The draft is upon us, and while the rumblings of blockbuster trades could shake up the draft landscape, the changes could begin at the top of the food chain. After being picked #1 and self-proclaimed #1B respectively, Miqdad Jaffer and Ali Manek could easily see their roles being reversed come draft night. Ball placement is a big part of his game and with a regression late in the season on offense, Miqdad could easily see himself being pushed down to “#1B.” The rest of the first round looks to be as interesting as it was last year; new names, however, seem to be taking on the mantle. After great showings during the training sessions, Umair Ali and Moe Abdulla are names to be familiar with as well as mainstay big hitters Abbasali Kermalli and Hussain Habib.
While it’s easy to speak about the glamour of the first round and the personalities who potentially could be off the board early, the real meat and potatoes are the later rounds. The picks that ultimately pan out and make a pretender into a contender. One doesn’t need to look far to see the dire importance of smart drafting. Looking back at the 2016 champions, the Mecca Wolves, you can see the significance of meticulous scouting and savvy drafting.
It’s easy to assume that the Wolves’ success was based on their star power, headed by their captains, but three specific picks come to mind when speaking to their championship roster. The obvious one, with the screams of nepotism, was their choosing of Ali Raza Nasser. Not only was he the 2016 League and Finals MVP, but the stats speak for themselves in illustrating his dominance. Of players with at least 20 at bats, Ali Raza Nasser was first in AVG (0.826) and first in OBP (0.852). Being second in the league in RBIs doesn’t hurt his cause either. His astronomical rise to becoming one of the best players in the league has led him to become captain of the 2017 Mashad Bucks.
However, the foundation of this championship team was built just as much on their role players as it was on their big hitters. Snatching up Nadim Rahemtulla, who outplayed his $7.5M valuation, was another key in attaining a victory in the biggest game of the year. Whilst the league recognized his development throughout the year, earning him the Most Improved Player award, Nadim was 4th on his team with 12 RBIs on the season. Although fielding doesn’t show up on a box score, Nadim cemented his value with timely defensive stops and proved himself to be a vital piece on a team that allowed the fewest runs in the league.
Lastly, a steady pitcher might one of the hardest things to find without paying up a hefty ransom. As stated before, having the best defensive team in the league doesn’t come about with just good fielding; it helps to have someone you can rely upon at the mound. This is exactly what the Wolves stumbled upon in Mikael Ratansi. While his batting doesn’t scream prosperity, he showed up when his team needed him most. Mikael was second on the team with 3 RBIs in the playoffs, and played a major role in holding the Falcons to 8 and 11 runs in the Finals after they averaged 14 runs a game in the regular season.
Who are the sleepers in this year’s draft? Only time will tell.
Here’s everything you need to know about the draft
The draft operates as a snake draft so in the first round the teams will draft in order from 1 – 6, the second round, teams will draft from 6 – 1 and the snake continues on for 10 rounds.
The draft will then continue along for 2 more rounds to cover the 12 reserves we have this year. Players will then be added to their specific teams on Team Snap and they will then be able to schedule practices, meet ups and be able to see the team’s schedule.
The draft operates on a salary cap system, which is intended to ensure that there is parity amongst the teams. New for this year, we will not be sharing the individual player’s salary with other players in the league – we had some comments last year that it can be disheartening to see your value up there – some use it as a motivator, others are offended, and others still don’t care – this year we ask that you use your draft position as a motivator while your salary stays behind the scenes.
For specific details on time, location and otherwise – please see your Team Snap account – we will be using Team Snap very heavily this year to ensure that there is visibility to the players and captains on attendance and it makes it easier to coordinate with reserves. If you’re having any trouble with your account – please either send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or come see us at the draft and we’ll walk you through it. For now, please download the app and get started that way.
We look forward to seeing everyone at the draft, and may the odds be ever in your favour!