Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Transaction Analysis: The Resurrection

While we talked about ending the TA thanks to life, work, family and general fatigue, a draft recap is still too juicy to pass up.  So now with one of us on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, let's do a bleary-eyed TA of this year's draft.  Ready, Teddy?  (El Angelo)

Wait who what now? Did that draft actually happen? It was 7AM, and I was sober and trying to help my 8.5 month pregnant wife with our 19 month-old in between 90 second draft windows. I might as well have tried to draft while BASE jumping off of the Freedom Tower. (Teddy)

1. Wu Tang Financial: Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati.

I had operated under the assumption that Jon would go for Braun first, but there's a lot of bad OBP players you can hide when you're starting a guy who has a .430 on base buy-in.  I'm a little bearish on Votto long-term because I think Cincinnati is about to hit their decline phase and he doesn't knock in a ton of guys since he walks once a game, but it's tough to criticize the pick.  (El Angelo)

There were five very good players available at the top, and it's not worth getting too worked up about the order in which they were drafted. FWIW, I would have gone with Votto here as well. Although, I mean, I went for Reyes at 6, so I'm not sure how meaningful my endorsement is. (Teddy)

2.  Le Dupont Torkies: Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington.

Assuming you're fine with taking pitchers in the top 3, this was the right move.  Yeah, SS has the arm question and he hasn't really had a truly elite season since coming back from Tommy John surgery, but he's still young, in front of a great defense, and has nasty stuff.  Tucker usually leans pitching early, and did well here.  (El Angelo)

Tucker is traditionally the pitcher whisperer, so this probably means Strasburg is finally going to tear apart this league this year. That said, because of his ability to find SP value further down the draft order, I would have had him take Bruan here. As a former owner of a CarGo-Braun-based OF, I can testify that having those two guys together lets you run platoons at a couple of other positions and still end up just fine in all five categories. (Teddy)

3.  The Grand Swipes: Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee.

Just because he got caught doesn't mean he's going to stop juicing, right?  (El Angelo)

Hey, good to meet you. Of course, I'm happy to pee in this cup. Let me just whip this sucker out and [points over tester's shoulder] WAIT LOOK OVER THERE IS THAT BOB UECKER SODOMIZING THE  BRATWURST?!? OK, here you go. Pleasure working with you. (Teddy)

4.  Paging Dr. Rumack: Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia.

Lee's an ace, but he's old enough that you have to think you're going to compete this year or next year to really make this pick worthwhile.  Looking at this roster, I'm not certain that a top-3 finish is in the cards so I question the wisdom a little and wonder if there was a reason they didn't just re-up Posey.  Good player, though.  (El Angelo)

Yeah, that was my reaction too. I mean, you're not going to criticize a guy for picking Cliff Lee, but Posey has been a top-3 catcher every healthy year, and they've now banned home plate collisions in order to save him from himself. (Teddy)

5.  Jazzy Rural Grammar: Buster Posey, C, San Francisco.

There's nothing wrong with taking a catcher in his mid-20s that is going to be at his peak for the next 4 years and has already won an MVP award.  Easy and correct pick.  Welcome, Ben! (El Angelo)

Yeah, no earthly way to criticize this one. (Teddy)

6.  Bridge Year: Jose Reyes, SS, Toronto.

I know Teddy didn't love making this pick, but c'mon.  Shortstop is an extremely shallow position, and Reyes is a good OBP/runs/steals guy.  Yes, he needs to get on the field more than 100 games, and the 75 steal seasons are long-gone, but he's more than capable of a .350 OBP, 12 HR, 30 SB, 100 R stat line.  You'll take that from your shortstop any day.  (El Angelo)

Hate. (Teddy)

7.  Torn Ligaments: Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington.

Zimmerman has put up almost identical stat lines the last two years, so if you're in love with an oft-injured declining third baseman that has solid power, he's your man.  I shrugged my shoulders at the pick at the time, but with the exception of the guy who went next, it's not like there were a ton of great options at this point, as depressing as that may seem.  (El Angelo)

