Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Goldschmidt Goes First Overall

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Did you hear that? 


That's the sweet sound of pitchers pounding their catcher's mitts fastball after fastball, getting themselves into shape, working off months of rust.


Doesn't that sound just get your blood pumping? Well, it got ours flowing, enough so to work off the rust and participate in our first mock draft of the year to serve as an early glimpse into the minds of our baseball writers. Consider this a jumping off point, as much is sure to change as spring training unfolds and writer's opinions influence the average draft position of breakouts, sleepers and busts alike.

We here at numberFire love numbers (duh!), so you might see us throw some sabermetric-related terms out rather casually. If you want to know more about what they mean and how understanding them can benefit you, head on over to FanGraphs, or check out our glossary. We also use our own nERD score rankings as a way to quantify players effectiveness and compare them amongst each other. Use these tools to help you uncover today's diamond-in-the-rough before they become tomorrow's All-Stars.

In the interest of time, this draft had 20 rounds, where yours might have 25 rounds or more. As such, some good, solid veterans and sure-to-be popular sleepers didn't make the cut. A guy like Dustin Pedroia didn't make it, while Stephen Piscotty, Nathan Eovaldi, and Anthony DeSclafani may rise as early hype builds.

Here are the writers that participated in our first mock draft of the year. Give them a follow on twitter to get some tasty nuggets of info that might help give you an edge this year.

Draft slot Writer Twitter
1 Jim Sannes @JimSannes
2 Ben Bruno @BenBBruno
3 John Stolnis @FelskeFiles
4 Kevin Bixenhamm  N/A
5 Brandon Gdula @gdula13
6 John Drury @jdrury12
7 Brian McGlade @KrimzunKaddy
8 Jeff Hicks @skcih_ffe
9 Derek Lynch @thedereklynch
10 Brandon Warne @Brandon_Warne

It should be noted that Stolnis had technical issues come up and has an auto-drafted team to show for it. Otherwise, he likely would not have chosen six outfielders to start the draft, followed by two shortstops who may not be available to start the season. He also would have picked a starting pitcher before Round 14. 

With introductions out of the way, let's get this mock draft started.

Round 1

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 1 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 1 Sannes
2 2 Bryce Harper OF 1 Bruno
3 3 Mike Trout OF 2 Stolnis
4 4 Andrew McCutchen OF 3 Bixenmann
5 5 Giancarlo Stanton   OF 4 Gdula
6 6 Clayton Kershaw   SP 1 Drury
7 7 Anthony Rizzo   1B 2 McGlade
8 8 Josh Donaldson 3B 1 Hicks
9 9 Miguel Cabrera   1B 3 Lynch
10 10 Carlos Correa   SS 1 Warne

We started off with a bit of a surprise right away, as Jim Sannes took Paul Goldschmidt with the first pick. John Stolnis  laid out his case for Goldy to be the top overall pick, and Sannes must have found the argument compelling enough to pass on Harper and Trout. 

Drury was unapologetic in taking Kershaw at six overall, despite the abundance of top starters, citing his continued dominance over all other pitchers. An innings hog with a 11.64 K/9 (second among starters to Chris Sale) and an xFIP over a half run better than anyone else last year, Kershaw is worthy of a first-round selection  according to our numbers. Warne couldn't pass up on the chance to find out if Correa can build on a scintillating rookie season of 22 homers, 68 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases in only 99 games -- the sky is the limit.

Taking Miguel Cabrera here may have been a reach, but last year was the first time he has missed a significant stretch, and he still led the league with a .338 batting average. He now profiles to hit 25 to 30 homers instead of the 40 we could count on in the past, but he will have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs in the middle of Detroit's stacked lineup and will be among the league leaders in OBP.

Round 2

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 11 Dee Gordo 2B 1 Warne
2 12 Nolan Arenado   3B 2 Lynch
3 13 Jose Altuve 2B 2 Hicks
4 14 Manny Machado   3B 3 McGlade
5 15 Mookie Betts   OF 5 Drury
6 16 Kris Bryant 3B 4/OF 6 Gdula
7 17 Jose Abreu   1B 4 Bixenmann
8 18 A.J. Pollock   OF 7 Stolnis
9 19 Jose Bautista   OF 8 Bruno
10 20 Joey Votto 1B 5 Sannes

Already a borderline top-10 pick, if Machado qualifies at shortstop in your league (six games played last year), positional scarcity at shortstop should cement his spot in Round 1. Can Pollock  duplicate his breakout 2015 season? He will have to do just that to justify a top-20 selection.

