Mountain Air Preview

by Greg Nims, Team Owner, GM, Manager

We went into the draft with the somewhat dubious plan to NOT follow last year's model of all power all the time, which only helped us win 93 games. I wanted to maximize the value of all my picks, rather than pigeon hole into one specific strategy. As the draft approached, it appeared that Kershaw was the obvious #4, and I didn't want a pitcher, following the advice of back to back league runnerup Jim Frank. I received a good deal from Matt, so I agreed to trade down from #4 to #6.

I didn't know who I wanted, but leaned towards Tulo, who Keith promptly took at #5. Going by my board, Mauer was the best available, so I took him. A 113 game 1st rounder may not be the best plan, but he is an elite defender at a key position and almost an elite hitter. We swung back with Matt Carpenter, and was somewhat happy but somewhat disappointed with how things turn out.

We stuck to all offense, and had picked my 10th position player with the 68th pick of the draft. Very happy with the value we got in Puig, Freeman, Craig, Yan Gomes and Adam Jones. Zobrist was somewhat of a flexibility pick, and it cemented Carpenter at 3B. We then took 7 straight pitchers, and 9 of 10. I didn't plan to avoid starting pitchers early, but I didn't find a way to get good value on one, so I kept passing.

We ended up with an offense that could be very good, driven by what could be a league-leading OBP. It may look like I decided on OBP before the draft, but that is simply the result of what I thought was the available value. OBP should be very good, power middling, solid speed, and poor base stealing. Fortunately, speed is cheap and I was able to pick up C33 Rios and C30 Bonifacio late, essentially allowing me to PR for anyone in my lineup.

My defense is close to outstanding, driven by SS10 Simmons, 2B9 Zobrist, CF3.33 Adam Jones, C9+6 Mauer and C8+5 Yan Gomes. Gomes was a surprising pick, but he was easily the most valuable player on my draft board when I took him. There are no weak spots defensively, other than some bench play. We have seven players who play multiple positions, so there will be a lot of flexibility for late game situtations, which will be needed to be able to run.

My rotation is the weakest in the league, but it is backed by a league-leading 714 available bullpen innings. Last year we led the league with 678.2 relief IP, this year we hope to beat that mark. Combining the pen, the rotation, and most importantly the defense, we hope we can approach league average in runs allowed.

All in all, I think we are a playoff contender. Above average scoring and close to league average run prevention would theoretically get us in the picture. The division layout is nice, seemingly balanced and competitive from both a historical and "who is good this year" point of view.

Good luck to all, and have a great SL2014!