This year’s Tout Wars Mixed Draft took place last Tuesday, March 7th. This particular league consists of 15 teams with a 5x5 format and on-base percentage in place of batting average.
With Rotoworld contributor Shelly Verougstraete also in the league, it only makes sense that we join forces to analyze our decisions over the course of the draft as well as take stock of each other’s teams. Before we get started, here’s a look at how we have each fared in Tout Wars thus far.
D.J’s previous finishes:
2022: 8th place
2021: 2nd place
2020: 13th place
2019: 5th place
2018: 4th place
2017: 6th place
Shelly’s previous finishes:
2022: 6th place
2021: 3rd place
This year’s participants (in order of drafting) and their affiliations:
1) Mike Gianella - Baseball Prospectus (Last year’s champion)
2) Seth Trachtman - Sethroto.com
3) Adam Ronis - Fantasy Alarm
4) Rudy Gamble - Razzball
5) Ray Murphy - Baseball HQ
6) Shelly Verougstraete - Rotoworld/Baseball HQ
7) Anthony Aniano - Rotoballer
8) D.J. Short - Rotoworld
9) Tim McLeod - Patton and Co
10) Tim McCullough - Baseball Prospectus
11) Anthony Perri - Fantistics
12) Dr. Roto - DrRoto.com
13) Ryan Bloomfield - Baseball HQ
14) AJ Mass - ESPN Fantasy
15) Scott White - CBS Sports
You can see the full draft board here, but below you’ll find commentary for each of the picks from myself and Shelly.
D.J. and Shelly’s picks:
D.J. — Julio Rodriguez OF, Mariners
In an OBP format like this one, I can understand why J-Rod fell a bit, but I couldn’t let him slip any further even though Mike Trout, Yordan Alvarez, and Freddie Freeman were mighty tempting. Rodriguez amassed 28 homers and 25 steals in 132 games as a rookie last season and I’m very excited to see what he could do in his first “full season. At the very least, he provided a nice power/speed base which gave me lot of options about where to go next.
Shelly — Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B, Blue Jays
Given that this is an OBP league, I was hoping that Jose Ramirez would make it to me with the sixth pick, but I had to “settle” for Vlad. I wasn’t considering leaving the first round without a contributor in steals, but I think the bigger bases should help Guerrero Jr. He did swipe eight bags last year!
D.J. — Corbin Burnes SP, Brewers
Knowing I wasn’t going to pick again for a while, it felt like the time was right for the ace of my fantasy staff. I wasn’t expecting Gerrit Cole to be the first pitcher off the board (to Ryan Bloomfield), so I was more than happy to pull the trigger on Burnes. In retrospect, waiting on a pitcher might not have been the worst idea in the world — Max Scherzer, Sandy Alcantara, and Brandon Woodruff were all still there for my pick in the third round — but it still felt good to get it out of the way with arguably the best pitcher in the game.
Shelly — Jacob deGrom, SP, Rangers
This was my first (and probably only) share of Jacob deGrom this year. I felt it was a bit early to draft him but I wanted him on the team. Knowing that Tout has unlimited IL spots made this decision simple.
D.J. — Alex Bregman 3B, Astros
OBP wasn’t my priority in the first round, so I addressed it with Bregman here while also filling a thin spot in fantasy leagues. Bregman doesn’t run anymore, but he managed to stay healthy last year while racking up useful counting stats and posting more walks (87) than strikeouts (77). The Astros’ lineup remains fearsome, so solid production should continue even if we’ve already seen Bregman’s fantasy peak.
Shelly — Aaron Nola, SP, Phillies
After selecting Jacob deGrom with my last pick, I knew I had to grab another starter as protection. I was surprised that Aaron Nola came back around and quickly hit the draft button. Nola hasn’t pitched less than 180 innings since 2018, with 2020 removed of course. He is the perfect pitcher to pair with deGrom.
D.J. — Will Smith C, Dodgers
This is a two-catcher league, so I planned to grab one of the better ones early on in the draft. Adley Rutschman carries plenty of appeal after the excellent approach he showed as a rookie last year, but Smith’s power fit better into my overall plan. The Dodgers’ backstop has amassed 49 homers over the past two seasons. Only Salvador Perez (who went nuts in 2021) has more among catchers in that time. It feels good to have a set-it-and-forget-it catcher in a very good situation.
Shelly — Corbin Carroll, OF, Diamondbacks
I jumped ADP to select Corbin Carroll in the fourth round. He should bat toward the top of the sneaky good Diamondbacks’ roster and give me the speed I lacked with my first three picks. If I can get 30+ swipes with double-digit power, I’ll be over the moon.
