OK, I probably spend a bit too much time thinking about my drafts, even for months after Draft Day. But, I do believe that pausing at various points during the season to reflect on what you got right and what you got wrong can be a helpful exercise. That process can be both gratifying, frustrating or most likely, a combination of both. You will have regrets, but there will also be instances where you got a little lucky. In auctions, this would mean settling for a second or third or even fourth option after the bidding for your top choice exceeded your comfort zone only to see the guy you ended up with outperform the guy you wanted the most.
As we head into the final quarter of the season, I dug up my 2017 Mixed Auction Tout Wars draft prep sheet to find specific examples. Hopefully, this exercise would turn out to be a confidence booster. Hopefully, this exercise would help me forget about drafting Cole Hamels as my SP2 (first choice) over Zack Greinke (fourth choice). Note that the dollar values in parenthesis are the purchase prices of my top choices.
Drafted Chris Archer for $26 as my SP1 instead of Jon Lester ($25)
The ace of my staff on last season's championship squad, Lester seemed like an ultra-safe pick to head my 2017 rotation. I've always liked Archer, and he certainly held the edge over Lester in the strikeout department, but Lester was the more proven commodity. Well, the Cubs southpaw is in the midst of his worst season since 2012, and now he's on the DL. Meanwhile, Archer, despite a 3.84 ERA that is not befitting of an ace, is giving me just about what I expected. But someone really does need to tell Kevin Cash to stop routinely leaving Archer in games a batter too long when he's clearly out of gas. His ERA would be about a half-run lower if Cash managed him properly.
Drafted Adam Jones for $17 as my OF2 instead of Matt Kemp ($18)
There are surely a lot of Adam Jones haters out there, the main criticism being his lack of plate discipline and that one of these years, the Orioles centerfielder is going to completely fall apart and bat .240 with 12 homers. All Jones does, though, is continually deliver 25-plus home run, 80-plus RBI seasons, and he's on pace to finish 2017 with 29 homers, 81 RBI and 88 runs scored. I get that Tout is an OBP league, and Jones' value takes a hit in those formats, but can we please give the guy a little more respect? As for Kemp, after three straight injury-free seasons, the 32-year-old has become reacquainted with the DL, though he has posted solid numbers when on the field.
Drafted Mike Moustakas for $8 as my 3B instead of Maikel Franco ($14)
I heavily targeted Moustakas this spring, but more as a CI than a starting 3B. Although I was thrilled to get Moose for eight bucks, my ideal scenario was landing both Moustakas and Franco. Little did I know that on August 19, Franco would be on pace for 23 home runs but Moustakas would have twice as many homers as the Phillies third sacker, and would lead in the batting average department by more than 60 points. I'm still a believer in Franco and wouldn't mind taking a chance on him next season for a fraction of his 2017 cost.
Drafted Gio Gonzalez for $2 as my SP4 instead of Jerad Eickhoff ($7)
Similar to the Moustakas/Franco situation, I really wanted both Gonzalez and Eickhoff but Eickhoff was younger and carried more upside, so I budgeted five bucks for the Phillies righty. But someone was willing to go higher, which in retrospect is good news being that Eickhoff is 3-7 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP through 21 starts. Gonzalez has been a longtime favorite of mine and I was banking on a quality bounceback season. Did I envision an 11-5 record with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP through 24 starts? Not quite.
Drafted Lance Lynn for $1 as my SP5 instead of Ian Kennedy ($2)
Partly inspired by fellow Mastersballer Brian Walton's optimism regarding Lynn this season, I figured there was little downside in throwing a buck his way. Hopefully, the Cardinals righty would prove to be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and would return to being a reliable mid-rotation mixed league starter. This low-risk gamble could not have worked out much better, as Lynn boasts a 10-6 record with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP through 25 starts.
And the added bonus? Sort of by accident, I finally managed to move on from the inconsistent Ian Kennedy, who I continue to draft in multiple leagues year after year after year, until this year. Kennedy could finish this season with an ERA over 5.00, by the way.
Not my problem.
Zach Steinhorn is the 2016 Mixed Auction Tout Wars champion. Follow him on Twitter @ZachMLB.