Draft Review and Rankings 2010

Okay folks, here we have the official review and rankings based on the 2010 SLB draft.

I know it took—well—a long f’n time, but you’ll just have to deal with it. It’s a whole big bunch of work and time that ends with a readership of just eleven people, and that’s operating on the assumption that all y’all will even read this rambling tome.

It’s not exactly the most-rewarding writing because it’s based on picks that were all-too-often null and void within hours of the draft (see: Baker, John and/or Polanco, Placido) and because, like I said, at the very most this little ditty snags me eleven reads.

Anyway, let’s carry on…

If you’re looking to get the full draft results you can peep those by clicking here, this is just a review of the draft itself and a completely arbitrary ranking of each team based on whatever random statistical analysis and personal feelings I have regarding your squads.

Disclaimer: I don’t believe I put focus on anything except for the players drafted. Any moves made since the draft should not have been included in this review, although it is possible I have included someone after taking a peek at your teams. I realize some of you may have already addressed weaknesses, if so…ignore what I’ve got to say. That’s your right either way.

Note: I would like to see some commentary regarding this post either here or on the SLB league page. It takes a long time to write this thing up and at nineteen pages it’s a lot of f’n work. So please make me feel like it was worth my time and effort. Thanks.

Without any further ado…

12) Radioactive Rush (2nd Overall Pick)

Keepers: Tim Lincecum (SP-SF), Victor Martinez (C/1B-BOS), & Chase Utley (2B-PHI)

First Pick: Adam Wainwright (SP-STL)
Last Pick: Carlos Gomez (OF-MIL)

Best Pick: Adam LaRoche (1B-ARZ) [Rd 14]

Adam LaRoche, 30, may not be a marquee name at first base, but he is one of baseball’s most consistent run producers year in and year out. In the five years since LaRoche became an everyday player he’s averaged an impressive .273/.344/.492 batting line with 25 HR, 85 RBI, and 70 R per season.

Much like many other prominent first basemen (see: Teixeira, Mark and Fielder, Prince) he’s a notorious slow starter out of the gates, but can be expected to rake when the weather warms up and generally crushes during the fantasy playoffs.

The move to hitter-friendly Arizona should help him turn some of the nearly 40 doubles he averages into extra long balls in 2010. It wouldn’t be out of line to expect LaRoche’s second 30+ homer season in Phoenix.

Worst Pick: Matt Guerrier (RP-MIN) [Rd 13]

Matt Guerrier, 31, isn’t a bad pick-up in the grand scheme of things. He is, however, a bad pick-up when it’s the beginning of the thirteenth round and someone is targeting a middle reliever rather than—oh I don’t know—a position you can’t find readily available all season long.

Guerrier is a very solid middle reliever who—despite a rough 2008—has been a very reliable member of the Minnesota Twins bullpen. He has been one of the primary setup men for closer Joe Nathan and should hold the same basic role in front of new closer Jon Rauch in 2010.

Guerrier has also led the American League in appearances two years in a row and could suffer as the season wears on from overuse. This pick rates as Grant’s worst of the draft simply because there is no reason to take a middle reliever this early in the draft. Holds guys should be acquired with one of the last two picks or from free agency after the draft, not at the beginning of round thirteen.

Strength(s): Offensive Balance and Front of the Pitching Rotation

The offense on this club is very diverse. There are a handful of guys who can be counted on two swipe 20+ bags and another handful who can be counted on to hit 20+ bombs and drive in 80+ runs. A balanced offense is always a plus.

The top of the rotation is very, very solid. Lincecum is a consummate Cy Young candidate and Adam Wainwright took about six giant leaps forward last season to add his name into the Cy Young mix as well. Cagey veteran, Mariano Rivera heads the relief corps and is about the closest thing to a sure-bet in baseball.

Weakness(es): Depth

The offense, although balance, relies very heavily on a few players to do the majority of the work. For example if Michael Bourn gets injured, suddenly the stolen bases depth is greatly depleted.

The logic applies across much of his staff on both sides of the ball. As long as scrubs like Alex Gordon and Octavio Dotel are still on the roster, there are going to be depth issues. You can get away with guys like that in a deeper league, in the Salmon League you’re just giving up value.

Summary: This team is built heavily around a core of solid players with plenty of questionable surrounding pieces. The offense is very top-heavy with a few select players doing most of the heavy-lifting, a formula which could prove disasterous given that this is an older team with many of the key components to success on the wrong side of 30.

The pitching—much like the offense—is top heavy with Lincecum, Wainwright and Rivera. After that it’s a plethora of question marks after that core. If there is a significant injury or regression for anyone in this pack, the team will suffer.

Grant didn’t exactly prove to be “baseball savvy” at the draft, but the club’s previous owner never did either, so who knows?!

11) S.L. Disappointment (1st Overall Pick)

Keepers: Dan Haren (SP-AZ), Ryan Howard (1B-PHI), & Carlos Lee (OF-HOU)

First Pick: Dustin Pedroia (2B-BOS)
Last Pick: Placido Polanco (2B/3B-PHI)

Best Pick: Jon Rauch (RP-MIN) [Rd 14]

Jon Rauch, 31, enters 2010 in an unfamiliar role, full-time closer. For most of his career, Rauch has served a set-up man and an elite one at that.

