Team Schwartz/rounds drafted:
C: Travis d’Arnaud/17 1B: Victor Martinez/4 2B: Arismendy Alcantara/18 3B: Josh Donaldson/3 SS: Hanley Ramirez/2 MI: Jean Segura/19 CI: Prince Fielder/6 OF: Mike Trout/1; Mookie Betts/7; Ryan Zimmerman/10; A.J. Pollock/14; Steven Souza/20; Carl Crawford/24 U: Pedro Alvarez/21
I have a few regrets:
- I never want to draft a closer, BUT I do not mind drafting one of the three elites in the right spot. I saw Craig Kimbrel go in the fourth round at pick 46, and I technically had Aroldis Chapman ranked #32 overall based on 2015 Steamer projections and Zach Sanders’ z-score approach to fantasy valuation. I also contribute to RotoGraphs’ Bullpen Reports and became increasingly bullish on Chapman, whose 52.5% strikeout rate last year broke Kimbrel’s 2012 (50.2%) record. So I said the heck with it, and drafted Aroldis Chapman 49th overall with the first pick in round five. I regretted it immediately, but so long as he stays healthy, he should provide a return equal to my investment.
- Hanley Ramirez: Steamer projects him for a 83-20-83-10-.291 line. This value winds up as the 14th best value with a shortstop position scarcity adjustment. It is the 25th best line regardless of position so I do not have an issue taking him 24th overall. I just really wanted Anthony Rizzo whom Eno took three picks earlier. The outfield will probably not be nice to Hanley, which is really my only concern.
- I am not sure what my rotation is more of: dominating or risky. Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez lead the way, but Tyson Ross‘ slider usage and Garrett Richards‘ timing are both question marks. While I like Bauer a ton, which I will get to in a minute, he still comes with performance and opportunity risk as the Indians have six capable starters. I think his starting role is safer than Danny Salazar’s despite Salazar’s swing and miss results.
- There were a sundry of valuable pitchers available after the draft was complete. Naturally this was going to happen, but there were three options I really wanted to own. It was hard to pass up all seven starters I went with, but in hindsight, I should have removed some middle-round risk and went with offensive impact.
- My last regret is not drafting Evan Gattis. I updated my positional adjustments slightly since the draft, reducing the quantity of catchers drafted to 13 and adding extra outfielders instead. Evan Gattis‘ Steamer projection of 63-26-77-.243 still ranks 84th overall in my rankings, which is 7th round value. He went in the 16th – 189th overall! You will see below that this wound up as the second largest value differential between a Steamer projection and draft position. By this point in the draft, I believe he was two standard deviations (z-sums) more valuable than the next best catcher.
- I am however, not disappointed in landing Travis d’Arnaud as my catcher in round 17. I preferred Marcus Stroman and Garrett Richards or Ryan Zimmerman and Tyson Ross in rounds 10-13 where I would have needed to draft Brian McCann, Devin Mesoraco or Yadier Molina.
- With power and counting stats associated with Trout, Hanley, Donaldson and Vmart, I was willing to take a chance on Prince Fielder with Mookie Betts back-to-back, but in round six it is a bit ballsy. I am not surprised that Fans’ projection of Fielder is more bullish than Steamer’s – I am surprised how bullish they both are with the cloudiness caused by his neck surgery. I did not think he would make it back around to me 25 picks later, and I decided to go with the 75-25-90-.280 potential, which could provide third or fourth round value.
- A.J. Pollock should provide more value than where I drafted him. Heck, I think he can be something close to our 2015 Michael Brantley, but this draft position could be considered too early since I drafted Carl Crawford ten rounds later as the last pick in the draft (#288 overall).
Best Value (Draft Position Analysis):
- I think Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer both have a ton of upside, and will provide value worth five or more rounds prior to where I drafted them. Marcus Stroman has an elite sinker. His strikeout rate was only .4% better than MLB average last year, but he induced a ton of grounders in the second half and has more strikeout potential with top 40 command rates (47.2 zone%; 15.5 K-BB%; 90 IP filter) at only 23 years young.
- Bauer has an extensive repertoire with a ton of swing-and-miss potential despite overall below-average swinging-strike rates thus far. He only has one mistake pitch (Changeup) of which he’s using less. Here are some fun posts that mention his effective velocity and pitch sequencing. I think the arsenal and work comes to fruition this year so long as an awful zone% does not kill his value.
- Chances are Victor Martinez regresses, but let’s not forget he had elite contact AND isolated slugging rates prior to 2011. I think his Steamer projection of 78-20-84-.309 is right on which provides second round value. I think he went 20+ picks later than he should have. Most of the power bats after him do not provide nearly the same value in the batting average department and 20HR is the new 30HR.
