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Real Draft: Embracing Injury Risks

Last night I participated in a 12-team mixed draft. A few things you need to know before we get to the roster. First, I share this team with another owner. Second, our starting lineup each week consists of nine hitters and six pitchers. Third, there are six hitting categories and five pitching (don’t ask). Finally, this is not an expert league. We had the sixth pick and ended up with this squad

Joe Mauer
David Wright
Jose Reyes
Adam Lind
Dan Haren
Brian Roberts
Ubaldo Jimenez
Nelson Cruz
Cliff Lee
Lance Berkman
Michael Cuddyer
Denard Span
David Aardsma
Jay Bruce
Jason Heyward
Roy Oswalt
Johnny Cueto
Ted Lilly
Joe Blanton
Ervin Santana
Octavio Dotel
Rafael Furcal
Jon Garland

Given the uncertain power output of both Mauer and Wright, along with the health concerns with Reyes, we were concerned about having too much risk on this team. But every other owner in the league seemed to be avoiding risk at all costs. Higher ranked players with the red box next to their name were being bypassed, regardless if the injury was going to keep them out a month or whether it was a day-to-day thing.

Starting with round nine, we embraced people who may or may not be ready to play the first week or first month of the season. Here are the walking wounded and the reasons they fell in this draft:

Lee – Suspension and abdominal strain
Berkman – arthroscopic knee surgery
Oswalt – hamstring injury
Lilly – shoulder surgery, knee injury
Santana – inflamed bursa sac

We also just missed on Carlos Beltran and Brandon Webb, who were selected on the round we were going to draft them.

With this many injury concerns on the team, we are bound to have some players miss extended time. But given the shallow nature of our starting lineups, we determined that they were all risks worth taking. It is not the plan we entered the draft with, but it is an example of how you have to remain flexible and be willing to shift gears during your draft.