The 2014 season marks the third year that I’ve played in the BP Kings — named for a previous affiliation with Baseball Prospectus — Scoresheet league. I’ve learned a considerable amount along the way, and hope that this year will be the first that I can hold my own in a league chock full of experts. Last year didn’t go very well, as I finished below .500 in my first full season alone at the helm of a club.
The league roster carries some veritable hard-hitters in the fantasy community. The list includes Jeff Erickson, Al Melchior, Bret Sayre, Nando DiFino, Matthew Pouliot, D.J. Short, Beardley Woodbeard (Woodrum), Todd Zola, Pete McCarthy, Ben Murphy, Brady Gardiner, Brent S. Gambill, David Laurila, David Wiers, Rob McQuown, Casey Stern, Nate Stephens, and yours truly*.
*not a hard hitter
For those unfamiliar with Scoresheet, you’re permitted to keep up to 10 players in a league that more or less mirrors actual, real-life roster construction. Players that are designated as big leaguers cost you picks up front (one per round), while players with the minors designation — as I recall, rookie eligible — cost you back end picks in a 35 round draft. Supplementals take place throughout the season, allowing teams to add bullpen arms, utility players, and the occasional sleeper, as well as newly minted draft picks as the summer rolls on.
For me this year I went with the minimalist approach. I only kept three big leaguers, and ended up throwing back a few quality big leaguers. It worked, as I ended up being the only drafter in rounds four, five, and six, as well as the second pick in round seven. So I had four of the first five picks.
So in addition to my three big league keepers (Jason Heyward, Chris Sale, and Yu Darvish), I had my pick of the litter for the first three picks, which netted me Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, and Jose Abreu. Erickson followed by drafting Salvador Perez (whom I threw back), and I countered by selecting J.J. Hardy (whom I later traded). I won’t go pick by pick here, but the next two players selected (Yoenis Cespedes and Anthony Rendon) were players I threw back. So essentially, I had four of the first five picks, but in the last year had owned the first eight players selected. Essentially, I think it was a good tradeoff (Tanaka-Gray-Abreu for Cespedes-Perez-Rendon).
We are currently in round 26, and will wrap up sometime next Monday night. I have three picks remaining, and after breaking down my team it’ll be pretty clear what area I’ll be attacking.
John Jaso (Round 13, after Josh Collmenter, before Melky Cabrera)
Yasmani Grandal (Round 12, after Carlos Quentin, before Angel Pagan)
Josmil Pinto (Minor League Keeper)
Jesus Montero (Round 26, after Aledmys Diaz, before Jordan Schafer)
I’m pretty psyched about my catcher depth, even down to Montero, who still technically fits my draft philosophy at the tail end of the draft. I’ve been trying to take as many higher ceiling players as possible — hopefully it shows — and it’s certainly easy enough to throw him back into the player pool in the offseason when/if he fails to meet expectations. Again. Ideally, Jaso and Grandal prove healthy, and I can flip one — preferably Jaso — and platoon the other with Pinto between catcher and some DH starts. Ultimately, I think I have some of the best catcher depth in the league.
Jose Abreu (Round 6, after Sonny Gray, before Salvador Perez)
David Freese (Round 15, after Carlos Carrasco, before Josh Beckett)
Mitch Moreland (Round 16, after Joe Nathan, before David Murphy)
Adam Dunn (Round 21, after Matt Purke, before Robbie Ross)
After going with platoons at the corners last year (Gaby Sanchez/Garrett Jones at first; Jeff Keppinger and Chris Johnson at third), I wanted to get full-timers at the corners, and quality ones at that. I think that happened especially with Abreu, and Freese is too good to let slide any further than the 15th round. Moreland and Dunn are nothing more than DH/bench thumpers.
Jed Lowrie (acquired with a round 30 pick (not yet used) for pick used to select Corey Dickerson)
Xander Bogaerts (Minor League Keeper)
Rickie Weeks (Round 15, after Jeremy Hellickson, before Wellington Castillo)
Mike Aviles (Round 18, after Dan Uggla, before Danny Valencia)
Having Bogaerts, a godsend as a minor league keeper, at shortstop allowed me to move J.J. Hardy for three draft picks. I think Lowrie is solid at second base, with a stab at Weeks worth a shot later in the draft. Aviles has defensive ratings at second, third and short, which is rather valuable in Scoresheet. All in all, I’d call the middle infield solid, but not spectacular.
Jason Heyward (Big League Keeper)
A.J. Pollock (Round 9, after Daniel Murphy, before Michael Brantley)
Marlon Byrd (Round 15, after Geovany Soto, before Derek Jeter)
Lucas Duda (Round 15, after Chris Iannetta, before Nath Schierholtz)
Aaron Hicks (Round 15, after Nate Jones, before Jeremy Hellickson)
This group is really hit or miss. I moved Alex Gordon for a handful of picks, hoping to go with a quantity over quality approach in an effort to avoid the dreaded Triple-A player from ever seeing the light of day with my club. Pollock is a very good center fielder in the game, and I still believe in Hicks. Byrd was taken at a time when there were really no other starting outfielders, and I’d like to use Duda at DH if he hits this year. If not, he’s a decent bench bat. Oh, and Heyward is pretty good.
Chris Sale (Big League Keeper)
Yu Darvish (Big League Keeper)
Masahiro Tanaka (Round 4, before Sonny Gray)
Sonny Gray (Round 5, after Masahiro Tanaka, before Jose Abreu)
Ricky Nolasco (Round 11, after Adam LaRoche, before Nick Markakis)
Garrett Richards (Round 17, after Marco Scutaro, before Ryan Cook)
Kyle Gibson (Round 19, after Dee Gordon, before Juan Francisco)
Kevin Gausman (Minor League Keeper)
Allen Webster (Round 24, after Jaff Decker, before Manny Parra)
Kohl Stewart (Minor League Keeper)
Marcus Stroman (Minor League Keeper)
Randall Delgado (Round 20, after Tim Beckham, before Jesse Chavez)
Andrew Heaney (Minor League Keeper)
This is where I think my hay will be made, as a rotation of Darvish-Sale-Tanaka-Gray-Nolasco is absolutely solid, and is well backed up by guys like Delgado, Richards (a sleeper I sort of like), Gibson (still have some hope for him), Webster, Gausman, Stroman, and even Heaney, who could be on the fast track in the Marlins system. Top to bottom I think I have some of the best starting pitcher depth in the entire league. I may be able to flip some for an outfielder if need be.
Glen Perkins (Round 14, after Scott Feldman, before Chris Denorfia)
Addison Reed (Round 16, after Mark Melancon, before Gaby Sanchez)
Casey Fien (Round 22, after Jordan Walden, before Edwin Escobar)
Jared Burton (Round 25, after Heath Bell, before Kevin Correia)
I’ve been purposely slow when it comes to filling in my bullpen just because I don’t believe there’s any added level of certainty from taking a guy in the 10th or 12th round, or pulling a guy like Fien (amazing peripherals) or Burton (one bad month in 2013) late. I’ll be adding three more pen arms (including a LOOGY) with my last three picks, at which point I think I’ll be ready to embark on my first .500 season!
One thing that’s obvious to me is that there’ll be a ton of questions. Please feel free to leave them below and I’ll be around to answer them as quickly as possible. Thanks!
I’ve filled out my roster with the following players:
In doing so, I’ve grabbed guys who are high ceiling, safe, and LOOGY types. Thoughts?
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