Going into my first season in 2008 I thought I had accomplished most of my goals in the draft. I felt I had allot of potential in the outfield. I augmented the young arms at starter with allot of developing youngsters and a veteran that would help that year. Most importantly I had picked up several options with upside to fill in large gaps at the corners. I was concerned about a lack of depth at second base and middle infielder. I also knew I was pretty weak at closer, but that was the last position I was worried about given the fact that I was rebuilding.
Given his injury history I had planned from the beginning on trading Ben Sheets. After three years of missing at least a third of his starts I had a feeling that a contract year would make him push it too far. Since my first priority was getting hitters that is where I started to look. Before the season had started I was able to pull off a trade for Aaron Hill. At 26 he had already logged several full seasons in the majors and he had shown steady improvement throughout. His 2007 season had him ranked around 10th at second base in our league and he fit the mold of what I was looking for to a T.
This trade looked terrible by May with Hill suffering a couple concussions and Sheets mowing down batters left and right. By September I was feeling better because Sheets shoulder was acting up and the doctors said that Hill would be back to full strength in 2009. In hindsight I cleaned house on this deal!
My next major move was about acquiring a solid starter in his prime whose arm was not falling off. At the time we used batter strikeouts as a category so Adam Dunn’s value was limited. I had several big prospects in the outfield already so I started shopping Dunn. To replace Dunn I picked up a little known prospect named Shin-Soo Choo to maintain some depth. I ended trading him for Eric Bedard, who at the time was establishing himself as a solid second tier starter. Not only did injuries effect this trade, but the following season the league manager dropped batter strikeouts as a category. I guess you can’t win them all!
The only other impact pickup I had that year was Alexi Casilla. He ended mading a pretty good second baseman for half of 2009. Since I had to wait and see what effect Arron Hill’s concussion would have on him I thought he might make the keeper list as a young prospect.
As I had hoped many of my young keepers and draft picks panned out very nicely. Up until the end of the season Carlos Quentin led the class with with an MVP type season. Jorge Cantu had a good comeback year ranking in the top 10 at third base. The aforementioned Choo was looking like a potential stud and Mark Reynolds was opening some eyes. B.J. Upton started strong but played through most of the season with a shoulder injury that would require off-season surgery and that is as bad as Tommy John for a putcher.
As far as my pitchers when, Edinson Voquez dominated the first half and despite a slow second half he looked like a keeper for years to come. My two Marlins, Johnson and Nolasco, began mowing hitters down in the second half giving me several young arms I could hang my hat on. Jared Weaver did not break out in his third season which is something I had suspected since Angle’s pitchers seem to take four years to mature, so I was not giving up on him yet.
Despite injuries to the two players I traded for I was happy with my team’s progress. They had hung around in the top three for a few weeks around the all-star break but ended up in 9th place. Since I now had fifteen players that were in of entering their prime I was very excited about my team’s future. I knew a few of them would flounder just as some of my prospects had the year before, but I definitely felt like I was moving in the right direction. I even had a good feeling that with a similarly successful draft and in season moves that I would be a money contender the following season. Where do you think this team was headed? Post your predictions before your predictions before you read ahead.