IMWT Draft Grades and Preseason Rankings 2019

10.) Bob’s Little Brother

Offense: 

Exit Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Correa; enter Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Benintendi. It’s a solid upgrade and actually a decent use of Tom’s brain for once.

This offense is sneaky fast like Uncle Diesel on his way to ruin a toilet’s day 34 minutes after his first cup of coffee. Tarrell has double digit steal potential at nearly every position, Goldy and even Freeman will take 2nd every now and then.

With speed typically comes some drawbacks and the expected production here definitely leans toward runs. Villar, Polanco, Benintendi, Hicks, Mallex and Carpenter will all hit at the top of their respective lineups, with the exception of Villar who’s expected to bat in the 2 hole, or as Purdle likes to call it, “dabble”.

Grade: B

Pitching:

Tarrell is betting on a healthy Luis Severino and a top 15 season from Jose Berrios. Both are possible, but other than Mikolas and maybe Porcello, there isn’t another guy you can feel confident getting in 150 quality innings.

Grade: C

Strengths: Steals, Runs

Weaknesses: Ks, Saves, RBIs, HRs

Prediction:

Tarrell won’t care about baseball until we’re playing for his house, as he likes to tell us over and over when he loses.

Hopefully for the sake of everyone he grows into his age this year. I’ve never seen anyone look so flustered after reading his own text messages at the winter meeting. But hey, Tom will suck again and like every year it will be all my fault.

108-131-13 (5th West)

9.) Marseille Dugongs

Offense: 

No disrespect to the Moles but Giancarlo Stanton looks real nice with a large sea mammal on his uniform.

The Dugong outfield runs deep. Stephen Piscotty an overqualified 4th outfielder. I like Moustakas as well and Whit Merrifield is extremely underrated in this league with his power/speed combo. Ian Desmond may be one of the weaker options at 1B, but the rest of this offense is good enough to hold its own until Baseball Jesus is summoned sometime in April.

Grade: B

Pitching:

Malvey’s pitching staff is old and reliable. Unlike most teams, the Dugongs won’t have to worry about inning restrictions or the control issues that we often see with young arms.

The Rev influence is strong here, right now we have three Braves in the rotation. Although it’s disappointing to hear to hear Folty’s elbow has been acting up.

If Chris Archer can find a way to finally cash in on the upside we’ve been waiting to see the last 17 seasons, the Dugongs go to the next level. I’ll be interested to see how the punt saves strategy plays with this group.

Grade: C+

Strengths: QSs, Wins, Ks

Weaknesses: Average, WHIP,  Saves

Prediction:

The Dugongs are much improved but I don’t see them hanging around past July. Although nothing would make me happier than a contending Marseille team.

103-136-13 (5th East)

8.) Cubs Mascot Dong

Offense:

Joey Votto, Jose Altuve, Marzell Ozuna and Jose Abreu hit 130 home runs combined two seasons ago. Last year, they hit 70. CMD spent some high draft picks betting a change of scenery will recharge the power in those bats. I would put Josh Donaldson as another guy here with a wide range of outcomes.

Too much risk for my liking and I once skipped an entire day of classes to play ping pong.

Grade: C+

Pitching:

The top of this rotation is going to rack up strikeouts. Bobby likes his tall lanky lefties.

I love the potential. However, I don’t see a world where Heaney, Alex Reyes, Stripling and Skaggs all pitch more than 120 innings unless the very best case scenario plays out.

Grade: B-

Strengths: Average, Runs, Ks, ERA

Weaknesses: RBIs, HRs

Prediction:

It’s a boy! Finally, the stallion who will mount the trucking industry. Lol jk but winter is here.

I see CMD being good at a lot of things but not great in any one category. Bobby will need a little pep in his step to knock off Witchger and Bower in the division.

111-129-12 (4th East)

7.) Ohtani Taco Yel

Offense: 

First thought reviewing this offense was: “Will the 2019 Truffle Buddies hit more home runs than Ohtani Taco Yel?”.

The steals are great and runs should be fine, but outside of Yelich, Story and Schwarber, most of this lineup wouldn’t beat Mackenzie in an armwrestling match. It’s not outside the realm of possibility to have only one guy here surpass 30 HRs.

Grade: C-

Pitching: 

Most teams don’t have three aces, Ohtani Taco Yel brings four legitimate 200 strikeout beasts to the table. Yes folks, Thor is back and ready to be traded.

