GM's OFFICE: FSGA draft—first half recap

On Tuesday, I posted a list of questions I was mulling as we entered Tuesday night's FSGA draft in Las Vegas. As planned, I spent my Monday night flight pulling apart the player pool via RotoLab. Having explored the topics I raised in that preview article, Brent and I held a lengthy conference call on Tuesday afternoon, polishing up our draft plan.

As is typical, we had what we thought was a good plan, but couldn't be sure until we put it into action. Here's how the draft played out. (We completed 10 rounds in the live portion, and will finish up as a slow draft over the next couple of weeks.)

In-progress draft grid here. Saving you a click, here is our team:

The plan

We didn't get to use it, but the plan we hatched on Tuesday afternoon had a fun opening move: if the first 11 picks played out as we expected, we were prepared to take Walker Buehler at #12. The rationale was a combination of endorsement of Buehler's skills (we were prepared to take him ahead of Verlander and Scherzer) and the game-theory elements of the wheel in a straight draft: We were less excited about the combination of taking a bat at #12 and hoping Buehler came back to #17, as opposed to just "getting our guy" (Forecaster intro alert!) at #12 and feeling better about the possible batter choices at #17 than the pitchers.

Rounds 1-2

Anyway, when Juan Soto and Trevor Story snuck into the top 11, that removed the Buehler play from consideration. We were prepared to take either Trea Turner or Jacob deGrom at #12 if they were available, and both made it to pick 11. Turner went 11th, and we scooped Jacob deGrom at 12. Surprisingly, that touched off a 5-pitcher run, as Scherzer-Buehler-Verlander-Clevinger all came off the board from there. As a result, all of the hitters who were available to us at 12 were still there at 17. We had prepped for the possibility of Jose Ramirez, Fernando Tatis, Freddie Freeman or Nolan Arenado at that spot following a pitcher at 12, so we grabbed Jose Ramirez as our 2nd pick.

Rounds 3-4

Tracking back to my pre-draft column, by getting both a top SP and an SB source in our opening two picks, we had maximum flexibility on the 3-4 turn. We were open to another SP on this turn, and while more SB are always nice, we weren't in a position where we were starving for SP if they kept flying off the draft board. Sure enough, SB sources like Starling Marte, Whit Merrifield, Javier Baez, Ketel Marte and Jonathan Villar all were drafted ahead of us in round 3. But one of our favorite five-category contributors lasted just long enough: Austin Meadows. We were weighing Meadows against Ozzie Albies, so we watched to see if Albies would slide around the turn back to us. He didn't quite make it, as Anthony Perri snagged him right before us in Round 4. Looking for an alternative, we landed on the highest projected value on the board: Charlie Blackmon.

Rounds 5-6

There's an emerging theme here, as our batting foundation is built on 5-category contributors. We found another still on the board in Round 5 in Bo Bichette. Finally deciding that deGrom was going to need some help on the mound, in Round 6 we thought long and hard about the Josh Hader play (see the "UP: 45 Saves, 150 K" upside in the Forecaster if you need more justification for that idea), but instead added a #2 starter in Yu Darvish.

Rounds 7-8

Round 7 saw us get sniped for the second time, as we wanted to add a strong catcher but missed Willson Contreras by one spot. Around that base of 5-category hitters, we were starting to become aware that we were lagging in power. Searching for a pure power hitter, we landed on Michael Conforto. Once again splitting our pair of picks between hitting and pitching, we added Hyun-jin Ryu in Round 8. The Ryu pick may have been a mistake, as Brent and I had a rare communication issue. Brent would have preferred James Paxton, but mistakenly thought he was already taken. (Half a round later, he was.)

Rounds 9-10

Looking to fill an infield spot, we added another power/speed blend in Tim Anderson in Round 9. By this point, the closer run was in full swing. We found one of the remaining (we hope) safe harbors in Hector Neris.

Rounds 11-12

After Anderson, we had 100 projected stolen bases rostered, which is nearly a full-draft target for the category. (I had 135 set as my target in RotoLab). We were still lagging in power, but elected to continue building a BA foundation with Wilson Ramos. Adding him now allowed us to avoid rostering two sub-.250 catchers later... which in turn allows us to spend some of that BA surplus on sluggers. On point, with our next pick, we filled our Util spot with Khris Davis.

Overall take

This wasn't a perfect start to our title defense in this league, but it is shaping up to be workable. We'll need to keep banging the power, but we have position slots (1B, CI, and 2 OF slots) to slot power-first bats, and BA cushion to spend down along the way. On the pitching side, we may not be thrilled with Ryu, but the difference between Ryu and Paxton and Eduardo Rodriguez (also taken in the same round) is well within the margin of projection error.

In terms of regrets about guys we didn't get, in our prep session I told Brent that I wanted to get Hader pretty badly. We opted for Darvish because we like him two, and didn't want to go any further than round 6 before getting a second SP behind deGrom. In retrospect, back in Round 4 when we got sniped on Albies, we could have grabbed a second pitcher (like Lucas Giolito) instead of Blackmon, which would in turn have left us more able to take Hader in Round 6. Without Blackmon we wouldn't have as much of that BA cushion, but we would also have an extra OF spot still available to chase our power shortfall.

Anyway, we've still got some work to do in this one. We'll do one more update on the back half of this draft after it's over. And of course we have a bunch more drafts and auctions on the preseason calendar. Welcome to draft season!

We welcome your thoughts on these top 12 picks in the comments....


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.