The Process

Heading into my rookie Model Portfolio, I had one clear goal: Don’t be embarrassing.

I don’t like to outline a hard and fast split between offense and pitching before drafting, opting instead to look for value and upside wherever it might present itself. This avant garde (well, in my head at least) approach led to compiling a 71/29 split. So much for being original.

The Offense

C – Welington Castillo $8

1B – Greg Bird $3

2B – Jose Altuve $47

3B – Nick Castellanos $11

SS – Carlos Correa $30

CI – Miguel Sano $11

MILogan Forsythe $4

OF – Gregory Polanco $24

OF – Nomar Mazara $8

OF – Rajai Davis $7

OF – Marcell Ozuna $6

OF – Michael Brantley $4

UT – Jose Ramirez $15

UT – Yulieski Gurriel $7

Total $185

There are a handful of themes that become immediately apparent when sifting through my roster. First, I’m all in on the Astros’ infield. With Altuve, Correa, and Gurriel (apologies to Alex Bregman), I’m hoping for a little bit of everything, perhaps most importantly, a fairly high batting average.

Second, I targeted several young players that could take the leap, and emerge as fantasy studs. Polanco teased a breakout last season, hitting .287/.362/.500 in the first half before lingering injuries slowed his progress. If healthy, a 25/25 season from the newly minted Pirates’ left fielder wouldn’t surprise me at all. I’m convinced there are 30 homers in Mazara’s bat, whether he gets there this year will be another story. Sano remains tantalizing as a fantasy player, with 40 home runs always feeling so close, yet so, so far away. Ramirez was great last season, and even if he doesn’t maintain the pop, he should steal bases, score runs, and provide a solid batting average. It doesn’t really matter here, but I also like that he’s eligible at multiple positions. I’m not necessarily all aboard the Greg Bird Hype Train, but at $3, he should more than eclipse that value.

Finally (and I’ll definitely hit on this more with my pitchers), I’m betting big on bounceback seasons from guys coming off injuries. Polanco, Castellanos, Ozuna, and Forsythe all had issues staying on the field last year. Bird missed the entire season. Brantley attempted a comeback after offseason shoulder surgery, but was pretty terrible in 43 plate appearances before being shut down again for the remainder of the season. What fun is this exercise without rolling the dice a little (he said, watching, terrified, through covered eyes)?

The Pitching

P – Stephen Strasburg $20

P – Jacob DeGrom $17

P – Aaron Nola $9

P – Lance McCullers $7

P – Matt Shoemaker $3

P – Francisco Liriano $2

P – Jharel Cotton $1

P – Edwin Diaz $15

P – Hector Neris $1

Total $75

So, about that idea of betting on injury luck. This pitching staff should come equipped with a MASH unit. I have the sinking suspicion that this portion of the squad is either going to be really good, or really bad with very little in between. Strasburg is a no-doubt ace…when healthy. DeGrom is a no-doubt ace…when healthy (his velocity has looked great this spring, which is encouraging). Nola was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball according to DRA and cFIP before he was shut down with a sore elbow last season. And McCullers, well, is Lance McCullers. You kind of know what you’re getting into when selecting the 23-year-old fireballer: lots of strikeouts and lots of walks. He’s talented enough where I think he’s going to put up an ace-level season at some point when it all clicks.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to mention it, but Liriano was really good once he was shipped to the Great White North. In 10 appearances with the Blue Jays, he posted a 2.92 ERA while striking out nearly 9.5 batters per nine and walking fewer than three.

Diaz was a monster last season in his first stint as closer. He faded a bit down the stretch, but he was pushing 100 total innings for the year even after being converted to the pen. Based on Jeanmar Gomez’s rates and strikeout numbers, I don’t think he’s long for the closer role in Philadelphia. Based on Neris’s rates and strikeout numbers, I think he would fit into that role rather nicely.


I always come out of auctions with a sense of optimism, even though it’s definitely not always warranted. This year is no different. I think this roster has a good balance of skills and upside, and if a few injury breaks go my way, there is a great chance for return on investment. Also, I really like watching all of these guys. Even though that doesn’t matter at all in the final standings, it matters in our hearts, and isn’t that the reason we’re all here? Or you know, whatever.

Thank you for reading

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