2022 NFBC Draft Champions Recap Series: Pick 11

by Mike Schneider
2022 Fantasy

I just completed my first draft for the 2022 baseball season. As the Fantasy Baseball season gets started, I'm here to recap my 2022 NFBC Draft Champions from pick 11.

For those unfamiliar, the NFBC Draft Champions is a 15 team, 50 round draft.  The team you draft is your roster for the year. The only move managers can make is setting their lineups. Pitcher lineups are set weekly each Monday and position player lineups can also be changed on Friday.

Let's dive into how I fared in my first draft.

2022 NFBC Draft Champions Recap Series: Pick 11

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Background

In a Draft Champions League, you are drafting for the full season. It differs from a "Main Event" style draft where you only have seven reserves and players can be added and dropped during the season. Managers can draft prospects that have a realistic chance of contributing in the second half. However, you have to be careful to not go overboard and make sure you will have a full roster early in the year as well.

In this format, you have to try to avoid any weaknesses.  If you are short in a category or position you cannot make a trade or pick up a player.  Saves and steals are even more valuable in Draft Champions leagues because of the lack of in-season pickups.

Each team is competing to win their individual league as well as in the overall standings for all Draft Champions Leagues.  Last year there were 303 Draft Champions Leagues.  The prize for the overall winner is $30,000.

Doing a draft this early is challenging because MLB teams are not done making off-season moves.  Additionally, the MLB lockout has put everything on pause.  At this point, it is unclear if the designated hitter will be in the National League. I drafted with the assumption that the DH will be in the NL for 2022.

In order to determine draft position, NFBC uses a Kentucky Derby System where each team provides their preferred draft position from one to fifteen.  It is randomly determined the order of preferences for each team in the league to make up the draft order.  My first preference was pick number six.  Unfortunately, I ended up with my 11th choice and got the 11th pick.

Catchers

RoundPickPlayerPosition
10140Willson ContrerasC
21311Joey BartC
33491Luis CampusanoC
39581Jason CastroC
49731Korey LeeC

These are two catchers leagues. Contreras was good value at 25 picks below his average draft position (ADP). With Buster Posey retired, the time is now for the 25-year-old Joey Bart who was the second pick in the 2018 draft.

I would have preferred to have drafted a better third catcher but I just missed on Tucker Barnhart and MJ Melendez went earlier than expected. Luis Campusano is a nice prospect with a full Triple-A season under his belt. Korey Lee has an outside shot of a regular role later in the year. He was impressive behind the plate in the Arizona Fall League.

Corner Infielders

RoundPickPlayerPosition
11161Yoan Moncada3B
12170Max Muncy1B, 2B
15221Nathaniel Lowe1B
18260Brandon Belt1B
19281Cavan Biggio3B
26380Wilmer Flores1B,2B, 3B
34500Edwin Rios1B
40590Josh VanMeter2B, 3B
46680Elehuris Montero3B

There is a first baseman, third baseman, and a corner infielder in the starting lineup.

An infielder who is eligible at corner infield and middle infield can be very valuable. Max Muncy has eligibility at both the corner and middle. I will likely use Muncy at second base.

It was a lost season for Cavan Biggio in 2021 due to an assortment of injuries. If he's healthy and the Jays don't make another move, Biggio will likely replace Marcus Semien at second base. With his on-base potential, he could also bat second in front of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. His ADP of 281 is about 200 spots later than he was going in 2021. Biggio will likely get second base eligibility early in the year and still has 20/ 20 potential.

I was all in on Yoan Moncada in 2021 and he burned me but the drop-off at third base was fast after Moncada.

Nate Lowe is another target of mine. He finished the year in 2021 strong and with the new additions to the Rangers lineup, Lowe is positioned well to take it to the next next level in 2022.

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Getting Brandon Belt at 260 was a pleasant surprise.

Edwin Rios provides some insurance if Muncy is not healthy. Rios, Josh VanMeter, Wilmer Flores, and even Elehuris Montero could see more playing time with the DH in the National League.

