60 Million: Kid Rock’s 1980 Expos
Well, to start with… I had no idea what to do. I wanted speed, but I also felt I couldn’t ignore power. I also figured (apparently, wrongly) that many teams would focus on speed so I wanted a good-armed catcher. After stumbling around, I came across the 1976 A’s, who had good enough pitching, Gene Tenace at catcher, and some speedy guys (Phil Garner and Don Baylor (!)). I liked the team well enough but just could not get it to work at the cap. Billy North had seasons that were either too expensive (and definitely not worth it anyway), or too lame. Eventually I gave up and searched further.
For some reason, Warren Cromartie stuck in my head as someone who might work for this cap. He’s decent, but not too good (perfect for this cap!). Eventually, I stumbled across the 1980 Expos and liked them a lot. For one thing, they have speed with Ron Leflore (didn’t even know he played for the Expos!) and Rodney Scott, not to mention Tim Raines. They also have some power… not a ton, but some. They seemed to be reasonably well-covered everywhere… and they had Gary Carter at catcher who fit the bill as a good-armed cheap catcher in his rookie year. Tony Scott was listed as a 2B but he actually had better defense at SS, and Chris Speier was just not working for me. So Scott will play SS and a twisted season of Tony Bernazard will play 2B, who can also run. The pitching staff was about perfect (for this cap) just as is, but I augmented it with 4 mopup guys to get over 1300 innings. I just don’t think under 1300 will cut it (at least I hope not). I’m sure I’m wrong about that though. Anyway, I’m actually pretty pleased with this team. It has a good balance of everything, and no glaring weakness in the lineup or pitching staff except maybe Rodney Scott, who is a pretty awful hitter… but at least he steals bases. I’m crossing my fingers…
80 Million: A Very Merry Soo Choo Holliday
I had the first pick, and it seemed to me that the year we were drafting (2009) had pretty good depth at all positions. There were certainly four catchers, 1b, 2b, 3b, and ss that I was fine with. I didn’t think there were 12 outfielders who I would be fine with though… and I also didn’t feel there was enough depth in SP. So, my goal was to first secure some starters, and then grab who I felt were the best OFs for this cap. It seemed clear to me that the best SP for 2009 was Chris Carpenter, so that’s who I picked first, then I picked a 100 inning version of Jarrod Washburn, who was one of the top pitchers that year, followed by another top pitcher that year, Javier Vazquez. At that point, I felt I was decently covered with SP so it was time next to focus on OF. However, for some reason I kept looking at Adam Dunn and his 38 homers and lots of ABs for a very cheap price… and I really wanted him, so I picked him 4th, then I picked who I felt were the two best OFs for this cap and year, Matt Holliday and Shin Soo Choo. After that, I focused solely on pitching and completely built up my pitching staff before returning to the hitters, again, who I felt were adequately covered, and I was fine with the other positions.
I did decide to platoon at catcher and have a good-armed catcher platooning with an ok-armed-but-better-hitter catcher. So, Ryan Hannigan and Carlos Ruiz will share duties behind the plate. I also decided to have part-time players at 2B and 3B. I figure if, heaven forbid I make the playoffs, my better 2B and 3B (Felipe Lopez and Aramis Ramirez) will get me through the 1st round at least!
My team has more power than any others in my league, my pitchers don’t give up too many homers (and that especially isn’t as much of a concern when my team faces the 1909 teams), so I put my team in a favorable homerun park. I’m cautiously optimistic about this team…
90 Million: FDR + JFK
I generally focused on getting good pitchers from the 30s and good hitters from the 60s, to get the benefit of normalization from both sides, as it were. Carl Hubbell is one of my favorites, and Lefty Grove is usually good too. Coupled with Monty Stratton… well, those are my starters. I also have the ’32 Eppa Rixey as a long-reliever. Again, I think these guys will do well due to normalization. Most of my bullpen is from the 60s, including closer Cisco Carlos (or is it Carlos Cisco? … I always get that confused). The hitters mostly hail from the 60s including Dick Allen, Rico Carty (my mostly-fulltime catcher), Willie McCovey, Richie Ashburn, and part-time players of Ron Fairly and others. My middle infield is Max Bishop at 2B and Luke Appling at SS. I focused a lot on OBP and not as much on power, since I think power will be limited (as it usually is in most leagues)… and especially on making sure that the hitters and pitchers normalized well. This team, like several of my others, has a bunch of part-time players, which I’m usually pretty good at managing (my part-time player team from round 1 was my best team). So again… cautiously optimistic.