Drury is from St. Louis, so he passed on Bryant because of the Cubs, but he defended his pick of Betts with the belief that he has a higher floor than given credit for. And, I have to admit that he's right. Zips and Steamers projections both agree that Betts is a 20/20 threat, will score 100 runs and drive in 75 runs in a loaded Boston offense, and he possesses a .348 career wOBA to go with minuscule 13.0 K%.

Abreu followed up his Rookie of the Year campaign with a "disappointing" 30 homer, 101 RBI season. Bixenmann is hoping he can shake off his sophomore slump. 

Votto led all of baseball with an insane .484 wOBA and 211wRC+ in the second half last year. It will be interesting to see if losing Todd Frazier has any effect on Votto's production this year and/or aids Abreu in Chicago.

I took Nolan Arenado because I like power bats that reside at Coors Field. Most drafts have Arenado going in Round 1 and Cabrera in the second. I guess I got lucky by doing it in reverse.

Round 3

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 21 Starling Marte   OF 9 Sannes
2 22 Edwin Encarnacion   1B 6 Bruno
3 23 Charlie Blackmon   OF 10 Stolnis
4 24 Troy Tulowitzki   SS 2 Bixenmann
5 25 Chris Davis 1B 7/OF 11 Gdula
6 26 J.D. Martinez   OF 12 Drury
7 27 George Springer   OF 13 McGlade
8 28 Todd Frazier   3B 5 Hicks
9 29 Nelson Cruz OF 14 Lynch
10 30 Buster Posey   C 1/1B 8 Warne

Encarnacion shouldn't have lasted until Round 3 -- his stats nearly matched his MVP teammate Donaldson in 12 fewer games. 

It seems like we can call 2014 the outlier year for Chris Davis after leading the league in home runs in 2013 and 2015. He now adds dual position eligibility, making him even more valuable. 

At first glance, George Springer's 2015 doesn't jump off the page. But look closer and you'll see that, despite missing 60 games due to injury, Springer still had 16 bombs and 16 stolen bases with a career best .360 wOBA while greatly improving his plate discipline. With good health, this could be his 30/30 breakout year.

Rounds 2 and 3 go by with nary a pitcher in the lot. You need to grab your stud hitters early because, starting soon, the hitters will make you feel uneasy while the pitching pool runs deep. I panicked with Cruz here with the clock about to expire -- Sano would have been the pick I had kept my head. Cruz had a great year with 44 homers, but he will turn 36 years old this season with a rising K%. Don't expect quite the same output as last year.

Round 4

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 31 Miguel Sano   3B 6/DH 1 Warne
2 32 Brian Dozier   2B 3 Lynch
3 33 Yoenis Cespedes   OF 15 Hicks
4 34 Justin Upton   OF 16 McGlade
5 35 Adam Jones   OF 17 Drury
6 36 Max Scherzer   SP 2 Gdula
7 37 Lorenzo Cain OF 18 Bixenmann
8 38 Ryan Braun   OF 19 Stolnis
9 39 Chris Sale SP 3 Bruno
10 40 Jose Fernandez   SP 4 Sannes

Speaking of Sano, Warne couldn't pass up his second 2015 rookie phenom. In only 80 games, Sano crushed 18 home runs and 52 RBI with a .392 wOBA that would have placed him eighth among qualified hitters. Double that, and you get 36 home runs and 104 RBI. That's exactly how baseball math works, right? Maybe not.  Is he that good? I think he might be. Just beware of his 35.5 K%. In most leagues, he only qualifies at DH, but played nine games at third and plans are for Sano to play right field this year. 

