Yesterday we performed our annual ritual of picking real baseball players to join fake teams. Last year was a disappointing year for me as I had a really good team, traded my 3rd-round pick in 2010 for Jason Bay, and then my whole team decided to take June and half of July off. I struggled my way back and finished in 4th place, which ain’t bad (the top 7 spots out of 16 teams pay), but I failed yet again to beat my 1999 performance, when I finished 3rd. Frustrating.
I headed into the draft with the best hitter in baseball, one of the 5 best pitchers, a top third baseman, and another good pitcher. But also down one pick, and with no true prospects in development. So here’s how the draft shook out for me:
|C||Kurt Suzuki||OAK||6/93||26||Victor Martinez was the first pick in the league. Suzuki has a little upside and is sure to play every day.|
|2B||Scott Sizemore||DET||7/109||25||A bit of a risky pick, as it’s by no means clear the Tigers will stick with him, even though he should be a decent hitter. And unfortunately I have no backup plan at second base.|
|C||Jonathan LuCroy||MIL||20/317||24||LuCroy and Exposito are both catching prospects. LuCroy is probably close, Exposito is at least a year away – assuming he keeps hitting.|
|2B/SS/3B||Craig Counsell||MIL||25/397||39||My one multiposition backup – such as he is, at age 39.|
|OF||Domonic Brown||PHI||15/237||22||A perhaps-slightly-overrated prospect for the Phillies.|
|SP||Daniel McCutchen||PIT||24/376||27||Having 3/5ths of the Pirates rotation could be my key to victory!|
|SP||Jacob Turner||DET||9/141||19||This year’s “out on a limb” prospect pick, he was the Tigers’ first-round pick in 2009 and has yet to pitch in the minors, but is very highly regarded.|
|SP||Julio Teheran||ATL||29/422||19||Another very young, highly-regarded pitcher, but he hasn’t yet shown his potential yet.|
|SP||Cory Luebke||SDN||30/425||25||And another prospect, but this one may well be up this year.|
I hoped to go back to taking a big bopper with my first-round pick, but there weren’t many left when my 13th-overall pick came around, thanks to our deep keeper rules, so instead I took Yunel Escobar, who is a strong-hitting shortstop who has additional upside. I used my 4th round pick to take Josh Willingham, who can rake when he’s healthy. And I beefed up my rotation with John Lackey and Scott Baker, which should make it quite good.
The first ten rounds of my draft went pretty well, I thought. As I said, my main regret was not having a better plan in case Scott Sizemore doesn’t work out, and not having a quality multiposition backup. Otherwise I have a pretty balanced team, albeit with my usual less-than-dominating bullpen. And I’ve restocked with some high-upside prospects.
Our league continues to get more competitive, as once again I was scrounging for guys to pick with my last few picks. But my list of prospects was very deep this year.
And as always I have no idea whether I’ll truly compete. I have some injury risks here and there (Lackey, Willingham, a couple of old guys), but I’m by no means relying on everyone being completely healthy. I’m just hoping I can come out of the gate strong, since struggling to get back in the hunt after a slow start always sucks.