Category: Draft

2021 Draft Recap

So first and foremost, welcome back! It’s been a long time since we’ve had a season and with the way that COVID was going it was hard to tell if we were going to have one at all. However, by the grace of the Almighty, we’re set to start 2021. We’re a little bit more rushed than we’d like to be, but all things point to us starting our first games next Sunday.

But first, let’s see how each team did and let’s give you a potential preseason rank of where we think they’ll all finish.

Starting with 6th place.

Okay – so none of these teams made it easy to pick who would finish where (truthfully speaking there’s a lot of parity), but someone had to finish in last. With their assistant captain selection of Aadil Jaffer, and their first round pick of Miqdad Jaffer – it only makes sense that it’s the Wolves. Both players are a reach. Aadil while accomplished in his own right should not have been picked before any of the other assistants, and while our returning commissioner is good in his own right, he’s a shell of his former self – word is we can expect a batting average closer to what happened in the 2020 tournaments he played in (1 for 20 😐).

Meanwhile, this roster is gamble after gamble – will Irfahn Khimji play? Is Aqil Najafi even available? Who even is Zain Tharia – we heard he can play squash but will that translate to anything good on the softball field? However, the thing this team has going for it is championship pedigree. Captain Imran Virji knows how to win – let’s see if he can do it with a completely different group than we’re used to seeing wearing the Wolves colours.

Which takes us to 5th place

I will say that I think this captain core is second to none. The Zia brothers will be a force to be reckoned with, that much is sure. However, 4 of their last 5 rounds are players that are going to need a little bit of practice on the bats. They took a few flyers on unknown players – notably Indi Campbell, best friend of the captain – this is a pure wildcard as nobody knows what to expect. Arif Jaffer – who we’re told will bring some philosophy to this team, and Shabbar Dewji who is getting his first chance to play in a full time capacity. We’ll see how the regular reps of a shortened season will translate into development for the playoffs.

Now the other part of this roster, we can’t really say much – Hisham Ali is an all around talent, and comes with a medical degree to help cure whatever ails this team. Shane Worthington and Ray Noormohamed bring with them power off the bat that will surprise a lot of teams and the Hussain Habib, Hussein Champsi combination will make for a formidable outfield presence. This team waited until round 7 to grab their pitcher – Azad Najfi, and he could prove to be a steal of a pick if he can get on a streak. At this point though we’re splitting hairs.

Now on to 4th place

 

Look, I’m as surprised as anyone that the Owls are here. Draft night showed up, and captain Minhal Jaffer called an audible and told Mikael Ratansi that he was on his own to draft the team. He’s lucky he chose Mikky for the job because never has another captain been so creative with their use of timeouts and google searches. When in doubt, go with speed, athleticism, and youth. This team did well for themselves, there aren’t many weaknesses in this roster to exploit. They have a few players that are 1/1A or 2nd best at their position in Minhal, Mikael, and Maysum – and then they have a group of guys that will just get along and play hard. Bobby, Tan, and Mehdi-Hassan will likely end up in the outfield with Maysum and all bring a streaky bat to the mix.

We don’t know what Irfaan Jaffer’s health looks like but he’s a solid glove at 1B and his bat has been getting better and better each year. Danial Ali and Ali Kanani both got some time in 2019 with the Bucks, and had respectable first year campaigns. We’ll see how the off-season(s) have treated their development. Arif Gulamhusein makes his return to JMS and we’re excited to see how he can keep the mood light for this squad. Then finally the unknowns – Talib Shivraj, no idea – without a combine this year we’re working off of just rumours and we have none to work with for Talib. Muhammad Ali meanwhile pitched during Al-Wahda and got a taste for the sport then that carried him over to the Salaam Cup, so he’s gotten a feel for the game, we’ll see how it translates in a new environment. The biggest thing going against this team is the monicker of the Owls – they’ve never been successful, and I mean ever. Will 2021 be the year for change?

