The American League in LABR had a fantastic finish this year, with the team that held the league lead since June sitting in first by only a half-of-a-point heading into the final three-day week, with three teams separated by only a point-and-a-half. For a detailed look, click here
Just watching that fabulous finish while my team was in 5th place motivated me to take a look back at the auction last March and see what worked, and what prevented me from being amongst those teams fighting for the title.
While the complete draft review is archived if you want to read it, I would summarize by saying my offense was good with Adam Jones ($21), Alex Avila ($17), Alcides Escobar ($13), and Andy Dirks ($4) being the best buys. Brett Lawrie ($28) didn’t live up to my expectations, but he and Matthew Joyce ($21) and others were not the reason I lost the league. Even the few disappointments--Jeff Francoeur ($17) and Casey Kotchman ($6)--did not lose the league.
One roster move and the saves I thought I drafted really jumped this team off the tracks. My starting pitching selections – Jeremy Hellickson ($14), Matt Harrison ($6), Jarrod Parker ($4), and (at the time) Alfredo Aceves ($2) were the first of the two strengths of the team. But, those relievers I counted on for my saves--Daniel Bard ($13), Jordan Walden ($16), and even Kyle Farnsworth (only $4)--really disappointed. If not for Aceves being moved to the bullpen in Boston and a nice free agent pickup of Jared Burton, I would not have finished with 31 saves and five points in the category.
The other strength of the draft was my six reserve selections – especially with the 11th pick in that snake draft. The reserves in LABR are far more than just some players who might help during the year because a reserve player can be moved from active back to reserve then back to active in any given week. Other players cannot be reserved unless they are sent to the minors (players who are injured can be put on the DL).
You will see that only half of my six reserves among Kelly Shoppach, Mike Montgomery, Alex Liddi, Luis Mendoza, Vinnie Catricala, and Drew Smyly even played in the majors this year, but that trio were key additions. Shoppach, because he backed up my cheap second catcher play of Josh Donaldson ($3), would play for the rest of the year for me; Mendoza because not only did he start a number of games for the Kansas City Royals but because I could reserve him for a tough start or when he was sent to the bullpen; and, Smyly because while he did not make the Opening Day roster for the Detroit Tigers, he did make the rotation and was called up by Jim Leyland (andme) in short order, and at least for the beginning of the year he was quite valuable for a reserve.
There were many good free agent additions and roster moves. But, one truly terrible move cost me a lot of home runs and runs batted in and countless hours of rest. You see, I had filled my middle infield slot in the auction with one Minnesota Twin named Trevor Plouffe. Quite a pick in early March, but early in the year Plouffe was benched and that empty spot (and the devil) made me cut him (if only he had been sent down right away) in the first week of May to add Wil Rhymes. UGH: Had I held onto Plouffe I might have finished 4th, and together with those missing saves, who knows? But, such is rotisserie life.