In this era of parity in the Summer League, oftentimes it is just the nudge of luck or timing or something such as that, which determines the fate of a club during a season. Last year, I thought in the early going that I had things going my way, with the first pick leading a very strong-seeming offense, however a series of items proved to show a lot of weaknesses in my club and I wound up floundering, despite dominating my division mates. Some of those items gave me a bitter taste, and the season itself seemed interminable, so it was difficult to drag myself immediately (it seemed) into scouting for SL 2012. Nonetheless, we press on.
In the limited scouting I did, it did appear that there were a number of similar top players, and that some of the initially strongest ones had enough flaws to drop them all into roughly the same level. That, and the fact of Felix's MVP year for Ken last season, made me determine that I would select Kershaw and his "better than Felix" card, given the opportunity. It appeared to be a year of very, very strong bullpen depth, and another year where all the league's starting pitching would be graded at 10 or higher. Indeed, one of the first items I noticed was how little the batting 8s would be in play this season, especially for any player with an SA rating of 2 or higher, as there would be so few starting pitchers graded below 13, and almost none under 11.
Entering the first round, some of the draft scuttlebutt and mock drafts I heard about had Kershaw falling as far as to Keith in the 4th spot. In my estimation, and with some conversations, there was no way I was getting ahead of Keith in the 1st to be able to take Kershaw over him, however, so I never more than halfheartedly attempted to move up. That led me to investigate other likely mid-first round options. I decided that Cabrera and his terrific offensive card was not getting to me, so I looked at Napoli and Granderson. Napoli proved very tough for me to accept in the 1st round, with only 113 games available, no matter how terrific his numbers looked, and I noticed that Granderson's card looked very similar to Youkilis's #3 hitter card for my Edmund club last year - but with an extra 55 games, a better SA rating, and with a ton more speed. I hoped for him, and when Ken leaped over me to select Napoli, I was quite pleased to take Grandy despite little defensive value.
I decided to live with a bit lower starting pitching, hoping to have a better offense with better opportunity cost, and to use the perceived bullpen depth to collect some of that later. Thus I continue on an offensive run, beyond an aborted attempt to sneak ahead of Graham for Weaver, who I had determined was the last of the top tier of starting pitching. I took the top offensive 2B, and who I thought would be the top raw numbers 3B, both in attempts to have strong offense at defensive positions.
Then I began selecting lower games, higher value guys. A theme that I almost completely continued for my remaining offensive starters - beyond Teixeira, who I thought was a good value guy, as late as he went - selecting Giambi, Holliday, Jennings, Fowler, Scutaro. Hernandez was the final good D, solid O catcher, I thought, and Martin was a good O, brings things to the table, backup that allowed me to live with only 2 catchers due to his speed. My bench was high games, decent guys such as Markakis, Garrett Jones and Jeter.
When I finally got around to pitching, I went heavily into home run control. 3 starters with Gs, and a pen full of Hs and Gs. We shall see how that works. I remember years when a 14,14,13,12,11 staff was very good, however I am thinking my starting staff this season may be the league's worst. In the pen I went to occasional lower grades to select the Hs and Gs, thus do not have a reliever over an 18.
I have a number of shorter games guys to mix in, but also may have the league's least extreme SA ratings, so hope that will help my OBP. Granderson, Holliday and Giambi should be on base, hopefully for Cano and Tex and Longoria to knock in. The bottom of the lineup should have shortstops and catchers hit & running. I do not have as many first column 1 guys as last season, but I project to get to about 200 homers, with Tex and Grandy in the 35 range. Hopefully I have guys throughout the lineup on base consistently, as I attempted to build that, and have a flow with pretty good team speed as well.
A lot of home run control was selected, and hopefully that comes through. No walk control in the starters, but a number of Zs in the pen. There is an extra game/inning per series from my last season club in the pen, and hopefully that will allow me to reach out there in time to thwart some rallies.
Strong defensive infield with 5s at the corners, and plus arms behind the plate. My outfield is all offense, without much arms to speak of. My staff will help the catchers with solid move ratings. I hope to somewhat limit the running game and turn some double plays.
I never know how to determine this as what I think is often far different from others. I felt Holliday and Teixeira both could have gone earlier due to their cards. Martin drew some trade chatter after I selected him, but that was due to his versatility and speed for the position, I am sure, not necessarily due to where I picked him. I believe Scutaro will be a really good starting shortstop for a 20th round selection.
Certainly Giambi. Great card, but only available for 220 some PAs, which will mean about 50 starts and a handful of pinch hitting appearances. Not selecting a starting pitcher until the 8th or a reliever until the 12th round means that I have no high grade guys. Selecting a few guys with 42s, including 2 j3s, is always a gamble.
I am in the division with the 1st pick and a 90+ win team from last year. I had a lot of in-division success last season, however that did not translate into even a .500 season. If I get the year that I expect to from Granderson, Cano & Teixeira, Grandy should lead the league in runs scored, and if Holliday, Longoria and Fowler pitch in as I think they should, Giambi and Jennings may take my offense over the top to where I can challenge Ken's stronghold on leading the league in runs scored. Hopefully that will mean that my pitching & pen are enough to outscore by that half run per game margin that I need to win 84 games.