Daily Dr. Roto—February 7, 2020
Rounds 18-23 of FSGA Fantasy Baseball Experts Draft
Last week, I began my quest to win the 2020 FSGA Fantasy Baseball League. I had the fifth pick (out of 14 teams) and am competing against some of the top Fantasy Baseball experts in the industry. Although we are drafting in January, this draft unofficially “kicks off” the Fantasy Baseball season.
The first eleven rounds were completed last week in Las Vegas. The remaining rounds will be completed by slow draft over the coming weeks. You can follow the draft along here.
For now I’m just going to focus on my picks so you can see my thinking and get a better understanding about the choices I have make to fill out my roster.
Round 18: A.J. Pollock, LAD OF
Why I selected him: How many of you remember 2016 when Pollock was a third-round pick? Pollock was coming off a 20 HR/39 SB season with the Diamondbacks, and many Fantasy Baseball experts were projecting great things for him. Sadly, injuries have sullied his last four seasons, and he has never had more than 425 at-bats in any one season since 2016. Were his injuries fluky? Possibly. They also ward off a ton of Fantasy Baseball owners who see his name on draft boards and cringe. I decided this year that his talent was worth drafting. More importantly, he plays on a team that will be competing for a World Series, so I expect that when he is in the lineup, he will be productive. I am not foolish enough to think that this will be the season he stays healthy and gives me 600 at-bats (I have accepted that 450 at-bats from him). I also plan to pair him up with another player on my bench who I can use for about 150 at-bats when Pollock inevitably ends up on the injured list.
Round 19: Andrew Heaney, LAA SP
Why I selected him: Heaney is another player who scares off Fantasy Baseball owners from drafting him simply because of his checkered injury history. Last year he had an elbow issue early on in the season followed by a shoulder ailment in mid-season. However, when he did pitch, he got tons of strikeouts. In fact, Heaney had 118 Ks in only 95.1 IP. More importantly, he keeps his walks to a minimum (118/30 K/BB ratio) and pitches for one of the top teams in the AL West. I am not anticipating him throwing 180+ innings, but similar to Pollock; I will take whatever I can get. If Heaney miraculously throws 150 IP, he should easily have 200+Ks, which would be a steal in the 19th round.
Round 20: Niko Goodrum, DET SS
Why I selected him: Utility players get a bad rap. Drafters tend to overlook them, thinking that they are not getting a star at a specific position. I believe that is the wrong way to think about them. I believe that I am getting a good player who can qualify for three positions. A baseball season is incredibly long (too long IMHO) and there will be times that I look to the bench to find a player who I can plug into various positions. Enter Goodrum. Niko qualifies at 2B-SS-OF, which gives him sneaky Fantasy value. Even better is that he has an excellent chance of going 20/20 if he can get 550 at-bats (last year, he went 12/12 in 423 ABs).
Round 21: Jason Castro, LAA C
Why I selected him: Most high stakes (and expert) leagues require their owners to start two catchers. And while it’s hard sometimes to find one catcher who you like, it’s even hard to find a second catcher! Thus, taking a second catcher becomes a big game of chicken amongst Fantasy owners. No one wants to take their second guy until the very last minute—however—at the same time, no one wants to be left holding the bag and taking a scrub at the end. I held off as long as I could before taking Castro. In Round 21, there were two catchers I liked: Castro and Robinson Chirinos from the Rangers. I decided on Castro for two reasons: 1) the Angels should limit his at-bats to RHP, which he is more successful in hitting, and 2) the Angels offense is much improved. He should have a chance to not only have 20+ HR but decent counting stats as well—so long as his batting average doesn’t kill me.
Round 22: Matt Magill, SEA RP
Why I selected him: Finding a second closer is like finding the prize in a box of cereal: you must dig deep and get your hands all dirty, and then when you find it, it is often stale. At this point in the draft, I was excited to get Magill. Magill started last season in Minnesota but was later dealt to Seattle, who decided to use him in the bullpen where he began to show a proclivity as a closer. He converted five out of seven save chances (that’s good for a Mariners closer), and he is heading into spring training with the job. If Magill can last till the All-Star Break and get me about 15 saves, I will be thrilled. By that point, I hope to find another closer in FAAB who I can pair with Jimenez in case Magill’s luck turns sour.
Round 23: Kole Calhoun, AZ OF
Why I selected him: In one of my earlier articles, I discussed “following the money.” This one motto can often help Fantasy owners as they try to figure out who teams plan to play and who they plan to sit. When the cash-strapped Diamondbacks decided to pay Calhoun $16 million for a two-year contract this off-season, I took notice. They obviously think his power will play out well in Arizona, and they see him as a potential run producer in the middle of their lineup. Admittedly, I am a bit worried that Calhoun will hit less than .230, thus killing me in the batting average category, but I think if I can play him at home and in Colorado, I might be able to get the best out of him.