Monday, July 15, 2019

A Fighting Chance for the Future (Latest on T.C. Fighting Tigers / UAL)

It's the UAL Offseason, and we are in the middle of the 2019 UAL Draft, which involves 2018 MLB Season APBA cards.

There is plenty of changes coming my way for the Traverse City Fighting Tigers. We entered the off-season knowing we had to shred about $40 million off our payroll.

This draft started off really well for me, I drafted Cardinals' starting pitcher Jack Flaherty 16th overall, I was hoping for either him or Shane Bieber, but was nervous that I would not get a chance at either, but it all worked out. Flaherty at 16th overall was a steal.

I love my APBA bud, Ken Schulz (who I happened to acquire this team from), he made the deals possible that would result in my playoff berth and 102 win season, but the deals meant a lot of draft picks from the 2018 UAL Draft (I didn't pick until 8th Rd in that draft), while lacking a 2nd Rd & 4th Rd pick in this draft.

So after Flaherty, came my 3rd Rd pick, I was on the fence in picking between a few players ranging from 1B-Rowdy Tellez to some high end relievers, but wasn't comfortable with any of my choices. The Ohio Cougars came a calling for the pick, and in return I got a 2020 2nd Rd pick, a 5th Rd 2019 pick (#99 overall) and scrap-heap utility player Kelby Tomlinson (for position coverage). He got his reliever in the Angels' Felix Pena, who by the way, was just recently was part of that emotional combined no-hitter for the Angels, on the day they happened to be honoring the late Tyler Skaggs.

I put shortstop Freddy Galvis and reliever Bud Norris up on the trade block, and started getting hit with offers for each or them, and for both of them together. I got two good offers, and was worried for a little bit that I would lose out on both. I made an offer to the Sumner County Sounds for IF-Yairo Munoz, offering both Galvis and Norris. I missed out on drafting Munoz, hoping that he would to fall to the late 3rd Rd for me, but he was taken in the late 2nd round instead -- So I thought maybe, I could acquire him still.

Meanwhile, another team the Seven Cities Yard Goats, made an offer for Freddy Galvis, a 2nd Rd 2020 pick. The league has 24 teams, and we don't cut players prior to the draft, so a 2nd round in normal drafts may seem to be a lot for Galvis... but not in the UAL Draft. I have found that after two UAL Drafts, that the talent drops off significantly after the 2nd Round. So the chance of getting a 2nd Rd for Galvis would be a great chance towards improving the future. Galvis is currently having a career year in the Majors, but has no place at shortstop with Jean Segura owning the starting job.

It should be noted that my offer for Munoz was actually a counter-offer on my part, his offer was a good one which involved a 2020 3rd Rd & 6th Rd picks with either Chris Owings or Lucas Duda -- Owings and Duda, obviously throw-ins. Owings would have definitely helped in position coverage, but definitely not in the production area. Munoz didn't fall through though, and I don't blame him, especially since the Sumner County owner also happens to be a Cardinals fan.

The next morning, I acquired the 2nd Rd 2020 pick from Seven Cities, not wanting to hesitate another moment and lose the possibility of owning three 2nd Rd 2020 picks.

This still left Norris seeking a team. Once again, Sumner County offered a 2020 5th Rd pick for Norris, but I already had two previous 5th Rd offers by two other teams in acquiring him as well, and both teams would likely do worse than his team, so they had the advantage there.

I eventually traded Norris (Grade B*-X) to the Ephrata Diamond Dogs, my division rival, who is likely to compete for the postseason again. Norris would serve good for a contending now team, because Norris has yet to appear during the 2019 MLB Season. Along with the acquired 2020 5th Rd pick, I acquired NC' [No-Card 2018] starting pitcher Aaron Brooks.

I now own three 2020 2nd Rd picks, along with my 1st Rd 2020 pick, which will likely fall in place of being a top 5 pick, since my team should be among the worse. The team could see a 50-win decrease, with most of my 2018 roster having down years.

Two of my starting pitchers, Jimmy Nelson and Taijuan Walker were lost for the season, due to arm injuries, while Jeff Samardzija and Josh Tomlin fall to Grade D status. Rich Hill decreases from a Grade B-XY to a C-XZ.

The pitching is not the only area that got hit...

Marwin Gonzalez falls back down to earth from his outlier 2017 season to his career on-par 2018 -- Although I never benefited from his 2017 MLB Season, with Marwin batting around his career averages in most categories for me.

Domingo Santana will suffer a power outage as well, with a down year in 2018, to go along with reduced playing time. Santana was clutch for me last season, plus he out-homered his card with 35 home runs (leading the team) last season. Domingo is having a solid bounce-back in 2019, but I could do without his league-leading 121 strikeouts.

I was never a huge fan of Justin Bour, but he happened to have a good card for my UAL team last season, after hitting .289 with 25 HR for the Marlins in 2017. Then came a dramatic drop off in 2018, with a career-low .227 batting average, while playing for both Miami and the Phillies. I questioned Bour signing with the Angels, despite the fact that they had Albert Pujols and Kendrys Morales already taking up the DH and 1B slots along with another teammate -- crowded players at positions, which of course resulted in limited & unsuccessful playing time (currently hitting .183 over 45 games). So first base is quickly becoming a team need, I thankfully can plug Buster Posey and Marwin for now, but that need will have to be addressed. I will likely be in the Pete Alonso sweepstakes... just saying.

Third Base is also a place of concern, considering the future.

Next year's draft will be the telling point, and I feel I am in control of my team's destiny more by that team. Having 4 draft picks inside the top 48 picks, gives the team much flexibility. I can have the option of trading 2 of those 3 2nd Round picks up for another 1st round pick, I can use all three picks on players, or be able to package those picks in a trade or two as well.

Only time will tell how it all plays out.

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