For the first time, I'm getting into the World Baseball Classic. It's background, but I'll pop my head up often and I'm consistently scouring the box scores. Maybe it's because we're so close to prime draft season. I want every ounce of data I can get on these players, and I've had a good time picking a side in each game and rooting for countries. But of course I'm also rooting for players. And that's what's made the WBC so fun so far. And who knows, maybe there will be some key Fantasy Baseball takeaways from it. 

We'll start below by recapping some of the standout player performances in the WBC from the weekend. The focus of today's newsletter will be last Thursday's Roto salary cap (auction) draft. If you're all caught up on the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast, you know that the team dedicated three podcasts to this  salary cap draft. They went bid by bid, nomination by nomination and if you're in a league that drafts salary cap, you'll want to hear that. You get to see which players are being bid on and not. We'll go over some of those results below. Also, Scott White did an audience survey, and we'll take a look into that so we can get an idea of what players the consensus are most excited about drafting.

WBC standouts

The weekend was filled with World Baseball Classic action and here are a few of the players who stood out the most. 

Cardinals OF Tyler O'Neill has emerged as a popular bust pick, but he sure didn't look like a bust on Sunday when he led Canada to an 18-8 win over Great Britain. O'Neill racked up four hits, doubled, and drew a pair of walks with four RBI.

Twins SP Pablo Lopez is pitching in a new location this season and his ADP has plummeted. Frank sees him as a potential value play at the back end of auction drafts (as you'll see below). Lopez looked dominant against Puerto Rico on Sunday and allowed just one run on two hits through 4 2/3 innings. Lopez racked up 12 swinging strikes on just 58 pitches and his fastball was averaging 95.6 mph. I'm starting to buy into what Frank is thinking on Lopez.

Remember Braves OF Eddie Rosario? I kind of like him as an end-of-your-draft flyer and he has looked pretty good this spring. He ripped a solo shot and added another RBI on a sac fly as the only batter who did any real damage to Lopez. Rosario is reportedly seeing the ball much better after undergoing laser eye surgery.

Royals C Salvador Perez racked up four hits, a home run and two doubles with five RBI to help lead Venezuela to a 9-6 win over Puerto Rico. Perez is a popular value pick for both Scott and Chris during early drafts this season. He comes with a risky profile, but Perez still has arguably the most pop at his position.

Orioles OF Anthony Santander hit a homer on Sunday, his second in consecutive games to help Venezuela.

Jose Berrios has seemed to end up on a lot of Scott's teams for cheap, but it's impossible to be feeling good about him after watching him get clobbered on Sunday in the WBC. Berrios gave up six runs -- five earned -- and five hits in just one-plus inning of work. His fastball was down on average and he generated just three swinging strikes. 

Salary cap draft results, recap

It was fascinating listening live as Scott, Chris and Frank broke down their cap-draft strategies while it was playing out. Chris came in with a plan to go with the flow and adjust while both Frank and Scott had set strategies. For Scott, it was a return to how he used to draft salary cap formats prior to the juiced ball era. That meant a true stars and scrubs strategy. While I'm not a big fan of stars and scrubs, Scott made an excellent case for why it's a strong strategy in a 12-team or fewer auction league. 

Scott's strategy had one major rule: Make sure you keep enough of your budget so that your scrubs aren't $1 players but you have enough to wager $2 or preferably $3 on them.

Here's how Scott described what he was looking for in his stars:

  • Scarcity. I wanted an impact player at positions where not everyone can have an impact player, namely third base and the outfield. The easiest way to distinguish yourself from the competition is to do so one position at a time, which means starting with the scarcest positions.
  • Impact. If I'm paying up for a player, I want him to be capable of something that virtually no one else at his position can do. That's what compelled me to go the extra dollar on Jose Altuve ($30) and the extra, um, five dollars on Corey Seager ($30), who I expect to be a four-category stud.  
  • Batting average. If I'm paying up for a player, I want him to be a help in that category and not a hindrance. It's never one you want to chase given that most of the low-dollar targets will crush you in home runs, stolen bases and RBI.
  • Home runs. They're not as critical as batting average, but I find that I like the low-dollar stolen base guys better than the low-dollar home run guys, another indicator of the changing offensive environment. I figured Aaron Judge ($48) would give me a nice cushion there.

Here's a look at how Scott's team shook out. For the FULL DRAFT RESULTS (every bid), CLICK HERE.


Takeaways from audience survey

I always love the time of the offseason when Scott runs his audience survey. It gives me an idea of how managers in my leagues will be drafting -- which players they are going to reach above ADP for in snake drafts and which players I can avoid getting into bidding wars over in auctions. 

Here's how Scott describes the audience survey: "My goal here is to measure matters of the heart, to take the pulse of the Fantasy Baseball world via eight very open-ended questions. Responses were tallied from Twitter and Facebook."

You can find the full article from Scott here where he dives into more questions. Here are a couple of the more interesting ones.

Who's the one player you have to have this year?

Tie between Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll and Pirates SS Oneil Cruz

From Scott: "Oneil Cruz isn't exactly cheap, but the upside is so tantalizing that I'm not at all surprised he's tied for first on this list. The Corbin Carroll love was a little more unexpected, possibly we haven't been pushing him so hard on the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast, but I find myself gravitating more and more to him the deeper we go into draft season. Vinnie Pasquantino is one of my most talked-up players and a popular breakout choice, and I'm beginning to understand why I'm never able to draft Cristian Javier. It's also clear Jordan Walker has aaaaall the helium right now (for good reason)."

Which early rounder do you want nothing to do with? 

Rangers SP Jacob deGrom led the way with 27 votes.

From Scott: "Yeah, Jacob deGrom is a tough one. His ratios are so good that if he just makes it 100 innings, he'll have a substantive impact on your team. Still, he hasn't reached even that modest total since 2019, and because his inability to stay healthy coincides with a velocity spike (that hasn't abated thus far), I'm not confident it's going to change. You have to rank him in a way that respects the upside, but I'm not sinking a third-round pick into a player who I don't think will be available to me for even half the season."