Slow as Mocklasses

It seems like the regular baseball season wound up a million years ago, which is hardly the case.

Part of this illusion of time slowing for me has been the great playoffs, which evolved into that fantastic Game 2 of the Series on Wednesday evening. But some of it seems to have precipitated from the slow mock my radio mate and Friends With Fantasy Benefits honcho Justin Mason initiated upon the completion of the regular season.

This draft, one of four that Justin initiated, was billed as slow, but that doesn’t describe accurately, as words like crawl and sluggish are more appropriate. However, since we are a good six months from Opening Day, haste is not that important.

With fellow mockers Brent Hershey, Howard Bender, Sammy Reid and Alex Chamberlain, this was a 15-team mixed that included three reserve selections.

Of course, the initial hot stove buzz in my fantasy baseball universe has been how do we deal with pitching next year? With home runs rampant, and hitting everywhere, the pitching suffers, so just what do we do? Grab Max Scherzer or Chris Sale by the second round, if then, and slide for awhile with arms?

Be content to grab Robbie Ray in the fifth and stack with pitchers for a few rounds? Wait till Round 12 and build around Ervin Santana, Marco Estrada, and a bunch of like gambles who could pay off royally just as easily as they could destroy a season by the first of May?

Over the years, I have always built my teams around pitching. In fact, building a strong pitching staff has always been my go-to, as I calculated that too much pitching meant I could trade, for we always need arms, right?

In the past, I have had success picking the likes of Jason Kubel or Michael Brantley on the cheap the year they delivered, but winning like that has become ephemeral, with the likes of Eduardo Escobar being a 20-homer man. I simply need more boost at the top to win these days, whether I like it or not.

Similarly, though banging 20 big flies has become common place, and 30 not quite such a feat, it is hard to really tell where that extra pop comes from. Last August, when I looked at whether home run production at the top had changed that much, it did become pretty clear that the number of guys who could belt 40 or more big flies seemed to be fairly constant. And, though two players launched 50 this season, only five exceeded 40 while eight batters did that last season.

This suggests that sticking with the big guys and working from there is the way to go. So, when drafting, that is indeed where I went, first waiting until Round 7 before Kyle Hendricks became my first arm. In Round 8, I picked Jimmy Nelson, followed by Danny Salazar in the ninth, and then Danny Duffy in Round 10 before I went back to bats with Avisail Garcia in Round 11.

At the bottom of the rotation were the real crapshoots: Mike Foltynewicz, Daniel Mengden and Sean Newcomb, with Alex Colome and Hector Neris comprising my pen.

On the other hand, my hitting is led by Nolan Arenado, J.D. Martinez, Starling Marte, Robinson Cano, Khris Davis and Carlos Santana.

The entire mess can be viewed here.

However, I plan on focusing strictly on drafting with this approach from now through the mock season, so follow along and you can see with me the pitchers falling to the middle or later rounds who could indeed be bargains.

Now, excuse me, Game 3 is on.

Remember to tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Thursday night at 9 PM ET.

Follow me @lawrmichaels. {jcomments on}

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