Draft Review and Rankings 2012

In a drastic improvement over the last two or three years, y’all are getting this year’s Draft Review and Rankings within three weeks of the draft.

Not. Too. Shabby.

As always, I want to make it very clear that there is no science or metrics or legitimacy to these rankings. Unlike Mike’s annual look at everyone’s draft based on Average Draft Position, mine is based entirely on my often-biased opinion.

You may think a player is going to have a huge year and that you got him at a great value, if I think he’s a piece of dog crap, you suffer in my rankings as a result. It is completely subjective and based on my opinions toward players, their value, their abilities, and where/when you drafted them in relation to my perceived views of value elsewhere in the draft.

Just because I ranked you near the bottom doesn’t mean you won’t/can’t win this thing.

Are we all clear on that? I’ve had a lot of people take these things personally over the years and that’s just redonkulous. These are no more accurate or telling about potential success than if any one of you were to randomly write a ranking yourself. It’s all opinion.

That having been said, there are a few rules I tried to stick to when doing the rankings.

I tried to avoid using any players you’ve acquired since the draft when focusing on team strengths and weaknesses. Obviously, I probably screwed up somewhere along the way while gathering info from Yahoo. My apologies for that if/when you see it.

Additionally, I tried to avoid giving anyone credit for a “best pick” within the first three rounds, because it’s really hard to give a guy praise for an early pick. Those are generally gimmie picks. At the same time, I also tried to avoid ragging on anyone with a “worst pick” in the final three picks of the draft as it’s often scrap heap time for a lot of teams who are stockpiling DL-stashes or—if you’re drafting correctly—your holds guy.

That doesn’t, however, mean that some of you didn’t have your “best pick” in the final three or your “worst pick” in the first three. It happened, a number of times actually.

Also, just so y’all have an idea of how this works, I generally rank the teams immediately after the draft based on “gut feel.” After that I take some time to dig through the rosters a little more thoroughly and look at the numbers—generally using the previous three years as a data reference—and separate teams into tiers before assigning rankings. There are three distinct tiers in this year’s draft in my mind. Teams 14-11 fall in the bottom tier, teams 10-5 in the next, and teams 4-1 are the top tier that I foresee having the most success.

Once I’ve got the tiers, I compare those with the numbers, and the original gut feel rankings to sort out where exactly everyone falls in the final rankings. It’s not an exact science by any means, but it’s the best I’ve got.

You may also note that parts of the write-up sound more dated (ie: pre-injuries, etc.) than others and that’s because I generally write these things in chunks instead of all at one time. Each team usually gets multiple hours of research and data digging and I do various parts (ie: best pick, worst pick, weaknesses, etc.) at different points and then try to bring it all home with the summaries.

The write-up is shorter than last year—I cut out the “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Most Likely to Flop” sections—so it should be a bit of a quicker read.

As always, I’d love some feedback since I’ve spent three weeks working on this thing.

Alrighty, enough of me rambling, let’s do this thing.

Now, without any further ado, here be the 2012 Draft Review and Rankings…

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money grubbers’ 2012 Draft Analysis

For the second year in a row, Mike has written up his review of the draft based on gut instinct and ADP rankings.

Aside from some formatting changes and very light proofreading, the writing and content is all Mike’s.

This is my personal opinion.

This opinion is based on the draft only.

I know that many of us have already made corrections to our rosters even after the first day they were put up. Do not take it personally, if you feel you did well, that is all that really matters. We don’t have to agree on everything. This draft is also not as comprehensive as Jeremiah’s write ups tend to be because he will delve into the stats of it all and I just want to get it written and up. I will use stats for my opinions but I won’t post them on here. It is long enough the way it is.

I have a very tough time gauging middle relievers as Mock Draft Central (MDC) uses 5X5 ratings and we have our 7X7 rating system including holds. I did my best to gauge them but I generally think that drafting middle relievers before the last two or three rounds is ridiculous. A lot of relievers get holds why draft one too early?

Average Draft Position (ADP) rankings are based upon the draft results from the second to last ADP report done before drafting at MDC. This report had 455 drafts on it and best reflects the trends of the moment. This report obviously does not include current injuries that happened between it and the time of draft.

I will comment on two rankings:

The first ranking is the ranking of the entire teams’ ADP vs. the rest of the league.