A run on outfielders occurred here, but Drury had regrets following his choice of Adam Jones. Not because Jones wasn't worthy, but because he felt he could have rounded out his squad better at another position and still get value outfield later on. Both Upton and Jones place outside the top 50 in wOBA with declining speed, but still deserve to be among the top 20 outfielders due to their consistent power. Know what you are getting and balance your roster accordingly.

Round 4 is where we see the non-Kershaw elite tier of pitchers start to go. The common thread among Scherzer, Sale and Fernandez is a 10.82 K/9 or better, with all ranking in the top four (with Kershaw, of course) to go a 2.88 xFIP or better, all ranking in the top seven.

It was another panic pick with Dozier for me with the clock ready to hit zero. I'm thinking that I could have grabbed Cruz here if I snagged Sano last round. You can probably wait another round or two on Dozier, but I still won't hate his power numbers from second base, so long as I can overcome his drag on batting average (.238) and on base percentage (.307). Better yet, if Matt Carpenter qualifies at second base (11 games in 2015) in your league, you could wait another two rounds for similar power with higher averages.

Round 5

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 41 Kyle Schwarber   C 2/OF 20 Sannes
2 42 Jake Arrieta SP 5 Bruno
3 43 Hanley Ramirez   OF 21 Stolnis
4 44 David Price SP 6 Bixenmann
5 45 Carlos Gomez   OF 22 Gdula
6 46 Prince Fielder   1B 9/DH 2 Drury
7 47 Jacob deGrom   SP 7 McGlade
8 48 Madison Bumgarner   SP 8 Hicks
9 49 Corey Kluber   SP 9 Lynch
10 50 Jason Heyward   OF 23 Warne

Round 6

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 51 Gerrit Cole   SP 10 Warne
2 52 Corey Seager   SS 3 Lynch
3 53 Zack Greinke   SP 11 Hicks
4 54 Xander Bogaerts SS 4 McGlade
5 55 Matt Harvey   SP 12 Drury
6 56 Robinson Cano   2B 4 Gdula
7 57 Ian Kinsler   2B 5 Bixenmann
8 58 Carlos Gonzalez   OF 24 Stolnis
9 59 Matt Carpenter   3B 7/2B 6 Bruno
10 60 Carlos Carrasco   SP 13 Sannes

Sannes  put his money where his mouth is by taking Schwarber at 41st overall, but also remember that sometimes you need to reach a bit for a player you just have to have when picking at the turn, or else you will likely lose out with 18 slots in between your next pick. Sannes hopes Carasco is the Cy Young candidate many think he can be.

Hicks waited until Round 5 and 6 to take his first two pitchers because he tends to stream his starters throughout the season. He gave himself a good foundation to start from in Greinke and Bumgarner. There were so many other high strikeout pitchers in these rounds -- anyone should be happy to have Arrieta, Price, Cole, Harvey, deGrom or Carrasco as their top starter (Get your bats early!).

Gdula is counting on Cano  picking up where he left off, instead of his brutal first half. 

In mentioning Carpenter earlier, he banged 28 home runs last year, or more than his previous three seasons combined. His ISO, lowered ground ball percentage and increased fly ball rate all say this power surge was not a fluke. His new approach should yield at least 20 homers this year.

Carlos Gonzalez slugged 27 home runs in the second half last year -- good for second in the majors -- to go with a .404 wOBA. He's not a 30/30 threat anymore, but he does still call Coors Field his home for 81 games a year (as long as he stays healthy, a yearly caveat for Cargo).

Two Coreys went to me -- Kluber was the victim of bad luck in losing 16 games last year, as his K% was almost identical to his Cy Young campaign in 2014, and his SIERA was less than a half run higher versus the full run his ERA shows. He was fourth in our nERD rankings, and you can steal him while everyone passes based on all those losses. 

Seager crushed the ball in 27 games after the September call-ups. It's a bit risky taking him this high, but as a former top prospect I'm willing to take the risk that  his regression is limited.

