The 15-team Rotisserie format has become the go-to for Fantasy Baseball insiders, made popular by contests such as the NFBC. While it's sparsely played by the general public, which still gravitates more toward 10- and 12-team leagues, it's still worth visiting from time to time for the few that do. Even if you're not included in that group, you might enjoy a chance to look deeper into the player pool than you normally do.
My biggest takeaway from my first crack at the format this year is that, wow, hitting thins out quickly. It feels like there isn't enough to go around in a 12-team league, even those that use a smaller Head-to-Head lineups, but in a 15-teamer, there's nobody I care to draft as a starter about two-thirds of the way through.
Anticipating as much, I resolved going in not to draft a pitcher unless he was obviously the best player on the board, and I'm glad I did. Naturally, my pitching staff isn't the best on paper, but it's workable and potentially even good. And I imagine I'll be able to supplement it easier during the season than I would the hitter side.
Let's meet the participants for this mock:
1) Daniel Preciado (@DanJPreciado)
2) Nick Mimikos, Stack Attack podcast (@NMimi)
3) Jake Holland, formerly The Toss Up podcast (@jakebaseball17)
4) JR Fenton, TGFBI participant (@JohnRussell215)
5) Scott White, CBS Sports (@CBSScottWhite)
6) Frank Stampfl, CBS Sports (@Roto_Frank)
7) Chris Towers, CBS Sports (@CTowersCBS)
8) Zach Steinhorn, Steinhorn's Universe on Substack (@zachsteinhorn)
9) Anthony Weigel (team name: Kenta Stay Healthy Byron?)
10) Jake Wiener, Prospects1500 (@GatorSosa)
11) Nick Fox, NBC Sports (@CT_FOX)
12) Nick Weaver, lucky reader who got to join in
13) Doug Roe, defending Podcast League champ
14) George Kurtz, Sportsgrid (@GeorgeKurtz)
15) R.J. White, CBS Sports (@rjwhite1)
Here are five additional takeaways:
- Mike Trout at 11 overall was the first indication that position scarcity would rule this draft. His ADP is 23, but he was the next man up at one of the three positions that's most critical to fill early (the others being third base and second base), and well, Nick Fox didn't want to take any chances.
- Even more notable was Jose Altuve going eight picks later (19 overall), which led to Marcus Semien at Pick 23 and Ozzie Albies at Pick 28. Their ADPs are 37, 28 and 49, respectively. Normally, I try to get one in Round 3, but two were gone by my Round 2 pick. I could have grabbed Albies still, but instead, I was reaching for the last of the stud third basemen, Nolan Arenado. Ultimately, that's the higher priority for me.
- The first closer, Edwin Diaz, wasn't drafted until Pick 48, 22 spots later than his ADP. It began a run in which the top nine closers -- all of the sure things plus Ryan Helsley, basically -- were gone within 40 picks, with Kenley Jansen being the last off the board at Pick 85. Honestly, I've seen worse in a 15-team league, where the trend toward closer committees has made saves particularly scarce.
- A pivotal decision for me was between Christian Walker and William Contreras in Round 9. In a shallower league, I might have opted for Contreras, looking to maximize the impact of every lineup spot, but I instead went with Walker as my corner infielder. In a league this deep, I think you have to aim for as much production as you can for as long as it's available, given the current state of hitting. If I have to have a scrub somewhere, I'd rather it be at catcher.
- Some late-round values I liked were Brandon Drury at 226, Thairo Estrada at 236, Travis d'Arnaud at 239 and J.D. Martinez (now DH-only) at 252. What makes them interesting is that I don't like any of those players in a vacuum, but apparently, neither does anyone else. There comes a point where favoritism can have too much sway.