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The Kansas City Monarchs: an Orphan's Draft Story

I was recently invited to join a 20 team 5x5 Roto Dynasty league (OBP). I do a lot of my league communication via Facebook Messenger, but I try to avoid being on Facebook itself. I left Facebook in 2016 because it felt like I had a robot in my pocket that spent 24 hours a day trying to figure out what my acquaintances did that would most piss me off.


Leaving the hive mind made me more forgetful of birthdays and ignorant of first day of school outfits, and I spent less time arguing with strangers. It was a good trade. I also don’t always see new messenger requests from new acquaintances. If I missed you in the last five years, happy birthday! My social media preferences led to only having 30 minutes to prepare for the orphan's draft in my new league. The messages were out there; I just didn’t see them.


There were four teams in the draft. Looking at the pool, my biggest takeaway was that the pitching seemed very deep, and the MLB bats were very shallow. The hitting prospects were also lacking, which is probably why the four owners decided to quit in the first place. The format was a four-team snake draft, and I was picking third, so only a handful of players could go off the board between picks. My 30-minute draft plan was to pick major league infielders in their 20s for a while and see how it goes. My quick and dirty top 16 are listed below.


1

Xander Bogaerts

SS

2

Yordan Alvarez

OF/DH

3

Walker Buehler

SP

4

Corbin Burnes

SP

5

Jonathan India

2B

6

Cody Bellinger

OF

7

Josh Jung

3B

8

Sandy Alcantara

SP

9

Luis Urias(23S)

2B/SS/3B

10

Keibert Ruiz

C

11

Jake Cronenworth(12S)

1B/2B/SS

12

Max Muncy(12)

1B

13

Jose Abreu

1B

14

Starling Marte

OF

15

Mitch Haniger

OF

16

Tommy Edman(2O)

2B/OF


I had Bogearts #1 because he contributes in all categories out of an infield position. Shortstop is deep, but having a good one is nice, and the other options in this field weren’t elite. I liked Alvarez over Buehler and Burnes because he is a hitter. I ranked India above Bellinger, but I picked Bellinger when push came to shove. I had Ruiz high because it is a two-catcher 20 team league. That’s a lot of catchers.


The First Four Rounds


T1

T2

Buddy

T4

1

Yordan Alvarez

Corbin Burnes

Xander Bogaerts

Walker Buehler

2

Aaron Nola

Jonathan India

Cody Bellinger

Sandy Alcantara

3

Alek Manoah

Starling Marte

Luis Urias(23S)

Franmil Reyes

4

Anthony Volpe

Javier Baez

Josh Jung

Robbie Ray


I got lucky, and they gave me my #1 pick at #3, so I gladly selected Xander. Team 4 double taps pitching, another blessing, and my India over Bellinger ranking is put to the test. My conviction fails, and I grab Bellinger, so I’m off-script in round two. When it gets back to me in the third, I don’t think that there is any way that T4 can take a minor league bat after going double pitcher, so I take Urias over Jung. T4 takes an MLB bat and another arm, leaving Jung in the 4th. After four, I have a nice core of young bats who will produce value in 2022. So far, so good.


Five through Eight: Discovery


T1

T2

Buddy

T4

5

Brendan Rodgers

Brandon Lowe

Tommy Edman(2O)

Zac Gallen

6

Shane Baz

Logan Gilbert

Max Scherzer

Daulton Varsho

7

Mitch Haniger

George Kirby

Max Muncy

Luis Garcia (HOU)

8

Victor Robles

Grayson Rodriguez

Keibert Ruiz

Draft set 4


In round five, I get blindsided by Brandon Lowe (sounds like wow). This is where 30 minutes of prep time hurt me: I didn’t see him on the list. I would have preferred him to Urias in the 3rd. I called this group of picks “Discovery” because intentions were announced. T1’s Volpe pick in the 4th showed him as a rebuilder. T4’s complete lack of offense through eight shows he is a rebuilder. He plans on trading his pitching for prospects and building throughout the season. If I need pitching in June, I know where to go. For T2, Kirby and Rodriguez announced his rebuilding intentions. For my part, Scherzer was my declaration. By the end of eight, I know I’m filling out a line-up by myself. My opponents are collecting assets for trade and growth, while I’m looking for guys who play. I would be looking to slide into the prospect market from time to time and build a top-six team by volume. Flags fly forever, but second and third place finishes pay league fees, so I want a team that can quickly return monetary value. After eight rounds, I have C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, and two OF positions covered. Bellinger, Muncy, Urias, and Edman provide position flexibility, and I have a staff ace in Mad Max.


End of Day One



T1

T2

Buddy

T4

9

Matt Chapman

Jordan Walker

Josiah Gray

Casey Mize

10

Bryson Stott

JD Martinez

Edward Cabrera

Ian Happ

11

Trevor Bauer

Ranger Suarez

Daniel Lynch

Cavan Biggio

12

DJ LeMahieu

Jose Abreu

Jake Cronenworth(12S)

Andres Gimenez(2S)


While Max Scherzer is fantastic and a crazy competitor, father time is undefeated, so I started addressing the future of my pitching staff in this area of the draft. Gray, Cabrera, and Lynch have top of the rotation upside and will ply in 2022. Having Max as an anchor allows me to take some ratio risk. Trevor Bauer is dead to me. He was off my board. I may have given up value, but I can look my wife and mother in the eyes and root for my team. A fair trade. I was hoping that JD would slip farther because of his age. I would have taken him in the 12th if he was there. Instead, I went with the versatility of Jake Cronenworth. In a 20 team context, his flexibility makes up for and mitigates his playing time risk. He can fill in a bunch of holes on the Padres line-up card as well as mine. My roster becomes even more flexible with this addition. The flexible roster will allow me to add value in the future as it becomes available at reasonable prices. I can also sell off various pieces and still have positional coverage. Plus, I can be more responsive to the inevitable injuries that will occur. If things fall apart and I want to take a step back, I can move Scherzer to a top-three team at the deadline.

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