Now the top 3

So newcomer Sasha Al-Joundi is no joke, he’s a player through and through, and will definitely raise the bar for talent in this league. Maybe his own overconfidence got the better of him when he went out to pick his assistant captain – Abbasali Kermalli. I mean no knock to AK, he’s been putting in work and can hit the ball a ton, but you can do better with your number 2. That aside, this team drafted with a lot of…wisdom. They went out and got Mahmood Kara as their shortstop and Mahmood is a force, but he hasn’t played Shortstop since 2016 with the Tigers. Not sure how this is going to translate, but time will tell. There’s a lot of friends on this team, so we think the chemistry will be high to start – Altaf, Arif Hirji, and Jaffer Kermalli are all great team guys and will fit into any system. Salim Chagani and Muzzamil Jaffer are basically the same player – good outfielder, streaky bat, potential power.

This team took a newcomer in Azam Khan – and while we know less than nothing about him, we’ve started to hear some talk that this could have been a great pickup. This can also be said of Tahir Khorasanee who I think most team’s just forgot about, expect him to be very good. However, in order to make sure that this team dropped its average age, they went out and grabbed Mohammed Walli and Ali Walji – while Biggs shows nothing but heart, we don’t know much about what Ali Walji will bring to the table, he’s played with us once upon a time in Ramadhan, but it’s been a long time since those days.

Only two left

We know that our IG live announcers were swooning over this team, but they’re unfortunately not going to be our pick for who finishes first. Captain Ali-Reza Merali has proven over the years that he knows how to draft a team. His assistant captain Ali Raza Nasser has had similar success, so it’s serendipitous that these two get paired together. They take a pair of Abbas’s with their first picks Allidina who gives you a great pitcher and an even better bat, and Fazal who gives you athleticism and the legs to turn a double into a home run. Hatim Bootwala who showed up well in the exhibition games in 2020 will surprise a lot of people. A pair of Panjus in Hassanain and Hasan – where one gives you power, calm, and a solid glove at 3B, and the other gives you height? Then somehow Daanish Jaffer gets overlooked every single year, maybe it’s just his quiet demeanour but check out his batting averages over the years, he is consistently good and they’re all line drives.

Minaz Noormohamed, Abbas Mohamedali, and Munir Nasser shore up their C, 1B, 2B positions and each of them is capable of getting streaky on the bats, with the added bonus of Min being a lefty. Which leads us to MoMo who is clearly ready to sprint into action this year. He’s got his football spikes ready, and we think he might make an even bigger impression in 2021.

But as good as this team looks, there is 1 team that is better

This team starts out in our #1 spot. Captain Ali Manek did well for himself, he probably let his assistant captain Imran Nasser drive but this big 3 is scary. What does the defence do when faced with Umair Ali and the two captains in the batting lineup. It’s hard to imagine a situation where that doesn’t turn into 3 runs. They pick up two great pitchers in Hussein Allidina and Riaz Champsi that double as outfielders with great gloves. They pick up Shane Nasser who has the power to put it out at any field, and the hits keep coming. Sarfaraz Karmali, Nabeel Naqvi bring utility players that can flexibly move around the diamond, and even a late grab of Azmatali Mehrali gives them a 3rd pitcher in case Hussein and Riaz are needed in the outfield.

Now they’re not without some unknowns, Shaan Shamji played as a reserve with the Lions in 2019, showed that he’s the fastest player in the league, but hasn’t really had a chance for some consistent play. Taleb Zaidi we’re not sure what to expect, and all we know from Shanu Khimji is that he plays volleyball, so he’s probably an athlete – unless he played with Imran Nasser, then maybe he’s one of those players that knows how to get out of the way really well?

Needless to say, this team will be scary to play against. So now while all the teams look good on paper – there’s a reason we play the games. We’re very excited you all joined us for another season of JMS, and look forward to see how the stories unfold on the field.

Good luck to everyone!

