|Player||TM||2015 $||2016 $|
|C||Yan Gomes *||CLE||5||8|
|2B||Dee Gordon *||MIA||15||19|
|3B||Manny Machado *||BAL||10||14|
|SS||Xander Bogaerts *||BOS||7||10|
|MI||Javier Baez *||CHN||7||10|
|OF||Justin Upton *||SD||33||38|
|OF||Matt Kemp *||SD||16||20|
|U||Carlos Correia *||HOU||4||7|
|SP||David Price *||DET||28||33|
|SP||Kyle Lohse *||MIL||7||10|
|SP||Jon Lester *||CHN||10||14|
|SP||Sonny Gray *||OAK||14||18|
|RP||Aroldis Chapman *||CIN||11||15|
|P||Scott Kazmir *||OAK||4||7|
A word about the protections first. Many were fairly difficult. Xander Bogaerts didn't help for much of 2014, and his protection number is no great bargain, but he's still incredibly young for his level, and in a great situation. Javier Baez has spent much of March ventilating Arizona, and it really looks like the Cubs are just hoping for him to have a good week so they can move him for pitching. But the potential for 30 home run power from the middle infield is too good to walk away from, and his historical pattern is to struggle with a level for a few months, then stat being one of the best players in the league. Lohse at $7 is probably twice his auction price, but there's some benefit to just locking down a lot of positions and just having less moves to worry about. Especially when you are strapped for prep time, as I've been this year.
The thing that I wanted in re offense this year was power. It's increasingly rare in today's anemic MLB, and as I came into the draft needing two of three corner positions, it seemed like something I should be able to pick up. Which is why, when I put in a price protection bid on Braun in the early moments of the draft, then got caught by the owner not upping his bid, it seemed like something that was really going to torpedo my draft. I was also caught between two guys with money to spend, who weren't very likely to let me have much in the way of pet picks, what with the defending championship and everything. Braun at $31 could deliver value if the thumb is healthy and he gets back to something close to his PED heights, but there's also a real chance that he's just no longer a SB threat, and might not be much beyond a league average OF any more. We'll see.
There were two other curious moments from this draft. The first was that the market on closers started high and never really wavered. I won the league last year with two waiver wire guys coming through, so this is a trend I didn't want to follow, but I'm reasonably satisfied with Feliz, in that he closed 2014 by looking like his old self. Casilia is older, but the Giants aren't likely to make a ton of changes after winning it all again, so I think I can get to 100 with this set; that's usually enough.
The second was that our strongest owner, a guy that wins over half of the leagues that he's in, tanked the year on purpose. He went deep into team's prospect lists in the hope of having a dominant club of low price hammers later, to the point where he left a lot of his money unused. Given who he is, he didn't get all of these guys for cheap, as people started bidding them up to try to limit the dominance that he might enjoy later, but it still strongly impacted the draft, in that it became obvious that you could name a quality veteran without having our guy bid them up.
As always in such things, the goal post-draft is to just not have the year ruined, and by coming in with the guts of a good team with upside, I needed less from the draft than most. Which means that my feeling post-draft was fairly negative, but maybe that was just from fatigue and, less than 12 hours after the draft ended, debilitating illness. Not a good omen, as it were, but in the pale next-day light, I think the outfield will hit, the corners could take a step up, and the closers will compete.
And if not, I've got a whopper of an excuse for why my team stinks this year...