We’re back to provide you a preview of things to come. We had a great draft on Sunday, with over 30 people in attendance, some wearing suits in hopes that they could capture fame and glory and others still following online on the public draft board or with us on twitter. The event finished, the dust settled and we have our 6 teams all set. For the weeks leading up to the season we will preview each team, their strengths, their weaknesses and an early prediction as to what record they’ll finish with. With a trade deadline of May 31, 2016 being set by the commissioners office, there’s still time for these rosters to change. One trade has already been made, more on that below.
Let’s get things started in reverse order.
The owls came into the draft with 3 picks in the top 10. However, some of their picks left us scratching our heads. Either these captains know something we don’t, or their captains buckled under the pressure of the 3 minute timer. This team has a good mix of power, youth, family, and continuity; so maybe they’re looking to tap into some of the chemistry they captured from their last season together as the Pirates.
Leading this team will be the bats of Allen Ahi and Hussain Habib. Youth like Hasan Panju and Mehdi Hasan Najarali will provide some strength to their infield, but hopefully one of these two members of the snapchat generation has what it takes to play the outfield. The Owls are going to have major issues in the outfield – we’re hoping that captains Adam Mawji and Salim Chagani have what it takes to cover some ground out there but this will be an area to watch all season.
The pitching position looks to be the most stable for the Owls lead by captain Azim Chagani but when you have someone like Allen Ahi coming in as relief, you know you’ve got a guy that can win you a series with his arm alone.
Strengths: Middle Lineup Power, Infield Corners, Pitching
Weaknesses: Inexperience, Outfield
What to look for: Progression of youth, balls going over fences
Prediction: 4-9 (6th Place)
The Eagles showed up to the draft and were making picks as fast as their pens allowed them to write. We wish they spent a little more time with spelling, would’ve made our lives a lot easier. Picking up Kazim Merchant with their first round pick, this team solidified its power core. Kazim Merchant and captain Minhal Jaffer represent two of the bigger home run hitters from last year and with our new hitter protection rule, they’re going to see some pitches to hit.
Defensively, the Eagles picked up a mix of young and old to try and balance their field. This team will be streaky, showing some of the best defensive moments and some of the worst. Players like Nadir Virjee who can throw as hard as anyone in this league will man the infield, while returning teammate Rizwan Merchant will be taking on the outfield duties and bringing his almost regular snow cone catches with him. We kid of course but this guy caught nearly everything hit in his area last year and will prove to be a good late round find, if he can get his bat to match his outfield prowess look out.
The pitching position is also solidified with Riyaz Kamalia taking the mound and Abbas Allidina taking a relief role. This team will compete, but will definitely have those moments that make you say Wolves, Tigers, Falcons.
Strengths: Right Side of the Infield, Hitting, Pitching
Weaknesses: Consistency, Outfield
What to look for: When this team puts it all together, they’ll be dangerous. When they don’t it’ll be a comedy of errors – literally
Prediction: 5-8 (5th)
Bet you’re surprised to see the Lions so low on this list. With a captain core like Asad Hussain, Zane Hussain, and Khalil Sivjee this team needed very little to be competitive. Salary wise you couldn’t ask for better, they had only $1.2M left in the bank, best use of funds across all the other teams. However, we’re not entirely convinced that there is enough balance in this roster to put together a sustained inning of consistency. They made a strong pick with Hasanain Panju in the second round, but their strength was always in the infield and adding another infielder no matter how good he will be seems redundant. However, this team is built upon quality players and tight chemistry. This is a team that will improve throughout the year and likely peak in time playoffs, and if you match up against them in the playoffs, watch out.
We might be under-estimating the Lions overall, but we’re certainly not going to underestimate their strengths. This team will have some defensive plays that will make you say “How’d they do that“. With such a strong middle infield, we’re going to see a lot of double plays. And the addition of a player like Kaz Akbar adds an additional offensive piece to their arsenal. While players like Zane Hussain have graduated from the “warning track power” club, there are now multiple home run threats on this roster.
Pitching is in good shape as well as first round pick Tarik Kamel, last year’s pitcher of the year, will be manning the mound, with Ajaz Sadiq able to come on in relief. With the defence this team of pitchers will have behind them they shouldn’t have any fear of letting batters hit.
Strengths: Left Field, Middle Infield, Pitching
Weaknesses: Consistency through the lineup, Outfield
What to look for: Progression game to game and Asad Hussain’s towering home runs
Prediction: 6-7 (4th)