Anatomy of a Draft
By Paul Wysard
It was time for the annual Holiday Draft of the Pacific Rotisserie League, established
in 1988 and consisting of five franchises. We run a "Keeper League," which means we
retain players throughout the years, building and hopefully improving clubs via drafts and
trades. As the seasons have passed, all of the players on the inaugural rosters have
departed, the last and most recent being Clemens, which was a bit of a sentimental
adieu for all of us. Almost imperceptibly, fresh faces have moved in and new stars have
replaced the old on our 40-man rosters, just as in the "real" game.
We have "4 X 4" competition (Avg, R, HR, RBI and W, Pct, ERA, Sv), rewarding the
top four finishers in descending order in each category, and there is also compensation
in the same way for overall/total performance. This was the last draft for 2003,
following Spring (just before Opening Day), when adds and drops are unlimited, and
Summer (at the All-Star Break), when two such moves are allowed. We agreed upon
three picks for this Holiday session, which happily occurred amidst beer, barbecue and
banter on December 6th.
It had been more than two months since the last campaign ended, so everyone was
ready for reunion and renewal, and trading (allowed at any time) was in the air. As may
be assumed, almost all of the best players are "under contract" (no Free Agency here!),
but there were some very interesting younger players and several experienced folks
who put together good years in 2003. Following are brief club sketches as we went in:
Team||Owner||Key Hitters & Run Producers||Main Rotation & Closer|
|Hitchers||Ralph||ARod, Guerrero, MRamirez, Helton, Ordonez, Soriano||
RJohnson,Colon, Mulder, Maddux, Mussina & Wagner|
|Chuk'n'Duks||Rob||Pujols, Edmonds, Garc'para, VWells, Delgado, Sexson||
PMartinez, Wood, Beckett, Zito, Vasquez & Julio|
|Warriors||Paul||Bonds, JaGiambi, Sosa, Ichiro, Jeter, IRod||
Hudson, Prior, Moyer, ROrtiz, Lowe & Smoltz|
|Bums||Duane||CJones, Renteria, BGiles, Berkman, PWilson, Bagwell||
Leiter, Schmidt, Pettite, Oswalt, Morris & Rivera|
|Islanders||Dan||Thome, Sheffield, GAnderson, Rolen, Matsui, BrBoone||
Halladay, Brown, Loaiza, DWells, Schilling & Gagne|
Your scribe here had the first pick. The best player available was the target, and it
was preferable that he be young and able to play in the outfield, as Warriors are a bit
long-in-the-tooth out there. The choice was Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins. Early picks
in our Drafts, with the exception of Pujols, have often not come through as well as later
choices, but how can one look away from this kid? He also gives flexibility, being eligible at third and rumored as a possibility at first in the wake of the trade of Derrek Lee.
The second selection was dicier. New Houston Closer Dotel, AL ROY Berroa, good
Cub starter Zambrano, and AL Bat Champ Mueller had been taken. Only Dotel was a
mild surprise, but it was nice to know that the next two folks on the list were available.
They were Cintron of Arizona, who had displayed both average and pop, and could play
second, short, and third, and Phils' starter Brett Myers, 14-9, with an ERA over 4, but
only 23 and now backed up by the arrival of elite Closer Wagner from the Astros. Who
to choose? Those readers who play Bridge will know what a "Finesse" is, and those
who do not will not be bored here with the details. Suffice to reveal a sense there would be more interest in Cintron over the next four picks than in Myers. It worked.
Cintron would have been scooped up by the fourth or fifth electors, according to the
later discussions, within the same rationale -- a good, young back-up at several posts
with star potential. And Myers was available -- and taken first -- in Round Three.
The colleague with the first option obviously has a tremendous advantage, and can
upset all sorts of planning, particularly in a draft such as this, under conditions in which
dozens of top players are already entrenched within the "Keeper" system. Considering
that situation, this contributor had an outstanding day, closing it with the fourth, and final,
pick of Jay Gibbons of the Orioles, 27, 1b-of, a nice reserve--23 homers, 100 RBI in '03.
But what was the thinking of the other Owner/Managers?
