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The “Cole Miner” 2018 Outfield Draft Review

We cannot get started here without first marveling at the success of Opening Day. While I’m not a fan of most of baseball’s shake-ups, getting to watch all 30 (26 dry) MLB teams play in one glorious 12 hour stretch has been fantastic. The fact that the games have been good makes it even better.

The only downside about Opening Day is it opens fantasy owners up for another year of PDD — Post Draft Depression. It’s not like the season is over by any stretch of the imagination. We have approximately 2404 more baseball games to gather fantasy data from this season. But the draft is, at the least, the most important single day of the season. You spend all your time preparing for it, you read exclusively draft prep leading up to it, and you walk away from it with a roster. But now, it’s over.

This article is more of the homage to the final days of the draft season. I will be reviewing my 2018 drafts, and reviewing them with a specific scope on the Outfield position.

 

League Participation and Philosophy

I myself am only in two leagues this year. As a whole, I find filling yourself up with a litany of leagues makes each of them less individually valuable. I understand in the concept of a Roto league why some people play like this, but personally I love really getting to know the dynamics of your league intimately. I like to know each individual owner personally that carries over to the next year. I like to familiarize myself with my opponents teams as much as I familiarize myself with my own. I don’t know if this is even possible for those who play in half a dozen or more leagues.

While I agree that there are better formats than 5×5 in terms of representing actual baseball ability, I personally like the 5×5 format. I understand all the complaints about it– but at the end of the day this is a game, and the game has rules. No matter where you draw the line, Fantasy Baseball will never have stats that perfectly represent real baseball. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try or that I’m against Sabermetric leagues, but I have no problem playing a game with stats that don’t tell the whole picture. I gear myself towards a 12-Team format, 6 Infielders (MI+CI) and 5 Outfielders with a Utility. I like all kinds of depth, particularly deeper leagues, but as a game I simply like the balance of the 12-Team, moderate depth 5×5 Mixed Roto League. And as such, those are the leagues I seek out and play in.

I’d also say that, based on the way I draft, I am someone who at this stage of the season is more likely to have remorse over players not-drafted than players I feel I drafted too highly. I am very aggressive in reaching for players, which often gives me teams where my ADP is by far the worse in the draft room, and perhaps my team will fail, but it is filled with players that I feel I have chosen because I really like them at their prices. Buyers remorse comes in June and throughout the season. For now, the remorse will be players I missed, and will be saved for the end.

(Obviously, as many of the players I was happy to buy are players I was looking to be happy to buy, many players here are players who have been discussed in detail in other articles).

 

2018 Fantasy Drafts — Outfield Review

Team 1, 12 Team 5×5 Roto, Pick #9:

I don’t know if it’s cheap or not to start with your first pick, but when I saw the App reward me the #9 pick, I knew with the parity of the First Round that the dream would be that Charlie Blackmon, my #3 Overall player, would fall to me at 1.09. It may not be the biggest reward– there weren’t bad players that I passed up on of course– but Blackmon is a base that I’m glad to have slip to me at #9.

After paying what I believed to be a fairly reasonable price to add Khris Davis as my OF2 (6.64), I was hoping that I could have one of my favorite 100+ Outfielders fall to me as an OF3. As it turns out, in both leagues I received Kevin Kiermaier as my OF3, and at prices that I was very happy with (12.136). It may be a price that seems a bit high against ADP, but for my Outfield, BA and Power seemed to be the strengths so far, so I could use the speed. Furthermore, I have been of the opinion since the beginning of the Spring that Kiermaier is not someone with just “decent” potential, but someone who could realistically be a Speed-First OF1 if he were to stay healthy for the full season.

After that, feeling strongly about the balance in my Outfield, I decided to wait and hope that a few guys fell to me. For a while, I was waiting for either Haniger or Hicks, hoping that I would have a chance for one to make it back as long as both were on the board. After pick 200 though, I decided to take them in consecutive picks (17.201, 18.208) to fill out my starting five Outfielders. For Hicks the playing time may be a bit of a variable but overall I feel like I added two players who have the potential to aid me realistically across the board at a fair price.

 

Team 2, 12 Team 5×5 Roto, Pick #4: 

I drafted this team after the first team, so having Blackmon on one team I decided to forgo my drafting list and pick Bryant over Blackmon in the moment.

I received another one of my top-level favorites in this draft, as the late-2nd Round provided me with a hoped-for opportunity to select George Springer. Pick 21 is above his Fantasypros ADP of 27, but Springer is a player that I have as being just outside the first round in terms of value in my overall rankings, and feel super happy having Springer create the core of this team with Turner.