Witchger’s reach for Jesus Luzardo won’t pay off in April but he should come up this summer. When he does I like the back end of this rotation as well.

And then of course… Yuseiii Kikuchi!!! We may be losing the trade war to China but Witchger is making a killing off of Japan. If he gets enough innings, Kikuchi will join Masahiro Tanaka and Shohei Ohtani to form an incredible trio of Japanese strikeout artists.

Grade: A-

Strengths: Steals, Ks, QS’s, Wins, ERA

Weaknesses: HRs, RBIs, Saves, OPS

Prediction:

No one has more pressure to succeed this year than Witchger. He’s become the new King Joffrey, in that we let him walk around with a crown on but everyone knows he’s an illegitimate monster born from incest.

Witchger pulled some masterful trades in football this year, in baseball however, he hasn’t proven an ability to trade with anyone other than Tom and Ohtani Taco Kikuchi will need to add a few bats before they defend their division title.

No bias here, teams without power historically have not done well in this league.

114-126-12 (4th East)

6.) Trumboners

Offense

Unlike Purdle’s vision for America, this offense has all kinds of diversity. The Trumboners have an intriguing blend of power, speed and average; seemingly addressing every hitting category.

Grade: A

Pitching

PURDLEBALL IS BACK AND MORE LEGAL THAN EVER.

Purdleball is that baby you tried to abort in the dumpster but instead got raised by raccoons until adulthood, at which point it learned you’re the father and now spends its confused life living in your trash can, driven by an insatiable hunger for revenge, acceptance and trash.

I would like this strategy more if I felt like there was a calculated plan other than, “this time I’ll get one more starter! Maybe two more fuck it, c’mon Merrill!”.

Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda are starters, but they both tend to miss a ton of time. Right now, the Trumboners have six active closers, Treinen, the most utilized of the six, averaged around 3 innings a week last season. That puts less than 18 innings on the board with Trevor Bauer, Kyle Hendricks and Merrill Kelly pitching one time three of four weeks…. Are you not entertained??

PurdleTurtleFinal3

Grade: C

Strengths: Steals, Average, HRs, Runs, Saves, WHIP

Weaknesses: Wins, QS’s, Ks

Prediction:

Buckle up folks, the circus is back in town and it will be tremendous, that I can tell you.

The Trumboners are punting too many categories to be a legitimate contender. I expect something around .500, good for 2nd in the Middle East.

122-121-9 (2nd East)

5.) Dobis PR

Offense: 

Dobis is one of the more balanced units out there. They brought in a new analytics department this offseason and initially it appears to be paying off.

There’s a chance the home runs are a little lighter than projected. We’re going to find out how far along Edwin Encarnacion is in his decline.

I love Senzel in this lineup.

Grade:

B

Pitching:

The experts are mixed on Corbin, but his slider is good enough to generate another season with 200+ Ks. If Charlie Morton can stay healthy (we can dream), Dobis should fill up the strikeouts.

I can already see Peter Francis hunting talent on the wire. Only way is up with that mentality.

Grade:

B

Strengths: Runs, Ks, ERA, Saves

Weaknesses: Average, Wins

Prediction:

While Dobis PR has put themselves in a position to take the 3 seed, it’s too hard to pick anyone other than the usual suspects in this division. I have Dobis coming up just short for a second straight season.

124-114-12 (4th West)

4.) Orbit’s Woody

Offense: 

If Buddy Bone can survive the mental distress of Rizzo’s future terrible first half, there’s an intriguing blend of consistency and upside on the books here.

Rizzo, Rendon, JoRam and Judge will do their thing. A star turn for Gleyber Torres, Victor Robles and/or Fernando Tatis Jr would make Orbit’s Woody a speed + power maven.

On the more critical side, this middle infield is weak and there aren’t enough guys hitting at the top of their lineup to think runs will come easily. Over seven seasons and 3000 plate appearances, DJ LeMahieu hit 40 home runs playing in Coors Field. I’ll just let that sit there for a minute.

Grade:

B

Pitching:

Kluber, Taillon, Kershaw, Flaherty… Woody is one of just a few teams to have more than two ace level starters. That’s as good a front line as we have in the IMWT and should play well against the pitching heavy approach Ohtani Taco Yel has embraced.

