My main league for this year is an NFBC Online Double Play. For those who don't know, here are the key facts:
-$350 entry fee
-23 active players, 7 bench players
-12 team leagues, with top two receiving prizes
-Additional prizes for top ten teams overall out of up to 1,080 teams
I'll probably be talking about this league a lot during the season. For now, I'll just cover a few of the highlights (and lowlights) from my draft last night.
The Good: I like my team and got a surprisingly large number of the players I was targeting. In two cases, a player I anticipated picking wasn't available, but a better player that I thought would be gone was available instead. I thought I'd get Miguel Cabrera with pick 1.10. He was gone, but I got Prince Fielder instead. I thought I'd get Josh Johnson with pick 5.10. He was gone, but I got Jon Lester instead. My offense is unusually balanced, with very few one dimensional players. I consider that an advantage, because an injury to one player generally won't have a disproportionate impact on any one category for me. My top two starters are a little better than I expected to end up with (Lester and Brett Anderson). I expected to get three low end closers, but ended up with four (Qualls, Gonzalez, Dotel, and Gregg).
The Bad: There were three players I really wanted who weren't available when I hoped they'd be. I thought that even with yesterday's news, Jose Reyes might slip to pick 3.10. He didn't. I was very surprised and disappointed that Matt Wieters wasn't available at pick 6.3 (or even 5.10). And Francisco Liriano went a few picks before I was set to take him at 15.10. Missing out on Liriano caused the middle of my rotation to be a little weaker than I hoped. Slowey is my #3, and then I have to sort through Rzep, Hughes, Ricky Romero and CJ Wilson for the remaining permanent spots in my rotation. I like all of those guys, but I really think Liriano is poised to return to be a top pitcher.
The Ugly: My plan if Reyes wasn't available was supposed to be that I would consider taking Felix Hernandez (if available) but would probably take Derek Jeter at 3.10. When the pick came up, Reyes and Hernandez were both gone. What threw me off was that Dustin Pedroia was somewhat unexpectedly still available. I had him projected for almost identical statistics to Jeter, but I almost always prefer the younger player in that situation. The one minor detail I forgot was that I had read about an injury to Pedroia a few hours earlier. I'm not sure if it was the excitement of the draft or what, but it completely slipped my mind until this morning. So I went ahead and picked Pedroia. Luckily for me, his x-rays came back negative today, so it looks like I may have dodged a bullet.
The other ugliness arose from Fanball's new draft software. Overall I think the interface is pretty good, and some tweaking could make it exceptional. Unfortunately, there were some bugs that caused nearly an hour of delays early in the draft. An additional half hour or so of delays were caused by one player having three or four separate problems where he was in autodraft mode and ended up with players he didn't want...resulting in the draft being stopped and rolled back two or three picks. So our 9pm draft ended up finishing after 1:30am. In Fanball's defense, their customer support for NFBC is really amazing. We were provided with a phone number at the beginning of the draft. During the course of the draft several of us briefly lost internet connections, and I was easily able to get Geoff from Fanball on the phone, where he told me the picks I had missed and manually entered the player I wanted for my next picks.