- Relative to Steamer, here are the largest values based on draft position within the first 18 rounds:
You can Download the CSV results for the draft in the Draft Room , but here are the team z-sum totals along with who wound up with the most value. Jeff and I admittedly went right off Steamer (Jeff more so obviously) as he killed the rest of us in value differential (where each player was drafted relative to where the z-sums on their Steamer projections have them ranked). Mike Podhorzer was “Proud to lead the pack of non-Steamer users.” I use Zach Sanders’ z-score approach to fantasy valuation, but I do not know what projections he was z-scoring:
Contingencies on the z-sum totals – the following four players were not included in the z-sum totals: Eno Sarris drafted Jung Ho Kang; Mike Podhorzer drafted Yasmany Tomas; Scott Spratt drafted Joey Gallo (as a place holder as the platform was not allowing him to put Chris Davis at 3B – yes, he had 20 game appearances at the position); and finally, Zach Sanders drafted Rafael Soriano, which was omitted from my rankings for some reason. In any case, it remains to be seen if he is closing so I will consider his z-sum zero for now anyway. Zach drafted him with the hopes he would latch on to say the Blue Jays to close. However, that will kill Brett Cecil’s value who I drafted in the 16th round. Did you know that Brett Cecil had the 15th best strikeout rate in baseball last year (32.5%) for pitchers with more than 30 innings pitched? That is backed up by the 6th best swinging strike rate (16.5%). Only Aroldis Chapman, Koji Uehara, Joaquin Benoit, Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen had a better rate.
Bench Strategies, Team Counting Stats and Rates per Hitter/Pitcher:
The four contingencies (Kang/Team Eno; Tomas/Team Pod; Gallo/Team Spratt; Soriano/Team Sanders) are highlighted in red below.
Five of twelve teams drafted fourteen hitters and ten pitchers, which provided one bench hitter and one bench pitcher. Five of twelve teams drafted thirteen hitters and eleven pitchers meaning both bench spots would be consumed by pitchers. Two Teams drafted fifteen hitters and nine pitchers meaning both bench spots would be consumed by hitters. Since we all drafted a different quantity of hitters and pitchers, below are the counting stats for each team and the rate stats i.e. homers per quantity of hitters drafted (HR/H) or wins per quantity of pitchers drafted (W/P):
Based on the Steamer projections, other than saves, it looks as though I rank in the top four within each category including the overall z-sum per hitter and z-sum per pitcher.
Best of the Rest:
As you can see from the matrix above, I presented a fake team that drafted 14 hitters and 10 pitchers based on the best available projections with some subjectivity. Here is my “Team Leftovers”:
- I have to start with T.J. House. Much has been said about House toward the end of the season and since. Jeff Zimmerman called House a major sleeper for next year comparing his groundball induction and strikeout rates to Sonny Gray and Alex Cobb, but you can draft him a boat load later or even pick him up off waivers afterwards based on this Mock. I was targeting House for the last 4 rounds, but wound up going with homers (Pedro Alvarez), batting average and stolen bases (Carl Crawford), peripherals or lucky saves (Wade Davis) and Bauer’s swing and miss potential instead. In hindsight, I wish I drafted one less pitcher so I could have taken the extra flier on House. He wound up with the 54th best Part Deux Arsenal Score based on an elite Slider (above average whiff rates with an elite grounder rate). None of his other pitches get whiffs, but between the Sinker and Slider, he should have a 55+% groundball rate next year. His xFIP and SIERA last year were 20-30 points lower than his actual ERA, which was affected by an elevated BABIP. Even with regression, he should be an asset in non K/9 leagues.
- Wily Peralta does not get enough love. His Fastball and Sinker will prevent better strikeout rates, but I would still call for another sub 3.65 ERA next year with 150 K’s. Ideally, he goes to his Changeup more and it works the same: 1.08 standard deviations more than the average whiff rate last year according to his Brooks Baseball Player Card. For what it’s worth (a post on it later in time), Peralta also has the 37th best release point consistency within game and the best game-to-game consistency score, which I consider a potential form of deception if he can make each pitch in his arsenal initially look the same.
- The above pitchers will not win you the strikeout department, but you can displace what they lack with the likes of Wade Davis, Ken Giles or Brad Boxberger toward the end of your draft and use all the middle rounds for offensive impact.
- Imagine Yusmeiro Petit with velocity? Petit owned the 3rd best starting pitcher K-BB% in baseball last year yet owned one of the worst fastball velocities. Maybe he has an Invisiball in his arsenal. He does have the #2 Curveball from a whiff/swing perspective for pitchers who threw the pitch over 100 times. With a delivery that is hard to pick-up, excellent release point consistency and huge swing-and-miss pitch, Petit should approach a 9.00 K/9 and top 20 K-BB%. There is some risk if he is a full time starter and hitters have a chance to catch-on, but it is difficult to imagine anything north of a 3.50 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Again, Petit in conjunction with House and Peralta has me regretting the amount of starting pitcher risk I went with earlier in the draft.
- Technically, I do have Wilson Ramos 13th overall and there were only 12 teams, but he is a flyball rate away from 30-homer potential. Only Avisail Garcia and Rickie Weeks has a more impressive HR/FB ratio with a worse groundball rate. Still, another 100 plate appearances probably means 20 homers.
- I inspired a surprising amount of passion when I compared Wilmer Flores to Nolan Arenado.
- Sure, moving forward, age and shifts will hurt Carlos Beltran, but he can still go 60-20-60 and be supplemented with free agent outfielders. If you are in redraft leagues, do not under-value relevant veterans.
Scold away. Specifically, what do you think of my round 18-onward: Arismendy Alcantara and Jean Segura (MI); Steven Souza and Pedro Alvarez; Wade Davis and Trevor Bauer; and Carl Crawford? I was lacking stolen bases until the 15HR/20SB potential of Alcantara, Souza and Crawford. I thought I closed out well.
Daniel Schwartz contributes for RotoGraphs when he's not selling industry leading thermal packaging. You can follow him on twitter @RotoBanter