2020 JMS First Round Lottery Draft Preview

The 2020 JMS draft is only a day away! All players, full time and reserve, will be drafted to their teams, and the race for the coveted championship will begin. The draft order is set, so let’s get into a little prediction of how us writers think the first round will go down. But before we do, here’s a little recap of the captains and their co-captains thus far, in their draft order:

 

  1. Bucks – Captain: Ali Raza Nasser Assistant Captain: Imran Nasser
  2. Owls – Captain: Minhal Jaffer Assistant Captain: Mikael Ratansi
  3. Eagles – Captain: Ali Manek Assiatant Captain – Umair Ali
  4. Falcons – Captain: Ali Reza Merali Assistant Captain: Noor Zia
  5. Tigers – Captain: Vick Vij Assistant Captain: Ali Zia
  6. Lions – Captain: Asad Hussain Assistant Captain: Zane Hussain
  7. Wolves: Captain: Imran Virji Assistant Captain: Aadil Jaffer

 

 

 

 

First Pick – Bucks: The Smash Bros, Ali Raza Nasser & Imran Nasser will kick off the draft lottery with the first overall pick. Question is, what direction will they go? Will they look to go with familiarity and consistency of a Maysum Jaffer or Kabir Molu? Or add a three-headed monster with the likes of Abbasali Kermalli or Mahmood Kara? Will the player who is drafted first overall be able to live up to the hype? These guys are shrewd operators, so buckle up!

Prediction: Maysum Jaffer

 

 Second Pick – Owls: Championship pedigree! Captain Minhal Jaffer and Assistant Captain Mikael Ratansi have a proven track record coming through in big games, question is will they be able to do it now as Captains? With the second overall pick, it will be interesting to see what direction they go. They are set at Pitcher and Shortstop, so they might lean towards a steady bat who can anchor the outfield.

Prediction: Kabir Molu

 

Third Pick – Eagles: After a disappointing 2019 season, Captain Ali Manek is planning his revenge tour. Last season’s MVP Umair Ali fell from the heavens into the Eagles lap during the Assistant Captain’s draft. Manek and the Eagles are set up beautifully picking in the three hole of the first round. Will they take the best player available? Or once again go completely off the board with the third overall pick?

Prediction: Yasser Malik

 

Fourth Pick –  Falcons: Back as Captain, Ali Reza Merali is looking to regain his crown. After solidifying last season’s Rookie of the Year Noor Zia as his Assistant Captain, there are many ways he can attack the fourth overall pick. If history is any indication, he will take a proven veteran player in the first round. Likely a strong two-way player who can play all over the field and bring balance to the lineup.

Prediction: Mahmood Kara

 

Fifth Pick – Tigers: Captain Vick Vij plunged on top rookie prospect Ali Zia as his Assistant  Captain. Over the last few seasons, Vick has built his team around a strong veteran experience, however he might be changing his strategy this season. We still feel Mahmood Kara or Shelly Vij will be selected at the five spot IF they are still available, but Vik might also be looking to inject more youth at the top of the draft with the likes of Yasser Malik, Maysum Jaffer or Mikhail Mapp.

Prediction: Shelly Vij

 

Sixth Pick – Lions: Back as captains of the Lions are Asad Hussain & Zane Hussain. Last time we saw them leading the Lions in 2018, they bolstered one of the deepest lineup in JMS history. Development and winning is the main focus for these legendary captains. Look for them to maybe go off the board with the sixth overall pick based off breakout potential.

Prediction: Mikhail Mapp

 

Seventh Pick – Wolves: Last season’s JMS Champions will pick  in the final 7th spot in this year’s draft lottery. Skill, depth, grit, and dedication is how Captain Imran Virji likes his players. This was evident when he chose Aadil Jaffer as his Assistant Captain. There will still be some really good players left on the board when the Wolves are on the clock picking 7th. Depth is usually the Wolves strategy, and they are sitting pretty with back to back picks at the end of the first and beginning of the second rounds.  They have had the luxury of having Mik as a top end pitcher for previous seasons, so they might go after a pitcher right out of the gates.