D.J. — Vinnie Pasquantino 1B, Royals
This was the first of many big swings for me in this draft, but Pasquantino felt worth it to me in this spot. The 25-year-old thrived in his 72-game showing with the Royals last year, slashing .295/.383/.450 with 10 homers and 26 RBI. Like Bregman, the 24-year-old had more walks (35) than strikeouts (34), which is incredibly impressive for a rookie. I’m curious as to what to reasonably expect from a power perspective. Jose Abreu, who went two rounds later, might end up being a value if he can rebound on the power front. Still, I’m happy with the young buck.
Shelly — Eloy Jiménez, OF, White Sox
Well, if I don’t get the power I expect from Carroll, I surely will get power from Eloy Jiménez. Jiménez has lost 20-25 pounds this winter and is still expected to play in the outfield. Personally, I would like him to be the White Sox’s designated hitter to keep him healthy, but they didn’t ask my opinion.
D.J. — Ryan Helsley RP, Cardinals
Edwin Diaz went off the board in the third round followed by Emmanuel Clase in the fourth, Jordan Romano, Josh Hader and Devin Williams in the fifth, and Raisel Iglesias with the first pick of the sixth round. Iglesias was going to be my pick before Scott White got him, so I pivoted to Helsley, who broke out with 19 saves and a 1.25 ERA with 94 strikeouts over 64 2/3 innings last season.
Shelly — Tommy Edman, SS, Cardinals
Edman is projected to be the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter and if he stays there all season, could push 100 or more runs scored. He should also provide plenty of stolen bases, something I will need with the new rules.
D.J. — Logan Gilbert SP, Mariners
It was time to take another starting pitcher and I took a chance on Gilbert taking a step forward this year. The 25-year-old posted a quality 3.20 ERA and 174/49 K/BB ratio over 185 2/3 innings with the Mariners last season, though his xERA was nearly a full run higher at 4.11. He also had a lower strikeout percentage and a higher walk percentage than he did as a rookie. He’s tinkering with his arsenal, including a new split-changeup this spring, so I think we haven’t seen the best version of him yet.
Shelly — George Kirby, SP, Mariners
My pitching staff gets even deeper with my selection of George Kirby. Kirby has pinpoint command and showed increased strikeouts towards the end of the season. If I had a dark horse pick for AL Cy Young, it would be Kirby.
D.J. — Steven Kwan OF, Guardians
Again, this is an OBP format, so I was really happy with this one. Kwan was actually a reserve round pick for me last year in this league. Of course, that worked out wonderfully, as he hit .298/.373/.400 with six homers, 52 RBI, 19 steals, and 89 runs scored over 147 games as a rookie. Now he’s locked in as Cleveland’s leadoff hitter and looks like a value in this sort of format.
Shelly — Matt Chapman, 3B, Blue Jays
I was feeling the need for a third baseman and Matt Chapman was the last guy in a tier for me. The Blue Jays have made some dimension changes to the Rogers Centre that could help Chapman hit more homers.
D.J. — Nico Hoerner SS, Cubs
I decided to wait on shortstop seeing as it’s the deepest position on the board these days, but it was getting awful thin here, so Hoerner was the play. The 25-year-old enjoyed a nice little breakout last year, putting up 10 homers, 55 RBI, 20 steals, and 60 runs scored to go along with a quality .281/.327/.410 batting line. He’s set to bat leadoff for the Cubs, so there should be plenty of volume here. He’s undervalued in mixed league drafts.
Shelly — Pete Fairbanks, RP, Rays
I might just be drinking the Kool-Aid but I think the Rays are going to use Fairbanks in a more traditional closer role. This pick could come back and bite me as Fairbanks has struggled to stay on the field and at the end of the day…the Rays are going to Ray.
D.J. — Blake Snell SP, Padres
Not going to lie, I did a little fist-pump after getting Snell here. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Snell is more valuable than Gilbert this season. The southpaw had a rough start to his 2022 campaign — both with health and results — but he rebounded with a 2.53 ERA and 133/32 K/BB ratio in 92 2/3 innings over his final 17 regular season starts. Advanced metrics backed up his success and he’s in a great situation for wins with the Padres.
Shelly — Joe Musgrove, SP, Padres
With the number of starters I already had on my team, Musgrove was not on my radar. However, after seeing him slide to the 10th round, I couldn’t let him slide any further. He broke his toe while in the weight room this spring, but isn’t expected to miss many games at the start.
