Today we had an excellent turn-out of about 35 players. Nearly 7 or 8 players were at Tobey for their first visit.  These new players were informed about the HDL by an existing HDL player who talked them into coming out to see how much fun playing baseball can be.  Good job everyone who made this happen.  The HDL needs an influx of new players every year to continue the vitality of the league.

Now that we  were able to see a bunch of last year HDL players, we have a better feel of how those players can be depended on to become a regular player on one of the 2016 HDL Teams.  Over the past 2 weeks the Officers have contacted a number of former HDL players to find out who we should consider to help draft one of the HDL teams.

For the past 4-5 seasons the HDL Draft process has been successful at selecting team rosters made up of reliable players who enjoy making their assigned team competitive. When the draft is held, four groups of pre-selected “draft captains” will pick available players to be on their team.

Over the past 1-2 seasons the HDL has about 12-14 players who are experienced pitchers. These “top dog” players are listed and analyzed to match players with another top pitcher who they may have not played with each other in recent years.

You are probably wondering who these lucky players are who get to participate in the Draft. This year the 4 “Top” pitchers are:  PW Burnett, Kevin Latham, Juan-Jose Castillo, and James Skinner. Paired with these players are 3 other equally recognized pitchers who have previous experience at the HDL Draft process.  The “partner” pitcher/players have been notified and some of those partners will be invited to take the lead during the Draft because one or two of the main draft captains might not be available to participate in the Draft (work conflict).

Preliminary date for the 2016 Draft is Wednesday night, April 6, 2016.

For those who are curious about the Draft, here are the critical success factors:

  1. Catcher – The HDL is not blessed with an abundance of Catchers.  So it is important for each team have at least one catcher.  Two catchers are always preferred.

  2. Extra Pitchers – Each team needs at least 3 players who can throw strikes. Having 4 pitchers is a bonus.

  3. Strong up the middle – Besides pitcher & catcher, it is important that a team have a Shortstop, 2nd baseman and Center Fielder who cam make plays.

  4. Dependable and flexible players –  When the draft roster is completed, the final list will be analyzed for, “Who can afford the HDL Dues?”  “Which players have historically struggled to attend consecutive play dates?”

  5. Is there a player on each team who will accept the responsibility to be the team manager? (Note:  The draft Captain is not obligated to serve as the team manager.  Sometimes the draft captain has accepted that job but we prefer the Manager be someone who can be counted on the be on-time on game day and get the game line-up submitted.

These are a few of the key considerations. We always analyze if any players have special needs or considerations, such as playing with a roommate who will help the player be at the ball park on-time, to please let one of the officers know what is going on.

Our plan is to hold the draft this week and immediately notify all players what team they are on and which game they will play next Sunday.

Larry Rutledge

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