2019 FSTA Fantasy Baseball Draft Part 2: Rounds 16-29

by A.J. Applegarth
2019 FSTA Fantasy Baseball Draft Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of my analysis of the 2019 FSTA Fantasy Baseball Draft, where I will focus on Rounds 16-29 of the draft!

Before I get too far into the article, though, I would be remiss to not recognize the unfortunate passing of one of baseball's greatest players, Mr. Frank Robinson. Living in Baltimore, it is nearly impossible to talk baseball without hearing about Frank and all his triumphs in an Orioles uniform. The baseball world lost a valued ambassador of the game, and my condolences go out to his family and to fans everywhere. R.I.P., Mr. Robinson!

Now, let's step back into the FSTA Draft discussion! As mentioned in my initial article, Rounds 11-29 were completed offline via slow-draft. Here is a quick recap of the 2019 FSTA Fantasy Baseball Draft's panel of expert participants in their draft order:

  1. Jeff Erickson, RotoWire
  2. Steve Gardner & Howard Kamen, USA TODAY Sports
  3. Glenn & Rick & Stacie, Colton & The Wolfman
  4. Dr. Roto, Scout Fantasy
  5. Brent Hershey & Ray Murphy, Baseball HQ
  6. Greg Ambrosius & Tom Kessenich, NFBC
  7. Charlie Wiegert & Vlad Sedler, CDM Sports
  8. Howard Bender, Fantasy Alarm
  9. Ray Flowers, SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio
  10. Jeff Mans & Ted Schuster, Guru Elite
  11. Real Talk Raph, RotoBaller
  12. Ron Shandler, RonShandler.com
  13. Jim Bowden, SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio
  14. Anthony Perri, Fantistics

Without further delay, let's get into the full analysis of the second half of the draft!

2019 FSTA Fantasy Baseball Draft

In case you missed it, go back and read the first half analysis of the 2019 FSTA Fantasy Baseball Draft. As you work your way through the analysis below, you will see a number in parentheses listed directly after a given player. That number represents that player's draft round and pick number. For example, Shin-soo Choo (18.09) would indicate he was taken in Round 18 at pick number nine.

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Pitching and Outfield Still Reign Supreme

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Similar to the first half of the 2019 FTSA Fantasy Baseball Draft, pitching and outfield were the two most-frequent positions selected in the later rounds, too.

Yes, these are the two deepest positions available, and typical rosters will start more players from both positions on a daily basis. However, there are plenty of solid position players and depth, along with higher-ceiling prospects, that can be had in the second half of drafts.

Getting Relief from Non-Closer Relievers

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One thing I liked seeing in the later rounds is the experts going after setup relief pitchers, as opposed to just going after traditional closers.

These relievers can not only get you Holds (assuming your league counts this category), but they also offer good ratios in ERA/WHIP and decent strikeout numbers. Plus, you could net a few extra Saves from these relievers if that team's closer is off on a given night.

Personally, I feel setup guys are just as valuable as the traditional closers nowadays, especially with so many teams not locked in with one closer.

Prospecting for Prospects

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In a deeper league, it is not surprising to see low-to-medium-risk/high-reward prospects taken in the later rounds of the draft.

Jesus Luzardo (17.04), Kyle Tucker (19.13), Nick Senzel (22.01), Keston Hiura (22.11), Fernando Tatis, Jr. (23.14), Brendan Rogers (25.13), and Bo Bichette (26.02) all currently rank in the Top-20 of MLB.com's 2019 Top-100 Prospects list. Most of these players could see significant time in the majors this season, so I applaud the experts for taking the risks on these prospects.

Eye-Catching Draft Picks

In this section, I will highlight each pick that caught my eye from the final 14 rounds of the draft. The picks will be broken down in three groups: Rounds 16-20, Rounds 21-25 and Rounds 26-29. I will also highlight this year's Mr. Irrelevant, the final pick of the draft, in the third group. After each group, I will go through more in-depth analysis of each player listed.

Rounds 16-20

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  1. Ketel Marte (16.11)
  2. Hyun-Jin Ryu (17.02)
  3. Dylan Bundy (18.10)
  4. Jay Bruce (19.09)
  5. DJ LeMahieu (20.04)

Ketel Marte is a great pick at this point in the draft. In 153 games last season, Marte racked up career highs in nearly every category. He no longer has the powerful bats of Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock behind him in the Arizona lineup, though, so Marte's Runs total could regress. But, he still has Top-12 potential, and is a great asset on teams that play MI/INF positions in fantasy.

Hyun-Jin Ryu had an abbreviated 2018 season, pitching only 82.1 innings, but he managed fantastic ratios in only 15 GS. He had career lows in ERA (1.97) and WHIP (1.008), as well as a career high in K/9 at 9.7. With a solid offense behind him, I also like Ryu's chances at a winning record.

Dylan Bundy is an intriguing pick, as he can definitely eat some innings for what is expected to be a pretty bad Orioles team. Higher innings for Bundy should equal higher strikeout numbers, as shown by his 9.6 K/9 rate last season. Hopefully, he can get his ERA/WHIP numbers back down in 2019, though.