This year he takes over as closer for the injured Joe Nathan on a Minnesota team that is predicted by many to win the American League Central. During his career in Minnesota, Nathan has averaged 41 saves per season.

The opportunity to lead the league in saves is definitely there for Rauch and for Johnny to land that type of production in round fourteen is downright reeeeee—f’n—donkulous.

Worst Pick: Ryan Theriot (SS-CHI) [Rd 3]

Ryan Theriot, 30, is not a bad shortstop, however, he is also not an elite shortstop. As such, drafting him in round three left a lot of legitimate talent on the board that John could have used.

Theriot posts a respectable OBP and swipes 20-25 bags a year and that’s pretty much the extent of his value. He has no discernable power and XBH are few are far between. Additionally, even hitting atop the seemingly impressive Cubs lineup, he’s never topped 85 runs scored in a season.

Theriot is a solid shortstop, but not a third round pick by any stretch of the imagination.

Strength(s): Potential and Star Power

This club may not be the strongest of the bunch, on paper, but what it lacks in overall punch it makes up for with raw potential. The roster has names like Jason Kubel, Denard Span, Matt Wieters, Max Scherzer, and a host of others on the cusp of having huge, breakout type seasons.

The club also has plenty of established stars who can generally be counted on for solid results. Such examples include the trip of keepers: Ryan Howard, Carlos Lee, and Dan Haren.

Weakness(es): Age, Speed, & Bullpen

Age: Most of John’s biggest run producers are on the wrong-side of 30. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as most of them have been productive despite their age for years now, but when relying on aging players the risk of injury and general regression increases exponentially.

Speed: This lineup has three guys who can be counted on for 20 stolen bases. Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot of anything. The entire lineup, from top-to-bottom swiped 108 bags last year. For the sake of comparison: Jacoby Ellsbury swiped 70 bags last year by himself, Michael Bourn nabbed 61, and Carl Crawford stole 60. John’s entire team COMBINED for less than double that. Upgrades are necessary.

Bullpen: Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco. That’s it. John is apparently punting on holds and, essentially, banking on a career setup man and a reliever in a tenuous position in Texas. Not the best recipe for success.

Summary: Honestly, John probably should have drafted drunk. It seems to bring out the best in him on draft day. I think his team needs a lot of upgrades. His draft left a lot of holes and left a lot of talent on the board throughout each round.

Knowing Johnny, he’ll probably only look at this team a handful of times the rest of the way, so it probably doesn’t matter what he did or didn’t do on draft day or what he does or doesn’t need to do for success.

10) 38 MPH Heaters (11th Overall Pick)

Keepers: Zack Greinke (SP-KC), Pablo Sandoval (1B/3B-SF), & Justin Upton (OF-AZ)

First Pick: Matt Holliday (OF-STL)
Last Pick: Brendan Ryan (2B/SS-STL)

Best Pick: Rickie Weeks (2B-MIL)

Rickie Weeks, 27, has been a can’t-miss-stud for years. Unfortunately, he’s kept missing. Most of Weeks’ struggles have been injury-related, more specifically, wrist-related.

He appeared to be putting together his breakout campaign in 2009 before he was, once again, derailed by a season-ending wrist injury. At 27—the prime age for progression in offensive players—he seems ready for a big year in front of monster run producers Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. He is a much cheaper version of Ian Kinsler or Ben Zobrist with his abilities to hit for power and swipe a butt-load of bags along the way.

If he stays healthy, watch out.

Worst Pick: Gordon Beckham (2B/3B-CHW)

Gordon Beckham, 23, is one of baseball brightest stars for the future. Drafted as a shortstop, he has already shifted to third base and now is moving across the diamond to second base.

Despite all of the potential Beckham possesses, he is still going to struggle at times, especially with the club expecting him to be a force atop the lineup. Given that struggles are a given for any young player and one adjusting to his a new position, yet again, it seems like a bit of an overdraft to snag Beckham so early.

Strength(s): Starting Pitching

Any rotation anchored by Chris Carpenter and Zack Greinke is going to be pretty solid, but when you toss in strikeout machines like Matt Garza and Francisco Liriano (both primed for big seasons) it only makes for an even more imposing rotation.

Expect this quartet to win a lot of games and make a lot of hitters look very, very foolish all season long.

Weakness(es): Run Scorers

The entire lineup is very scarce of top-of-the-order run scorers. There are plenty of guys who are hitting at or near the top of the order around the league, but only one player on Morgan’s entire roster scored more than 95 runs last season.

A full season in St. Louis from Matt Holliday as well as a breakout year for Weeks and Justin Upton could change all that, but right now scoring runs figures to be a problem.

Summary: Morgan is a rookie in the Salmon League, so I don’t know how he’ll adapt as the season goes on, but he seemed under-prepared on draft day. In the end, however, I think he put together team with plenty of promise.

There are a number of players primed for breakout seasons in Upton, Weeks, Heyward, and potential Beckham as well. The bullpen is a little less than imposing but figures to hold up pretty well against the rest of the league.

