Monday, March 25, 2013

Transactions Analysis: 2013 Draft

Eleven years ago, the inaugural draft was held in Jake's DC apartment, attended by 8 of us, with 4 more calling in or chatting in remotely (and me monitoring them all, for some bizarre reason).  As I recall, we went through about $300 worth of beer that evening, couldn't figure out why Val took the pair of Bret Boone and Nomar Garciaparra with his first two picks, and much revelry was had.

A mere decade later, our latest draft was done by conference call and a Google doc, and was most notable for the number of screaming children in the background.  I have to think that most of us made liberal use of the mute button (I certainly did) or else the entire production would have sounded like Romper Room crossed with Bud Selig's barbershop appointments.   In any event, this year's draft is in  the books.  What do you get when you replace alcohol with Laurie Berkner?  Examine we must.  (El Angelo)

I drafted Laurie Berkner in the 7th round, if that gives you any indication. I probably should have just ceded control to the autdraft. (Teddy)

1.  Ancient Alien Attack: Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay
2.  Ancient Alien Attack: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado
3.  Ancient Alien Attack: David Price, SP, Tampa Bay

In 1992, blessed with the first two picks in the NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected defensive players Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt, thinking they would put their defense in place for the next decade.  It didn't quite pan out that way. Emtman was done by 27 with myriad injuries, which started with him blowing out his knee three months into his career.  Coryatt had a pedestrian 5 seasons with the Colts where he was mostly healthy but produced little.  While everyone thinks the Colts blew the picks, pickings in that draft were slim: the best player that year was one of Sean Gilbert, Troy Vincent, Desmond Howard and Darren Woodson, hardly a murderer's row of players.

I felt like I was in the exact same scenario this year.  Studs were nigh in the draft thanks to everyone keeping the best players at +infinity keeper slots, leaving me with the options of taking guys at positions I didn't really need (3B and SP) and studs who were hurt a ton last year.  If Longoria and Tulo are healthy, I feel like I took the two best players in the draft, and I can't complain about taking the reigning Cy Young winner.  But there's a lot of risk here for the top 3 slots.  (El Angelo) 

The one upside to the way things shook out is that they made it impossible to flub these picks. Even if all three guys are killed in a Modern Alien Attack that for some reason is localized to Tampa and Denver, these were still the obvious choices at the time. (Teddy)

4.  Jeters Never Prosper: Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Los Angeles
5.  Jeters Never Prosper: Jered Weaver, SP, Anaheim

Jered Weaver going back to Jake was the easiest prediction to make in the draft.  As we'll see there was a lot of "re-upping" in this year's draft, as a bunch of guys just ended up with their old contracts re-set.  Regardless, I like the Weaver pick here.  I'm less certain I like the Gonzalez pick, who was showing signs of creakiness by the end of last year.  (El Angelo)

I'd agree except for his whackadoo OF eligibility. The team had multiple OF slots to fill and (as we'll see very shortly indeed) the OF crop fell off a cliff pretty quickly this year. (Teddy)

6.  Le Dupont Torkies: Ben Zobrist, MI, Tampa Bay

Speaking of players re-upping with their old teams!  You can't argue with taking this guy here because of positional flexibility.  A good fit for Tucker's machinations as well.  (El Angelo)

Zobrist has been undervalued for a few years because Tampa sort of hides him in their system. However, I have a few concerns now, mostly centered around the fact that Tampa has finally brought in quasi-regulars at SS (Yunel Escobar) and 2B (Ryan Roberts and Kelly Johnson (!)). If those guys stick, Zobrist will only be playable at OF next year, and he'll be much less interesting as a 33 y/o OF then he has been over the past few years. But for this year, good pick.

Also, that now makes three Rays in the top six picks. I'm pretty sure a Devil Ray didn't come off the board until the second keg back at the inaugural draft.  (Teddy)

7.  Corey Loves Dickey: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston

I know the owner's not in love with this pick, but if healthy, Pedroia is a stud player at an extremely shallow position.  Of course, "if healthy" is the largest caveat one can provide in fantasy sports behind "if not in jail" and "if not on the Astros."  (El Angelo)

The shallowness of 2B is sort of interesting. As noted in the Valuetron posts, I sort of think it goes one deep. After that, there's a tier with about 4-6 interesting guys, then another tier with one- or two-category specialists. If true, that would mean it's not worth it to chase the position early. If, on the other hand, Pedroia stays healthy and rebounds to join Robinson Cano up top, this is great value. As a Sox fan I'd love to see that, but guys with metal plates in their feet make me nervous. (Teddy)

8.  The Spam Avengers: Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas

The right pick for this year that I don't particularly love going forward.  Kinsler is a well-above average second baseman now, and should retain eligibility at the position for next year even if they switch him to first at some point to make room for Saint Jurickson Profar.  If that's the case, then he won't lose eligibility at 2B until 2015, and I suppose it's asinine to not take a guy if you're worried about his position eligibility two years down the road.  So in short, good pick.  (El Angelo)