Prediction: Hussein Allidina or Riaz Champsi

Agree or disagree with our predictions? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

 

2019 Draft Review

And just like that, another draft season flies by…

Thank you to everyone who tuned in on our Instagram Live draft session! We especially thank Riaz Champsi and Imtiyaz Kara for taking on the task of being our commentators for the entirety of the night.

But with the draft concluded, all everyone wants to do is crown the preseason champion…

 

The Falcons are going to have a LOT of fun this year. The draft was a chance for Ali Merali to turn a new leaf, after departing the Wolves for the first time in three years, and help build another solid franchise with the help of power hitter, Umair Ali.  

The Good:

With a splashing trade for the 1st overall pick, the Falcons didn’t shock a lot of people by selecting the 2018 batting champion, Damien Ramnauth, first overall. His speed and ability to get on base were a major factor in selecting him at #1, and if the team’s top three hitters are Damien and the two captains, it’s a scary lineup.

Pitcher of the Year Hussein Allidina is coming off his best ever seasons and one of the best in JMS history. No one was surprised when he was selected as the 1st pitcher off the board and if he can continue his 2018 form, the Falcons are going to be a team to be reckoned with.

Questions:

With 9 high-quality outfielders and a 10th, if you include Zane Hussain (a reserve), the team is confusing a lot of pundits. It seems as though Ali Merali and Umair Ali are intending to play the infield together this season. And while both have shown moments of success there, their abilities in the OF are considered elite.

The trade with the Eagles for Mohamed Railey and Hasnainali Walli, plus selecting Hussein Champsi, really does add a tremendous amount of speed and defense to the team. Whatever they are losing in offense by trading Hussain Habib and Hasanain Panju, they hope the swing doctor, Zane Hussain, will be able to fix.

X-Factors:

Can Ali Merali and Umair Ali both play infield at a high level? Can Zane fix the bats of Railey and any of the Champsi’s? Can their amazing outfield defense be enough to get more wins this season? And is there more in Mo Mo than just comic relief?

 

The Owls went into the draft as the BIGGEST wild card – no one could predict where they would go. In the end, there were very few surprises.

The Good:

Taking Kabir Molu at 3rd overall was a bit of a surprise, as they allowed guys like Abbasali Kermalli and Maysum Jaffer to walk. Molu’s ability to get on base is 2nd in the league in the past two years, so it does look like they did get the best outfielder in the draft at #3.

Muzammil Jaffer landing with the Owls at #12 was another real shock, as most had him off the board much earlier. The Owls have secured the outfield with captain Kumail Meghani likely returning to CF, allowing for rookie Noor Zia to be the quarterback in the infield.

Questions:

The Owls ended the draft with three players who play at an elite level at 1st base: Kazim Merchant, Imran Merali, and Noor Zia. Noor will likely move over to 3rd or SS; there isn’t a lot of space elsewhere, so a trade might be in the works.  

They also have 3 pitchers in Asad Nasser, Mohamed Walli and Hasnain Kara. With only one person able to pitch at a time and nowhere else to put them, this team could be forced to develop players in new positions this year.

X-Factors:

Khizer Jamal was taken 17th overall, way ahead of his expected slot… So the question is, what do the Owls know that no one else knew? Can Muzammil Jaffer be the 2017 version of himself and forget about his rough season in 2018? Can Noor Zia live up to the hype of being a top-5 player in a league he just joined?

 

The Bucks strategically took the 4th overall pick in order to be in the middle of every round. Ali Raza’s familiarity with the league, in his 4th JMS draft, was clear from the get-go.

The Good:

Getting Maysum Jaffer and Irfahn Khimji with the first two picks looks great, as both were highly regarded and not expected to be available. The outfield looks solid with Maysum and Ali Raza Nasser, and the versatility Irfahn brings, to play OF or IF, gives them the early edge.

Maintaining their ‘moneyball’ philosophy, Ali Raza and Nadim grabbed Aqil Najafi at #18, who was 2nd on his team in OBS in his rookie year. Hisham Ali, the MBHL great, was taken next to continue the infield-outfield balanced draft. Salim Chagani was also picked up late, which should solidify the outfield.

