Another week of quarantine has gone by and very little MLB news, as expected, has come out.  With the extension of social distancing recommendations to the end of April, the season will have a tough time beginning before mid-June. First we’ll check the ADP of some players that may be rising and falling, and see where the Army picked them compared to the masses.  I also experimented in two of the mocks and will review them here.  In one draft I filled out my 14 offensive slots first before choosing a pitcher, and vice versa in the other.  For all players weekly ADP is from this week’s Mock Draft Army, overall ADP is the average ADP from RTSports/Fantrax/Yahoo/NFBC. Let’s dive in.

James Paxton , New York Yankees
This Week’s ADP: 151.75; Overall ADP: 159

Paxton showed only a slight rise in ADP on average, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. In one draft he went as early as 91st, and in an NFBC draft on 4/3 he went 71st.  Expect his ADP to rise significantly going forward here. It has been reported that his rehab is going well and if the season starts after June 1st, he will most likely be ready to start the season in the Yankees rotation.  If you are drafting over the next few days and want him, expect a much higher price tag than the 150-160 ADP.

Frankie Montas , Oakland Athletics
Weekly ADP 109 Overall ADP 110

Why am I covering someone who’s ADP is essentially the same?  Montas’ ADP has actually gone from 122 in February to 110 now, moving him up a full round.  He was taken as early as 89th this week in one of our mocks, and 81st in the NFBC over the same time period. His weekly ADP in the NFBC is 95, a full round earlier than the Army’s. With the start of the season being pushed back, the expectation is that Montas won’t have his work limited, and his relative value will therefore rise. It doesn’t make him a better pitcher but his projected strikeouts and wins will be similar to those projected over a full season while the projections for pitchers that were not expected to be limited will go down. This makes his numbers relatively better. 

Jesús Luzardo , Oakland Athletics
Weekly ADP 128 Overall ADP 118

Luzardo is in a similar situation as Montas. The Army’s ADP is slightly skewed by one outlier, and it would be very close to the overall with that one removed. He was being taken a round later in February, similar to Montas and the story is the same. His weekly ADP in the NFBC is 85, a difference of 43 spots from the Army with a minimum pick of 69. Once again a reminder to pay attention to more recent ADP data, and not an ADP that is calculated over the entire draft season.

Carlos Carrasco , Cleveland Indians 
Weekly ADP 165.75  Overall ADP 125

This is a severe drop in ADP by the Army. There is no recent news as far as I’m aware of regarding Carrasco that would cause such a big drop, but he has fallen out of favor with our mockers. He was shut down on March 11th and diagnosed with minor elbow inflammation after an MRI.  Over the same period his NFBC ADP is 145 which is still a drop by almost two rounds.  With other pitchers being moved up the boards like Montas and Luzardo, Carrasco is suffering collateral damage.  Is there a concern?  Of course there is, but Cookie may wind up being healthy and turn out to be a bargain for those drafting now.

Eugenio Suárez , Cincinnati Reds 
Weekly ADP 57.75  Overall ADP 71

Suarez suffered a shoulder injury and had to have surgery to remove some loose cartilage.  Although this was shoulder surgery, it was not on the scale as a torn rotator cuff or labrum. He was already throwing in training camp and probably wouldn’t have missed much of the beginning of the season. The Army seems to be higher on Suarez than the masses, taking him a round earlier. I concur with this. Suarez is underappreciated and helped many cash last year with his return on investment.  HIs ADP across all sites has fallen from 62 to 79. If you can get him this late you won’t be disappointed.

My “hitters first” draft was held on Tuesday 3/31. I was joined by Dan Malin, Joe Gallina, and Justin Fensterman as the “pros” and a great group of “joes”.  Even our founding father Howard Bender filled in for a bit for one of the joes who was an hour late for the draft but no names will be menKangastioned.  I had the second pick and here’s how the first 14 picks went down. Link:

  1. Mike Trout :  Acuna went first as he’s taken over the one spot in most recent drafts.  The best player in baseball falls to me.
  2. Pete Alonso :  This was probably a little early but I wasn’t sure if he would go with the next two picks so I took him here.
    Rafael Devers , Fernando Tatis Jr. , and Xander Bogaerts were my other options and I knew I’d get one of them.
  3. Xander Bogaerts :  A favorite of mine, especially in the third round.
  4. Manny Machado :  Looking back on it, maybe Austin Meadows would have been better, but he has dual position eligibility.
  5. Jonathan Villar :  Time to start adding some steals.  By going all offense first, I didn’t expect power to be an issue.
  6. J.T. Realmuto:  three of the previous four picks took my targets, so I went with the top-ranked catcher.
  7. Jorge Soler :  Power outfield bat.  Giancarlo Stanton was available but I’m avoiding him and his injury history.
  8. Marcus Semien : If he comes close to what he did last year, he’s being drafted at bargain prices.
  9. Michael Conforto :  Another power bat.  No more worries about his injury and I took his power over Michael Brantley ’s average.
  10. Franmil Reyes :  Last year’s average was hurt by below average BABIP. He should rebound somewhat this year.  Oh yeah, was pounding the ball in Arizona.
  11. Danny Santana :  While everyone was taking closers, I added more power, steals, and dual eligibility.
  12. Kyle Schwarber :  Another target of mine this year, especially at this price.  No Ronis to snipe me in this draft.
  13. Corey Seager :  Here’s a guy who was a top-25 pick just a few years ago before his TJ surgery.  13th round?  In that lineup could be a big producer if he hits in the right part of the order.
  14. Hunter Dozier :  This was one of the tougher picks knowing he’d be my last offensive player for a while. He had a solid year in 2019, I see no reason to expect a fall off, and he’s dual-position eligible.

