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On Wednesday afternoon, I participated in the SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball Hosts Draft No. 2. I have done well in this league, winning three of the last four years. My streak was snapped last year as I finished in second place. I had the third pick overall in this 12-team 5x5 roto league with daily moves.
Round 1: OF Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
I thought about going with Clayton Kershaw because I never do and contemplated doing something different, but it's not in my nature. I had no shares of Betts yet this year and decided to go with a player that can help in all categories.
Round 2: 1B Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
The one thing that was missing from Freeman's game was power and it appeared last season. He increased his fly ball rate by five percent and had a career-high 43.5 percent hard hit rate. He is a line drive machine with a career rate of 27.2 percent. His numbers were similar to Anthony Rizzo last season and Freeman is entering the prime of his career.
Round 3: OF A.J. Pollock, Arizona Diamondbacks
Pollock has been falling due to a groin injury this spring and the fact that he missed most of last season due to an elbow injury. He produced first round value two years ago and he contributes in all categories. He's back on the field and is ready to go to begin the season.
Round 4: SP Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
deGrom has been one of the better pitchers the last few seasons. His stock is going up with a great spring to show he's healthy. deGrom said he never felt comfortable last season and still had a 3.04 ERA. He has a career 2.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 9.24 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. It was a close call but I took him over Johnny Cueto.
Round 5: OF Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins
Yelich is another player that helps across the board. He hasn't been running as much with just nine stolen bases last season and I am not counting on the steals since he bats third and in front of Giancarlo Stanton. Yelich barely hits fly balls. The 20-percent fly ball rate last season was a career best, but he was in the top 10 in fly ball distance, so he has power. He is an excellent pure hitter.
Round 6: RP Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
I had no intention of getting a closer this early, but Jansen is too good to pass on at this point of the draft. He's my top-ranked closer. Justin Upton was available and while I like him a lot, he would have been my fourth outfielder. The lesson here is to be flexible. If value falls too far, scoop it up.
Round 7: SP Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers
Maeda is better than people think and isn't valued the way he should be. He wasn't as good in the second half of 2016 and fatigue may have been a factor making the adjustment to the United States. He pitched 175.2 innings and had a 3.48 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 9.17 K/9 and 2.56 BB/9. He has four solid pitches and had an 11.6 swinging strike percentage.
Round 8: OF Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia Phillies
No one stood out as a pick in this spot. I didn't want to get a second closer this early and with people waiting on pitching, I knew I would get good arms later in the draft. Herrera had 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases last season. If he can do that again, I will be more than happy with this selection.
Round 9: 3B Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
Third base is very deep and I decided to wait. I missed out on Anthony Rendon and Justin Turner in earlier rounds and took Longoria over Alex Bregman, who I do like and took in Tout Wars. I decided to mix it up and Longoria is coming off one of his better power seasons.
Round 10: SS Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs
Russell was my top-ranked shortstop left on the board and is coming off a season in which he had 95 RBIs while often hitting at the bottom of the lineup. He will move up higher and is only 23 years old. Russell cut down on the strikeouts and walked more last season, improving his patience at the plate. There's more upside here and while he won't hit for a high average, he's the first player on my team who won't help much in average.
Round 11: SP Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
I get people expect regression, but how much? He had a 2.13 ERA last season and even if he goes to 3.30-3.50, how does he fall this far? He knows how to pitch and has a good defense behind him. On a good team, he should be in line for many wins.
Round 12: SP Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox
Four straight seasons of 200 innings with an ERA of 3.51 or fewer and a career best 1.16 WHIP last season. He won't allow many home runs and he will likely get traded putting him in a better spot for wins.
Round 13: DH Kendrys Morales, Toronto Blue Jays
Morales had 30 home runs and 93 RBIs in a tough park to homer in last year in Kansas City. He hit 12 home runs at home and 18 on the road. He gets a positive park shift moving to Toronto and is a great value pick in this spot.
Round 14: SP James Paxton, Seattle Mariners
I was surprised he lasted this long in the draft. In high stakes leagues, you need to jump earlier. Here's my profile on Paxton.
Round 15: RP Cameron Bedrosian, Los Angeles Angels
If he holds the job, he can be an excellent closer. He has all the tools to be really good.
The rest of the picks:
- Round 16 OF Carlos Gomez, Texas Rangers
- Round 17 3B Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers
- Round 18 SP Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels
- Round 19 2B Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles
- Round 20 RP Jim Johnson, Atlanta Braves
- Round 21 SP Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays
- Round 22 SP Ivan Nova, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Round 23 SS Asdrubal Cabrera, New York Mets
- Round 24 OF Curtis Granderson, New York Mets
- Round 25 C Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres
- Round 26 SP Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves
- Round 27 2B Cesar Hernandez, Philadelphia Phillies
- Round 28 SP Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays
- Round 29 C Tom Murphy, Colorado Rockies
I came away pleased with this team. I have good balance and my pitching staff came out better than I anticipated because many of the guys I wanted fell later than I expected. I might be a little light in steals, but there are enough on this roster to be competitive. Pollock needs to provide me 25-30 steals. I have three closers to begin the season and it's a daily league. We have DL spots, so I will put Murphy on the DL and pick up a catcher. This team will definitely be in contention.