Apr. 9th, 2017

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Today was the day of our annual fantasy baseball draft. We play APBA baseball in an eight team superstar league, half of the season with all teams playing on the computer; the other half of the season with half of the league playing face-to-face, while the other half of the league finishes up on the computer. I've been all-computer for some time now. I was drafting last, having finished second in the first half and first in the second half which gave me the lowest aggregate point total. (And which means that I did quite well last year. :) )

The problem this year was that both my starting and relief pitching had gone down the tubes. I had one quality reliever returning and only two quality starters. Now one of those starters was Clayton Kershaw, but he is heavily limited on starts this year due to his injury in 2016. The other is Carlos Martinez, who is a fine thing, but still developing. And after that, it's the cast of thousands of mediocre starting pitchers with good names attached. So my prospects are pretty good, but the current season could be brutal. And since I was drafting eighth and there were only three quality pitchers available under the pitching cap -- who went one, two, three with Porcello, Syndergaard, and deGrom -- I would not be making any major improvements to the starting pitching.

I also had a lot of mediocre (for this year) outfielders in a year that was loaded with mediocre outfielders in the draft. I expect Bryce Harper to have a better season this year than last and he's playable this year, but...

But with a starting infield of Freeman, Zobrist, Machado, Bogaerts, and Molina behind the plate, not all was lost. Still, the team is likely to finish in the middle of the pack this year.

So we came down to the end of round one and Jonathan Lucroy was staring me in the face. That was a lot of catcher at bats that were likely to be better than Molina's by some margin. And Lucroy is several years younger. So I picked him (Gary Sanchez had gone fourth in the draft, just for reference) and kicked off a run on catchers. :)

As I mentioned, the relief corps had been thinned out (I had Will Harris as a top quality reliever and Tony Watson as a second-tier lefty reliever), so I grabbed the best available reliever, Daniel Otero, at the end of round two and kicked off a brief run on relief. There were more relievers available than catchers though, so there was a bit less of a panic.

In round three, I took the best available young non-quality starting pitcher (IMO) with Jameson Taillon.

In round four, it was back to the bullpen for another quality reliever with Tony Barnette.

In round five, I did some maneuvering. Carlos Correa is my backup shortstop this year, but there is talk that the Astros might move him to third base, swapping positions with Alex Bregman. Well, I needed a backup third baseman, so I drafted Bregman and am now covered either way.

Round six was back to the bullpen, adding Nationals closer Blake Treinen. He'd actually end up completing the bullpen, as I never found anyone I considered an improvement over Tony Watson.

At this point, my draft moved into the "just messing around" stage. As I said, I had a lot of mediocre outfield and started trading some of it in on outfield with a different flavor. In round seven, I picked up Cubs near-rookie centerfielder Albert Almora Jr.

Round eight added Byron Buxton, who can field the position and may or may not someday figure out how to hit in the major leagues.

Round nine brought Cameron Maybin aboard. He lacks power, but has speed and can get on base, which was being a problem with the previous version of the outfield.

And I closed out my draft in round ten by picking Brandon Drury, a utility player for the Diamondbacks who is currently playing second base. This, of course, is subject to change. :)

Holdovers included (some players already mentioned): Yadier Molina, Freddie Freeman, Ben Zobrist, Jonathan Schoop, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Gregory Polanco, Kole Calhoun, Stephen Piscotty, and Randal Grichuk.

And pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Martinez, Kevin Gausman, Jeff Samardzija, Adam Wainwright, Will Harris, Tony Watson, Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker, and Michael Wacha.

We'll see how it goes.

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