Friday, March 23, 2012

Transactions Analysis: 2012 Draft Review

The 2012 draft is finally in the books which means it's time for the annual draft recap. Personal note: this crop of players sucked, and my comments reflect the same. Do you have a more optimistic view than me, Teddy? (El Angelo)

Ish. I do think that the dispersal and draft had the intended effect of bringing parity back to the league, so I think this will be a fun year. But, yeah, picks 6 through, I don't know, 50 or so were real tests of the human spirit. (Teddy)

1. Big Damn Heroes: Hanley Ramirez, SS/3B, Florida.

While I think everyone agreed this was the #1 pick, it's worth noting that Hanley's stat line last year was a cool .244/.333/.379, with 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases, and he missed 70 games. If he returns to his 2009 level he's an elite player, but I don't think we've had someone go #1 with such poor prior year stats. Ever. (El Angelo)

Mo Vaughn. (Teddy)

2. Paging Dr. Rumack: Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle.

You can't argue with drafting a 25-year old pitching stud that's already won a Cy Young and plays in a pitcher's park. Sure he won't help you with wins, but they're impossible to predict anyway, so just enjoy the ride on the rate stats and K's for the next 5 years. (El Angelo)

While pitching-poor teams in the back half of the round had to deal with the unhappy issue of which guy to overdraft, the teams in the top half got to choose among three no-brainer SPs. I saw projections from two or three different systems, and none of them agreed on which of Felix, Lincecum, and Greinke would be best this year.

This might sound silly, but I actually think Albert Pujols's move from STL to LAA tipped the balance towards Greinke, even though Felix is the better pitcher. There isn't a lot of thunder left in the NL Central, and Greinke gets to face deeply lousy Cubs and Astros teams this year. With Pujols landing in the AL West, there are now two good offensive clubs (LAA and TEX) that Felix will have to face multiple times in the division. That said, there was no real wrong choice among the three. (Teddy)

3. Le Dupont Torkies: Mark Teixieria, 1B, New York (AL).

The shape of this team's keeper list--strong up the middle and good pitching--made this the definite pick here, but I really don't love it. Yes, Tex will continue to hit home runs in the Bronx Launching Pad and he'll get 100 RBIs every year he plays in that lineup. But he generates no steals, hasn't batted above .300 for 4 years, and just turned 32. He's a good first baseman and a starter, but not an elite player. Then again, this draft wasn't exactly deep in hitting studs, so I suppose it's not like the Torkies had much in the way of options here. (El Angelo)

The OBP trend is a little ominous. But who else to take? He didn't need pitching, and according to the rest of the picks his other options were two guys coming off of injury-shortened seasons and Dan Uggla. So while the pick might feel disappointing in a couple of years, I don't really see another option. (A feeling that I well understand, as we'll see below.) (Teddy)

4. Wu Tang Financial: Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco.

Strassburg, Shields and Tiny Tim is a neat top-3 of the rotation. The rest of the roster...well, we'll wait for the preview. (El Angelo)

I think I understand what happened here--WTF knew they'd have Tommy John candidate Lincecum joining Tommy John survivor Strassburg, so they preemptively offered up Joakim Soria to the elbow gods. The insurance premiums for this team must be murder. BTW, we here at the GRBG got a glimpse at WTF's draft sheet, and with this pick they were debating between Lincecum and the drummer from Spinal Tap. Good choice. (Teddy)

5. Big Damn Heroes (from Suicide by Jaguar): Zach Greinke, SP, Milwaukee.

This draft struck me as 4-deep in potential studs--as you can tell, I didn't count Tex as one of them--and this was #4, so good pick. (El Angelo)

This might have been the easiest pick in the draft--just take whichever of the three frontline starters made it to you. That he got the guy I think will be the best of the bunch this year is a nice bonus. (Teddy)

6. Westish Harpooners: Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington.

I had no idea how bad Zimmerman's 2011 was until I just looked at his stats. Granted, he missed 1/3 of the season, but 12 home runs, 41 RBIs and a sub-800 OPS? The pick is bailed out because third base is such a wasteland that he's a top-tier player by default. (El Angelo)

The story I'm telling myself is that he was playing at less than 100% for the first month or so after he got back. But yeah, my two big acquisitions to this point (Zim and Joe Mauer) played less than a full healthy season between them. Yay? (Teddy)

