Thu Mar 17 11:06am ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
My biggest notable hole at this point is the lack of a closer and saves. The top 13 (maybe) are already gone, so anyone closely reliable that will start the season and keep the job for the first two months are gone. My plan, knowing a top closer won’t be in my plan, is to go out on a limb and take someone that could get 30 to 40 saves, or perhaps less than five, Craig Kimbrel. I’m hoping the White Sox either give him a chance to close or trade him. They’re paying him way too much money to be a setup guy, so something needs to happen, right? Later in the draft I’ll try to get another guy to get 10 to 15 saves, and perhaps a couple other guys that could find themselves in a closer role at some point.
Looking at my next need, another middle infielder is a gapping hole. Among the choices, and when in doubt, take a Rockie! Brendan Rogers is ready for full-time play, and Coors field means 20 home runs should be in reach. All 30 teams will have a DH this year, so Nelson Cruz will get 500-plus at bats somewhere, and 30 home runs and 80-plus RBIs. I guess being 40-plus makes a guy fall to the 13th round no matter what he’s done the last three year, but I’ll gladly take those numbers. And now that he’s landed in Washington, his production should be good, with him providing protection for Juan Soto.
Another bonus happened my next pick with pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu because the Blue Jays acquired Matt Chapman from Oakland. A gold glove third baseman should help Ryu return to his form of two years ago when he was one of the AL’s best pitchers. Next was a solid pick, Houston outfielder Michael Brantley. The outfielders left were getting slim, and this could have been a reach, but 15 home runs and 60 RBIs plus a .340+ OBP should be guaranteed. Back to Houston for my next pick, taking Yuri Gurriel for my CI spot. Again, he is a safe 15 home run and 80 RBIs production and a .330+ OBP. The next hole to fill was MI, and I’m counting for a breakout season from Dodger Gavin Lux. It’s time for him to take over the second base spot and use his getting on base ability to land him at the top of their lineup.
It was now the 18th round and time to fill some pitching spots. I’m buying into the idea Steven Matz will flourish in St. Louis with their five gold glove fielders and Yadier Molina behind the plate calling pitches. That reliever I wanted for 15 or so saves will hopefully be Giants Jake McGee. I continued work on my pitching staff two picks later with veteran Zack Greinke. I wasn’t thrilled with his signing to return to Kansas City, but he should be a veteran leader for their staff. As long as he stays injury free, he will get his innings . And while he isn’t the strike guy he used to be, he’ll get 120-plus and provide an OK ratio and era. And I finished the staff with Mets Tijuan Walker with my 23rd pick, another serviceable starter. In between the pitchers I grabbed my two catchers, nothing to get excited over, but a couple guys that will provide 10 to 15 home runs, 45 to 55 RBIs and hopefully not hurt my OBP, Jacob Stallings and future Hall-of-Famer Yadier Molina.
My projected stats from the drafted starters was 330 HRs, 1,050 RBIs, 110 SBs, 994 runs, .336 OBP, 77 wins, 43 saves, 1,313 K’s, 4.02 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Offensively I’m in good shape with HRs and RBIs, down a little in SBs, run Scores and OBP. I should be ok in wins and strikeouts, but down in saves, ERA and WHIP.
The Reserve Round
Well, it’s hard to make up my needs but I tried to address the deficiencies. I took Kyle Finnegan, who could close in Washington and Alex Colome, who recently signed with Colorado and could get in the closer mix for the Rockies. I’ll need to be aggressive on the waiver wire when a closer emerges. I rolled the dice with starters Dakota Hudson and Sixto Sanchez, hoping both return from injuries and offer some help.
Dylan Moore could provide some stolen bases if he gets playing time in Seattle, and Paul DeJong could be a big steal if he returns to All-Star form.
All things considered, I’m satisfied with the team. And Jim Bowden’s endorsement gives me reason for hope!
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.