From Jan 11th through February 11th, Year of Our Lord 2012, 16 managers competed in a contest which shall go down in the annals of history. The managers took part in the second annual Slow Draft in the Fantasy Sports Warrior league.
An enjoyable aspect of the draft is that every pick matters. That is, all players selected are active every day of the season and there are no roster changes allowed throughout the year. In other words, each manager is ‘all in’ on every pick.
Some interesting manager strategies emerged during the draft.
· Adhering to the ‘hitting comes first’ school of thought, Johnny Peppers waited until the 8th round before selecting his first pitcher. His first starting pitcher didn’t earn a roster spot until round 17. Yep, you read that right!
· Ron Stockton took two BoSox players early but then none later on. Verily, he held his nose and took a Yankee catcher later in the draft. The sacrifices one makes for fantasy baseball…….
· This one will hurt for him to hear but….. Ivar Anderson took a catcher early for the first time in his career. Victor Martinez rewarded him by hitting the IR for the year shortly thereafter. I like the Torii Hunter pick in round 13. Hunter is a nice boring pick who will outperform his draft position.
· One of the eye-opening items from last year was the major effect injuries had on a team’s performance. While that may sound obvious, the extent of injuries is surprising. As a result, Michael Huston focused on players who have a strong track record of staying healthy – regardless of how well they might perform when healthy. Let’s see how it works out. (My money is on the ‘over’.)
· Kevin Justmann was the sole manager to select a starting pitcher in the first round. So long as Verlander stays healthy (a strong likelihood based upon his track record), Kevin’s team is well-balanced and should perform well across the board.
· As much as it hurts me to say it, Chris Fisher appears to have had a good draft. He alternated position player and starting pitcher early. Then plugged holes effectively down the line.
· Olin Forman’s team will hit. He employed an interesting strategy in that he took only four starters in total. The Big O will be looking to hit a bunch, run a bunch, and get saves with good peripherals. Let’s see if that will be enough to overcome the potential shortfall in wins and strike outs.
· Speaking of hitting, Joel Henard’s team fills the bill there. Joel employed an ‘infield first’ strategy with his first three picks. The late pickup of Bryce Harper could be the steal of the draft. Joel will win or lose based upon his starters’ ability to stay healthy.
· Rich Justmann was pleased with his selections (of course!). He alternated a position player and starter early (similar to Mr. Fisher who obviously copied his strategy). Rich is weak on closers. If he gets lucky with a couple late round setup men turning into closers, he’ll compete well.
· Last year’s winner, Matt Adair, appears to be solid across the board. Matt took Yoenis Cespedes with the expectation he would land on a Major League roster. He was correct in his guess although the ballpark in Oakland won’t do YC any favors.
· Lloyd Souza is a MAN among mere men. Who else would send in his pick fresh out of the operating room for a heart issue? Lloyd has great hitters and closers. His potential for success rests upon young starters. May they live healthy and prosper.
· Someone in the league is a fan of the Chicago White Sox. Step on down Mr. Rob Evans. Rob selected 7 Pale Hose among his 25 picks. Rob’s team results will be very interesting to see. He inadvertently selected one too many position players so he will have the benefit of only 10 pitchers. Fewer K’s and vultured wins – but also less damage to the peripherals. Was this his diabolical strategy all along?
· Marc Taylor’s team looks well-balanced top to bottom. He may have a few less home runs than some but he will have a ton of runs and steals with a solid average. His pitching has some question marks but, if they perform, he’ll be in the running for the title.
· For one of the lands Down Under, Mr. Steve Lyon checks in with another solid team. His pick of Kendrys Morales in the 14th round could be a steal. Kendrys has to be back this season, right? And I like his Aroldis Chapman pick late. Good upside. Worst case, he’s a solid reliever.
· Just how good is Brett Lawrie? Good enough for Steve Smith to pick him up in the 4th round. Steve’s team is a good blend of power and speed. I like the Eric Thames pick in the 15th round. Thames hit well in limited playing time last year and projects for a good 2012 campaign.
· Last but certainly not least was a certain Scott Gilroy. Scott’s team has great hitting including a great pickup of Ike Davis in the 12th round. His pitching looks to be at least league average which would put him in contention for the year.
A great experience once again this year. Great guys and a great draft. Good luck to all this coming season. May your players stay healthy, wealthy and wise – or at least the first of the three.