2023 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Tout Wars 12-team mixed draft results highlight OBP, other rule changes

We do a lot of mock drafts in the run-up to fantasy baseball season, and these dummy drafts give us the opportunity to do a few practice reps. But as the calendar gets closer to March, drafts are starting to matter. I finished my first real draft this week when I took part in the annual Advertising wars A 12-team mixed league draft with some other members of the fantasy baseball industry.

It’s a grill league with 12 teams, with some special features. We use seven of the 10 standard assessment categories, with the following modifications:

  • Instead of the average, we use the base percentage.
  • Instead of saves, we use save plus hold.
  • Instead of wins, we use innings.

The first two of these shortcomings are pretty typical if you want to change your league settings, but innings instead of wins is a fairly significant change and requires a slight tweak to your strategy. You can run away with the innings category quite easily – and the strikeouts along with it – but you’re going to just hit S+H and potentially hurt your relationships along the way. It’s a difficult balance that I’ve had to deal with sometimes in this league – last year I did well in the service categories. except for S+H where I ended up almost at the bottom.

This year I had the fifth pick in a typical snake draft, and I ended up putting together a team like this:

1.5 Mookie Betts, OF, LAD
2.8 Fernando Tatis Jr, SS, SD
3.5 Max Scherzer, P, NYM
4.8 George Springer, OF, TOR
5.5 Justin Verlander, P, NYM
6.8 Emmanuelle Klass, P, CLE
7.5 Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT
8.8 Byron Buxton, OF, MIN
9.5 Salvador Perez, C, KC
10.8 Christian Walker, 1B, ORI
11.5 Jorge Polanco, Michigan, Minnesota
12.8 Nestor Cortez, Jr., P., New York.
13.5 Chris Sale, P, BOS
14.8 Dustin May, P, LAD
15.5 Riley Green, OF, DET
16.8 Jesse Winker, OF, MIL
17.5 Tyler Glasnow, P, TV
18.8 Yandy Diaz, 3B, TB
19.5 Grayson Rodriguez, P, BAL
20.8 AJ Minter, P, ATL
21.5 Brian De La Cruz, OF, MIA
22.8 Edward Cabrera, P, MIA
23.5 Brandon Drury, 3B, LAA
24.8 Travis d’Arno, C, ATL
25.5 James Karinchak, P, CLE
26.8 Oswaldo Cabrera, OF, NYY
27.5 Luis Garcia, 2B, WSH
28.8 Alex Kirilloff, of, min.
29.5 Spencer Steer, CI, CIN

To be honest, I was hoping Ronald Acuna would fall for me in this one. He is my best player in the mid Roto leagues and will still be #2 in the OBP ranking behind Aaron Judge. Perhaps Acuna is underestimated as a source of OBP, especially if you’re expecting a 2023 recovery like me. His 9.9% walking rate last season was the second-lowest of his career, and he posted 18.8% and 13.6% marks in the previous two seasons. He can be close to a 400 OBP guy with elite strength and speed if he bounces back.

Unfortunately, Akuna left the board one step ahead of me, which made me suffer a little. I think there is a clear top five in the standard Roto leagues that includes Trea Turner and Julio Rodriguez, but they are a little behind in the OBP leagues – at least unless Rodriguez’s plate discipline improves significantly from his 7.1% walking speed in as a newbie. . I ended up settling on Betts, who dropped to 8.6% last season but regularly posts an OBP above .360 most seasons. He’s pretty good in either format, though I really think he probably falls short of the elite in both. That’s how the project fell.

In my next pick, I picked a guy that I hope to be in as many Roto leagues with as possible in Tatis. He will miss the first 20 games of the season due to a suspension, but I think he could be the best player in Fantasy in terms of number of games. In 2021, he was the No. 6 Razzball Player Ranking despite only playing 130 games; give him 161 Vladimir Guerrero games and he’ll beat him for first place.

Of course, there is a risk here, and a lot of it. Tatis didn’t play at all last season and is recovering from several major shoulder and wrist surgeries, in addition to his PED suspension. Maybe he’s just not the same guy he was before all these problems. Maybe he will run less to stay healthy, or maybe his time as a striker will be cut by the absence. There is no guarantee that Tatis will return and become a superstar; if that were the case, he would have been selected in the first round even with a suspension.