Jay Bruce consistently hit 20+ home runs from 2010 to 2017, until amassing only 18 dingers in 2018. Granted, he also played in only 94 games last season. Bruce moves from the NL and Citi Field to the AL and Seattle's pitcher-friendly T-Mobile park for 2019. His power has always been legit, though, so he is still a great source of home runs and RBI's for any team.

DJ LeMahieu also switches ballparks and leagues, moving from the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field to the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. He still benefits from playing in a very potent lineup that is poised to make another playoff run. So, I do not anticipate many changes in LeMahieu's output for fantasy.

Rounds 21-25

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  1. Nick Markakis (21.07)
  2. Nick Senzel (22.01)
  3. Sonny Gray (23.12)
  4. Jakob Junis (24.03)
  5. Alex Verdugo (25.05)

Nick Markakis has been a model of consistency for fantasy baseball for most of his career. His 2018 stats were very similar to 2015, his first year in the A-T-L. The difference was that his power numbers, average, and OPS were the highest they have been since Markakis switched uniforms, while his strikeouts were at their lowest mark. Getting this consistency, with the upside of double-digit homers, and hopefully, 80+ RBI's is definitely worth the price paid at this point in the draft.

As mentioned above, going after high-reward top prospects was one of the big themes of the second half of the 2019 FSTA Fantasy Baseball Draft. I already mentioned Nick Senzel (#6/100) getting taken, and I love his upside. He could open the season with the Reds if he performs well in Spring Training. Senzel will have plenty of chances to build chemistry with his new, former-Dodger teammates, Matt Kemp (19.05) and Yasiel Puig (05.08).

Speaking of Los Angeles, Alex Verdugo (#35/100) was another solid prospect taken in the later rounds. He could quickly find himself platooning in the outfield to start the 2019 season, thanks in-part to the departure of the aforementioned Kemp and Puig. Verdugo is a high-average, pure hitting talent who should help you with his bat much more than he will on the base paths. His patience at the plate will also help cut down on his K numbers.

Sonny Gray never really put it all together while wearing a Yankees uniform, going 15-16 in 41 total games with a 4.51 ERA, a 1.416 WHIP. He did at least hold a respectable 8.4 K/9, though. In 2019, Gray will be pitching in the nearly-equal hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park. There, he will have the luxury of facing lineups with pitchers instead of designated hitters. His previous success in Oakland does give plenty of reason for optimism, though.

Jakob Junis finished out 2018 with nearly identical, yet slightly better, stats compared to Gray. Junis worked around a 4.37 ERA and 1.275 WHIP to still hit an 8.3 K/9 rate across 177.0 innings pitched. Junis could again be left susceptible to a below-.500 record if he cannot get run support from Kansas City's lacking offense.

Rounds 26-29 & Mr. Irrelevant

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  1. Bo Bichette (26.02)
  2. Adam Ottavino (27.13)
  3. Jeimer Candelario (28.08)
  4. Brian McCann (29.06)
  5. Jeff Samardzija (29.14, Mr. Irrelevant)

As stated, Bo Bichette is another highly-touted prospect ready to put his stamp on the major leagues. However, I do not think Bichette will get the opportunity to show off his talents as early as the aforementioned Nick Senzel and Alex Verdugo with Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. (17.06) and Freddy Galvis (undrafted) blocking Bichette's path. However, Bichette is clearly the shortstop of the future in Toronto.

Like DJ LaMahieu, Adam Ottavino is also making his way to the city that never sleeps from Colorado. He brings with him the best numbers of his career, based on a minimum of 50 innings pitched. In 2018, Ottavino rocked an ERA under 2.40, a WHIP under 1.000, and a K/9 rate of 13.0. There could be some regression pitching in the AL East, though.

Jeimer Candelario played his first full season in 2018, and overall, the results were quite serviceable. The batting average and on-base percentage, a paltry .224 and .317, respectively, did not help his owners. But, the 19 home runs and 78 runs were rewarding to his owners. Candelario should again get plenty of at-bats this season as Detroit continues their rebuild. If you can absorb the low percentages, the other counting stats are worth going after, especially at the end of your draft.

After spending the first nine years of his career in a Braves uniform, Brian McCann will again suit-up for Atlanta in 2019. McCann spent the last five years in the AL with the Yankees and the Astros. His production in New York was mostly in-line with his Atlanta numbers, but his stats really tailed off in Houston. This was mostly due to playing time issues, though. If McCann wins the lead role as Atlanta's catcher in 2019, I can still see a return to his days as a 20+ home run hitter.

Last, but certainly not least, please welcome your 2019 Mr. Irrelevant pick, Jeff Samardzija, to the draft board! The Shark's career is a complete mixed-bag of results. Excluding last year's shortened season and Samardzija's early years as a reliever, his ERA numbers ranged from as low as 2.99, to as high as 4.96 as a starter. His K/9 numbers as a starter have also varied, from 6.9 to 9.3. Assuming The Shark stays in the Giants rotation, he could be the pinnacle of potential as Mr. Irrelevant. Otherwise, he will take his place on the waiver wire as the first dropped player on the team from Fantistics.

Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

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