Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Wankdorf Draft Retrospective

It's the slow season around these parts, with most of our attention going to the fine seasons that our football teams are having and the fairly mindless hot stove baseball news. So let's undertake an exercise that we did in last year's offseason: revisiting the prior year's fantasy draft and seeing how it would have been done with the benefit of hindsight. As we noted last year, we're going to bear a few things in mind:

(1) How well the players did last year;
(2) What the teams needed going into 2010;
(3) A player's future projected productivity; and
(4) An owner's peculiar quirks.

For the sake of this exercise, we're going to assume that Scot and Teddy still make their draft day deal where Scot deals for the first pick overall and Teddy gets picks #5 and #9. This review won't include a pick by Will, who traded out of the first round (and it should be noted, traded out of next year's first round as well) or a pick by me, who also dealt out of the first round.

1. The Revenge Society (Scot): Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees.

We noted at the beginning of the year that this pick either had to be A-Rod or David Wright. With the benefit of hindsight, and with full knowledge that Scot traded A-Rod during the season for a bounty that helped him come in second this year, let's see how each player's season worked out:

A-Rod: 137 G, .341 OBP, 30 HR, 125 RBI, 74 R, 4 SB
Wright: 157 G, .354 OBP, 29 HR, 103 RBI, 87 R, 19 SB

It's a pretty close matchup, because while the steals gives Wright a pretty good edge, the fact that A-Rod is playing with the Yankees means his RBI count will be strong any time he plays a lot. But it's the games played that makes us wonder whether he picked the wrong third baseman. A-Rod hasn't topped 140 games in 3 years, and there's no reason to think he'll start playing more. So while the Mets are the crappier team and makes Wright run the risk of doing worse in team-dependent stats, we think Wright was probably the correct call here.

Hindsight pick: David Wright, 3B, New York Mets.

2. The Little Green One (Andy): Matt Holliday, OF, St. Louis.

Holliday finished the year 11th in the league in VORP, plays in a lineup with superstar Albert Pujols, and is in position to have at least 3 more excellent seasons. There's nothing to change about this pick.

Hindsight pick: Holliday

3. Enrico Palazzo (Andrew): David Wright, 3B, New York Mets.

There's an argument to be made for Jose Bautista here to fill the third base slot but that strikes us as short-sighted. A-Rod is still on the Yankees, still good for 30+ home runs and tons of counting stats every year, and is still one of the best players in baseball. You would take him here if available.

Hindsight pick: A-Rod.

4. The Spam Avengers (Alex): Grady Sizemore, OF, Cleveland.

There is no doubt that this pick would be different, because Sizemore first sucked and then was injured last year. So what direction would he have gone instead? Well, his entire infield was full, as was one outfield spot, 3 starters and a mediocre closer. There's an argument to be made for a closer, but at #4? My instinct is that Alex would go best available young starter to team up with Cliff Lee and Clayton Kershaw, which is probably...

Hindsight pick: Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia

5. Gowanus Superfunders (Teddy): Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia.
6. Gowanus Superfunders: Johan Santana, SP, New York Mets.

Walk back to the draft--Teddy had kept a very nice infield and outfield, Ubaldo Jimenez, nothing more. So he's going to go pitcher-pitcher here, the question is who, since Hamels is now gone and Johan St. Johan pitched half a season for the Mets in 2010 and is out until at least the ASB for '11. One replacement pick seems easy: Francisco Liriano showed last year that he's most of the way back and is a top-shelf starter. After that, there's a drop-off in pitchers that had good 2011s and are good long-term bets. Since we can't see Tim Hudson going #6 and there's no way Teddy is going to take a reliever this early, how about a bonafide #2 guy from the World Champs?

Hindsight pick #5: Francisco Liriano, SP, Minnesota
Hindsight pick #6: Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco

7. Wu Tang Financial (Jon): Jayson Werth, OF, Philadelphia.

Jon's original pick was defensible at the time and afterwards, but there's still a guy on the board who hit 54 home runs last year and plays a position (3B) where Jon had no great keepers. A Blue Jay it is.

Hindsight pick: Jose Bautista, 3B, Toronto

8. pastywhite tyrones (Sahil): Ichiro!, OF, Seattle.

Given how slow Ichiro looked last year and how much Seattle's offense sucked, there's no question this pick should have been different. We're of two minds here. If Ironhead really wanted a speedster that gets on base and scores runs, Brett Gardner is a fine pick here. But if you're really building towards 2011--which is what this team clearly was or should have been doing--then there's one alternative: the next Willie Mays! And no, I don't mean Raul Mondesi or Ruben Rivera.

Hindsight pick: Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta

9. Gowanus Superfunders: Jon Papelbon, RP, Boston.

Right idea, wrong closer, especially since Chad wasted an extra $50 on Tums watching Paps all year and Papelbon will be closing for the Marlins in 2012. Have to give him the best non-Yankee closer available instead.

Hindsight pick: Rafael Soriano, RP, Tampa Bay

10. Jeters Never Prosper (Jake): Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Chicago Cubs.

We didn't love this pick at the time, but in fairness to Jake, nobody saw the horrific season that A-Ram had coming. So let's go elsewhere. A team that only kept Nyjer Morgan as its outfielder clearly needs a bat in the outfield, so let's go with a guy who would have been a steal here, Jayson Werth.

Hindsight pick: Jayson Werth, OF, Philadelphia

11. Suck It, Silver (Corey): Brian McCann, C, Atlanta.

Amazingly, this pick was proper at the time and is still proper now. Good job, Corey.

Hindsight pick: McCann

12. Le Dupont Torkies (Tucker): Joakim Soria, RP, Kansas City.

Soria wasn't a bad pick, but Rivera probably would have been the smarter move if you're going for a closer. More to the point: should Tucker have instead taken a hitter? The man kept a boatload of good arms, including closers, and didn't fare poorly in pitching. The problem is the remaining hitters are either guys with limited value in certain categories, like Gardner, or old fogeys like Paul Konerko and Adrian Beltre, who may not be helpful beyond 2010. The best idea we can come up with is Rickie Weeks, who had a sneaky good 2010 with 29 HRs, 112 R's and a good OBP. Let's give Tucker him to replace the dearly departed Chase Utley.

Hindsight pick: Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee


We have two picks that remained identical, and four other players that were selected in the first round, giving us a 50% hit rate. Of the "whiffs", two were guys we didn't love going in (A-Ram and Ichiro), two were closers, one was a stud pitcher who got hurt, and one was Sizemore, who I thought was somewhat risky going in. So not a bad job, all in all.

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