The draft season has officially begun.
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.
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.