I might be alone in this, but I like Holliday more than this guy or the next, and would have taken him at 6 if I didn't already have a full OF. Zimmerman might have one healthy season in him over the three-year keeper contract; Holliday will more than likely have at least two. (Teddy)

8.  Fredbird's Pants: Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles.

I love this pick.  The next batch of guys are all unproven, old, or specialists, so why not take a flyer on the guy who, if healthy, has a shot to be an MVP?  It's not like you're going to horribly regret passing on the next set of draft picks.  (El Angelo)

He's had one great full year in what is now a 7-year career, and is no longer the best OF on his own team. I like playing for upside risk as much as the next guy (see my next pick). But why not just take Grady Sizemore in round 15 and be done with it? (Teddy)

9.  MERCER beat duke: Matt Holliday, OF, St. Louis.

Still putting up good stats at 34, Holliday actually lead the league in one category last year: grounding into double plays.  But I can't quibble too much with this pick - outfield is shallow as hell in this draft, and Holliday will be good until he's too expensive to keep.  (El Angelo)

10.  Torn Ligaments: Joe Mauer, C/1B, Minnesota.

Had there been any chance that Mauer would have qualified at catcher beyond this year, he would have gone in the top 5.  But alas he doesn't, which means that Corey probably just drafted Mark Grace.  (El Angelo)

Hey, that one season at 1B has a lot of value, and I think he'll be playable at UTIL even after this year just because of the OBP. He'll become a guy you have to surround with the right mix of complementary players rather than a foundational guy, but that's just fine. (Teddy)

11.  The Spam Avengers: Craig Kimbrel, RP, Atlanta.

The team's keeper list had a good offense, the best pitcher in baseball, and a solid #2 starter.  They're clearly going for it this year, so it makes perfect sense to add a guy that's going to rack up 35 saves and help you a bit in rate categories.  Good example of striking while the iron is hot even if taking a closer in the first round seems premature.  (El Angelo)

Yeah, this is where having a good keeper list coming in really frees you up. A first-round closer is a luxury many teams couldn't afford; for these guys he's a redneck-shaped peg in a redneck-shaped hole. (Teddy)

12.  Fat Dog for Baseball: Michael Wacha, SP, St. Louis.

I don't dislike the pick, but I thought it was an odd fit for a team looking to threepeat.  If they're serious about trotting out Billy Hamilton and his .225 OBP for the entire season, I would have thought an OBP guy woudl have been the right play here.  I guess the problem is I don't know who fits in that category.  Jayson Werth?  Alex Gordon?  Yeah, I wouldn't take either of them in the first round either.  (El Angelo)

This team did not need more offense. They probably could have finished in the middle of the pack if they just started their keepers on offense and left the other slots empty. So kind of the same deal as above--why not take a fun young arm and hope for the best? (Teddy)

13.  MERCER beat duke: Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pittsburgh.

Alvarez is hitting his prime for a team on the rise and lead the league in home runs last year.  I normally enjoy making fun of Sahil's picks, and Alvarez is far from a complete player, but I honestly don't see a way to crap on this pick.  Nice job.  (El Angelo)

Alvarez is the streakiest hitter in the league, so if you can time his start/sits right he can give you a season's worth of production in 70 games. That's a rather large if, of course. (Teddy)

14.  Fredbird's Pants: Albert Pujols, 1B, Anaheim.

We're going to conduct a study in first basemen with the next three picks.  Behind Door Number Two is a guy who for his first ten seasons was one of the best players in baseball history.  His last 3 years have been much more pedestrian and nobody knows how old he is.  But that history is tempting.  So Andy goes with the rebound theory.  I can defend it and not particularly care for it.  (El Angelo)

Hey, good to meet you. Of course, I'm happy to pee in this cup. Let me just whip this sucker out and [points over tester's shoulder] WAIT LOOK OVER THERE IS THAT JOE BUCK SODOMIZING A  TOASTED RAVIOLI?!? JUST FROM A LOGISTICAL STANDPOINT, HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!? OK, here you go. Pleasure working with you. (Teddy)

