2014 FSTA Experts League Draft: 1st Round Review
The fantasy baseball season has officially started. At least that is what the commercials on the Sirius XM broadcast of the 2014 FSTA Experts Draft told me. While the NFBC and even the XFL have held drafts already this season, the FSTA Experts Draft definitely gets the most run in fantasy circles. The league is a 13-team, mixed league, with standard rotisserie rosters. The draft is 29 rounds and includes some of the biggest names in fantasy baseball.
The participants involved, including the order they drafted, are as follows:
- Lawr Michaels & Todd Zola – MastersBall
- Greg Ambrosius – Stats Inc/NFBC
- Charlie Wiegert – CDM Sports
- Tim Heaney – KFFL
- Marc Griffis & Tony Holm – Fantasy Sharks
- Chris Thompson & Jeff Paur – RTSports
- Glenn Colton & Rick Wolf – Colton & The Wolfman
- Howard Kamen & Steve Gardner – USA Today Sports
- Ray Flowers – SiriusXM
- Jeff Mans – Fantasy Alarm
- Peter Schoenke & Chris Liss – RotoWire
- Ron Shandler – Baseball HQ
- Anthony Perri – Fantistics
The complete draft and rosters can be found here. Today I want to examine the 1st round selections made by this group of fantasy baseball experts and see how it stacks up against the NFBC early drafts as well as my personal rankings.
- Mike Trout: I’m not here to waste anyone’s times. Trout is the easy number one pick in all formats this season – Well, besides NL only.
- Miguel Cabrera: We’re still throwing a perfect game. I’m sure a handful of people will draft Cabrera over Trout this season and while I can’t say that’s wrong, I think it’s pretty clear there is a measurable difference at this point – albeit a tiny one.
- Paul Goldschmidt: The experts are still in agreement with the NFBC results with Goldschmidt at third overall. With 40/15 upside, Goldschmidt is a no-brainer top-5 fantasy option.
- Andrew McCutchen: Another 20/20 player off the board. McCutchen has the ability to do it all for fantasy teams and is the last first-round pick without questions or concerns surrounding him.
- Carlos Gonzalez: Speaking of concerns… No concerns from a per-game performance standpoint. The question always becomes, how many games will Cargo play? That said, even while projecting fewer at-bats, I still have Cargo at five in my personal rankings. The NFBC crowd has been selecting Gonzalez on average at pick seven.
- Hanley Ramirez: Another player who has had trouble staying on the field, but who dominates while healthy. The NFBC crowd is basically as high on Ramirez, selecting him on average as the ninth player off the board. Personally, I have Hanley a little lower in my rankings and as such will more than likely miss out on owning him in 2014.
- Bryce Harper: This pick surprised me a bit. Listen, I understand Harper was hurt last season and on a per-game played basis, had a very nice year. There are just other players still available I’d feel much better about at this point in the first round. The NFBC crowd agrees, as Harper has been selected on average at pick fourteen. We must also consider this is a free league for these experts and it’s all about bragging rights. I’m not sure how right you can be on Harper this season, but that very well could have played into this pick to a degree.
- Robinson Cano: Depending on who you talk to, you might walk away believing the sky has fallen and Cano’s days as a first-round talent are over. The NFBC drafters disagree, selecting Cano on average at pick eight as well. If given the choice between Harper and Cano, I’d lean towards the Cano side.
- Ryan Braun: What will we get from Ryan Braun this season? That seems to be the million dollar question. It also seems a first round pick is going to be the price to find out. NFBC Drafters are selecting Braun eleventh overall on average. Personally, I have Braun at eleventh in my rankings as well, so I can’t argue with this selection either. That doesn’t mean I feel great about it however.
- Troy Tulowitzki: As Jeff Mans made this pick, he, like most who select Tulo, groaned and prayed this would be the year he stays healthy. NFBC owners are also selecting Tulowitzki in the first round (12th overall). I have Tulo ahead of Hanley in my rankings; however both are outside of my top 13.
- Clayton Kershaw: The first pitcher off the board is the now even richer, Clayton Kershaw. I have Kershaw ranked in my top 5, so this pick makes more than perfect sense to me. NFBC owners tend to agree with me, selecting Kershaw at fifth overall on average in their early drafts.
- Adam Jones: Another power/speed guy, Jones has hit 30+ home runs in back to back seasons, while stealing 15 bases on average. From a real-life baseball standpoint, I’m not a huge fan of the plate approach Jones brings to the table, but as of now, you can’t argue with the results. NFBC drafters are also not arguing with the selection, as they’ve been drafting Jones on average at pick number ten.
- David Wright: This one is kind of a head-scratcher for me. I get the fact that on the turn you may need to reach for a player you really want. I just can’t see the value in reaching this far for Wright, a player I value about two rounds later. NFBC owners split the difference, selecting Wright at pick twenty-four on average.
That concludes the first round. As I mentioned, you can check out the entire draft over at the RTSports website.