In Their Own Words - SL2009 Team Previews

2009 Draft Summary and Season Expectations for THE DONGS... - owned by Jim Frank

Karma turned in favor of this wayward franchise at the winter meetings back in December when the ACE was drawn giving us the #1 overall pick in a year when there was ONE far and away "best" player. Albert Pujols, despite his intentional walks (34) (which seem to hurt SL production), and a platoon rating of 3, (after hitting .333 v. righties) should lead the way in a heavy hitting lineup. Regardless of the "deal made with the devil" to play Pujols at 2b if in fact we drew the ace, (which we will do at least once v. everyone to satisfy the apba gods) we will take our chances with Albert manning first base most of the time.

Team Power-The Dongs will swing with plenty of meat in the middle of a lineup that boasts Dunn-40 hr, Sizemore-33 hr, Burrell-33 hr, C.Lee-28 hr (115g), and Pujols-37 hr. 7 of 9 regulars had 20+ Dongs to include 141 g. catcher, our own Geovany Soto. We would expect to be in the top 4 in the Dong category by seasons end.

Team Speed-The Dongs on the offensive side also managed a little speed w/ Sizemore-19, Cabrera-18, and Abreu-16 leading the regulars but nothing spectacular. Bench speed is led by P/R C31 19 speed Bourne, and Part time starter Denard Span D28 -17sp, also nothing spectacular. Overall, most can run a little, Sizemore has a 34 rating w/ many attempts, but most have modest to fair total attempts and success rates. Middle to bottom half in total steals is the expectation.

Team Defense-The Dongs have a nice core of defenders and decent flexibility to move guys around with an all purpose player in DeRosa. We have the capacity to run three OF-3's, late in games. Of arms are decent at best w/ Sizemore 3-30 and Lee 2-30 not scaring too many, and rf patrolled by 2-36 Bobby Abreu is nice but not scary nice. The infield is pretty solid w/ 9ss Cabrera slinging it around for 161 games, 1b5 Pujols most of the time, a 4 at third in Derosa and Iwamura an 8 at second. Catching is where things may get hairy. Soto gets the nod for 141 games as an 8 -2 thrower but we chose to win games at the plate and not worry about the opposition stealing too much, will this cost the Dongs? Backing up Soto and taking the 21 games in his absence is Pablo Sandoval? who? i have no idea, all i know is he is a 6+0 which is what it is.

The Bench-The Dongs have tons of games in the starting lineup, we are the anti-steve. Pujols' 148 is 2nd lowest of the starting 9 to C.Lee's 115. Almost everyone can go 150+. Denard Span will get the time Lee must miss in left and is a high obp./ speed/defense guy. Carlos Guillen is a vet. that can swing a little and cover some games in the infield , mike bourne is here striclty to run like his pants are on fire. Pat Burrell will see time v. Lefty starters and pinch hitting duties. Pablo Sandoval had nice mlb hitting #'s and when he isnt catching 21 games plays 3rd or 1st.

Pitching- Never high on our lists at the start of any draft, we had NO intentions of doing what ultimately transpired, and that was take a reliever in round 3! Karma will dictate our success w/ the Nathan pick, but for games and ratings, he is allegedly one of the best, we will see. The Rotation- The success of this team as a whole probably revolves around the ? of what kind of starter will DICE K turn out to be?? If he pitches deep and can work around the W somehow with the 17 rating, maybe we will be good. The other 4 starters all have a Z and there are 3 G ratings as well. Sheets and Santana are 12 z's and based on my 2 12's from last year, i hope i can expect the same number of innings which was well over 200 from those 2 guys. I went into the draft thinking all i need are 8's and 9's because of the John Maine syndrome as a result of his several shutouts in 2008, im convinced the 8/9 starters are Awesome! I ended up w/ 2 of them, both Z's and G's, hoping for the best there and that my theory holds true. Expect improvement from a poor 2008 staff, middle of the pack is fine with me. The Relief Staff- Nathan went surprisingly high and all alone leading me to believe he went at least a round too soon, but i feel good about the pick. Of course, based on how high i took him and his credentials, i expect him to dominate, so when he doesnt, i will be extremely disappointed. 4 of 8 in the pen have a Z,(my daily 6th grade math attendence has taught me that this is also 50%, 1/2, and .500) there are 2 H's and 3 G's out there too. Arthur Rhodes was an intersting pick made in haste to catch lunch w/ the principal and his success or failures will always remind me of the karma involved in Sl success or failures as a whole. Like any pen, who knows where production and failure will come from, thats up to the apba gods and karma to sort out. I think this pen should be decent as a whole, and definately better than last year's Grand Slams. Both the rotation and the bullpen have less than enough guys with + moves to first although 8zg Cook is a +3 which is nice as long as he can stay in the game. Overall, pitching for this franchise is improved (we had nowhere to go but up) and i think with some breaks, they could be ranked in the middle of the pack.