But it’s a risk that suits me. Tatis may have a higher ceiling than any player in Fantasy, with a legitimate potential of 40 homers, 30 steals in an incredible line-up, and if he’s as good as he’s been before, getting him to the second round will make a big difference. give me a huge leg; the fact that he will be allowed to leave shortly after his return only helps, given the relative lack of depth in this position.

This duo gives me a great starting point for my offense and I kept hitting upside down with the rest of my early hitters, potentially making mistakes. George Springer and Byron Buxton both carry a significant injury risk, if not necessarily a big performance risk in my opinion. On the other hand, Oneil Cruz is a high variance player with an ultra-high cap of 40 homers? 30 thefts? There is no doubt that he physically capable of both, the question is whether he can use these physical tools well enough to use them in game actions.

And those were my next three picks. In terms of security and protection, Betts is pretty much the only reliable thing I have; Salvador Perez is relatively safe, but he has also missed a lot of time over the last few seasons, including last season with a thumb problem, and he is a liability to the OBP.

So maybe I’m taking on too much offensive variability, which is sort of a necessity in order to build the kind of staff I need. Unlike my FBT counterparts, I’m still willing to invest a few early round picks in pitchers, which means I’m turning down hitters that provide both safety and a high ceiling, and to compensate, I often catch myself at risk with my attackers, and this draft was no exception.

But it allows me to create some shots that I really love.

That included three pitchers in my first six picks, which is becoming pretty standard for me. I don’t always pick an elite pitcher, and the S+H format in this league definitely makes him less necessary. That being said, the fall of Emmanuel Claesz in the sixth round was hard to pass up, especially since while Elite Closers are somewhat less valuable in this format, Elite Closers still tend to accumulate more; In 2022, of the top 15 in terms of saves and holds, only five had more than 10 holds.

Clase was something of a luxury, but the duo of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander is the key to my delivery strategy. I want two aces on my Roto team, and it’s easier than ever to do that these days when pitcher prices keep dropping. While in years past it might have cost me a second and third round pick to get two of the top six starting players, this year you can do it fairly easily with a third and fifth, as I did here.

Now, in part, that’s because Verlander isn’t necessarily ranked as a truly elite pitcher. Despite winning the Cy Young award last season, he threw just 175 innings with just over one strikeout. Scherzer has also thrown just 145.1 and hasn’t hit 180 since 2018, though he hit 179.1 in 30 starts in 2021 at his typical sterling odds.

But both Scherzer and Verlander, in my opinion, are quite capable of hitting 180-plus innings, which is what I expect from my aces. 180 is kind of a magic number that used to be 200, and if you have two elite odds pitchers on your team that reach that mark, your pitcher will probably be pretty good. Scherzer and Verlander are not the best option to reach that threshold at this point in their career, but in my opinion they are better than players like Shane McClanahan or Spencer Strider simply because they have done it before. Injuries can keep them from getting there, but injuries can happen to any pitcher. But if Scherzer and Verlander stay healthy for 30 starts, they’ll get there.

Getting that top-notch core gives you more flexibility to take risks with the rest of your pitchers. Does this mean focusing on high variance pitchers or just not investing as much in the rest of the staff. I don’t really think there’s much of a performance risk with Nestor Cortez, Chris Sale and Dustin May being the next three starting players I chose, but I had the flexibility not to invest in a position for a while – I didn’t take take responsibility. the next kicker until the 12th round, when I tripled on this trio.

I kept rolling the dice, catching an injured Tyler Glasnow in 17th, top prospect Grayson Rodriguez of the Orioles in 19th, and then Edward Cabrera in 22nd—one of my favorite sleepers. This is a high potential team that can dominate odds and strikeouts, although there are certainly some innings issues. I’ll commit to capturing a few more predictive types in the early phases of failure – I’ll be aiming for Corey Kluber and Josiah Gray first.

It’s not an ideal pitching lineup, especially in a league where innings are a separate category. I could probably use Miles Mycolas or José Berrios at the end of the draft to feel more confident in my innings, because if someone from Verlander or Scherzer doesn’t lose for some reason, things can get pretty complicated. I probably should have adjusted more to the format, knowing that innings is a category of its own.

But in general…


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