A while back, I was invited to join the BP Kings Scoresheet Baseball league. As a refresher, the league is set up in a “24-team, split AL/NL format that allows interleague trading.”
Seven new owners came onboard this winter, and we recently concluded our dispersal draft, in which each of us procured talent (or some approximation thereof) from the pool of players left behind by the vacated teams. The draft lasted 16ish rounds (some folks just couldn’t stop making picks), and aside from missing out on Brian Matusz and Anthony Slama (go Toreros!), I’m reasonably satisfied with my effort.
Easy for me to say in January. I may be singing a different tune come August. Or, let’s be honest, come May.
I won’t bore you with the entire draft, but here’s how the first two rounds unfolded:
Casey Stern: Evan Longoria
Matthew Pouliot: Prince Fielder
Pete McCarthy: Zach Greinke
Rob McQuown: Ryan Zimmerman
Matthew Leach: Dan Haren
Bill Baer: C.C. Sabathia
Geoff Young: Roy Halladay
Geoff Young: Kevin Youkilis
Bill Baer: Ryan Howard
Matthew Leach: Cliff Lee
Rob McQuown: Yovani Gallardo (traded to King Kaufman/Rob Granick for Aramis Ramirez, Ervin Santana, Michael Bourn, and Angel Salome)
Pete McCarthy: Justin Morneau
Matthew Pouliot: Jose Reyes
Casey Stern: Robinson Cano
And this is what my team looks like:
Daniel Bard (rookie)
Carlos Rosa (rookie)
Tony Sipp (rookie)
I ended up with an old team because that’s where the “soft spots” were in this draft. Most owners placed a premium (and rightfully so) on younger players with upside, so I largely ignored age, focusing instead on reliability.
On the pitching side, I took a fairly early flier on Billingsley, hoping he’ll rebound. He is young, and his home park helps, so I like my chances on that gamble.
And although I normally shy away from protecting relievers (especially in a soft 10, where we can keep a maximum of 10 non-rookie players but draft earlier if we keep fewer), there are exceptions: Papelbon is one of them. Yeah, it’s only 60-70 innings, but the guy is an out machine.
With the rookies, I passed on higher profile prospects and went with players who can help now. I’m hoping for 100 innings of 4.50 ERA from Bard, Rosa, and Sipp combined. That doesn’t sound like much, but the cost of keeping rookies (picks at the very end of the spring draft) is minimal when compared with what is typically available in the draft that late. (Last year’s draft had Jason Frasor as an end-game steal, but it also “featured” Matt Albers, Jose Molina, Matt Tolbert, and Dewayne Wise.) The way I figure, if those three rookies are who I think they are, that’s two picks I don’t have to blow on Kyle Farnsworth clones.
As for the hitters, I ignored position scarcity, going with the best lineup I could find. My team is on the AL side so I get to employ a DH. I’ll take a defensive hit for that outfield, but their production should make up for it.
My focus in the spring draft will be on catchers and middle infielders. I’ll probably pay more attention to defense with them since most of the good offensive performers at those positions will be gone already and to make up for my brutal outfield.
I fully expect some of my hitters to fall off the proverbial cliff. I’m feeling good about Youkilis, but out of those other five guys, my guess is that two or three won’t perform as well as I’d like (no clue which ones, of course, although Ibanez would seem to be a good candidate). That’s the risk I’ve assumed, and I’m okay with it. My strategy is basically the flip side of “this guy is young, I hope he gets better,” which is “this guy is old, I hope he doesn’t get worse.”
It might not work. Then again, it might. Either way, this should be fun.