Straight from the Horse's Mouth
"If.... isn't in our starting rotation by Game 6 in New York against the Yankees, there's a problem"
“He’s moving quickly and for me it can’t be quick enough.”
Envisions him as a “200-inning starter” in the major leagues
"It's all open game right now"
"he’s putting himself in a position where he could contribute as early as this year."
"looks good enough to play CF. He’s moving around even better than he was before"
"We really like his potential, long-term, and even here in the short term. He’s made some strides over the last year and its good to see…he’s got as much power as anyone on the team"
This is something I felt like writing after I've already drafted my Main Event at the NFBC. These are some of "my guys" who I targeted. I will try to continue this article for FAAB and for other news throughout the season. It's a culmination of my research that I did for the main event. I focused on actual quotes from managers, coaches and sometimes reporters. It is very much inspired by the Mining the News by Jeff Zimmerman which is outstanding work. This is similar as I am trying to get the news out that does not appear on the Rotoworld feed that everyone sees and can help deeper leagues.
Note, this was written after 8 Main Events were drafted Saturday July 18 and ADP values are reflective of that time.
Raimel Tapia – Main Event ADP 417 (Min 354, Max 443). Tapia has been drafted in 6 of the 8 Main Events so far, the latest pick was myself in Round 30. As per Kyle Newman of the Denver post, Tapia is projected to be the starting left fielder. Purple Row of SB Nation projects Tapia to hit 8th in the lineup vs. Lance Lynn on opening day assuming Blackmon is sidelined. He still projects to be in the lineup even with Blackmon and although isn't sexy, can contribute in the 2 scarce resources in round 30 - as Trump would say, "not bad". The Rockies youth stack is a great play in daily leagues, but I admit, it will be tougher in a weekly league, let's dig in.
Garrett Hampson – Main Event ADP 175 (Min 159, Max 201). I took him at pick 173. Again, Purple Row projects Hampson to bat leadoff and play second base. OK, so what? I agree. The rest of the order shakes out as follows: Dahl in CF, Story SS, Arenado 3B, Murphy DH, McMahon 1B, Hilliard RF, Tapia LF, Wolters C. It’s worth noting, however, that Kyle Newman of the Denver Post projects Hampson as the “primary utility man” backing up middle infield and outfield. Even when not in the starting lineup, he can contribute runs and stolen bases as a pinch runner, says Bud Black, who was impressed with the change in his swing where he eliminated the leg kick late last year. He is expected to be Dahl’s primary back up in CF, back up a combination of McMahon and Rodgers at 2B, and give Story the occasional breather. Worthy to note that I've personally done multiple Draft Champions Leagues with an certain NFBC Hall of Famer and this guy is a consistent target of his.
Sam Hilliard – Main Event ADP 243 (Min 218, Max 270). I set the min pick here and he is one of my most owned players in all drafts. Despite the fact that Purple Row believes he gets displaced by Blackmon, I think he has more value than Hampson where he's being selected. Hilliard will spell all 3 outfield positions but could carve out a full time role with his immense upside and the DH. Here is what his hitting coach, Dave Magadan, says about him: “I’m a big fan of Sam’s. He wants to be great. He doesn’t want to just be a big leaguer, he wants to be a great big leaguer”. Here is what his manager, Bud Black says: “We are bullish on Sam. We really like his potential, long-term, and even here in the short term. He’s made some strides over the last year and its good to see…he’s got as much power as anyone on the team”. Magadan continues “He doesn’t need to create a lot of bat speed or use a lot of his body. He’s got very good hands and can manipulate the bat. He reminds me a lot of Charlie”. Magadan says he sees flashes of Blackmon’s swing in Hilliard along with his hard work and baseball I.Q. He goes on to say that like Charlie, Sam “is smart enough and has the awareness of his body to look for pitches up in the zone if the pitcher has that spin rate fastball. He can get on top of those pitches up in the zone that a lot of lefties can’t. His ability to quickly make adjustments after his coaches tell him something are an encouraging sign to reduce his strikeout rate as he says that this season he is trying to improve his pitch selection. He's a popular sleeper, but I think position eligibility may be the only reason he's being drafted after Hampson.
