Major League Baseball is finally returning, and with that comes many stressful nights of fantasy baseball.
I have been playing fantasy baseball for almost ten years and still have zero championships to show for it. I’ve gotten invested in fantasy football and hockey over the years, but the one I care the most about is baseball. I love playing these games, although I ultimately throwing my money down the drain.
The biggest problem I face every year is the fact I tend to choose players with my heart rather than my mind. While you spend the next few minutes laughing at me, let me explain it like this, at least I pick players from a team that usually wins. The New York Yankees tend to be one of the fiercest competitors each season, while the Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers tend to be bottom dwellers. Their rosters may have a few bright spots on them, but when it comes down to it all, they don’t strike fear in the batter’s box or on the mound.
The 2020 season marks our third in One Less Curse, where we are the usual the bottom dweller. On Sunday, July 19, 2020, we held our live draft. Our league manager had to hit the reset button on our league, since the computer already held a draft for us on May 10, 2020. The team the computer picked for BD4 was leaps and bounds better than the team you will see listed in this recap. I can say our manual selection process was much different than the machine’s because out of the 23 players drafted onto this team, only 11 of them were selected in the auto draft.
Draft Preview & Selections
Last year our team finished in eighth place in a ten-team league. Over the offseason, I spent many sleepless nights thinking of ways to construct a team that will actually get me into the postseason and make a run for the championship. I even considered buying one of the RotoWorld.com programs to help optimize my draft and daily lineups all season long. I voted against buying into the system, and then voted against my better judgement on how I should construct this team.
After selecting fourth overall in 2019, we dropped five spots down to ninth. There are many pros and cons to this position. We lose out on the top players in the league because rarely do the superstars fall down to ninth. I am also the second to last pick in the opening round and every other round. The only real positive thing about this position is the opportunity to make two selections almost back to back. Making these picks in close succession means I can grab players before they become available to other guys down the line.
In this year’s snake draft we selected in the following slots: 9, 12, 29, 32, 49, 52, 69, 72, 89, 92, 109, 112, 129, 132, 149, 152, 169, 172, 189, 192, 209, 212, 229. Before quarantine shut down spring training, I participated in only one mock draft. I scored a C+ in that dry run. After having several months to prepare for this draft, I decided to participate in one more mock draft (D+) on the afternoon of the big day. We noticed right off that only six Yankees players were ranked within the top 100 players. These rankings allowed us to select those players in the first six rounds, then we focused on Yankees ranked further down the list, way off anyone’s radar.
Our goal was to stay ahead of the pack, and we accomplished that. Except for our first pick, we selected all Yankees players with the hopes that the Bronx Bombers capture their 28th World Championship.
The first round featured all the usual suspects, Ronald Acuna, Jr. (Atlanta) went first overall followed by Christian Yelich (Milwaukee). Mookie Betts (Los Angeles) went third while reigning Most Valuable Players Mike Trout (Los Angeles) and Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles) went fourth and fifth. Newly acquired New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole went sixth. His cross-town rival and two-time reigning NL Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom (New York Mets) went seventh. Francisco Lindor (Cleveland) went with the eighth selection, just two spots ahead of third baseman Alex Bregman (Houston), who was the final selection of the opening round.
With our first pick, ninth overall, we selected one of our workhorses from last season, reigning World Series Champion Max Scherzer (Washington). If this was a full 162 game season and not just a 60 game one, Scherzer had a chance to break a handful of records and continue his journey to the Hall of Fame. He is still going to excel this season, but his numbers won’t be what we have grown accustomed to.
As the snake moved along into the second round, we ended up with our elite shortstop, Gleyber Torres. He was the second pick in the second round, twelfth overall.
We didn’t make another pick until the end of the third round, where we grabbed outfielder Aaron Judge. If the big man can stay healthy and cut down the strikeouts, there is no reason this guy won’t walk away with the MVP award. As the picks rolled into the fourth round, we doubled down on another outfielder posed for a monster season, Giancarlo Stanton.
In round five, we found the anchor to our bullpen, Aroldis Chapman. Even though the flame thrower is currently sidelined with COVID-19, he’s been training and should be sharp to jump right into the action. The Yankees are projected to finish with 35-40 wins, so Chapman has plenty of chances to save 20-30 games.
When the draft entered the sixth round, we jumped on Gary Sanchez, who was still available. In all our years of drafting, this selection is probably the earliest we’ve ever taken a catcher. Patience usually costs us the elite backstops, and we are left with second-tier catchers in later rounds. Sanchez was the second catcher taken in the draft after J.T. Realmuto, who was taken in the fourth round.
In the seventh round, 79th overall, we snagged DJ LeMahieu. The infielder was recently sidelined with COVID-19 but has been cleared to return. If he can build upon the fantastic season he had at the plate last year, he could be in the running for AL MVP too.
