Fresh off a trip to Atlantic City for the draft--a trip that included craps, college basketball and one owner getting kicked in the nuts--we now have Draft Number Nine in the books. Because there are no other transactions of note to look at for a while, let's start the spring with an analysis of the initial rounds of the draft. Watch your crotches. (El Angelo)
Words to live by. And here are a few more while we're at it: Keep an ear out for self-described whores in hotel hallways. (Teddy)
1. The Revenge Society (Scot) (from the Gowanus Superfunders): Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York (AL).
The 2005 champs paid a big price to get this pick and player--it cost Scot the 5th and 9th picks--but a team that had no infielders needed to make a splash and did exactly that. What's sad is we were all looking forward to Teddy Red Sock owning A-Rod for 4-5 years. (El Angelo)
Now it can be told: I reinstituted my Yankee draft ban (go check my roster), and was going to take Wright here.
I think Scot probably won the trade in baseball terms (with A-Rod healthy coming into the season, 120/40/120/15/.400 is on the table), but the trade had the added benefit of lifting the burden on my soul that would have come from the A-Rod decision. So everybody wins, really. (Teddy)
2. The Little Green One (Andy): Matt Holliday, OF, St. Louis.
There's an interesting question over whether Holliday's consistency is better than Sizemore's explosiveness. Can't fault the commish for taking a guy who will be perfect behind Pujols for the next 4 year; can fault him for making a homer pick that could crush both his real and fantasy team. (El Angelo)
Holliday's season last year was just so weird that it scared me off. That said, STL is going to outscore CLE pretty good this season, so I understand the rationale. The question is whether Holliday's R/HR/RBI advantage will outweigh the loss in those categories the Marvin's will have to eat by starting a speed-only guy to make up for the SB gap between Holliday and Sizemore. (Teddy)
3. Enrico Palazzo (Andrew): David Wright, 3B, New York (NL).
Sitting in the catbird seat, this was easiest pick in the draft--just take whichever 3B didn't go first overall. (El Angelo)
Yep--this might have been the most unfuckable pick in league history. Even if Wright's legs fall off tomorrow, it was still the right pick by the percentages. (Teddy)
4. The Spam Avengers (Alex): Grady Sizemore, OF, Cleveland.
The pick is conventional and defensible, but I'm actually not sure I like it. Sizemore's 2009 scares me, and there were some other good options here if you don't mind loading up on starting pitching. (El Angelo)
As sort of foreshadowed above, I'm pretty high on Sizemore. Given my slight preference for him at #2, I sure as heck can't fault him at #4. (Teddy)
5. Gowanus Superfunders (Teddy) (from The Revenge Society): Johan Santana, New York (NL).
6. Gowanus Superfunders (from pastywhite tyrone): Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia.
My co-author's fantastic trade nets him 2 of the 3 best starters in the draft. Yes they're both coming with arm injury concerns, but that goes with starters in general. Well done. (El Angelo)
I wasn't initially planning on executing the pitcherpalooza gambit. Pitchers are so inherently volatile that there's usually too much risk in taking one this early, because there's just too big of a risk that you will have wasted a #1 on a guy you end up not keeping. But once I got to the point where I could take four cracks in the top 20, I made peace with the idea of missing with one or two of the picks, because SOMEBODY from the group will end up a solid keeper. As we'll see below, my picks were a little bit "2007 All-Stars" for my liking, but this still seemed like the best path back to respectability. (Teddy)
7. Wu Tang Financial (Jon): Jayson Werth, OF, Philadelphia.
I feel like we've adequately covered this. (El Angelo)
Yes. Though it's also worth noting that Werth is a nice player. (Teddy)
8. pastywhite tyrone (from Duck Fuke, via The Situation Room and Gowanus Superfunders) (Sahil): Ichiro!, OF, Seattle.
Here's my problem with the Ichiro pick: he's basically a 3-category player because his home runs are negligible (between 7 and 12 a year) and he drives in nobody. To top it off, he's turning 37, meaning his speed is probably on the wane. He's a definite starter and a good contributor, but is he better than Shane Victorino or Denard Span? (El Angelo)
No and yes, respectively.
The only real difference of opinion I have with the above is that I think Ichiro's steals will go back up this year. Seattle has him and Chone Figgins 1-2, with not a lot of firepower behind them. I think that means Seattle will run wild this year, in an attempt to manufacture some offense. (Teddy)
9. Gowanus Superfunders (from The Situation Room via The Revenge Society): Jon Papelbon, RP, Boston.
Have fun getting heartburn twice with your soon-to-be-embattled closer, Teddy. Good pick, though. (El Angelo)
Rivera's better, Yankee ban, see above, etc. (Teddy)
10. Jeters Never Prosper (Jake): Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Chicago (NL).
A reach in the abstract, but positional scarcity makes taking A-Ram sensible, given that the next-best third baseman was Michael Young. Good win-now pick, shaky long-term pick. (El Angelo)
Agreed IF the team thinks it's in a win-now season. If not, the play was to go best available, and patch the cracks in this year's team with whatever materials became available. (Teddy)
11. Suck It, Silver (Corey): Brian McCann, C, Atlanta.
Speaking of positional scarcity, it's the one catcher that's not horrible! (El Angelo)
Yeah, can't really argue with this one. (Teddy)
