Spase Wranglers Preview

by Greg 2016/02/10

Spase is a town in Belgium, and Space Wranglers is one of my favorite Widespread Panic songs. Europe is known for their baseball, so hopefully this works out. Panic fired their original drummer this week, hopefully the Wrangler Nation won't be calling for their GM's head.

Preamble: I've gone homer happy the last few seasons, which has been mostly good. I was frustrated with my offense last year, hitting .199 will do that. We led the league in walks and homers, and a lot of standing around waiting for a homer. I didn't really have any pre-draft plan in mind, but a vague back-of-the-mind thought was to avoid a similar fate.

Pre-Draft: I almost took the ace, and then didn't because it was bent. I shoulda took the ace.

Like everyone else, I sent Jim some trade offers, but I don't think they were ever seriously considered, just part of the offseason fun by all. I didn't want to take a starting pitcher, but Grienke/Arrieta are elite, or supposedly elite, so I eventually took 20gz Arrieta with the 3rd overall pick. Every year I feel kind of stupid for thinking so much about the first pick, and then realizing that it takes 20+ good picks to win, not one pick.

Draft: I wasn't very happy with the first third of my draft. My indecision was obvious to everyone, once again, sorry about that. I struggled with a lot of picks early, but felt much better about my picks over the last two-thirds of the draft. Unfortunately, the first third has a bigger impact on the quality of your team.

Picking between Graham and Steve/Matt ended up being not-so-bad. It seemed like neither snagged guys I wanted right in front of me, it was more of Ken/Jim taking my guys. Maybe it has to do with draft philosophy.

Offense: Without much pre-draft thought, I ended up drafting a lot of batting average. It happened organically with each pick, I found myself being pulled towards the guys who could make things happen. Hopefully we hit for a high average with middling walks and power. A playoff formula will probably require a league-average-ish offense and a upper half run prevention.

I did take mostly everyday players. My lineup in order: Machado 162, Cespedes 159, Nelson Cruz 152, David Peralta 149, Adrian Gonzalez 156, Adam Eaton 153, Dozier 157, Bogaerts 156 are all every day guys. C8+3 McCann at 114 with C8+0 Wieters is good enough.

Defense: We drafted a very good defense, with the key weakness of a SS8. I spent a lot of time thinking about SS10 Andrelton Simmons or SS9 Addison Russell late, but struggled having an offensive zero in the lineup, especially since catcher was going to be very poor. Hopefully Bogaerts hits enough to make his SS8 palatable.

Other than SS, we have 3B5, 1B5, 2B8, LF2.32, CF3.32, RF3.37. McCann starts 2/3 of the time at C8+3, and Wieters' C8+0 is managable for a third of the time, at least he is an 8. The defense is key to our attempt at a good run prevention.

Pitching: We went 20gz Arrieta with the 3rd pick, then took our next starter in the 20th round, with a somewhat risky 14L Marco Estrada. He preplayed fairly well for me, and a deep pen could theoretically make his L managable. We shall see.

After Estrada, we have the mediocre 12g, 12g, 12+1. I paid a low price for these guys, so I'm fairly happy with what we cobbled together. I'd rather go this way than over pay for guys who may not produce.

We once again went with a deep pen, with 7 relievers for the 4th straight season. While the number of relief innings available isn't as high as it has been, the presence of Arrieta mostly means we only need relievers 4 out of 5 days . Being able to go to the pen early and often may make our weak 4/5ths of a rotation tolerable.

While not great, I'm happy with a Giles/Lopez/CarsonSmith 20H/L19H/18H top of the pen. Jepsen's 19GW provides a fourth 18+ option. Kontos 15zz and Osuna 16xz gives us ample Z usage, and Soria's 16 gives us innings.

Roster flexibility: A seven man pen always starts you behind the 8-ball with roster flexibility. I really only have 3 guys who can play multiple positions, Weiters 1b2 doesn't really count. Getting Holt's 1b2/2b7/ss7/3b4/of2 with a 5.0rcg was a key pick in that he can play everywhere. Machado's SS7 seems like it will rarely come into play, as Holt is the only 3B backup and he is also a SS7. Piscotty was a huge pick for me, as I needed a 1B3 to backup Gonzalez, and ideally someone who could play some RF. His OF2.34 will prevent me from having to start Peralta's OF2.32 in RF occasionally. Another pick that limits flexibility was Billy Hamilton. While I love having him on my bench as a PR weapon, such a one-dimensional player can be frustrating. At least he can play anywhere in the OF with his 3-34.

Best picks: I dunno if there were any. Nelson Cruz? Peralta could be on best or worst lists. I liked the value I got in the McCann/Wieters swing in the 16th/17th round. I liked the low price I paid for my rotation. Piscotty was great value. Really like Dickerson. Bogaerts may end up being solid value.

Worst picks: Dozier seems like a reach, but he was a pick to give me one more power/speed guy at a position when the options were running out. Gonzalez maybe early considering the other 1B options, but I wanted the games and the 1B5.

Pick to make my manager happy: B34 w/ 98sba cf3.34 Billy Hamilton with a bullet. Makes me very happy. Not sure how much he'll help the team. Random lefty reliever would have made managing a little more fun.

Expectations: I've learned I can't project how teams will perform. I hope we compete for the playoffs, but really have no idea.

Good luck to all! Go SL!