The fantasy gods did me no favors when they doled out league assignments for the NFBC Main Event. Placement is random, but you’d never know that from the lineup card which was filled with sharks. The list included high stakes veterans Will Tyrer, Jim Christie, KJ Duke, and of course the Babe Ruth of fantasy baseball Shawn Childs. KJ came within a gnat’s eyelash of winning the Main Event last year and I’ve lost count of how many top 10 finishes Shawn has accumulated, so I was fully prepared to have numerous picks sniped.
I had the 15th pick, which was my first choice, having submitted 15-1 in descending order for my KDS preferences. You really can’t go wrong anywhere in the first round and being at the end gave me a better second round pick. I also love being at the turn because it simplifies the draft considerably. Tough choices between two players vanish. If you want to corner a market or competition there are zero concerns of someone stealing that second pick. For example you could grab Eric Thames and Travis Snider back to back with no worries.
My hope was that Hanley Ramirez would fall to me so I could lock up 2 elite middle infielders right out of the gate, with third base flexibility as a bonus. Alternative plans included Curtis Granderson, Dustin Pedroia, Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen (yes I think he’s that good). However, the Yankee centerfielder’s elbow soreness gave me pause, and Shawn Childs quickly ended my dream of landing the Marlin slugger. Bob Patricella (Team 14) put me in a difficult spot by going with Evan Longoria. That being said, I couldn’t complain as Robinson Cano fell into my lap at 1.15. That left Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler as the two best players on the board. I almost threw the book out the window here and went back to back at the keystone. The deal breaker was that I was targeting Dan Uggla at the next turn. So I picked a player who wasn’t remotely in my draft plans: Clayton Kershaw.
At the next turn my hope was that Zack Greinke would fall to me, only to have that wily Childs snatch another target. Of course Brett Lawrie didn’t make it to me either, making the picks at the second turn no brainers: Dan Uggla and Jered Weaver. I’ve noticed the continued emphasis in the mind of drafters on spring training stats, which for some reason trumps an entire year’s worth of performance in real games. Case in point Jeff Weaver’s younger brother who has been working on a cut fastball and experimenting with different grips. It hasn’t been working but the Angel ace is not going to continue the experiment into the regular season. Nevertheless Jered has been slipping further than he should, so I was happy to get him here. I also knew that very soon a run of the elite starters would ensue and right on cue it did. The first seven picks of round four were top tier pitchers.
Every single draft I’ve done this year, Dee Gordon has been available at the 5-6 turn. Not this time. With so many great drafters I was prepared for numerous punches to the gut. Yet it didn’t assuage the roster pain. Gordon didn’t even come close to making it back to me. A tough blow since I went out on a limb eschewing speed options with my first 4 picks so that I could take the best values. Plans B, C, D, and E were also destroyed (Jimmy Rollins, Michael Bourn, Shin-Soo Choo, and Shane Victorino). Nice. I ended up taking Brett Gardner to lock up 50 steals, but with the 6th pick I went with a player I had no plans of rostering on any teams this year in Buster Posey. There just weren’t any targets in this pocket of the draft so I went with best value again.
With the 7th pick I was going to take no chances and beat everyone to the punch on Kendrys Morales. I’ve drafted the fragile designated hitter in most of my early drafts, landing him somewhere between rounds 12-15. I should have known. Poof! He was gone. Plans B and C (Mariano Rivera and Jonathan Papelbon) were also taken right before me. Ugh! Instead I took Drew Stubbs and Emilio Bonifacio to lock down more speed and gain position flexibility that would turn out to be crucial in later rounds. At the 11-12 turn that flexibility would allow me to draft Jhonny Peralta to get a few more HR’s and RBI’s from my shortstop while sliding Emilio to 3B, thus avoiding the vast wasteland of remaining third basemen.
The rest of my draft:
|9-10 Delmon Young, Peter Bourjos|
|11-12 Jhonny Peralta, Carlos Lee|
|13-14 Brandon McCarthy, Javy Guerra|
|15-16 Carlos Pena, Erik Bedard|
|17-18 Alfonso Soriano, Aroldis Chapman|
|19-20 Addison Reed, Luke Hochevar|
|21-22 A.J. Pierzynski, Aubrey Huff|
|23-24 Philip Humber, Ryan Vogelsong|
|25-26 Chris Parmelee, Drew Smyly|
|27-28 Ryan Ludwick, Liam Hendriks|
|29-30 onDavid Roberts, Alex Cobb|