Port St. Lucie Preview

Preamble: On the day of the draw, I had no idea who was the 5th best player and/or the best player for me. I didn't have a significantly stronger opinion come MLK Day. Mauer and Tulo and Kershaw were the 3 I thought I would need to choose from. I feel I made the right choice because of the pitching depth and catching depth, but there were a lot of relatively strong value picks at SS. Oh well.

Thought Votto's numbers were comparable to a mid-2nd pick, but when I think later on that his card is mid-round worthy, I question my decision.

Enough about my second-guessing myself. Could get 27 paragraphs of that. The one other comment I will make is that drafting in the middle is a skill I hadn't had the pleasure of doing in awhile. Seemed to me I had to draft a lot more based on trends that in many years, where I had to note that if Player A was taken, that was my cue to take Player B ... I feel that alot in drafts, but it's usually impacts my decisions less frequently than it would if I was drafting in the middle of the round. Whether I did this well or not, or should have been so cognizant of trends, we shall see.

Offense: I draft too much based on the poor areas I drafted the previous year. Wanted speed, partially because I thought I had poorly represented that the previous season. Not necessarily basestealing as much as baserunning speed. Not terrible there, but nothing off the charts. Couple good stealers, just a few slow runners. If Jim could win in 2013 partially by recognizing he did better when he put his 2nd round pick on his bench, I might have to do the same with 6th round pick Ellsbury.

In 2013 I drafted a team I thought would hit homers, but they rarely did. For this group, I again knew I needed power, but other than Tulo, the other 8.25 position players will probably be below the norm for their position. If I hit 162 homers, I will be pleased.

One thing I hated about my 2013 team, besides poor offense from my catchers, was just how unspectacular my OF offense was. I felt the 2014 OF offense pool was pretty nondescript, but I really don't know that my 8 different OFs (6 of them will man 3 OF and 1 DH position, other 2 will be late inning replacements) solved any problem I foresaw, but I don't had bad feelings about my efforts with the group.

Pitching: I think I can do well with this staff. Colon and Sanchez should give me a strong top 2, though that may be horse-and-buggy thinking to have staff success rely on 500 above average innings from your top 2 starters. Beyond those 2, the rest of the staff is probably not going to blow anyone away, but they don't stink. An 8 team SL in a pretty strong pitching season will probably make me change my mindset about what a successful staff looks like when we are all done.

Defense: Again, Tulo was partially a response to how atrocious Starlin Castro was for me in 2013. I think my defense will be good, an improvement on my poor 2013 team -- probably not top 2, but they won't be bottom 2. Some weaknesses, but nothing I can't address in short spurts or with managing in ways that I already know I like to manage. Have a lot of 2 defensive pitchers, which I like ... if passed balls are Ken's pet peeve, E-1 is my pet peeve.

Best selections: I like Wright. I like Sanchez. I like Nava. I like Matt Moore. Several people (maybe it was just the duo) told me Avilan was a great pick. Got kudos for Colon, for Ellsbury, for Bautista, for Perez, for Howell, for Valencia, for Laird. They all won't be great, but hopefully they all contribute to what I hope was ultimately a balanced draft.

Worst selections: Not feeling great about Votto, or Iglesias, or Mark Ellis or Myers, or Young. Those all were defensible. If Nelson Cruz or Dexter Fowler or Hiroki Kuroda don't beat my expectations, I will tell all about how terrible those picks were. I hope I am wrong about all of these question marks of mine.

The crux of the Fowler pick was that I want Fowler every year, every year he's ok in the SL but not great, and yet immediately after I took Ellsbury, I had designs on Fowler as my backup CF / backup DH. I feel blessed I didn't take him in the 8th when I first considered him, but right after Jeff Baker was taken, I desperately wished I would have taken Baker in the 16th instead of him.

Overall: I believe I can compete with this group. I feel better about these guys than I ever did in 2013 with my team.