Interesting NL LABR Reserve Round Picks

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This past weekend, I participated in the NL-only live auction. It’s a 12-team league with 23 roster spots and six reserve-round picks. By the end, people are scraping for anyone with a plus and an MLB roster spot. I’m going to go over some of those late picks today to see if there are any I missed.

First, here are those reserve round picks and the full draft board is at RTSports.

Graham Ashcraft: Generally boring, but is lined up to start against the Pirates the first weekend. He should be streamed in most formats for that game.

Will Benson: So far in Spring Training, he has a .528 AVG with 4 SB on a Reds team with several holes to fill.

Alec Burleson: Backup corner bat (OF/1B) for the Cardinals who hit 20 HR with a .905 in 470 AAA plate appearances. The 23-year-old is interesting if he can secure playing time.

Alex Call: If he could get 600 PA this year, projections would have him with around 18 HR and 12 SB with a .235 AVG. He just has to break into the Nats lineup with an ailing Victor Robles.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand: A corner infielder in the Reds system who hit .304/.368/.587 with 32 HR and 8 SB. In 20 Spring Training plate appearances, has 12 hits with 3 HR. There is talk he might sub in for Votto at first base. Worth a dart in even shallower leagues.

Gordon Graceffo: A starter in the Cardinals system who punches all three of my pitching prospect requirements:

  • Average MLB fastball velocity (93.9 mph): Sits 93-95 mph
  • Plus secondary (60 grade or higher): 60-grade slider (Baseball American)
  • Above-average command (<= 3.0 BB/9): 2.0 BB/9 through the minors.

All he needs is opportunity.

Michael Grove: I was a little pissed when Mike Gianella picked Grove. I had seen no hype around him and hoped to grab him with one of my last two picks. In seven games, six starts, Grove had a 4.60 ERA, 7.4 K/9, and 1.43 WHIP. Not good, but most of that damage came in two early season starts. From then on, he posted a 4.38 ERA (4.48 xFIP) with a 7.7 K/9, and 1.26 WHIP. During those five starts beginning on August 29th, he had a 14% K%-BB% (comparable to Jose Berrios, Jose Urquidy, or Reid Detmers). He attacks hitters with a 94-mph fastball, slow curve (17% SwStr%), and slider (19% SwStr%). While he doesn’t have a rotation spot, he’s worth adding once he gets promoted.

Dalton Guthrie: A utility bat for the Phillies who was fine in AAA with 10 HR, 21 SB, and .302 AVG. In the majors, he posted a .976 OPS in 28 PA. A decent bat looking for playing time.

Noelvi Marte: While a top-ranked prospect, Marte has only progressed to AA yet and the Reds aren’t needing to rush anyone to the majors.

Matt Mervis: How the mighty Cub has fallen from his Arizona Fall League hype. He was a cheap add in this draft. I would have added him if I didn’t need to secure a backup outfielder (Tyrone Taylor to the IL).

Andre Pallante: The Card was a pick of mine to possibly start at some point this season. While he doesn’t strike out a ton of batters (6.1 K/9), his 64% GB% is nice.

Quinn Priester: The 21-year-old Pirate is a fringe top-100 prospect, who was OK in 75 AA innings (2.87 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 9.0 K/9). I’m not seeing the upside.

Peter Strzelecki: I didn’t remember Mr. Strzelecki from last season, but he relieved in 30 games for the Brewers with a 2.83, ERA, 10.3 K/9, and 1.23 WHIP. Solid bullpen arm.

Mark Vientos: A third base option for the Mets who had 41 PA in the majors last year (.546 OPS) after hitting 24 HR in AAA.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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11 days ago

I love super-deep leagues like this.