D.J. — Jordan Walker 3B/OF, Cardinals
I mentioned earlier that I took some big swings in this draft and Walker might be my biggest swing of them all. This is maybe a tad more aggressive than I expected to be on Walker, but I figured he was going soon and he made sense with the composition of my roster. I needed some power upside and Walker carries plenty of potential in that area. My success in this league this year might hinge on whether the potential matches up with reality. No pressure!
Shelly — Lars Nootbaar, OF, Cardinals
There were two outfielders that I wanted on my team and I got both. Nootbaar should be an everyday outfielder for the Cardinals and I expect big things from him this year. He has spend the last few winters at Driveline improving his bat speed and batting mechanics. He is currently playing in the World Baseball Classic with Team Japan and should return to the Cardinals after the tournament. That is when we will see how the Cardinals plan to use him along with Carlson, O’Neil, and top prospect Jordan Walker.
D.J. — Scott Barlow RP, Royals
The respectable second closers were falling off the board, so I (unenthusiastically) went with Barlow here. It wasn’t an easy call, as the Mariners’ Andres Muñoz and Paul Sewald were still there, as well as Alex Lange with the Tigers, but I was looking more for safety rather than ceiling here. Barlow holds a 2.30 ERA over the past two seasons and I’m not too worried about the presence of Aroldis Chapman in the Royals’ bullpen.
Shelly — Amed Rosario, SS, Guardians
Rosario is surely not going to help me in the OBP department, but he should get everyday at-bats for the Guardians and provide me with some steals and double-digit homers. This might actually be my least favorite pick of the draft but thems the breaks.
D.J. — Ryan McMahon 3B, Rockies
This might look a bit strange on the surface, as I already had two third-base eligible players in Bregman and Walker, but I’m looking ahead to McMahon gaining second base-eligibility. That’s where he’s expected to play now that Brendan Rodgers is expected to miss the season due to a shoulder injury. I had yet to address second base in my draft and this was an opportunity to add some more power to my lineup.
Shelly — Andres Muñoz, RP, Mariners
While I don’t think that Muñoz will begin the year as the closer for Mariners, I think there is a great shot for him to get most of the saves by the middle of the season. If not, Muñoz should give me plenty of strikeouts while not hurting my ratios.
D.J. — Grayson Rodriguez SP, Orioles
Consistent with my “big swing” theme, Rodriguez is a wild card to complement my top-three starters with Burnes, Gilbert, and Snell. It looks like Rodriguez has a real chance to break camp as a member of the Orioles’ rotation. The big question is how many innings he’ll throw after a lat injury cost him a good chunk of last season, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take now that Camden Yards is much more pitcher-friendly.
Shelly — Reid Detmers, SP, Angels
I took yet another starter here. Reid Detmers was an extremely different pitcher after he returned from the minors last summer. He added a few ticks to his slider and finished with a 3.36 ERA in the second half of the season. The Angels appear to be going with the six-man rotation again this year, so I’m not expecting many/if any two-start weeks from him.
D.J. — Tyler Mahle SP, Twins
After taking a shot on a top prospect pitcher with my last pick, I decided to go with a rebound candidate in Mahle. The 28-year-old struggled with a shoulder issue last year while posting a 4.40 ERA over 23 starts and made just four appearances with his new team after the trade deadline, but he’s healthy this spring and his velocity has been encouraging. This is the same guy who struck out 210 batters in 2021, so he’s well worth the gamble at this part of the draft.
Shelly — Alex Verdugo, OF, Red Sox
Eh. I just needed an outfielder with an everyday role, so I selected Alex Verdugo. I wasn’t a fan of the pick but he will give me at-bats. Alex Cora has told reporters that he wants to see Verdugo steal more bases and as his fantasy manager, I would like to see that as well. Personally, I think Verdugo is one of those better in real-life players, but maybe we will see that change this year.
D.J. — Brendan Donovan 1B/2B/3B/OF, Cardinals
I mentioned earlier that I’m banking on Ryan McMahon to eventually gain second-base eligibility. Well, say hello to who is going to fill in until it happens. Donovan put up a healthy .394 OBP as a rookie last season and could get an opportunity near the top of the Cardinals’ lineup. Even if there’s not a lot of pop or speed here, he carries plenty of appeal in this format, especially with that handy multi-position eligibility.
