As it happened, I have a lot of quality starting pitching, a reasonable starting lineup with a weak outfield, and a highly questionable, but young bench. This made drafting entertaining, because I felt forced into a position to try to reset for 2016 while remaining as competitive as possible this year.
I could have improved in the outfield for this year, but I didn't like the names that were attached to the cards that could hit at all. Since I was starting out with Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Bryce Harper, Wil Myers, Marlon Byrd, and Colby Rasmus, I figured that the first four were likely to get better next year. The latter two, not so much. Also, my long-time shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, is converting to the outfield in 2015. And my only other shortstop was Andrelton Simmons, who is really good with the glove and really questionable with the bat.
I wanted a shortstop badly and there was only one shortstop in the entire draft that I liked -- Xander Bogaerts. He's pretty much unplayable in 2015, but is voted "Most Likely to Improve" for next year. So I reached deep and grabbed him at the end of round one, because I didn't want someone else to take a flyer on him in this weak draft before I could.
I had Tony Watson, Luke Gregerson, and Sean Doolittle coming back in my bullpen, so I needed two solid replacement bodies. After the initial flurry of relievers scattered across rounds one and two, I was still able to get Joe Smith, who -- although he has a rather anonymous name! -- seems to be a pretty solid set up man. And since saves don't matter in our league...
My pitching staff is solid with Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright, Zack Greinke, Jeff Samardzija, and Rick Porcello. I also have Carlos Martinez and Kevin Gausman waiting in the wings, but they are not allowed to play this year, as they got APBA XB cards and we restrict the usage of XB starting pitchers. I really wanted a sixth starter in case of injury and the guy from the cast of "not quality starters" that I felt had the best chance to improve was Shelby Miller, late of the Cardinals, now of the Braves. At least, I'm familiar with his work. :) So he joined the squad in round three.
The fourth round would be my last good chance to pluck an A reliever with control and I ended up with Matt Thornton, who's been on my team before. This also gave me another lefty in the pen, which is a good thing.
In the fifth round, I picked up young Pittsburgh outfielder Gregory Polanco to throw at the outfield problem. He did not have a good rookie season, but I expect he will improve in the future. I hope. :)
In the sixth round, I added Michael Wacha to the team. Because he had limited innings last year due to an injury, he was neither a quality starter, nor allowed to play this year. I expect that won't be a problem next year. And he won his first start of the year today over the Reds, which was nice.
While all this had been going on, I had jettisoned Colby Rasmus, James Loney, Javier Lopez, and Trevor Rosenthal as surplus. (Two of my players from last year, Jurickson Profar and C.C. Sabathia, had not been carded and I had happily let them go at the start of the draft.) I figured I would see if I could find an outfielder who would be an improvement on Marlon Byrd.
And then I got to the table and found that Todd Frazier was still there. This was a surprise, as he is a pretty decent third baseman, both for the real world and for APBA. And he always seems to hit the Cardinals. In fact, he'd hit a homer off Wacha earlier in the day for the Reds only run.
So I took him in the seventh round, plugging him in ahead of Manny Machado and Evan Longoria in my third base rotation, letting Brandon Phillips go. I still had Ben Zobrist ahead of him and Kolten Wong behind him, so second base was in good shape.
Eighth round and it was the last chance for Marlon Byrd, who found himself replaced by a much younger Kole Calhoun.
And that was the end of my draft. (I was helping draft for the unowned River Forest team, so I still had plenty of work left to do. :) )
In areas not yet named:
Yadier Molina starts at catcher, backed up by Travis d'Arnaud, and Carlos Santana in his last year of catcher eligibility.
Freddie Freeman starts at first base, backed up by Carlos Santana, who is now a first baseman. :)
And that's everybody.
We'll see how the reloading goes... :)