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Saturday 27th May 2017

In early March I participated in the Tout Wars online draft league: a fifteen-team league that uses on base percentage (OBP) instead of batting average, but otherwise is the standard 5X5 categories employing twenty three starting players.

But I made my first pick before that as the league lets the players have their preference of draft slot based on last year’s standings. So Adam Ronis who won the league last year had first choice and picked 1.03 (presumably because he didn’t care which one of Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, or Bryce Harper he would get and he would get an earlier second round pick). That allowed Rudy Gamble, second last year to draft first, and Patrick Mayo, a transfer from the TOUT X league to draft second.

I finished 4th in this league last year but my preference card was 3-2-1-8 so I will draft eighth. Sure I would have started with one of those three players, but after those three and Clayton Kershaw, there is a pack of players that are pretty close in terms of projected value, and frankly I thought I might be able to get either Anthony Rizzo or Andrew McCutchen at 1.08 and then have a much earlier second round pick. But there are other reasons I like to draft in the middle of the order (assuming I am comfortable with the first round players). First I won’t wait as long between picks each round. Second I find that especially in industry leagues, drafters may be reaching some for either a player they really like who they know won’t be available with their next pick. That means there is often some players who on my rankings fall below where I would draft them or think they should go.

I wanted my first few hitters to have a very high OBP and I wanted to choose hitters for the most part that would have double digit HR and SB. Obviously you can’t do that with catchers but I wanted to try and avoid the one trick stolen base ponies – especially in the outfield. I would take two very strong hitter in the first two rounds, likely taking my first starting pitcher in the third, but might delay until the fourth if there was a compelling hitter there and the first pitcher run was not well under way.

So how did that work out?

Well I did get McCutchen at 1.08 – really wanted to start with Rizzo but he went fifth. In the second round I took Justin Upton – strong OBP (100 points higher than his BAvg), with 25+ HR and double digit SB. (Perhaps I should have taken Jose Abreu for a few more homers and stronger R/RBI, sacrificing the steals and some OBP)

With four SP taken in front of me in round three (Kershaw going at 1.07 and Scherzer at 2.15) I decided to jump in and take Corey Kluber for the strong strikeouts and good ratios and the hope the Indians can get him some more wins this year.

It didn’t cost me in hitting as my projected third round hitter was still there at 4.08 so Brian Dozier who certainly fit the HR/SB plan was my pick, despite a lower OBP which I think will be offset with 100+ runs. Unfortunately there was a heavy run on first basemen with eleven taken in the first four and a half rounds. I didn’t make a panic pick there – Byung-Ho Park has the projected numbers and the power I needed but I would have preferred to take him later but he was my pick at 5.08

The drafters in this league were doing a very good job, pretty much across the boards so there were going to be compromises made and educated guesses as to when to fill each hole. And it was a very fast draft which didn’t give much time for sorting your queue or options. I won’t give every pick a paragraph but list the round numbers after each player selected, so here is the drafted starters and then reserves.

C – Welington Castillo (13) – will have close to twenty bombs

C – Francisco Cervelli (16) – strong OBP with at least a home run per month

1B – Byung-Ho Park (5) – looking for 30+ home runs and several steals

3B – Jung-Ho Kang (10) – should be a very solid contributor but will he miss time?

CI – Justin Bour (19) – twenty plus home runs

2B – Brian Dozier (4) – strong HR/SB combo who will score 100+ runs

SS – Ketel Marte (12) – leading off for Mariners and should be close to 30 steals

MI – Jonathan Villar (18) – 30+ steals, handful of HR and see reserves

OF – Andrew McCutchen (1) – OBP stud with HR/SB combo and strong RBI

OF – Justin Upton (2) – Comerica Field and Tiger lineup may increase projected numbers

OF – Joc Pederson (7) – much stronger OBP than BAvg with upside beyond 20/20

OF – Curtis Granderson (9) – another OBP choice plus 20+/10+

OF – Stephen Souza (14) – 20/20 with good OBP

UT – Mike Napoli (23) – again very good OBP with 15-20 HR in fungible position on roster

Reserves

Orlando Arcia (24) SS– Top Milwaukee prospect - very good hitter who should arrive in June

Martin Prado (27) 3B – In case I need an April replacement for Kang

Lonnie Chisenhall (29) 3B/OF – can cover 3B and OF and streaky power hitter

SP – Corey Kluber (3) – 240+ strikeouts and good ratios

SP – Johnny Cueto (6) – Great home park for Cueto

SP – Drew Smyly (11) – great ratios over lesser strikeouts – last tier 4 pitcher on the board

SP – Jaime Garcia (17) – pitches very well IF he can stay on the field

SP – Zack Wheeler (21) – headed for a DL slot in TOUT rules

SP – Lucas Giolito (22) – highest upside of all the prospect pitchers and on better team when he arrives

CL – Jonathan Papelbon (8) – excellent tier 2 closer on winning club

CL– Santiago Casilla (15) – Giants should win a lot of games this year – hopefully he is closing all year

CL – J.J. Hoover (20) – has the job for now in Cincinnati

Reserves

Tanner Roark (25) – replacing Giolito

Adam Conley (26) – okay to take starters on Marlin – they play a lot of games versus PHL and ATL

Bartolo Colon (28) – holding the place for Wheeler and still effective

Not sure my OBP held up and weaker than I would like in RBI, but very solid HR/R/SB

Strong in Sv, ERA, and WHIP and wins will come with steaming but the low strikeouts could be a problem if Giolito not up early and Wheeler is delayed.

With Arcia and Giolito likely manning two of my bench spots it does mean I am going to work with just four reserve spots, but I am fine with that for the upside these players should bring my team.

I am always glad to answer any questions here or in the Forums and you can follow along all year as Mastersball has very strong TOUT coverage.

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