What's up fantasy baseball owners? Welcome to the 2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategies: Pick 3 article.
If you have not realized already, Fantasy Six Pack is looking at how different draft strategies can shape a roster at different points in the draft. For the third installment in the series, I was lucky to be #blessed to analyze the third pick in the draft.
Like the other writers, I will be using the same strategy for the first two mock drafts using the FantasyPros MockDraft Simulator. With the first mock being hitter heavy and the second mock draft being pitcher heavy. Then we were allowed to create our strategy for the third mock. I wanted to build it as if I was in a dynasty league and only draft players that are 27 or younger.
Just a reminder on the rules of how we formated this draft.
C:1, 1B:1, 2B:1, 3B:1, SS:1, MI:1, CI:1, OF:5, P:9, UTL:1, and Bench:5
Without further ado, lets draft!
Having pick three in the draft gives me an almost selection to draft with my first pick. The only guys that were gone at this point were Mike Trout and Christian Yelich. I wanted to get the best player available so naturally, I went with Ronald Acuna Jr. With the next two picks, I drafted Rafael Devers and Starling Marte giving my team three hitters who can rack up HR's, RBI's and also hit in the middle of their lineups.
With picks four, five, and six I went based on what shallow positions and stats, aiming to stack stolen bases in the early rounds. I went with Anthony Rizzo (I know he doesn't get SB but very few 1B do), Jonathan Villar, and Bo Bichette. Now I had my whole starting infield set and well-rounded categories for runs and stolen bases.
In round seven, I felt like I need more thump in my lineup, and willing to sacrifice average, I drafted the No.2 ranked catcher in Gary Sanchez. I also wanted to get some more top and middle of the lineup guys so I took Matt Chapman and Andrew Benintendi. At this point I know I needed to grab another OF so I took Franmil Reyes. I took Eduardo Escobar in the tenth round as depth for 2B,3B, and SS. This gave me the opportunity to move Villar to the outfield.
Finally, with pick 12 I took my first pitcher in Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks may not get the glitz and glamor as a Darvish or Lester, but he puts up solid numbers on a good offensive team. I took Rasiel Ingelsias in round 13 because I knew I needed saves and the pickings for closers were slim. Having a solid starter and closer at picks 12 & 13 made me feel confident in my team.
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With pick 14 I drafted Mike Minor who I knew would do well in the ERA and WHIP category. Last year Minor finished sixth in ERA & 10th in WHIP in the AL. My next three picks went Khris Davis, Jake Odorizzi, and Byron Buxton. This gave me a good complement of guys who hit for HR's and power (Davis) and stolen bases (Buxton), while also picking up another above-average pitcher.
My next pick I went with my second closer in Ian Kennedy and even though he isn't on a great team, closers are hard to come by. For picks 19 & 20, I drafted Christian Walker and Dylan Bundy. Both looked pretty good in limited Spring Training appearances so I took a flyer on both of them.
For my last six rounds, I was just trying to fill holes in my roster. I knew I was light on pitchers so I drafted Jose Quintana and Yonny Chirinos to give my team some much-needed depth at the pitcher position.
My final picks went Ryan Braun, Daniel Murphy, Miguel Andujar, Wil Myers, and Gregory Polanco. These were all based on two factors: 1. They hit in the middle of their lineup or 2: they were hitting well in Spring Training and I took a flyer on them.
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FantasyPros gave my team a grade of 89 out of 100. A B+ handed down by the draft gods. I knew it was because I didn't prioritize closers. By the time it got to round 12 I had already filled out most of my starting lineup for hitters and I felt that there was more of a need for SP. Thus rounds 12 & 14 were geared to SP and I only drafted one closer in round 13. I didn't draft another closer until round 18 and it's an unstable one at that.
After looking back at my roster after the draft I realized I did not draft enough middle infielders. With Villar, Bichette, Escobar, and Murphy (kinda) being the only ones that I drafted. This actually I believe will come back to bite me. Even though I prioritized hitting this affected me in the long run. Drafting third was super tough because even if I had another player in mind and it was an odd round I had to wait a long time to get back to me.
This idea of drafting a pitcher with my pick in rounds one through nine seemed simpler to me. The talent pool of pitching is much more shallow than the hitting pool. With my first pick, I took who I believe is the best pitcher in the game right now in Gerrit Cole. Because most of the team around me were selecting great hitters I was able to pick up Stephen Strausberg and Blake Snell in rounds two and three. This gave me a solid rotation of three aces who get K's, low ERA, low WHIP.
With two of my next picks, I decided to draft arguably two of the best closers in the game in Josh Hader and Aroldis Chapman. These guys would rack up K's and they were in no danger of losing their spots as the closer. Sandwiched in between these two closers I drafted Chris Paddack, another ace on a good team.