Round 7

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 61 Felix Hernandez   SP 14 Sannes
2 62 Dallas Keuchel   SP 15 Bruno
3 63 Ian Desmond   SS 5 Stolnis
4 64 Kyle Seager   3B 8 Bixenmann
5 65 Chris Archer   SP 16 Gdula
6 66 Stephen Strasburg   SP 17 Drury
7 67 Maikel Franco   3B 9 McGlade
8 68 Yasiel Puig OF 25 Hicks
9 69 Freddie Freeman   1B 10 Lynch
10 70 Craig Kimbrel RP 1 Warne

Round 8

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 71 Zach Britton   RP 2 Warne
2 72 Noah Syndergaard   SP 18 Lynch
3 73 Eric Hosmer   1B 11 Hicks
4 74 Gregory Polanco   OF 26 McGlade
5 75 Jason Kipnis   2B 7 Drury
6 76 Hunter Pence   OF 27 Gdula
7 77 Cole Hamels   SP 19 Bixenmann
8 78 Jose Reyes   SS 6 Stolnis
9 79 Jacoby Ellsbury   OF 28 Bruno
10 80 Anthony Rendon   2B 8/3B 10 Sannes

When was the last time you could get King Felix at SP14? And the reigning AL Cy Young went right after. 

It's all about the strikeouts, though -- both Hernandez (8.52) and Keuchel (8.38) sport very-good-but-not-elite K/9 rates, dropping them from the top 10 starter ranks.

Desmond is still unsigned, and carries a good deal of risk in Round 7 because any team that does sign him before the June amateur draft concedes their first-round pick. Even at a thin position, he isn't good enough at this point without knowing his availability. Same goes for Reyes, who faces a lengthy suspension from a domestic abuse case (rumored to be 60 games). 

Pence could be a sneaky good pick if he can stay healthy after only playing in 52 games last year, while Hicks is  hoping for a rebound season from Puig.

Personally, I don't pay for saves, but Warne is getting elite ratios and K/9 with his pair of closers in Rounds 7 and 8. Kimbrel and Britton were the only two closers he took and combining them with only a few starters sets Warne's roster up for a streaming starting pitcher strategy. 

Freeman missed 44 games with injuries last year, but I feel good about him bouncing back for 25-plus homers and 90-plus RBI. And I took Noah Syndergaard because it's always good to have a Norse God on your side.

Round 9

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 81 David Peralta   OF 29 Sannes
2 82 Jonathan Lucroy   C 3 Bruno
3 83 Corey Dickerson   OF 30 Stolnis
4 84 Billy Hamilton   OF 31 Bixenmann
5 85 Adrian Gonzalez   1B 12 Gdula
6 86 Evan Longoria   3B 11 Drury
7 87 Rougned Odor   2B 9 McGlade
8 88 Brandon Crawford   SS 7 Hicks
9 89 Adrian Beltre   3B 12 Lynch
10 90 Carlos Martinez   SP 20 Warne

Round 10

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 91 Ben Revere   OF 32 Warne
2 92 Matt Kemp   OF 33 Lynch
3 93 Sonny Gray   SP 21 Hicks
4 94 Danny Salazar   SP 22 McGlade
5 95 Francisco Lindor   SS 8 Drury
6 96 Jon Lester   SP 23 Gdula
7 97 Travis d'Arnaud   C 4 Bixenmann
8 98 Kenley Jansen   RP 3 Stolnis
9 99 Kolten Wong   2B 10 Bruno
10 100 Shin-Soo Choo   OF 34 Sannes

Sannes is building himself an elite offense, at least in terms of wOBA. Peralta (13th overall) and Choo (25th) fit right in with Votto (2nd), Goldschmidt (3rd).

If you have a need for speed, Hamilton is your man, but that's about all you'll get from him. If you take him, you'll need lots of help balancing out the drag on every other category. 

Revere may not steal quite as many bases, but at least he rarely strikes out, hits for average and gets on base to score runs.

Lindor has always been a defensive wiz as a top prospect, but the offense was a bonus in 2015. You can probably count on 20 stolen bases, but consider it a bonus if he improves on his 12 homers.

I chose to go with some steady vets here in Adrian Beltre and Matt Kemp. Some of the older guys often go overlooked as everyone looks for the next greatest thing, but their power numbers should round my offense nicely, so long as old age and health don't catch up to them.