7. Suicide by Jaguar (from death to the west): Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas.

Hamilton isn't as good as a #7 pick should be but it's the right call for a guy sitting with the #12 and 14 picks and a plethora of pitchers to choose from. If Hamilton can stay healthy for the next 3 years, this is the right pick, but I'd get another outfielder to make up those 150 plate appearances you're going to lose every summer. (El Angelo)

In light of this pick, the team should be renamed "Suicide by Jagermeister". (Teddy)

8. Westish Harpooners (from Quoth the Jennings): Jon Lester, SP, Boston.

Prior early pitching picks by my esteemed co-author in the last three years include Chad Billingsley, Johan Santana, Jake Peavy, and Brett Myers. I think he's just double-jinxed his beloved Sawx and his fantasy team with this selection. (El Angelo)

This was an ADP-driven pick more than anything else. I had pitchers I liked better, but I thought I could get them later on. I didn't think Lester would be there. BTW, his K/BB ratio this spring is 4/9. So that's awesome.

And to be fair, Johan and Peavy were actually pretty good the year that I hit the board. They just shredded their arms in the process and ended up unkeepable. Billingsley? I ask that we draw the curtain of charity across that pick. (Teddy)

9. Kicked in the Nuts (briefly held by Quoth the Jennings): Dan Uggla, 2B, Atlanta.

On Independence Day last year, Uggla's stat line was .174/.243/.327. Eventually he rebounded to hit 36 home runs but with an OBP of .311. Clearly, hitting was shallow this year. (El Angelo)

10. Jeters Never Prosper: Yu Darvish, SP, Texas

11. Jeters Never Prosper (from the Moon Colonists via Paging Dr. Rumack): Josh Johnson, SP, Florida

With their two first round picks, the Calcified Shortstops take a guy shifting from Osaka to Fort Worth and a player who started 9 games last year. These could be two aces, two players annihilated by injury, or a pair of middling starters on good teams. It's stupid to say "we have no idea", but if you have a strong conviction about what these two pitchers are going to do, you should be in Vegas hammering a sports book. (El Angelo)

That's why I like the idea of sort of handcuffing them like this--he's trying to buy two flips of the coin instead of one. If they both hit, this is probably your league favorite headed into the season. (Teddy)

12. Suicide by Jaguar (from The Spam Avengers): Mat Latos, SP, Cincinnati

Players with a high similarity score include Bill Gullickson, Burt Hooton, Blue Moon Odom, and Scott Sanderson. I know that's exactly what the Commish was shooting for with this pick, in addition to a guy switching from a pitcher's heaven to a bandbox and Dusty Baker's watchful eye. (El Angelo)

Those comps don't mean that Latos will suck. They just mean that he's going to be very good rather than great. (Though did you remember that Bill Gullickson won the AL Cy Young in '91? You could have given me 25 guesses and I wouldn't have named him as the winner for that year.) I'm sure the commish will take the three years of very good while Latos is still cheap and deal with the fallout when it comes. (Teddy)

13. Big Damn Heroes: Chris Carpenter, SP, St. Louis

Talent-wise, this is the right pick here, but Carpenter's already injured and is fairly old. He's a top 15 starter if all is right with him, but minus Dave Duncan and at his age, query whether this was the right pick for a team that's probably not going to compete until next year. (El Angelo)

Well, the draft was going pretty well for him to this point--I bet he thought he could compete this year just fine. That said, the subsequent bulging disc issues are really troubling--that would have been the worst post-draft injury if not for the Soria situation and the latest entirely justified plague visited by the Lord on Joba Chamberlain. So far we've had disease (polio), locusts (midges), and frogs (Michael Kay), to which we can now add the lesser-known plague of trampoline injuries. Famine is probably next, but that fat son of a bachelor could use a good famine. (Teddy)

14. Suicide by Jaguar (from Paging Dr. Rumack): Cory Luebke, SP, San Diego

From the man who last year drafted Frustratingly Talented Brandon Morrow, we now get a guy with great stuff that's accumulated a whopping 20 major league starts. I couldn't figure out if I liked this pick when it was made and still can't tell a week later. Luebke is probably a good pitcher that I was high on this year...but at #14? On the other hand, something tells me that he wouldn't have gotten past this round, so I suppose that makes him a value. (El Angelo)

For what it's worth, my projections loved this guy. I think SBJ snaked the guy that everyone was hoping to steal in the third round. That seems like a perfectly reasonable pick. (Teddy)

