Defense - Believe I will like my fielding % and my catcher's and their throwing ability, but do not have monster OF arms. Tulo does have the best arm in the league on relays, so at least we have that. Pedroia is a Clover for his 2B-8, for the most part, so I'm expecting he turns a lot of double plays with a limited number of errors.
Pitching - Expect the team to be near the top of the league in ERA, if Carpenter is as strong as I predict. Haren's walk prevention will be another key factor in their overall strength. 3, 4, and 5 Danks, Niemann and Garza will just need to keep the team in the game for their combined 450 innings. Bullpen should be relatively good, but I am not expecting anything like what the Anchormen did in 2009, with their historically good effort. Just the same, the pieces I have for 2010 are better than the pieces that made up the Anchormen pen.
Bench - Not versatile at all. The anti-Swinea bench. But when called upon, I like each of my "non-core" players. Looking forward to giving Fuld some opportunities. Randy Ruiz is expected to be a better version of 2010 Russ Branyan, although maybe he should be compared to Rusty Ryal. Bourn scares me a little with his card, but that's just because I haven't seen a card that looks like his, or at least cannot remember one like his. Regardless, I'll plan on his being among the league leaders in steals. Only 10 postseason games available per series for my catching corps, so no injuries are allowed should I make the postseason. Infante is the pick I like the most in my last two-thirds of my draft, so I'll be looking for ways to get him in games.
Intangibles - I have won with less in past seasons, but as Steve likes to mention, "winning" and drinking from the Spit Cup are different things. On the flip side, I have had losing records with better teams than this. Coming off a MOY, I need to really live up to that title. And I do think I have learned a ton lately about success, even though I keep drafting a non-hitter or two in the first two rounds.
Good luck to all in SL 2010!
After spending our top 5 offensive picks on slow guys (we added defensive stalwart C9+4 Yadier Molina in the 6th round), we filled out the rest of the lineup with some speed, creating quite an interesting lineup. The bottom half of the order will be RF2.36 Justin Upton 7.3, 2B7 Felipe Lopez 6.4, CF2.33 Dexter Fowler 5.5, SS9 Yunel Escobar 5.6, and Molina 4.5.
Bench - The bench is maybe the best I've ever had, with great speed, flexibility, and pretty much all positive contributors on offense. Maicer Izturis 2b8/3b4/ss8/of1 5.8 E28, Willie Harris cf3.32/2b7/3b3 5.4 E28, BJ Upton CF3.37 4.1 C29, and Willie Bloomquist 1b3/2b7/3b3/ss8/of2.32 3.9 D31 provide a huge amount of speed and flexibility, with pretty strong offense to boot. Bench slugger Kyle Blanks 1b3/of2.33 6.3 and backup catcher C7-2pb2 Mike Napoli 6.2 give us good power in their limited roles.
Overall, I think the offense should finish in the top third in runs. Our OBP could lead the league, and the power is maybe league average. The biggest possible downside is GIDP (Gonzalez, Molina and Escobar combine for 11 24s), but hopefully the bench speed can be used to neutralize them.
Rotation - The Rain put together a fairly weak rotation in 14y+2 Matt Cain, 13x+1 Tommy Hanson, 13xy+1 Jon Lester, Pz+3 Mark Buehrle, and 9z+2 Jarrod Washburn. About the best thing I can hope for is the depth and +10 move (combined with Molina behind the plate) makes them not terrible. Could really be a weak spot for the team.
Bullpen - Two decent guys in 18xyz+2 Joakim Soria and 16yz+1 Latroy Hawkins. After that, 16xyg+0 Heath Bell, 16x+0 Takashi Saito, 15H+0 Ramon TRONcoso, and L13y+2 Daniel Ray Herrera are all out to prove they're better than replacement level.
Defense - Strong in spots (1b5, ss9, c9+4), solid in a few (3b4, cf2.33, rf2.36) and weak in others (LF1.30, 2b7), this isn't a strong suit. But the bench has some good options; Upton's 3.37 should be used across the outfield, Harris's of3.32 will also see lots of action, while Izturis will see lots of PT with his solid defense. Overall, we will be below average.
Best draft picks - I really liked everything that happened from 11 (2B Felipe Lopez) through the end of the draft. Sitting with my DHs and weak starting pitching after 8 rounds, I was thinking my team may end up terrible. But the teen rounds went really well, and that is frequently where good teams are put together. The best picks were Lopez at 11, Upton at 12, Fowler at 15, Harris at 19, BJ Upton at 21 (maybe just because I had a crush on him from the moment I selected Adam Dunn), Napoli at 23, and Escobar and Blanks in the 24th. Escobar is really good value, although that is obviously the benefit of taking the last shortstop starter.
Biggest reachs - Some people may say Gonzalez in the 3rd or Dunn in the 5th, but I really think they are going to produce. Buehrle and Washburn in the 9th and 10th could be the biggest failing, but at that point I felt I had to do something to save my rotation. Not a lot of reaches, although you can debate some unwise picks.
Roster failing - No shortcoming in terms of a specific need. As I said earlier, this may be the best and most flexible bench I've ever had. Maybe adding an extra reliever may have been a better way to go thank Blanks, but then I wouldn't have a bat on the bench.
