My draft philosophy is weird, and I wouldn’t recommend it. The basic approach is to fill the tough positions first and to go where others aren’t going. I don’t rely on projections (maybe I’ll sneak a quick glance, but not always), and I try not to think too hard about my picks. Each draft takes on its own personality; I try to figure out that personality and then feel my way through the draft.
If that sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, you may be right. But I’ve won my share of championships with this method, so I’m sticking with it.
To the picks…
- Round 8 – Cameron Maybin. I panicked. This slot was earmarked for J.J. Hardy, who got snagged right before my pick. There was enough separation (in my mind) between Hardy and the next best shortstops that I decided to move in a different direction. Defense counts in Scoresheet, and this draft featured three legitimate center fielders that I wanted: Maybin, Angel Pagan, and Marlon Byrd. I had it in my head to come away with one of those guys. Maybin had the most upside, so I jumped on him. I’m not comfortable with this pick. For the record, Pagan went four picks later, while Byrd slipped to round 11.
- Round 9 – Jason Bartlett. This is the ripple effect of missing on Hardy. I probably overdrafted Bartlett, but the shortstops on my radar at this point were him and Derek Jeter, who is older and weaker with the glove. Jeter also went in round 11 (14 picks after Bartlett) and immediately was traded to a Yankees fan for a marginal upgrade later in the draft. Had I realized such an opportunity existed, I might well have taken Jeter here.
- Round 10 – Heath Bell. Right now, I’m looking like a serious homer, but this was another reactive pick. The guy I’d targeted here was Vernon Wells, who got taken two picks ahead of me. As in round 8, I altered course. Relievers aren’t highly valued in this league, but in my experience, having a strong bullpen can make a big difference in Scoresheet. Last season, when Roy Halladay wasn’t busy dominating, I had a slew of talented relievers that helped shorten games for the other starters.
- Round 11 – Kurt Suzuki. I grabbed a bunch of lousy catchers at the end of last year’s draft just to get enough coverage. It worked, but you don’t ever want to be dependent on guys like Francisco Cervelli, Koyie Hill, George Kottaras, and Landon Powell. In this draft, there were three catchers I liked: Suzuki, Yadier Molina, and Carlos Ruiz. Both of the other catchers went earlier in round 11, so I made my move. I would have been happy with any of them.
- Round 12 (1 of 2) – Hong-Chih Kuo. I acquired this pick in the Delmon Young/Ryan Westmoreland trade and used it to work on the bullpen. Having a dominant lefty is nice because it helps neutralize an opponent’s left-handed batters, which can come in handy toward the end of close games. I don’t always target handedness in relievers, but in this case, there were two roughly equivalent pitchers on my radar and it was the difference maker.
- Round 12 (2 of 2) – Mike Adams. This is the other guy I’d considered with the Kuo pick and the first guy I redrafted from last year’s team.
- Round 13 – Erick Aybar. It has become apparent that I misread the shortstop market. Aybar might be better than Bartlett. I now officially hate the Bartlett pick. And yeah, with these last seven picks, my West Coast bias is showing just a tad.
After the third full round of drafting, I have starters at catcher, all four infield positions, and center field; two backup infielders; three starting pitchers; and four relievers. Here’s my team so far:
- SP: Gavin Floyd, Roy Halladay, Chad Billingsley
- RP: Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ernesto Frieri
- CA: Kurt Suzuki
- 1B: Ike Davis
- 2B: Rickie Weeks, Kelly Johnson
- 3B: Michael Young, Bobby Borchering
- SS: Erick Aybar, Jason Bartlett
- OF: Cameron Maybin, Ryan Westmoreland
I am shopping one of my second basemen for an outfielder, but no nibbles yet.
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- G21D Interview, Part 1: Christmas Morning (The Greatest 21 Days). Cool interview with former Padres outfielder Rick Lancellotti. [h/t Baseball-Reference]
- From Russia with Glove (Phoenix New Times). Wonderful read: “This is a team that will lose slightly more games than it will win. It will make bonehead plays. It will test the patience of its manager and coaches. And it will, at least in a small way, make history… This is the team with the Russians. Three players from the former Soviet Union, of varying degrees of competence, are playing for these Angels.” [h/t BBTF]
- Angels’ 7-1 pitcher takes game to new height (Yahoo!). Things are… [sunglasses] looking up in Anaheim…
- Rancho Cucamonga gets it right (Hardball Times). This is my second favorite ballpark in the Cal League.
- Playoff Odds Report (Baseball Prospectus). The Padres begin spring training with a 7.3% chance of reaching the playoffs. Colin Wyers explains methodology.
- Predicting the Hall of Fame Votes, Part 3 (2022-2026) (Platoon Advantage). There has been some sentiment lately that Trevor Hoffman was nothing more than a guy who hung around and picked up 600 saves. That’s one danger of remaining effective well past your dominant period, I suppose. People remember the very good player rather than the great one that preceded. Here is Part 4, which is pointless but fun.
- The “Almost” Awards: 1972 (RJ’s Fro). In celebration of Nate Colbert’s fearsome power and even more fearsome mutton chops.