What’s done is done and what’s dead is dead. Those are sayings; at least I think they are, and they sum up my TGFBI draft quite well. To say the draft was a doozie would be an understatement. I felt great about things up until the Framber Valdez news dropped a couple of hours after I made that 7th round pick. Overall it is a team I can go to battle with but will have to make some early moves and run well at times to make another run at the TGFBI crown.
For those keeping track at home, this is year four of TGFBI. I am currently ranked 110 overall with finishes of 129 (2018), 35 (2019), and 101 (2020). 2019 was a tough one as I was near 20th until the last day; it was tight up top. I am also quite proud of the 2020 finish as my team was COVID crippled, and I was out of FAAB midway through the season. I did everything I could just to field a starting lineup. This year’s goal is to win the league (League 11) and then finish as high as possible overall. Let’s see what the team looks like and have to make some changes to reach those goals.
1.14 Lucas Giolito, P, CWS– I have talked many times on Benched with Bubba and other pods that I prefer getting two aces (pocket aces) early in drafts, especially 15 team drafts. I have also said Giolito is my SP4 heading into the season, so seeing him available at pick 14 was a no-brainer. The chance to lock in 175+ innings pitched, solid ratios, and a 30%+ strikeout rate is as easy as it comes in a draft.
2.2 (17) Aaron Nola, P, PHI– Coming back around, I snagged my second piece of the pocket aces. After the Gio pick, Yu Darvish and Trevor Bauer were taken off the board. That left me deciding between Nola, Walker Buehler, and Luis Castillo. If Buehler were not on the Dodgers and likely to get his innings toyed with, I would have taken Buehler, so I went Nola. Nola has thrown over 200 innings in his last two full seasons (2018 and 2019). He also brings a nice K% and ratios, making a great pair of aces with Giolito.
3.14 (44) Rafael Devers, 3B, BOS– This was a heck of a draft room, and a lot of my usual targets on the back end of Round 3 were flying off the board. That left me deciding between Devers, who brings a solid batting average, 30 home run upside, R/RBI aplenty, and even some stolen bases, versus my 20/20 upside love of Starling Marte. In my dumb brain, I told myself to take Devers, who I love and helps fill a position I consider to be shallow, while also telling myself that I can draft Marte with my next pick….Well, that did not happen as Marte went right after the Devers pick. YEAH!!!!
4.2 (47) J.T. Realmuto, C, PHI– With Marte out of consideration and knowing I would be chasing saves soon enough, I drafted Realmuto. Yes, I know he’s injured, but I am not as concerned, and I still believe he is the clear C1 even with the injury. He’s usually a 3rd round pick, sometimes early 3rd round, so I was willing to take the 4th round chance. Locking up another batting average asset and steals from a position that does not steal many bases at all.
5.14 (74) Raisel Iglesias, P, LAA– Another philosophy I have been using this draft season is attempting to lock up one of my top five or six closers. I currently have Iglesias 4th and was very excited to grab him at pick 74. Iglesias has thrown at least 67 innings, usually a fair amount more, in every entire season he has pitched. He has also been an outstanding ratio asset, with ERAs under 3.00 in four of the last five seasons. Iglesias upgrades his team as well, which could only help the saves situation.
6.2 (77) Javy Baez, SS, CHC– I am a sucker for Javy. Lately, I have been leaning more to some Gleyber Torres, but he was drafted at pick 59. I have the two ranked close to each other, so the 18 pick discount to Baez is one I will enjoy. Baez had a horrible 2020, but a bounce-back is coming up in 2021….at least a lot of my fantasy teams hope it does.
7.14 (104) Framber Valdez, P, HOU– Talk about a roller coaster of emotions. I was over the moon drafting Framber at pick 104 early in the morning. That jubilation was squashed just a couple of hours later when reports of a fractured finger were released. Ok, ok, only like 4-6 weeks, right? Then the hammer drops a day later, saying he will likely miss the entire season. This was gut-wrenching and would eventually cause a tweak to my draft strategy.
8.2 (107) Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU– Saying Altuve had a down 2020 may be an understatement, but it was not all that bad as he had a great postseason. Combining postseason and regular-season stats would create little concern about Altuve’s overall production. We have to remember that 2020 was extremely small, and an entire season may have changed a lot of things for players, both good and bad. I will take the discount on Altuve, who used to be a top 30 pick and plays at a shallow fantasy position.