Shelly — Bryan De La Cruz, OF, Marlins
De La Cruz had a hot September. During the final month of the season, the 26-year-old hit .388/.419/.718 with six homers and is poised to be the Marlins’ everyday left fielder. Sure, the ballpark and the lineup are less than ideal but there is a chance de la Cruz could perform better than a 16th-round selection.
D.J. — Gabriel Moreno C, Diamondbacks
Acquired in the Daulton Varsho trade with the Blue Jays over the winter, Moreno is widely-considered one of the top catching prospects in the game. It’s unclear exactly how the playing time will be distributed in Arizona with Carson Kelly still in the fold, but the rookie has done nothing but hit in the minors with his contact-heavy approach. The only question is where the power will fall, but as far as second catchers go, I think I have the one with the most helium.
Shelly — J.D. Martinez, DH, Dodgers
I feel confident that Martinez will have a better season with the Dodgers than he did with the Red Sox last year. Martinez’s power production has been on the decline since the 2020 season but the change in scenery could do wonders for the 35-year-old.
D.J. — Jorge Soler OF, Marlins
My roster still has some power questions, so targeting another rebound candidate with Soler made sense here. As awful as he was with the Marlins last year (.695 OPS in 72 games), his health surely had a lot to do with it, but the raw power remains. He was still in the 99th percentile in max exit velocity last season. His power plays regardless of venue and it would be no shock if he finds his way back in the 30-homer range again.
Shelly — Ha-Seong Kim, SS, Padres
With Xander Bogaerts signing a long-term deal with the Padres this offseason, Kim will become the everyday second baseman in San Diego. Kim’s second season in the United States was much better than his first and I feel there is still something for him to show. Hopefully, for my sake, he shows it this year and not next.
D.J. — Mark Canha OF, Mets
Canha gives me another quality OBP option (.374 OBP over the past four seasons), but I see him as someone who can offer more than that. As he noted at the beginning of the spring, he dealt with a gastritis condition last season which kept his body weight down and may have impacted his strength. He’s feeling a lot better now and thinks he could get back in the 20-homer range this season. Again, I’m looking for power wherever I can get it at this stage.
Shelly — Christian Vazquez, C, Twins
Waiting until the 19th round for your first catcher in a two-catcher league is not recommended, but that is where I found myself. I decided to go with Vazquez, as it appeared he had the best playing time situation for the remaining catchers. We will probably not see another 2019 season from him, but he shouldn’t drag the team down too much.
D.J. — Carlos Carrasco SP, Mets
At this point, I was looking for respectability to fill out my rotation rather than upside, so Carrasco made sense. The 35-year-old was up-and-down at times in his second season in Queens, but still ended with 15 wins and a solid 3.97 ERA and 152/41 K/BB ratio in 152 innings across 29 starts. I’d like to see the ERA a tick lower, but a repeat showing would fit the bill.
Shelly — Kyle Bradish, SP, Orioles
Like Reid Detmers, Bradish looked like an entirely different pitcher when he rejoined the big league club last summer. He started to use the slider more often when he returned and finished the second half with a 3.28 ERA. He has added more of a sweeping motion to his slider this winter and has seen an uptick in velocity this spring.
D.J. — Anthony Volpe SS, Yankees
Because Jordan Walker and Grayson Rodriguez weren’t enough, I had to hang my hat on another top prospect. I have no idea if Volpe will actually crack the Opening Day roster for the Yankees, but even if he doesn’t, I have a feeling it won’t be long before he arrives in the Bronx for good. There’s just an awful lot to like with the skillset and the situation.
Shelly — Hayden Wesneski, SP, Cubs
Wesneski looks like he has locked down the fifth starter’s spot for the Cubs after working on his mechanics over the winter. The opportunity for wins should be there for the improved Cubs’ lineup. He won’t face the Reds and Pirates as often as before with the new balanced schedule, but I have faith in Wesneski’s slider/sinker combination.
D.J. — Michael Brantley OF, Astros
More evidence that this draft just wasn’t about youth for me. With Brantley, it’s all a matter of health. Coming off shoulder surgery, it’s not sure thing that the 35-year-old will be ready for Opening Day, but Astros manager Dusty Baker views him as his No. 2 hitter. I’ll sign up for that. It’s hard to count on much from Brantley these days, but it’s a great situation and he’s another strong on-base option to deploy in this league.
Shelly — Isaac Paredes, 1B/2B/3B, Rays
Paredes became a different player after he was traded to the Rays last year. He has always been able to make contact, but began to pull the ball with more authority. The 24-year-old hit 24 homers between Triple-A Durham and Tampa which was the most he has hit in a year during his professional career. He is also eligible at five different positions if you count CI and UTL as two, which is huge in a 15-team league.
