ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 23:  Mike Napoli #25 (...

My fantasy draft is under way!

First, a bit of background for those of you who aren’t familiar with my baseball league.  I run one of the more interesting fantasy leagues you’ll encounter.  It’s called the Alphabet Soup League, and the main twist is that you can’t start two players from the same letter of the alphabet (last name).  If you have Holliday and Halladay, one of them must sit.

The draft is also a bit odd.  The ten participants are spread across six cities in four states (from New York to Colorado), so a live draft is out.  An automated draft is also not feasible, because player valuations are changed dramatically by their letter group.  Mike Napoli, the power hitting catcher from the shallow letter N, is arguably a better option than Albert Pujols.

Instead of a normal draft, each player is assigned two letters (or a group of shallow letters) in each of ten “rounds”.  If you have T and M, for example, you are the only person who can pick players with last names beginning in T and M during this round.  This allows the draft to be conducted by email, without forcing anyone to wait on anyone else (regardless of what the guy with C and F does, you are still drawing from the same pool of players – T and M).  I always announce my picks for the round before the round begins, so that I can’t use knowledge of other people’s picks to my advantage.

With further ado, a look inside Kosmo’s draft so far.

Round 1 

I have the latters W and G.  W is a no brainer.  I go with Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters.  Position scarcity can be an even bigger problem in this league than other leagues, since you can’t just make a position a priority and draft a player from that positon.  You have to have a good letter for that position.  Many of the best catchers are bunched up in M (quirk of fate), so the selection of catchers at most other positions is pretty weak.  I always try to get a catcher, shortstop, and second baseman early, before the talent drops off.

G was a harder choice.  I do ike Zach Greinke quite a bit, and he rebounded quite well after a slow start in 2011 … and I rarely pick a first baseman so early, since there are a bunch of sluggers available.  Still, I love the Super Marioesque eyebrows of Adrian Gonzalez, and think that he’s a safe bet to repeat his 2011 numbers – and probably even improve his home run totals.  His numbers were suppressed by PETCO for many years, but this guy is a tremendous player.

Round 2

I have K and the letter group (Q, U, X, Y, Z) in round 2.  I’m looking to fill the 2B and 3B spots here.  Ian Kinsler and Chase Utley are potentials for 2B and Michael Young and Kevin Youkilis are the options at 3B.  I end up simply taking the younger player in each case, hoping that younger means less susceptible to injury.  Ian Kinsler is my 2B and Kevin Youkilis is my 3B.

Round 3

This is where the draft gets interesting for me.  I have the letters S and N.  S is a great letter, and the obvious pick for me is Marco Scutaro.  As the shortstop for Boston last year, he retains that eligibility this year, and I still need a shortstop.  Plus, Scoots will be the second baseball for the Rockies this year, giving him eligibility at a second position.  And did I mention that Coors Field is a great hitter’s park?

So, naturally, I pick Cleveland catcher Carlos “Sweet Music” Santana.  Why?  More about this later.

N is a shallow letter, and an easier pick.  Joe Nathan was signed by the Rangers to be their closer.  Big money means he’ll get every chance to keep the job, even with former stud closer Neftali Feliz toiling in the bullpen.

Round 4

I get P and D for round 4.  There are some so-so shortstops available, but I hold off.  I’m rolling the dice that Asdrubal Cabrera or Starlin Castro will drop to me in the sixth.  That’s a pretty safe bet, and if both those guys are off the board, there will be some stud players available that I can grab and spin in a trade.  I’m not usually a riverboat gambler when it comes to my shortstop, but I think the payoff is worth it this time.  I take Mets frst baseman Ike Davis.  The fences are coming in at Citi Field this year, which should help Davis.

P also has a decent SS on the board in Jhonny Peralta.  There are also pitchers Michael Pineda, David Price, Rick Porcello, and J.J. Putz, just to name a few.  However, I have officially turned the bastard switch at this point … my choice is Buster Posey.  At this point, most of the others should realize that I’m attempting to corner the market on quality offensive catchers.  A couple of teams are going to be stuck with horrible hitters behind the plate, and this should put me in a good trade position in the trade market.

Check back later for an update on my draft.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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