TDGX Recap – Team of Fate: Picks #17-32
As Noel Baldwin pointed out in this article, he and I were paired together, with an odd twist of fate, to manage a team in TDGX. I was on board with this from the beginning, because Noel and I share a lot of the same viewpoints on valuating prospects and analyzing major leaguers. He broke down our first 16 picks in that article and I’m here to break down our picks from round 17-32.
Before I get started talking about each player, I’d like to explain how we ended up with the 16th overall pick in the first round. TDGX had a bid process added to the league that allowed each team to bid 2015 keeper spots for specific draft positions in the 2014 draft. Our team ended up winning the 16th pick with a 1 keeper spot bid. Why the 16th pick, you ask? Well, my thinking was pretty straight forward on this. I didn’t want to sacrifice the roster depth that we were going to build to have a chance at a top 5 pick. I decided to bid 2 keeper spots on each of the 4th through 8th draft spots. I knew that there would be a slim to none chance that we’d win any of those draft positions, but I made the obligatory bid with the hope that by some far off chance, the other managers would sleep on the 6through 8 spots. I also bid 1 keeper spot on picks 16 through 20. If by some strange reason, we had actually won one the spots within the top 8, we’d gladly take the premium talent, but I knew better than that, so I hedged by bets by making the bids on the lower picks. I wanted to ensure that if we had not gotten a top 8 pick, that we would secure a pick near the turn, so we can double up on key players, without having a long wait in between picks. Personally, I’d much rather have the 16th and 25th picks than the 10th and 31st picks. Now that we have that explained, let’s get down to our draft picks.
17. 16. (336) Nate Jones, RP, Chicago White Sox
At some point in the 15th round, it seems that all of the managers in TDGX collectively agreed to start drafting closers. I’m never one to chance a run like this one, so we wait it out for a few picks, but when this pick came up, we had to pull the trigger and secure at least one closer. He won’t have much competition in the White Sox bullpen with the recent departure of Addison Reed, so we were quite happy to get a solid closer a few rounds after the impromptu closer run.
18. 5. (345) Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees
Jeter was a pure value pick here. Yes, he has one year left, and yes he might only be 75% of the Derek Jeter that we once knew, but middle infielders were getting very, very thin and we still want to compete this year. I knew that later in the draft we can find a replacement for the 2015+ seasons, so this was a no brainer.
19. 16. (376) Gerardo Parra, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Gerardo Parra was a sleeper pick for us. Not a huge sleeper nor a lot of potential value increase, but nonetheless, a sleeper. We had already draft Leonys Martin, Desmond Jennings and Khris Davis for our outfield, so we followed our game plan yet again and nabbed Parra. We were very keen on focusing our outfield selections on players in the 25-27 age bracket with high upside and the potential for double digit speed and power, without a debilitating batting average.
20. 5. (385) Nathan Eovaldi, SP, Miami Marlins
21. 16. (416) Randall Delgado, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
22. 5. (425) Rafael Montero, SP, New York Mets
At this point in the draft we were very pleased with the solid rotation we had built at the major league level (Price, Masterson, Cain, Griffin, Peralta and Pineda). However, we knew that we would only be able to get a couple of solid years out of top tier guys, so we needed to invest in some youth. We started that trend with Peralta (24) and Pineda (25) but wanted to continue it for a few more selections. Our goal was to target pitchers that fell into one of two categories- A) major league level and under 25 or B) minor league level with high upside. I also wrote an article on Delgado back in the fall, which you can find here.
23. 16. (456) Delino DeShields, OF, Houston Astros
As you might have gathered by now, we like our outfielders to have double digit speed and a solid batting average as an absolute minimum. Not only does DeShields offer the ability to hit for average (.280 range) but he is a burner. Every manager in every league I was in, in 2012, was jumping on the Billy Hamilton bandwagon, with his 155 SB campaign, but so many of these managers forget that DeShields put up 101 SB that same season, and he provides a better ability to get on base.
24. 5. (465) Darin Ruf, 1B-OF, Philadelphia Phillies
I’ve never been too high on Darin Ruf, but I respect what he can provide for a roto team at this stage of a draft. We had already anchored our batting average with our early draft picks and acquired plenty of double digit speed spread across our lineup, so taking Ruf here was a pure power play. Over the last two seasons combined, Ruf has played in 85 games and provided 40 R, 40 RBI and 17 HR. I’ll gladly take a gamble on him receiving full playing time in an old and fragile Phillies lineup.
25. 16. (496) Arodys Vizcaino, RP, Chicago Cubs
26. 5. (505) Alex Torres, RP, San Diego Padres
These two pitchers are personal favorites of mine. I have both listed here as relievers, which I believe will be the position that maximizes their fantasy value, however there is a real chance that they switch back to the rotation. If/when that happens, they both become solid mid rotation types with a #3 upside. Being able to snag two relievers that could be sneaky save plays down the road, near the pick #500 mark is solid value, but when those relievers could also be as good as #3 starting pitchers? I’ll have my cake and eat it too, please.
27. 16 (536) Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
Remember when I said that I felt confident that we could find a replacement for Jeter, later on in the draft? Well here you go. By no means do I think that Story will be up by the end of 2014. However, if he can put together a solid bounce back year at AA and show an ability to hit advanced pitching, I wouldn’t rule out a 2015 cup of coffee.
28. 5. (545) Juan Lagares, OF, New York Mets
At this point in the draft, finding hitters that can net you 400 AB or more is getting pretty difficult, especially those that are on the right side of the aging curve. Noel, was the one that brought Lagares’ name up in conversation and after some digging, I supported his evaluation. We don’t expect Lagares to fit the same mold that we looked for with the rest of our outfield, but we believe he can be a solid everyday contributor, and in the 28th round, that’s saying something. The Mets have a crowded outfield right now, with Chris Young, Eric Young, Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson. Just reading those names out loud makes it pretty evident that he will get a fair share of playing time. After all, he’s only 24 years old and in the 184 games played at AA or higher, he has a .309/.351/.433 triple slash.
29. 16. (576) Jeurys Familia, SP, New York Mets
30. 5. (585) Kevin Plawecki, C, New York Mets
31. 16. (616) Johnny Hellweg, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
32. 5. (625) Tyler Naquin, OF, Cleveland Indians
With these next four picks we made a conscious decision to focus on prospects. From the very early stages of the draft we were behind the curve on drafting prospects, because we focused on MLB level players that are pre-prime age with upside, rather than gambling on prospects that have a few years before they pay dividends. So this section of the draft marks the beginning of our attempt to recoup some of the prospect value that is left on the market. Familia and Hellweg fall into the same category that I described with the Vizcaino pick. We like the profile that both provide and believe that they can be above average relievers with closer potential, but can also provide rotation depth with solid value if they get switched to a starting role. I pushed for the Plawecki pick because I’m a big fan of his power potential and feel like he could move quickly through the minors. He comes from a “cold weather” school (Purdue) and players with that designation tend to start off slow when they start full season baseball, so I think he will have a real breakout this season in 2014. Tyler Naquin was a first round draft pick in 2012 and has been pushed aggressively through the Indians system. His power and speed potential fits in-line with our outfield requirements and he has a solid hit tool, so I’m pretty happy to get a potential top-100 prospect (2015 rankings) at this point in the draft.
Looking at these picks now, I swear, we do not have an affinity for Mets players. Honest.
Noel, will be bringing you the break down for the final rounds and a detailed look at our depth chart, next Tuesday, so keep your eye out.