Prediction - Top third in runs, hoping for something acceptable in run prevention, contender.
Offense: Like last season my spreadsheet was pretty much cleared out. There were no super high quality guys available late Offense is typically my target for all selections - I did jump a few rounds to get some of the power/speed guys such as Nelson Cruz and the good CarGo. Some power was sacrificed at the traditionally non power positions including Ellsbury in CF, Suzuki behind the dish and Cabrera at SS - they all do have replacements with some HR power. Along with Albert, D Lee and Nelson Cruz should get some dongs and expect some from Utley as well. Ethier, Ianetta, Uribe and Blake should provide HR's here and there when they are in the lineup. I am not certain will get 123 stolen base attempts from Ellsbury but should have a decent number throughout the team.
Pitching: Good enough. Hopefully. 4 G starters... a few high grade low inning guys such as Vargas and Eyre. Plus a few other guys.
Defense: Should be good. Arms are 3-31, 3-33 & 2-36 from left to right. I will typically be fielding a 42 or 43 defense without the pitcher in there. Largest hole is Suzuki's -1 arm behind the plate but Hill will help out in late innings. All the catchers are passed ball rated 1. It was an accident...
Bench: I dont know if I truly have a bench other than K Hill and I suppose whoever is not starting between Ethier and Abreu. That being said, I dont think I really foresee any pinch hitting needs other than Suzuki and possibly Cabrera.
Value selections: Abreu (15), Ethier (21) however they are competing for a similar spot so I dont know what true value they have. Challenging selections: Cruz (7), Uribe (10) & Gonzalez (11) were selected based on guys I wanted (power speed OF and multi positional IF) not necessarily how good I thought they were.
Surprises: I was surprised that D Lee was available back to me in the 3 spot after the swing. I was surprised that King Felix fell down to the 8 spot (I shouldnt have been surprised but...). Escobar as a quality 9 SS sliding to round 24. There was others but those are the three that stand out.
This should be quite the competitive season. Back to 9 teams with almost the same amount of games played vs everyone. Hopefully I can get in the playoffs.
This is a .500 team. We may get lucky and get 86 wins, and we may get unlucky and win 75. Too early to tell what will be needed to make the playoffs, but I am in a division with Keith, a perennial playoff participant, and Graham, who won three Spit Cups in the 'Aughts. I clealy have my work cut out for me.
I missed a lot of the players I wanted early, but the second half of the draft I was able to get almost every player I targeted. As per usual, some guys fell to me, some were reaches and some were the correct and most obvious choice.
My offense should be pretty good. I should be in the top half of the league in walks, and homers, as I should be able to hit 200 homers as a team. Not the swiftest team, I may end up leaving a lot of guys on base, and I should only be in the 100-150 team steal range.
Starting pitching is decent enough for me. I feel as though I got fairly good value picks, and guys will either pitch good, or they will get removed from the game. Halladay will be a horse. Bullpen is a little weak compared to everyone else, but still not bad on paper, with a 19, 19, 16, 15, 14 and 14 combo. Just like with the starters, I am fine with them vs the opportunity costs.
Bench involves a bunch of role players. Markakis and Hudson will spot start and pinch run/come in for defense. Andrus is designated thief. Martin will spot start and Blanco will come in and allow stolen bases. Torres will start a couple times per series and have triples. Everybody has a purpose.
Best pick = Maybe Helton in the 7th. Hard to say. I got immediate responses about people wanting Torres, Miller and Andrus, right after I picked them, so maybe rounds 15-20 were good for me.
Worst pick = Blanco. Maybe followed by Votto, Drew and Lyon.
Prediction. Too early to tell. This is why we play the games.
Offense - Zobrist, Jeter, Howard and Morales should give me 4 very solid offensive contributors with a good mix of some power and some speed/stealing ability. Really need Figgins to get on base. Kemp's platoon 3 will likely limit his offensive contributions, but at least he can run when he gets on. Manny (2009 Spit Cup Finals MVP) will man LF and should produce from the 3 hole (at least for now). Crawford will hit a little and run a lot. Iwamura (34), Rios (32) and Teahen (34) can all run well and will do so frequently for Manny, Gomes and Kendry. Gomes will provide some slugging when Manny is sitting and another bat off the bench when Manny plays.McCann will hit some as a part time starter at C as his couterpart Laird will likely not hit much at all. Coghlan will be our PH and should do well in that role with his high BA and OBP.
Defense- Everyday IF is 4-8-9-5 from first to third and OF is 1-32 (or 1-31), 3-37 and 3-33 from LF to RF. My defensive total will be 40 with McCann behind the dish and 42 with Laird (not including the P), but we only have 1 point to gain from any of our defensive subs (Rios). Jeter 9 at SS, Figgins 5 at 3B, Kemp 3-37 and Laird 9+4 highlight the D for Porchtown and Zobrist 8 at 2B, Morales 4 at 1B and Crawford 3-33 are still very solid. McCann behind the plate is a risk and he will be pulled early and often when he starts. I have never (I believe) started a 1 in the OF but felt like the offense that Manny will provide was worth the risk.