Grade:

A

Strengths: OPS, RBIs, ERA, WHIP, QSs, Ks

Weaknesses: Runs

Prediction:

Winning this division is like being the best cello player in Iran but Woody has a balanced roster filled with young, bankable talent and a top 3 pitching staff. I don’t think winning 10 more games than last season is a stretch at all.

134-108-10 (1st East)

3.) Marvin’s Room

Offense: 

Marve came out hot, smashing the draft button on Bellinger and Hoskins three seconds into his time on the clock in rounds 1 and 2. I’ll admit even I was a little taken aback by the display of confidence.

There’s been talk that Marvin’s Room is old. Truth is, they aren’t that old. One last 30 HR season from Miggy would do wonders for the upside of this offense. I also refuse to believe that Kris Bryant is just a batting average guy now. There is more potential to be unlocked with Devers too, although admittedly his struggles with left handed pitching have made me less optimistic for this season.

One thing I’m not too sure about is the Billy Hamilton experiment. On paper it makes sense, but in practice we’ve seen Billy Ham torpedo some good lineups over the years and steals may already be out of reach against most teams.

Grade:

B

Pitching:

Because Marve’s keepers went in rounds 3-6, he wasn’t able to snag anyone in that third tier of starters. David Price and Madison Bumgarner are former aces that it seems everyone is betting will fail this year as their skills erode. I wouldn’t count them out yet.

That goes for Keuchel and Lester too. Those are four veteran lefties that know how to pitch and should win some games for borderline contenders.

That said, even with Degrom and Nola battling for the NL CY Young, this likely won’t be the strikeout heavy staff we’re accustomed to seeing from Marvin’s Room even with the big names.

Grade:

B

Strengths: QS’s, Saves, WHIP, Runs

Weaknesses: Average, OPS

Prediction:

129-115-8 (3rd West)

2.) Sabermetrics

Offense: 

Losing Matt Olson this early wasn’t ideal but having Pete Alonso active in April assures that I won’t significantly drop off in the power department.

This lineup was engineered to dominate batting average and OPS. Yes, there’s some growth and good health factored in there but with Mike Trout in your lineup you can afford a few let downs.

I need George Springer to find some of that power he promised two seasons ago. I need Corey Seager to have a 24 year old’s body. And if Pete Alonso can hit 30 home runs, Team Sabermetrics will be in great shape.

Grade:

B+

Pitching:

Last season I had the greatest staff in the history of the league, this year there are many question marks.

Scherzer is still pitching with a Ted Bundylike intensity but I don’t feel like I have another guy right now that I can count on for 180 innings. I’ve done some masterful work the last few years, this is a new problem for me.

I’ll need a few of the talented arms I reached for to turn out or it will be a bumpy ride for Sabermetrics early on.

Grade:

B

Strengths: AVG, OPS, Runs, Saves

Weaknesses: Steals, WHIP, ERA

Prediction:

131-112-9 (2nd West)

1.) Fighting Moles

Offense: 

The Giancarlo Stanton era is officially over in Mole Town. Uncle Diesel kicked his old ass out of the mansion so he could have more alone time with his new toys.

As is typical for this franchise, the outfield is stacked with high picks. We even get to see Buxton get his 5th try at fantasy relevancy.

This lineup is all power and speed with a little Eric Hosmer sprinkled in. Don’t expect a high batting average here but it won’t matter if the Moles hit 18-20 dingers every week.

Grade: 

A

Pitching:

Uncle Brent has mastered the art of dominating pitching without drafting a pitcher early. Last year it was Zack Greinke and James Paxton at the top, this year it’s Stephen Strasburg with Zack Wheeler and German Marquez supporting.

Of course, last season the Moles also drafted two CY Young candidates in the 8th and 23rd round. And while it’s extremely unlikely Shane Bieber, Jon Gray and Eduardo Rodriguez can replicate those contributions, no one would say they aren’t highly talented.

The Moles pitching won’t be as dominant as last year, Wheeler was the Moles’ 6th starter a year ago and now he’s the #2, but it’s still not a fun matchup with all those plus starters, especially when Strasburg is on.

Grade:

B-

Strengths: HRs, OPS, Runs, RBIs

Weaknesses: Average, WHIP, Saves, ERA

Prediction:

The Moles are dynamite on offense and will do enough on the pitching side to break 130 wins for the third straight season.

135-108-11 (1st West)

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