Best pick other than Albert...I think Abreu in the 13th might end up being a good pick.

Worst pick...Arthur Rhodes.

Predictions...This team will compete for a playoff slot. Somehow, someway, talent will outweigh managerial decisions and ineptness to compete in the 2nd season. We expect a 10-12 game bump over last year, pencil the Dongs in for 88 wins. One win for every beer had at Emils while playing this upcoming year.

*this review written prior to the 27th pick to meet editorial mandates and deadlines.

Go Dongs!

Burgundy Anchormen Draft Quotes - owned by Keith Klein

"I know that one day Veronica and I are gonna to get married on top of a mountain, and there's going to be flutes playing and trombones and flowers and garlands of fresh herbs. And we will dance till the sun rises. And then our children will form a family band. And we will tour the countryside and you won't be invited."

Round 1 - Cliff Lee - I was very excited to get the number 2 pick and I expect Lee to be pretty spectacular, like Ron felt when he and Miss Corningstone were together.

"Boy, that escalated quickly ... I mean, that really got out of hand fast."
"It jumped up a notch."
"It did, didn't it?"
"Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart."
"I saw that. Brick killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?"

Rounds 2 & 3 - Chase Utley and Josh Hamilton - Seemed like there were about 18 top players, and then there were guys like Utley and Hamilton. Didn't expect to take these guys 2nd and 3rd, but, as player runs and news team rumbles often do, things get out of hand in a hurry.

"Great Odin's raven. I said that?!?"

Round 4 - Dioner Navarro - Someone must have put that on the teleprompter, I wouldn't have said Navarro. Truthfully, I will stand by this pick, in a similar way I stood by taking Pudge in the first round in '97, though if I do use Pudge as a metaphor, I probably should have taken Kendall.

"I love ... carpet."
"I love ... desk."
"Brick, are you just looking at things in the office and saying that you love them?"
"I love lamp."
"Do you really love the lamp, or are you just saying it because you saw it?"

Round 5 - Ichiro - Needed one of the great stealing regulars that had many attempts available, but taking Ichiro as a response to Rollins, Reyes and Roberts was not heartfelt, kind of in the same way that I don't think Brick really loved the lamp.

"Sweet Lincoln's mullet!"

Round 6 - Mike Mussina - I was very, very pleased to get Mussina for one last go round.

"Hello? Who's there, I'm talkin? Hello? Who is this? Baxter ... is that you? Baxter! Bark twice if your in Milwaukee ... Is this Wilt Chamberlain? Have the courage to say something! Hello?

Round 7 - Alphonso Soriano - I was very flustered by Chris's Braun selection a few picks before Soriano, like Ron was when he answered the phone, shortly after losing his job, and Veronica wouldn't say anything on the other end. Viewed Soriano as the top remaining middle of the order wing outfielder who fit into what I needed offensively and defensively. I may have been able to hold off, but when in Rome ...

"Today we spell 'redemption' ... R-O-N."

Rounds 8-10 - Drew, Longoria, King Felix - Think these three were good picks in terms of getting me back into assembling the type of team I wanted, offensively and on the hill.

"Jazz flute is for little fairy boys."

Rounds 11-13-17-18-18-22 - KRod, Nelson, Nunez, Grilli, Lopez, Shouse - Many time cup holder Ken has often said that he hates relievers. For this squad, relievers sure seemed a luxury item, to put it kindly, which is not how Miss Corningstone expressed to Ron how she felt about his jazz flute prowess during their break-up.

