The NCIB fantasy league had our first draft this past weekend, and it was hella fun. 25 rounds of action in just a little over an hour. It almost went too fast for my liking. I barely had time to think about my next picks. In my other league, a head-to-head fantasy point auction league, our auction took over 4 hours. And a bunch of players on each team were protected from previous years. Something comfortably in between would be ideal.
All I know is that the plan I had going into the draft went out the window by the 3rd round. I blame that squarely on the manager of The Gotlanders, who was loading up on starting pitching at an alarming rate. I had planned to wait until the 10th round or so before picking up any starting pitching. This is a FIP-based league, after all. And a lot of value can be found in the later rounds for pitchers who might be elite with some better luck or defense behind them. But I panicked and grabbed Zack Greinke in the 3rd round. Then went with more pitching in the 7th-11th rounds. So yeah...that plan didn't pan out. The Gotlanders, by the way, have the sickest starting pitching in the league. And an offense that could be among the the best in the league if several of his picks work out the way he thinks they will.
The manager of Otis Day & The Knights did stick to that plan though. To the extreme. Drafted all offense and relief pitchers until the 22nd round. Not knowing that you need 6 starting pitchers on your squad probably had a lot to do with that, however. He still wound up with some really good starting pitching and picked up a few more after the draft via free agency. That's the idea with this plan. Load up on offense and scavenge for pitching. It can really work if you stay diligent. And a team built around an offense with Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Upton is pretty daunting.
Two managers, Sea Goats and Shagging Flys, didn't even make it to the draft. And, frankly, they wound up with really good teams each. Maybe that was the way to go. Kinda disconcerting, seeing two teams that are probably better than my own that were picked by a computer. That's the way it goes sometimes. The Sea Goats wound up with the incredible Albert Pujols and an outfield of Curtis Granderson, Carlos Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz. All players I coveted. Same with Shagging Flys and Miggy Cabrera, although his outfield is littered with the often-injured Josh Hamilton, Carl Crawford and BJ Upton. A starting rotation of Dan Haren and Cole Hamels helps offet that extremely well.
There were two fantasy newbies who participated in the draft as well. The managers of Phoo Phighters and The Blue Labels. Both did very well, in my opinion. Barring a couple of admitted mistakes from the manager of the Phoo. Hehehehe. She had some fun drafting a bunch of palyers from her hometown Cincinnati Reds, and it worked out well for her. Having the likes of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips on your team is never a bad thing. The Blue Labels went strong with offense and some terrific FIP-inspired picks in pitching. And maybe the best bench, therefore the most flexible team, in the league. Well done to the two noobs.
The two teams at each turn in the draft, Mudville 9 at the #1 spot and Kill Moose&Squirrel at #11, put together some fearsomely awesome teams with their draft strategies. The Mudville 9 made the suprising choice, to some, of selecting Dustin Pedroia with the 1st overall pick. Wasn't surprising to me. I was planning on taking him in the first round as well. Second base, after the first couple of guys, was the shallowest position in the draft. Had he waited, he would have missed out on the big 3 of Pedroia, Cano and Kinsler. Kill Moose&Squirrel really did his homework. Constantly screwing myself and others out of some excellent choices that I thought would have lasted longer. Damn you, Boris Badenov!!!
The Miracles and Je Je Je Jeetah rounded out the 11-team league, both doing very, very well. The Miracles went with wOBA All-Stars like Ryan Braun and Mike Napoli on offense, a strong relief corp and underrated and strong starting pitchers like Jered Weaver and Yovani Gallardo. Je Je Je Jeetah picked just enough Yankees for the huge Yankees fan that he is. While building a formidable team around Jose Bautista on offense and Justin Verlander and Tim Lincecum for pitching.