100 Million: Huh? These Guys Are Different…
I considered using Silver King here, but wisely (I believe) decided against it. Russ Ford appears to be the best available pitcher. I built my staff around him, using Jake Northrop to close and Nick Maddox to set up. Matt Harvey, Jim Hearn, Kris Medlen, and others round out the staff. Not much here… I tried to limit the homers allowed significantly from the modern pitchers.
As with my other teams, many of my hitters are part-timers, especially at 1B with Jake Virtue and Carl Taylor. Again, I went with OBP and good normalization and eschewed pure power, since I think it will be neutralized. Many of my OFs are part-timers too, and my catching is a pure platoon of Mike Grady and Bill Delancey (a platoon I liked so much in my 110 mil Cardinal team that I added them here too!). After looking at the other teams, I’m cautiously pessimistic…
110 Million: Saint Looey Slappies
I had the 16th pick. No one wanted to trade down to 16, obviously, so I was stuck with it. What I *should* have done was taken a Giants pitcher (one of the ones dougpalm chose), but I absolutely could not take the risk that there would be 3 Giants teams. That would have been disastrous, I felt, so I hedged my bets and took Rogers Hornsby and crossed my fingers that no one else would take the Giants. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen, when it came back to me in the 2nd round, I had my choice of either sharing the Cards, the Braves, or the Cubs. I felt the Cards had just barely enough pitching to support two teams… but most definitely had tons and tons of hitting, so I went with them and chose John Tudor as my ace. I felt the same situation existed in this draft as did in my 80 million draft in that there was plenty of C, 1B, 2B, SS, and 3B available (well… maybe not SS after Ozzie Smith was gone, but enough…). I felt I therefore absolutely had to focus on pitching. I think if crystalao had picked Mort Cooper as his 2nd or 3rd pick, I’d be in big trouble, but he picked Ozzie (probably a wise choice) and Pujols (also an obviously good choice). That allowed me to take Jim Hearn (take THAT Giants teams!!!), who was one of the few pitchers for the Cards who had a WHIP under 1.00 and pitched over a 100 innings, and so I felt I needed him and also figured the Giants teams would take him soon if I didn’t… and then Mort Cooper. I expected therefore, not to get Stan Musial. To my surprise… for my next picks, he was available, so I took Musial and Jesse Burkett, both of whom I felt were the best OFs available for the Cards.
Oh… I decided early on that this would be a high average, medium-power team with lots of doubles and triples. Musial fits that strategy very well, and what’s also great about Musial is that there are so many good seasons available, so it’s really easy to mix and match and figure out a season that works (that’s true with Hornsby as well). Burkett has only one good season in the 1900s, but he was exactly what I was looking for.
After the two OFs, I focused completely on my pitching staff and picked who I felt was the best pitchers I could get. Crystalao got a few that I wanted, but I think the staff will be ok. After that, I decided on having part-time players in my last OF spot, and at catcher. My 1B, Jim Bottomley is perfect for my slap-hitting strategy. I believe this strategy will work out. I am again… cautiously optimistic…
120 Million: Same ‘Ol, Same ‘Ol… Except Better
Well, my team looks similar to most every other team out there. I have Alexander, Joss, Maddux… you know… the usual. I don’t think my team will be particularly bad, but I don’t think they will dominate. I expect them to win about 83 games, miss the playoffs, and hopefully, won’t cause me to lose the championship or something. I’m hoping my awesome year of Rogers Hornsby will overcome any shortcomings this team has.