March 4th, 2015 marked the day some of fantasy baseball’s greatest minds got together to do battle in the League of Extraordinary Expert GM’s (LEEG). Drafting with this group can reduce you to feeling like a chess geek that has to go through the gauntlet in the old school American Gladiator show. Fortunately for me I landed the rights to Mike Trout which is kind of like playing a game of chess with two queens on your side. In most leagues you hope to not get sniped on a player here and there, in LEEG you plan on it round after round. LEEG-Snake is comprised of fantasy baseball industry contributors competing in a 15-team, standard 5×5 Roto format, using weekly rosters with C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, Ci, Mi, 5 OF’s, and a U to go along with 9 pitchers and 7 bench slots.
Here is the competition in draft order for LEEG-Snake 2015:
Pick 1: Ron Vackar of FantasyAssembly.com and @VicariousSports
Pick 2: Chris McBrien of DMFantasyBaseballPodcast.com and @cmcbrien
Pick 3: Kyle Soppe of RotoExperts.com and @unSOPable23
Pick 4: Jon Williams of AdvancedFantasyBaseball.com and @bigjonwilliams
Pick 5: Chris Garosi/Scott Barzilla of TheFantasyFix.com and @chrisgarosi/@SBarzilla
Pick 6: Kyle Braver of RotoBaller.com and @kbraver
Pick 7: Greg Jewett of TodaysKnuckleball.com and @gjewett9
Pick 8: Doug Anderson of FantasySportsNetwork.com and @rotodaddy
Pick 9: Robert Burghardt of TGFantasyBaseball.com and @RBurghardt
Pick 10: Tommy Landseadel of FantasyAssembly.com and @tlandseadel
Pick 11: Robert Langevin of Razzball.com and @Smokey_Loogy
Pick 12: Ray Kuhn of RotoProfessor.com and @Ray_Kuhn_28
Pick 13: Timothy Kolar Previously of RotoBanter.com and @Thelastpoint2
Pick 14: Tim Finnegan of FakeTeams.com and @TimFinn521
Pick 15: Devin Jordan of DavidGonos.com and @devinjjordan
Yes, I do run LEEG and yes I did get the number one pick. No home cooking involved here, I promise. Just some dumb luck with the draft randomizer. It is certainly better to be lucky than good. Here is how my roster turned out with my rounded projections, targets, and rounds each player was selected:
|Ron’s LEEG-Snake Team|
|C||Jonathan Lucroy (90)||70||15||65||3||0.295|
|1B||Albert Pujols (61)||80||27||100||3||0.265|
|2B||Kolten Wong (91)||60||13||60||24||0.26|
|3B||Todd Frazier (60)||80||27||85||14||0.265|
|SS||Danny Santana (SS/OF) (181)||80||8||50||21||0.285|
|Ci||Josh Harrison (3B/OF) (121)||85||12||55||18||0.285|
|OF||Mike Trout (1)||110||35||105||20||0.295|
|OF||Rusney Castillo (120)||65||12||65||20||0.265|
|OF||Yasmany Tomas (3B?/OF) (180)||60||24||80||2||0.26|
|OF||Avisail Garcia (210)||65||18||75||7||0.27|
|OF||Michael Cuddyer (271)||65||15||65||6||0.285|
|OFFENSIVE TOTALS :||1000||238||970||169||0.270|
|OFFENSIVE Targets :||975||235||950||160||0.270|
|P||Stephen Strasburg (30)||240||17||2.8||1.08|
|P||Corey Kluber (31)||235||17||3||1.12|
|P||Yordano Ventura (211)||170||14||3.6||1.28|
|P||Jered Weaver (240)||155||14||3.6||1.21|
|P||Mike Fiers (241)||175||13||3.4||1.18|
|P||Mike Leake (330)||145||13||3.65||1.25|
|P||Kevin Jepsen (420)||75||4||2.9||1.15||8|
|P||Francisco Rodriguez (150)||70||3||2.9||1.15||37|
|P||Steve Cishek (151)||75||3||2.9||1.15||37|
|B||Drew Pomeranz (360), Andrew Heaney (390), TJ House (391), Anthony DeSclafani (421)|
|PITCHING TOTALS :||1,340||98||3.27||1.18||82|
|PITCHING TARGETS :||1,330||98||3.25||1.175||100|
Taking Mike Trout off the top allows a drafter some unparalleled flexibility later on. Getting Albert Pujols and Todd Frazier at the turn from the 4th round to the 5th blew my mind. That literally could not have gone better. I start looking at Pujols and Frazier between picks 45-50. To get them at 60/61 was a dream scenario. Just about every fantasy roster deals with health issues and youth question marks.