12. Le Dupont Torkies (Tucker): Joakim Soria, RP, Kansas City.
For my money, he's the best closer in the draft, but with the team already having 3 on the roster, did they need another? Feel like a starter may have been the play here. I also feel that the guy who wins every year probably knows better than the guy who traded away his first round pick. (El Angelo)
Can the best closer in the draft play on a 60 win real-life team? Because that's where KC is heading, following an offseason in which they obtained 3 everyday players with sub-.300 OPS's. (Teddy)
13. The Little Green One: Mariano Rivera, RP, New York (AL).
Our beloved commish is concerned that he's going to retire after this year, but I disagree, Rivera's got another contract in him. More to the point, he's the closer on a 95-win team! If you have any desire to win this year, you must take him. (El Angelo)
Yeah, any concerns about the future are pretty clearly secondary at this point, given the Utley and Manny trades. Smoke if you got 'em. (Teddy)
14. Enrico Palazzo: Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco.
I had Cain last year and am torn on him going forward. On one hand, he's a very good pitcher who won a boatload of games. On the other hand, his peripherals suggest that he was quite lucky last year. I split the difference and see him as a solid #2 starter, which is perfectly fine for this pick. Again. Why aren't more of you fucking up and taking the likes of Kelly Johnson? (El Angelo)
Yeah, I was actually hoping Cain would fall to me at 17. It seems unlikely that he'll put up a 2.89 again, but he could regress a half-run off of that and still be very valuable. I'll go into this more in the forthcoming EP season preview, but Cain is part of the delicious chocolate crust that surrounds the rancid nougat of the bottom half of the roster. It's a long road back from last year's DAFL, but Cain is part of the solution. (Teddy)
15. The Spam Avengers: Jose Valverde, RP, Detroit.
4 closers in the top 15. That's a lot of drafting used for one category. (El Angelo)
To me, Paps/Rivera/Soria were on a different plateau from Valverde/Gonzalez/Soriano/etc., so this was a little early for me. But as Angelo says, closers go so early in this league that it's tough to stay on the sidelines--sometimes you have to buy into the bubble if you want to make some money. (Teddy)
16. The Revenge Society: Max Scherzer, SP, Arizona.
Lambasted by the Atlantic City crowd, this pick became more defensible on second review, but I still don't love it. The other available starters aren't going NL-to-AL, don't have a kooky delivery that screams "blown elbow" and aren't on a 78-win team. To top it off, this team still only has one infielder. The owner usually gets the benefit of the doubt from me, but I think Scherzer would have been there in Round 3. (El Angelo)
This was the beginning of a mini-run on upside pitchers, one to which I contributed with my Aroldis pick next round. With that in mind, I can't really criticize. (Teddy)
17. Gowanus Superfunders: Jake Peavy, SP, Chicago (AL).
Risky for a multitude of reasons, but this team's starters are now Santana-Hamel-Jimenez-Peavy. Worth the gamble. (El Angelo)
I considered not taking any A.L. pitchers, but the idea of a healthy Peavy getting multiple divisional starts against KC was too good to pass up. (Teddy)
18. pastywhite tyrone: Carlos Lee, OF, Houston.
The Acerbic Albinos continue to formulate the 2005 All-Star team. Where's Mike Sweeney? (El Angelo)
Carlos Lee has been slightly underrated and underdrafted in this league for quite some time. That time is over now. (Teddy)
19. Wu Tang Financial: Rafael Soriano, RP, Tampa Bay.
Should I pour it on? Okay, sure I'll pour it on. The team just spent its first two picks on an outfielder it had last year (Werth) and a closer (Soriano). Had they simply kept Werth and Soria and thrown B.J. Upton back into the hopper, they could have taken Upton at #7 and either Soriano or K-Rod with this pick. That would give them their current roster plus Soria and with Upton's contract re-set. So yeah the pick's fine, it's the master plan that's off. (El Angelo)
20. Suck It, Silver (from Duck Fuke): Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta.
God f'ing dammit. (El Angelo)
I'll go slightly more negative here. The man has 50 at-bats above A-ball. It strikes me as wildly optimistic to expect him to do anything of note this year, let alone anything that would warrant him being the 5th OF off the board. If the SISsies have enough OF depth to hide him this year, though, he might develop enough to be a tasty keeper (or trade bait) for next year. (Teddy)
21. The Situation Room (Angelo): Scott Baker, SP, Minnesota.
I love this guy this year and going forward. Pissed I didn't get Heyward, but I'll take it as a conso prize. (El Angelo)
I've never been as high on Baker, but I recognize that position is rapidly becoming a minority one. (Teddy)
22. Jeters Never Prosper: Francisco Rodriguez, RP, New York (NL).
If people wonder why I didn't draft a closer, it's because every one of note was taken before Gaynor got on the clock. (El Angelo)
That development pretty much guarantees that Ang will lead the league in transactions this year, as he tries to find injury vulture save opportunities. He's going to pass Dr. James Andrews as the leading harbinger of doom in MLB. (Teddy)
23. Suck It, Silver: Hiroki Kuroda, SP, Los Angeles.
24. Suck It, Silver: Yunel Escobar, SS, Atlanta.
To end on a negative note....Kuroda? A guy who's gone 17-17 in 52 starts, strikes out batters at a rate that rivals Kirk Rueter and Bob Tewksbury, and is 35 years old? What does he have that Andy Pettitte doesn't, besides a small ass? (El Angelo)
Well, he's had a nice ERA and WHIP when healthy, but...yeah. (Teddy)