Many dynasty leagues are in the middle of offseason mode and minor league drafts at this point in January. That really brings the excitement of prospects knowing we’re only about a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting! As a matter of fact three of my Diamond Duos dynasty leagues are currently drafting MiLB players and the fourth, our newest Diamond Duos IV, just finished its 5-round minors expansion draft. Needless to say I’ve got baseball and prospects on the mind pretty much 24-7 at this point. I just grabbed Miami’s RHP Luis Castillo in a couple drafts and am stoked he was unowned and fell to me.
This got me thinking. When was my first fantasy baseball minor league draft? I had to look back on my computer, go through some old email folders, and then I found it. Auction Gods 2008. This was something new to me. I thought it would be fun to look back and see what my very first fantasy baseball MiLB roster was 9 years ago.
Quick history. I had played fantasy baseball since my Syracuse college days when we used the Monday USA Today sports section and I recorded all stats and standings on paper. Plus I was in a couple other keeper leagues at that time but none that had minor leaguers. My family had recently moved from New Hampshire to my wife’s hometown of Longmeadow, MA the previous summer and as I was still settling into my new “hometown,” I was jonesing for something new in my fantasy baseball world. I came upon this Auction Gods league and it was going to be my first ever “auction” league (I had only done straight drafts before) and along with the major league roster it also had a new component for me – a minor league draft! I don’t think I even knew many minor league players other than the few Red Sox call-ups from AAA or AA that I heard about in seasons past. Where to begin and how to prep for this? It was early 2008.
I honestly don’t remember what I used but am guessing I looked at the Baseball America top prospects for the 2008 season, and probably compared that to a couple other sources. Auction Gods was 16 teams and each minor league roster was 10 players. I have no idea how the draft order was determined but I pulled #16 of 16. I can’t tell you if I was happy with that draft spot or not, but looking back now, I think I did alright. Only problem is the league disbanded a year later when the Commissioner went AWOL and I never got to reap the benefits and rewards of my “stellar” 2008 minors draft. Let’s take a look back, shall we?
|1 (16)||Jacob McGee||LHP||TB|
|2 (17)||Mike Moustakas||SS||KC|
|3 (48)||Jason Heyward||OF||ATL|
|4 (49)||Fautino de los Santos||P||OAK|
|5 (80)||Brett Anderson||LHP||OAK|
|6 (81)||Ryan Tucker||P||FLA|
|7 (112)||Jesus Montero||C||NYY|
|8 (113)||Felipe Paulino||P||HOU|
|9 (144)||Gorkys Hernandez||OF||ATL|
|10 (145)||Hector Gomez||SS||COL|
My “unbiased” evaluation of these picks:
1. Jacob McGee – Baseball America overall #15, preseason 2008. First thing you’ll notice is he wasn’t Jake yet. The second thing you might not realize is this was the same year David Price was near the top of prospect boards and McGee was the other Rays pitcher. I believe it was still unknown if he was going to be a starter or reliever in the big leagues. I thought he could be the Braves closer of the future. Overall a solid end of first round choice.
2. Mike Moustakas – Baseball America overall #18, preseason 2008. This kid was showing some tremendous power in the minors, and many thought that he wouldn’t stick at shortstop because the Royals might need that offensive production at one of the corners. Guess they made the right call there.
3. Jason Heyward – Baseball America overall #28, preseason 2008. Ever heard of this guy? He was only 18 at the time and was projected to still be a couple years away from the Majors. He’s still plugging away and earned a World Series ring with the Cubbies last year but many believe he’s never lived up to all that hype from when he was a prospect.
4. Fautino de los Santos – Baseball America overall #60, preseason 2008. According to BA he had “exploded onto the prospect scene” the year before in low A ball and his ETA at the time was only a year away. I thought he was a diamond in the rough. He ended up with 36.1 IP for Oakland in the majors in 2011-2012 and was out of MLB after that. He did have 11.4 K/9 but this was a failed pick as I look back now.
5. Brett Anderson – Baseball America overall#36, preseason 2008. Has had a pretty good MLB career to this point but has also been troubled by several injury-plagued seasons. His ETA was 2009 and he did debut in 2009. Nine years later he owns a 3.86 career ERA and a decent 2.4 BB/9 which is what BA liked about him back then.
6. Ryan Tucker – Baseball America’s #3 Marlins prospect preseason 2008. Wasn’t he supposed to be the flame throwing Marlins closer of the future? He actually made it to The Show that season and pitched 37 innings to the turn of an 8.27 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP. Did not pitch in 2009 or 2010. Was back for 5 innings with the Rangers in 2011 (7.20 ERA, 2.00 WHIP) and that was the end. He was not a closer of the future and I was definitely wrong on that one.