Well, except it's not that great of a pick for this year if he's on the bench. He's only going to see the field if Cano gets hurt or he outplays Freddie Freeman and Brandon Belt. There aren't that many older 2Bs who are likely to outhit a pair of young 1Bs. Kinsler is probably as close as it gets. But I was a little surprised we didn't see another redraft here with Carlos Santana. (Teddy)

9.  mahmoud abdul rauf: Aroldis Chapman, P, Cincinnati

High-risk for a shitload of reasons: it's a closer in the top-10, or he's a guy stretching out to the rotation, and it'll surprise nobody if Chapman ends up with the Neftali Perez Surgery Kit by July.  But Chapman's stuff and upside is so filthy that I'll indulge the pick and applaud having the balls to make it here.  There weren't a lot of guys left on the board who have the potential to be a franchise cornerstone, so why not take a shot at one?  (El Angelo)

Cincy has announced that Chapman will stay at closer for this year, so I think that's what you have to assume his role will be going forward. That probably makes this a dubious value proposition. But the guy is just so fun that I can't bring myself to care. (Teddy)

10.  Paging Dr. Rumack: Aaron Hill, 2B, Toronto

Hill is in the nether world of below the Cano/Pedroia/Kinsler/Zobrist second basemen but above pretty much everyone else with the possible exception of Jason Kipnis.  This looks a little like an overdraft to me, but Hill wouldn't have gotten past Teddy with the next pick and has enough positional value that I can't kill it.  (El Angelo)

Oh, Hill would have gotten past me with the next pick. (Teddy)

11.  Brooklyn Tweedbeards: Shin Soo-Choo, OF, Cincinnati

Your humble authors proceeded to expend their next selections on outfielders that offer consistency at the expense of greatness.  Choo is hardly an elite outfielder but it's not like there were a ton of options left either at the position or in the outfield.  He's a fairly solid contributor that should give good stats in all categories and actually boost your OBP, so it's....fine, I suppose.  Don't love it, don't hate it at all.  (El Angelo)

I had needs at SS and 2B, but there was nobody super exciting at those slots. So I just went best available, which I think is Choo now that he is surrounded by actual professional hitters and playing in a bandbox. My major concern is that he's going to hurt himself trying to play CF. (Teddy)

12.  The Braun Advantage: Jordan Zimmerman, SP, Washington

The keeper list dictated that he take a starter here, so you can't really argue with going with the best one available.  That he took a guy that I like to take a big step forward this year is probably a negative, but the pick gets a hearty endorsement from me.  (El Angelo)

After Weaver and Price went off the board, we hit the zone where you sort of just wave your hand towards a pitcher and hope. But this was a pretty safe pick for a team that didn't really have much in the way of obvious needs. (Teddy)

13.  Ancient Alien Attack: Alex Gordon, OF, Kansas City

The minute I took this I regretted not taking Carlos Santana, but the rationale was that I needed another steady outfielder in his prime before a catcher, especially since catcher was sneaky-deep this year.  The second half of the gambit worked in that I was able to get The Non-Injured And Can Catch Montero later on while adding a dependable outfielder, but something doesn't sit right about using my first four picks on two Rays, a Rockie and a Royal.  (El Angelo)

Steady is about the right word for this--AAA traded some upside for a playable bat, which makes sense given that he is clearly playing for this year. I like Santana a lot, though, so I can understand the agita. Maybe you can get Josh Reddick to Theismann him again this season so that you can digest your meals in peace. (Teddy)

14.  Brooklyn Tweedbeards: Dan Haren, SP, Washington

The good news for Haren is that he's switching leagues this year.  The bad news is that he's not going to get much better defense than he got last year in Anaheim and his body still has the owsies.  I don't really hate the pick, but I actually like other starters Teddy took with later picks (Jon Niese, Mike Minor, Edwin Jackson) better.  (El Angelo)

The velocity has been creeping up during spring training, so I took the plunge. All of my trades meant that my picks were shifted pretty far forward in the draft. So I pretty much just took guys I wanted and didn't worry about the round/value. (Teddy)

15.  Spreading Santorum: Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland

We're used to Will not having a first round pick; the only one he's had in the last four years was used on Dan Uggla's decaying remains last year.  What we're less used to is Will actually making a great pick in the top two rounds.  After years of taking Brandon Lyon and Heath Bell much earlier than necessary, taking a top-tier catcher coming into his prime at 15 is a steal.  Great job.  (El Angelo)

Yep, loved it. (Teddy)

16.  Jeters Never Prosper: Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee

Yet another player that re-ups with his old team, re-setting his contract.  Has anyone else in the league had Aramis at any point?  (El Angelo)

I feel like I had him at some point in the early aughts, although I feel that way about virtually every non-Yankee. (Teddy)

17.  Dickey Centre: Martin Prado, 2B/3B, Arizona

First off, for some reason, this team was briefly titled "Corey's Team" while we were drafting yesterday, which confused and pissed the hell out of me.  I was all set to start a season of using the asterisk once again, because after taking over for M*ke, C*rey's Team would have been appropriate in so many ways.