D.J. — Michael Fulmer RP, Cubs
I decided to throw my hat into the ring with the Cubs’ bullpen situation, which could go any number of ways. More on that later. Still, I think Fulmer has the talent to emerge as the top guy here after posting a 3.39 ERA over 67 appearances between the Tigers and Twins last year. He’s also been lights out this spring.
Shelly — Nick Martinez, SP, Padres
With the injury to Joe Musgrove, Nick Martinez is likely locked in as the fourth starter in San Diego to start the year. Martinez had a great first season back in the United States after spending the last five years in Japan. It still remains to be seen how the Padres will use him over the duration of the season. Will he stick in the rotation? Will he move between starting and relieving? Who knows, but what I do know is that the Padres begin their season against the Rockies, which should be an easy win for the 32-year-old.
Reserve round picks:
D.J. — Avisail Garcia OF, Marlins
Another rebound candidate here in Garcia, who reportedly shed 15 pounds coming into Marlins’ camp. His first season with the club was a disaster, but he’s just a season removed from putting up 29 homers and an .820 OPS with the Brewers. Granted, loanDepot park is not American Family Field, but he should get plenty of opportunities for a return to form.
Shelly — Enrique Hernandez, OF, Red Sox
At this point, I thought it would be good to just add reliable depth to my roster. Hernandez has an injury-filled season last year, but I think he can settle into a level of production in between what he did in 2021 and 2022. He’s slated to begin the year in Boston’s infield, which will add even more flexibility to my team.
D.J. — Yusei Kikuchi SP, Blue Jays
This was the one pick from my draft that left me cringing. Kikuchi has always left me wanting more and he’s burned me a couple of times over the years. I’m sure many of you would agree with me on that fact. Still, the southpaw has struck out 13 batters in 9 2/3 scoreless frames this spring, though it has come along with five walks. Maybe it works out, maybe it doesn’t. That’s what the reserve rounds are all about.
Shelly — Christian Bethancourt, C, Rays
I guess I need to add another catcher to my roster. Uh, I guess Bethancourt has the majority of playing time in Tampa. I feel like I will be streaming catchers all season. Fun.
D.J. — Adbert Alzolay RP, Cubs
I mentioned earlier that I threw my hat in the ring with the Cubs’ bullpen with the pick of Michael Fulmer.. Well, Alzolay is another option for manager David Ross. Alzolay looked electric in his limited time with the Cubs last season (19/2 K/BB ratio in 13 1/3 innings) and is poised to play a big role in this bullpen this year. The problem is that it’s a log jam with Brandon Hughes, Rowan Wick, and Brandon Boxberger also in the mix. Still, with this pick, I can afford to see how things shake out.
Shelly — Rafael Montero, RP, Astros
Ryan Pressly has dealt with knee soreness/injury the last couple of seasons and Montero has positioned himself as the next man up. If he has to spend some time on the injured list early next year, I could have the closer on one of the best teams in the league.
D.J. — Seth Lugo RP, Padres
Lugo has longed to start and it appears he’ll get that opportunity after signing a two-year, $15 million deal with the Padres during the offseason. It’s a bit of a tricky situation, as Joe Musgrove might not miss as much time as originally thought and the Padres have since added Michael Wacha, but there’s a chance Lugo could run away with a job if he pitches well out of the gate. He certainly has the arsenal to find success.
Shelly — Luis Rengifo, SS, Angels
It felt like Rengifo was carrying the Angels at the end of the season last year. The 26-year-old smacked 12 homers over the last two months of the season. Do I expect that to continue? Nope. However, he should play most of the time and will be quickly off my roster if he turns back into a pumpkin.
D.J. — Joey Wendle 2B/3B/SS, Marlins
I’m not a huge fan of Wendle fantasy-wise, but he should have a semi-regular gig at shortstop (even with the recent addition of Jose Iglesias) and he qualifies all over the infield. I’m looking at him as a stopgap for a middle infield spot if Volpe doesn’t make the Yankees and it takes a little while for Ryan McMahon to gain second-base eligibility.
Shelly — Clarke Schmidt, SP, Yankees
With Frankie Montas and Carlos Rodón expected to be on the injured list to begin the season, Schmidt should have a spot on the Opening Day rotation for the Yankees. The 27-year-old has spent the last couple of seasons in the bullpen, but I am hoping for a Garrett Whitlock-esque rise this season.