7. Jesus Montero – Baseball America’s #6 Yankees prospect preseason 2008. Wasn’t Montero being touted as the next coming of Mike Piazza or Carlton Fisk? He was a catcher with immense power but just had to improve his defense at the time. Turns out he only played 226 games in 5 years from 2011-2015 with New York and then Seattle. He had 28 HR and 104 RBI (in his MLB career!) and many of us thought that’s what he’d put up each season. A big swing and a miss on this one.
8. Felipe Paulino – Baseball America’s #2 Astros prospect preseason 2008. Another hard throwing pitcher who I figured could be a solid MLB starter. A career 13-34 win-loss record and 5.22 ERA. Pitched from 2007-2014 but after an 11.29 ERA in 18.1 IP with the White Sox in 2014 we haven’t seen him since. Did not pan out to be the 2-3 starter some were projecting him to be.
9. Gorkys Hernandez – Baseball America overall #92, preseason 2008. Was potentially going to be an All Star OF, with very good speed. Had been traded from Tigers to Braves in a deal for Edgar Renteria. Ended up not making it to the majors until 2012. Played some with Miami and Pittsburgh that season. Back in the minors for 2013-2014. Was back for a few games in 2015 and most recently saw 26 games with San Francisco in 2016. Only 8 career SBs and a .205 batting average isn’t going to get him much more MLB PT.
10. Hector Gomez – Baseball America overall #95, preseason 2008. I honestly thought this was a steal and that the kid was at some point going to take over SS for Troy Tulowitzki and be a star in Colorado. He got 2 games with the Rockies in 2011, then we didn’t see him until 2014 with the Brewers when he got into 15 games (only 20 AB). His biggest chance for success was the following season when he got 127 AB for Milwaukee, but after 1 HR, 0 SB and a .181 BA he hasn’t sniffed the big leagues since.
Hits – 4 (McGee, Moustakas, Heyward, Anderson)
Misses – 6 (de los Santos, Tucker, Montero, Paulino, Hernandez, Gomez)
So that was my foray into the minor league drafting aspect of dynasty fantasy baseball. A year later in early 2009 my good friend JR and I decided to join a new league called The Toilet Bowl (don’t ask) and we’d co-own the squad. This league also had a 10-man minors roster but was not a straight draft. It was auction-style just like it’s major leaguers. We had a $100 cap to use on the 10 players but those dollars were only for auction purposes. The players’ values became $1 against our MLB cap once they were promoted. I thought a quick look back at this roster would be interesting too. I think it pales in comparison to how I did with my Auction Gods minors draft and that wasn’t even that good. We used up all of our $100 but this one’s really bad except for maybe 2 or 3 decent grabs. At least this league lasted for 5 years before that Commissioner pretty much went AWOL as well.
Disclaimer: JR’s a Phillies fan so he always tried to convince me to add Phillies prospects because it would be more fun for him to root them on, which in turn made me target Red Sox players. Ended up being half of our team that year. Ugh!
Recap: Marson was not good and only amounted to a backup catcher. Melancon is a stud NOW but if I recall correctly we either released or traded him a year later. Carrasco was never the stud he is now back then and didn’t get us any value. Holland may have been our best pick as he contributed at the major league level soon after we drafted him as a prospect. Jackson never made it to the majors with New York and was gone from our team by the time he made it with Detroit two years later. Michael Ynoa!! This was the kid (16 years old at the time) who supposedly had “once-in-a-generation” talent and upside. He just made it to the majors this past year 2016 with the White Sox at age 24. Bard, another of my “closers of the future” predictions gone nowhere. Most of us know Bard’s story. Pretty much lights out as a late inning guy for Boston from 2009-2011, but then he couldn’t find the plate after that. Jason Donald was a utility infield type we thought might take over 2B for Utley but then he was moved to Cleveland and that was about the end of his career. Brown was JR’s Phillie superstar prospect and we thought $7 was a steal for him. That long swing never worked out although he had one very good season in 2013 in which he smashed 27 HR to go along with 83 RBI and made the NL All Star team. Huff can actually be called an MLB journeyman and he’s still plugging away after 8 years in the bigs and 6 teams.
So that was my little trip down minor league prospects memory lane. What was I thinking on some of those players? Want to share your successes or failures from past minor league drafting? Add your comments below or hit me up on Twitter at @Scotty_Ballgame. Happy prospecting!