I decided to round out my closers with pick seven and I drafted Roberto Osuna. Giving my team three exceptional closers who will get plenty of save opportunities throughout the season. With picks seven and eight I filled up my pitching rotation with guys who were considered aces on their staff in Sonny Gray and Corey Kluber. Most of the starting pitchers that I drafted play on good teams, setting me up well for the wins category. Having loaded up on pitchers early in the draft, the later rounds would need to be dedicated to the team's hitting.
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With my remaining picks, I knew I needed to grab the players that could help in multiple categories. With my round 10 pick, I drafted Andrew Benintendi, then Jorge Polanco with the next pick. I now had a starting SS in a pretty shallow division that will hopefully hit second in a potent offense. Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Turner were my next two picks. Both guys hit for power and in the middle of the lineup.
With pick 14, I took a versatile player that can play multiple positions in Scott Kingery. This was my strategy moving forward because I knew a majority of the good hitters were already gone. I took J.D. Davis and Willie Calhoun who could help me out in the outfield and corner infield positions. My next three picks consisted of Andrew McCutchen, Nick Senzel, and Nomar Mazara this would help my team in multiple categories. I was focused on getting runs, RBI's, and Homeruns. With my pick 20, I drafted Eric Hosmer and at this point, I have pretty much punted the average category.
I am sitting here at pick 21 and I still don't have a catcher and the pickings are slim. I drafted Omar Narvaez to lock down a decent catcher. Then I drafted Willy Adames to be in my MI/SS/2B spot. His WAR is pretty good at a 4.2. Niko Goodrum, Brendan McKay, and Dustin May were my next three picks. Even if May doesn't crack the Dodgers' rotation, I am hoping he will pitch enough innings during the proposed doubleheaders in a shortened season. My final two picks were Miguel Andujar and Randal Grichuk to fill out my corner infield and OF slots.
Going into this draft I felt like my team would be more solid because position players are so much deeper than pitching. It was nice to have draft top-end starters on my team. However, I got to the later rounds and realized that elite hitting is pretty hard to come by in round 10.
Shockingly, the draft gods gave me a 93 out of 100 and an "A" for my draft grade. This surprised me because I felt like my hitter heavy draft with the third pick was much better. My strategy was to draft players who played more than one position was beneficial. I also didn't focus on average as much as grab two to our players that get in the 10+ SB and hit in the top half of the lineup.
Players 27 and Younger
For my final mock draft with pick number three, I decided that I would only draft players 27 or younger. Initially going into this I figured this would the easiest of the mock drafts. Well, when it got to me at number three Acuna and Trout were gone and Yelich is 28. I ended up going with Mookie Betts with my first pick. I then drafted Betts' former teammate in Rafael Devers and then went Jack Flaherty. What I would soon find out that drafting Flaherty early was a good call. Because younger pitchers who are elite are hard to come by. With my next pick, I wanted to lock down steals so I grabbed Adalberto Mondesi. I then drafted Aaron Nola and Josh Bell to round out my top six.
Finding a closer who is under 27 was difficult and knowing there weren't many, I drafted Roberto Osuna. With pick number eight I wanted to pick the most versatile player in the game, Shohei Ohtani. The Angels' pitcher/DH will be a solid utility player and he will likely pitch every fifth day. Then I drafted a young catcher, Willson Contreras, and another young closer in Edwin Diaz.
Knowing that I still needed young players on my team who were versatile, I went with Gavin Lux and Scott Kingery. This gave me flexibility with Kingery who can play four different positions. At this point in the draft, many of the good players left were over the age of 27. Franmil Reyes fit the bill and helped bolster my weak outfield.
Because I was only drafting younger players, I needed to take risks on players who had been in the majors for a limited time. Amed Rosario, German Marquez, and Willie Calhoun were picked at 14, 15, and 16.
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I then realized that I needed to grab a pitcher and another outfielder who I believe will get consistent playing time, so I went with Luke Weaver and Alex Verdugo. Both players have experience on good teams so I projected that this would be valuable. Dylan Bundy who had a great Spring Training would hopefully give me a solid ERA and WHIP. My next picks were Nick Senzel for outfield depth and Yonny Chirinos for pitching depth.
For my last seven picks, I found it increasingly difficult to draft starters who would get consistent playing time. I went with Francisco Mejia for pick 21 and Miguel Andujar with pick 22, and Trent Grisham with pick 23, despite knowing they are not everyday players.
With pick number 25 I selected players who I knew may not start the season but would hopefully have some impact on their team. Especially if MLB decides to expand rosters and have a doubleheader format. The final three were Michael Kopech, Renato Nunez, and Diego Castillo.
This was by far the hardest draft of the three and I feel like I did not do a good job. I mean by the end I was just taking a flyer on guys hoping that they would get production based on the projected MLB format. Having the third pick in the draft was beneficial for me in the first 10 rounds then I noticed a significant drop off in production.
Surprisingly, I got the best grade for this draft at a 94 out of 100. In the later rounds of draft when all the top tier players are gone the only proven players left are the old guys. Now going into drafts I have a better appreciation for older players. I may now value them, especially with pick number three.