I will need Jonathan Lucroy and Rusney Castillo to make it out of Spring Training with a healthy status. Healthy-ish seasons from Shane Victorino and/or Michael Cuddyer would be viewed as a bonus but not something I am banking on.
On the youth side of things, I have put a lot of weight on the unknowns attached to Rusney Castillo (120 overall), Yasmany Tomas (180 overall), and Arismendy Alcantara (270 overall). Many of the younger upside players went pretty early in this well-represented experts draft. People were not afraid of taking risks for the most part. The one comfort I take from drafting that trio was that it did not feel like I had to reach on any of those guys.
As for my targeted stats (as seen in the roster breakdown above), I met or exceeded everything and I do not feel as though I projected too much from the young players on my roster. The targeted stats I developed would have put me in the top three in each category based on 2014 LEEG-Snake stats. I also utilized the data from 12-team NFBC leagues to help me determine the statistic totals I needed to target. Batting average is probably the wonkiest stat of them all as I did not take into account the at bats I imagine various players getting. So, the batting average for the Nick Hundley/Stephen Vogt combination in my second catcher slot carries as much weight as Mike Trout’s batting average in the way I have projected the category. Of course, catchers will ultimately accumulate less total at bats than the average full-time offensive player but in a draft where you have to keep your mind sharp, I cut corners on projecting batting average to the nth degree. Oh, and something to note about Stephen Vogt is that I have listed him as a catcher here but he will not gain eligibility at the position until he catches 10 games this season.
My Pitching Staff:
The deeper the format, the more I like the idea of locking up two aces. Starting a team off with Trout makes locking up a couple of aces like Stephen Strasburg and Corey Kluber about as appealing as it gets for how I like to build a team in a deep league. I did not even consider another pitcher until I locked up Steve Cishek and Francisco Rodriguez to fill my closer need at 150/151 overall.
On the starting pitching side of things, I waited all the way until pick 211 overall to snag what I thought was incredible value in Yordano Ventura. The starting pitching value just kept coming when I landed Jered Weaver and Mike Fiers at 240/241 overall. I am certainly not a Weaver guy but value is value. All in all, I have little to no worries about my pitching staff. It has the right mix of aces, veterans, youth that has already shown success, and youth with upside. I even like my stab at potential saves in Kevin Jepsen. Was it just a coincidence that the Rays traded for him just before announcing Jake McGee’s elbow issues? Most people probably prefer to take a chance on Brad Boxberger. I tend to think team prefer veterans in the ninth inning role and that is especially the case for cash strapped teams that want to cost control their young arms. We shall see.
Picks I Didn’t Have the Stones to Make
Billy Hamilton (33 Overall): Kyle Soppe of Roto Experts had a game plan and stuck to it, landing Hamilton at 33, knowing he likely would not be there when he picked again at 58 overall.
Adam Wainwright (39 Overall): Robert Burghardt of TG Fantasy Baseball clearly believes Waino will be up to his usual excellence. I am worried a Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee type of collapse could be near.
Mookie Betts (75 Overall): Devin Jordan of DavidGonos.com is all in on this young Boston outfielder and doesn’t believe the Red Sox can possibly hold him back. I for one am with Devin Jordan on this one but 75 overall was still a little too rich for my blood on Betts.
Kris Bryant (98 Overall): If you want a shot at the next best thing in an Expert’s league, you have to pay up. Doug Anderson of Fantasy Sports Network and So Called Fantasy Experts is dreaming big with 2015’s newest power threat.
Doug Fister (117 Overall): Jon Williams of Advanced Fantasy Baseball must believe the ERA and WHIP contribution from Fister is believable even if he falls short of the amount of K’s a guy like Aroldis Chapman or Craig Kimbrell racks up pitching one inning at a time every other day or two.
Javier Baez (136 Overall): Devin Jordan of DavidGonos.com was plucking away at youth upside again with his selection of the 2B/SS eligible power threat playing in Chicago’s north side. Baez seems a tad lost and might need to ripen a little longer in AAA. Nobody has enough power to justify striking out 40% of the time.
Jose Fernandez (175 Overall): Love the talent that Roto Baller’s Kyle Braver locked up in Fernandez. The limitations to be placed on that talent for 2015 makes this pick a little too risky for my liking.
Johnny Cueto (51 Overall): Cueto was the last of the true aces to go off the draft board in my opinion. It is always good to get in at the back-end of a tier before a sizable drop off to the next tier and Fantasy Assembly’s Tommy Landseadel (Defending LEEG Champ) did just that by locking up Cueto to lead his pitching staff.