"Knights of Columbus, that hurt."

Round 14 - Jacoby Ellsbury - Putting a value on speed and steals hurts sometimes, and when you take maybe the second best pinch-runner so early, it hurts like Ron did after one of his melees with Veronica.

"What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad. That's amazing. How 'bout we get you in your p.j.'s and we hit the hay."

Rounds 20-21 - Teagarden, Hanigan - Knowing that I wanted Pablo Sandoval and Teagarden to back up Navarro, as we got to the end of the 19th, I figured the best strategy would be to take Sandoval in the 20th, and, because Jim probably wouldn't be able to afford to live with Teagarden considering Soto, then I would take Teagarden in the 21st. As the day went, though, I talked myself into trading up to get Teagarden, because I thought two other GMs would have had a definite interest in him in the 20th. Well, the trade didn't happen, but both of the guys I wanted were there for me in the 20th. I threw my strategy out the window and took the guy I treasured in the 20th, and sure enough, Jim did go ahead and take Sandoval. But like Ron when Baxter ate the wheel of cheese, I'm still pleasantly surprised to get Teagarden and Hanigan to back up Navarro, considering how bad catchers were as a group.

"You stay classy, San Diego."

Round 27 - Brad Hawpe - Ron was beloved by San Diegans by his sign off, and Hawpe was as good a sign off as I could engineer.

Christopher Klein Preview - owned by Chris Klein

Did I mention that 2009 is all about me? I have earned it. I deserve it. That is why I named my team as such. Well, I started comparing this team to last year's President's Cup winning team, and this team has it beat in almost every category! Then I realized that there is quite a bit of difference in a ten and eleven team league, so I had just wasted my time on that comparison. Oh well, on with the review.

The top six guys in my lineup are rather powerful. They should out homer several other teams in the league, as they should have no problem hitting 175. But they aren't just about power, as three of them should post OBP over .350, which this year is pretty good. So I will say top third in homers and runs/game. Other than ARod, who is a J-2 injury waiting to happen, all of my players can play most every day, if you include the CF platoon. So while there won't be many day to day changes in the starters (like last year), I think I added a little more flexibility on the bench.

The bench has clearly defined roles. I have two 60 game starters, a pinch hitter, a pinch runner, and a defensive sub. With Zobrist and Youkilis able to cover every position on the field, Taveras' pinch running and Cust's pinch-hitting should not be limited at all. I am planning on close to 100 steals from Taveras, and am hoping that I can translate a lot of them into runs. I also predict that Cust will end a lot of games.

Good team speed. Bunch of guys are 15 or higher, with Howard my only main player that is "slow". Like last year, I was able to have the hitters at the top of the lineup, and the speed at the bottom. Jeter and Kendall are bringing up the rear as hit and run 3 guys, so hopefully that will play to my advantage. I am hoping for at least 175 team steals, and should be low in GIDP as well.

Team defense is probably the biggest weakness. If Jim had the worst outfield ever last year, I don't know what that says about me this year. Hopefully I will have leads, and Gomez can play a lot. Kendall as a PB-1 should be a huge improvement over Olivo last year (not to mention his OBP). But I will lead in OF errors, and will be low in defensive double plays.

Starting pitching is a weakness. But if the Duke stays healthy, I will be fine with it. An injury to him will cost about 4 or 5 starts minimum I think, so that is tough. Three Z starters, a G and an L. Whatever. Bullpen is "stronger" than last year, for what that is worth. Devine could be dominant for his 40 appearances, but I am not counting on it. Too small of a sample size. I suppose Howell is my key. If I have the patience to get 100+ innings out of him, he will be a nice complement to Devine. My other guys are just innings eaters.

Best pick? I liked the ARod-Youkilis "swing" in round 2 (funny in that in real life that is probably one of my most and least favorite players!). I think Devine and Howard were steals relative to slot. I think I constantly frustrated Keith and Greg, so that is good. Worst picks? Let's see: Jeter, Johnson, Zobrist and Taveras to start. I think I misread the board a few times there….

Prediction: contender. Offense and speed should be enough to counteract starting pitching and defensive shortcomings.

