May 2nd, 2021

Draft Day

Today was our annual fantasy APBA baseball draft. We're playing on the computer (or with cards and dice) using player cards based on the 2020 season, which was *just* a wee bit weird due to COVID. Normally, we try to draft before the MLB season starts, but we were a month late this year -- due primarily to COVID.

I have a pretty good team coming back and a solid starting staff (Darvish, Kershaw, Fried, Woodruff, and Buehler), so this year's mission was to fill holes. My biggest hole was at catcher, where Yadier Molina had a sub-par season and last year's catching pick, Mitch Garver, had an absolutely terrible season. And I was drafting seventh out of eight teams, so I was going to spend some major capital on this early if at all possible.

Happily, it *was* possible, and I picked Travis d'Arnaud and Yan Gomes in the first and second rounds, which took care of that critical need. Curiously, both of them had been on my team in earlier seasons. This trend continued in the third round as I added relief pitcher Darren O'Day who had also had a previous stint with the team. I continued to shore up the bullpen in the fourth round with John Curtiss. My shortstop position was lacking, as DeJong and Semien had both collapsed, while Carlos Correa had played the whole season, but had not hit as well as I'd like, so I added Dansby Swanson in the fifth round who should upgrade the position for the year. I had Ozzie Albies and Jonathan Schoop returning at second base, but Albies was short on at bats, while Schoop hit into a huge number of double plays, so getting some help there looked like a good idea. Jake Cronenworth was available in six and fit nicely.

We are playing with a DH this year, because all of MLB used the DH in 2020, so I wanted some DH at bats and picked up Alex Dickerson to handle that in the seventh round. In the eighth round, I closed out the bullpen with Jacob Diekman, who walks more men than I like, but pulled a really low ERA. In the ninth round, I discarded Schoop to grab Chris Paddack, who another manager had cut.

I thought I was done at this point, but later, another manager discarded Gavin Lux and I decided to drop Carlos Martinez to pick up the Dodger. And that was the end of the story.

Also returning are: Freddy Freeman, Manny Machado, Alex Bregman, Bryce Harper, Ronald Acuna Jr., Juan Soto, and Byron Buxton, along with starting pitchers Zack Greinke and (also DH) Shohei Ohtani (plus the recovering Jamethon Taillon and Luis Severino), and relievers Alex Colome and Brandon Kintzler.

We'll see how it goes.