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Thursday 27th Jul 2017

Talking about the drafts held this past weekend in Phoenix during the First Pitch Arizona (FPAZ) conference, my friend Trace Wood noted that “real men draft in November”. I liked his quip and got his permission to use it here. True, November drafts are challenging.

A couple of days ago, Lawr wrote about the XFL Experts League auction held at FPAZ. I want to share here my experience with the two “NFBC” league drafts.

The league rules are quite simple: snake draft, standard roto 5x5 scoring, 23 man roster, 50 players per team, no trades, no in-season free agent pickups, 23 players are picked up in November, the remaining in mid-March.

I had two objectives for my team: get one top closer and secure one of the four top rated third basemen (Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson). I did not want to draft more than one relief pitcher because, let’s face it, there are too many unknowns about that position this early. We will have a better picture in March. Aroldis Chapman was available in the fourth round and I grabbed him, well aware that he is a free agent. What his role will be next year is impossible to say, but then again, the same uncertainty exists with other top closers.

As for third basemen, sadly, by the time I picked at #11, it was too late to grab any one of the above mentioned players. In both drafts, they were gone by the eighth pick. If you want one of these guys and are in a snake draft league, I wish you better luck. If you are in an auction league, be prepared to shell out plenty of dough.

What else did the two drafts tell us? Here we go:

- Trea Turner was the seventh pick in one draft and sixteenth (that is, first in the second round) in the other draft. That’s way, waaaay too soon according to the consensus at the FPAZ.

- Zack Greinke and Jose Bautista are on the regression path. Neither was drafted before the eighth round.

- While top outfielders go fast, the mid-tier is deep. For example, Corey Dickerson, Melky Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo were still available late in both leagues.

- Middle Infield is another deep position. For example, Kolten Wong (by consensus, a $1 player) and Ketel Marte were not even drafted.

- To my surprise, there was no fear of past injuries. I stayed away from Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Garrett Richards.

- On the topic of injuries, Devin Mesoraco and David Peralta should be back 100% by the start of the season.

Follow Pasko on Twitter @varnica123. His essays about sports in ancient Roman times can be found at SportsInAntiquity.com 

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