15. The Moon Colonists (from Le Dupont Torkies): Carl Crawford, OF, Boston

I'm banking on a rebound. If I'm wrong...well, just look who went next. (El Angelo)

Are you at all concerned by the fact that he hurt himself again the first time he actually tried to swing a bat this spring? Because I can tell you that as a Sox fan, I'm scared as hell. I've pretty much resigned myself to the Cody Ross era in Boston. (Teddy)

16. Wu Tang Financial: Kevin Youkilis, 3B, Boston

Yook strikes me as an odd pick because it's a lot of injury and age risk to take on a team that's already holding on to Ryan Howard's corpse and reliant on comebacks by Carlos Beltran and Stephen Strasburg. I don't have a huge problem with taking guys coming off injuries--see my next pick--but when they're on the wrong side of the age curve and are playing a position that's likely to get them hurt again, it looks like a bad fit. (El Angelo)

Weirdly, this pick would be more defensible next year, when Youks is likely to transition to DH after Papi finally retires, but would retain 3B eligibility in Yahoo. (Teddy)

17. Suicide by Jaguar: Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee

We need a nickname for players that you don't keep but then end up drafting with an early pick. I'll open the floor to suggestions. BTW, I like this pick here. (El Angelo)

Weeks is pretty high on that list of guys, although I think the first choice would have to be the Carlos Pena All-Stars. (Teddy)

18. The Moon Colonists (from Westish Harpooners): Tommy Hanson, SP, Atlanta

My strategy, in no small part, is taking stars, lottery tickets, and crossing my fingers. If Hanson were healthy, he probably would have gone in the top 10, with only one or two starters left who can even approach his level of potential, this seemed like a fair balance of risk and reward to me. (El Angelo)

SoSH has a pool every year on who will be the first pitcher to get Tommy John surgery. Hanson was the first pick. (Teddy)

19. death to the west: Alex Gordon, OF, Kansas City

I've had Gordon enough times to be wary of last year's apparent breakout. My feeling he regresses somewhat and keeps his job, which makes him a useful player and probably a starter, just not the best outfielder available. (El Angelo)

I'm actually more bullish than that, especially because KC should have a sneaky-good offense this season. I don't think he has another big step forward in him, but I like him to consolidate his gains from last year. (Teddy)

20. Quoth the Jennings: Ike Davis, 1B, New York (NL)

Because any time you can take a third-tier first baseman that hits in a pitcher's park and is suffering from Valley Fever, you have to do it. (El Angelo)

Yes, but on the other hand . . . I can't think of an ending for this sentence. (Teddy)

21. Kicked in the Nuts: Heath Bell, RP, Florida

Not only is this a solid and sensible pick, it's a shock that this is the first closer to go. This league is notorious for taking firemen about 2 rounds earlier than usual, what the hell happened? (El Angelo)

To me, that was the strangest part of the draft--the one year there was nobody good to take among normal players, we collectively decided not to take closers either. Of course, Bell scares the hell out of me, given his declining K rate, move out of Petco, and the presence of the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez waiting in the wings. (Teddy)

22. Paging Dr. Rumack (from Jeters Never Prosper): Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia

I actually feel like James Calvin Rollins is excoriated enough in the sabermetric community that he's not a bad pick here. Yes, that OBP won't win you titles, but he steals bases, should score a bunch of runs, and is not bereft of power. I'm not saying he's a cornerstone of your franchise, but he's above replacement level for the position, especially in that ballpark. (El Angelo)

I disagree--I think Rollins has slid far enough back that he's no longer that distinguishable from the mass of other SS options. That said, if you like him for a bounceback year, he's good value here. I have my doubts. (Teddy)

23. Big Damn Heroes (from The Moon Colonists): Jayson Werth, OF, Washington

One of the steals of the draft, Werth should have gone about 8 picks earlier. Love this one. Don't love that Scot has added Hanley, Werth and Greinke to his team. (El Angelo)

Yep. (Teddy)

24. The Spam Avengers: Matt Garza, SP, Chicago (NL)

Our two-time defending champ started a run on pitchers on the exact same tier that ended roughly when Jon took Shawn Marcum. Problematically, that pick happened in the middle of Round 6. (El Angelo)

I actually liked Garza here--he ran in some bad luck last year, but his K rate was solid. Of course, I'm not sure how many Ws he'll get on this team. But I sure like him a lot more than Shawn Marcum. (Teddy)

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