The second ranking takes out the keepers and only ranks the drafted players.

Both of these numbers give an overall picture of your draft success but they can be misleading. MDC is a popularity contest and drafts tend to follow very closely between the first ranking system and the end. That means that unless something significant happens many players will end up drafted at or near where the original sheet had them all along. These rankings tend to be devised in December and have little bearing on how a player will actually do. This means that just because your draft ranking is high doesn’t mean you drafted well. Team composition is almost as important and regression and bad projections are all over that list (EX: Carl Crawford and Adam Dunn 2011). Also drafting injured players can skew a draft significantly (EX: Utley 2011 and 2012). I have to use something though because Jeremiah is sick and tired of doing this for 14 viewers. I am much vainer amongst friends and really only care about your opinions. Thus I like doing this stuff. I don’t have a blog etc etc etc. I personally don’t care about that crap.

I alternate between calling you by team names vs. actual names; don’t read anything into it. I did it because I am a crazy man. I needed a quick easy way to identify you all and went with whichever way felt easiest whether it was or wasn’t.

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Pick 1: Sea Bass 7.0

Strengths: CarGo, Infield starters for the most part (not a huge fan of Encarnacion but I can see he has value where he was picked and Teix starts slow)

Weaknesses: Pitching has regression candidates all over it and CarGo and Zobrist are the only hitters I truly love in his lineup. We don’t know when Carpenter is getting back!

Notes: Not going to lie here I feel Sea Bass had a pretty rough draft. For one he drafted two catchers. Unless you are counting on an injury drafting a second catcher is a waste of a pick and a bench spot. They won’t perform well in a utility spot due to limited at bats and many second catchers are replaceable with the fodder still floating around in free agency. I feel Sea Bass reached often on his picks and the ADP reports agree. Sea Bass drafted only five players overall who were rated higher than their draft slot. Four of those five happened in the first 5 rounds and a few of them I have pegged for regression. I see a lot of struggling players early on in this lineup especially Gordon, Shields, Fowler, Hudson, Nathan. I see Sea Bass having another rough year. It would probably be in Sea Bass’ best interest in the future to choose a middle draft spot rather than an end spot to pick his players. The turn is very difficult to manage because you see players you like lower down and know they won’t be there the next time you pick. His ADP rankings gave him one of the worst drafts overall in the Salmon League. He tied for 13th with keepers included and 13th overall if you take out keepers in general. Those rankings include drafting a top 15 player on the board with his first pick which would actually be pick number 42 overall.

Pick 2: money grubbers

Strengths: I really liked my draft…I love Cuddyer at 2b this year.

Weaknesses: Maybe Brandon Belt if he doesn’t start hitting…Vernon Wells if he continues to suck

Notes: I can’t reasonably look at my draft at the moment I am still very high on it. Rose colored glasses and all that means a more discerning eye needs to look it over. I feel way better about this draft than I did last year. ADP agrees I had a better draft than last year as I come in 9th and 10th respectively vs. dead last a year ago in both rankings. I have a tendency to draft down the page and I tempered that a bit this year taking 8 of 17 players above draft slot. I reached for a few players Justin Masterson and Wilson Ramos notably. I don’t feel I took any regression candidates in this draft except Santos who is part of the Toronto closer curse (once again personal opinion here). I chose to pick 2nd this year which is against my entire thought process of talent and how it falls but I liked Beltre (my pick for AL MVP this season if healthy) a ton. I also only got to choose between 2 and 14 and I really don’t like the wrap unless I won the thing.

Pick 3: S.L. Disappointment

Strengths: Starting Pitching

Weaknesses: Dude doesn’t have a catcher yet. His offense has some holes and he doesn’t have a closer on his roster.

Notes: S.L.D left some offensive talent out there with his constant attack on high level pitching. He hit starters early and often with 3 of his top 5 picks. He also became the second player ever to keep two pitchers. This means 5 of his first 7 players were pitchers. Not a plan many drafters would follow. Another question is that his team has some serious strikeout candidates as hitters. Reynolds and Morrison alone could be OBP killers if they don’t keep their walk rates up. With Kendrick and Stubbs still on the board maybe S.L.D should have taken another hitter instead of grabbing Beachy in round 5. Not that I think his draft was a failure at all. ADP gives him a 7 and a 9 grade on rankings and I think he fell into the middle of the pack here myself. If health holds that starting staff is going to dominate. He got some ridiculous value when he drafted Konerko as well as Jesus Montero (who will be catcher eligible eventually). ADP says John got 11 of 17 picks at higher than face value. He probably reached on Delmon Young a bit early but I feel very strongly that he will perform at a higher level than John drafted him this year. I worry that he abandoned a few key categories…saves count you know…but he has some potential as well.

