FSTA Fantasy Baseball Draft Review: Rounds 17-29
FSTA Draft Review (Rounds 17-29)
Recently, in Tampa I took part in the first Fantasy Baseball experts draft of the season. I will break down the rest of my draft here and discuss some more of my selections in depth.
Round 17: Jesus Luzardo (SP, OAK)—Have you ever heard of Luzardo? If not, I think you need to take a closer look at his stats. He was an absolute beast in Single A and Double AA last season and there is a good chance that the A’s might have him skip Triple AAA and start the year in their rotation. I think the worst-case scenario with him is that he pitches the first month in Nashville and then gets the call to the majors. When he arrives, he will come with a big fastball and a chance to throw about 150 solid innings.
Round 18: Danny Jansen (C, TOR)—Some guys are just born to hit—and Jansen is one of those guys. If given the chance to start the year as the Blue Jays catcher, I can easily see him hitting .275 with 15/60. The problem, though, is his defense. He is still a work in progress, and I think at this point the Jays are praying that he will be average behind the plate. Toronto traded Russell Martin in the off-season to Los Angeles specifically to open the spot for Jansen. For that reason alone, he is well worth the risk.
Round 19: Steven Souza Jr. (OF, AZ)—In the late rounds of drafts, I like taking chances on players who have played well in the past only to have recent disappointments. Souza was terrific in 2017, only to have a myriad of injuries in 2018. People often choose to avoid players like this due to recency bias, but I look at them as buying opportunities. If Souza stays healthy, he might end up hitting cleanup in the Arizona lineup and could go 25/85 with 5-10 stolen bases.
Round 20: Kevin Pillar (OF, TOR)—No one ever wants to draft Kevin Pillar. He is the opposite of a sexy pick, more workmanlike than anything. In some ways, that’s what I like about him best. You know exactly what you are getting when you select him. Pillar will hit about .250 with 14-16 home runs and 14-16 stolen bases. Reliability is a perfect quality for my 5th OF to have.
Round 21: Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU)—Chirinos goes from playing in a below average lineup in Texas to one of the top offensive lineups in Houston. While he is never going to be confused with a .300 hitter, he has some real pop in his bat and should hit about 20-25 HRs for the Astros this season. I thought he was a steal at this late point in the draft.
Round 22: Keston Hiura (2B, MIL)—There’s a point in every draft where I try to take a rookie that I like to stash on my roster for some time later in the season. Hiura is a supremely talented young hitter who mashed the ball in the Arizona Fall league. What I like about him the most is that his pathway to playing time looks to be open with only Hernan Perez and Cory Spangenberg standing in his way. Hiura might be starting by Memorial Day—and if he is—I will be elated.
Round 23: Pedro Strop (RP, CHC)—With Morrow out for at least one month and possibly two, I took a chance on Strop getting the bulk of the saves in his absence. The good news is that I feel confident that the Cubs are happy enough with Morrow in the long run that they won’t go out and sign Kimbrel or trade for an arm early in the season. If Strop can get me all the Cubs saves until June 1st, he will have done his job.
Round 24: Brandon Morrow (RP, CHC)—Strop is a stopgap until the real closer, Morrow, can return from injury. If Morrow were healthy, there is no doubt that he would have been selected by Round 11. I only got this discount because of his injury and my willingness to hold a roster spot for him until he returns.
Round 25: Michael Pineda (SP, MIN)—Pineda has dealt with injuries for most of his career, but he appears to be healthy now and should have a realistic chance to be the Twins SP3 this season. I like to take a few chances on pitching late in drafts to see if I can pull out a needle in a haystack. There’s a good chance that I cut Pineda in the first couple of weeks in the season if I don’t like what I am seeing, but conversely, if he pitches well in the Spring, then I may have gotten myself a potential steal.
Round 26: Brad Boxberger (RP, KC)—Timing is everything in life and I was on the clock when word came out that “Box” was going to sign a one-year deal with the Royals. Wily Peralta is the Royals current closer, but I think he got through last season with smoke and mirrors. Boxberger is a legitimate closer who at the very least will start out the season as the team’s leading setup man, and at best, will supplant Peralta as closer by May.
Round 27: Brent Honeywell (SP, TB)—Honeywell was the jewel of the Rays minor league pitching until he had Tommy John surgery last season. The Rays are expecting him back in June (I think the All-Star break is more likely), but I am willing to hold a roster spot for him. When he returns, Honeywell might be an impact pitcher in the second half of the season, as he has dominated every level he has been in throughout the organization.
Round 28: Nick Williams (OF, PHI)—Williams has disappointed thus far in his brief career, but the Phillies lineup is shaping up to be one of the best in the NL and if they can figure out a way to add Manny Machado they might be even more devastating. If they sign Machado and not Bryce Harper, Williams will keep his job as the everyday LF which should give him a great chance to hit 20/80 in this potent lineup.
Round 29: Yolmer Sanchez (3B, CWS)—Third base is exceptionally shallow this season so taking Sanchez here is merely protection in case Jose Ramirez gets hurt.
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