It was a pretty brutal off-season, as keeper years were in short supply and quite costly. I managed to trade Morgan Ensberg for the years I really needed, and turned a 12th-round pick into one more.
My big decision was whether to keep prospects like Carlos Quentin and Tom Gorzelanny or not, but I decided that my core keepers are strong enough that I need to be making runs now, not spending too much energy building for the future. So when the fust had settled, I ended up keeping the following players:
This is a very strong nucleus of young star players, although I got my first "uh-oh" today with a rumor that Bonderman is "feeling something" in his elbow. But clearly it's my offense which is going to carry the day so I think I can weather it if he goes down. But hopefully not.
Draft day is soon... wish me luck!
My strategy going into the draft was pretty simple: My infield rocks, so I wanted to get one of the top starting catchers and 4 starting pitchers with my first five picks. After that I'd start filling my outfield and bullpen. After 10 hours of drafting, here's what I ended up with:
My first big decision came in the first round: I had hoped to draft one of Jason Varitek, Jorge Posada, Kenji Johjima or Mark Buehrle, but was prepared in case all four of them were drafted before my first pick (13th overall). The league often has a run on catchers in the first round, so imagine my surprise when all four players were available for my first pick! I dithered a little between Johjima and Varitek, but decided that my "win now" strategy required that I draft the best-hitting catcher I could, which I judged to be Varitek.
Then I turned to the pitchers. Buehrle went well before my second pick, and the quality dropped rapidly. I had a choice among Clement, Livan Hernandez, Barry Zito and Doug Davis for my third-round pick, and I chose Clement who at least throws hard. I may regret that.
Quality outfielders disappeared in a big hurry, hence my pick of Bradley in the 4th round. I like Bradley a lot, and I hope his untapped potential might result in a career year now that I think he's landed in a pretty good situation in Oakland.
My rotation overall is a lot weaker than I'd hoped, which is disappointing. It seemed like pitching depth was very shallow this year, or maybe I just drafted poorly. My rotation seems like it has more downside than upside, that I drafted more to avoid sucking than to excel.
My outfield is the opposite: A lot of upside, but not a lot of proven value. Bradley and Reed are both servicible at worst, but I like them both for their potential to break out. A lot of my other outfielders are of the "lot a lot of secondary skills, but they can mash" variety, which I think is the best hedge for 4th and 5th outfielders, and if they have a good year in the batting average category, then so much the better!
I have an interesting slate of outfield prospects, and a couple of pitching prospects I like a lot. I'm also hopeful that the Rangers will replace Rod Barajas with Gerald Laird sooner rather than later.
Overall it's not a world-beating team, I'm afraid. But hopefully my superstars will help me make a run.
hits since 6 April 2006.