Middle Infielders

RoundPickPlayerPosition
12170Max Muncy1B, 2B
14200Brandon CrawfordSS
26380Wilmer Flores1B,2B, 3B
29431Ramon Urias2B,SS
32470Kyle FarmerSS
37551Jose IglesiasSS
40590Josh VanMeter2B, 3B

Managers need to have a second baseman, shortstop, and middle infielder in the starting lineup.

This is an area that I waited on and will be satisfied with just solid production.

Muncy's ADP dropped after he gave an interview and said his elbow is not healing as quickly as he hoped. It does not mean he will not be healthy by the time the season starts.  Muncy hit 36 homers in 2021 and if he did not get injured, he could have been a top 50 pick.  I thought at 170 he was a good gamble.

Brandon Crawford had a career year offensively in 2021 at 34 and I hoping that Crawford and the Giants figured out some things that will carry over in 2022.

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As mentioned above Biggio could figure in the middle infield picture once he gets eligibility.

Luis Urias, Joe Iglesias, and Kyle Farmer are depth pieces that should get playing time.  Iglesias is not currently signed but he is good enough defensively that he should get a job.  He has improved as a hitter with a .290 average over the last three years. Urias and VanMeter are the types of players that are on bad teams that can put up sneaky good numbers.

Outfielders

RoundPickPlayerPosition
111 Ronald Acuna Jr,OF
220Mike TroutOF
571Eloy JimenezOF
8110Myles StrawOF
16230Jo AdellOF
23341Brandon MarshOF
27401Chas McCormickOF
35521Jose SiriOF
41611Yadiel HernandezOF
43641Orlando ArciaOF
44650Jared OlivaOF
48710Brent RookerOF
50740Skye BoltOF

With the 11th pick, I was hoping to get Bryce Harper.  However, he went at ten which made Ronald Acuña the obvious choice. I am not a big fan of Shohei Ohtani in a weekly format where he would not be used as a pitcher often. The only question with Acuña is how quickly he recovers from the torn ACL. The limited information has been positive to this point.

With the 20th pick, Mike Trout was an easy pick. While the 30-year-old missed most of the 2021 season with a calf injury that was slow to heal, he is still a great hitter despite no longer being a stolen base threat.

Eloy Jiménez had a ADP of 31 in 2021.  He missed most of the season with a shoulder injury and was not great in the 53 games after the injury. However, at 25 years old, assuming he is fully healthy, he should be well worth the 71st pick.

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Drafting an outfielder with no power at 110 is unusual but if Myles Straw hits .275 with 90 runs and 35 steals, which are all reasonable, he would be a great value. A player in fantasy baseball who steals 35 bases is more valuable than a player who hits 35 homers.

Jo Adell did not have great major league stats in 2021 but I thought he made nice strides especially in reducing his strikeout percentage from 41.7% to 22.9%. Adell is poised to be a post-hype sleeper in 2022.

I filled out the starting Angels outfield with Brandon Marsh, who can do a bit of everything. I look for Marsh to get a little better this year. Perhaps I should have selected Justin Upton and Taylor Ward late to cover the entire Angels' backup outfielders, but I felt there were better players to draft.

The Astros centerfielder situation is murky. I drafted two of the three candidates in Chas McCormick and Jose Siri. The other option, Jake Meyers is going to miss the first part of the year with a torn labrum and went earlier than I thought in the 33rd round. Siri an excellent fielder with good speed is perhaps the most intriguing. He showed a lot of improvement in 2021 after appearing to be a great athlete but lacking a major league tool previously.

Orlando Arcia can play all over the field. He signed a multi-year major league contract after hitting 17 homers in 74 games at AAA.

Jared Oliva, Skye Bolt, and Yadiel Hernandez are late-round picks on bad teams that could get opportunities. None are young and they have had success in the minors. Oliva and Bolt are strong defensively. Hernandez would benefit from the DH in the NL.

