The Draft...We wavered all over the place heading into the draft even toying with taking the top 3 relievers in rounds 1-2-3 to really be creative, but got weak in the knees and conformed to conventional wisdom of drafting hitting in order to make the playoffs. We planned on emphasizing good pitching early and started in that direction, but could not quite commit enough early picks to solidify strong pitching from top to bottom. Ultimately, on offense, we focused in on runs created per game as the benchmark for success (Cards-Shmards). As it so happens, most players that are now Taters are J(0)'s with tons of games played, which means im going to dance with the date I brought. Vader felt real good about its first 18 picks (minus O'Flaherty who is fan favorite) and then 19-27 lost focus, direction, and vision which translates into a confused bench. Hopefully, 1-18 is good enough?
Offense...In our starting 9, Taters bring 5 men w/ over 30mlb Taters and another w/29 which we hope will translate into potential firepower?? Typically however, my expectations are seldom met, and even more seldom are they surpassed. Platoon!! we have excessive Left handed platoon ratings and are just going to hope for the best when we see lefties (did greg say he only has 1?!) On the bases, we have some issues with station to station guys like Montero, Fielder, Cano and Butler. Additionally, those same guys hit into more than their fair share of double plays, so the "24" is definitely a problem in Vader. Obp is a mixed bag w/ high obp guys like Fielder, Montero, Cano, Butler, (none who can run) & Headley countered by some really low obp guys like Bruce, Escobar, and Jones, so we will hope for the best and swing for the TATER!
Pitching...Our first pitcher taken was a reliever! in round 3! We were prepared to take Rodney in round 1, but felt nobody else in the league valued him as high as I did and we took our chances that he would be there round 3 and he was. Top notch relievers were determined to be thin this year when compiling the notebook, and considering how often games are close late, we thought Rodney had it ALL and was a must have. However, we did not follow him up with much in the bullpen, and Vader is disappointed in its bullpen as a whole as we enter play. Starting 5 has 2 nice players in Dickey 16z and Hamels 14z, 1 solid in Bumgarner 12z, and 2 piles of dung in Parker and Harang. Pitching is a funny thing in this league (Bumgarner, Parker, and Harang are all 12's, so why the distinction?) , or at least one of the least predictable, so, anything can happen I suppose.
Defense...Cano 9, Headley 5 and Montero +4 highlight the infield D w/ Fielder's 3 at 1b for 162 and Escobar 8 at SS. Not great, but a Decent mix there? Last year's Dingers were far worse on paper. In the Outfield, I determined last year, that for as disappointing Bruce was w/ the bat, he made up for it w/ his Defense 3/37 by 1)- Throwing out a lot of runners trying to advance and or score 2)- His big arm persuaded managers to hold runners that otherwise would have tried to advance/score. As a result, we were more than comfortable taking a little less "O" in the outfield for big armed 3's and hope they could hit also (Bruce and Jones topped 30mlb taters) ..Bruce 3/37 & Upton 3/37 in the corners are a formidable duo that should limit scoring chances by my opponents, or at least make them think about it long and hard and bemoan the call that "he just doesn't have wheels for that".. In CF, Adam Jones is a 3/33 for all 162, we like what he brings to the position and love the 3 of them combined for over 155 games.
Draft Highs...I got Rodney and the Outfield I hoped to have. I got 2 of the top 10? starting pitchers and Headley in the 5th was a joy.
Draft Lows..1)-.I publicly declared Cano a mistake at 1, and it wasn't so much that I thought he will be bad (even though all my #1 offensive picks have underperformed to date) but that Yadier was much better than Montero for my style and I liked Aaron Hill who I felt I could have got in round 2. So, I will watch Yadier and Hill tear it up as Montero and Cano repeatedly hit into the 6-4-3 DP. 2)-Several later picks I should have used on guys I needed but expected to slide and did not. Hosmer was a guy I knew I needed, but felt would be around, and alas the evil empire got him, Alexi Casilla was another. 3)- Lastly who could forget the Hammel fiasco?! No big deal as far as keeping him, but a wee bit earlier than need be.
Expectations...The core of this team is slower and less versatile than what I am accustomed to managing and that is a concern. However, I feel like there is potential for this team to hit the TATER as well as pitch good enough to win more than we lose. Karma will dictate if there is a return playoff run, but I know I have a chance, as Cano and Montero...hitter- hitter went 1-2.