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Friday 15th Dec 2017

The draft season has officially begun.

Sure, the XFL was last November at FPAZ, and the FSTA a month ago in Dallas. But this weekend, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the amiable and roto-enthusiastic proprietor of The Wreck Room in San Francisco, hosted the first ever Bay Area Experts League, which I dubbed Bay Area Roto-Fantasy (BARF).

In addition to his barkeep activities and roto-focus, Tod makes a wicked sausage. With dogs and brew, he coaxed This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (by proxy with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and a bunch of great guys into his cozy sports and games bar--which is a happening place for sure--for what became the first BARF draft.

It was a 12-team format, and I got stuck in the middle, so I determined with pitching carrying so much power these days, I was going to take two premiere starters out of my first four picks. In fact, I sort of reasoned out hitter, pitcher, pitcher, hitter, hitter, pitcher, and then several position players in a row.

I did think that for some reason should Clayton Kershaw fall to me at seven--and, with Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo tantalizing there was a chance--I would take the Dodger lefty with my first pick, then take a hitter, and then the next best pitcher I could. The other thing I determined was to wait as long as possible for closers, knowing there would be enough and that the position was ever-volatile.

You can check out the final draft here, and though I like my team, I think we all have to be careful for Justin, who had a great draft. Note the league is 12-team, 5x5, with OBP and Quality Starts instead of AVG and Wins. We get a five-man reserve, can have three players on the DL, and $1000 in FAAB that process on Mondays.

So, here goes in order (and obviously open to your scrutiny and comments below).

1) Clayton Kershaw: Woo hoo.

2) A.J. Pollock: Pop, speed, average, and upside (this is the year of the upside).

3) Chris Sale: I cannot imagine a better tandem going into Spring Training than Kershaw and Sale. Seven months to go and we find out.

4) Yoenis Cespedes: Obviously a personal favorite. Cespe's on-base is a little concerning, but I think he is on the verge of tapping enormous skill now that he is experienced and acclimated to the USA and Show.

5) Freddie Freeman: Not sure if this was premature, but it is an on-base league, and Freeman, who is still just 26, is proven in that area.

6) Jason Kipnis: A little bit of everything up the middle on a good team. Like Cespe and Freeman, I think Kipnis' best is ahead.

7) Randal Grichuk: Another guy who makes a lot of my mock teams. I am thinking Grichuk with 500 at-bats can out-produce Matt Kemp at this point, playing on a very good Cardinals team.

8) Jonathan Lucroy: At this point, I am fleshing out my team with the best possible option, with my eye on filling my roster. Usually by this pick I maintain a list of five acceptable players, and order them by my own preference. When it was my turn, Lucroy was atop the list, and I was happy to grab him.

9) Brandon Crawford: Again, perhaps a little early, but I think Crawford can come close to repeating his fine 2015, if not maybe improve the numbers just a little. 20 homers out of shortstop is fine.

10) Jeff Samardzija: Strikeouts, a good pitcher's park, and a return to the National League should help the Shark out, I hope.

11) Lance McCullers: #4 starter, gets strikeouts, is on a winning team, and has that magic upside.

12) Stephen Piscotty: No secret how much I love the two young Cardinals outfielders: one with pop, one with chops, I will take both.

13) Kolten Wong: I wasn't really expecting to nab Wong here, but he was available and will give me some pop and swipes, and I think will improve his hitting numbers from last year. A nice play at middle infield.

14) Ender Inciarte: Another youngster I really like, I am hoping the new Brave can finish 2016 somewhere between his fine 2015, and that of Pollock's.

15) Brandon Finnegan: #5 starter with lots of skill and the ability to miss bats. His team is rebuilding, so the leash might need to be short, but a risk I am willing to take.

16) Brett Lawrie: I covered first, second, and short, along with middle, so Lawrie can indeed plug in at third, or move to second should I need it, and he will give me .260-15-65 totals, or thereabout.

17) Mike Fiers: Again, whiffs, and a winning team where a quality start is more important than a victory.

18) Derek Norris: Power, on-base skills, and he is a starter at #2 catcher.

19) Danny Valencia: Can play multiple positions, can hit, and again, good on-base numbers on a team that values and utilizes all these skills. What can he do but flourish (don't answer right away, please)?

20) Luke Gregerson: First stab at a closer.

21) Roberto Osuna: Second stab at a closer.

22) Ketel Marte: I should have taken another closer, but I could not in clear conscience leave Marte out there at this point. My team is flexible enough that I can take advantage of a lot of my infielders so all bases are covered, so to speak.

23) Hunter Strickland: Closer in waiting. This year, maybe even.

24) Nick Castellanos: More potential power on a great hitting team, with you know what (starts with "u").

25) Marco Estrada: Reserve starter, and one who whiffs hitters and has a good WHIP.

26) Aaron Altherr: Some outfield help with speed and power potential, the Phillies flychaser has 20/20 capability and logged a .350 OBP once he was established as a full timer in September.

27) Brandon Maurer: I am not sure if Maurer will start (I suspect the pen is his destiny, as a closer) or not, but I think he will be pretty good, and maybe cop some saves, or at least QS.

28) Robinson Chirinos: A back-up backstop with pop. Always good to have.

-Check out Ray Flowers' assessment of BARF.

-Check out Justin Mason's analysis of BARF.

-Check out The Welsh's podcast of BARF.

There you go. Remember you can always hit me up @lawrmichaels.

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