The Colonial League was started by Jim Crowley back in 1982, and still has some of its original members. According to Jim, it's the third oldest fantasy league. I have been fortunate enough to have been a member since 2007, but that makes me a relative new-comer.
The league is an NL-only non-keeper league, with typical 5x5 scoring, and a draft, not an auction. We have the standard positions except that this year, we voted to only use one catcher and two utitlity spots. Interestingly, the utility spots can be hitters or pitchers. We use a draft that starts out like a serpentine draft, but is really more of a spiral. We don't know our draft positions until we draw right before we start.
I wasn't nearly as prepared for the NL-only draft as I was for the AL-only draft. My basic tool was the Player Forecast Manager found at Baseball Prospectus. I also used the BP depth charts and a new site called MLBDepthCharts.com. The PFM is a computer program that allows you to enter your league's paramaters and it ranks the players. You can make all sorts of adjustments, but the program assumes the player plays to his forecasted PECOTA mean performance.
I had two other strategies: one, when I didn't have to reach too far, I would pick a Reds player and, two, I wouldn't pick any other players from the NL Central.
I drew the first spot in the draft and went with Jose Reyes. According to PFM he was the most valuable guy by a pretty big margin over Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, and Albert Pujols. The rest of the first round went like this:
Pujols, Wright, Hanley, Howard, Lincecum, Braun, Carlos Lee, and Santana.
As the first pick in the first round, I also had the last pick of the second round. The second round went like this for the first eight picks:
Rollins, Webb, Utley, Manny, Beltran, Soriano, Berkman, and Victorino.
With my second round pick, I reached a little bit and picked Joey Votto. At that point, according to PFM, Joey Votto was the fourth best player available behind (in order) Chris Young (OF), Matt Kemp, and Prince Fielder. Because of the spiral, I had the second pick of the third round and the eighth pick of the fourth round. I almost certainly could have picked Votto in the third round, but I wanted him more than any other player so I reached a little bit. Predictably, Fielder went next. Then I took Dan Haren with my third pick. He was the best available starter. Although Young, Werth, and Hart were ranked ahead of him, I didn't want to wait 14 more picks before getting my number one starter. Peavy, Hamels, Oswalt, Volquez, Billingsley, and Vazquez all went before I picked again in the fourth round.
In the fourth round, I picked Jay Bruce. Chris Young (whom I predicted would be around later) and Jason Werth were ranked ahead of him, so I reached two spots for Bruce, and was very happy to do so. Werth went two picks later, followed by Russell Martin. I had the third pick of the fifth round and went with Brian McCann. I had not planned on picking a catcher so high, especially with the new rule re: only one catcher. I could have waited much later to pick a catcher, but with a chance at one of the two or three elite guys I thought it was worth pulling the trigger.
At this point, I want to compare and contrast my draft at the first pick with that of the Pirates, who were drafting ninth. So far I had, in order, Reyes, Votto, Haren, Bruce, and McCann. The Pirates had Santana, Rollins, Fielder, Upton, and Martin. This is a very similar first five picks, with exact position matches, and even a reach on a young outfielder (Bruce and Upton). I think this is interesting because of the debate over picking last or first. Arguably, the Pirates got the better draft, with Santana, but I'm happy with my guys. It certainly helped that the team drafting before the Pirates took Carlos Lee, in my opinion not a first-rounder. According to PFM, he should have been the last pick of the third round.
The rest of the draft was fun, but the big news as far as the Legends are concerned is that I picked eight Reds. I had to reach for a couple, but a couple were steals, according to PFM. For example, I got Chris Dickerson in the 18th round. According to PFM, he was a 6th round guy. I got Edwin in the eleventh round; he was a seventh rounder by PFM. By the way, I got Chris Young, the 13th best guy on PFM, in the seventh round. Let's hope he lives up to his forecast.
Here is my roster for week one:
C Brian McCann
1B Joey Votto
2B Felipe Lopez
3B Edwin Encarnacion
SS Jose Reyes
MI Cristian Guzman
CI Nick Johnson
OF Jay Bruce
OF Adam Dunn
OF Chris Young
OF Fred Lewis
OF Chris Dickerson
P Dan Haren
P Derek Lowe
P Aaron Harang
P Oliver Perez
P Joe Blanton
P Barry Zito
P Daniel Cabrerra
P Francisco Cordero
P Heath Bell
UT J.J. Putz
UT Bronson Arroyo
Reserves: Jesus Flores, Nate Schierholtz, Andrew Miller, Seth McClung, Jonny Gomes
Obviously, I didn't know that Gomes would be cut. This was a surprise and, to me, a mistake by the Reds. He had real break-out potential. Dusty said that Willie Taveras getting the flu was a factor because the team needed to keep Darnell McDonald. I'm not buying that, and think it was only an excuse for Dusty to keep a guy he really liked. Guys like McDonald are always available (Norris Hopper, anyone?) but guys with power are a little tougher to find. I guess it's the Reds' new emphasis on defense that hurt Gomesy.
I picked Seth McClung, a Brewer, with my 28th pick. That ruined my no NL Cetral guys, but I really liked the value here. He could be a starter or even the closer by June.
As far as holes in my roster, I need to get a guy that could back-up second or third, like an Ian Stewart or Emelio Bonifacio. Both guys were on my radar, but both went a litte earlier than I wanted to go, Stewart in the fourteenth round and Bonifacio in the twentieth. That's too early for a reserve, albeit an important one. But I have a couple of trade feelers out on that, and will keep you updated.
As you saw from last night's post the Legends were at least briefly in first place with a first inning home run from Brian McCann. I am almost certainly the leader in most of the pitching categories with Derek Lowe going 8 IP, with 2 hits, no walks, no runs, and the win.
Can't wait for the season. I'm heading down to Skyline and then to GABP here in a minute. Let me know how you think I did on my draft.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
3 weeks ago