But, Thursday evening, Howard's mate Dave Kerr hosted (Howard was tied with Super Bowl 50 work, which is in our back yard) as the Army went at it for a 15-team mixed format.
I logged in a little before the draft start and found myself drafting in the 15-slot, at the wheel, so I decided then and there to try something and see which way the players fell.
I do love drafting at the end of the snake, for it affords chances to try things not necessarilly afforded at other slots within the serpent. Drafting first affords some of the same chances, the difference being you make a pick and nada for the next 30 players, while drafting 15 means two prime picks right in the middle of the first rounds.
Since we all know just how deep pitching is this season, it has been interesting to see how long drafters wait to fill out their rotations and pens. In general, I have found despite the depth at the position, players are snatching up the top pitchers early, forcing all of us to have to actually work the hill spot sooner than might seem reasonable.
So, I decided to try and exploit that even more, drafting pitchers with my first four selections, and then with my seventh and eighth selections as well. That meant I built a deadly rotation--and pen--with the first third of the draft, but that also meant a scramble for at-bats, power, on-base, and speed as I took only position players from rounds 9-18.
The full draft can be viewed here. Below is my roster, in draft order, with my thought of why at the time.
3.15 Jacob deGrom: Best strikeout guy on the board at the time.
4.1 Carlos Carrasco: Whiffs, yes, and just hoping he has arrived.
5.15 Francisco Lindor: I wanted to make sure that I had some potential production at middle infield, and with the likes of Correa and Seager and Tulo gone, well, this is where I went.
7.15 Trevor Rosenthal: Best closer available at the time.
8.1 Mark Melancon: With Rosenthal atop the stopper list, Melancon was next. Selecting a closer in a 15-team set-up is a lot different than with 12 or 13 teams, so I took two here to make my opponents suddenly have to deal with a potential dearth of both top starters and closers.
9.15 Kole Calhoun: No question how much I like Calhoun, and well, he was the best bet on the board for 25-plus homers.
10.1 Randal Grichuk: The fun of this draft was gambling on the likes of Lindor and Grichuk (and more).
11.15 Carlos Santana: The top tier first sackers were likewise gone, but Santana offers on-base numbers and pop, and I still think (hope) his best numbers lie ahead.
12.1 Stephen Piscotty: Another guy I really like, Piscotty makes great contact, can really hit, and I hope he just gets a shot at playing full time. If he does, I am thinking .290-17-85 is reasonable.
13.15 Derek Norris: Catchers were getting thin like closers a few rounds before, so I tried to buy more time by grabbing Norris, who is another guy whose best work I think lies ahead.
14.1 Blake Swihart: So, I doubled up at backstop, grabbing another shiny prospect I hope will deliver.
15.15 Nick Castellanos: No question Castellanos has double-digit power, and again, another guy who is due to be as good as we hoped when drafted five years back.
16.1 Domingo Santana: High on my list, Santana should have a regular shot to be the starting centerfielder in Milwaukee, and if he can play should give 20 or so homers along with some nice support numbers.
17.15 Kevin Kiermaier: My last outfield slot went to another up-and-comer with a track record of some power and some speed. Ideally, in his third year, things will fall in place.
18.1 Marco Estrada: If he keeps the WHIP down, and gets his strikeouts, I am happy to have Estrada as a #5 starter.
19.15 Avisail Garcia: Garcia goes to my Utility spot, giving a chance for some upside. He is still just 25, you know?
20.1 Brandon Finnegan: Personal favorite, and I think he will flourish as a starter this year.
21.1 Nathan Eovaldi: A little surprised Eovaldi was still out there, but happy to take his whiffs. Another player who is due to break through in my opinion.
22.1 Martin Prado: By now, the pool was thin, but I do like Prado, who can hit and has a little power. He is the kind of guy who might not give much, but neither will he take much.
23.15 Jose Iglesias: Took a Mr. Irrelevant gamble on the Tigers shortstop, who hit .300, stole 11, and makes good contact with 25 walks to 44 whiffs last year.
There you have it. Don't forget you can follow me @lawrmichaels.