Special thanks to Jim and Bob, my division mates last year. Our many trips to Emil's to play games made for an unforgettable season. I will always be in your gratitude.

Coconut Grove Jacks - owned by Graham Haas

Overall: I think that I surprised most by not taking a starter in rounds 1 and 2, but my thinking was that there was some pitching depth and it would be key to grab to quality hitters in rounds 1 and 2. One pick was going to be best available hitter, while the other would fill a difficult position. That being said, I would have likely selected Lincecum if he were there at the first swing. I was very happy to nab Manny with my first pick, he will produce.

The second pick became a tossup between Utley, Chipper and my eventual selection of Beltran. My thinking here was that none of these guys would be available at the 3/4 swing, so if I wanted one of them I needed to take them in round 2. Beltran only misses one game, plays great D in CF and steals well, he was the choice. I thought there was an outside chance that a Halladay/Sabathia/Webb/Harden would make it to me in the 3/4 swing, but those hopes were quickly dashed by the middle of round 2. I was holding out hope that I would be able to grab Pedroia or Roberts at the swing, but again no such luck.

Kinsler may have been a bit of a reactionary pick, but he will produce, although in somewhat limited games. I think that Volquez will be fine as our #1 starter. The 5/6 swing ended up being a really bad one for the Jacks, not neccesarily due to the picks but more so due to what happened after. I had hoped that my pick of Ziegler would stir some P* activity, but only Gregg took a P* in the next 2 rounds.

From Steve's pick of Oswalt in the 6th round until Gregg's pick of Peavy in the 7th round 11 of the 14 picks were starters and we were left out in the cold. In hindsight, Oswalt/Ziegler or Oswalt/Werth would both have been a better swing for the Jacks. (Side note: I think that this is what makes drafting on the ends more difficult than a position somewhere in the middle. By the time it gets back to you 18 players have gone and when 11 of them are from one position you end up SOL.) With so many starters gone I needed to grab the best available 11Z Greinke and figured that with a weak rotation I'd better bolster the pen and grabbed Downs.

I felt like Rios was similar to Ichiro and Victorino who both went 4 rounds earlier and gave me a strong defensive OF of 2-35 3-34 and 3-36. Martin was a tough choice, but he was taken because he can hit, run and play 155 games. We'll see how badly he gets abused by opposing runners. Felt lucky to get Cabrera where I did and grabbed Kuo for 84 innings of 17XYZG relief, not too bad for our #3 P*.

Jurrjens can PR as our 3rd starter and Blanco will be called upon to limit steals in the late innings of close games. Gonzalez should hit a few jacks and play solid D at 1B for 162 games, and Santiago will fill in for Kinsler, Young and Cabrera on the IF and at 7.5 RC/G should hit well. Grabbed our first lefty starter in Wandy and 4th P* Durbin provides a lot of games and IP. I felt lucky to get Young at SS when I did, he can't hit great, but is a 9 and can run well with limited attempts and plays in 155 games. I needed a solid defensive backup at 2B with Kinsler and Santiago both 7s and light hitting Ellis will PR well and give us a 2 point defensive increase. I waited a long time to grab my 4th outfielder, but was pleased to get the X-Man to back up in LF and PH, also thought that if Rios does not hit well we could start Nady/Beltran/Werth for an offensive boost and still have an outfield of 2-32 3-34 and 2-35. With only 6 picks left and some definite needs to fill C Izturis was selected as a pinch running defensive backup at 3B. The fact that he is able to PR and play good defense at 3B gave Izturis the nod over some other considerations. Grabbed Perez for lots of games and IP as our 5th P* (3rd LHP and 2nd Z P*) and decided to grab Carpenter as our 6th with 2 j-3 starters. Francisco adds depth to the pen as our 6th reliever and with all of the best J-4s gone and everyone seeming to grab guys that can run I figured Schneider was a wise selection as he gives us a +3 over Martin in attempting to throw out runners late in the game and with him and Blanco we can cover all 162 games. Gavin Floyd will unfortuneately not be irrelevant as he will take the mound every 5th day as our 5th starter.

