By Zach Steinhorn
Saturday, March 9 - 2:24 PM
What was once 750 is now 114. You know what I'm talking about. It's the amount of picks remaining in my 15-team, 50-round NFBC Draft Champions league draft. There was a point, I think somewhere in the 30th round, where my focus became less on addressing the various categories and more on simply filling positions with as many at-bats or innings as possible. Let's be honest. I'm ready for this draft to end. I mean, enough is enough! But at the same time, I'm trying to use the second half of this draft as a learning experience. What's better than being able to do research in between picks that could pay off in upcoming drafts, when time pressure becomes a factor?
Listen, I prepare thoroughly for all of my drafts, but here are ten nuggets of info that would have likely slipped through the cracks had I not participated in this NFBC marathon:
1. James McDonald's second-half stat line from last year: 3-5, 7.52 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 14 HR allowed in 61 IP
I knew that McDonald faded late in the season following an All-Star caliber first half, but these numbers are horrendous. I'm a forgiving guy though, so I opted to draft him anyway. 26th round as my #7 SP? What do I have to lose?
2. Meet Welington Castillo, the Chicago Cubs' starting catcher.
Castillo was grabbed in the 20th round, but it took me until Round 29, when I was looking for a backstop who can fill in for Yasmani Grandal while he serves his 50-game suspension (I settled on Derek Norris), to realize that Castillo sat atop the Cubs depth chart. Although his minor league numbers aren't all that inspiring, he did launch five homers in 170 at-bats for the Cubbies last season. Not a bad #2 catcher in deeper mixed leagues.
3. Heath Bell might be fantasy-relevant.
After drafting David Hernandez at 20.5, I was convinced that I had secured one of the more valuable setup men, as he would be the no-brainer choice to close should the oft-injured J.J. Putz miss any time. Then Heath Bell went off the board at 30.14, and I'm a tad nervous. I know how much managers value experience, and Bell certainly has ninth-inning experience. I really shouldn't be worried about this. Bell was a disaster last season while Hernandez was nearly automatic. There's no way Kirk Gibson chooses Bell, even if he gets off to a solid start. At least I hope not.
4. Jose Molina is the Tampa Bay Rays' #1 backstop.
And the scary thing is that I was seriously considering taking him at 37.11 before remembering that CS% isn't a category in this league. I went with Jacob Turner instead. Molina was scooped up two picks later.
5. Placido Polanco is the Miami Marlins' starting third baseman.
Still, why would anyone want him? He's old, already banged up and offers next to nothing from a fantasy perspective outside of a decent batting average. Did I mention that he's old? But when my turn came in the 39th round, I couldn't resist. He's my third-string third baseman, and at-bats do have value, though counting on Polanco to give me at-bats probably isn't a great idea.
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