09) InSaNeAuDiO (7th Overall Pick)

Keepers: CC Sabathia (SP-NYY), Miguel Cabrera (1B-DET), & Grady Sizemore (OF-CLE)

First Pick: Derek Jeter (SS-NYY)
Last Pick: Garrett Atkins (1B/3B-BAL)

Best Pick: Ervin Santana (SP-LAA) [Rd 11]

Ervin Santana, 27, is just one, injury-plagued year removed from his breakout campaign in 2008 when he posted a 3.49 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and struck out 214 batters over 219 innings on his way to winning 16 games for the AL West Champion Angels.

The dude is good. He’s also healthy. He should be considered right on the cusp with guys like Ubaldo Jimenez, Wandy Rodriguez, Jered Weaver, and Yovani Gallardo. Almost all of whom were off the board about five rounds earlier. Great value pick.

Worst Pick: Garrett Atkins (1B/3B-BAL) [Rd 16]

He’s Garret f’n Atkins. Do I really need to say anymore than that?!

The dude has regressed exponentially year in and year out and he’s moved to a team where he essentially has no legitimate starting role given the number of corner infield/DH types already on the roster and the ever lurking presence of prospect Brandon Snyder.

Even with the last pick, this was a piss-poor selection. Sorry bro, but that was just awful.

Strength(s): Power & Top of the Rotation

This lineup is chock-full of guys who can mash the long ball. Only Atkins and Peralta (both since released) aren’t legit bets to hit close to 20 home runs, minimum. Even Jeter is usually good for 15-20 bombs.

The rotation headed by Sabathia and Santana looks solid, a bounce-back season from Cole Hamels and Carlos Zambrano would really help round things out. Mike Pelfrey and Clay Buchholz figure to either be brilliant or implode, or perhaps both as the season progresses.

Weakness(es): Bench Depth & Injury Risks

Peralta and Atkins on the bench? Gross. There is some positional flexibility, but extra positions all-too-often isn’t worth the value you give up to get the flexibility. Granted, you’ve since jettisoned both of these bitch-shits, but this is based on the draft itself.

There are lots of guys on this roster who have had injury problems in recent years and that’s always a big risk when you’ve got one or two of ‘em, but on this roster alone you’ve got Brad Lidge, Ervin Santana, Aaron Hill, Grady Sizemore, and Michael Young. Scary.

Summary: I want to make something clear, there are no legitimately bad-teams in this league, so when I say here in the summary that this looks like a promising team, that’s totally legit. A rebound season from Sizemore alone would immediately improve the club by leaps and bounds.

There is a ton of potential for this season to either go smashingly or blow up in G-Doggy’s face depending on health, age, and whether or not some of these guys can overcome obstacles throughout the season. It’ll be most interesting to see just how much time and effort G-Doggy puts into this.

In the end, I think he’d still be far better served not trying to get fancy in the draft. Pick the most recently updated Top 500 and an injury report, print ‘em out, draft, and be happy.

He also can’t be asking me questions about whom to pick on draft day; especially not when we draft right beside each other, HUGE party foul, dude.

08) Dome Dog (12th Overall Pick)

Keepers: Justin Verlander (SP-DET), Ian Kinsler (2B-TEX), & Troy Tulowitzki (SS-COL)

First Pick: Justin Morneau (1B-MIN)
Last Pick: Kevin Slowey (SP-MIN)

Best Pick: Adrian Beltre (3B-BOS) [Rd 15]

Adrian Beltre, 31, is coming off an injury-riddle 2009 season that hampered his production and killed his value as a free agent last winter. The Red Sox, however, were willing to take a gamble and bring Beltre on board.

Beltre figures to reward the Sox with not only Gold Glove caliber defense at the hot corner, but a bounce back to his usual 25 HR/85 RBI/35 2B power. Moving from the power-sapping confines of Safeco Field to the bandbox that is Fenway Park should only boost his numbers and his value when he hits the market again this winter, likely with a 30 home run season and 100+ RBI to his name.

Worst Pick: John Baker (C-FLA) [Rd 14]

John Baker, 29, is a solid catcher. What he’s not, however, is a viable starting catcher in a rather shallow 12-team league. The fact that Jorge Posada went undrafted makes me want to crap my pants and puke at the same time and then toss it all at someone, preferably John Baker.

Baker does offer a solid OBP, but almost nothing to accompany it. He hits for pretty much no power and is essentially a singles machine. I’d gladly put him in to handle my pitching staff, I wouldn’t put him on my fantasy roster unless it was absolutely necessary.

Strength(s): Power and Front of the Rotation

This lineup is jam-packed with sluggers. More than half of the lineup is a virtual lock for 25+ home runs and 80+ RBI. That type of production cannot be overlooked. This team could rake all season long.

With Justin Verlander, AJ Burnett, and David Price heading up the rotation strikeouts aplenty figure to be the theme for the Dome Dogs in 2010. Price struggled last year after a big showing in the 2008 postseason. Expect improved command and confidence in 2010. Burnett is always a huge strikeout and wins guy who figures to destroy a team’s WHIP and ERA. If he can keep it in check, this pitching staff might be one of the best.

