2013 draft will be unlike any other

In past years, the talent pool for the I-75 league draft equaled all available cards minus 216 protected players.

This year, for the first time, the talent pool will equal all available cards minus 260 protected players.

The difference will be noticeable. There will be fewer “this-year” help cards, resulting in more prospects going faster, and possibly relief pitchers going even more quickly than in recent years.

It’s the effect of expanding from 12 to 15 teams. So, contenders and hopefuls might want to look at the trade market instead of banking on bulking up their lineup or pitching staff for a 2013 run.

Thus, without further ado, we present the latest installment of a 2013 Mock Draft — a hefty overhaul from the midseason mock draft:

1. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington —¬†Power, speed, howitzer. About to turn 20 years old. One of the game’s best prospects ever, and more than useful for 2013 to boot: .869 OPS vs. righties, including a .360 on-base number; 18 steals and eight outfield assists. Previous rank: 1.

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Meet this year’s members of the ‘oh so close’ club

A player requires 550 at-bats to earn unlimited playing status in the I-75 League; thus, the members of the “just-missed” club are likely to cause their managers untold hours of grief as they try to manage their at-bats next season, but for the lack of just a few more ABs.

Yonder Alonso, Satellite Beach (549) — Alonso is one of the game’s hot young stars and he hit . 273, although displaying less power than expected (only nine homers). He hit a sac fly in the Padres’ final game of the year against the Brewers to score Chase Headley with the Padres’ seventh run in a 7-6 win over Milwaukee, costing him an at-bat, but at least if he had to come up short, he did it for the team. As a left-handed hitting first baseman, the Brawlers can probably platoon him against righties and not miss his lack of unlimitedness that much.

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Final fantasy standings offer 2013 preview

The final standings for our Yahoo and CBS fantasy leagues offer a glimpse into who might be looking at a successful 2013 campaign in the I-75 League.

The Wisconsin Warhawks rolled to victory in our Yahoo league, racking up 130 points, while the Hickory Nuts took home the prize in the CBS fantasy league with 9994 points. Interestingly, both of those teams finished eighth (or tied for seventh) in the opposite league.

Why the difference? Well, we’re not sure. One factor is that the CBS league counted stats for all of your players, whereas Yahoo had a limit and you needed to manage your squad as players came up from the minors or off the disabled list. So CBS teams with a lot of depth (active and productive major leaguers) benefited. The CBS league also counted all kinds of esoteric stat categories that Yahoo doesn’t bother with.

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