And lastly, congrats to my co-author on his 2017 victory. How does it feel to finally wear the crown of toilet paper? (El Angelo)
Turns out that all I need in order to win is ridiculous luck and a near-historic level of apathy among other owners. That sounds replicable! (Teddy)
1. Wu Tang Financial: Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals.
I'm not sure which is odder: that this is the first of 7 pitchers to go in the first round (and 10 of the first 15 picks), or that three #1 picks from the amateur draft went in the first round, all of which were starting pitchers. I suppose it's a credit to our collective genius that Bryan Bullington wasn't one of them.
As to Straz, you know what you're getting at this point - an annoying injury that robs him of 5-7 starts, a bunch of frustrating no-decisions, a good K rate and around 15 wins. His ERA dropped enough last year that it's reasonable to theorize that he's about to enter a 2-3 year peak, so I'm pro this as the first overall pick, especially with the lack of obvious alternatives in the hitting department. Even if he hasn't developed into the second coming of Justin Verlander, he kinda fits as "starter with the fewest warts." (El Angelo)
Let's set out the background here first: this draft is flatter than a [REDACTED BY BLOGSPOT #METOO FILTER]; Strasburg is the pointy center of the slightly raised area of the draft which, to extend the metaphor, makes him the [REDACTED BY BLOGSPOT #METOO FILTER] in the middle of her [COME ON, DUDE]. So, yeah, good pick.
In other news, WTF is actually going to win this year, isn't he? I'm only going to get to feel like a special boy for one year and then all the other longtime losers are going to show up and steal my shine. (Teddy)
2. A Lovely Tea Party: Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays.
This is probably the right pick for a team whose keeper list had only two "hitters" (and that's being kind to Billy Hamilton), but Donaldson scares me. He's entering his age-32 season, literally every stat has declined over the last two years, and the Jays are going to suck this year, potentially sapping his Rs and RBIs. It's unlikely that Donaldson will kill Scot - especially this year - but I'm suspect of taking an obviously declining asset at #2. (El Angelo)
Again, I think this is an issue of calibration more than anything. Donaldson feels like a reach at 2, but I think he's the only real choice for a hitter-shy team in a draft this shallow. Giancarlo Stanton and Buster Posey aren't going to be the last two picks in the first round like last year. (Teddy)
3. The Darkest Timeline: Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants.
4. The Darkest Timeline: Starling Marte, OF, Pirates.
Both Bumgarner and Marte are coming off their worst years: Bumgarner because pitching 9000 innings may have caught up to him, and Marte because he failed to speak with his local pharmacist at Walgreen's. I actually like Marte this year and think he'll be a perennial All-Star going forward, and that Bumgarner has at 1-2 ASG appearances left. So to say something I've never said before: good work by the commish. (El Angelo)
At the risk of correcting my esteemed colleague, Bumgarner didn't miss time because of workload. He missed time because he is a ridiculous redneck. He appears in pickup truck commercials in the Bay area, which is not a terribly pickup truck-dense part of the country. And he hurt himself when he fell off a dirtbike for no reason. (Note: in the previous sentence "no reason" is being used as a questionable synonym for "shortly after murdering a party ball of Coors Light".) But yeah, otherwise agreed. (Teddy)
5. Angelo M. Grasseaux: Alex Wood, SP, Dodgers.
I have a very hard time getting a strong handle on Wood, who sprouted big last year and became rock solid. The Dodgers are loathe to let anyone make 30 starts, and he had elbow tenderness in 2016, which as a Mets fan, automatically sets off warning bells. On the other hand, he has under 700 total innings pitched and may just be coming into his own. I kinda get it as an upside play, even if I like each of the next 3 pitchers more. (El Angelo)
The question is whether Wood's stamina can be improved by medication. If not, Wood may have to be extended by surgery. That's always a dicey proposition. (Teddy)
6. Murica Thirst: Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates.
As a regular reader of Joe Sheehan's newsletter, I'm in complete agreement that the move to Houston is the best thing that could have happened to Cole. I have him as a dark horse Cy Young pick (18-1 right now!), so yeah, I like him a lot at 6. (El Angelo)
7. Stable Guinesses: Jose Quintana, SP, Cubs.
To defend our pick, the guy's a horse for innings pitched, and strikes out plenty, and now gets the benefit of having an actual offense behind him to give him some run support for a full season. He may not have the highest ceiling, but the floor is pretty low. (El Angelo)
I was hoping he'd slide to me, so yeah. Good pick. (Teddy)
8. Le Dupont Torkies: Jake Arrieta, SP, Phillies.
I guess it's because he just signed, but 5Dimes does not have odds on Arrieta to win the Cy Young. For the NL, their longest shots are Anthony Discalfani and Clayton Richard, both at 500-1, and a quartet of pitchers at 300-1, including the hilariously misspelled "Hosmer Bailey." That should be Tucker's team name. (El Angelo)
By an interesting coincidence, "Hosmer Bailey" is the name of the old-timey prospector I referenced above!