D.J. — Brian Anderson 3B/OF, Brewers
Non-tendered by the Marlins over the winter, Anderson signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Brewers in January and should see some at-bats between third base and right field to begin the season. With the injury to Tyrone Taylor, right field might be the easiest path to playing time. However, it’s also possible Luis Urías plays some second base and Anderson gets some starts at third. Still, I like the multiple paths to value as well as Anderson in a more hitter-friendly situation.
Shelly — Michael Massey, 2B, Royals
Massey has the starting second base job for the Royals and has played very well this spring. He should provide some RBI and stolen bases for the squad. Hopefully, he remains in my reserves but we all know that will not happen.
Shelly’s Favorite (non-Shelly or D.J.) pick:
My favorite pick, which wasn’t either mine or D.J.'s was easily Sean Murphy in the eighth round. I prefer to have at least one great catcher in a two-catcher league and had Murphy in my queue ready to go but Aniano had other plans. I pivoted and went with Matt Chapman and didn’t take my first catcher, Christian Vazquez. until the nineteenth round, which if I am being honest, is not ideal, at all.
D.J.'s Favorite (non D.J. or Shelly) pick:
Ryan Bloomfield’s pick of Bryce Harper in Round 13 really stood out to me. Granted, we’re going to be waiting maybe three months for this pick to matter, but what a difference he could make down the stretch. This is a guy who put up a .364 OBP with a compromised elbow last year and had an OBP north of .420 in the previous two seasons. To get him in the same area as some lower-tier save targets feels like a potential steal, especially in this format. If Bloomfield can stay competitive for three months, he has a potential league-winning addition on his hands for the second half.
Shelly’s Thoughts on D.J.'s Team:
Taking a look at D.J.'s roster, I really think he put together a solid roster. He shouldn’t have to worry about OBP with Julio Rodriguez, Alex Bregman, Vinnie Pasquantino, and Steven Kwan headlining his offense. I could tell that OBP was a category he was focused on as he also selected Mark Canha and Brendon Donovan in the middle to late portion of the draft. He picked up spring training darling, Jordan Walker in the 11th round and he could absolutely go off and become a third/fourth-round talent by midseason. Getting Blake Snell in the 10 round could pay huge dividends. The 30-year-old is set to become a free agent this winter and I can easily return to his AL Cy Young winning ways. The has been a bit of talk that Michael Fulmer might be the Cubs’ closer and picking him up in the 23rd round was an absolute steal.
However, we all know the season isn’t going to go as smoothly as we want. While his roster is filled with plenty of OBP Kings, D.J. could be searching for homers on the waiver wire all season. Jordan Walker and Anthony Volpe‘s respective teams could play roster shenanigans and spend more time in the minors than expected. With how well both players are playing in spring, this scenario is probably unlikely but teams sometimes do strange things. Tyler Mahle and Carlos Carrasco have spent significant time on the injured list recently and it wouldn’t be shocking if the same thing happened this year. Joey Wendle and Brian Anderson should provide roster flexibility but will it be worth it? Both Wendle and Anderson are coming off poor seasons and we have yet to see how the Brewers expect to use Anderson this season.
D.J.'s Thoughts on Shelly’s Team:
If Shelly is going to win this league, chances are her pitching will carry her there. It doesn’t get much riskier than Jacob deGrom to headline a rotation, but there’s a potential dominant 1-2 combo with Aaron Nola. George Kirby is certainly capable of taking a step forward and Joe Musgrove could end up being a value as a 10th round pick. While it was originally expected that Musgrove would miss the start of the season, he now thinks he could be ready for his first turn. It’s looking like a great pick right now. Shelly landed three popular starting pitcher sleeper/breakout candidates (Reid Detmers, Kyle Bradish, Hayden Wesneski) and Andres Muñoz could be a top-five closer if he gets a chance to finish off games on a regular basis. The upside of this staff is higher than anyone else in the league.
Just as it’s easy to see the upside with her roster, it doesn’t take much to see the potential downside. The injury bug could bite deGrom and Jiménez once again and maybe Corbin Carroll isn’t quite ready to be the dynamic fantasy star we all think he can be. Perhaps Tommy Edman hits in the lower-third of the Cardinals’ order and Lars Nootbaar doesn’t get regular at-bats with the emergence of Jordan Walker. What if Bryan De La Cruz‘s late-season surge last year was a mirage? Shelly also played it conservative with the catcher position, taking Christian Vazquez and Christian Bethancourt, so I wonder if there could be some waiver wire churn throughout the year.