Bench - My bench was firly open to grabbing whatever I wanted as long as I was able to get a decent 2B fill in giving that Zobrist plays everywhere. So I nabbed Iwamura for his 2B-8 and PR ability. I have good PRers in Rios, Teahen and Iwam and a solid D OFer in Rios. Gomes will start part time in LF and he and Coghlan will be a very solid combo for pinch hitting (one power and one good BA/OBA). Teahen ability to play 1B, 3B and OF was the reason he was selected.
Rotation - I hope that Timmy will improve upon his 14-14 4.09 ERA from last year, but even if he doesn't he should consume close to the 262 innings he did last year. Wandy will be a very solid lefty as a 13X and Beckett should pitch well as an 11XZ, although I am not expecting him to be as good as Greinke was last year for me. Dempster is not too shabby for a 4th and on every 5th day I hope the bullpen is ready. Only one Z, but with a solid top 3 this group should keep us in most games, at least 1-4.
Bullpen - Lots of games and innings for most all of the pen which will be nice. On paper this group looks very solid with grades of 21, 20, 19, 17, 15 and 11. One W and one Z as I did not "reach" to grab the Zs like I felt a lot of others were doing in the draft this year. We'll see how that works out, but I like this group and the depth at the back end especially. Together they provide 417 games in relief and 575 innings and we have three J-0s, two J-1s and 1 J-2 with Valverde's 52 games and 81 innings both lows for this staff.
Best Picks - Who knows, I like my picks of Jeter, Howard, Morales, Manny and Crawford. I feel like Gomes and Coghlan might contribute and were very good value offensively late in the draft.
Biggest Wants That I Didn't Get - I really wanted DLee or Votto in round 2, Torres was going to be Manny's other half one pick later, really wanted Ruiz or Suzuki as my other C but settled for McCann, drafted Braden mostly for his J-4 then the trade with Greg left me without one of the top 6th starters (I was planning on taking Bergesen with the pick before Chris did).
Offense: Should be half way decent with above average offensive players at catcher, shortstop and center field. Power should be OK and speed is mixed. No traditional leadoff hitter on the team may be cause for concern.
Defense: Most of the time I disregarded defense when drafting. But regardless of this I don't think my defense will be that bad. Other than a 1 in RF, other positions are average or above average.
Starting pitching: Two elites leading the way with one serviceable guy following. 4 and 5 spots are paper thin at best. They are both Z's, so we will see if that helps at all.
Bullpen: seems like everyone has a solid bullpen this year. So nothing special here.
Worst pick: CF Gardner in the 24th round is the pick that I like the least. I have a few doubts about a few others as well. Gardner does not really fit into my plans. I am uncertain why I even picked him. I had a coveting lapse.
Best pick: Carlos Pena in the 9th. Solid glove and loads of power and on base potential.
Overall prediction: 83 wins
Picks I liked: Roberts in the 9th immediately got me 3 trade offers and I like the concept of him leading off with a ton of doubles and some walks, as well as speed from a traditional slow DH spot. I think I got good value from Overbay and Wright for what they will be able to contribute. Picks I dislike: Jurrgens in the 3rd may make or break my club. I thought he was the final starter on the tier so passed on Jeter, who I thought would be a great compliment to Mauer to pick him. Thought Jair was the worst pick of the round, however, and am not sold on how solid he will be as a #2 starter. If he can keep his era under 4, that will be huge to the club.
Offense: Speed through the lineup - slowest guy Mauer's 12 plus the firstbaseman. 4 regular starters hit over .300 in MLB, most with some walks too. I can see this club around .250/.330 quite easily. Not as much home run power in the lineup so I hope to make up for some of that with taking extra bases. Not too platoon heavy, so may get extra singles out of that. Few 24s within the everyday lineup. Expect to score about 5 runs/game with good offensive flow.
Pitching: Four starters grade 11 or up is a positive. Only 2 starters with Zs, however. Bullpen is about medium depth, with 3 of the 6 graded 19 or higher. 4 Hs and a G in the pen which meant little or less last season, so we will see about home run control. No Zs in the pen and my first ever W. Staff is probably about average quality, with Jurrgens' ability to work 220 innings at a high level or 180 at not-so-high a huge factor.
Defense: 9 at short and behind the plate. A couple of OF3s. 9/8 in the middle infield for 80% of the time, without many Z pitchers might mean higher DPs than typical. Not as bad as last year's club so .983???
Bench: A couple of pinch runners who are not bad platoon starters in a pinch, part-time starters at 1B & CF, a utility D guy in middle infield, a 40 game catcher with a decent arm and two pitchers who can pinch run make up the bench. Not a lot of bench needed regularly, I expect, with 4 155+ game regulars who will not need subtituting for plus Mauer. Almost everyone can hit for themselves and, beyond the firstbasemen, run for themselves.
Overall: This club seems fairly balanced. We will see if the potential holes are large enough to drag everything else down. Division will be interesting as Steve & I seem to alternate beating up on each other -- sometimes within the same season -- and Jim has Greinke plus a bunch of good offensive guys. As everyone else, I can see 82-84 wins and in the playoff battle for my club.