Fantasy Baseball: Mixed LABR Draft Review

Mixed LABR

The Mixed LABR draft took place on Monday night, giving us another valuable fantasy baseball prep tool as we continue to move closer to spring training. LABR is a 15-team roto league filled with some of the most well-known and respected figures in the industry. The draft uses a 29-round snake format, similar to what we saw in the SirusXM-FSTA event that I reviewed on here earlier this month.

To date these are the only notable expert leagues to have already drafted so it’s always useful to compare the results and see which players are rising or falling the most. Keep in mind however that while there is some overlap, LABR does include a large group of new owners. Additionally, the FSTA league has two fewer teams so the player pool is a bit smaller.
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Below are some of my observations from the first 12 rounds. Enjoy and as always let me know your thoughts.

Round 1

  • Not many surprises here, though this is the highest I’ve seen Trea Turner go. 40+ steals seems like a lock so the main question is how much of the average and power from 16’ can he retain over a full season. Given his natural skill set and minor league numbers I wouldn’t be surprised if the homers dropped into the 10-12 range, but a .300 average with 100+ runs would still be enough to justify taking him here.

Round 2

  • Buster Posey at #26 didn’t make any sense to me. There are already reports that the Giants want to rest him more often and catchers don’t provide enough volume to go this high to begin with. It wouldn’t surprise me if either Jonathan Lucroy or Gary Sanchez finish above him this year and neither is currently going in the top 40. Let’s just chalk this up to a homer pick for Stephania Bell.

Round 3

  • Gregory Polanco coming off the board as the #10 outfielder seems ambitious. I don’t see 30-homer upside for him and if he does become a more reliable run producer I’d expect less aggressiveness on the base paths. For me, J.D. Martinez, Carlos Gonzalez and Yoenis Cespedes would’ve all been preferable options here.

Round 4

  • Jean Segura’s ADP between this draft and the FSTA one in January indicates that many feel his big season last year was not just a byproduct of his environment. I can see it, but I’m still skeptical. Moving from Arizona to Seattle is terrible for his power potential and the Mariners didn’t run anywhere near as often as the D’backs did last season. Well, at least he gets to hit in front of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager.
Can Segura continue his success in Seattle? (Photo: AP)

Can Segura continue his success in Seattle? (Photo: AP)

Round 5

  • Half of the players taken in this round were pitchers, including the first closer coming off the board at pick 68.
  • Once you get outside the top 8 starters or so the next 7-10 guys are all very close together so seeing this type of run here shouldn’t be all that surprising.
  • The Kyle Schwarber pick at 73 in noteworthy simply because he’s still technically a platoon player, though his upside is enough to deliver surplus value even with reduced at-bats.

Round 6

  • I’m worried about the innings jump for Sanchez so seeing him get pushed up into the top 20 SP’s was interesting. That said his age and skill set certainly give him a higher ceiling then some of the other options in that tier. I’d personally still prefer the security of a Cole Hamels or Jose Quintana here, but I like the aggressiveness from Dr. Roto.

Round 7

  • The round of Jose if you will with Bautista, Ramirez and Peraza all coming off the board.
  • Jose Peraza is the most intriguing with news of the Brandon Phillips trade breaking earlier this week and steals being as scarce as they are. He clearly looks like a top 100 player going forward so adjust accordingly.
  • Bautista moved up from his 10th round tag at FSTA and I’d expect that over-correction to continue assuming we don’t get any new injury news.
  • On instinct Ramirez doesn’t seem like he belongs this high, but his position flexibility, plate discipline and lineup spot all combine to give him a very high floor.
Bautista

Which version of Bautista are we going to see in 2017 (Photo: USA Today)

Round 8

  • Another pitching heavy round with 4 starters and 4 closers being selected.
  • Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel stand out as both were being viewed as potential fantasy aces this time last year. I don’t expect either will fully get back to that level this year, but I project both to be noticeably better then in 2016.

Round 9

  • No catcher had gone off the board since Lucroy and Sanchez back in round four and now we see 4 (Evan Gattis, JT Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, Roberto Perez) get taken in the span of 5 picks.
  • I understand the appeal of Gattis’ power, but I don’t see how he gets enough AB’s to make this much of a difference. He’s on the wrong side of a catching platoon and the Astros’ DH spot is already plugged up.

Round 10

  • While either or both could easily disappoint, it’s hard to find a pair of young outfielders at this stage of the draft more exciting then Byron Buxton and Keon Broxton. Both have everyday roles and the ability to steal 25+ bases, which given the lack of reliable speed options could be enough to propel them into the top 30 at OF.
  • Jameson Taillon in this spot is one of my favorite picks of the entire draft; it’s crazy to me that someone would rather have Jeff Samardzija. Between Ray Searage and the ballpark the environment is ideal and his prospect pedigree indicates there’s a considerable ceiling here as well. Further, the terrific control he showed as a rookie is extremely encouraging in terms of his overall growth. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re viewing him as a top 20 SP this time next year.

Round 11

  • In my FSTA review I noted how Logan Forsythe was essentially Dustin Pedroia with a 5 round discount so it actually made sense to see them go only two picks apart now. That said the size and demographic of this league is obviously unique so I still expect there to be a noticeable difference in price between them in most drafts.

Round 12

  • Matt Wieters going as the 13th catcher off the board despite not having a team indicates a belief that he’s still going to have a starter’s role when he signs. The White Sox or Diamondbacks would be nice potential landing spots.
  • Ender Inciarte is a great value pick as he’s one of the few guys left this late who can be relied on for average and runs. Remember the Braves lineup was actually one of the better run scoring units over the second half of last season. I know, crazy.

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