Starting Pitchers

RoundPickPlayerPosition
341Lucas GiolitoP
7101Yu DarvishP
9131Shane BazP
13191Luis SeverinoP
17251Casey MizeP
20290Aaron CivaleP
22320Sixto SanchezP
25371Marco GonzalesP
28410Domingo GermanP
31461Max MeyerP
36530Nick LodoloP

There are nine pitchers in a weekly NFBC lineup.

After you finish an NFBC draft, Fantasypros.com grades each draft and lists strengths and weaknesses. They consider wins, strikeouts, and ERA to be a weakness for my team so they clearly do not like my starting pitching.  Based on my own projections I did well in these categories. My nine regular starters are all in good pitching environments.

Since I did not select a pitcher until pick 41, I was happy with Lucas Giolitio as my ace.

Yu Darvish and Shane Baz have excellent control and should excel in WHIP. I think the Padres new pitching coach, Ruben Niebla will help Darvish rebound.

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Luis Severino has missed most of the last three years but he was so good in 2017 and 2018. The 28-year-old will be two years removed from Tommy John surgery when the season starts. Domingo German provides some insurance if Severino is not healthy while also being a fourth or fifth starter who is an innings eater without hurting you.

Marco Gonzales and Aaron Civale should be steady workhorses.

Casey Mize and Sixto Sanchez have huge upside. Sixto had an ADP of 131 in 2021 but ended up missing the entire season. He had shoulder surgery but should be ready by opening day. At 320 he seemed like a worthwhile gamble. Mize had a nice rookie season and should be better in his age-25 season.

Max Meyer and Nick Lodolo are close to major league-ready prospects that I expect to contribute in the second half of the season.

I believe projecting starting pitchers is a strength of mine and that I built a nice staff here drafting pitchers at a reasonable cost based on their ADP.

Relief Pitchers

RoundPickPlayerPosition
450Ryan PresslyP
680Kenley JansenP
7101Yu DarvishP
24350Tanner RaineyP
30440Josh StaumontP
38560Andres MunozP
42620Emilio PaganP
45671Justin SteeleP
47701Colin PocheP

Last year I had a very competitive Draft Champions team with Liam Hendricks and Craig Kimbrel as closers. Unfortunately, Kimbrel got just one save over the last two months of the year following his trade to the White Sox. I had no other save options and lost critical points in both my individual league and in the overall standings. This season, I am determined to draft two reliable closers on each team and supplement those with other late save options.

My closer targets were Edwin Díaz and Giovanny Gallegos. However, both were picked right before my turn. In both cases, I considered waiting to take a closer but in the end, decided that there was a big drop off after Ryan Pressley and Kenly Jansen and that they would not be around if I waited. Jansen is currently a free agent. Ideally, he signs back with the Dodger but even if he goes elsewhere he should close.

The Nationals don't have an obvious choice to close. Rainey is coming off a poor season but has the best stuff in their pen and has a reasonable chance to win the closing job.

The hard-throwing Josh Staumont won't close to begin the year but he should be the next option if Scott Barlow cannot hold down the job.

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Andrés Muñoz also throws hard. He returned from Tommy John surgery at the end of 2021 and could figure in the closer mix at some point in 2022.

The Padres, Cubs, and Rays do not have settled closers, and Emilio Pagan, Justin Steele, and Colin Poche are late-round picks that could be in the mix for saves. Steele was dominant out of the bullpen before joining the starting rotation where he was not as good. It is unclear what his role will be in 2022.

Conclusion

The roster construction for this team is good. I appear to be in good shape in the saves and steal categories. On paper, there does not appear to be any obvious weakness.

The concern would be whether I selected too many players coming off down years and or recovering from injuries. It began with Acuña and Trout who based on where I picked were easy selections but continued with Jimenez, Muncy, Severino, and Biggio.


Thanks for reading the 2022 NFBC Draft Champions Recap Series: Pick 11. Make sure to follow all season long for more Fantasy baseball content.

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