Weakness(es): Absence of Speed and Injury-Risks

Jacoby Ellsbury swiped 70 bases last season. Ian Kinsler took 30. The rest of the team combined for less than that. Kinsler is starting the year on the DL and is expected to move to the middle of the order. Ellsbury is hurt. Without those two in the lineup, speed is greatly compromised.

Justin Morneau, Ian Kinsler, Jason Bay, Michael Cuddyer, Adrian Beltre, and Josh Hamilton all represent injury risks. If some/any/all of those players suffer injuries that keep them out of the lineup for an extended period of time, expect some serious struggles for the Dome Dog’s inaugural season.

Summary: There were some serious miscues during the draft and plenty of poorly timed picks. That is, however, all-too-often the case when a team is forced to pick at one end or the other of a draft.

If the team can stay mostly healthy and productive, the Dome Dogs could have a solid first year in the league. If injuries and regression creep up, it’s entirely possible this first season will be a bust.

The club has a great set of keepers, but may need some serious in-season work to ensure a trip to the postseason.

07) j’s team (3rd Overall Pick)

Keepers: Roy Halladay (SP-PHI), Alex Rodriguez (3B-NYY), & Ryan Braun (OF-MIL)

First Pick: Jose Reyes (SS-NYM)
Last Pick: Casey McGehee (2B/3B-MIL)

Best Pick: Brett Anderson (SP-OAK) [Rd 8]

Brett Anderson, 22, is a huge man-crush of mine. Just ask Mike, here is a direct quote from an email I sent him in early March during our NFBC preparation…

“HUGE MANCRUSH. Look at this stats man. His K:BB ratios. His ERA and WHIP. The dude has done some major damage, hell he went 175 innings as a 21 year old rookie and put up huge stats. I’m in love with him. I’m going to take him in the SLB and reap the rewards. You will not steal him from me or I will kill you and your child will learn how to play ball under the tutelage of Craig Denny. Think about that!!”

Aside from taking an admittedly unnecessary shot at Craiggers, I think y’all get how I feel about Brett Anderson. In fact, had Mike not mind-humped me into over-drafting Kurt Suzuki about five picks earlier, I’d have gobbled him up in that spot.

I hate Mike. I love Brett Anderson.

Worst Pick: Jose Lopez (1B/2B/3B-SEA) [Rd 6]

Jose Lopez, 26, is an intriguing case. He can hit for legit power (averaged 21 HR, 41 2Bs, and 92 RBI the past two seasons) and he has positional flexibility up the wazoo with eligibility all around the diamond.

The big issue, however, is that he has a career on-base percentage of .302. That makes me puke in my mouth a little bit. He makes sense as a later-round addition to round-out a roster, but to stick that OBP in the lineup on an everyday basis is frightening.

He doesn’t take walks and his K:BB ratio is roughly 3:1. Just scary gross. If he’d taken him anywhere after round ten, I’d be a lot less down on this pick. Too much value still floating at this point.

Strength(s): Keepers & Offensive Balance

It’s pretty obvious that Jay has the best overall collection of keepers. The Roy Halladay/Ryan Braun/Alex Rodriguez trio is unmatched by anyone else in the league and these three alone would make Jay a competitive force.

The offense as a whole has plenty of balance. There are burners to swipe bags and score runs and a number of guys with the power to drive ‘em in. A bounce back year from Russell Martin, BJ Upton, and Jose Reyes would make Jay one of the odds-on favorites to run away with this thing.

Weakness(es): Attention Span & Bullpen

In recent years, Jay has become something of a ghost in regards to his contact with—well—the rest of the world. It is entirely possible that the summer could slip by with Jay making nary an appearance in the SLB.

Jay’s bullpen is anchored by super-closer Joakim Soria, but Soria suffers from a case of poor management with the Royals. The club is reluctant to use him to the best of his abilities and the team figures to, well, suck. Matt Capps is due for a bounce back, but has never had the raw stuff to be an elite closer. Leo Nunez is—well—Leo Nunez. Enough said.

Summary: Obviously Jay has a legitimate shot at making a run for his third SLB Championship, but a lot of that will depend on the ability of many of his players to bounce-back from disappointing campaigns in 2009.

Additionally, Jay will need to stay on top of things. He’s not much of a talker on the message boards and he doesn’t make a whole lot of moves throughout the season. For all I know he’s paying less attention than Johnny, but with the league growing by two teams the competition for top free agents and the trade market figure to be more intense this season. Jay needs to be ready and on top of his game, something that hasn’t always been his forte.

06) Sea Bass v5.0 (5th Overall Pick)

Keepers: Josh Beckett (SP-BOS), Joe Mauer (C-MIN), & Mark Teixeira (1B-NYY)

First Pick: Brandon Phillips (2B-CIN)
Last Pick: Delmon Young (OF-MIN)

Best Pick: Yunel Escobar (SS-ATL) [Rd 10]

Yunel Escobar, 27, is an absolute steal in round ten. The dude is one of the most consistent shortstops in the game and has a career .370 on-base percentage. For those keeping track at home that’s more than fifty points higher than first-round pick Alexei Ramirez, twenty points higher than second-rounder Jason Bartlett, and thirty points better than fourth-round pick Elvis Andrus.

Value pick, thy name is Escobar.

