Pence, Jorge Bonifacio)
Rd 18: Matt Joyce, OF/DH – Oakland A’s
I ran to the podium to make this selection. I had Zobrist penciled in as my DH for the time being, but I’ll happily grab a guy who hit .243/.335/.473 last year. It’s an obvious platoon situation — he had a .855/.537 split last year — but there just were not many DH-type quality bats left at this juncture. (Keon Broxton, Enrique Hernandez)
Rd 21: Jarrod Dyson, OF – Arizona Diamondbacks
I did some moving a dealing to grab a couple extra picks late — this is how I build a bullpen on the fly — and as a result have two 21s in the span of three picks. Dyson doesn’t offer a ton with the bat, but has insane defensive range in this league, which makes him a terrific backup option. I had my eye on him for about 3-4 rounds prior to this. (Brandon Moss, Heliot Ramos)
Rd 21: Adam Conley, SP – Miami Marlins
Blech. But with that said, there just wasn’t anything interesting available as far as starters are concern. The previous starter picked was Seth Lugo, who I like but has no firm path to innings in the rotation, and the next starter taken was James Shields. So yeah, I’ll take a shot on a guy one year removed from back-to-back sub-4.00 ERAs with some strikeouts and no real competition for his job. Scraping our head on a low ceiling, but it’s what you gotta do. (Ramos, Garrett Cooper)
Rd 22: A.J. Cole, SP – Washington Nationals
He’s penciled in as their No. 5 starter, and I made sure to wait out the Jake Arrieta and Lance Lynn signings. They could still sign Alex Cobb and mess this up, but in the meantime, he’s fine as a No. 6-7 starter. Better than the vaunted ‘Triple-A starter’ that Scoresheet saddles you with if you don’t have a player for that spot. Last year, I had enough pitchers that I only had 2.1 (scoreless) innings thrown by “Triple-A pitcher.” One team had 84.2 innings thrown by him last year — with a 9.57 ERA. Another had 288 innings from him (!) at a 10.44 ERA. So yeah, we’ll go with Cole, here. (Cheslor Cuthbert, Nick Goody)
Rd 23: Victor Martinez, DH – Detroit Tigers
All I’m hoping for here is some dead-cat bounce so I can have a bench bat or maybe a starting DH v. LHP. Anything more is a huge bonus. After a rough year last year both health-wise (heart) and on the field (.255/.324/.372), is it too much to ask for any sort of bounce back from a 39-year-old hitter? Probably. But I don’t like any of the relievers enough to prioritize them over one final bat. (Junior Guerra, Tony Cingrani)
Rd 23: Darren O’Day, RP – Baltimore Orioles
Time to build a bullpen. Hildenberger and O’Day have some fun similarities in how they deliver the ball, but nevertheless, both have stable roles in their ‘pens. Do I love that O’Day is 35? Not necessarily, but he’s never been a velo guy, fixed his homer issue in a year where everyone else’s rates got screwed, and he’s fanned 11-plus batters per nine in each of the last three years. I’ll also gladly take O’Day here as opposed to some of these guys, and where they went: Juan Nicasio (Rd 18), Justin Wilson (Rd 18), Blake Parker (Rd 19), Blake Treinen (Rd 19), Tony Watson (Rd 18), Brad Brach (Rd 20), Anthony Swarzak (Rd 20), Andrew Chafin (Rd 20), Emilio Pagan (Rd 20), Brian Duensing (Rd 21) and some others, too. (Miguel Gonzalez, Cory Gearrin)
Rd 23: Jacob Barnes, RP – Milwaukee Brewers
What I love about Barnes here is that he has no real splits (.299/.277 wOBA) and an insane swinging-strike rate (15.4 percent). He’s not super deep on the team’s bullpen depth chart, but should have a chance to repeat last year’s 72 innings, which is more than enough. I also like that he induces grounders at a 50-plus percent rate, and with some normalizing of his HR/FB rate could be a real bullpen beast. He averaged nearly 97 mph on his fastball last year and the whiff rate on his slider was an insane 24.4 percent. I think this is a sneaky good pick, personally. (Wade Miley, Matt Adams)
Rd 24: Matt Barnes, RP – Boston Red Sox
With three picks between Jacob and Matt, I actually wrote up an entire Matt blurb to post here before taking it down and grabbing Jacob first. There are lots of guys who can get you a 3.80 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning and three-plus walks per nine, but Matt has back-to-back years of 65-plus innings — important, since Triple-A reliever looms — and is relatively safe with just Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith ahead of him in the Sox bullpen. As much as I’d like to grab someone else maybe a bit more risky with a higher ceiling, right now I’m starting the year with a seven-man bullpen, so I need to nail each of these picks — as much as possible. (Greg Holland, Drew Robinson)
Rd 24: Jake McGee, RP – Colorado Rockies
I feel like McGee showed us last year that he can hang in Coors after a rough first season, as he had a 3.61 ERA (2.93 FIP), 9.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 while keeping the ball in the yard (0.6 HR/9), somehow. Either way, I’m sprinting to the podium to make this pick, as McGee is a truly elite reliever when he’s right — a rare find at this time of the draft. (Chris Rusin, A.J. Ramos)
Rd 24: Ryan Pressly, RP – Minnesota Twins
The home run problems were inexplicable — though I think they may magically vanish across the league this year — but the secondary numbers were markedly better for Pressly. Also, as a fifth or six reliever, who wouldn’t love to have a guy throwing 96 mph cheddar with a nasty curve and a good slider? Process > results, my friends. (Ramos, Wilmer Difo)
Rd 24 (acquired in trade for next year’s 22, this year’s 41): Joe Biagini, SP/RP – Toronto Blue Jays
I don’t love Biagini, but I need the backup in my rotation — for Stroman and the inexplicably sent-down Conley — and when he was a reliever, he was really good in 2016 (3.06 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 52.2% GB rate, 11.5% swinging-strike rate). I’ll take it.
Picks remaining (I’ll come back and update as they’re done):
- Rd 27
I’ve already put in a request to trade for at least one more pick — we’ll see if it’s answered — but I’ll have a cobbled together bullpen. I still think it’ll be fairly solid.
Anyway, I’m left with a roster of:
C – Grandal
1B – Abreu
2B – Panik
3B – Dietrich
SS – Bogaerts
LF – Benintendi
CF – Hicks
RF – Brinson
DH – Joyce
C – McCann (will start v. LHP)
IF – Polanco
IF/OF – Zobrist
OF – Dyson
Bat – V. Martinez
SP A. Cole
RP J. Barnes
RP M. Barnes
To me, that’s maybe an 86-88 win team. Thoughts?