Rob - Chuk'n'Duks, 1st Place in 2003: "I knew, picking last in each round, there would
not be a helluva lot for me. I really needed help at second, so I took Mueller, who can
play there for the next two seasons under our rules. I really, really wanted this guy
Rafael Soriano of Seattle. I thought no one would have noticed him since he didn't
pitch that much, but Ralph (Hitchers) follows the Mariners and he had spotted him
and took him JUST before me. I was whacked by that, and now I understand that
the Japanese shortstop, Matsui, signed with the Mets. I had picked up young Reyes,
in the second round, so what happens to Reyes? Yes, I need a Closer, too, but I'll
wait until Spring when those slots settle down." (Contributor's Note: No one feels, or
felt, sorry for Rob.)
Ralph - Hitchers, 4 Ttiles in last 6 years: "I wanted two starters, one 'future-type' and
one ready to go in '04. I also wanted a Closer. Cubs Zambrano and Borowski fit
the bills there, and I was happy to get them. I also am excited about Johnny Estrada
as it looks like he'll be Atlanta's main catcher as Lopez leaves. And it was wonderful
to apparently steal Rafael Soriano from Rob." (Contributor's Note: This club has
obviously been the League powerhouse, but, oddly, Ralph has never been able to
plug in a strong hitting Catcher.)
Duane - Bums, Won 1 Title in all the years: "Yeah, you guys have drubbed me, but I
led Wins and Pct. last year, so look out! I always look for the best available guy,
no matter what position, but I also try to build up my weakest position. Being higher
in the Draft order, I will also try to block by picking people who might be at my
strong posts, but who might also be of interest to teams who have finished above
me. I'm delighted with Dotel -- I could win in Saves -- and I think my third pick, Jody
Gerut of Cleveland, is a comer, and Phillips of the Mets, who is eligible to catch, is
a scrapper who has some good numbers." (Contributor's Note: Duane has never
fully recovered from his heyday of Hershiser, Eckersley, and Cecil Fielder, but it
looks like a good Draft for him.)
Dan - Islanders, just 5th Year as Owner/Manager: "I wanted the best player at a needed
position, which in my case was short, where my Giant favorite Rich Aurilla has
tapered off in the past two seasons. So Berroa was perfect. Like Duane, I also
will try to block, in hopes of trading later. I'm taking a real chance on Contreras as
a starter for the Yankees, because who really knows about him in the long run? I
also went for Jay Payton, who seems to have avoided injury history, and it's wise
to have a hitter from Colorado. (Contributor's Note: Dan inherited the club as a
result of the passing of one of our founding members. He welcomed the opportunity
to join us and has worked hard to build a team that was understandably not
very organized a while back. He finished in 3rd Place in 2003.)
And so we head on in to the Spring, ever watchful of who goes where. Before we
meet again, there will be phone calls, e-mails, offers, rebuffs, FUN. The PRL will
be hitting on all cylinders in its 17th campaign beginning in April, 2004.
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Paul L. Wysard was born in Honolulu, (then Territory of) Hawaii in 1936. He saw
and recalls the attack on Pearl Harbor and has thereafter been a student and
teacher of World War II.
It was at the end of that war, in 1945, that Paul was introduced to Major
League Baseball through the play of Big Leaguers in military service. Mize,
Musial, DiMaggio, Pee Wee Reese, and Schoolboy Rowe performed at military fields
and in the old Honolulu Stadium. After the war, the Majors were far away,
elusive, but Paul became even more interested and kept up through The Sporting
News, the old
Baseball Magazine, and Ethan Allen's All-Star Baseball spinner board game.
He published an article
about that game in those days in TSN in 1992.
Paul went back East to Dartmouth College, where he played football and
majored in history. The history work was followed up with a Masters
Degree from the University of Hawaii. At that time, he began a career of
35 years at Punahou School, serving as a teacher, coach, dean, and,
until retirement in 1993, Vice President. He played some Winter League baseball in
Honolulu in the 1960s, and lots of golf since.
Paul has been active in SABR, with a convention presentation in
1998(on World War II players) and
articles in programs and in the Research Journal(29/2000).
He has lived
on the island of Maui since
1993 with Jan, his wife of almost 42 years. The couple has two sons, Jay
and Lon, and four grandchildren.
Read some of Paul's writing:
Now in November
Some 2003 Awards
2003 Fantasy/Rotisserie Review
The San Francisco Seals, 1946-1957
More on Win Shares
Dog Days Diary
Major League Baseball Transactions, 1946 - A Book Review
From the First Month and 30 Games...
A Look at the New Bill James
Practice in Paradise
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