Things to look for heading into the draft
Kumail Megani makes his long-awaited return to JMS and is already being touted as being the best player in the league; and he hasn’t even swung a bat yet! Along with Salim Chagani, the best dressed player in the league, they are looking to build a team mixed of skill and good dressers.
The rookie captain combination of Vick Vij and Umair Ali look to be a dynamic pairing that could easily end up being the top skilled captains in the league. Still unproven in a leadership capacity, they are picking 7th overall and should be able to land some highly touted talent at that pick with names like Bobby Bharwani, Maysum Jaffer and Mahmood Kara expected to fall in their lap.
Abbas Nasser and Shane Worthington who’s rookie captain expedition started off with a bang. Unable to land the 1st overall pick, they traded their 3rd overall pick for the 4th pick an a series of other exchanges to get them better draft positioning throughout the draft. Most pundits are saying they won that exchange with the Eagles.
The trend of the best player in the draft getting selected 2nd overall looks like it will continue this season as another rookie captain pairing, Hussien and Abbas Allidina, will likely try and keep the band together for another season as they are expected to draft Miqdad Jaffer with their first pick, leaving Ali Manek, the perennial #2 pick, to return to the Falcons.
The Ratansi Project
Last year’s surprise 1st round pick by the Wolves was Mikael Ratansi. And the project at SS would have worked if Aman Nasser didn’t struggle in his first full season as pitcher. But Ratansi reminded us in the playoffs that it all comes down to pitching as he led the Wolves to their 2nd straight championship. Some of the big pitching names that are expected to get drafted early are Tarik Kamel, Riaz Champsi, Altaf Champsi, and newcomers Sebastian Gianino and Azad Najfi.
Big Field, Big Bust
It has become very apparent (Minhal Jaffer, Zane Hussain) that players are better when we play on small fields. That was the sticking point for Abbasali Kermali in a recent interview where he reminded viewers that he hit 6 homeruns at the small diamond during Al-Wahda. Abbas is a top 8-overall hopeful this season but with rumours of a larger diamond in the mix, names like Irfahn Khimji, Mohammed Abdalla, and Muzammil Jaffer all are possible to be selected ahead of him.
How important is Defence?
The big field, and softer balls does negate the importance of power hitters. Players with big batting averages and OBP are what let the Wolves to their 2nd straight championship and the Lions to a nearly perfect season last year. That means a strong defence should be even more valued going into the draft. Some of the strongest defensive players in the league heading into the draft are Raheel Rajwani, Maysum Jaffer, Kabir Molu, and Minhal Jaffer and although the brutal ankle injury suffered in the final weekend of the season last year will keep him out of the lineup to start the season, Nadim Rahemtulla can easily be added to that list.
Not Ready To Pass The Torch?
Winning a batting title is no easy feat – but that’s exactly what one of the most experienced men on the field did last season. Imtiyaz Kara led the league in average and walks. However, he was playing with a massive chip on his shoulder after getting drafted 17th overall last year. It’s safe to assume that he wont go that low this year. In fact, in a recent unofficial ranking, Imtiyaz was ranked 4th overall suggesting that he could go to either the Falcons or Eagles unless news of his secret off-season knee surgery leaks out.
The unofficial player ranking calculated by weighing 2017 batting stats along with ability to play multiple defensive positions resulted in the following top 14 rankings:
- Ali Manek
- Miqdad Jaffer
- Imtiyaz Kara
- Daanish Jaffer
- Irfahn Khimji
- Muzammil Jaffer
- Nadim Rahemtulla
- Abbas Kermali
- Hussein Champsi
- Kabir Molu
- Hussain Habib
- Abbas Fazal
- Mikael Ratansi
- Muhammed Abdalla