Offense: The lineup is very solid 2-7, we will need to see if Martin can do the job as a leadoff hitter and hope to get some production from Rios and Young in the 8-9 slots. If Rios falters, Nady may be able to help jump start the offense in LF. 6 of our 9 starter are a threat on the bases with only Manny, Cabrera and Gonzalez in the middle not able to run. However those 3 do offer some pop, with 37, 37 and 36 home runs respectively giving us 3 of the top 10 HR hitters from MLB 2008. Santiago will hit coming off the bench to spell our IF while Ellis and Izturis can both PR and offer defensive help on the IF. We should be in the top half in runs scored, and hopefully top 3.

Defense: Super solid OF, SS and 1B. A little weak at 2B, 3B and C. We were able to address our defensive shortcomings with Ellis, Izturis, Blanco and Schneider, but since they will likely not start too frequently we will have to see whawt kind of difference they can make. We should be up there in OF assists, but will not catch many attempting to steal until the late innings when we get Blanco behind the dish. Top 3-4 in fielding %.

Starters: The biggest weakness of the Jacks will be their starting pitching. I think that Volquez will be fine, but we will be relying heavily on Greinke to not only pitch well, but eat up innings. The 3 10s on the back end of the rotation should all pitch well on rare occasions, but they will not be consistent. Bottom half or bottom 3 in starters ERA.

Relievers: With the staff shortcomings, I think that we did well to grab both Ziegler and Downs to anchor the back end of the pen, hopefully with the lefty righty combo of 20+ grade P*s we will be able to close out games in which we hold a lead late. Kuo is solid but limited to 42 games. He will definitely go 3 innings in any extra inning games or when a starter gets hurt early (we can only hope). Durbin, Perez and Francisco all will be used frequently and have lots of games and innings and all should pitch better than our 3-4-5 starters.

Overall: No glaring draft errors, but we were hurt by the run on starters in rounds 6 and 7. Hopefully our offensive stregth will allow us to score and the back end of the bullpen will be strong enough to hold on in close games. Martin had better hit, because he is a liability behind the plate. I fell like we will be able to score enough and play good enough defense, but we will be relying on Volquez, Greinke and the bullpen. Division draw will be impotant due to the weighted schedule. I'm not going to say that we have the best squad out there, but I will say that I do not think that we are the worst.

Good Luck to all in SL2009!

Terral Pin Station - owned by Greg Nims

Offense - Took offense with our first four picks: SS8 Hanley Ramirez 8.5 D29, 2B9 Dustin Pedroia 7.0 E35, rf3.37 Nick Markakis 7.7 e23, and OF2.33 Jason Bay 7.6 G35. Those four will be the top of the order (Markakis, Ramirez, Pedroia, Bay), and they should be solid. A lot of OBP and speed, not a great deal of power. Decent steal ability.

We followed those four up with a ton of pitching, then used the teen rounds to fill in the offense. 3b3 Iannetta 7.4 104g was a reactionary pick to all the other good third basemen disappearing, but he should be good for his 104 games. His c7-3 catching ability is a bonus, but not likely to be used a lot. Justin Morneau 1b4 6.6 f14, Jim Thome 1b2 6.2 r26, Torii Hunter cf3.35 5.8 E31, and Miguel Olivo c7+3 4.2 E35/Brandon Inge c8+0 3.9 e23 12sp provide depth and give the bottom of the order some ability to score some runs.

Overall, I think we can finish in the top half to top third in runs. Can't complain about that.

Rotation - Once I couldn't get an elite starter, I decided to hold off. Ends up that everyone else did. We survived the pitching run to get Cole Hamels PL12XZ+0, Danny Haren P12XZ+0, Scott Baker P11XZ+1, and John Danks PL12G+0. Then we waited till the 3rd to last pick of the draft to snag Armando Galarraga P11LY+0. The depth is very good, if the top end isn't impressive. Above average group.

Bullpen - We got what our draft board considered the top reliever in Mariano Rivera P*20GYXZ+0 in the 5th. Followed that up with Grant Balfour P*24WG+1 in the 10th and Cory Wade P*16YZ+0 in the 11th for a solid top three. We then filled in the backend with decent quality and quantity with Ryan Madson P*12GYZ+0, Kerry Wood P*11HXYZ+1, and Salomon Torres P*12G+3.