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Pick 4: Zima

Strengths: Still has Pujols and Fielder…those two alone can almost be enough. Cruz, Jennings, and Kendrick could be good picks.

Weaknesses: Starting Pitching outside of Kershaw.

Notes: I really can’t believe that Axford went 40 picks lower than his ADP. I feel there was an error on the draft board there. If he did Zima got some great value there. Overall Zima ranks out at 2 and 4 respectively on the MDC draft sheets. This looks to be a very good draft ranking for Zima. I do not know why the Salmon league hated Desmond Jennings but I think Zima will be laughing all the way to the bank on that pick. He is sitting pretty good on offense. Maybe some steals questions but the power categories are filled. Pitching could be another matter. Drafting Darvish, McCarthy, Santana, Chacin, and Homer Bailey leaves me worried for that staff. A lot of hitters parks in that rotation and some unproven talent as well. Darvish could be awesome but will his WHIP or ERA be league average in Texas? Will Santana throw for more than 150 innings? Lots of questions here.

Pick 5: InSaNeAuDiO

Strengths: Best hitter in baseball not named Joey Votto (shameless plug for my guy).
Infield in general might have some nice producers. Reyes is great if healthy, Sandoval produces very well for a 3b/1b and Espinosa could be a break out candidate.

Weaknesses: That outfield is brutal. Victorino has no one to hit him in and I just don’t like him in general, Bourne is a one category guy drafted way too early, and Melky Cabrera is the worst type of regression candidate, especially after a move to San Francisco. I worry about his pitching after the top two guys as well. Can Cahill survive a move to a hitters park from Oakland? Can Volquez improve over terrible numbers in Cincy? Will Feliz survive a move to the rotation ala CJ Wilson?

Notes: Made a few of them above. Jesse’s draft rankings fall at 4th and 5th respectively. Good rankings overall but scary when you consider he drafted Pineda and Farnsworth lower than expected due to injury which gives him a bit of a draft bump. Will either of them return at all? Will they be anything but wasted picks? I see some strengths in Jesse’s drafting this year. It’s nice to see some value in the Carlos Lee pick. Overall Jesse filled some categories well but came up short a bit in power. I also worry about regression in the outfield as stated above.

Pick 6: The Dominators

Strengths: Offense especially the power and obp categories could be a strength.

Weaknesses: Speed looks a little rough on the roster. Can the pitchers on his staff have league average or better numbers throwing in extreme hitters parks half the time. Cueto, Latos, Holland, and Kuroda all pitch in that environment. They may still get wins with the offenses behind them but will he ever win ERA or WHIP? Why no closers? Two holds guys early and another one at the end? Sacrificed an entire category!

Notes: Steven is our ADP draft winner. Not only is he #1 in both brackets but he didn’t draft even one DL guy to start the season. That is an impressive turnaround from the guy who finished 13th in both categories last season. One has to question why he would draft two shortstops in the first four rounds. Even if Cabrera (regression candidate) is great again this year he won’t produce out of the Utility spot like a power hitting 1b or OF would. He also drafted Ortiz who is a UTIL only guy which means that he definitely drafted one bench spot in his first 6 picks. Seems like a creature of the moment on those picks. I worry if Yoenis will produce after pitchers figure out his game as well? I noticed a few teams skipped entire categories this year. Some drafted all closers and some drafted all holds guys. Neither strategy seems smart to me when you need both to win a week.

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Pick 7: j’s team

Strengths: Upside pitching and a nice overall lineup construction

Weaknesses: Jeff Francour! He has some questionable Phillies at the moment.

Notes: Jay finished 8th and 2nd respectively in the draft rankings. Morrow as his keeper pitcher really killed him in the first ranking. He obviously made up for it with a good draft overall. He did draft Storen which could haunt him, but he drafted some primed rebound candidates in Jiminez, Lind, and Billingsly. Granted Billingsly and Lind have been rebound candidates for 3 years now. Overall I like his roster makeup. I think Jay could contend this season with the right people jumping. I really liked the Pena pick as long as Jay pays attention and only starts him against righties.

