Thursday, September 18, 2008

Draft Analysis: 2008 First Round

In the NFL they say it takes 3 years to judge a draft. Thankfully, fantasy sports take a lot less long, because you get results every year and only keep some of your players. For example, as we noted last year, check out the list of studs taken by eventual champion It's Enrico Palazzo in 2007. That was a great draft. So let's take a look back to mid-March, and give a critique on this year's first rounders. We'll look at it with both the eye as to what's happened this year and the viability of the player taken for the next 2-3 years, as a first round pick should be a keeper.

1. Presidential Timber: Curtis Granderson, OF. Granderson's had a year that's not poor, but is still a let down from last year's peak, but that can hardly be deemed a shocker. Still, you have to think that knowing what his stats are 2/3 of the way through this year plus the fact that this team isn't competing this year and that he's already 27 years old, this may not have been the best #1 pick.
2. 54'50 or Fight!: Felix Hernandez, SP. A very solid year with a 3.08 ERA and a high K rate is somewhat offset by the fact that he's 7-7, thanks to pitching for a horrible team. No argument with this pick in the first round; one could quibble that Scott Kazmir should have gone here instead.

3. grundleman's bond: Travis Hafner, DH. 180 injury plagued and shitty plate appearances later, this pick was a disaster.

4. The Spam Avengers: Roy Oswalt, SP. After an absolutely hideous start, he's turned it around with an insane six-week stretch that's propelled him back into the elite of the NL. Not clear that he was the 2nd-best pitcher in the draft, though.

5. Wu Tang Financial: Scott Kazmir, SP. His early season DL stint aside, he's been lights out all year. Probably should have gone #1.

6. The Fighting Isiahs: Derek Jeter, SS. He's produced roughly what you would expect, though perhaps being a little light in the steals department. Solid pick at a position that's not particularly deep, though query how he'll be in 2010.

7. Matsui's Fissure: Rafael Soriano, RP. Poor guy can't stay healthy. Not a great selection in hindsight, though on draft day, he seemed like the best closer available. Who knew that Joakim Soria would turn into the next Tom Henke?

8. Decatur Commies: Derrek Lee, 1B. Lee's had a top-10 season for 1B's, and should age fairly well. No argument with this pick.

9. Decatur Commies: Brian Roberts, 2B. He's submitted a rough facsimile of last year to date, so in that respect, no complaints here either. However, given that Dan Uggla's about to top 30 HRs and Ian Kinsler is having a season for the ages at the position, query whether this was the best 2B to take.

10. Frank the Tank: James Shields, SP. Solid #2 pitcher having a very good year. Yes.

11. Le Dupont Torkies: Manny Ramirez, OF. The sturm und drang with Manny and LA aside, he's having a very nice year, so this pick was definitely fine.

12. It's Enrico Palazzo: Chipper Jones, 3B. Had a great start, which they just leveraged into Josh Beckett and Miguel Cabrera for the stretch drive. Can't really argue with the result for the team.

What to conclude? Well, if we did the draft again, Hafner and Soriano would be nowhere near the first round, Roberts may have slipped past Kinsler, and Chipper may have fallen below Roy Halladay as well. Joakim Soria also may have gone as the first closer, Jason Bay may have taken the place of Manny. But all in all, this shows how weak the crop was for the first round, especially on the hitting front.

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