I honestly did not think I would be here. At the conclusion of SL 2016 I had made up my mind that my career as an SL manager was through. Most of the reasons have been discussed, but the short story is time. My time is less available and scheduling games became somewhat difficult. When Chris informed me during SL 2016 that it would likely be his last year I thought, well at least I won’t be the only one. Travelling to the greater Chicagoland area for the playoffs was really enjoyable. It definitely tipped the scales in favor of my return for SL 2017.
Team name - I am disgusted by the actions of our government right now and thought this moniker was humorous. As Greg succinctly put it, our President is an orange fascist.
LONG LIVE THE SL!
Quickly identified unprecedented depth at middle IF and 3B, 1B was per usual with some top guys but still with some depth. OF, however, was surprisingly weak and I was intent on grabbing one of the top OFers early if I was in position to do so. Wanted to get one of the top 6 or so starters and hopefully the same with relievers. Although I apparently overlooked the shortage of quality leftys!
Rounds 1-5 Sitting at #4 and “knowing” that Trout was going #1 meant I needed 3 names. I came up with 5, Donaldson, Freeman, Murphy, Kershaw, Votto (nice drafting 2-6 slots!). I looked at guys like Segura, Altuve and their value based on position, but there was enough of a bump in offensive production for the other 4 guys that all I could do was hope one of them made it to me in the second round. Murphy’s card is really good and I liked the flexibility of him playing 3 positions (even though none of them well). With the options of Kershaw, Murphy and Votto when I was up, and knowing that you must draft hitter- hitter to win the Spit Cup, I took Murph over Votto even though he had less games. I now needed another good offensive player, but was also needing some defense to go along with that. Ken and Jim quickly dispatched any idea of one of the top middle IFers making it back to me so I started focusing on other top hitters with an eye on Britton as the top reliever, a round 3 target.
I considered Arenado for a while, but took Betts due to the weak OF. After picking Betts my 3 rd round short list was Arenado, Britton, LeMahieu, Dozier, all gone in the next 5 picks. Rizzo was great value in the 3 rd and became our first baseman. Targeted Pederson in the 4 th due to the really bad CF situation, Ken grabbed him, so I took Villar. Probably not the consensus pick here. Nobody told me it was a bad pick, but looking back it was my most questionable pick up to that point. Simple reason was that I needed someone to get on base and wanted someone to run, and he preplayed well. I knew pitching needed to be addressed and took Scherzer in the 5 th . In hindsight, Jim’s selection of Miller was something that didn’t trigger a reaction from me, but probably should have as after Scherzer, 4 of the next 5 picks were relievers and the top ones were gone.
With Machado’s SS rating I was sure he was going soon, he will play mostly 3B, but fill in at SS when Villar sits or cover Kinsler at 2B. I love roster flexibility. Not a big defensive catcher guy, but a 9+6 with a little power is a nice thing to have for 139 games. Also, figured with guys like Leon and Herrmann around that I would end up with a part time starter that was a better hitter and Perez could come off the bench some. Started looking pitching for my 8 th round pick with a list of Lester, Happ and Chapman. All gone. Low game/high impact guy Bedrosian was the pick over a starter like Tanaka or higher usage guy like Reed (who I wanted in the 9 th ).
After Bradley and Herrera went CF became a bit of an issue. Steve traded up to grab Myers and the Keith’s Fowler pick further wekened the CF pool. Grabbed Colome to have 2 relievers with 20+ ratings even if their usage is a little low, and I had been fearing a reliever run for 2-3 rounds. Braun as one of the last very good hitting OFers. No OFers were selected for about 32 picks after Braun. Reliever run came and we participated by grabbing Jones our first Z and high usage guy.
Steve started a mini run on starters and we grabbed Carrasco to give us 2 Z starters. Lots of pitching was still going and Treinen offered high usage and some good peripherals. Keith said he would have taken him right after I did, so IMHO that makes it a good pick! From Steve’s spot we grabbed Herrmann who will start all 56 games he’s allowed. Still needed 2B if we were going to DH Murphy (preferred) and CF. Maybin and Broxton were both intriguing options, but we went with Maybin (platoon 0) but still needed 71 CF games.
Grabbed Duffy as our 3 rd Z starter, also +3, then decided to pull the trigger on a 2B with many needed on the right side of the draft. Debated Kinsler vs Pedroia/Kipnis/Zobrist and went with Kinsler and his 2B9 defense. 2B run followed. Pomeranz did well in preplays and another +3 to team with Perez made me happy. Drafted Toles in the ABA and he is able to cover Braun in LF, 9 games for Maybin in CF and some games at DH. With most of my guys up to this point being full time players I grabbed Toles. Then the remaining starters began going and I jumped in grabbing 12 Estrada to round out the rotation. Somehow I managed to overlook Montgmery as a lefty reliever.
Still needing relivers/62 games in CF and some DH games. Cishek/Neris are both XY guys with moves and feeling like we needed at least one lefty in the pen grabbed Blevins. Desmond had been on the radar for a long time and will cover the CF games and be available to PR and play every day. Robbie Grossman will get on base, but I wanted a guy with more power to fill in at DH. A combination of Grossman and Abreu would have been great if I wasn’t dead set on a lefty reliver. Carlos Gomez offers PR ability and great D off the bench for my Maybin/Desmond/Toles CF platoon who are all mediocre defensively. 6 th starter Asher also in these picks.
Majority of the responsibility here will fall to my 1-2- 3 picks hitting 2-3- 4 or 3-4- 5. If they produce, we should score some runs. Braun, Machado and Kinsler will provide occasional power and Villar needs to get on base. By pairing Perez with Maybin and Desmond with Herrmann we should have 8 great to good hitters in the lineup most games. Abreu likely starts 36 games at DH/1B. Toles will get starts in LF/CF and at DH.
Starters feature 3Zs and 4 of the 5 have moves including two +3. We should be middle of the pack. With Keith and Ken being better and Greg and Jim being worse with regards to starters. Bullpen is 7 deep, but they are not all that stellar. Bedrosian will be tough as a 25XYH+2 but he is low usage. Colome will also be good with slightly higher usage. Jones and Treinen should pitch well and consume a lot of innings. We’ll see about Cishek/Neris/Blevins. Overall, only one Z, one H and one G, but 6 are XY and my top 4 all have +2 moves to go along with Perez.
IF will be 5-8- 9-5 from 3 rd to 1 st on most days which I think is pretty solid. SS8 being the only weak link. OF will be 3-31/2- 33/3-32 most days which is pretty weak on the arms. Desmond and Gomez will help the arm situation late in games. Catchers don’t get any better than 9+6 (I don’t think) and with 9 of my 12 pitchers having a move we should lead the league in whatever the stolen base runs prevented stat is that I was always last in during SL 2016.