THE KOJIRO RONIN DRAFT REVIEW
Feels like this draft review should be a death knell already as I'm sitting at 2-13, but still believe in my heart I am playoff bound. Reality says I should have different expectations, but you play to win games. Or at least to see if your ability to execute your plan will yield desired outcomes, rollz notwithstanding. If I find myself 2-159, expect I will still be trying to execute my team strategy come game 162.
I VALUED PITCHING
Am a sucker for pitching. So I took Kershaw, who it seemed with his ultra-low BB/9 could have gotten whatever bonus the theorhetical ZZZ might get, a la Phil Hughes SL 2015 or Carlos Silva SL 2006 ... but also then mixing in a 17G+3 with that walk prevention made it a no brainer to me. In retrospect, his numbers probably didn't merit getting that bump, but I didn't take the opportunity
And I'm a sucker for ZZs, so while there were players I entertained taking in Round 2, Porcello was nearly a foregone conclusion. Oh, and considering I had Hendricks right there at the same level in my forecasts as Porcello, when he was available in Round 3, there was no way I was going to pass on him. Some of the same commentary could be made about Otero in the 5th and Chapman in the 8th, pitchers way too high on my board to pass up.
The thing about taking 5 pitchers in the first 8 rounds is that this stuff used to happen ALL the time in the SL 15-20 seasons ago. Granted, there was a reason we stopped doing this. But I will forever feel it's valid IF the pitchers are right, not some one-time experiment that worked in 2015 for Jim but has other inherent flaws that should be avoided.
Ronin are on their own, masterless Samurai unattached to a feudal Daimyo. Or on their own unless they band together for an Akira Kuwasawa film. Seems like it's appropriate that a Ronin team has a largely different strategy it's trying to execute over the course of a season than the rest of the SL.
Jim tells me I should have followed up the Hendricks Round 3 pick with a Scherzer in Round 4, telling me I didn't go all-in on starting pitching like I should have at this point. My concerns with getting elite relief and also getting decent offense far outweighed taking a good-but-maybe-not-elite Scherzer in Round 4. And I will always have in the back of my mind that taking a pitcher in Round 5 that doesn't even get a playoff start just seems like backwards logic.
The premise of Jim's argument is valid, spend the 5 picks on starters (where I perhaps get Scherzer in Round 4 and maybe a Cueto or Bumgarner or Verlander or whomever else might have been there in Round 5), and I certainly can cobble together a small relief staff mid-to-late in the draft and be fine, and can have decent options in rounds 6-16 as some scrambling for solid-but-not-spectacular pitching is selected -- decent enough to get a 3.5 runs per game team against an otherwise poor starting pitching league.
I will say that in retrospect Jim's plan would have been better than mine, but that's more to do with me being 2-13 and having a staff that's not performed well right now, and an offense that's shown itself to be terrible.
WHAT WENT WELL IN THE DRAFT?
Well, I got a good pitching staff. Cruz is the most powerful regular I've had in forever. Have strong feelings about Kole Calhoun's ability to do well near the bottom of the lineup. Zobrist in the 18th was an effective pick. Carlos Santana will be an effective SLer in 2017.
WHO NEEDS TO DO BETTER?
Nelson Cruz, especially with Matt Joyce hitting in front of him. Not sure who else. Lamb was put on this team to knock Carlos Santana in with 2-run homers or RBI triples, and that surely hasn't been commonplace.
I think the whole issue with a poor offense like this one, defined as such by what I think is a low average lineup with a good amount of OBP numbers, is that they can be wildly inconsistent. Just played Graham a couple nights ago, and in game 4 I miraculously had 10 hits spread out over the 9 innings, maybe with a couple innings of multiple hits here and there, but it only yielded a few runs as the big hit rarely came ... but the next game I walked 9 times and seemingly put myself in great position to score a load of runs, yet I didn't get a single hit until maybe the 7th and ended up having the potential tying run thrown out at 3rd base in the 9th as I was trying to get the winning run to second on a single to LF.
UH-OH, AM 2-13 AND THINGS CAN STILL GO SOUTH?!?
My defense could be my worst ever. Santana and Lamb on the corners are collectively bad, Contreras behind the plate half the time is not good, and when Peraza starts at SS or in the OF he's going to be suspect. Meanwhile the OF arms are not going to strike fear in anyone, and while generally starting a couple +3s behind the plate is often a great sign, this season it's almost a negative to only have +3s.
And while I am getting out-XBH to death so far, maybe at a 2-1 clip, I drafted a lousy XBH offense. Maybe I'll approach 195 HRs and that part of my SLG will be fine, and even when other teams aren't XBH'ing me by such a wide margin, it's still going to be an unspectacular XBH lineup. And if I hit .210 with a .170 SLG, how high will my OBP need to be to score 3.5 per game and win games 4-3 or 3-2 or whatever it takes for this team to compete? Shrug, sigh, I just don't know.
ACE WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER
The Ace would have had me take Trout, who will win the SL 2017 MVP. I miss the Ace.