What I’ve learned in FYPD mocks!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There’s nothing that gets me more excited than first-year player drafts. Sure, I love the standard drafts (Roto/Points/H2H) but there’s something extra rewarding about trying to unearth the next Ronald Acuna Jr. or Juan Soto while avoiding the landmines of players such as Kevin Maitan and Danny Hultzen.
In the spirit of the season, here are 10 of my takeaways from early FYPD mocks.
TOP DOG: It’s become abundantly clear that if you want Jasson Dominguez you’ll need the first overall pick. This surprised me somewhat, not because I don’t have Dominguez ranked as the first player off the board but because I thought some teams would look at how far away he is from the big leagues and go with a player who is more polished and closer to making an impact on their fantasy teams. This is not the case. In every draft I’ve taken part in, which is five, Dominguez has gone first overall. Hope you had a bad 2019 season if you want him.
CRAP SHOOT: If first overall is a lock then second overall is anything but. Andrew Vaughn, Bobby Witt Jr., CJ Abrams and Adley Rutschman have all been the bridesmaids in my FYPD mocks. They’re all fine picks, with league construction and how your team is constructed making drafting any of them justifiable. Vaughn is the only player to be taken twice.
SHOOT THE MOON: Erick Pena is going up, up and away. Pena’s stock has been rising steadily since the Royals inked him as part of the J2 international prospects last year. Initially I thought Pena was going to be a value pick and someone you might be able to snag early in the second round — I was wrong. He’s gone as high as five overall which is higher than I’m comfortable taking him with players like Riley Greene, JJ Bleday and Corbin Carroll still on the board.
FALLING STARTERS: It was no secret that this year’s crop of SP were weaker than recent drafts. Pinpointing who is going to provide value is a tricky proposition this year which is why many teams are staying away from any SP at all in the first three rounds. I get it, but at some point it provides a buying opportunity for teams who have depleted SP depth. The likes of Nick Lodolo, George Kirby, Daniel Espino and Alek Manoah are all very intriguing options, especially if the draft comes to you in the second or third round and they’re still available.
SLEEPER: Bayron Lora tends to go in the middle of the second round, which is after a few players I would take him ahead of. Sometimes if you like a guy you have to pay up and go get him. I’m not afraid to do that with Lora. Players I’d take him ahead of are basically the entire pitching class as well as Bryson Stott and Greg Jones, unless you’re playing Roto and shooting for SB upside in Jones.
EASTERN INVASION: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Shogo Akiyama aren’t available in the leagues I play in due to an age restriction (Jose Abreu Rule). If they were I’d only be looking at them with teams that I think are competitive now. Even still, I’m not sure how their stats in Japan will translate to the big leagues. For me, they’ll be avoided but I’ve seen them go in the late second and early third rounds in some other mocks.
GHOSTS PAST: The majority of my leagues let you draft players drafted or signed prior to 2019 who might have gone undrafted or weren’t added to a site in a timely manner. Brennen Davis, Aaron Bracho and Francisco Alvarez have all gone in leagues where the host site was tardy adding the player so make sure you’re not missing value in players who took leaps last season in pro ball.
MENTAL MATH: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you like a guy, draft him. Trying to play the game of passing on a player you really like because you think you can get him a round later usually ends in heartbreak. If you have eyes for a prospect don’t be afraid to push him up your board because there’s nothing more rewarding than hitting on your guy while watching him flourish on another team is not fun.
MAXIMO HEAT: One trend from the first draft I did to the last is that Maximo Acosta continues to rise. Every year there is a player who starts out being taken in the fifth round before ending with a draft position in the second. This year it’s Acosta and if you want him you’re probably going to have to draft him at the beginning of round 3 at the latest.
PLAYER TO AVOID: Listen, I don’t dislike Bryson Stott but seeing him going at the turn of the first round always leaves me shaking my head. For me, put Stott in the bin of better real-life baseball players than fantasy. If he slides, I’ll take a flier on him as he still has a solid hit tool but if I’m expected to take him in the 11-14 range, he won’t be on my team.