In a mad dash to opening day, the Reality Fantasy Baseball Rule 4 Draft began a week after the conclusion of the international free agent phase. Having signed 19 IFA’s, we were left with six spots to fill on our 80-man roster. With about 10-million in cash reserves and four of the top-66 picks, Team ROTOscouting looked to round out the roster with future Major Leaguers ready to surface as franchise player Mike Trout becomes expensive.
Over the winter, team ROTOscouting took over a team in Tory Hernandez’ Reality Fantasy Baseball league. A start up company, he’s working to replicate Major League Baseball as a fantasy baseball league. As a writer who wrote at FanGraphs, a site considered to be full of smart guys, the ins and outs of Reality Fantasy Baseball have taught me how much still needs to be learned. The international free agent period was no exception.
The interesting part about baseball players is they rarely develop along a linear path. Development comes in fits and starts, and the path ends ends up resembling a roller coaster. Few players have career arcs to match the Scott Kazmir rebound. It rivals the top roller coasters in the United States.
The 2014 TDGX Experts League fantasy baseball draft is a wrap. Now, it’s time for a nap considering this was the most exhausting draft I’ve been a part of. Entering the draft, team ROTOscouting had two goals. First, avoid players past their primes. Second, find value every round
In looking back, both were accomplished — especially when it came to drafting players in TDGX who are in, or entering prime years (The oldest player is 30). On the flip side, there’s not a teenager in the group. In making a concerted effort to draft young Major League talent and upper level minor leaguers, every prospect has an ETA of 2015 at the latest.
Angels in the outfield? Not quite. Through the first 19 rounds of the TDGX draft, Team ROTOscouting’s outfield includes Astros Dexter Fowler and Blue Jays Colby Rasmus. In an extremely deep fantasy baseball league with five starting outfielders and two utility slots, this is problematic. In rounds 20-26, an attempt was made to remedy the issue as six of the seven picks are outfield eligible.
With 20 teams and 40 rounds, the TDGX Experts League draft is the deepest 5×5 fantasy baseball league I’ve ever been a part of. 250-plus picks in, the expectation was a player pool full of roster filler. To my surprise, young talent with upside remained plentiful and team ROTOscouting was able to draft talented minor leaguers while continuing to round out an explosive pitching staff after filling holes up the middle.
The 2013 Experts League Ottoneu Auction was an unmitigated disaster for team ROTOscouting. Matt Kemp, Jason Kubel, Danny Espinosa and Ryan Dempster flopped. Corey Hart and Michael Pineda didn’t play and Neftali Feliz and Carter Capps never closed. My best selection, Justin Masterson at $1, never threw and inning for my team and helped lead his eventual owner to the title. In spite of a terrible auction, team ROTOscouting battled into September before slipping into second place for good. In 2014, I vow revenge and hope to bring the championship back to its rightful home.
12 rounds in and the picking are becoming slim in the TDGX Experts League. As the player pool things, more targets are being sniped by other owners who aren’t making many mistakes. A pick here or there raises an eyebrow every so often, but one could look at any of the 20 owner queues and the names would be 85% identical or more. The equivalent of day four of this draft found me reaching for players to fill holes instead of targeting the top player available. And while I’m relatively happy with the three picks, it’s the first day felt the positional pinch in TDGX after taking seven corner infielders and pitchers in the first nine rounds.
In the conclusion of the TDGX write up for rounds 4-6, I discussed a plan to shift gears and add a number of veterans expected to produce immediately. I lied. A pair of 23-year old pitchers piqued my interest and proved impossible to pass up. Then, my attention shifted to the outfield where a former tool shed top prospect was waiting to be scooped by team ROTOscouting.
Day two of the TDGX fantasy baseball draft saw ROTOscouting select three more players including Pirates phenom Gerrit Cole (23), Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (24) and Athletics shortstop prospect Addison Russell (20). Through the first six rounds, the team’s elder statesman is Pedro Alvarez at 27. A breakdown of rounds 1-3 can be found HERE. The youth movement caused Ben Carsley to tweet;
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