As history suggests, the ACE holder has a nice advantage most years and has a good shot at making the playoffs as a result, but its far from a sure thing... Graham’s 2012 Chennai team was the last #1 overall pick and second consecutive overall #1 to miss the playoffs, it was the second year in a row the #1 was Bautista as Matt’s Edmond Fitz team did not make the playoffs as #1 overall in 2011. We all remember the disappointment on Holmes Beach in 2009...F’n Pujols?! Regardless, #1 comes with some expectations...as a team...and on that guy taken #1. We expect neither disappoint in 2016.
Pre-draft plan: in the few weeks between seasons, I had been approached about interest to trade out of the #1 slot. Hmmm, I did think about it, and could have been OK dropping a few slots and taking a top tier starter, but we went that direction last year, with success...Most GM’s seem to like to use a proven formula for success and try and repeat that every year...its a solid plan...As you all know me, I do not care to conform so much. As successful as last year’s Flushing Bombs team was, I knew: #1 that the formula for trying that again was simply not realistic in 2016 and #2, Its been done...I wanted a totally different team despite last year’s success from gm 40 to 162.
Of course, it made it pretty simple that the “best” offensive player this year was significantly better than all the rest...there really was little debate, and offers to trade up justified staying...Nobody was trading up to secure Greinke, Harper is clearly the top of this year’s participants with a bat.
Expectations: this seems to be a point of contention within the league...I will concede I typically have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the top of the draft. It is rare that the #1 over-produces and exceeds expectations, we can usually hope he performs up to his MLB #’s...I feel seasons are won and lost with the unexpected...the Nelson Cruz factor...where a random guy far surpasses expectations statistically….To achieve at a high level as a team, somebody on your roster, hopefully more than one needs to OVER-achieve expectations. At #1, Bryce Harper in 2016 is expected to be huge...period. He cannot perform at a 5.7 rc/game and expect to win more than we lose.
On OFFENSE: Harper (42Blast) at #1 starts 153 games in right field bringing gaudy OBP/Slugging/Hr numbers with him. Concerns? his OBP is inflated by 15 intentional walks...he is only a 2 on D, has a platoon 3, and his ability to run is limited in both attempts and success rate. We hope and feel like we surrounded him with significant run producers by adding Chris Davis (47) and Nolan Arrenado (42) giving the Blast, 3 of the top 4 MLB players in Blasts. David Ortiz (37) wil DH giving this lineup a very Beefy 3-4-5-6 most of the season. After these guys were drafted 1-4, i felt we needed to balance things out and compliment the beefy middle… Complimentary speed/obp steal guys that are expected to get on base in front of the power are SS-Lindor .353 obp (only 99 games), 2B-Dee Gordon .359 obp and OF-Micheal Brantley .379 obp...All are expected to simply get on base and are expected to score plenty? The bottom of the lineup will see CF-Blackmon (welcome back!) hit behind Ortiz with the expectation that his 4 gidp in 157 games will keep Ortiz in games longer as it is expected the double play will be avoided? He will also hit in front of the cruel necessity forced upon the SL in 2016...the Catcher!?! UGh...Sal Perez is god awful, but he did hit 21 blast..he will bat ninth and we expect him to suck, so anything he does is gravy! We expect the massive amount of Hit and Run he will execute boost his results? Offensive weapons seeing time will be Rayburn against top Lefty starters probably at DH, Vogt provides some flexibility and we expect Ben Revere to run late in games but also has some potential with the bat & has a nice OBP and BA from the left side….Left side...this team is HEAVY platoon from the left side...but mostly power guys, so the expectation is that won’t be an issue?!?
PITCHING: Steve drafting in front of this team Killed me...He took relief pitchers in the 4th, 8th, and 10th rounds that I expected to add to the blast. Knowing my starting 5 was going to be B-A-D, the bullpen would have to be solid, deep, and effective. I am not sure this was achieved? I truly believe that it is OK to have 1 or 2 suspect relievers to go to early and or in blowouts...We got 2 “W” relievers for this purpose both over 70 g and 100 ip...from there 3 Z’s in Rondon 19, Britton 18, and Madson 17 will get the late innings. Andrew Miller is a Lefty 20 and we simply loved his strikeout rate...when we need one, he is the guy...We do not have high expectations, but think the 17,17,18,18,19,20 will hold their own? Did someone say starters? We are expecting the worst, but maybe it won’t be that bad?! 14W Ross, 13XY Archer, 11Z Sale, and two 10Z in Lester and Carrasco are quite a departure from last year, and by those terms, im scared...but Ive seen W’s pitch well (ive not had a starter that has, but ive seen them) so, expectation wise, any good they provide is bonus.
DEFENSE: The expectation for this team defensively is middle of the road...nice infield, so-so outfield with arms being a concern. Kiermaier off the bench in CF for Blackmon will be a commonplace. A large concern will be the demand placed on UTL BradMiller as the only defender to cover the middle infield...especially as Lindor has 63! sits. This will need to be monitored for the first 40 :) Catcher is a nightmare...once again Steve (& Greg) plucked targeted receivers in round 16 forcing me to expect to be run on all year. Sal Perez is a 9, which i guess is nice but his negative arm will open the gates...The other Perez has a +3, but at as a C7, Blackmon in CF will need to back up the play, we are working on that in spring training right now. We expect to ignore Defensive problems all together and expect to win on Offense!
Season Expectations: I expect to be competitive, I think the pieces assembled this season are collectively as good as the rest. Every year has its challenges, and working through them is also to be expected. I expect to play more out in public on the weekends this year?!! I don’t think i played one series at Emils last season?! Oh, snap...I had my best season to date...Maybe I should just stick to coffee and SL?! I expect to play as early and often as possible...Im not sure why the season needs to be as long as it takes us collectively? I expect to be available for a Fourth of July _fest-0-Games if can be arranged. I expect another close race as everyone here is more than capable of hoisting the cup next winter. Good Luck boys, Play your games!