Square Butte Roundtrippers 2011 Expectation Breakdown and expert analysis...

The Draft/"The Plan"- With several weeks to prepare from Disk release and 1st pick this year, the Square Butte GM/Talent evaluator immediately determined that there was TONS of pitching available and few to none standing alone at the top in the Starting Pitcher category with the majority of that talent very similar and indistinguishable, but all rated 10 or higher. As a result of this evaluation, we established a game plan to obtain as much offensive firepower as possible early and often, focusing on the traditionally weak positions in the middle infield. Additionally, we felt here in Square Butte that there were some elite relief arms that were key to offsetting what was expected to be a mediocre starting five and that we were willing to go high on relief. This was "the plan"! What I have found over the years, is that a plan requires commitment and luck to execute. I have proven to be both unlucky and impatient as a general rule, so the challenge was not only against 8 other SL managers, but within our own think tank.

The Trade- The draft began with the 1st six picks going off without a single surprise and Square Butte picking #7 had to decide between Tulo at short or Cano at second and hope to get the other, 5 picks later at 12, a lethal power duo up the middle and a clear advantage over the rest of the league in the middle infield. We went Tulo simply because there were more 2nd base options than shortstop options. Unfortunately, (luck?) Cano was taken 9th and our Utopian pre-draft plan was already compromised and we were in a scramble. Lady luck in the form of Steve then stepped into the mix and contacted our draft office (me laying on the couch in sweats w/ the notebook on my chest) and explained to us how ineffective Adrian Beltre was going to be due to something he kept referring to as a "24"? 24 this and 24 that, "he fits better on my team" (after 2 picks) "lets trade". Initially, Steve's interest validated my pick of Beltre and thus I had no interest in trading him but the offer of a 2nd and 3rd for my 8th gave me what "the plan" was calling for, more early options- offensive firepower, so the trigger was pulled on the trade that brought in an extra pick over the rest of the league through the first 7 rounds. "The plan" was back on track due to this trade.

the world of ***** IF *******We will be good****IF********

OFFENSE-  we will be good...
IF-our platoon numbers don't drastically hurt our average and production.
IF- Morneau exceeds his mlb power numbers
IF- Tulo hits 30 Round Trippers
IF- Weeks has a monster year.
IF- CF combo of Hunter and Stubby reach base better than .300
IF- Crawford hits like he did in 2010
IF- We don't lead the league in K's or GiDP
IF- I-rod is nothing more than a defensive replacement
IF- Longoria hits 20 round trippers
IF- Dunn hits 35 round trippers
IF- the Hit and Run is highly effective
IF- Ken's pre-plays are wrong
IF- a surprise success story emerges
IF- Morneau, Tulo, Crawford, and Dunn see production #'s within 100pts of mlb#
IF- Karma shines brightly in Square Butte all year

DEFENSE-we will be good...
IF- Weeks does not lead the league in Errors
IF- SBAgainst does not get out of hand
IF- McCann's offensive production makes his D irrelevant.
IF- Fielder's 3 at 1b doesn't lose games
IF- The three OF-3's lead the league in Fielding %
IF- we finish top 3 in the sl in Fielding %
IF- Of arms limit scoring chances

IF- Anyone in the starting five can be effective
IF- the starters can average 4 ip/start
IF- the investment in Bailey, Kuo, Benoit pays off with un-hittable relief
IF- the 8 Z's ( out of 12) really reduce opposition OBP
IF- opposition offenses are as weak as I hope
IF- the "+" arms (7of12) help a + zero catcher
IF- an Ace is established in the rotation
IF- Kens pre-plays are wrong
IF- We manage a top 4 team ERA
IF- We are top 3 in one run Wins
IF- We are top 2 in NOT blowing saves
IF- We have enough bullpen innings to average 6ip/game
IF- Karma shines upon our Staff all year long.
As always, I feel really good about my team immediately after the draft as im sure everyone does. Ken's pre-play results were like a kick in the gut however and now im scared. "IF" about sums it up. I would expect, like every year, for competition to be extremely tight and divisions to be decided the last series of the season. I felt that this year's draft strategy for the Square Butte Round Trippers would result in wild success or epic failure but feel that as a franchise we will continue the steady climb to the top of the spit cup. Last year we knocked on the door, and this year, in the words of our minister of motivation, Bum Phillips, "we are going to knock the son of a b!tch down" GO Round Trippers. And good luck to all but Keith and Steve who have earned the right to see Morneau 24 times each as divisional foes. Lets play ball- go to town Round Trippers, and we have hire Aunt Minnie as our ambassador to fan relations.