This past Saturday, the draft for the 11th season of the Iowa Farm League was held. This is our fifth season in the twelve team league, and we’ve posted finishes of first, third, sixth, and third.
The draft is the most important day of the season. Each team starts with $260 play dollars to spend, and bids against the other teams to acquire the players that they’d like to have. My strategy going into the draft included these goals:
- The winning team almost always has one or two superstars. So, one goal was to draft one of the top hitters and one of the top pitchers.
- The winning team often has one or two sleepers: players who were drafted for low cost but performed better than anticipated. So, one goal was to draft some rookies that had potential to make an impact.
- The winning team has a minimal number of duds. Duds are batters that rarely play, and thus do not contribute to stats, or pitchers who inflate ERA and WHIP without any offsetting value. One goal was to avoid pitching duds completely, and accept batting duds only at Catcher and Middle Infield.
- There are few good offensive catchers in the National League. As a result, the value of catcher is often inflated. One goal was to spend $1 (the minimum amount) on a catcher.
- Outfielders are expected to contribute positively to four of the five offensive categories. One goal was to draft 4 of the top 35 outfielders.
- A related goal was to draft an outfielder for our Utility position. Some teams get stuck with a catcher or light-hitting infielder in this position. I’d rather take some money from my middle infield and spend it to acquire a fifth outfielder. So, one goal was to try to find bargains at middle infield and spend the savings elsewhere, such as at the Utility position.
Of course, the draft is fluid, with the decisions of other managers affecting our own decisions. Our strategy, however, was solid and resulted in the following team.
Pos Name Salary Team C Miguel Olivo $1 Fla 1B Albert Pujols $46 StL 2B Dan Uggla $5 Fla SS Hanley Ramirez $10 Fla 3B Scott Rolen $25 StL MI Anderson Hernandez $1 (FA) NYM CI John Mabry $1 ChC OF Ken Griffey Jr. 22 Cin OF Juan Encarnacion $14 StL OF J.D. Drew $16 LA OF Cliff Floyd $15 NYM U Chris Duffy $9 Pit BN Larry Bigbie $1 StL P Chris Carpenter $26 StL P Greg Maddux $15 ChC P Aaron Harang $10 Cin P Matt Cain $8 SF P Odalis Perez $7 LA P Sidney Ponson $2 StL P Oscar Villarreal $2 Atl P Joey Devine $1 Atl P Ryan Wagner $1 Cin P Jason Isringhausen $22 StL
How did we do at meeting our goals?
- Superstars: Pujuls and Carpenter are among the top players.
- Rookies: Ramirez and Uggla were purchased for $15. Both have the potential to make a positive impact.
- Duds: late in the draft, we still needed our middle and corner infield players, and could only spend $1 on each. We acquired John Mabry and S. Drew, but dropped Drew to acquire Anderson Hernandez, who may be the starting 2B for the Mets. That worked out well.
- Catcher: we spent only $1 as planned. It isn’t clear yet if we got a dud.
- Outfielders: All four outfielders are ranked in the top 35.
- Utility: We were able to draft a quality fifth outfielder for the Utility position. Additionally, Duffy gives us some rookie “lightning in a bottle” potential.
Some other observations:
- Drew, Griffey and Floyd are all an injury risk, but should each put up great numbers if healthy. A winning team usually has some good luck, and our luck will need to be our outfielders staying healthy.
- Bigbie is starting the season injured. This must have scared the other owners away, even though he could return soon. As a result, we were able to pick him up for $1 late in the draft. He’s a bargain bench player at $1 and provides some insurance for our other injury-prone outfielders.
- We wanted Devine, a middle reliever from Atlanta, and were able to get him for $1. If Reitsma falters as the closer at Atlanta, Devine could get some save opportunities. Unexpectedly, we were also able to draft Villarreal, another middle reliever for Atlanta, who could also get some save opportunities.
Opening day is April 2. Play ball!