Worst Pick: Rick Porcello (SP-DET) [Rd 6]

Rick Porcello, 21, may very well go on to have a great big league career. After all, the soft-throwing right hander put up solid numbers for the Tigers in 2009 and came in third in the voting for the AL Rookie of the Year.

What too many people overlooked, however, was that he simply doesn’t have overpowering stuff. He averages less than five strikeouts per nine innings and simply gives up too many hits. His numbers, like Edwin Jackson’s were largely inflated by the Tigers’ early-season success in 2009. He’s not a bad filler for the backend of rotation, but round six is way too early for a finesse pitcher.

Strength(s): Infield and Winners

Any team that has an infield consisting of Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, Brandon Phillips, Chone Figgins, and Yunel Escobar is in pretty good shape. That group figures to hit for speed and power all season long whilst scoring runs in butt-loads.

The majority of Craiggers’ roster also consists of players on teams expected to be very competitive in 2010. If that is the case, he figures to get prime production out of players late in the season when the games matter the most. Let’s be honest, it’s way better to have a guy on a team fighting for a playoff spot than a guy on the Pirates come the last week of the season. Just ask Johnny how Jason Kubel treated him last September.

Weakness(es): Question Marks & ManCrushes

Despite his incredibly strong infield, Craiggers outfield and parts of his pitching staff are nothing but huge question marks. There is plenty of talent and potential, but plenty of serious risks as well, be it for health reasons, playing time concerns, or the potential for regression.

The other large obstacle for Craiggers will be avoiding his biggest problem to date, falling in love with players. Juan Pierre is a name that figures to haunt Craiggers forever, as likely is Brandon Webb or Kevin Youkilis or Carlos Quentin or any other player that had success with Craiggers and has earned a long-term spot in Craiggers’ memory.

Summary: I think Craiggers had a very solid draft. I might be rating him higher than some others, but all-in-all I think he put together a pretty good team. He may be relying a little too heavily on familiar names (four Twins, really?!), but he’s assembled the best overall roster he’s had in years.

Craiggers has a history of making some less-than-stellar in-season moves and this has haunted him for years. If he can overcome some of those tendencies and focus on the numbers and not the name (be it on the front or back of the jersey) for a lot of players, he’ll be in good shape to make a deep run in the playoffs.

05) ZIMA (9th Overall Pick)

Keepers: Clayton Kershaw (SP-LAD), Albert Pujols (1B-STL), & Ryan Zimmerman (3B-WAS)

First Pick: Alexei Ramirez (SS-CHW)
Last Pick: Jorge Cantu (1B/3B-FLA)

Best Pick: Nyjer Morgan (OF-WAS) [Rd 14]

Nyjer Morgan, 29, exploded onto the scene last year with the Pirates and then continued to pile up big numbers after a mid-season trade to the Washington Nationals. He’s a stolen base machine, gets XBH in bunches, and figures to cross the plate plenty of times in front of Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham.

Additionally, he wears his socks high. I like that shit. I like it a lot.

Worst Pick: John Lackey (SP-BOS) [Rd 3]

John Lackey, 31, is a good pitcher. He is not, however, the type of guy you want to take as your first overall pitcher in a draft; especially not to compliment a young guy like Clayton Kershaw. Lackey is largely overrated based on some successful years with a bunch of very good LA teams.

His career numbers in Fenway and against the AL East aren’t exactly pretty and his recent injury woes coupled with declining stuff on the hill makes one wonder if the Sox (and now ZIMA) overpaid based on his impressive postseason showing in 2009? Given the pitching talent that was still available, this was a horrible overdraft.

Strength(s):Offensive Balance

This club could provide offensive fireworks all year long. Granted, any club lead by Albert Pujols and Ryan Zimmerman has that potential. The outfield quartet of Franklin Gutierrez, Ichiro Suzuki, Jayson Werth, and Nyjer Morgan can do it all and that doesn’t even include the oft-overlooked Hunter Pence.

The team has power, speed, and everything in between. Be scared. Be very scared.

Weakness(es): Pitching

The rotation features four starters who have potential to be great, or implode. Lackey—as mentioned above—figures to struggle in his move to Fenway. Floyd is hit or miss. Edwin Jackson is overrated. Period. Clayton Kershaw has the potential to be the best of the bunch, but like all young starters, he’ll have his struggles. Additionally, the aging LA defense (Belliard/Furcal/Blake/Manny) won’t do him any favors.

The bullpen isn’t bad, but Francisco Cordero is a very streaky closer, but generally puts up solid numbers and Heath Bell put up great totals last year, but could easily regress. Matt Thornton is a great middle relief option who strikeouts batter in bunches and is likely one of the top two guys in line for saves if/when something happens with Bobby Jenks.

Summary: ZIMA GM Collin Brand did his best to prove all of my inclinations wrong a year ago, so I have no doubt that he’ll do the same again this year. Personally, I thought the early part of his draft was awful. Alexei Ramirez, Brian Roberts, and John Lackey all felt like reaches in the first three rounds, but after that he hit solid pick after solid pick.

If the rotation performs better than I’m anticipating and/or Collin is able to make some improvements via trade/free agency through the season this team has potential to give ZIMA the first championship in club history.

