RotoBaller 6x6 League Draft Analysis
After 11 days and 300 drafted players, the first season for one of the RotoBaller fantasy baseball leagues is ready to begin! In our first season we decided on a “slow” email based draft with each player getting a maximum of two hours to pick. The league is a 6x6 rotisserie league with OBP and holds added to the traditional five hitting and pitching statistics. The rosters were setup with the following positions: C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 5 OF, and a U spot for hitters with two starting pitchers, two relief pitchers and 4 utility pitcher spots. Keeping in mind each team will keep five or six players, we will take a look at each of the first few rounds in depth along with a few late round steals and surprises. You can see the full draft results with this link.
Biggest reach: Bryce Harper
My pick: Andrew McCutchen
It is hard to argue that Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera aren't the best pick but they are such clear cut choices for #1 and #2 overall that we will take them out of the argument. I am going to be a bit biased on the first pick as I think getting McCutcheon with the 6th pick was an absolute steal. Last season’s NL MVP is the consensus number three fantasy player after a 2013 season that saw him put up a .317 batting average, 97 runs, 21 home runs, 84 RBI and 27 steals. Along with his age I think the 6th pick was a great cornerstone for my team. As far as Harper goes, it is hard to hate a player who is just 21 years old and full of talent, however he has the worst stats of anyone else in the first round. Last season he had just at .274 average, 11 steals and 58 RBI’s which are tough to take from your top pick. Now that he is healthy, Harper should have a better season but I still felt it was too early to pick the budding star.
Best pick: Ryan Braun
Biggest reach: Joe Mauer
My pick: Troy Tulowitzki
Although I didn’t like the Harper pick in round 1, the team of Gammons is God followed it up with a spectacular pick of Braun in round two. A long suspension seems to have made many people forget that prior to last season Braun was a consensus top three fantasy player who had the ability to hit for power and average along with solid speed. If Carlos Gomez can have another good year to protect him, Braun could again approach a season of 40 HR and 120 RBI. The biggest stretch of the second round I thought was Mauer. The pro-Mauer group will point out his .324 average and .404 OBP from last year which combined with his multi-position eligibility make him a solid pick. However, as a second round pick Mauer is a huge injury concern, never having played over 146 games in a season and provides next to nothing in terms of HR and SB. Mauer is certainly consistent but there is value further down the draft board at catcher or first base.\
Best pick: Freddie Freeman
Biggest reach: Jason Heyward
My pick: Yu Darvish
A pair of Braves make the list in round three with Freeman being a value while Heyward was a reach. Outside of steals, which you never get from your first basemen, Freeman is an absolute fantasy beast. He had a sparkling .319 average along with a .396 OBP to go along with 23 homeruns and 109 RBI’s last season. Those numbers should only go up this year if players such as Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Heyward pick up their play from last year. Speaking of Heyward, the onetime top prospect in MLB struggled last year to a lowly .254 average and just 2 stolen bases. Heyward did miss a chunk of time with a broken jaw last year so his numbers figure to go up slightly, but he is still prone to far too many strikeouts. The still very young Brave could have a bust out season and be a solid keeper but the third round seemed too high.
Best pick: Jose Fernandez
Biggest reach: Cliff Lee
My pick: Starling Marte
The picks in this round signify a passing of the guard as the young Marlin Fernandez seems to be the future, while Lee is a player soon to be on the decline. In his rookie season last year, Fernandez was one of the lone bright spots for the Marlins where he put up a Cy Young-esque 2.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 187 strikeouts. The only downside to his stellar numbers is a low wins total of 12 which has far more to do with his team then his pitching. Even if his ERA and WHIP go up a tick this year, it is almost a lock that he tops 200 strikeouts which put him in the top five of all fantasy pitchers. Lee on the other hand is now 35 years old and is coming off of five straight years over 200 innings pitched. His low WHIP and very good strikeout numbers have been constant, but on a poor Phillies team his win total is likely to go down and the wear on his arm may soon drive his value down the fantasy charts.
Best pick: Matt Cain, round 8
Biggest reach: Billy Hamilton, round 6
In the next few rounds there were several solid picks but I felt getting Matt Cain this late in the draft was a huge bargain. He is coming off of a rough season in 2013 as he had a 4.00 ERA and just 158 strikeouts which scared some owners away. It is worth noting that prior to last season Cain has posted ERA’s of 2.89, 3.14, 2.88 and 2.79 in the four prior years while also striking out 175 or more in all of those years. He should bounce back to similar numbers in 2014 for a good Giants club especially after putting up a great 2nd half in 2013. On the opposite side of that, Hamilton and his ridiculous speed pushed his value way up the draft board. Everyone knows about the Reds speed man and his potential to lead baseball in stolen bases, but has yet to be determined if he can get on base to get those steals. For a player who likely will provide nothing in terms of HR or RBI, it is a big risk to take Hamilton this early, even in a keeper league.
Best pick: Billy Butler, round 12
Biggest reach: Chris Carter, round 14
I felt very fortunate to get Butler in round 12 as I had not taken a first basemen prior to this round. Butler will not wow you in any category but in 2013 he had a .289 average, 15 homeruns, 82 RBI and respectable .374 OBP. In some formats he is only DH eligible so the fact that he is open for 1B in our league makes him a better option as well. In complete opposition to Butler, Carter was taken two rounds later and provides huge boom or bust statistics. He has a ton of power, shown by the 29 HR last season, but in a league that has both batting average and OBP, he is a negative contributor in half of the roto categories. If he can find a way to increase his .223 average and .320 OBP from last year he could be a good value but for a player who is likely to strike out over 200 times that is not likely going to be the case.
Best pick: Joel Peralta, round 17
Biggest reach: Ervin Santana, round 20
With holds being one of our pitching categories, Peter Puck’s team was able to pick up the MLB holds leader for the past two seasons. He seems entrenched in Joe Maddon’s bullpen as he put up a staggering 41 holds in 2013. He also contributes a solid number of strikeouts for a relief pitcher and a respectable WHIP and ERA. Santana was a bit of a gamble even at this point in the draft as he has yet to sign with a team. What that likely means is that he will not have a full season which hurts his overall value. Also it is generally not a good idea to pay for a career year which Santana had in 2013 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 161 strikeouts. If Santana lands on the right team he could be a nice value, but you will need to likely wait a little whiel for his production.
Best pick: Chris Johnson, round 23
Biggest reach: Byron Buxton. round 22
Johnson's 2013 batting average of .321 is not likely to stick, but if he can stay around .300 he should have plenty of opportunities with a ton of talent in the Atlanta lineup. Buxton, the top prospect in baseball, is without a doubt a monster talent, however Minnesota likes to take their time with prospects meaning Buxton is unlikely to see many at bats this year. Also since we are only keeping a limited amount of players, Buxton will likely use a roster spot for much of the season and go into next year with just as many questions about his true big league potential as he has this season.
To view the entire draft follow this link.