Questions:

Azad Najfi will be the starting pitcher, but as the 2018 Bucks know too well, a backup pitcher is vital and they don’t have one. There is also no clear 1B on the team, which will be very important for SS Nadim Rahemtulla. Their outfield depth could be used in a trade to get them a highly touted 1B.

X-Factors:

If Irfahn Khimji can be serviceable at SS, Nadim could go back to his gold glove position of 3B, which would really solidify the questions in the IF. If Arif Hirji and Aqil can replicate their 2018 seasons, this team will have one of the deepest lineups in the league.

 

This year’s Tigers are a mix of age and speed; that is exceptional. You are either one of the fastest in the league or you aren’t.

The Good:

With no doubt about who they wanted in the draft, Vick Vij moved down to the 6th and 7th spots to secure his guys. Taking Bobby Bharwani at #7 was expected, but most of us are surprised that they were able to get the powerful bat of Abbasali Kermalli at #6.

For the 3rd season in a row, Kermalli enters as one of the most powerful late-season bats in the league. A traditionally slow starter, Abbasali will hope to hit the gates running this season and prove his naysayers wrong, especially those who let him fall to 6th overall. Unlike last season where Abbasali was protecting a player, this season, he’s going to need the likes of Bobby, Mahmood Kara, and Vik to protect him and let him be the best player on the team.  

Altaf Champsi enters the season as the team’s best hitter behind Vick and is still the best offensive pitcher in the game. The surprising news that Azmat Mehrali has been developing as a pitcher in the offseason means the Tigers have a 1-2 punch that is vital to have in a long season.

Questions:

Speed is going to be an issue here with a few key bats needing runners. Health will also be important to see as the season goes on, as the double headers and the final playoff tournament, where teams could play 5 games in 2 days, will take its toll.  

The 1B situation needs to be addressed as both Hassanein Bhaloo and Ray Noormohamed are solid at the position, so it’s likely one will be used in a trade before the season starts.

With no SS, Bobby Bharwani, who won the 2018 Gold Glove at 2nd, will likely have to shift over;  with one of the strongest 3B next to him in Abbasali Kermali, he shouldn’t have too much trouble adjusting.   

X-Factors:

What if playing so many seasons with the Hussain brothers finally pays off for Moe Abdalla and he figures it out?  Can the team implement a 5-man infield with Mahmood Kara coming in to a more natural IF position? But most importantly, is Abbasali Kermalli ready to be the #1 player on a team?

 

The culture of the Wolves has always been one that most in the league have looked at in admiration. They build a team of friends and winning is always secondary. Even with the loss of Ali Merali, Imran Virji and Mikael Ratansi are continuing that deep Wolves tradition.

The Good:

They went into the draft looking to fill the most important position in softball and they did so by selecting shortstop Minhal Jaffer. Minhal enters his third straight season as an offensive threat, but this year he’s expecting to start where he left off last year – on a tear.

Keeping with Wolves tradition, the next few picks were made simply to get the right guys and added to the skill and ability. Aadil Jaffer and Shane Nasser were selected to round up the outfield and infield respectively.

With an outfield manned by the number one CF in the league, it’s easy to fill in the gaps. On this team, guys like Aadil Jaffer, Tanveer Husnani, and Daanish Jaffer, who are all expected to play outfield, have tremendously less pressure on defense.

Questions:

The biggest questions are in the IF, as the team will likely have to bring in Tanveer Husnani or Nabeel Naqvi to play 1st. However, both of them have done it in the past and can manage it.

Another question is with only one power bat in Minhal, do they have the bats to bring in runs on a consistent basis? Can guys like Nabeel and Abbas Mohamed develop power bats?

X-Factors:

The potential for this team to lead the league in OBP is massive. Three straight years of Daanish Jaffer being at the top of the OBP category can’t be a fluke. Imran Virji, Shane Nasser and Mikael Ratansi have OBPs in the top 10 in the league. If guys like Aadil can add their name to that list, this team could have the best bats in the league.  