04) cracker jack (4th Overall Pick)

Keepers: Jon Lester (SP-BOS), Kevin Youkilis (1B/3B-BOS), & Jimmy Rollins (SS-PHI)

First Pick: Adrian Gonzalez (1B-SD)
Last Pick: Ryan Madson (RP-PHI)

Best Pick: Dan Uggla (2B-FLA) [Rd 6]

Dan Uggla, 30, is one of the most valuable contributors at second-base in a league format that uses OBP instead of AVG. He gets on-base a very solid clip and is one of a very small group of second basemen who can legitimately be counted on for power.

Given the early run on second basemen, it is amazing that Uggla’s stock dropped so much for a second year in a row. The dude bats fifth in a lineup packed with table-setters. This was a great pickup.

Worst Pick: Carlos Beltran (OF-NYM) [Rd 9]

Carlos Beltran, 32, was a great outfielder once upon a time. Unfortunately, that time has come and gone. Beltran is on the DL after undergoing knee surgery late in the offseason. He was expected back by early May, but has not progressed well since surgery and is currently listed as “out indefinitely.”

Taking a gamble on Beltran ain’t an awful move, but given that many experts have questioned whether or not his legs can handle playing full-time anymore, it seems like a stretch to take an injured outfielder with those types of warning signs anywhere before the end of the draft.

Strength(s): Potential to F’n Destroy

This roster, as currently assembled, has plenty of question marks. What it also has is the potential to be the best in the league, by a long shot. The rotation is full of fallen aces, all of whom could return to their elite form and make this the most formidable rotation in the league.

Additionally, the offense—anchored by Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, and Jimmy Rollins—has a great combination of speed and power littered throughout. If the entire offense can put together good-to-great years, look out…

Weakness(es): Impulsiveness, Health, and Slumps

Justin is—um—active when it comes to his role as general manager and by “active” I clearly mean that’s he’s got ADHD. This dude is likely to swap the entirety of his roster in and out about 20 times this year and propose/accept trade after trade. He is Billy Beane. As such, a chill pill (read: Vicodin), a few beers and some patience would go a long-way toward success.

His roster is riddled with potential health risks, all things that don’t figure to help with the aforementioned impulsiveness. The lineup contains roughly half-a-dozen guys who have missed significant time with injuries in recent years, always a risky endeavor.

Slumps are inevitable with a season as long as baseball’s, but a roster containing notoriously streaky players such as Chad Billingsley, Jay Bruce, and Carlos Quentin (among others) is yet another risky proposition that doesn’t figure to sit well with the ost active general manager in league history.

Summary:Justin is always a tough peg. His drafts are generally pretty solid, with the obvious exception of buying to heavily into young player hype. His in-season management is often best-described as frantic. Hell, he’s the reason the move limit was created, just like Jay is the reason we had to establish an innings minimum. In the end the move limit was for Justin’s own good.

Hopefully, he’ll be able to show something he hasn’t in previous years—patience—and keep a cool head long enough to let his players really hit their respective strides before moving onto the newest “flavor of the week.” If he can do that and the roster stays healthy and productive, expect a big year.

03) Genies in a Bottle (8th Overall Pick)

Keepers: Johan Santana (SP-NYM), Hanley Ramirez (SS-FLA), & David Wright (3B-NYM)

First Pick: Ben Zobrist (2B/SS/OF-TB)
Last Pick: J.J. Putz (RP-CHI)

Best Pick: Vladimir Guerrero (UT-TEX) [Rd 13]

Vlady Guerrero is a future Hall of Famer—and for good reason—and he’s moving to the one ballpark that he has absolutely destroyed the ball in for most of his career. I realize that the speed is long gone and that his power isn’t what it used to be, but the odds of him posting a .400+ OBP and driving in 100+ runs in that lineup are pretty good.

In round thirteen, you’re going to struggle to find that kind of value.

Worst Pick:{Three-Way Tie} Alfonso Soriano (DHOF-CHI) [Rd 11], Ben Zobrist (2B/SS/OF-TB) [Rd 1], & Kurt Suzuki (C-OAK) [Rd 8]

Soriano: The dude—despite a recent mini-resurgence—looks to be pretty much finished. He’s a DH—and not a very good one—in a non-DH league. His wheels are pretty much gone completely and without speed, he’s just a free-swinger. Poor choice given the talent left on the board by making this choice.

Zobrist: Not that Zobrist isn’t a fine young ballplayer, but as Mike will attest to (probably with plenty of vigor) is that coming into the season, I wasn’t overly sold on Zobrist replicating last year’s numbers. In fact, my personal peg for a big year at second base was Robinson Cano. My three first round pegs were (in order): Cano, Adrian Gonzalez, and Brandon Phillips. All three of whom jumped off the board—in a freakin’ row, mind you—right in front of me. Zobrist was the most valuable pick at that point, but in retrospect, it was a poor first-round pull.

Suzuki: This one was a bum choice b/c I got quasi-bullied into the pick by Mike’s maneuvering around the draft table as revenge (sorta) for the Zobrist pick. If I’d have known that all y’all were going to leave freakin’ Mike Napoli until round fifteen and that Jorge Posada would go UN-F’N-DRAFTED I’d have just waited and taken my original round eight peg, Brett “ManCrush” Anderson.

