The countdown has started, and Draft Day is right around the corner! In less than a week, all the players will be drafted to their respected teams, and when the dust settles, Asad Hussain and Ali Manek will still be playing on the same team. I have no clue how we let this happen, but it did, and it’s time to face the music. To try and keep up with our counterparts at TSN and Sportsnet, we will focus today’s article on predicting the first round of this draft.
For those of you who aren’t aware, the draft order has been confirmed, and here it is:
- Tigers – Captain: Vick Vij Assistant Captain: Mahmood Kara
- Wolves – Captain: Imran Virji Assistant Captain: Mikael Ratansi
- Owls – Captain: Kumail Meghani Assistant Captain: Noor Zia
- Bucks – Captain: Ali Raza Nasser Assistant Captain: Nadim Rahemtulla
- Eagles – Captain: Ali Manek Assistant Captain: Asad Hussain
- Falcons – Captain: Umair Ali Assistant Captain: Ali Merali
- Lions – Captain: Miqdad Jaffer Assistant Captain: Imran Nasser
Each team clearly has their strengths, and they have some glaring weaknesses as well. Fortunately, the draft gives them the opportunity to fill these holes in their roster, and their selections can make or break their team. With a quick look at each team, we can forecast who’s going to be taken with the first 7 picks of this draft.
Captain: Vick Vij
Assistant Captain: Mahmood Kara
Synopsis: Vick had the last pick in the Assistant Captain Draft, and he couldn’t have done much better than Mahmood Kara. They have natural chemistry from playing with each other last year, and they feel that this is their year (not like the Toronto Blue Jays of 2015, more like the Chicago Cubs of 2016). Power seems to be the theme for this team, and there are a lot of players available who fit that criteria.
Prediction: Looking to keep the team’s average age over 40, the Tigers will select Abbasali Kermali with the 1st overall pick. He seems like the clear option for this team, and as per his official statement, Abbasali is sure of it too:
I batted .650 in the last 6-7 games and I’m awesome in the playoffs and I’ve been training all off season. Whoever skips me will feel mega wrath during the year.
A bold statement from Abbasali, as he wants to ensure that his abilities should not be discounted.
Captain: Imran Virji
Assistant Captain: Mikael Ratansi
Synopsis: Imran decided on Mikael with his 4th overall pick, and that pick can be one of the biggest sleepers in the Assistant Captain Draft. Mikael is a highly talented pitcher with tons of confidence and leadership skills. Now Imran will be looking for an infield commander who can swing for the fences. There are not many players available who match what they are looking for, but fortunately there is the perfect player available for this team.
Prediction: With the 2nd overall pick, the Wolves will take Minhal Jaffer. Minhal is exactly what Imran and Mikael are looking for with this pick. A shortstop with an above-average glove and home-run power, Imran should feel very happy if he were to land Minhal.
Captain: Kumail Meghani
Assistant Captain: Noor Zia
Synopsis: Kumail and Noor have a simple philosophy with their drafting strategy: pick the best player available. They have no regard for drafting based on position, as versatility is the trait they are looking for. Kumail is trying to bring a new wave of softball to this league, as he wishes to try new things to win ball games:
Like the trend in the NBA, we will attempt to play position-less baseball. The draft strategy will be to draft versatile players while also trying to draft the best available player. In the end, a catcher with the ability to call the game, frame pitches and throw out baserunners will be top priority. We also plan to use a 6 or 7 man infield or outfield – just because.
All jokes aside, there is a clear option, and they would be hard-pressed not to pass up on him.
Prediction: The Owls will use their pick on Irfahn Khimji, a shortstop who can punish you both defensively and offensively. Irfahn played with Kumail and the Owls last season, so it is a very real possibility that they come together and try for a championship once again.
Captain: Ali Raza Nasser
Assistant Captain: Nadim Rahemtulla
Synopsis: Fresh off of a championship last season, Ali Raza and Nadim are looking to repeat. Ali Raza will try to show that it wasn’t his brother Imran who led the team, but rather it was him who rallied the team to victory. On the other hand, Nadim will try to show glimpses of his old self by commanding the infield at shortstop. There is a lot of talent to choose from, but ultimately the Bucks will not stray too far from their comfort zone and take any risks.
Prediction: Ali Raza and Nadim will try to replicate their triumph from last season, and what better way than to draft Kabir Molu, an outfielder with whom the Bucks had success with last year. He is a calming presence on the grass and a steady hitter at the plate. This is a low-risk, high-reward option for the Bucks, and we don’t see them doing anything risky.
Captain: Ali Manek
Assistant Captain: Asad Hussain
Synopsis: This team has generated a lot of buzz, with quiet leader Asad Hussain teaming up with notoriously loud Ali Manek. Ali went viral with his video following the Assistant Captain Draft Lottery (follow our Instagram @jmsleague to see), boldly proclaiming Asad as his first overall pick. Needless to say, he did not divulge who he would pick with his 5th overall pick in this draft. There has been a Ali Manek vs Miqdad Jaffer duel brewing over the past couple of seasons, and Manek seemed to have won the last battle by getting the first pick in the Assistant Captain Draft. Knowing the competitive nature of Ali, he might be looking to deliver the knockout blow in this first round by selecting a player whom Miqdad undoubtedly wants.
Prediction: Manek and Asad go for Maysum Jaffer, as he is a player who ticks off many boxes for this team:
- Speedy outfielder capable of leading the outfield
- Above average lead-off man for Manek and Asad
- Related to Miqdad
If you thought the Eagles looked dangerous before the draft, they are gonna be outright scary afterwards.
Captain: Umair Ali
Assistant Captain: Ali Merali
Synopsis: Umair made a solid pick, going for Ali Merali, and he has some tough choices to make with his 6th overall pick. With Umair taking control of the infield, and Ali taking over the outfield, we believe that the Falcons will take the first pitcher in the draft.
Prediction: The Falcons will select veteran pitcher Hussein Allidina, an ex-captain who knows how to rally his team. He is extremely reliable, especially late in games, and he is able to land the ball on the plate with accuracy and spin. Umair and Ali can breathe easily knowing that they will have a great pitcher and a great leader.
Captain: Miqdad Jaffer
Assistant Captain: Imran Nasser
Synopsis: At first glance, it might look that Miqdad and Imran got unlucky with their pick in the first round. However they do have the next pick as well, and with lots of talent available, these picks are crucial. With none of his brothers available, Miqdad will look to another familiar face, someone who is extremely versatile and skilled.
Prediction: Miqdad and Imran will draft Imtiyaz Kara, a veteran in this league who can play a lot of different positions. He is able to get on base consistently, as his career OBP of .701 can attest to that. The Lions should be happy if Imtiyaz is available at the 7th overall pick.
This concludes our first round predictions. Let us know in the comments what you think is going to happen, and make sure you tune in on Saturday to see if we predicted correctly!