I completed my National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) satellite league draft last Wednesday night, and I have to say it was a rather painful affair – not the team I drafted but the draft itself.
I participated in five mock drafts at Mock Draft Central to prepare for this draft, and was expecting to finish in the same two to two and half hour session it usually took for the mocks. For this draft we needed more than four hours to complete 30 rounds. With a 9:00pm start time, I was still awake after 1:00am. The draft was definitely cutting into my beauty sleep.
We had too many owners who seemed unprepared to make their selections when it was their turn, which was surprising. There also seemed to be too many times when owners would hold their pick to the last of the 90 second clock, trying to create some sort of drama. Hopefully that experience is not normal for other NFBC drafts. Now that the draft is over though, it is time to evaluate my squad.
NFBC uses the Kentucky Derby Style of selecting draft positions, which means each owner ranks what draft pick they would like, and a random selection runs through the preferences of each owner to determine the draft order.
I was hopeful I would end up with a draft slot in the middle of the pack to get a pick every 20 choices or so. Unfortunately I had some bad luck and I found myself at #14, maybe the hardest draft slot of them all.
The only good thing about the 14th slot is that I can watch the team selecting 15th, and make my choices based on what they are likely to do (or not do) with their back-to-back picks. For instance, since he selected Jimmy Rollins in the fourth round, he was very unlikely to select a SS with any pick until at least the middle of the draft. Knowing this, when I was ready to select a SS, I could do it on the second of my two picks after the short turn rather than have to move with the first.
Here is my roster, including the 7 reserve picks:
It is a very solid lineup, deep in power hitting and power arms. My team lacks speed, saves, and ratios, which might end up being the difference between first and second in this league. No trading is allowed (to prevent collusion), so I will have to hope my team stays healthier than others and make any adjustments from the waiver wire.
I’m not going to go through all 30 rounds, because you would find something else to read before we hit Aaron Hill, but I will hit some of the highlights and some of the lowlights.
After five mock drafts, I found the eight elite first basemen (Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, and Adam Dunn) and the four elite third basemen (David Wright, Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria, and Ryan Zimmerman) went fast and the drop off was substantial afterwards.
Seeing what was realistic, I figured that if I could nab Ryan Howard and David Wright with those first two picks I would be in an optimum position, but it was all up to the rest of the league. When they fell to me at picks 14 and 17 overall, I knew I was well on my way to a great team. They both provide good power while Wright will give me stolen bases from an unusual position.
When all the power arms were disappearing as I helplessly watched 26 players fly off the board from my second to third pick, I was thrilled to see that one of my top three choices was still waiting for me: Jon Lester. Following the wrap around, I saw that Jason Heyward was still available and I jumped on that like nobody’s business.
As the draft progressed, I didn’t take as many pitchers early as I had planned to, but I did get Roy Oswalt in the sixth round. Since I participated in a mock draft the night before, I saw that some real pitching bargains developed in the teens and more could be found in the twenties. I did add a top starter in Javier Vazquez and closer in Jonathan Broxton, but I mostly concentrated on building a stout offense.
When Kendrys Morales and his still-healing leg fell to the fifth round, I saw a chance to separate myself from the pack and add a second power hitting first baseman to cover my corner infield slot. When I grabbed Hill in the seventh round and Delmon Young in the eighth, I was well on my way to dominating the league in homers and RBI.
Hitting bargains that I found included Vernon Wells in the 10th, Grady Sizemore in the 11th, Nate McLouth in the 18th and Garrett Jones in the 21st round. Pitching bargains really didn’t fall into my lap quite as much, but I do like some of my end-game pitching grabs which included Jon Garland in the 22nd, Tommy Hunter in the 24th, Mike Pelfrey in the 25th, Daisuke Matsuzaka in the 26th, and Joe Saunders in the 29th rounds. None will be superstars this season, but all will be good plays in the right matchup.
My secret weapon for the catcher position was Russell Martin who was selected right before I was about to pick him for myself. I did end up with John Buck and A.J. Pierzynski in the 16th and 17th rounds.
The last ten rounds were filled with bargain picks and depth chart filler. I found David DeJesus waiting for me at 23 to help with my batting average, and Scott Podsednik at 30 to give me a boost in steals if he comes back healthy.
The draft didn’t go exactly as I planned, but I like my team and my chances. I didn’t want to punt saves and steals, while not overpaying for each category either. I have enough guys to get a few points in each. If my guys stay healthy and the risks pay off, I should have a say in the league title at the end.