Strength(s):Youth and Potential

Coming out of the draft, the Genies are a very young team. Only a handful of players are 30 or over and most of those players have proven an ability to keep producing despite their age.

With that youthful core, is the potential for breakout seasons. Outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Adam Jones both appear primed to take their games to a higher level this season and my two keepers, David Wright and Hanley Ramirez both have the potential to be legitimate multi-category threats all season long.

Weakness(es):Pitching

I waited and waited and waited too take a closer this year and it shows when looking at my roster. My bullpen could struggle to get the opportunities to pile up saves and holds throughout the season.

Additionally, some of my starting pitching is suspect. Wandy Rodriguez is coming off an awful showing in Spring Training and has been known as a very streaky pitcher for most of his career. Derek Lowe is coming off an awful debut season in Atlanta and it appears that, for all intents and purposes, he may be toast. Some changes may be necessary.

Summary: As is often the case, the Genies are off to a pretty cold start, but I don’t build teams to win in April, I build them to win over the long haul. The Royals were a first-place team in April of 2003…remember how that worked out?!

I’d say that given my in-season management is usually pretty solid and I’ve got some valuable trading chips, I’m in a pretty good spot. This by far wasn’t my best draft ever, but with two new teams and the competition level stepping it up once again, that’s going to happen.

All-in-all, I wouldn’t count the Genies out of the postseason quite yet…

02) The Dominators (6th Overall Pick)

Keepers: Felix Hernandez (SP-SEA), Prince Fielder (1B-MIL), & Mark Reynolds (1B/3B-ARZ)

First Pick: Robinson Cano (2B-NYY)
Last Pick: Kevin Gregg (RP-TOR)

Best Pick: Manny Ramirez (OF-LAD) [Rd 7]

Manny Ramirez, 38, is crazy. There’s no doubting that. The dude is batshit crazy. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Ramirez as a person, but I think he’s a tremendous ball-player. Dude posted an OBP over .400 with double-digit bombs last season despite having a “bad year” and missing 50 games due to drug suspension. F’n incredible.

Last year, he was the first-overall pick in the entire draft—ironically enough by Steven—and this year, he got the same guy—with the same monster abilities he’s always had—seventy-seven picks later in round seven. If Ramirez has an “average” Manny-type year he’s pretty much a lock for an OBP above .400, 25-30 bombs, 100+ RBI, 100+ runs scored and another 30-40 XBH just for fun. Huge value pick.

Worst Pick: Todd Helton (1B-COL) [Rd 12]

Todd Helton, ∞, isn’t a bad choice for OBP sake, but his power is pretty much gone and he has proven to be very injury prone in recent years. He’ll carry a team when he’s healthy and hot, but given that Prince Fielder and Mark Reynolds are already on the roster, the addition of Helton seems like overkill.

Strength(s): Offensive Balance

This team is going to wreak havoc on whomever steps in their path throughout the season. This lineup is jam-packed with power and speed. Off the top of my head, I can count about ten guys who can hit 20+ homers and roughly another ten who should be able to swipe 20+ bags.

Barring any major injuries, slumps or regressions…this offense is going be scary from day one until day 162.

Weakness(es): Pitching

Don’t get me wrong here, we’re talking about the second-rated team (he was thisclose to being first) so it’s not a huge weakness by any means, but I see a lot of potential for struggle and regression within the rotation and especially the bullpen.

If everyone stays healthy and effective this is a moot point and I’m just nit-picking, but if some of these dudes struggle the way I’m anticipating it’s entirely possible that the arms (or lack thereof) will be what keep Steven from the Promised Land.

Summary: Steven drafted a very strong team. Coming into the draft, he’d talked to me and Mike about some of the mock drafts he’d done and we realized that the three of us were targeting A LOT of the same players.

It showed as Steven’s roster is littered with a number of guys that were on the offseason wishlist Mike and I crafted whilst prepping for the NFBC. Steven seems incredibly committed to getting back to the top of the league (likely spurred by my comment from last season implying he was no longer relevant in the Salmon League).

This team could get him there.

01) money grubbers (10th Overall Pick)

Keepers: Jonathon Broxton (RP-LAD), Evan Longoria (3B-TB), & Matt Kemp (OF-LAD)

First Pick: Carl Crawford (OF-TB)
Last Pick: Austin Jackson (OF-DET)

Best Pick: Tim Hudson (SP-ATL) [Rd 14]

Timmy Hudson, 34, has been nothing but great when healthy. Unfortunately, for the better part of the last two and a half seasons, he’s been anything but healthy. He re-emerged late last season to put on a great display for the Braves, good enough that the club was willing to move Javier Vazquez—last year’s unequivocal ace—this offseason.

If Hudson produces like he is entirely capable of, Mike snagged himself a legitimate fantasy ace in the waning rounds of the draft and if there’s anything the rest of us did not need to let Mike gobble up this late, it was another freakin’ ace.

Worst Pick: Howie Kendrick (2B-ARZ) [Rd 8]

Kendrick, 26, isn’t a bad player. He is, however, a player who has yet to live up to the considerably hype that’s surrounded him since his early days in the Angels’ minor league system. He’s long been touted as a future batting champion with modest power.

