FANALYTICS: The Mega-Rebuild, part 3

Back over the winter, I described how I orchestrated a rebuilding process for my Xperts Fantasy League (XFL) team. I explained how I chose my keepers, presented the results of the November draft, and justified a trade I made over the winter to further position my team for the future. Here was part 1 of the series. And, here was part 2.

The last part of the process was planning the 17-player reserve draft that took place a few weeks ago. It is in this part of the roster-building effort that most teams stock up on the precious farm players that they could potential keep forever.

Here is a quick look at my roster going into that draft:


ca McKenry,M       6      p  Ryu,H         7*         
ca Lucroy,J       16*     p  Hughes,P      6      
1b Encarnacion,E  19*     p  Richards,G    6  
3b Chisenhall,L    6      p  Keuchel,D     6      
ci Machado,M      10*     p  Shoemaker,M  10       
2b Odor,R          4*     p  Heaney,A      6      
ss Bogaerts,X      4*     p  Hendricks,K   3      
mi LaStella,T      4*     p  Robertson,D  11      
of Cabrera,Melky  11      p  Melancon,M    6      
of Myers,W         7*                   
of Pagan,A         1     fm  Appel,M        0*
of Davis,K        10            
of Peralta,D       1            
ut Hicks,A         1

* Players originally drafted as farm (+3) 

Pretty weak for a 15-team mixed league, but this represents the beginning of my future. Recall that 2015 is irrelevant to me except as a building block for 2016 and beyond. I don't want to finish in last place, but if scraping the cellar means I can turn this team around to be a contender sooner, then I am more than willing to live in the dampness.

So my goals for the reserve round were:

1. Replenish my non-existent farm system. Right now, the only true farm player I have is Appel. If I want to build for a long-term future—typically a 3-5 year up-cycle in this league—I need to have players who are no more than 2-3 years away from the majors.

2. Make sure some of the pieces are at positions where current players may price themselves off my team by 2017. In particular, a player like Encarnacion would be $25 in 2017—which could still be a reasonable price—but he might be more valuable as trade bait by then. Melky Cabrera would be $21 in 2017 and odds are might not be a part of my contending cycle either.

3. Focus on hitters. As the folks at Baseball Prospectus often say, "TINSTAAPP" (there is no such thing as a pitching prospect). I can draft, buy or trade for pitchers; batters you can grow.

4. Stock up on high-skilled middle relievers. Teams contending in 2015 will likely be beefing up their starting pitching in this reserve round, so the best remaining arms will go early. I plan to spend the early-going stocking up on hitting prospects so I am likely going to miss out on any decent starters. But that's okay. The most undervalued commodities in this league are high-skilled middle relievers who don't get saves. If I roster a bunch of these and one happens to back into a closing gig—instant trade bait. Worst case, I trot them out every week to boost my ERA/WHIP and keep my team out of the cellar. The final standings do determine this reserve draft seeding.

I had 16 picks to plan out (Appel was the 17th). Here is what I targeted (not in order):

1. Batting prospect
2. Batting prospect
3. Batting prospect
4. Batting prospect
5. Batting prospect
6. MLB back-up - MI
7. MLB back-up - CI
8. MLB back-up - OF
9. MLB back-up - C
10. Pitching prospect
11. MLB starting pitcher
12. MLB starting pitcher
13. MLB middle reliever
14. MLB middle reliever
15. MLB middle reliever
16. MLB middle reliever

I had the 5th pick in the first round. I suspected that the recent off-season imports would be among the first off the board, so I was hoping to get one of Yoan Moncada, Hector Olivera, Yasmany Tomas or Jung-Ho Kang with my pick. As it turned out, both Tomas and Kang were available, and I took Tomas.

As the draft progressed, my target list of major league talent depleted quickly, so rather than roster a meaningless filler, I ended up drafting deeper into the minors, in fact, wrapping up my 16th pick with a high school player. You only get to take 15 with you into each subsequent season, but I'll just have that much more to choose from, or possibly deal for upgrades.

Here is who I drafted:

*Tomas,Yasmany (3B/OF, ARI)
*Judge,Aaron (OF, NYY)
*McMahon,Ryan (3B, COL)
*Jackson,Alex (OF, SEA)
*Olson,Matt (1B, OAK)
*Plummer,Nick (OF)

Liriano,Rymer (OF, SD)
Miller,Brad (SS, SEA)
Rutledge,Josh (2B, LAA)
Jones,Garrett (OF, NYY)

Nova,Ivan (SP, NYY)
Matusz,Brian (SP/RP, BAL)
Warren,Adam (SP/RP, NYY)
Miller,Andrew (RP, NYY)
Farquhar,Danny (RP, SEA)
Barrett,Aaron (RP, WAS)

* Farm players

I didn't cover every need from the plan, but came close. And yes, it's unnerving how many Yankees I have on this team.

Here is the worksheet I used, if you are interested. "Grd" is the scouting trade from the Minor League Baseball Analyst. "Mayb" is the first three characters of the Mayberry score (playing time is irrelevant) or an estimate. The players with an "x" were selected by someone else. My picks are noted with "xxxx."

In retrospect, given what we learned in March, I might have been better off selecting someone other than Tomas with my first pick—possibly Kyle Schwarber or J.P. Crawford—but we'll just have to see how this plays out.





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