As to the pick, I didn't love it at the time because Prado doesn't do anything spectacularly well, as he has meh power and minimal speed.  That said, I didn't process during the draft that Prado had second base eligibility, which rescues the pick a bit, but not that much.  C*rey appears to be the second-biggest fan of Prado on God's Green Earth.  Unfortunately for Diamondbacks fans, the biggest is Kevin Towers.  (El Angelo)

I really liked Prado as a sneaky 2B option, although I also thought that the time to spring that particular trap was in the middle rounds someplace. This reminds me of the time I drafted JJ Hardy in about the same slot after seeing a bunch of SSs come off the board and panicking. Being 5th in line in an early 2B run just feels like a bad spot. Nice player, though. (Teddy)

18.  Corey Loves Dickey: Matt Wieters, C, Baltimore

The commish appears to be taking the "up the middle approach" this year by keeping a shortstop and taking a 2B and catcher with the first two picks.  Given the latent sameness of most of the outfielders in the pool, it's a defensible strategy.  Unfortunately, it also lead to Alexi Ogando being his second starter.  (El Angelo)

Andy is the morning line favorite to amass the most transactions this year as he frantically fishes for arms. That offense, though. Man. (Teddy)

19.  Wu Tang Financial:  Erick Aybar, SS, Anaheim

Here's the thing - I actually don't mind Aybar as a fantasy sleeper this year, because if Scioscia is stupid enough to bat him leadoff, he's going to steal a few bases and score a shitload of runs with Trout, Hamilton and Pujols hitting behind him.  But I cannot endorse taking the man nineteenth overall in the draft.  I would have loved this pick if Jon had made it in the seventh round, and I'm going to go ahead and guess that Aybar would have been available then.  It also is a head-scratcher given that he took Alcides Escobar two rounds later as well.  Did we add a middle infield position and not tell me?  (El Angelo)

So, this was not great. Can we all agree on that? I thought so. I'm going to draw the curtain of charity across the rest of the scene. (Teddy)

20.  The Spam Avengers: Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis

Ultimately this comes down to whether you think last year's gains by Yadier was sustainable for a few more years or a career year.  If it's the latter, then Alex was probably better off going with a pitcher here (Lester?) and taking one of the Montero twins in the next round.  If you think 2012 can be repeated, then it's a good pick.  I lean towards career year.  (El Angelo)

I'm a little more bullish than that on Yadi, but I do agree that he's a tier down from the younger guys like Wieters and Santana. (Teddy)

21.  Jeters Never Prosper: Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Philadelphia

Papelbon may not be everyone's cup of tea and Charlie Manuel's usage patterns may give Joe Sheehan 32 aneurysms this year, but he's by far the best closer available and this team kept none.  I'm not sure he'll be gracing Jake's roster in 2015, but he can worry about that then.  For now, it's a very nice pick.  (El Angelo)

Absolutely, especially for a team that has legitimate aspirations to hitting the board this year. He already had SPs coming out of his ears, so this was the right point to pivot towards the pen. (Teddy)

22.  Paging Dr. Rumack:  Jon Lester, SP, Boston

I can't quite figure out what to make of Lester this year.  I know a lot of saber-analysts love him, but both the K rate and HR rate are headed in the wrong direction the last two seasons.  I guess I see a slight rebound this year, if for no other reason than the Yankees' and O's offenses have to be worse this year, making the division a little easier, and the Stench of Bobby V is gone.  I guess?  (El Angelo)

The hope in Boston is that he'll benefit from being reunited with new manager John Farrell, who was the Sox' pitching coach under Tito Francona. His velocity has dipped a bit, but his success has always been based more on his use of the cutter. If Farrell can resurrect that pitch, Lester should be very solid. I think the high-K days might be over, but the Ws and rate stats stand a good chance of rebounding. (Teddy)

23.  The Brooklyn Tweedbeards:  Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas

If you need speed and OBP, this is a good pick.  I was shocked just how bereft Andrus was of any power until I looked at his stats while prepping for the draft.  I just assumed that if you played in Texas, you automatically got 10 home runs.  (El Angelo)

One thing I noticed during my (admittedly scant) prep for this year's draft is just how rare OBP is once you get beyond the top sluggers. The days of guys like JD Drew and Bobby Abreu going .280/.380 seem to be behind us. So I did value OBP highly, on the theory that I can always rotate in a few all-or-nothing guys with favorable matchups to try to find some counting stats. Andrus had ~40 points of OBP on the next available non-crippled SS, so I jumped in. (Teddy)

24.  C*rey's Team: Matt Harvey, SP, New York (NL)

Fuck it, I'm keeping the old team name here for the header.  And I absolutely love this pick, my Met bias acknowledged.  Harvey's going to be a stud, and while he won't get any wins this year, he'll strikeout a shitload and if Los Mets can keep Lucas Duda tied to the bench, the defense behind him won't be awful.  And I can't believe I'm actually ending the draft TA on a positive note for maybe the first time ever.  (El Angelo)

I can't bring myself to burst a Met fan's bubble before the season even starts. . . good DAY! (Teddy)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't take Alcides Escobar (though I did take Nakajima much later). Look at June through Oct for Aybar I don't think he gets past 4th (IOW, should have taken Andrus)

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