Thus far he’s proven to be fragile and overwhelmed at the big league level. If he is going to live up to his promise, it could very well happen his year, but given Mike’s proclamation (after Zobrist disappeared) that he could wait for a second baseman, it seemed like a jump to pull the trigger on Kendrick this early in the draft.

Strength(s): Scariest Offense in Years and Elite Pitching

Mike has put together many a great offensive team in years past. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who drafts offensive talent better. Despite getting clipped on Zobrist he rebounded and drafted one of the most balanced offensive attacks the league has seen in years.

This lineup can hit for power, for average, for extra bases, and—oh yeah—they can run a little bit too.

Even worse—for the rest of us—is that Mike has finally taken it to heart that pitching is important too (that one might be my bad, y’all…f’n NFBC!). As such, he avoided gobbling up middle-of-the-rotation stalwarts in the mid-to-late rounds like he usually does and he added two legitimate young aces in Yovani Gallardo and Ubaldo Jiminez in rounds four and five. Then he landed the aforementioned Hudson in round fourteen.

Hide the children, it’s going to be a rough season.

Weakness(es): Late Rounds and Health

Personally, I thought Mike’s first six rounds were absolutely lights out and after that there were some seriously sketchy picks, but six amazing rounds combined with three of the best keepers in the league makes for a pretty good core. The likes of Chipper Jones (has anyone else’s stock fallen further in recent years) and Rich Harden seemed very out of place on Mike’s draft board (granted, that’s probably why they’re both gone already).

In terms of health, Mike took some serious risks with Jones, Hudson, Kazmir, Longoria, Kendrick, and Harden. If one or more of these guys suffer long-term injury issues (those that he hasn’t already released) Mike could struggle to find worthwhile replacements.

Summary: Mike came into the draft with a strategy and it went out the window—seemingly right away—but he rebounded, changed course and went on to put together six of the best rounds I’ve ever seen. At that point he’d locked in power, speed, two aces, and largely solidified his entire roster.

He is obviously going to be all over the game all summer long and figures to be the odds-on-favorite out of the gates. Injuries can always sneak up and Mike is known for being a tad snake-bitten (karma, anyone?) when it comes to the “no-DL stint” style injuries.

In the end, I’d fully anticipate seeing the Money Grubbers in the championship game for the third time in four years.


Heads Up: Now that you’re done reading my take on the preseason rankings, be sure to check out the rankings by Expert’s Panel.

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4 thoughts on “Draft Review and Rankings 2010

  1. The Kunk May 3, 2010 / 8:25 pm

    And a few reasons why…though not great and could probably use a little more depth…

    1. money grubbers-5,6,7 category killers throughout offensive lineup, strong pitching top to bottom.
    2. Dominators-strong top of draft, Reynolds horrible keeper, Oswalt bad but did get De La Rosa later
    3. Genies –Questions surrounding 2 keepers, age getting up there on a lot of picks especially mid to late, not as strong as years past
    4. J-Best overall keepers by a rather large margin, Strong top of draft, weak in middle rounds
    5. 38 MPH Heaters-Good all around draft, category fillers in a lot of positions, good pitching though there is injury concern
    6. Radioactive Rush-VMart horrible keeper decision, already dropped Aramis(stupid), filled in well otherwise.
    7. Zima-poor 1st two picks, nailed much of the rest of it…probably a panic pick in Alexei and expecting a BIP bounce back quicker than reality
    8. Insaneaudio-filled in nicely at top but still too many bad closers and relief
    9. SeaBass-Mauer bad keeper pick(might not of had a better option though), Questionable 5-10 rds.
    10. Cracker Jack-weak positional drafting especially in pitching staff…waiting on too many bounce back candidates. Unpredictability ok in small doses
    11. SL Disappointment-MI drafted way to early…reach on TheRiot big time…not a lot of category fillers…some 3 and 4 cat guys which is bad business
    12. Dome Dog-weak pitching…don’t like first 4 rounds…good keepers though but Kinsler missed first 4 weeks.

    This is how I feel the draft went…my opinions are probably different when surveying current rosters but judging on drafted players only I think this is where we are…surprised I liked Steven’s, J’s, and Morgan’s drafts so much…don’t know why I am down on yours but I just didn’t love it…still 3rd best in my eyes I guess…I think it is the questionable keepers. Especially Wright who you know I am down on.

    Thought Justin would draft better with all that prep.

    Thought Adam’s would look better than it did. Morneau in round 1 is stupid.

    Johnny needs a new list for next year.

    I think Grant should probably be graded lower just because of the V-Mart keep but can’t fault him too much because I think he drafted ok.

    I don’t mean to rank myself first…it isn’t ego talking…my lineup is pretty damn full right now. I was initially contemplating leaving me out of this so that you wouldn’t think I was just being me but I feel pretty good at seeing the guys I do and where I got some of them.

    graves asked me to rank them the other day and this is what i sent him…we obviously agree and disagree as is the case on teams and players.

    Like

  2. The Kunk May 3, 2010 / 8:30 pm

    what does awaiting moderation mean???

    Like

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