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2016 Triple-A Fantasy Baseball Experts League Draft Recap

A recap of the Triple A Fantasy Baseball Experts League draft from the desk of Moxyball’s Matt Kupferle.

I was given the excellent opportunity to participate in an industry draft last night hosted by Dan Strafford. It was a great time and I really thank Dan for the opportunity to represent the @Moxyball team.

Roll Call

In no particular order:

  1. Evan Tarracciano
  2. Shawn Hugus
  3. Chris Mitchell
  4. Chris Meyers
  5. Seth Klein
  6. Dan Strafford
  7. Tim Riordan
  8. Ryan Bloomfield
  9. Joe Pisapia
  10. Matt Kupferle
  11. Ray Guilfoye
  12. Joe Pytelski
  13. Chris McBrien
  14. Bogman/The Welsh
  15. Mike Werner/Justin Mason

League Parameters

Our league had 15 of the best minds from around the industry in a mixer that replaced AVG with OBP and W with QS. A few interesting wrinkles that I am fully supportive of. For season long leagues, I have long hated wins, and I am not 100% sure that QS is the best barometer, but to me, it’s better than wins.   Our league was the traditional ROTO settings with the only change being a 1 one catcher format instead of two.

We also had a nice little wrinkle of drafting for your draft spot; Dan used a random number generator to award himself the best pick to assign us the opportunity to pick the last slot; as soon as this was announced, I either wanted something in the top-3, or the end of the run. I unfortunately got 10th, but was able to snag spot 15, which I was happy with.

Draft Strategy

Picking on the wheel at 15, I was fairly certain I wanted two of the following four players:

  1. Joey Votto
  2. Nolan Arenado
  3. Kris Bryant
  4. Buster Posey

Why these four? Being an OBP league, I wanted an anchor in my lineup.

Votto is that anchor for me and his second-half, quite frankly, was Bondsian.

Laugh now but this line in the 2H last year was no joke: 256 ABs, 55R, 15 HR, 41 RBI, 6 SB, 530 (not a typo) OBP, 613 SLG, 1143 OPS.  That’s a half season last year and I was all in for Votto – until he got drafted at #14, or one slot before me.

As you experienced drafters know, drafts are all about flexibility.  Arenado went off the board at #11 to Ray Guilfoye, which surprised me a little only because that OBP is consistently in the 320-330 range. However, 90-40-120 hitters don’t grow on trees.

I had also anchored to those four because I reviewed last weekend’s Tout Mixed-League draft and all were available with the exception of Posey.  So, at #15, on my first pick – I drafted Joey Bautista. Yup, someone not even in my plan. Why? I had done my pre-draft prep and for the first time this year, used the RotoLab tool and my rankings kept bringing me back to Joey Bats.

He’s old, my mind kept saying (he just turned 35). He’s not healthy (which quite frankly, isn’t really true / he’s logged 450+ ABs in 4 of the last 5 seasons).  He had a slow start last year (only 7 HRs in the first two months of last year, with 33 coming from June 1 on). The bottom line is that Joey Bats plays on the best offense in the league (they outscored the Yankees by 127 runs last year), and they may be even better this year.  He gives you a sneaky contribution to steals (5-9 per year) and he walked more than he struck out last year (110-106).  So, I anchored to Joey Bats and then followed up with Posey / I have Posey valued so much higher than every other catcher and wanted a massive positional advantage. While it’s lessened in a one catcher league, I was willing to pay up for the consistency of a guy who is money in the bank for roughly 70-18-80-380.

So why not Kris Bryant? Ultimately, I think Bryant is a superstar, but I don’t think it’s in 2016. Bryant struck out 199 times last year for a 31% K rate. While the guy is a stud at a position that gets thin fairly quick, I think the regression monster could strike here. Could he be a 400 OBP guy? Yes. But that means he hits 300 and I’m not sure that happens yet. He needs a much higher contact rate (only 64% / for comparison, Joey Bautista was 80% and Joey Votto was 75% in 2015). So, I went with the Joey Bats-Posey combo.

When to Pay for Pitching

My other idea was that I wanted to try paying up for an elite closer early and then see what the room was doing on starting pitching. If you’ve been drafting yourself or following other various expert leagues, starting pitching is going off the board early. For starting pitching, the run came during RD3 / 10 of the 15 selections were starting pitchers and all of the super high K upside guys that I considered anchoring my staff to were gone.

Bumgarner, Arrieta, Fernandez, deGrom, Kluber, Price, Harvey, Syndergaard, Strasburg and Cole went off the board, which shaped my RD3/RD4 picks; I was now waiting on starting pitching.

I was not going to overpay or pay too early, so I followed up in RD3 with Matt Carpenter (not a Cardinals homer pick here) and I debated between Kenley Jansen and Wade Davis.  These are by far my top two closers and I would have told you 24 hours ago, I was Jansen all the way.  Then I looked a little closer:

  • Jansen: elite K rate, brittle health, mid-2s ERA with just sub-1 WHIP
  • Davis: not elite K rate, great health, lock for 1-ERA and elite WHIP (0.85 and 0.79, respectively, the last two years)

But is Davis not an elite K reliever? I quickly had forgotten 2014: 72 IP, 109K, SwK% of 15%. A stat I’ve adopted from Michael Salfino for relievers is K minus IP just to get a view of dominance. Anything north of 15 is great.

While Davis was +11 last year, he was +37 in 2014.  Jansen’s last four years, starting in 2012: +34, +34, +36, +38. So, I think Jansen is great, but locking those ratios in with Davis and perhaps a higher K rate bridges that gap.  We will see how it works out.

Rest of the Draft

Overall, I’m happy with how things worked out / I took Cory Spangenberg instead of Jean Segura because I have many shares of Segura and wanted to see how the speedster in SD was going to fare.

I lost my Internet connection with my second to last pick, so Miguel Montero will be waived. Sorry, buddy. Here’s the rest of the squad, and thanks again to Dan for the opportunity:

(Love Matt’s draft? Hate it? Respond via Twitter @MKupferle or in the comments section below!)

C – Buster Posey (2.1)

1B – Carlos Santana (9.15)

3B – Matt Carpenter (3.15)

CI – Pedro Alvarez (15.15)

2B – Ian Kinsler (7.15)

SS – Jonathan Villar (19.15)

MI – Cory Spangenberg (14.1)

OF – Jose Bautista (1.15)

OF – Jason Heyward (5.15)

OF – Khris Davis (11.15)

OF – Odubel Herrera (17.15)

OF – Mike Napoli (22.1)

UTIL – C.J. Cron (21.15)

P – Cole Hamels (6.1)

P – Michael Pineda (8.1)

P – Carlos Rodon (10.1)

P – Raisel Iglesias (12.1)

P – Jason Hammel (13.15)

P – Mike Leake (16.1)

P – Derek Holland (18.1)

P – Anibal Sanchez (20.1)

P – Wade Davis (4.1)

Reserve/Bench – Darren O’Day, Brandon Moss, Matt Adams, Miguel Montero, Trevor Bauer

About Matt Kupferle

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