Brendan Rodgers – Main Event ADP 430 (Min 385, Max 438). Rodgers has only been drafted in 5 of the 8 Main Events but I took him at pick 428 in Round 29, right before I doubled down on Tapia. Rodgers has the most outside shot at everyday at bats, right now. During the cooling off period where there was no baseball, Bud Black declared Rodgers “ready to go” health-wise. Black said this from seeing him at Summer Training: “He’s looked great. He is moving around well. He is swinging the bat well. There’s no apprehension or tentativeness as it relates to the shoulder so he’s good to go. We’ll give him a lot of reps at second. A lot of ground ball work, whatever we can do to get him as comfortable at second base as he is at shortstop.” This doesn’t mean he will be the starting second baseman, however. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post articulates that Arenado told him that Rodgers has one of the most natural strokes he has ever seen. For what it’s worth, McMahon says he feels most comfortable at 2B, but will play wherever he is needed.
Note - I have dropped him after the first FAAB run, see note below.
Daniel Hudson – Main Event ADP 261 (Min 234, Max 305). He was a target of mine at 248. Sean Doolittle is frustrated with the testing process and is still uncertain he plays. Hudson was on the mound for Game 7 of the World Series. Washington rewarded Strasburg with a huge contract, so if Doolittle opts out, they could also reward Hudson with the closer role over Will Harris, who went undrafted in this particular draft. I’d much prefer the likes of Hudson who, even splitting saves on the Nationals would be a better option than likely 25% of the primary closers on other teams like the Orioles, Pirates, Royals and Marlins.
Kyle Leiws – Main Event ADP 350 (Min 308, Max 431). I set the min pick here. In addition to him flashing in Summer Training, Scott Servais has said Lewis looks good enough to play CF. He’s moving around even better than he was before the shut down coming off of the severe knee injury that slowed down his progress as a prospect. It's an overall competition and this is an upside play.
Tyler O’Neill – Main Event ADP 400 (Min 324, Max 446). I took him at 368. It appears he has the starting left field job over Lane Thomas, but Dylan Carlson is looming. The DH does help his chances for at-bats once Carlson is up. I wish I was able to pair him with Carlson, but wasn’t. He is a player to slot in at least for the first weekend at home vs. the Pirates. After 2 weeks, if he's trash, it's an easy drop.
Spencer Howard – Main Event ADP 297 (Min 237, Max 362). I took him at 263, 2 rounds after I was planning on taking him. This is because Luke Voit fell to 233 and I had a feeling that Daniel Hudson, who I took at 248, would have a lower chance of making it back. This is the only quote you need from Bryce Harper on Twitch on July 17, the day before we drafted: “If Spencer Howard isn't in our starting rotation by Game 6 in New York against the Yankees, there's a problem," Harper said. "That's all I'm saying." General manager Matt Klentak said this in late June: “Howard is interesting specifically because in Clearwater in February and March we talked a lot about the need to manage his workload just given the limited workload he had a year ago and not wanting to push him too much too soon,” Klentak said. “This year, with COVID being what it has been here the last few months, he obviously has had a chance to rest. I think the fact he is part of this 53-player group should reflect that we view him as a candidate to compete for us in this 60-game season. The fact that Bohm is on this roster is also reflective of the hope that he is able to contribute for us this year.” This guy is going to be the Phillies opening day starter in 2021. That last sentence is a quote from me.
Bryan Abreu – Main Event ADP 413 (Min 347, Max 398). He has only been drafted in 50% of the Main Events so far. Of the 4 teams that drafted him, I took him the latest. That means that likely well over half of the cream of the crop high stakes players are not even interested in Abreu to roster early this season. Let’s state some facts that everyone knows. Verlander and Greinke are old. Verlander was hurt. Urquidy is on the IL still. Josh James, who recently was given the nod as the #4 starter has great stuff but is unproven as a starter. He was being drafted in the same range as Nick Pivetta last year and neither were useful. Osuna is questionable to start the season and Pressley was even a bit banged up. Pruitt I believe is also banged up. Pitching coach Brent Strom said in February he envisions Abreu as a “200-inning starter” in the major leagues. In the 2020 season, Abreu may be relied upon in a bullpen role, perhaps securing a key out or two to bridge the game to setup man Ryan Pressly and closer Roberto Osuna. Some say he has two 80 grade breaking pitches. So he could be a double edged sword – but his downside could be that of a Pomeranz who is the presumed poster boy for the short season. He could fall into higher leverage roles if Osuna or Pressley get injured. He’s also got a shot to become a part of the starting rotation. It’s a bigger fairway for Abreu than drafters realize.