Last year we used picks 6, 10, 11, 17, 18, and 19 on relievers. This year it was 5, 10, 11, 18, 19, 22. Hopefully the results are good.

Defense - The defensive standouts are Markakis rf3.37, Hunter cf3.35 (although he will start only a little more than half the time with Gerut cf2.34 platooning), and Pedroira 2b9. Happy to get a solid defensive catcher in c7+3 Miguel Olivo in 14th. Downsides are nothing better than a 3b3, Hanley's ss8, and Inge at c8+0 pb3.

Bench - The bench is mostly a track team, with Johnny Damon of2.26/1b2 6.9 E30 as the main catalyst, followed by Corey Hart of2.32 4.5 D30, Willie Bloomquist UT 4.7 D32, and Ramon Vazquez 2b7ss7 5.9 f14. Vazquez will get 70+ starts at 3B3, SS7, and 2B7, so he hardly qualifies as a bench player. Gerut cf2.34 6.6 will start for most of his games, pushing Hunter to the bench where his skills may be a better fit.

Best draft picks - Pedroia 3rd and Markakis 3rd. I had lots of trouble deciding on my 2nd round pick, as it was deciding the direction of my team for the season. Chris saved me and the draft by jumping in to trade up to snag 1B Youkilis. Youk was at the top of my short list for the swing, while Pedroia and Markakis were near the bottom, but the preferred two on the list. I don't know if going OBP/low power/defensive stalwarts was the correct move, but I like it so far.

The pitching run I put together in rounds 5 thru 11 looks good collectively. Olivo (14th), Damon (15th), and Thome (20th) were all good.

Biggest reachs - Jason Bay in the 4th may have been a reach, I can't tell at this point. Ethier went in the 12th and has a lot of similar value. Hunter in the 9th was a reach, but I'm coming around on him, and he may work better as a half time starter. Morneau may have been a reach, due to a bunch of similar 1Bmen available. Torres may have been a reach since we drafted him for quantity rather than quality.

Roster failing - Maybe a bat on the bench? I think I did a decent job of putting together a flexible bench, so not many complaints here.

Prediction - Top half in runs, top half in run prevention, division title contender.

Babylon Black Sedans - owned by Ken Klein

If this team wins 88 games I will be shocked. Thinking more like 77-83.

A couple things: My spreadsheet was pretty much cleared out. There were no super high quality late round selections late in the draft like last year (other than the DH's in the 20th Fielder and Thome). Everyone went after the offense early while mid level starters were still around - something that seemed to have the depth. So, this draft was well thought out by all.

My team:

Offense - Will be pretty decent. Not certain if this unit will lead the league or fall into the middle of the pack. Again I will have a high stolen base percentage led by Rollins and Holliday and a smattering of steals from Granderson, Cameron, Aviles, Polanco, Chipper & Hinske. A bunch of 20+ homer types but no real super thunder sticks out there in the regular lineup. Ransom has one of the better HR cards but is limited to 77 PA's.

Pitching - Thin at the pen. 540 innings available to me. Best reliever is either 18 Shell and his 39 games or Lidge and his 21W. Starting staff will attempt to get 900 innings - 5.5 innings per start. Hopefully, this can work...

Defense - OK. This group should land in the top third in team fielding pct. No monster OF arms. But I have won with worse... Best Catcher is +0 but I have championships with the same or similar.

Good bench with Aviles and Hinske filling in at a lot of places. Barajas (4th time with my franchise) is not too bad of a hitter for a backup C. Two large bats in Ransom and Dickerson will fill in nicely during Jones and Holliday sits.

Good picks - Glaus possibly. Glad to get Wagner in the 14th. Aviles filled a lot of needs in the 19th and should be starting for someone.

Questionable selections - jumped a couple rounds to get Rollins in the 3rd. Same for Cameron in the 13th.

Hopefully I should compete for a spot in the playoffs. If you thought last season was tight, buckle in because this season may be even tighter.

