Spring training is well underway and if we haven't already seen the hype train get on track, it's only a matter of time. Jared Kelenic hit two absolute bomb home runs and within days I heard Scott drop his name in his deep sleepers on the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast. I can't blame him either. Have we been a little too quick to just completely dismiss Kelenic? His ADP is sitting in the early 300s and yet he's still just 23 years old with elite prospect pedigree. If it clicks, and by it I mean Kelenic's ability to hit breaking pitches, the rest will click fast for him. I'm with Scott. Kelenic is on a shortlist of my favorite end-of-draft options.
But there have been other players who have already moved up and down ADP based on spring training. We'll touch on some of that below as we look at Scott's early takeaways from the spring. We'll start with a mock draft though because it's the season for it.
H2H Points Salary Cap (auction)
A key takeaway to start
Before we get too deep into the weeds of this specific mock -- and I know the thing we want most is where the players were drafted -- it's also important to look at this from a 30,000-foot view. In this specific format (H2H points), the past few draft seasons have looked a lot like the "zero RB strategy" in Fantasy Football only here it was "zero hitters" in this format. There seemed to be a draft hack that everyone caught on to and it led to a slew of starting pitchers being drafted early and hitters falling multiple rounds beyond their ADP. But that was in the juiced ball era and this is now. Right now we have a rejuvenated middle class of starting pitchers that might be better than ever and far fewer hitters worth anything that I can remember.
Fantasy sports is all about adjusting to new data and using that to mold your draft strategy. And so as Scott breaks down early in his mock draft review, it's finally OK again to pay big bucks for name-brand hitters in H2H auction drafts.
From Scott: "I'll admit I forgot how good it could be.
"The past few years, to auction in a Head-to-Head points leagues meant to engage in hitter nihilism. There were so many redundancies within the hitter ranks that nothing really mattered except for the pitchers. And so, freed from the orderly flow of a conventional draft and instead turned loose with a wad of cash, we put it all on pitchers until the pitchers were all gone.
"It was frustrating. It was uninteresting. It was, I'm willing to concede, bad.
"But now, the juiced ball is gone. Differentiation has returned to the hitter ranks. Balance has been restored, and that means everyone taking part in a Head-to-Head points salary cap draft may actually want to do his own thing again.
"As for me, I dusted off my old plan of attack from pre-2016 and, if I may be so bold, executed it flawlessly."
Here's what Scott's roster looked like "executed flawlessly:"
(In order of highest bid first*)
Juan Soto, OF, Padres: $50
Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox: $41
Sandy Alcantara, SP, Marlins: $38
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Cardinals: $28
Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves: $25
Wander Franco, SS, Rays: $18
Corbin Carroll, OF, Diamondbacks: $18
Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles: $14
Patrick Sandoval, SP, Angels: $3
Pablo Lopez, SP, Twins: $3
Miles Mikolas, SP, Cardinals: $3
Jose Urquidy, SP, Astros: $2
Ketel Marte, 2B, Diamondbacks: $2
David Bednar, RP, Pirates: $2
CJ Cron, 1B, Rockies: $2
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Brewers: $2
Daniel Bard, RP, Rockies: $2
Jeff McNeil, 2B, Mets: $2
Brady Singer, SP, Royals: $2
Martin Perez, SP, Rangers: $2
Tyler Anderson, SP, Angels: $1
You know what, I can't say I know what "flawless execution" exactly looks like, but this looks like a pretty strong imitation of what I imagine it would look like. Scott rolled with a hitter-heavy studs and duds auction strategy, and I really love the fact that he addressed positions of scarcity too. He gives himself an excellent opportunity to get a daily and long-term edge at third base with Devers and second base with Albies. He found a way to get Goldschmidt -- one of the best overall hitters in Fantasy last season -- for $28. Franco has lottery ticket written on him and that's not his only league-winning upside pick; Carroll and Rutschman , too. I even like the value on his slew of $3 "dud" picks; Marte, Lopez, Sandoval specifically for me.