Edit: he was just added in 3 ME leagues off of waivers in the first FAAB run on Sunday July 19.
Casey Mize – Main Event ADP 406 (Min 310, Max 430). He’s been drafted in 5 of the 8 but went undrafted in mine. I just made a play on the waiver wire and dropped Rodgers. It comes down to team construct. Rodgers is a nice hedge for Hampson and Mize won’t help me until Week 3, but Rodgers isn’t helping me Week 1 and maybe not even in Week 2. There are some pitchers out there on waivers that would supplement my staff. But, none of them are likely starting the first weekend. Even if they are, unlikely long enough to win. Give me a RP instead or a bench stash. OK, now to Mize. Zimmerman is toast and now it’s a formality. Too bad Jim Leyland is not the manager. He always said give me talent over experience, chemistry, character, leadership, etc. Give me talent, and I’ll beat you. Ron Gardenhire says this: “I want him right now”. However, he want on to say “but we know the protocol” eluding to the fact that the teams fuck with the kids to save themselves money. But, there’s more, Gardenhire says this: “He’s moving quickly and for me it can’t be quick enough.” Matt Boyd saw Mize for the first time in the cage and said he has “filthy stuff” and also said this: "You play catch with him, but when a guy is on the mound you get to see some new tendencies…man, he's a special talent." He also struck out Jonathan Schoop in an inter-squad game and Schoop pointed back at him giving him props.
Kyle Tucker – Main Event ADP 175 (Min 159, Max 196). Yordan Alvarez’s probable absence will allow him to get “quite a bit of action” at the beginning of the season, Astros manager Dusty Baker said on July 17. This sounds like we can expect Air Yordan to be sidelined the first week of the season at a minimum. I didn't get Tucker, but noteworthy quote.
Freddy Peralta – Main Event ADP 309 (Min 225, Max 356). Peralta signed a 5 year, $15.5 million contract which pays increasing amounts each year. This year he was set to earn $575,200 which when prorated equals $212,824. He was one of the veteran players that received $286,500 per the March agreement with the MLB. This was far less than most veterans prorated salaries, but it was more than his prorated salary. So he gets to keep the difference and doesn’t get paid again this year. Does he get to keep it regardless if he opts out? That I am not sure. But if so, this would give him more incentive to do so now or during the season. I did not draft Peralta, and actually got sniped on Burnes by the pick right before me. I was planning on taking Burnes at 248 overall.
Mackenzie Gore – Main Event ADP 310 (Min 274, Max 366). Jayce Tingler said the initial plan is to go with a 5 man rotation but he said there would be up to 12 pitchers ready to start. I didn’t quite set the minimum but I was close. When asked about Gore’s chance to make the team, he said that it’s all open game right now (2 weeks prior to the late season starting). So far, Gore knows that he need to go after hitters a little more than he has in camp as the stuff obviously plays. But, I’ve read that his nitpicking a little too much during inter squad games. He has been rooming with Chris Paddack. Why do players still have roommates during Covid-19? Jim Callis seems to think he could be broken in as a reliever. The temperature on Gore seems to be cooling a little, but the upside is there.
Jose Garcia – Main Event ADP 413 (Min 413, Max 413). Ya this was me - the only team that has drafted him. “José Garcia is an exciting young prospect that is coming on fast and we want to see him as much as we can,” Bell said. “He has never played above A-ball, but because he’s coming on so strong, he’s putting himself in a position where he could contribute as early as this year. So, we need to get him around a Major League atmosphere as much as possible.” He’s my choice to go Juan Soto, if anyone can this season. Galvis has taken Garcia under his wing when they workout together at GABP. Galvis has mentored young players since Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco did the same thing for him when he was working his way to an everyday role with the Philadelphia Phillies. He will not make the 30 man roster out of the gate, but could have a quick call up given this crazy season. Some may say it's an inexperienced move to use a pick and a valuable roster spot on this guy. I am aware this is definitely a valid argument. The upside is monstrous.