After focusing on pitching in the draft, I was left with a third baseman and a "utility infielder" who were likely to play the entire season in the minor leagues. That may be a good strategy in a keeper league, but not in the Ross Gload Memorial.
So I looked through the remaining available players and targeted Oakland's Nick Punto. He's normally a shortstop but he has experience at 3B. Alas, Quinn Kwon Do beat me to him. I briefly considered Chicago rookie Matt Davidson, whom QKD had dropped to make room for Punto. But in checking reports from Chicago, I learned that Davidson is probably headed to the minors; he isn't ready to take the 3B job from Conor Gillaspie. Maybe that's why QKD dropped him. But Gillaspie was available, so I nabbed him.
One transaction down, one more to go. Or so I thought. While researching, I saw that Jose Iglesias would miss several weeks, possibly the whole season, with stress fractures in both shins. While I shed no tears for the Detroit Tigers in their scramble to replace him, I realized he was somehow on my fantasy team, and I would have to replace him as well. The best available shortstop appeared to be Minnesota's Pedro Florimon.
Oh, and also Andy Dirks will be out for three months following back surgery. Who put all these gimpy Tigers on my roster? I replaced Dirks with Baltimore's David Lough, more for sentimental reasons than competitive ones.
Then I still needed to fill that remaining infield slot. Baltimore has high hopes for Jonathan Schoop in the future, and with Manny Machado hitting the disabled list, Schoop has a chance to start at 2B as Ryan Flaherty shifts to 3B to cover. He should bring me more value than Marcus Semien, who was likely to start the season in the minors. If Schoop does turn out to be good, I can slide hm into the regular second base slot over Brian Dozier and his career .297 OBP.
Two days after I swapped Semien for Schoop, the White Sox announced that Semien has made the team and will be their starting second baseman. Was all that research a wasted effort? Only time will tell if I made the right choice.
So I was all set for the beginning of the season. Then this week Yu Darvish, my first round pick, missed a start with a stiff neck because he slept wrong. At least that's what the Rangers claimed at the time. Now they're saying he is likely to start the season on the disabled list. So on an injury scale from Kyle Zimmer ("we're just being cautious") to Luke Hochevar ("he turned the wrong corner"), it's hard to tell where Darvish lies. But on a certain level, it's reassuring to see that other MLB teams can be just as opaque as the Royals.
Regardless, I've prepared for this. I drafted extra pitchers, knowing some would get hurt. I also used my first two picks on Darvish and Max Scherzer, whose fantastic 2013 campaigns make them the Two Pitchers Most Likely to Regress in 2014. I spent the rest of the draft trying to accumulate enough pitching depth to withstand an injury even to Yu Darvish, so I'm not sweating this one, and that's a satisfying feeling.
I'm ready for the season to begin.