Stony Brook Matadors - owned by Gregg Tonkery

For several reasons, which I will not force on you all, it was a difficult up and down draft for me this year.  I went in with the strategy that I needed more power and a more versatile bench.  I also needed starting pitching that can go deeper into games than last year.  So I was looking for starters that can go 3 or 4 innings instead of 1 or 2.  All in all, even with my draft blunders, I think I have accomplished most of what I set out to do.

Offense:  Guys like Tex, Giambi, Quentin, Huff and Wiggingham should provide some decent power in the middle of the lineup.  One key for the matadors will be if a couple of guys can get on base at the top of the order.  I will search for one or two out of guys like Upton (not sure which one I have), Barmes, Harris, etc. to fill that role.  Bottom of the order will be more speed based with manufactured runs.  I expect to be middle of the pack offensively at best.

Speed: The starting lineup will have some speed at the bottom of the order.  Off the bench KFuk, Harris and Barmes have solid speed and an adequate number of stolen base attempts available.  The middle of the batting order will not be testing many outfield arms.  Maybe if someone has Damon out there you might see Giambi trying to score from second on a double.

Bench: Nice versatility with Harris, Ramirez, Barmes and Wiggy.  This should allow for a good number of late game switches.  A couple of good bats in Ortiz and Wiggy to pinch hit.  KFuk will be brushing up on his English.

Starters: A solid ace in Sabathia followed by a bunch of guys that I hope can be decent in Peavy, Shields and Buehrle.  Kazmir as my #5 is a big question mark as I am not sure what the big L will mean to him.

Relief:  One less guy that I have had in past years, but still a lot of games and inning available.  I tried to get strong strikeout pitchers to try to reduce the # of errors in the field.

Defense: Really only one above average guy in Tex (I did not take him for his glove).  Several average and about 4 other DH’s that will be playing in the field.  Another new concept for me this year.

I made some drastic changes from my prior team philosophies.  Obviously change was needed.  We will have to see how it all shakes out.

Best Pick:  I liked my first four picks a lot Tex, CC, Huff and Quentin.  Everyone probably likes there first few picks.  I also liked Peavy 13X at the end of the 7th round as well as Ortiz in the 26th.

Bad Picks:  We all know who those were.

Prediction: I am being a realist and shooting for my first 500 team.

Annandale Jarretts - owned by Matt Klein

How was my draft?

Short answer is that I think my offense will be good, not great, defense ok, starting pitching fine-to-good and bullpen short.

Oh, that is what everyone says ...

Medium answer is that I didn't come out of this draft feeling as though I missed out on a bunch of player runs as I did last year. Also I kinda switched the direction I was consistently headed with my offense mid-draft, so we'll see how that works out. I like having a plug-in CF for a change, as I have been piecemealing that position for a few years.

Long answer is that the Ludwick/McLouth/Molina picks gave me the comfort to go higher quality/shorter game guys through the infield. We'll see how well that works. I was trying to have enough quality guys to not really need much of a bench (for PR, speed, D, platoon factor, etc ...), but veered away from that and am not sure I have enough bench now. I am not 100% sure what my starting pitching will do. All 10s or higher is something I've never had. I did not staff the pen up a ton for innings partially because of the starting pitching grades, however I can see that turning on me. I did pick quality, high grade pen guys, and I hope that makes a difference, however they are limited for innings. I decided I can be in some slugfests, and still do ok, so that was part of it too.

I wanted more team speed than last year, and somewhat I have that, although not as thoroughly as I hoped. I wanted to stay out of double plays, so tried to select for that, and wound up without that as much as I'd hoped. I did not worry about defense at all, and that will show. I have a few stealers, but I'm not a straight steal type of manager anyway.

In terms of good picks/bad picks, I think I have a number of questions about different picks which will determine how my team will go. I chose a number of guys that will play a significant amount of time for me in the final 10 rounds of the draft (Belliard, Fielder, LaRoche, Rolen), so I will have to see how well they play. I also have some more questionable choices earlier that will make my team good or not, including Bradley - if he gets close to his number of games, I should be in good shape - and Prado. Hopefully my vision of my club comes together in a way that wins games.

So ... back to "how was my draft" -- I am guessing my team will be in the battle for a playoff spot. Everyone says that as well too, but hey - it is spring, optimism reigns.