We needed to build upon our pitching staff, which currently had one player on it by the eighth round. James Paxton (82nd overall) was available and was our first of back to back pitcher selections. After Paxton, we selected Masahiro Tanaka (99th overall) in the ninth round. Tanaka was recently injured at a Yankees practice but should be ready to handle his spot in the rotation after Opening Day.
Next up on our shopping list was Luke Voit (102th pick), who we took in the 10th round. When Voit is in the zone, there’s no stopping his ability to smash the ball out of the park with ease. He recently changed his number to honour his brother, so we are all hoping it will bring him luck.
The Yankees don’t have an official captain, but many believe Brett Gardner (11th round 119th overall) would be the team’s unofficial captain now that CC Sabathia has retired. Most people think since Gardner only has a season or two left, the title should be vacated until one of the baby bombers is ready.
Like we mentioned earlier, Chapman is currently on the shelf. That caused only a slight hiccup in the Yankees bullpen because Zack Britton (122nd overall) was there waiting in the wings. The former closer of the Baltimore Orioles hasn’t been lights out in the Bronx, but he can still pitch, get out of jams, and win ballgames.
As the draft entered the 13th round, we indeed went out on a limb by selecting utility infielder Miguel Andujar (139th overall). Two years ago, this guy was the odds on favourite to be rookie of the year, only to see his sophomore season blow-up on him. Following a whole year in recovery, Andujar is ready to go, and the Yankees will find a spot for him if he rediscovers that rookie swing.
Since Andujar is listed as a “utility” player, we needed an official third baseman. That led us to Gio Urshela, who would have been the Yankees MVP last season if LeMahieu wasn’t so dominant.
In the fifteen round, we decided to add to our pitching corps with Adam Ottavino (159th). The Yankees signed New York-born and raised Ottavino last year in hopes he would be a setup man out of the pen they have long desired for Chapman. Number #0 didn’t disappoint in his first season, but there is still so much he can do.
In the sixteenth round, with the 162nd pick, we took a chance on Jordan Montgomery. This up and coming pitcher is the future ace of the staff, but recently got send down to the minors. Whether it happens sooner or later, Montgomery will find his way to the top of CY Young ballots someday.
To shore up our pitching staff, we grabbed J.A. Happ (179th) in the 17th round. His first full season in Pinstripes was not award-winning, but the guy can still pitch and win games. Since he has had plenty of time to adjust to this team and ballpark, this could be the season he turns a corner.
Although he is not a household name outside of New York, Aaron Hicks (182nd) is a vital cog in the Yankees machine. The team doesn’t play at the same level without him in the lineup, and after recovering from Tommy John’s surgery, he is primed to take over center field and hit in the middle of the lineup.
After the 18th round, we only had five selections left. We used those spots to grab two outfielders and three more pitchers.
Mike Tauchman (19th 199th) was having a brilliant season last year when he went down with an injury. His production was almost impossible to replace. He returns to the lineup after healing and looks to continue right where he left off. Tauchman is a threat to reckon with at the bottom of the lineup.
Jonathan Loaisiga is another pitcher of the future. He gets a chance every now and then to pitch out of the bullpen. Jonathan is posed to be a pivotal contributor to the staff.
Clint Frazier is one of the most polarizing Yankees of this generation. Love him or hate him, Red Thunder can be the best player in the lineup and the worse at the same time. To preserve the overall health of the team, Frazier should get his fair share of playing time. If he finds that stroke, he may play more.
Tommy Kahnle is of the funniest and craziest pitchers in the game. His hilarious antics in the bullpen keep the players entertained, but he’s all business on the mound. He’s one of the league’s unsung heroes out of the pen.
Chad Green was the second to last pick of the draft, 239th overall. We chose him because he was tabbed as an opener for the Yankees and went undefeated in that role. If he’s not in the game as the starter, he’s been a reliable member of the bullpen.
If you have read this far down, you can see that our 23 man roster is made up of 22 Yankees players. Scherzer is the only exception, and we have offered him up to acquire Cole to complete our lineup.
As you might have figured out, we are projected to be the worse team in our league.. by a long shot.
Here’s the breakdown of our projected statistics:
- Standings: 10th place – 41.5 points out of first (66)
- WHIP: 6th best – 0.04 points out of first (1.12)
- ERA: 7th best – 0.23 points out of first (3.33)
- Strikeouts: 7th best – 235 points out of first (714)
- Saves: 7th best – 35 points out of first (53)
- Wins: 10th place – 15 points out of first (44)
- AVG: 10th place – 0.024 out of first (0.286)
- SB: 10th place – 60 out of first (75)
- RBI: 10th place – 138 out of first (462)
- HR: 10th place – 44 out of first (150)
- R: 3rd place – 17 out of first (468)
It may seem like a monster hill to climb. We may not even make it out of the trenches, but the games will be fun to watch. The journey to a fantasy championship is a long one. We may not reach that goal this year or next, but the ride is why we keep coming back.