Craig Kimbrel (73 Overall): To give you an idea of what a value this pick was for Timothy Kolar, Aroldis Chapman went off the board at 44 overall.
Jeff Samardzija (94 Overall): Jon Williams of Advanced Fantasy Baseball grabbed one of the few tier two aces I could see becoming a legitimate number one in 2015.
Devin Mesoraco (96 Overall): It takes a lot for me to be envious of any catcher pick but Roto Baller’s Kyle Braver did just that with his Mesoraco pick. In hindsight I kind of wish I would have taken Mesoraco instead of Jonathan Lucroy six picks earlier at 91 overall.
David Robertson (103 Overall): With Kenley Jansen down for a while, Robertson slides into my top four relief pitchers. Once again, it is good to get into the back-end of a tier before a big drop off to the next tier and Timothy Kolar did just that with this pick.
Tyson Ross (119 Overall): I recently mentioned that I would prefer Ross to both James Shields and Hisashi Iwakuma and Ross was selected after both those guys were already off the board. Nice grab for Dear Mr. Fantasy’s Chris McBrien.
Lucas Duda (161 Overall): Razzball’s Smokey locked up what has turned into a poor man’s Chris Carter. Take away a little power from what Carter might provide and tack on a little extra batting average and Duda is a steal considering Carter went off the board at 86 overall.
Leonys Martin (162 Overall): Martin is my favorite speed target for 2015. Early indication is that Martin will hit leadoff for the Rangers this season and I see a chance at 85 runs and 40 stolen bases with this selection for Roto Professor’s Ray Kuhn.
Howie Kendrick (178 Overall): Kendrick is about as boring a pick as you can make because his floor and ceiling are so close together. Still, there is something to be said for the steady consistency Roto Experts’ Kyle Soppe locked up with this choice.
Eric Hosmer (209 Overall): With my two picks to follow at 210/211 overall, I was trying to figure out how I could possibly pass on Eric Hosmer even though I already rostered 1B eligible bats in Albert Pujols and Todd Frazier. Dear Mr. Fantasy’s Chris McBrien let me off the hook be taking Eric Hosmer one spot ahead of me with what could be the greatest hitter value pick of the whole draft.
Most Impressive Trios of the First Three Rounds
3rd Place: My fellow Fantasy Assemblyman, Tommy Landseadel will defend his LEEG title with a pair of solid infield bats in Anthony Rendon and Robinson Cano to go along with Buster Posey who actually looks like solid value at 40 overall.
2nd Place: Dear Mr. Fantasy podcast host, Chris McBrien locked up a bit bat in Paul Goldschmidt, a true ace in David Price, and undeniable upside in Bryce Harper.
1st Place: Other than my own combination of Mike Trout, Max Scherzer, and Corey Kluber, Doug Anderson’s Fantasy Sports Network/So Called Fantasy Experts team was the most appealing to me. Of course I love my own team, but a start of Jose Abreu, Josh Donaldson, and Madison Bumgarner is pretty dang snazzy.
Late Round Difference Makers (300 and beyond)
Aaron Sanchez (308 Overall): A closer is a closer is a closer. Does not matter when you get them but it sure feels nice when you grab one this late. Doug Anderson has a shot at sneaky saves at an extreme value where he landed the talented Aaron Sanchez.
Carlos Rodon (323 Overall): I prefer my starting pitchers to have a little experience under their belt but you never know. Doug Anderson may catch lightning in a bottle with this choice too.
Joakim Soria (328 Overall): See Sanchez two spots up and you already know how I feel about Soria here. Joe Nathan was a wreck in 2014 and his leash is likely pretty short for 2015. Nice shot in the dark for Kyle Soppe with this pick.
Allen Craig (347 Overall): Timmothy Finnegan of Fake Teams takes a shot on Craig here even though he is not assured playing time for 2015. I think Craig bounces back one way or another, whether it is in Boston or someone else’s lineup. Even if he does not get back on track, it was worth a chance.
Jose Peraza (370 Overall): Smooth move by Tommy Landseadel with this selection. The Braves are going to need a shot in the arm to spark their offense in 2015. Jose Peraza could provide it and may take over their 2B job sooner than later. Peraza offers Dee Gordon-like appeal and just needs a big league uniform on his back to see if that upside can become a reality.
Noah Syndergaard (390 Overall): The dude likes sandwiches. Who doesn’t? Just a matter of time before Syndergaard takes the mound at the MLB level and Greg Jewett of TheSportsScript.com gets to find out just how much upside this kid has for 2015.