15.  Torn Ligaments: Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Los Angeles.

Behind Door Number Two is a first baseman who had a "hidden" peak while at San Diego, crapped out in Boston, and has morphed into a back-nine Todd Helton while in Los Angeles.  He won't crater, but I will bet that Gonzalez doesn't get a single MVP vote over the rest of his career.  So Corey goes with certainty.  The problem is the certainty is that Gonzalez is back in this draft before the next Presidential election.  (El Angelo)

To answer the actual question, I would prefer the steady guy. I think Gonzalez is going to have a nice, steady, Konerkonian decline, while I have grave concerns about Pujols' fasciia. (Teddy)

16.  Bridge Year: Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago (NL).

Behind Door Number Three is a former stud prospect who had a great rookie year and an absolute shitshow last year and is seeking refuge on a rebuilding team, both in real and fantasy life.  It then makes sense that my humble co-author, who clearly doesn't think he can compete this year, took a paisan from Boston with the pick in the hope that he blossoms into a cornerstone.  And I really like the gamble.  Rizzo could end up with the Ike Davis trajectory and I still like the pick.  (El Angelo)

I just figure that anyone capable of hitting major league pitching at 20 doesn't all of a sudden start sucking. On the other hand, Starlin Castro. (Teddy)

17.  Jazzy Rural Grammar: Alex Gordon, OF, Kansas City.

An actual email I got from Andy earlier this month:
Actually, upon some review, this is a pretty good draft.  Hell of a lot better than last year, which was basically a leper colony after the top.  I think I should be getting someone reasonably valuable at 14, which is not bad.  (For reference, last year's 13, 14, 15 were Alex Gordon, Dan Haren, and Carlos Santana).
So if you wanted to know where the commish thinks the line between "good" and "leper" hit, it was at pick 16, two picks after he took the desiccated remains of Albert Pujols.  (El Angelo)

Alex Gordon is the best player who never, ever gets kept. There's some sort of Pewter Parachute designation in there, but I can't quite find it. (Teddy)

18.  The Grand Swipes: Mashahiro Tanaka, SP, New York (AL).

I basically decided this year to embrace risk and upside and go with young guys over proven old farts.  Tanaka is playing before one of the worst infields I have ever seen and the ghosts of Kei Igawa and Hideki Irabu loom large, but I'm satisfied with the pick.  (El Angelo)

Great value at this spot. (Teddy)

19.  Paging Dr. Rumack: Everth Cabrera, SS, San Diego.

There are two categories that it's nice to be able to just take 1 or 2 players and then forget about for the rest of the year.  Assuming he doesn't get hurt, Andrew is now free to forget about steals until August.  (El Angelo)

Feh. (Teddy)

20.  Le Dupoint Torkies: Glen Perkins, RP, Minnesota.

I knew last year's draft when we took 1 closer in the first 2 rounds had to be a fluke.  Had to be.  (El Angelo)

Meh. (Teddy)

21. Wu Tang Financial: Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas.

Well, by Andy's theory of creeping draft improvement, Andrus should have gone at 26 this year instead of 23, like he did last year.  So the draft got....worse in the mid/late second round?  Can we get some quant to weigh in here?

Also, I think this confirms that taking Erick Aybar last year wasn't a good idea.  (El Angelo)

Each day that Erick Aybar laces up his cleats in anger confirms that taking him in any year is not a good idea. (Teddy)

22.  Torn Ligaments: Jayson Werth, OF, Washington.

Of all of Corey's four picks at the top of the draft, I thought this was the best one.  That probably doesn't speak well of his chances for this season.  (El Angelo)

So many jokes. Head. Hurts. (Teddy)

23.  The Grand Swipes: Brian McCann, C, New York (AL).
24.  The Grand Swipes: Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia.

Hamels was a pure flyer - had he been healthy, he was a first round pick and this is a keeper league after all.  As for McCann, I wanted to instill some discipline in my team and teach them the unwritten rules of fantasy baseball.  He's the man for the task.  (El Angelo)

I think McCann is going to go crazy in that bandbox this year, and love that pick. I was hoping he'd slide to me in the 3d. (Teddy)

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