9.14 (134) Wil Myers, OF, SD– Here is where things start to get a little frisky. I have been team, Tommy Pham, for quite some time. Recent reports have begun to make me rethink just how much exposure I wanted to Pham. Since I needed steals, I dove into Myers and loved what I saw in his recent performance. Myers saw an uptick in power last season, which coincided with a new swing. The new swing resulted in career bests in barrel rate (14.8%) and hard-hit rate (45.8%). He brings 20/20 potential and more to my roster and makes me feel much better about missing out on some of my early stolen base targets.
10.2 (137) Rhys Hoskins, 1B, PHI– Rhys Pieces joins another of my teams. I love everything about Hoskins, especially his draft price. Give me 30+ home runs, a .250 batting average, and great R/RBI in a strong Phillies lineup. It’s as simple as that for me when it comes to Hoskins.
11.14 (164) Marco Gonzales, P, SEA– Marco has not found his way onto many of my rosters, but the loss of Framber made me take the chance. I understand the concern with Marco off his outstanding 2020 campaign, but is it unrealistic that Marco still is pretty darn productive in 2021? In 2018 and 2019, he threw 166 and 203 innings with an ERA of 4.00 or less and ok strikeout rates and WHIP. Just be a quality start machine once again, and I’ll be happy.
12.2 (167) Craig Kimbrel, P, CHC– After snagging Iglesias, I wanted to pair him up with a mid-round saves target of mine. Give me all the Kimbrel. He has the job locked down in Chicago, barring a blow-up. He was lights out last season after his early demotion. After his first four outings, where he allowed runs in each of them, Kimbrel only gave up two runs (1 outing) over his last 14 appearances. Over those 14 games, he had a 1.42 ERA, a 53.1% K%, .098 average against, and a 0% barrel rate. I am willing to take a 12th round pick on that massive upside.
13.14 (194) Trey Mancini, 1B/OF, BAL– TREY BOO BOO!!!! He is back, and that is outstanding to hear. All reports out of spring training are Trey being healthy and ready to roll. He will have 1B and OF eligibility which is nice, but more importantly, a decent batting average to go with 30+ home run upside and solid R/RBI.
14.2 (197) Marcus Stroman, P, NYM– Unlike Marco, I am drafting Stroman everywhere. The fact he is being drafted around pick 200 is bonkers to me. I realize he does not strike out many, but he has worked on a new pitch that looks great so far and will help the strikeouts a ton. He also eats innings like crazy, which is a big plus heading into 2021. I love the chip on his shoulder that he pitches with and the improved defense behind him—big season ahead for Stroman, and if so, then big season for my pitching staffs.
15.14 (224) Raimel Tapia, OF, COL– I have been drafting a lot of Tapia later in drafts as he proved in 2020 that he can play every day for the Rockies and hit leadoff. Hitting leadoff for the Rockies is quite nice and will help rack up fantasy stats. Things are crowded in Coors, so this may end up being an early drop, but we will roll with Tapia for now.
16.2 (227) Mark Canha, OF, OAK- Huge Canha fan thanks to his power and OBP skills. Now there are rumors out of A’s camp that Canha will likely hit atop the lineup. That’s a massive boost for his fantasy value and should lead to a big fantasy season.
17.14 (254) Aaron Hicks, OF, NYY– If you follow me on Twitter, you know how I feel about Hicks, especially Aaron Boone saying Hicks will hit third for the Yankees. We love anyone hitting in the Yankees lineup, but third is one of the prized spots. When Hicks is healthy, he brings a strong power and speed upside to a fantasy roster, and hitting third adds to those runs and RBI. The bottom line is Hicks is being drafted way too late.
18.2 (257) Mauricio Dubon, 2B/SS/OF, SF– Drafting Dubon was part positional flexibility and the part that he is going to continue developing into a solid fantasy asset. Dubon should hit around .270 or better, and he brings 15+ home runs and 10+ stolen base upside. This time next year, Dubon will have an ADP inside the top 150.
