Anyone who knows me knows that the only thing I may like more in fantasy baseball than dynasty leagues is 50-round drafts. Specifically, I am talking about NFBC-style draft and holds, where there are no transactions. You spend the spring (or winter if you like to start early) drafting your team, and then sit back and manage the roster once the season starts.
Attrition is a real thing in leagues like this. And being able to find a way to roster not only active players the entire season, but players with reasonable upside and production, is vital since you cannot reload from the waiver wire.
This makes drafting minor leaguers a bit risky since we can never guarantee who is going to get the call during the season. If you’re not confident in your own skills at identifying these mid-season (or opening day) callups, then looking to NFBC draft results can be useful to see what the field is doing. And even if you are not playing in these style leagues, knowing who to pay attention to mid-season can help you be first to grab a guy off the wire.
Here I present a table a table of all rookie-eligible players who made our October 2019 top 172 prospects list, and have also been drafted by at least one team in official NFBC Draft Champions leagues (n=40). For this, I took the most recent month of draft data (January 10 through February 9). And I’ll offer some brief commentary afterwards.
|Player Name (First Last)||Prospect Rank||Team||Position||# of Drafts||NFBC Average Pick||NFBC Minimum Pick||NFBC Maximum Pick|
1. We can absolutely expect to see these guys this year.
It’s a pretty safe bet that any player taken in all 40 leagues in this sample will see major league playing time this year (barring injury). This year, we have 47 prospects so far that hold that distinction. They range from average pick 79 (Luis Robert) to average pick 589 (Deivi Garcia)
2. Two leagues were asleep at the wheel.
I’ll plant my flag that Logan Gilbert will contribute positively this year. And if I am taking five catchers, Tyler Stephenson is the guy I’m snagging in the later rounds. Unless I get super sniped several rounds earlier than I am targeting, which is what happened in one of my current drafts at round 37, pick 543.
3. Hold my Beer!
I don’t play in the official NFBC leagues, but if i did, I would be driving ownership percentages of Beer up. I have taken him in 4 out of 5 leagues so far, and the fifth is only because someone seems to like him even more than I do.
I admit that part of me may be a bit biased towards the Clemson product. But there is a lot to like about him. Here’s what our Arizona correspondent Matthew Hammerling had to say:
Beer is a professional batsmith, and is near MLB ready. Beer’s value would improve greatly if the NL adopts the DH in the near future as he can’t play OF and 1B will be a struggle too. Potential middle of lineup hitter, he isn’t that far away, and no serious blockers in AZ.
That sounds like the college player I watched. If he gets called up, there is no reason why he cannot provide some power late in the season. Except that he has to have a position to play, and there’s always the chance his first rodeo doesn’t go quite so well. And he’s not yet on the 40-man roster; and he doesn’t have to be on there until December 2021.
So, overall it’s understandable why only 25% of leagues chose to have a Beer. But, me, I’m still going to have a few too many.
4. No first baseman for you!
Do not expect much support from the prospect front if you fail to secure first base backups. Right now, only four firstbaseman are being selected in Draft Champion leagues: Evan White (40 drafts, average pick 354), Andrew Vaughn (18 drafts; average pick 722), Pavin Smith (2 drafts, average pick 748), and Brent Rooker (6 drafts, average pick 746).
5. I have no imagination
I cannot find myself to believe that Wander Franco is getting called up this year. This is why I never have that late-season surge from a shiny new player. One person from each of the 40 DC leagues drafted Franco, presumably because they expect him to play. The cost is on average a 35th round pick. Here’s who I have taken in the 35th round so far: Ryon Healy, Jeimer Candelario, Matt Strahm, Brad Keller, Zach Eflin.
Note: I could have written up Adley Rutschman here. He’s only been taken in 27 leagues, but seems like someone who could possibly make an outsized impact. But I find it hard to imagine he gets the call.
6. Young guns, having some fun
Seattle (8 players drafted), Minnesota (7 players drafted), and Detroit (6 players drafted) are the places to be if you’re wanting to see some young players this year. Seattle especially should be exciting to watch. 6 players drafted in all 40 leagues (White, Lewis, Sheffield, Kelenic, Dunn, and Fraley), 1 player drafted in 38 leagues (Gilbert), and even Julio Rodriguez has been drafted in 21 leagues.
7. Old and (maybe not) boring
1 team (Brewers) has had no prospects drafted. 5 teams have only had one: Nationals (Carter Kieboom), Giants (Joey Bart), Mets (Andres Gimenez), Cubs (Nico Hoerner), and Red Sox (Bobby Dalbec).
Willie May Austin Hays
Austin Hays–ranked #146 on our prospect list–is someone I currently have no shares of in drafts. And that feels like a mistake for what is on average an 18th – 19th round investment. ATC projections give him a stat line of 20 home runs, 122 runs + RBIs, 8 stolen bases, and .252 average. That’s good enough to start and more than reasonable at that point in the draft. And a young player like Hays exudes upside.
9. Dalbec or Hayes?
I seem to find myself wanting a 3B around the time these two are generally coming off the board. And so far I am not sure who is the right pick.
|Dalbec||521 average pick||404 min pick||616 max pick|
|Hayes||534 average pick||425 min pick||623 max pick|
Who’s the pick in the later rounds of 50-round leagues (no transactions). #draftandhold
— Brian Young (@FakeBaseballGM) February 10, 2020
Play NFBC Leagues? Have a strategy when it comes to drafting prospects? Leave some comments below.