Last Saturday, the Bay Area Rotisserie Fantasy League (BARF) held our second annual experts draft, hosted by Tod Alsam (@RbarTod), the venerable brains behind The Wreck Room (@theWreckRoomSF) in San Francisco. Along with Howard Bender, Ray Flowers, Justin Mason, and other Bay Area industry mates, we again went into a 12-team throwback draft where we selected 28 players.
In the league, we can make daily roster changes, and we count OBP and Quality Starts, making for some fun variables, Last year, I hoped to dominate pitching, selecting Clayton Kershaw with my first pick, and Chris Sale as my third selection, sandwiched around A.J. Pollock. My team did pull as high as third for a week or so at the end of May, but I never really recovered from the loss of Pollock, and Kershaw's injury helped seal the fate of my squad.
So, this year I determined I would not be caught short on hitting, and that I would try to hold off until at least the fifth round, if not the sixth, to select a hurler, hoping that I could grab Chris Archer at that point. The plan almost worked but Sammy Reid beat me to the punch, grabbing Archer with his sixth-round selection, although Ray Flowers told me that the Rays hurler would not have slipped by him either.
So, I postponed taking a pitcher just then, and actually held out till the eighth round before drafting Danny Duffy, as a #1 starter, augmenting with Kevin Gausman, Sean Manaea, Jerad Eickhoff, Robbie Ray, Ervin Santana, Brandon Finnegan and Mike Foltynewicz as starters, while going Adam Ottavino, Dellin Betances, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Dull as bullpen help.
Speed might prove to be an issue, but for once I should not find myself shy of homers and knocks, and ideally should have some power to swap come mid-season.
As I noted, going more hitting heavy is a bit different for me, for usually I build my squads out of strong pitching, assuming I can never have enough, and that should I have that coveted surplus, as with extra hitting, I can swap.
But, I also spent more time truly trying to draft the best available player, not so much the best available player who could fit into the overall squad I am trying to create.
Here are the selections with brief comments (I drafted in the #4 slot).
1) Nolan Arenado (3B): Best hitter in the NL.
2) Freddie Freeman (1B): Coming into his own as the best first baseman in the NL.
3) Yoenis Cespedes (OF): Underrated, and a player who does still have a 45-homer season in him. I think this is the year as he is a vet presence on a good young team.
4) Kyle Seager (CI): A bit of a reach, but nails the corners, and ideally this can be an area of hitting excess I can indeed exploit later on.
5) Khris Davis (OF): If he hits 30, hooray. If he hits more, again, a possible barter point.
6) Odubel Herrera (OF): Again, perhaps early, but decent power and a shot at some speed for a good young player who logged a .361 OBP last season.
7) Jason Kipnis (2B): Some power, some speed, 20/20 potential, and pretty steady.
8) Danny Duffy (SP): Had to start somewhere with starting pitching, and I think Duffy will build on his solid 2016 and become the ace of the Royals.
9) Kevin Gausman (SP): Another guy with some upside, and like Duffy, as third-year full-timers, I expect those 30-plus starts and ideally a lot of quality ones.
10) Evan Gattis (C): Part of my insatiable quest for homers, it is nice to stash him behind the dish. And, Houston my have a lot of hitters, but if Evan hits like he has the past few years, he will get his swings.
11) Brad Miller (SS): I think Miller can repeat the 30-homer totals of last year, and such production from shortstop is fine. And, we may get some position flexibility come the season.
12) Sean Manaea (SP): Another young arm, but a good one, with a hurler in a pitcher's park. Whiffs are part of the profile, too.
13) Kevin Kiermaier (OF): If he can stay healthy, the Rays outfielder could also be a 20/20 guy. If.
14) Jerad Eickhoff (SP): Solid season last year with almost 200 innings and a 1.16 WHIP.
15) Robbie Ray (SP): Perhaps another premature grab, but a lot of strikeouts and will probably do 200 innings.
16) Kole Calhoun (OF): Surprised Kole was still out there, and happy to have him on my roster, as always.
17) Brandon Crawford (MI): More pop up the middle, and good to remember Crawford has knocked in 84 each of the past two seasons. And with Miller and some position flexibility, Crawford can slide into the shortstop slot.
18) Dellin Betances (RP): Since this is a 12-teamer, I waited for relievers, but with daily trannies, Betances was too good to pass up at this point.
19) Adam Ottavino (RP): Likely the Rockies closer, and a guy who will get whiffs.
20) Brandon Finnegan (SP): Another guy I have been a fan of since Day 1, Finnegan will step it up a level this year a la Gausman.
21) Brandon Maurer (RP): More whiffs and maybe more saves with good peripherals.
22) Ervin Santana (SP): Remarkably consistent, and another good guy to stream.
23) Leonys Martin (OF): Crappy on-base totals, but power and needed speed. And, I think he can improve upon that OBP.
24) Kevin Pillar (OF): A favorite last year, dismissed this year, but I think there is still some good stuff in there, at least in terms of steals.
25) Robert Gsellman (SP): Crapshoot starter, but a good one at this point of the draft.
26) Mike Foltynewicz (SP): I like the former first-rounder of the Braves, who showed he is learning what it takes to be a big league pitcher. On an improving team, he goes with the flow.
27) Derek Norris (C): Gotta have two catchers, and Norris has been a decent on-base guy, and is not nearly as bad as last year suggests. And, well, if he is bad, not much invested here.
28) Ryan Dull (RP): I have four good relievers I can stream, and in theory, all four could wind up closing. For sure, all will get strikeouts.
Here are the final results of the BARF Draft, 2017.