I also liked how Scott stuck true to one of his auction principles -- always leave enough of your budget at the end so you can fill your lineup with $2 players and not the $1 players you nominate and never get a chance to win. On that note, make sure if it's your nomination that you don't get greedy and nominate them for $1. Start the bidding at $2.
Anyway, I loved this draft by Scott. A job well done!
Here are the full results for the draft.
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Scott's key takeaways from the draft
- You'll notice, at least in the infield, there was a special premium for getting the No. 1 player at a position, with most going for $8-9 more than the No. 2 player. It may be worth it for players like Aaron Judge ($50) and Jose Ramirez ($49), and I've second-guessed my decision to back down from both. But it's something to keep in mind for those positions where No. 1 has a lot of competition at the top. I'm happy with my Paul Goldschmidt for $28 and my Adley Rutschman for $14, thank you.
- Recent injuries to Joe Musgrove (fractured toe) and Tyler Glasnow (strained oblique), each of whom could miss about a month of the season, didn't completely scare bidders away. Musgrove went for $12 and Glasnow for $10. That's a little high for my comfort. I'll be ranking them behind Nick Lodolo ($8), Jesus Luzardo ($7) and Chris Sale ($6). We broke down those pitcher injuries on the FBT in 5 podcast.
- Shortstop and catcher were two positions that offered extreme discounts for a peculiar reason. Both are replete with alike options, which means that in a format where everyone needs only one of each, it pays to wait. Those who already had one had little incentive to bid on another. It's how Dansby Swanson ended up going for $11, Willy Adames for $7, Willson Contreras for $6, Tim Anderson for $4, William Contreras for $2 and Sean Murphy for $2.
These were the participants so after you click the link to see the mock results make sure you follow them all on Twitter (handles below):
- Raymond Atherton, TGFBI participant (@RaymondAtherton)
- B_Don, Razzball (@RazzBDon)
- Brant Chesser, Baseball HQ (@BrantChesser)
- Nathan Judah, Express & Star (@NathanJudah)
- Greg Lathrop, Triple Crown Fantasy Baseball (@roto_Greg)
- Nick Mimikos, Stack Attack podcast (@NMimi)
- Chris Mitchell, FantasyData (@CJMitch73)
- Phil Ponebshek, Patton & Company
- Chris Towers, CBS Sports (@CTowersCBS)
- Kayla Walz, former Podcast League participant
- R.J. White, CBS Sports (@rjwhite1)
- Scott White, CBS Sports (@CBSScottWhite)
Early takeaways from the spring
Scott has been pouring through the early spring training games and searching for the notable Fantasy Baseball nuggets you'll need to prepare for your drafts. Here's his full column.
These are some of the nuggets that stood out most to me:
Brewer tantalizes with power
Garrett Mitchell, an athletic specimen whose ground-ball tendencies are so pronounced that it's fair to wonder if he'll be anything more than a steals specialist in Fantasy, surprisingly went yard twice in his spring debut Saturday. And his swing, particularly on the second one, looked more orthodox than we typically saw last year. After the game, he mostly talked about cutting down on his strikeouts, which would be nice, but "launch angle" are the words we want to hear come out of his mouth.
Change is back for Sandoval
Though Patrick Sandoval reduced his ERA to 2.92 last year, his K/9 rate fell from 9.7 to 9.1 and his swinging-strike rate from 15.2 to 13.3 percent. The reason, manager Phil Nevin told MLB.com, is because he lost the feel for his changeup, which may turn out to be a blessing in disguise since it forced him to develop the rest of his arsenal. "He's one of the guys I'm most excited about," Nevin said. "His bread-and-butter [pitch] has always been that changeup, and he kind of lost the feel for that for a few months during the season and relied on the slider, which turned into just an electric pitch. And watching him throw, the changeup has been really good and back to where it was." Sandoval said he's committed to throwing the changeup more than the 24.6 percent of the time he did a year ago.
Confirming a committee
White Sox won't have a set closer with Liam Hendriks sidelined by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Manager Pedro Grifol confirmed as much Monday and did so in convincing fashion. "Absolutely not," Grifol said. "That's not how we are going to run it." Kendall Graveman and Reynaldo Lopez are still thought to be the leading candidates for saves.