19.14 (284) Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIA– I already had Hoskins and Mancini as first base options, but it was hard to pass up on Aguilar at this point. He can play CI or UTIL and brings production in four categories, most importantly significant home run upside.
20.2 (287) Kwang Hyun Kim, P, STL– As the Gonzales pick earlier, Kim is a steady eddy pick. He is coming off a 2019 season where he threw 190 innings, so he should be good for at least 150 but hopefully more like 170+. He has been a better strikeout arm in Korea, and hopefully, that transitions to the MLB. Most importantly, he should collect a fair share of wins with the Cardinals and provide solid ratios. He’s a Kyle Hendricks lite.
21.14 (314) Chris Martin, P, ATL– Already having two closers in Iglesias and Kimbrel, I was happy to draft another closer after pick 300. Martin may be in a timeshare with Will Smith, but Atlanta’s reports are all very positive for Martin. He will get his fair share of saves, and Smith is rumored to also work in many high-leverage situations instead of strictly closing.
22.2 (317) Sam Hilliard, OF, COL– I have always been a fan of Hilliard; it was just a matter of playing time. So far this spring, it appears the playing time maybe there for Hilliard. He starts nearly every day in either LF or CF while Tapia and Garrett Hampson are platooning each day. If Hilliard does get regular playing time, then there is profound 15/15 ability with the upside for much more.
23.14 (344) Mitch Keller, P, PIT– I was all in on Keller last year, but injuries and a walking problem, almost all in his previous appearance, made his production not too great from a fantasy perspective. This is an upside play, and hoping Keller can continue to show improvements. If not, it’s just a drop of a round 23 pick.
24.2 (347) Elias Diaz, C, COL- I have discussed Diaz as a late-round catching target quite a bit this offseason. Everything worked as planned here. Diaz brings a .260 average and plays half his games in Coors. Good enough for me as a C2 in a 15 team league.
25.14 (374) Corey Dickerson, OF, MIA– Dickerson is always an underappreciated fantasy asset, but he hits close to .270 with nearly 20 home runs and solid counting stats year in and year out. He also hits near the top of the Marlins lineup, which is a bit improved this season. Not bad for a round 25 pick.
26.2 (377) DJ Stewart, OF, BAL– All Stewart did was crush baseballs in 2020, and he still is not getting the respect he deserves this draft season. I’ll take my chances on his volatility and potential low batting average in return for the chance he can hit 30+ home runs at pick 377.
27.14 (404) Steven Brault, P, PIT– Brault upped his ground ball rate while improving his ratios quite a bit in 2020. If the improvements continue, he can be a steal in round 27. If not, we drop him and start streaming some more arms, but I believe the gains we saw in 2020 are legit, and this pick will be one heck of a steal.
28.2 (407) Adam Frazier, 2B/OF, PIT– A lead-off man drafted after pick 400? You know it. Frazier also brings 2B and OF eligibility which could come in handy this season. He brings 10/10 upside and a .265 or so average. Nothing flashy, but the flexibility and decent production in a 15 team league are very nice post-pick 400.
29.14 (434) Miguel Cabrera, UTIL, DET– Entering the last few draft picks, I am all about taking some chances, and I’d they don’t work out then, so be it as we will churn and burn most of the season anyway. When it comes to Miggy, he proved in 2020 that he wasn’t done just yet. He hit ten home runs with a 112.2 maxEV and a 49.7% hard-hit rate. He can still get it done and be suitable for 20+ homering and a .265 average in 2021.
30.2 (437) Ian Kennedy, P, TEX– Last but not least, Mr. Ian Kennedy. The Rangers signed Kennedy to a minor league deal, but they just lost Jonathan Hernandez, Joely Rodriguez is banged up, and Jose Leclerc is Jose Leclerc. Kennedy has closing experience, and it would not be insane to see the Rangers give Kennedy the reigns in the 9th. Pure speculation pick in round 30.
Well, there you have it, the 2021 TGFBI team. There’s a lot I like about my squad, but obviously, there is some work to do. Losing Framber hurt, but overall I like my pitching. I will be working to stream pitchers a little more than usual, but that is not out of the norm in these leagues. I feel the offense has plenty of power but steals may be an issue. It will be fun trying to address that in season. I’ll be looking for my highest TGFBI finish, but it won’t be easy. Now let’s start these games.