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Last night, I had my first draft or auction of the season. It’s my second season in the league, which is a fairly casual one with friends, a lot of whom are more inclined towards fantasy football than fantasy baseball. Here are some other league settings for background:

  • Max of five major league keepers
  • Max of three Minor League Equivalent (MLE) keepers, who are players in their first three years after promotion from the minors, provided they spent at least one year unpromoted in the minor leagues of the league
  • Max of seven minor league keepers
  • Categories: 6×6, with the standard 5×5 categories plus OPS on the hitting side and Quality Starts (QS) on the pitching side
  • Max of 32 players at the end of the draft (includes majors, MLEs and minors)
  • Non-snaking draft, all players together (i.e., no separate major and minor league drafts)
  • Weekly head-to-head
  • Monthly add/drops, which include one free add per team per month, increasing roster size by one player per month
  • Ten teams
  • Mixed (both AL and NL)
  • Starting (scoring) positions: 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 2 SS, 1 3B, 4 OF, 2 UTIL, 5 SP, 3 RP
  • Unlimited add/drops between the end of the draft and the start of the first transaction week
  • Players are eligible at positions where they appeared 20 or more times during the previous season, with additional positional eligibility gained in-season with five or more games at a given position

My major league and MLE keepers:

Fairly important positional eligibility note: the commissioner noted before the freeze date that players who did not play 20 games at any position during the prior season were eligible at the positions(s) where they played 20 or more times during the season before the previous season. This means Kyle Schwarber is eligible at catcher on Opening Day, unlike most leagues with 20-game positional requirements. I was pretty happy about this ruling.

My minor league keepers (can stay in minors indefinitely until promoted to starting lineup):

No great shakes, but not terrible. I went into the draft strongly suspecting that by the end of the draft, several minor leaguers better than Jose Berrios would be available, allowing me to drop Berrios for them. I still like him, though, just not necessarily in a league like this.

I’m not going to list every pick by every team over the course of the draft, but the first three rounds could be instructive for your upcoming drafts, so here’s what happened:

ROUND

PICK

TEAM

PLAYER

1

1

Team 1

Jonathan Villar SS | MIL

1

2

Team 2

Jonathan Lucroy C | TEX

1

3

Scooter

Justin Verlander SP | DET

1

4

Team 4

Trevor Story SS | COL

1

5

Team 5

Wil Myers 1B | SD

1

6

Team 6

Jose Ramirez 3B | CLE

1

7

Team 7

Masahiro Tanaka SP | NYY

1

8

Team 8

Jose Quintana SP | CHW

1

9

Team 9

Mark Trumbo RF | BAL

1

10

Team 10

Todd Frazier 3B | CHW

2

1

Team 1

Dallas Keuchel SP | HOU

2

2

Team 2

Garrett Richards SP | LAA

2

3

Scooter

Adrian Beltre 3B | TEX

2

4

Team 4

Dustin Pedroia 2B | BOS

2

5

Team 5

David Price SP | BOS

2

6

Team 6

Evan Gattis DH | HOU

2

7

Team 7

Danny Salazar SP | CLE

2

8

Team 8

Justin Upton LF | DET

2

9

Team 9

Justin Turner 3B | LAD

2

10

Team 10

Kenley Jansen RP | LAD

3

1

Team 1

Wade Davis RP | CHC

3

2

Team 2

Khris Davis LF | OAK

3

3

Scooter

Danny Duffy SP | KC

3

4

Team 4

Eric Hosmer 1B | KC

3

5

Team 5

Aroldis Chapman RP | NYY

3

6

Team 6

Billy Hamilton CF | CIN

3

7

Team 7

Lorenzo Cain CF | KC

3

8

Team 8

Odubel Herrera CF | PHI

3

9

Team 9

Eduardo Nunez 3B | SF

3

10

Team 10

Welington Castillo C | BAL

Justin Verlander was the best player remaining by a fairly wide margin and my pitching keepers weren’t especially deep, so he was an easy pick, especially with QS being a category. The fact that QS is a category also factored heavily into my selection of Danny Duffy. In addition to being the best SP on the board when I selected him, Duffy is RP-eligible, which gives him extra value positionally compared to leagues with undifferentiated pitcher spots. Getting more strikeouts and more QS from a RP spot is a big help in this league. Adrian Beltre was a fairly easy selection, too, as he was one of the best bats available at the time and the best 3B available by a fairly wide margin.

ROUND

PLAYER

4

Carlos Santana DH | CLE

5

Rich Hill SP | LAD

6

Jason Kipnis 2B | CLE

7

Matt Moore SP | SF

8

Alex Colome RP | TB

9

Tony Watson RP | PIT

10

Kevin Kiermaier CF | TB

11

Keon Broxton CF | MIL

12

Victor Martinez DH | DET

13

Jharel Cotton SP | OAK

14

Dellin Betances RP | NYY

15

Shin-Soo Choo RF | TEX

16

Gleyber Torres SS | NYY

17

Amed Rosario SS | NYM

With add/drops happening only once a month, having backups on your roster for as many spots as possible matters a lot. I have backups or ways to fill every position in the event of injury at every position except catcher. In addition to guys I drafted, I have a backup SS available in my minor league system in Tim Anderson and a few backup outfielders available via the same avenue in Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and David Dahl. I’d have to promote each of these four players to the majors and start their MLE clocks, but that’s OK.

I went with the two highest ranked minor leaguers on my sheet with my last two picks, Gleyber Torres and Amed Rosario. After the draft was over, I also did what I had planned on doing and dropped Jose Berrios for a minor leaguer. I went with Francisco Mejia, who might have been a slight reach based on most industry prospect rankings. I think I’m higher on him than most people.

Overall, I’m happy with this team. If I’m in contention, I have plenty of MLEs and minor leaguers to trade for short-term help. If I’m not in contention, I have a good base for next year already and a lot of big chips to cash in for draft picks, MLEs and/or minor leaguers. Let’s start the season already and see what happens.