On Tuesday night, I took part in the Tout Wars Mixed League draft. It is a 15-team, 5×5 roto league using on-base percentage instead of average. We start two catchers, 14 offensive players, nine pitchers and have six reserves. This is my fifth year in the league and I have finished Top 5 every season, winning the championship in two of the last three years.
I had the fifth choice of where to draft and the 1,2, 12 and 15 spots were taken before me. I decided to go 10th. I didn’t see an obvious No. 3 and thought I could get two really good offensive players in the first two rounds and a good pitcher in round three. It worked. Here’s my breakdown and thoughts on how I built the team.
Round 1, Pick 10 – Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
I thought he might be there. It was a tough call between him, Charlie Blackmon and Paul Goldschmidt. Betts contributes in all categories and the Red Sox lineup gets a big boost with the addition of J.D. Martinez.
Round 2, Pick 6 – J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox
This was also a tough call between Martinez, Manny Machado and Aaron Judge. I would have considered Martinez late in the first round. Martinez was one of the best offensive players in baseball last season and has hit at least 38 home runs in two of the last three seasons. I don’t think Judge will be as good as last season and people are paying for a career year, but he gets a boost in on-base percentage leagues.
Round 3, Pick 10 – Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
I was shocked that Bumgarner was here. I expected to be looking at Jacob deGrom or Carlos Carrasco and both were gone. Some people are worried because he wasn’t as dominate when he came from his shoulder injury last season. He’s never been a high velocity pitcher and while he allowed more home runs than usual last year, a lot of pitchers did. Bumgarner threw three perfect innings on Friday. Every pitcher presents risk, but he’s healthy now.
Round 4, Pick 6 – Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
Another surprise here. I didn’t think Abreu would be here. Abreu is a consistent .290-.300, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. He has a career .359 on-base percentage and has at least 30 home runs in three of his four seasons and at least 100 RBIs in all four seasons.
Round 5, Pick 10 – Lorenzo Cain, Milwaukee Brewers
I didn’t love anything in this spot. Nothing stood out and it’s not a knock on Cain. He contributes in every category and moves from to an excellent lineup and home park. He has at least 26 stolen bases in three of the last four seasons and the one he didn’t get there, he played in 103 games. Cain isn’t a big power hitter, but he had three of his 15 home runs at home last season.
Round 6, Pick 6 – Jean Segura, Seattle Mariners
This was another area where I didn’t love anything on the board. I thought about going with a pitcher, but felt another solid pitcher would be there in round 7. Segura will hit second behind Dee Gordon and ahead of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager. He has at least 20 steals in all five years played.
Round 7, Pick 10 – Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros
I expect Cole to be better with the Astros. The gap between the A.L. and N.L. isn’t as vast as it used to be. The average N.L. ERA last season was 4.34 and 4.37 in the A.L. I think the Astros get Cole to use his fastball less and it will make him better. He has pitched at least 200 innings in two of the last three seasons and will get offensive support.
Round 8, Pick 6 – Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers
Castellanos broke out last season with 26 home runs and 101 RBIs. He hits a lot of line drives and had a 43.4 percent hard hit rate. He also qualified at third base and outfield.
Round 9, Pick 10 – Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox
Moncada was considered one of the top prospects in the game last season. He struggled when he was called up in July, but got better each month and I like to see young players go through adversity and respond positively. Moncada has power and speed and the walks will help offset the potential low average in an on-base percentage format.
Round 10, Pick 6 – Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants
Samardzija is one of ten pitchers to throw at least 200 innings and get 200 strikeouts last season. The other nine go in the first five rounds. Samardzija had a 1.14 WHIP, a category that goes under looked. For more on Samardzija, click here.
Round 11, Pick 10 – Blake Treinen, Oakland A’s
Time to get a closer. I want at least one and if the price isn’t right on another, I’ll figure it out during the season. After being traded to the A’s from the Nationals, Treinen had a 2.13 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a 42:12 K:BB ratio in 38 innings. He threw more first-pitch strikes and induced a lot of grounders.
Round 12, Pick 6 – Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins
I was stunned Sano fell this far. I didn’t plan on drafting him. There’s the potential suspension, although there hasn’t been much detail. Sano was accused of assaulting a photographer and he has denied the allegations. He had surgery on his left shin and provided to camp overweight. While there’s risk, it’s round 12 and he has 35-40 homer power.
Round 13, Pick 10 – Taijuan Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks
For more on Walker and my Preseason Pro Picks, click here.
Round 14, Pick 6 – Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates
Taillon was a top prospect and had testicular cancer last season. It’s amazing that he came back. He was off to a good start before missing time. He wasn’t as good in the second half, but it couldn’t have been easy to come back from what he did.
Round 15, Pick 10 – Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles
I like a lot of the pitchers in the middle rounds. Gausman broke my heart last year, but I am going back. For the reasons, check here.
Here is the rest of the draft. We have unlimited DL spots, so once waivers opens I will put Yulieski Gurriel on the DL and add a free agent.
Round 16, Pick 6: Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians
Round 17, Pick 10: Willie Calhoun, Texas Rangers
Round 18, Pick 6: Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres
Round 19, Pick 10: Yulieski Gurriel, Houston Astros
Round 20, Pick 6: Brandon Drury, New York Yankees
Round 21, Pick 10: Keona Kela, Texas Rangers
Round 22, Pick 6: Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers
Round 23, Pick 10: Reynaldo Lopez, Chicago White Sox
Round 24, Pick 6: Jorge Alfaro, Philadelphia Phillies
Round 25, Pick 10: Derek Fisher, Houston Astros
Round 26, Pick 6: Dominic Leone, St. Louis Cardinals
Round 27, Pick 10: Leonys Martin, Detroit Tigers
Round 28, Pick 6: Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers
Round 29, Pick 10: Steven Matz, New York Mets
Overall, I am happy with the team. I am light in saves with Treinen as my only closer. Kela and Leone have potential to close and there’s so much turnover at the position, I’ll be looking to the waiver wire to address it. I believe this team is a contender.