For my second outfielder, I was looking elsewhere position-wise for much of the early draft, but the veteran presence of Justin Upton slipping past the 5th Round was a mistake I’m hoping the new Angel will make my opponents regret throughout the season. I don’t have Upton that much higher than the ADP, but grabbing him at 6.69 I thought was a huge potential steal.

After grabbing Kiermaier at a similar price stated in Draft 1, I set my sights on one player in particular. This doesn’t exactly represent a “Favorite Buy” necessarily as I purchased the player close to 100 spots over his ADP, but I wasn’t going to let Jose Martinez (16.189) be off of my Fantasy Roster in both my leagues. I mentioned in the beginning that this article would be the first to include anything from real 2018 baseball, and I said that with firstly Martinez in mind. Martinez mashed Lefties in 2018, so the playing time there was assumed, but the playing time v. RHP is variable and hard to predict right now. Getting the Opening Day start against Noah Syndergaard and producing, including against Noah Syndergaard, is something worth raising an eyebrow at. An everyday Jose Martinez could turn into a Fantasy Stud fast.

 

The Final Fish

He wasn’t drafted by me or anyone else in either of my leagues, but after the announcement that former Mets first-round pick Brandon Nimmo was going to be leading-off, I gave him a speculative add in both of my leagues as a Bench Outfielder. Following the example of the previous player evaluation, while I have to make sure to not get ahead of myself after just one game at lead-off, the Opening Day game was very encouraging for Nimmo. Not only did he get a couple of hits and score a couple of runs, but he had some really good, really long at-bats which are fundamentally important to a lead-off hitter. The return of Conforto could displace Nimmo, but it’s not unrealistic to think Nimmo could keep the Lead-Off role if he plays well.

A couple more reasons Nimmo could potentially be a solid pick-up, despite the PT concerns:

Talent; as a former 1st Round Pick, Nimmo is someone who has been thought of as a highly talented ballplayer before.

Surrounding Health; Cespedes and Conforto make this an easy argument to make, and either one of them down likely means at the least a full opportunity for Nimmo.

Skill-Set Diversity; the direct competition for Plate Appearances right now includes Cespedes and then a bunch of similarly skilled players in Conforto, Bruce, and Gonzalez (with the potential for someone else to shift to first like the Brewers did today with Santana/Braun). Conforto has talent to be better than that profile, but at the end of the day he still struggles mightily v. LHPs and has not yet put it together. These guys are primarily left-handed power hitters with a bit of pull in their swings. Nimmo on the other hand is a lead-off hitter, someone with a bit more contact and speed with less power, and someone who could also be argued is the superior defensive option.

 

Filled With Remorse

The sadness section of the article, we start with one of my biggest pre-draft hypes who will be on none of my fantasy teams at least right away in 2018 is Ender Inciarte. This might come as a shock to some who follow my work, but at the end of the day both of the slots where I was looking at Ender I ultimately went with Kiermaier as I felt that I was doing vastly better in BA than SBs in each of those two leagues. I love Ender and think he’ll be a top 75 player, but as a roster fit he didn’t work out in the two drafts I participated in, and one at least one occasion I ultimately decided to draft him but was barely sniped.  

Maybe this one is a bit influenced by Opening Day and my personal fandom as well, but I’m already regretting not aggressively pursuing Ian Happ in at least one league. The Cubs seem adamant about finding him work in the Outfield and potentially the Infield, and he can get that Lead-Off role and consistent opportunity he could be an excellent value player. Happ is a guy who my opinion of was rising quite a bit throughout draft season, but I still didn’t find a way to get him on any teams.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with playing in only two leagues is that you’re just going to miss on the bulk of the player pool.

Overall, I was very satisfied with the teams I drafted and am looking forward to making my first trade negotiations soon. Next week we’ll start diving into more of the early returns of the 2018 Baseball season, but most importantly for now, Fantasy Baseball is finally here.  

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Major League Fantasy Football 2018 League Openings

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday March 29th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #110 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.

Our guests this week are Dr. Roto and Cole Freel. Dr. Roto is a very well respected industry and tenured industry expert. Be sure to check out his work over at scoutfantasysports.com.  Dr. Roto will be on from [8:45]-9:15 pm EST. Cole is one of our newest writers at majorleaguefantasysports.com. His articles publish every Saturday afternoon at 1 pm EST.

Bachelors in English and History from Indiana University. Borderline-Obsessed Fantasy Baseball Writer who also dabbles in Football, Basketball and Combat Sports.

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