Dispersal Draft ushers in new era for league

Our 2015-16 Dispersal Draft will be held this Saturday, Jan. 2, beginning at 4 p.m. ET, officially marking the debut of three new managers in the I-75 League as we zero in on the start of our 37th season.

Jason and Ryan Renbarger, sons of Mike, brothers to John and nephews to Dave, join the league as the fourth and fifth Renbargers on our managerial roster; and Jeff Richards, a veteran Strat player going back to the 1970s, comes aboard as well. They replace the departing managerial trio of Phil Roselli, Mike Wilson and Dan Wilson.

Their first order of business is to build an 18-man roster from a pool of players comprised of former Chatfield, Hickory and Wisconsin players. A serpentine draft will be conducted, with each manager having one minute per pick. A random draw for the order was held on Dec. 29, with Ryan’s Dyersville Treblemakers getting the first pick, Jason’s New New York Hypnotoads getting the second pick, and Jeff’s West Atlanta Crush getting the third pick.

For the second round, the order will reverse: West Atlanta, New New York and Dyersville.

At some point in the draft, each manager also much select his March draft position from among the three draft positions Chatfield, Hickory and Wisconsin would have had. This makes for a 19-round draft.

You can watch the draft live as we are using a shared Google doc for making draft selections. Here is the link.

A reminder to the rest of the league that your 17- or 18-man retention rosters are due by 10 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 3.

Our new managers are already well into their strategy sessions as they scope out the considerable talent in the dispersal pool.

Here’s a quick look at some of the aspects of the dispersal draft that will be interesting to see how they play out:

Rookies vs. the vet: This is the first league action for Jason and Ryan, while Jeff has considerable experience playing the game. Will that affect the kind of teams they draft, or their drafting strategy?

Eye on the division: All three teams, as it happens, are in the same division for the next four years, along with Savannah and South Grand Prairie. With the star-studded Warriors looking to be a playoff lock in 2016, do the new clubs build for a playoff shot this year, or try to set themselves up for a stronger club down the road?

Doubling down: The nature of a serpentine draft with just three teams means that the teams that go first and third will be making two picks in a row for most of the draft. A good opportunity to make a killing in a specific area and incite panic in the other two drafters???

Catbird seat: Jason’s Hypnotoads may have gotten the luck of the draw by landing second, here’s why: Somebody is going to be stuck with Chatfield’s 15th pick in every round, the worst possible March drafting position. If the Hypnotoads are smart, it won’t be them. There’s little difference between choosing Wisconsin’s draft position (8th in the first round, 4th after that) and Hickory’s (9th in the first round, 2nd after that). Because the Crush and the Treblemakers never have consecutive picks, all the Hypnotoads have to do is lie in wait for one of them to make the draft position selection of Hickory or Wisconsin, and then immediately select the other. That would leave the third team with Chatfield, which they can leave for their 19th round pick as long as they’re stuck with them.

Which means…: That “March draft position” selection could go a lot earlier than you might think, to avoid getting stuck with Chatfield’s March draft position. Especially if the Crush or the Trebelmakers intend to compete in 2016, they will want to grab one of those high spots before the other one does. Watch for this to happen potentially as high as the fourth round, because if you figure there will be a relatively even distribution of talent coming out of the dispersal draft, the March draft position could be a factor in delineating their competitive level this year.

Plenty of talent to choose from: Our three new clubs will have no trouble filling out an 18-man roster with quality players that would have made anyone’s retention roster. Chatfield wheeled and dealed its way to many of the best players in the league to fortify its run to a 103-win season, and many of those players return with quality credentials. Hickory and Wisconsin made several deals in the other direction, acquiring players with bright futures. The result is a tantalizing mix of ready-made stars and up-and-comers to choose from. There’s also some prized prospects who’ve yet to realize their potential, like Gregory Polanco, Wil Myers and Nick Castellanos.

Pitching bonanza: Chatfield, Hickory and Wisconsin left behind some of the strongest pitchers in the league upon their exits. There’s at least 12 quality starting pitchers and 9 quality relievers in the pool, leaving an average of 4 top-notch starters and 3 ace relievers per club. Who wouldn’t want that going into the March draft?

All 1s? If any of the managers fancies defense, an all-1 infield of Eric Hosmer at 1B, Joe Panik at 2B, Andrelton Simmons at SS and Evan Longoria at 3B can be had. Throw A.J. Pollock into CF and you’ve got one solid club.

Enough of this, give me a mock draft!!! Well, we’re not going to go through all 57 draft positions, but we see four players for whom you could make an argument over taking No. 1:
CF A.J. Pollock — Does everything. Hits for average (.315), power (20 homers, 39 doubles), has speed (39 out of 46 in steals), received a 1 rating in CF, hits both righties and lefties. Unlimited status and coming into his age 28 season.
SP Jacob deGrom — Pitched 191 innings at age 27 and posted a 0.98 WHIP. Fourth in the majors among qualified starters last year in OPS — the other three being the three NL Cy Young candidates, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta.
SP Chris Sale — Younger than deGrom (26) and with a more proven track record. Was third in the majors in strikeouts with 274; also has more innings than deGrom (208) and more evenly balances splits. Though he is a lefty, new managers may not have the same aversion to southpaws that some veteran I-75 managers still cling to.
OF Nelson Cruz — Second in the majors in homers with 44, best available OPS at .936. Since he’s already 35, he’s best-suited for a team ready to go all-in right away.

If it were me… As much as I love having a great starting pitcher, he can only pitch every fifth day. A.J. Pollock can play every day this year and hopefully for the next 10 years. He’d be my No. 1. Then with the second pick, to prevent West Atlanta from drafting BOTH deGrom and Sale with the third and fourth picks, I’d take deGrom. That would leave Sale and Cruz as a solid 3-4 for West Atlanta.




One Response

  1. Great analysis and insight by Gary. This will definitely be an exciting draft. Would love to be able to participate. Good luck to our three newcomers.

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