As noted in this space, we four CBSSports.com baseball writers -- Jon Heyman, Matt Snyder, Michael Axisa and lowliest I -- are in the final stages of a "virtual GM" draft. By way of reminder, here are some specifics about what we're doing ...
First and foremost is the fact that we were only drafting four total teams. Obviously, our teams will be pretty star-laden and comparing any of the four to a real team would be folly.
Secondly, we ignored salaries. This was simply an in-a-vacuum, what player would you rather have scenario in building our respective 25-man rosters.
As far as age concerns, we decided to draft as if we were putting together our teams for the 2014 season and only the 2014 season. Thus, we aren't worried about long-term viability of the roster; only the 2014 performance. Considering that, we also have to keep injuries in mind. Matt Harvey, for example, would be taken if healthy and instead he'll be left undrafted. Manny Machado, for example, will be taken far later than he normally would have due to concerns to begin the season. We do need to mention, though, that we drafted last week -- before hearing about issues for Cole Hamels and Hisashi Iwakuma, for example.
Given that our rosters are blank, we drafted in "snake" format (1-4, 4-1, 1-4, etc.) and random drawing gave Heyman the first pick, followed by Axisa, myself and Perry, respectively.
Let's emphasize a key point here: This is not a fantasy draft. We've been drafting these teams -- from scratch -- as though they're going to take the field and play each other over a full season of actual baseball. So, among other distinctions, defense matters to us. Now let's repeat another key takeaway, as well: We're drafting with 2014 and 2014 only in mind. That is, how a player figures to fare in 2015 or 2020 isn't of interest to us.
Now we're largely at the "fill out our bench" stage of the draft.
Santana is "catcher-eligible" in this league even though a move to third base is possible.
Yes, these rosters are so deep that Jose Bautista is a reserve. Meanwhile, Snyder's hoping for a bit of a rebound from Albert Pujols, whose foot may finally be healthy for the first time in years.
Three back-up catchers go in round 20.
Hamilton will fill the Herb Washington/designated runner role for Axisa's team.
Not bad to have a slugger like Encarnacion lurking on the pine.
Snyder intends to use Lincecum as a high-workload reliever, which is the role Lincecum filled for much of the 2012 postseason.
Heyman, by drafting Bogaerts, opts to go with the deeper bench but more shallow bullpen.
And with that, the draft is done. Here's a look at our final rosters ...
|Virtual GM rosters|
|C||Y. Molina (3rd rd.)||B. McCann (10)||C. Santana (18)||B. Posey (2)|
|1B||P. Fielder (18)||J. Mauer (8)||P. Goldschmidt (2)||J. Votto (3)|
|2B||R. Cano (2)||M. Carpenter (3)||D. Pedroia (3)||J. Kipnis (13)|
|SS||H. Ramirez (5)||T. Tulowitzki (2)||J. Reyes (16)||A. Simmons (10)|
|3B||A. Beltre (4)||E. Longoria (5)||J. Donaldson (12)||D. Wright (5)|
|LF||M. Trout (1)||A. Gordon (17)||R. Braun (8)||M. Holliday (15)|
|CF||A. Jones (8)||A. McCutchen (1)||J. Ellsbury (7)||D. Fowler (16)|
|RF||G. Stanton (9)||B. Zobrist (9)||B. Harper (5)||C. Gonzalez (9)|
|DH||S. Choo (15)||D. Ortiz (12)||C. Davis (4)||M. Cabrera (1)|
|Bench||Y. Puig (16)||J. Profar (18)||C. Gomez (15)||J. Upton (17)|
|Bench||M. Machado (17)||J. Bautista (19)||I. Desmond (17)||J. Peralta (18)|
|Bench||M. Wieters (20)||J. Lucroy (20)||A. Pujols (19)||J. Castro (19)|
|Bench||E. Encarnacion (23)||B. Hamilton (21)||S. Perez (20)||A. Craig (20)|
|Bench||X. Bogaerts (25)||-||-||-|
|SP 1||M. Scherzer (6)||C. Lee (4)||C. Kershaw (1)||Y. Darvish (4)|
|SP 2||J. Fernandez (7)||C. Sale (6)||F. Hernandez (6)||S. Strasburg (6)|
|SP 3||J. Weaver (10)||A. Wainwright (7)||C. Hamels (9)||D. Price (7)|
|SP 4||J. Lester (11)||D. Fister (11)||J. Shields (10)||J. Verlander (8)|
|SP 5||M. Tanaka (12)||M. Bumgarner (14)||A. Sanchez (11)||Z. Greinke (14)|
|Closer||K. Uehara (13)||G. Holland (13)||K. Jansen (13)||C. Kimbrel (11)|
|RP||T. Rosenthal (14)||D. Robertson (15)||J. Nathan (14)||A. Chapman (12)|
|RP||R. Brothers (19)||G. Perkins (16)||S. Romo (21)||M. Melancon (21)|
|RP||M. Wacha (21)||T. Clippard (22)||S. Doolittle (22)||K. Herrera (22)|
|RP||T. Cingrani (22)||J. McGee (23)||D. Smyly (23)||K. Siegrist (23)|
|RP||S. Cishek (24)||B. Anderson (24)||T. Lincecum (24)||C. Martinez (24)|
|RP||-||R. Cook (25)||G. Balfour (25)||S. Miller (25)|
So who looks the best on paper as we head into the 2014 season?
On Thursday, we'll each post our lineups and talk about our draft strategies.