My pitching staff ended up as follows in order of selection: Corey Kluber , Giovanny Gallegos , Joe Jiménez , Sean Manaea , Carlos Carrasco , John Means , Johnny Cueto , Brandon Kintzler ,  and Joe Musgrove .  The reserves are: Julio Teheran , Rich Hill , Trent Grisham, Niko Goodrum , and Yoshihisa Hirano .

 So how did it turn out? I used both the Fantasy Alarm draft evaluator tool and the Zeile projections from Fantasy Pros. The Fantasy Alarm tool does its evaluation based upon positional strength and a points value for each player in contrast to the more traditional category projections by Fantasy Pros.

The Alarm evaluator had the team ranked sixth out of 12 with my hitters ranked third and pitching eighth.  The pitching rank was surprising as I had Kluber as my so-called ace and question marks in Means and Cueto as my fourth and fifth starters.  In contrast the Fantasy Pros projections had this staff ranked dead last.  Overall the team was ranked seventh and hitting ranked first.  Based on starters only, the offense was projected to have a substantial lead in HRs, RBI, and runs. It was middle of the pack in stolen bases and batting average.

What this exercise has shown us is that by going all hitting first, the pitching will suffer to the point where it will be difficult to compete.  Having such a large projected lead in the counting categories is wasteful as the excess does you no good.  Another approach that could have been more productive would be choosing players like Brantley over Conforto to help with batting average.  The one pitching category that didn’t suffer much was saves.  More and more we are seeing closers being drafted later and later.  I did take a closer with 2 of my first 3 pitching picks as it would give me a solid base in the category, but it correlated with the last place projections in both strikeouts and ERA.  Overall this would be a tough strategy to go with.

The next night, drafting with Malin, Ivar Anderson, and another strong group of mockers, it was the pitcher's turn.  I had the fifth pick and this actually was a good place to do this as I didn’t have to reach on a pitcher with one of the top four picks.  My gut was that this team would turn out better than the hitters first draft.  Let’s see what happened. Link:

  1. Gerrit Cole :  I was going to take Jacob deGrom , but he, surprisingly, went fourth. 
  2. Mike Clevinger :  Clevinger is still going in the third round in some mocks.  Why? If he didn’t hurt his knee, he probably would be the fourth or fifth pitcher taken. His knee will be fine by the time the season starts.
  3. Stephen Strasburg :  I had a decision between him and Shane Bieber .  A risk with his injury history, but he’s on a better team.
  4. Josh Hader :  This is a pick I would never make in a regular draft.  I usually wait until Round 9 or 10 to take a closer, but figured this would be a good spot to do so since I already had three top starters.
  5. Charlie Morton :  I was surprised he was still available. In this scenario he’s my SP4 and I love it when he’s my SP2. Other options at this point were Clayton Kershaw and Chris Paddack .
  6. José Berríos :  Berrios took a step forward last year and if he can be a little more consistent, he won’t be available in the sixth round next year.  I took him over Trevor Bauer , Yu Darvish , and Tyler Glasnow who all have question marks.
  7. Kenley Jansen :  With three pitching picks left I started to round out the closers.  I took him over Liam Hendriks and Taylor Rogers .  Just felt that the Dodgers are the best of these teams and Jansen still has something left.
  8. Ken Giles :  Both Hendriks and Rogers were taken in between these two picks.  Brad Hand was available, and would have been an solid alternative but went with Giles.
  9. Mike Soroka :  There were several intriguing arms left at this point.  Frankie Montas , Jesús Luzardo , Hyun-Jin Ryu , Zack Wheeler and Zac Gallen.  I went with Soroka for his ERA and WHIP potential.  I had strikeouts covered and he should win his share of games with a solid Braves team.

That’s a pretty, pretty, pretty good staff.  With who was left on offense could I build enough offensive equity to compete? In order here was the offensive build: Carlos Santana , Michael Conforto , Elvis Andrus , Justin Turner , Khris Davis , Salvador Pérez , Willie Calhoun , Kolten Wong , Bryan Reynolds , Rougned Odor , Brian Anderson , Ryan Braun , Randal Grichuk , and Roberto Pérez .  Bench: Jon Berti, Steven Matz , Mike Yastrzemski , Tony Watson , Yandy Díaz .

So how did the team fair on the evaluators?  The Alarm has the team finishing ninth of 12 with pitching ranked first and hitting ninth.  This is in contrast to Fantasy Pros which has the squad finishing third.  By categories, Zeile has the team projected first or second in all the pitching categories and ninth or lower in the hitting categories.  I’m not sure why there is such a disparity in the standings projections.  I expected this team to do better overall than the hitting first team as there are still some decent hitters available in rounds 10 and later. Pitching gets very thin, especially when you start taking one in round 15. 

This was a fun exercise and I believe there are a few points to take home.  If you prioritize hitting, you can’t wait too long to take some pitching.  The drop off in pitching is substantial and relying on the lower end pitchers will not give you a great chance at winning.  If you prioritize pitching, enough hitting is available to keep your team competitive.  The pocket aces strategy is in line with this and could be one of the better strategies out there.  There are many ways to construct your roster and tinkering like we did here during a mock draft is what we’ve touted all along.  The Mock Draft Army is for your benefit by allowing you to try different things and see what works best for you.  Join us each week from Monday to Thursday on RTSports.  Follow me on Twitter @gasdoc_spit and I’m happy to answer any questions!  Stay safe!