 

Unlike 2018, where Miqdad Jaffer quietly drafted the whole team, it’s been his ship to sail from the get-go and landing Imran Nasser was a huge bonus.

The Good:

The highly touted rookie, Yasser Malik, was taken with the 8th pick and many were surprised he lasted that long. The rookie is expected to be a gold glove OF this season, really giving the Lions the best outfield. The Lions then took Imtiyaz Kara with the 9th pick in a move for the former gold glove SS that solidifies their infield.

Rounding off the team are guys like Ahsan Raza, Farhan Ratansi and Hussein Jiwan, all of whom have a ton of versatility when it comes to defensive positioning.

Questions:

Miqdad’s desire to pitch this season is evident, but who will pitch when he isn’t able to? Does he bring in SS Imtiyaz Kara, exposing a position widely regarded as the most important on a team?  

What kind of a role will reserves play on this team? Both reserves, Shaan Shamji and Zuhair Ebrahim, are limited to playing the infield.    

And the biggest question: can Miqdad Jaffer and Imtiyaz Kara play on the same team?  We’ve never seen it happen before and while they are both saying all the right things, can two leaders of this magnitude co-exist?

X-Factors:

The team might have something in the unknown mystery man of Ranko Cupovic. Can Imtiyaz Kara be his 2017 self and be a SS again? And after a year in Iran, Mohamedabbas Walli has returned and is looking to make a big splash as an everyday 3B with a solid bat.

 

Both Ali Manek and Asad Hussain acknowledged that the opportunity to play together in JMS will likely not happen again for a very long time. Both are without a championship so the expectations are high, but the opportunities are endless.

The Good:

The Eagles rounded up the team nicely with speed and offence, but then made a trade which really gives them one of the deepest lineups in the league. The Railey-Walli for Habib-Panju move increases the offence tremendously by adding two .400+ OBPs.

The lack of speed and versatility shouldn’t be a major issue with two of the most dynamic bats in the league playing together. And while watching Ali Manek attempt to play CF this season will be interesting, the Eagles infield is probably the best in the league with multiple options all the way around.

Bringing back Abbas Nasser with former co-captain Shane Worthington, Abbas Mohamedali with his brother-in-law Ali Manek, long-time teammates Abbas Allidina and Hussain Habib, and Hasanain Panju with his son Aamir means that this team will have a ton of chemistry right out of the gate.

Questions:

The decision to take Shane Worthington 5th overall was initially viewed as a surprise but not really. He was expected to be gone in the first 10 picks regardless, and it was rumoured that he would have gone to the Tigers or Falcons had he remained available past #5. Shane’s selection solidifies the team’s desire to separate Ali and Asad into IF/OF.

There is backlog of 2B on this team. They currently have 7 players who can play above average at 2nd base: Minaz Noormohamed, Shane Worthington, Abbas Nasser, Hasanain Panju, Aamir Ali Panju, Abbas Allidina, and Riaz Champsi. Although a few of them are not expected to get any time at 2B, it’s likely we’ll see one of these guys moved to a team in search of infielders.

Another question is the Ali/Asad relationship. It’s pretty clear that Asad wanted to play with his brother Zane but since that was out of his control, he seems to be molding Ali into Zane 2.0. He’s already forced him into the outfield, he’s the 2nd best player on the team, and he’s even recently forced Ali to duplicate Zane’s haircut.

X-Factors:  

The selection of Abbas Allidina at 19th has led many to believe the Eagles know something that other didn’t. We’re expecting Abbas to pitch for the Eagles this year, but his bat will be one we are watching to see if he can do better than 2018.  

This team’s success will largely fall on their ability to get on base, so a lot of pressure will be on guys maintaining their already high OBPs. Look for a massive impact from Riaz Champsi, Abbas Mohamedali, and turnaround seasons from Abbas Nasser and Shane Worthington.