Round 11

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 101 Christian Yelich OF 35 Sannes
2 102 Curtis Granderson   OF 36 Bruno
3 103 Matthew Duffy 3B 13 Stolnis
4 104 Aroldis Chapman   RP 4 Bixenmann
5 105 Joc Pederson   OF 37 Gdula
6 106 Wade Davis   RP 5 Drury
7 107 Tyson Ross   SP 24 McGlade
8 108 Randal Grichuk   OF 38 Hicks
9 109 Adam Eaton   OF 39 Lynch
10 110 Mike Moustakas   3B 14 Warne

Round 12

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 111 Ben Zobrist   2B 11/OF 40 Warne
2 112 Johnny Cueto   SP 25 Lynch
3 113 Masahiro Tanaka   SP 26 Hicks
4 114 Albert Pujols   1B 13 McGlade
5 115 Kole Calhoun   OF 41 Drury
6 116 Brett Gardner   OF 42 Gdula
7 117 Mark Trumbo   1B 14/OF 43 Bixenmann
8 118 David Wright   3B 15 Stolnis
9 119 Jhonny Peralta   SS 9 Bruno
10 120 Addison Russell   2B 12/SS 10 Sannes

Round 13

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 121 Francisco Liriano   SP 27 Sannes
2 122 Adam Wainwright SP 28 Bruno
3 123 Elvis Andrus   SS 11 Stolnis
4 124 Brett Lawrie   2B 13/3B 16 Bixenmann
5 125 Michael Wacha   SP 29 Gdula
6 126 Brandon Belt   1B 15/OF 44 Drury
7 127 Ken Giles RP 6 McGlade
8 128 Javier Baez   2B 14/3B 17/SS 12 Hicks
9 129 Marcus Stroman SP 30 Lynch
10 130 Carlos Santana   1B 16 Warne

Joc Pederson has so much power, but he also has so many strikeouts. A move lower in the lineup and an improvement in his contact rate would yield good value for Gdula here. If David Wright stays healthy (a big if, I know) he should thrive hitting second in the Mets. 

Zobrist is reunited with his former Rays manager Joe Madden, and should find himself locked in at second base with plenty of run producing opportunities in a potent Cubs lineup. He's a steal this late. 

Sannes grabbed his double-play partner in Addison Russell and  hopes the investment pays off big here. Meanwhile, a full outfield and middle infield leaves Baez as a super-utility at best for the Cubs (but that power, though!). 

These mid-rounds are where things picked up for me. Eaton was very underrated last year, finishing as our 39th best hitter overall. He came off the board here as OF39. Eaton won't win you any single category -- instead, he contributes solidly in all categories. 

Cueto will drop more than he should based on his ugly 17 starts with Kansas City last summer. He owns a 2.71 ERA over the last five years, and  should enjoy getting back to the National League in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. 

Warne cursed me for my selection of Stroman, who looked like a top-of-the-rotation starter with a 1.67 ERA during his September return an early season ACL injury.

Round 14

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 131 Lance McCullers   SP 31 Warne
2 132 Jorge Soler   OF 45 Lynch
3 133 Shelby Miller   SP 32 Hicks
4 134 Brian McCann   C 5 McGlade
5 135 Michael Pineda   SP 33 Drury
6 136 Lucas Duda   1B 17 Gdula
7 137 Jose Quintana    SP 34 Bixenmann
8 138 Jordan Zimmermann   SP 35 Stolnis
9 139 Cody Allen RP 7 Bruno
10 140 Jung Ho Kang   SS 13/3B 18 Sannes

Round 15

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 141 Dexter Fowler   OF 46 Sannes
2 142 Kendrys Morales   1B 18/DH 3 Bruno
3 143 Jean Segura   SS 14 Stolnis
4 144 Mike Fiers SP 36 Bixenmann
5 145 Mark Melancon   RP 8 Gdula
6 146 Salvador Perez   C 6 Drury
7 147 Jeurys Familia   RP 9 McGlade
8 148 Kevin Pillar   OF 47 Hicks
9 149 Trevor Rosenthal   RP 10 Lynch
10 150 Raisel Iglesias   SP 37 Warne

