Another day, another format to draft. This time, it's a Head-to-Head categories league using default Yahoo settings (since that's the platform where Head-to-Head categories leagues are most popular). That means two utility spots instead of one and eight pitcher spots broken down as two SP, two RP and four flex.

It's not the first time we've drafted for this format this Draft Prep season, but the last time was about a month ago. Some things have happened since then, as you're probably aware.

First, let's meet the 12 who took part in this draft:

1) Jake Holland, The Toss Up podcast (@jakebaseball17)
2) JR Fenton, TGFBI participant (@JohnRussell215)
3) Chris Towers, CBS Sports (@CTowersCBS)
4) Kayla Walz, former Podcast League participant
5) Phil Ponebshek, Patton & Company
6) Frank Stampfl, CBS Sports (@Roto_Frank)
7) R.J. White, CBS Sports (@rjwhite1)
8) Jeremy Heist, Fantistics Fantasy (@heistjm)
9) Scott White, CBS Sports (@CBSScottWhite)
10) George Kurtz, Sportsgrid (@GeorgeKurtz)
11) Darren "Doc" Eisenhauer, Scout the Statline (@DocHollidayDyna)
12) Sean Millerick, Marlins After Dark (@miasportsminute)

And now for some of my observations:

  • I'd describe the discount for Aaron Judge amid concerns about his abdominal area as "insignificant," which is probably how it should be given that the MRI came back clean and he's likely to return to the lineup over the weekend. He went 13th overall, but it's not like Juan Soto, Spencer Strider and Trea Turner, the three players who might not normally go ahead of him, are of an entirely different caliber.
  • I'd describe the discount for Gerrit Cole amid concerns about his elbow as "appropriate." He went 58th overall, being drafted late in Round 5, which is sort of a hedge rather than a true reflection of his new value. By that, I mean Round 5 figures to be either too high or too low depending what we learn from the round of examinations he's undergoing.
  • Once again, we have a mock where everyone was slow to act at relief pitcher, though not quite as much as in our last Rotisserie mock. I actually made the first move with Josh Hader early in Round 6, which is completely out of character for me but made sense given the hitters available to me at that point. I also think going big at relief pitcher is more beneficial in this format than most. A saves surplus will give you an easy category win most of the time, and the superior ratios a stud closer provides will do even more good from week to week than over a full season.
  • Everyone was slow to move at catcher as well, with Adley Rutschman lasting until even later in Round 6. I considered taking him there instead of Hader, but it always pains me to pay anything for a catcher in a one-catcher league given the depth at the position this year. Bo Naylor, Jonah Heim, Keibert Ruiz, Gabriel Moreno were among the catchers to go undrafted, and we could view them all as must-start by season's end.
  • Jake Holland had a particularly interesting build, following up his Ronald Acuna pick in Round 1 with Elly De La Cruz in Round 2. Those are two potential 60-steal guys back-to-back, which might be overkill in a conventional Rotisserie league, but I'm not sure there's such thing as overkill in Head-to-Head. The smaller window of time (one week, usually) makes for less margin for error. To count on that category win week after week, you need players who don't just contribute to it but flat out dominate in it, ensuring the totals will be there every week. It's why I tend to zero in on category standouts in this format, with Matt Olson (home runs), Ha-seong Kim (stolen bases) and Andres Gimenez (stolen bases) being examples from my own roster.
  • Chris Towers also had an interesting build, devoting most of his draft capital to hitters and closers while mixing in a few starting pitchers (Joe Ryan, Luis Severino, Reid Detmers and Bryce Miller) who he thinks could dramatically outperform their draft cost. It could work in this format if he can find a way to be competitive in strikeouts without blowing up his ERA and WHIP (depends how well he does wrangling those SP breakouts), but he'll practically need to run the table in the hitting categories.
  • Wyatt Langford was the 35th pick, and Jackson Chourio was the 50th pick. Not so long ago, taking them around Pick 100 was considered aggressive. Maybe this draft is just a one-off, but if those turn out to be the going rates for those players (or something close to it) going forward, then I can no longer say the reward justifies the risk.