Year in Review: My Inaugural TGFBI Team

On Monday, I wrote about my first foray into ottoneu. This post carries the same warning: This genre of post may not appeal to most readers. I don’t want to waste your time if it’s not your thing. Hereafter I’ll dissect my performance in the first annual Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational organized by our Justin Mason. For the uninitiated, TGFBI is a multi-league tournament of sorts among fantasy analysts, all competing in separate leagues and also overall (thanks to standings compiled by Smada).

Again, this is all about accountability. It’s easy to chalk up your W’s and ignore your L’s. I also think some folks might be interested in seeing how an analyst might actually implement the advice they offer. I’ll be the first to admit having a platform does not make me an “expert” by any means. I research and write to learn more about baseball and fantasy baseball and to be the best fantasy baseball player I can be. I’m not there yet. I’m my own worst enemy, as I’ll show below. Ultimately, I hope taking a fine-tooth comb to my season might help me grow as an owner and, perhaps, help others as well through insight and reflection. (Or maybe you’re reading just to be entertained! That’s fine, too.)

Same word of advice as last time, to myself and everyone: always, always make sure you understand the league rules and scoring format. This is something I screwed up in ottoneu, and it’s something I screwed up in TGFBI. Namely: TGFBI did not impose an innings limit. That’s a huge deal. In 15-team leagues, it’s difficult to actually blow through a 1,400/1,500/whatever-inning limit while accruing worthwhile ratios, but you could do it if you set your mind to it. I wouldn’t recommend it; it requires nearly or fully punting saves. Still, at a certain point last year, I decided to embrace it when my pursuit for saves proved itself entirely fruitless.

League finish: 4th of 15
Overall finish: 51st of 195

Format: standard 5×5 rotisserie
Draft: snake
Lineup: C-1B-2B-SS-3B-MI-CI-OF-OF-OF-OF-OF-UT-UT; P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P
Bench: 5 players (28-man rosters)
Roster changes: semiweekly
FAAB: $1,000
Limits: None

Notes: As noted in my previous “Year in Review” post, I really burned myself out on mock drafts last year, and I regret it. I’m trying to scale back and maintain a healthy work-life balance this preseason. I didn’t allow myself nearly enough time to familiarize myself with players; I try hard to form an opinion about everyone worth having an opinion on, even if the opinion itself is incredibly boring. Forcing yourself to have an opinion helps you when you reach certain junctures of drafts and are torn between two or more options of varying caliber and positional eligibility. I failed to do this in 2018, and it showed.

Draft:

  1. 05 SS Trea Turner
  2. 26 3B Jose Ramirez
  3. 35 SP Carlos Carrasco
  4. 56 3B Anthony Rendon
  5. 65 2B Daniel Murphy
  6. 86 OF Joey Gallo
    • Ask me to do this over again and I wouldn’t change a thing.
  7. 95 SP Masahiro Tanaka
  8. 116 C Evan Gattis
  9. 125 SP Alex Wood
  10. 146 OF Adam Duvall
  11. 155 RP Hector Neris
    • Ask me to do this over again and I would change everything.
  12. 176 1B Carlos Santana
  13. 185 OF Brett Gardner
  14. 206 SP Kenta Maeda
  15. 215 OF Michael Brantley
    • My saving grace across most leagues was my insistence on loading up on cheap shares of Maeda and Brantley.
  16. 236 DH Kendrys Morales
  17. 245 RP Alex Claudio
  18. 266 OF Cameron Maybin
  19. 275 SP Hyun-Jin Ryu
    • And Ryu. But not until I fully wasted two picks on Claudio and Maybin. Both were avoidable to an extent — Claudio, more so, if I took better care to really examine the quality options in the Rangers’ bullpen.
  20. 296 SP Ervin Santana
  21. 305 OF Melky Cabrera
  22. 326 SP John Lackey
    • Total innings and plate appearances of the last three picks while on my roster: zero.
  23. 335 SS Asdrubal Cabrera
  24. 356 C Jonathan Lucroy
  25. 365 2B Ben Zobrist
  26. 386 RP Seung-hwan Oh
  27. 395 RP Tyler Glasnow
  28. 416 SP Jakob Junis

This might be the most hit-and-miss draft I’ve ever done. My intuition on many value picks — Maeda, Brantley, Ryu, Asdrubal, Zobrist, Glasnow, even rounds 2-6 were all values in my opinion — was especially sharp. But I made some pretty colossal missteps to punctuate those sharp picks. I think I’m being a little too hard on myself, as I didn’t think the new CBA would cool the hot stove so severely. I maintain that Melky and Lackey could’ve readily contributed (more) significantly to a Major League club. Other misses — Gattis, Duvall, Santana, Gardner, Morales — coincided with untimely down years. I have faith in all of them as productive hitters, and I’ll be loading up on tons more shares of Gardner and Morales in 2019, with their current average draft positions (ADPs) so low.

Final categorical breakdown:

  • Hitting (60 points)
    • R: 1,066 (3rd)
    • HR: 291 (3rd)
    • RBI: 1,008 (3rd)
    • SB: 135 (5th)
    • AVG: .261 (6th)
  • Pitching (43 points)
    • W: 87 (3rd)
    • K: 1,384 (2nd)
    • SV: 22 (12th)
    • ERA: 3.98 (11th)
    • WHIP: 1.240 (9th)

Despite my colossal missteps, my offense was actually pretty killer. It’s my drafting of closers — and, as I’ll show, my egregiously poor FAABing of closer replacements — that did me in.

Critical FAAB transactions, for better and for worse:

What… the… hell. I spent more than half my FAAB ($439 of $820) on relievers through the end of July and earned 22 saves on the entire season. (I might’ve accrued a couple more had I not traded Wily Peralta for Ivan Nova when I had fully committed to an all-starter/no-reliever approach from August onward — notice there are no RP transactions after July 29.) For context, no team finished higher than me with fewer saves; only one team finished higher than me with less than 30 saves; and only two others in the top-50 had fewer than 60 saves. You could punt saves to an extent, but a full punt, whether inadvertent (like me) or otherwise, is ill-advised.

I wish I had drafted closers more efficiently, because my hitters were still pretty great (27th of 195) despite the clear mistakes I made. I guess that’s part of the trade-off — one part of your game benefits while another suffers. But, looking at my draft, I know I could’ve optimized much more effectively. Had I done so, I could’ve allocated more resources to bolstering a rotation built more on volume than talent and an offense that was already solid.

Such is life. As someone who prides himself on scooping saves from the wire, I doubt I’ll ever make this many mistakes again in such profoundly-stupid, historically-bad fashion. And, heading into 2019, I’ve got opinions, man. I’ve formed opinions on nearly every player and shouldn’t have to rely too desperately on external sources mid-draft in a moment of panic. Most importantly, I’m much more well-versed in every team’s depth and won’t waste many of my late-round picks like I did last year.

(TGFBI will be hosted by the National Fantasy Baseball Championship this year, which means it’s as good a time as any to start slapping this sucker at the bottom of my posts:)

RotoGraphs is teaming up with the NFBC to provide unique content throughout the season. To find out about the various NFBC events like the Online Championship go over to the NFBC website to see their various league options.

We hoped you liked reading Year in Review: My Inaugural TGFBI Team by Alex Chamberlain!

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Currently investigating the relationship between pitcher effectiveness and beard density. Biased toward a nicely rolled baseball pant. Reigning FSWA Baseball Writer of the Year and 5-time award finalist. Featured in Lindy's Sports' Fantasy Baseball magazine (2018, 2019). Now a Tout Wars competitor.

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