Round 16

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 151 Yu Darvish   SP 38 Warne
2 152 Michael Brantley   OF 48 Lynch
3 153 Stephen Vogt   C 7/1B 19 Hicks
4 154 Steven Matz   SP 39 McGlade
5 155 Daniel Murphy   1B 20/2B 15/3B 19 Drury
6 156 Hyun-Soo Kim   OF 49 Gdula
7 157 Mark Teixeira   1B 21 Bixenmann
8 158 David Ortiz   1B 22/DH 4 Stolnis
9 159 James Shields   SP 40 Bruno
10 160 Nick Castellanos   3B 20 Sannes

Bruno believes Raisel Iglesias is  ready for a breakout season after posting a 27.0 K% (9th in the majors) and a 3.26 SIERA (14th), but Warne snagged him before Bruno was able to sneak him onto his team.

Nick Castellanos should be a  popular sleeper pick this spring. Even at 40 years young, David Ortiz hit 37 home runs and 108 RBI with a .379 wOBA. Can Big Papi duplicate that feat in his farewell season?

Yu Darvish is targeting an early-to-mid May return from Tommy John surgery, and will likely have command issues early on as all TJ survivors do, but he  appears to be properly discounted at SP38. Michael Brantley, on the other hand, took part in his first batting practice on Wednesday following shoulder surgery and is targeting late April -- early May for his return. I believe we'll see his average draft position rise if this timetable holds. 

Round 17

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 161 David Robertson   RP 11 Sannes
2 162 Jay Bruce OF 50 Bruno
3 163 Collin McHugh   SP 41 Stolnis
4 164 Matt Wieters C 8 Bixenmann
5 165 Byron Buxton   OF 51 Gdula
6 166 Kevin Kiermaier   OF 52 Drury
7 167 Carlos Rodon   SP 42 McGlade
8 168 Francisco Rodriguez   RP 12 Hicks
9 169 Garrett Richards   SP 43 Lynch
10 170 Jake Odorizzi   SP 44 Warne

Round 18

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 171 Matt Holliday   OF 53 Warne
2 172 Andrew Miller   RP 13 Lynch
3 173 Hector Rondon   RP 14 Hicks
4 174 Taijuan Walker   SP 45 McGlade
5 175 Huston Street   RP 15 Drury
6 176 Chris Carter   1B 23 Gdula
7 177 Alcides Escobar   SS 15 Bixenmann
8 178 Yangervis Solarte   1B 24/2B 16/3B 21 Stolnis
9 179 Josh Harrison   2B 17/3B 22/OF 54 Bruno
10 180 Patrick Corbin   SP 46 Sannes

Round 19

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 181 Joe Ross SP 47 Sannes
2 182 Derek Norris   C 9 Bruno
3 183 Devin Mesoraco   C 10 Stolnis
4 184 Justin Verlander   SP 48 Bixenmann
5 185 Marcus Semien   SS 16 Gdula
6 186 Jeff Samardzija   SP 49 Drury
7 187 Starlin Castro   2B 18/SS 17 McGlade
8 188 A.J. Ramos   RP 16 Hicks
9 189 Russell Martin   C 11 Lynch
10 190 Trevor Plouffe   1B 25/3B 23 Warne

Round 20

Pick Overall Player Pos Rank Owner
1 191 Byung Ho Park 1B 26 Warne
2 192 Glen Perkins   RP 17 Lynch
3 193 Joe Panik 2B 19 Hicks
4 194 Khristopher Davis   OF 55 McGlade
5 195 Ketel Marte   SS 18 Drury
6 196 Yasmani Grandal   C 12 Gdula
7 197 Roberto Osuna   RP 18 Bixenmann
8 198 DJ LeMahieu   2B 20 Stolnis
9 199 Jonathan Schoop   2B 21 Bruno
10 200 Drew Storen   RP 19 Sannes

The former top prospect in all of baseball, Byron Buxton runs like a gazelle, but didn't hit well last year. A 32% K rate is good for a pitcher, but not so much for a hitter, and it's tough to steal bases when you only own a .250 OBP. The risk is minimal for Gdula in Round 17 based on his massive upside.

There were lots of starting and relief pitchers in these last