New York Mets reliever Addison Reed is a shining example of how set-up men offer great value late in the draft. In 2016, Reed was chosen by Sean McKenna with the last pick of the draft, 416th overall. Reed pitched 78.2 innings, striking out 92 batters, while earning 37 net saves/holds. The last player chosen in the draft finished the season ranked 41st overall.
Of the 10 best values in last year’s draft, six were relievers chosen in the 22nd round or later. Houston reliever Will Harris was chosen by the Lower Haighters with the 382nd pick, was promptly released on April 3 and remained unclaimed until May 7 when he again joined the Lower Haighters. Harris finished as the league’s 79th ranked player after earning 37 net saves/holds.
No position in fantasy baseball offers more late-round upside than set-up men. Major League teams often spend April determining late-inning roles and those frequently fluctuate as the season progresses.
Overall, teams struggled in the 2016 draft. The Lower Haighters had the highest-rated draft, finishing with an average player value of 337.84 (average BaseballMonster ranking for each player at the end of the season). That ranks 11th in league history and was just the team’s fourth best draft.
High Cheese had an excellent draft in 2016. The team’s 344.8 player ranking was best in franchise history. Pitchers Shawn Kelley, Roberto Osuna, Tanner Roark, Dellin Betances, Kevin Siegrist and Aroldis Chapman led the team to 149 wins, the third most in team history.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Yordano Ventura, and relievers Kevin Jepsen and Huston Street all underperformed in 2016 which led to Bacon at Mile 11 having the second worst draft in team history. The 532.5 average player value was the 12th highest in league history but General Manager Eric Brown did a masterful job of managing and eventually guided the team to 149 wins.
General Manager Mark Peterson had the second best draft in franchise history and led Warning Track Power to 147 wins and the team’s first West Division pennant. Pitchers Kyle Hendricks, Pedro Strop, Zach Britton, and Justin Wilson were great draft values as was catcher Wilson Ramos.
While the 2016 draft won’t go down as one of the league’s best, it did show that team’s can recover from a bad draft to have a good season and it reinforced that set-up men are a valuable late round drat commodity.