Folks, it is not easy spicing up a list of #2 starters. Ang, why the hell did we decide to recap the fifth round of the draft? Can we just go back and recap the first round of last year's draft instead so that I can dunk on people? (Teddy)
9. Paging Dr. Rumack: Lance McCullers, SP, Astros.
I recognize McCullers was lights out in the postseason, but there is next to no evidence that this guy can throw 140 innings a year, let alone be a #2 starter. As someone who's watched Steven Matz toil between the mound and operating table for the last three years, I can attest that there are few things more frustrating than young starters who tantalize with talent and can't stay healthy. (El Angelo)
[Shatters humerus] (Teddy)
10. CentralMassAll-Stars: David Price, SP, Red Sox.
I'm trying to reconcile Teddy having a mashing Yankee outfielder and an overpaid, declining, misogynist Red Sox starter as the cornerstones on his roster. There's no way this ends badly. But hey, flags fly forever, even if they're made out of orange construction paper. (El Angelo)
Yeah, he sucks and I hate him. Although I think it's more accurate to describe him as misanthropic generally than misogynist specifically. Whatever else you can say about Dennis Eckersley, he's hard to mistake for a woman. (Teddy)
11. Stable Guinesses: Tommy Pham, OF, Cardinals.
I think in June you could have gotten fairly long odds on the proposition that Tommy Pham would be the third position player off the board in the 2018 draft. I defer to Theodore for criticism of our pick, which I presume will be scathing. (El Angelo)
So, Pham was one of the approximately 15 useful OFs I pulled off the waiver wire last year. He was genuinely great--contributed in all categories, didn't miss too many games, enabled me to shout "What up, Pham?" when I checked his stats after a good day, really a pleasure to have rostered. The issue is despite being close to a rookie in terms of service time, dude is 30. That means we likely just saw his career year. Among potentially useful OFs I discarded this offseason, I'd put him behind Domingo Santana. (Teddy)
12. Murica Thirst: Kyle Hendricks, SP, Cubs.
Which should you believe: the three seasons of being a #4 starter, or the one season (half a season, really) where he was great? Thought so. (El Angelo)
Why did a NASCAR driver get drafted? (Teddy)
13. Angelo M. Grasseaux: Ken Giles, RP, Astros.
I'm just going to put Giles' postseason line up here for review:
3 HR allowed
3 HR allowed
3 Wild pitches
Enjoy Armando Benitez 2.0. (El Angelo)
Yeah, this guy was the anti-Pham on my team last year. He really makes you taste the whole rainbow as a fantasy owner. (Teddy)
14. The Spam Avengers: Daniel Murphy, 2B, Nationals.
Oh, fuck you. (El Angelo)
I can't quite explain it, but this is exactly the right spot for this guy to go. (Teddy)
15. The Darkest Timeline: Dick Hill, SP, Dodgers
I found this TA from June 2009 where Scot released Hill, then pitching for the Orioles, for something called Randy Wells, who I have zero recollection of existing or playing. A trip down a rabbit hole revealed that Wells was a Cubs starter who finished 6th in 2009 NL Rookie of the Year voting, trailing Casey McGehee (!), the next pick in this draft, Dead Tommy Hanson, the first iteration of J.A. Happ, and Chris Coughlan, who I completely forgot won that award. (El Angelo)
Don't be modest: back in 2008 you referred to Hill as a "potential young stud". The "young" part of that sentiment never really materialized, but he's one of a very few guys from back then still worthy of drafting early in 2018. (Teddy)
16. A Lovely Tea Party: Andrew McCutchen, OF, Giants.
And it's the 5th place finisher in the 2009 NL ROTY race. (Pop quiz: who was the '09 AL ROTY? He beat out the likes of Rick Porcello, Brett Anderson and Elvis Andrus, and earned 5.8 of his 5.9 career WAR in his first two seasons. Answer below.)
As to Cutch, it all depends on what you want. Assuming health, he'll be fine in most categories, but the days of a .400 OBP and 20 steals are long gone. He's fine, I just have a hard time separating him out from the Jay Bruces of the world. (El Angelo)
I like the pick--unsexy veterans provide decent value in this league because everyone is willing to take flyers on young guys in hopes of finding a keeper. And nothing is less sexy than late-period Cutch. (Teddy)
17. Wu Tang Financial: Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners.
It is so, so refreshing that the years change but the owners never do. Pre-draft, I would have put the odds on Cano being drafted by one of the Elders Brothers at 1-20. They didn't disappoint. We're all winners, really. (El Angelo)
Wait wait, no, THIS is the best match of player and slot. In terms of raw value this is not great, but for a team that had guys locked up at pretty much every other position, getting the last playable 2B is a fine idea. (Teddy)
Never my cup of tea as a middling OBP shortstop, Andrus did have the distinction last year of leading baseball in Caught Stealing at 10. His spikes in doubles and HR seem a little out of place at age-29, query whether that was a combo of the juiced ball and career fluke, Brady Anderson-style. (El Angelo).
Jesus, spicing up a list of middle-aged middle infielders is even harder than spicing up a list of #2 starters. I'm serious about retro-diarying last year to make up for this dreck. (Teddy)
I like this guy a lot as a rebound candidate. Of course there's a huge injury risk, but the upside is 30/30 if he can stay on the field. Nice pick at this point. (El Angelo)
In a draft opener that lacked a Questionable Closer Run, it's a faint approximation of the same for my esteemed co-blogger to end this charade with a very good closer on a not-very good team. I'm pro targeting a specific category at this spot, so simply adding 35 saves to the roster while trying to repeat seems like a sound short-term strategy. In the words of baseball savant Chris Russo: "Good job by you Teddy!" (El Angelo)
He sucks and I hate him. (Teddy)
* * *
(Answer to quiz: Andrew Bailey!)