Assessing the 2018 Player Draft

Clayton Kershaw

Four of the top five rated players in the 2017 SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League were starting pitchers.

The talent pool at first base is very shallow entering Tuesday evening’s 2018 SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League player draft.

Ten first basemen were protected by teams as keepers including nine of FantasyPros‘ consensus top 10 players for our league. Las Estellas Rojas and the Bulls need first basemen and they’ll pick second and third on Tuesday.

Eight players with eligibility at shortstop and third base were also protected. All eight shortstops were ranked in FantasyPros’ consensus top 10 while seven of the third basemen were ranked in the top 10 at their position. All three teams at the top of Tuesday’s draft need third basemen and Las Estellas Rojas is also in the market for a shortstop.

Twenty one outfielders and seven second basemen were protected. All seven second basemen were ranked in the top 10 at their position while Starling Marte is the lone outfielder in FantasyPros’ top 10 that remains available. Just three teams didn’t protect at least one outfielder heading into the draft (Midtown Marsupials, High Cheese, and Home Run 101) while six teams kept two or more outfielders.

Only three catchers were designated as keepers but catcher is historically the lowest producing position in the league. There is a giant drop-off in production from Gary Sanchez, the league’s best catcher, to the 32nd-rated catcher in the league.

Twenty one starting pitchers and eight relief pitchers were protected. All of the FantasyPros top 10 starting pitchers are keepers while four of the protected relievers were ranked in the top 10.

The relief pitcher market is always volatile in a net saves/holds league as major league bullpens solidify roles early in the season and because K/9 is a category in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League, relievers can be just as valuable as any position on the diamond. The general strategy is to draft a closer (or maybe two) early and add set-up men later.

The innings pitched and quality starts categories can change the strategy for drafting starting pitchers. A-Rod’s Mirrors, High Cheese, Hapamon, Warning Track Power, the Midtown Marsupials and Let’s Play 2 all protected two aces. Last year, four of the top five ranked players at the end of the season were starting pitchers (Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer, Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw). Great starters can help you win the league.

And, like nearly all fantasy baseball leagues, you are more likely to lose the league in the early rounds and win it by identifying value late in the draft. There’s no foolproof strategy. Good luck!

 

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