Pick 8: 38 MPH Heaters

Strengths: If Youk stays healthy and turns his obvious age regression around, which won’t happen, that infield looks pretty good. Beltran could pay some nice returns.

Weaknesses: No closers AGAIN. Drafting Injured players means he will rely on the waiver wire early on. Beckett, Liriano, and Collmenter on the same team is a scary bad performance thought.

Notes: MDC gives Morgan an 11 ranking in both categories. I feel they are pretty close here. I like some rebound and contract year candidates in Liriano, Upton, and Heyward. I hate that he rolled with 3 to 4 holds guys. It is a bad stategy and hasn’t worked for him yet(definition of insanity anyone). I do like Matt Moore and see some potential here. This year Morgan needs to prove if he belongs with the big boys or if he is going to be a donator every year?

Pick 9: Dome Dog

Strengths: Team is well balanced with lots of power, speed, decent pitching, and saves/holds

Weaknesses:: Regression candidates in Santana, Upton, Perez, Scherzer. He also drafted Matt Capps (what the!?!) Ike Davis (Valley Fever) didn’t hit all spring and hasn’t hit yet this week.

Notes: Year three of Dome Dog could get interesting. He continued his trend of drafting really young players. Will his pitching hold up with the Tampa young guns? There is a lot of AL Beast pitchers on this team overall. He also has some questionable saves guys but if they perform no harm no foul. Adam’s draft ratings were 5 and 7. Adam must not have read all the articles written about CarGo before the season started though. They said that CarGo was a top five roto player on a per at bat basis last year and his injuries were the only reason he struggled. He decided to take the other Upton as his keeper and will suffer the consequences me thinks. Granted those consequences could be awesomeness but I think I would take CarGo over JUpton(see what I did there, Justin?). I am also not in love with Santana but maybe that is just my own stupidity there. He could prove me wrong too. Adam has an early track record of winning and he could do it once again if things go his way.

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Pick 10: Radioactive Rush

Strengths: I find myself liking his offense. Of course he has a couple of “my guys” on that team right now and that could be why. Decent speed, decent power, ok obp. Sorry Graves I just don’t hate Grants offense.

Weaknesses: I do not like Grant’s pitching.

Notes: When your best keeper option is Jaime Garcia from last season you have problems. Grant’s bad trades have been well documented (Lincecum did suck in his first start so maybe he is on to something). His draft rankings were both 12th out of the 14 teams. His low ranking keeper pitcher probably hurt more than we know. Personally, I do like Garcia this year to pitch well it just never bodes well when he is your “staff ace” at a 177.2 ADP. As to the rest of the squad, I worry if his pitching will hold up. Injuries and regression candidates are all over. He also kept an injured Crawford for lack of better options it appears. We shall see what Grant will be early on.

Pick 11: Captain Jack

Strengths: I do not like Travis team. Kendrys Morales might be my only highlight looking over his roster.

Weaknesses: Everywhere…why would you draft a catcher in round 1 when you kept a catcher? If it weren’t for his ridiculous September and a great post-season performance Napoli would be just another middling catcher with power. Now he is a limited at bat player at 1b for Captain Jack. Even in a high power environment like Texas his value is terribly limited at any position other than Catcher. There he can be elite with 350 at bats. Nowhere else does that production make sense.

Notes: Travis ranked 13th and 14th in the draft rankings. After looking over his roster I agree that his value probably falls about there. Clearly not being able to make the draft affected his drafting. The mistake with Rickie Weeks at 2b being obvious. I worry about Travis’ team. Drafting Harper? Might be good in the long run but seems like a mistake right now. Travis has obviously fallen in love with some of his players and had to have them again. Why else could you explain the Napoli, Strasburg, and Harper picks. He isn’t the first and won’t be the last to overvalue players they like the year before. I fall into this trap constantly. This is a long season. Travis is a very adept trade practitioner as well as a good waiver adder. He will probably be fine in the end.

Pick 12: High Cheese

Strengths: Lots of Power.

Weaknesses: Very weak after his top two starters if Hudson doesn’t get healthy quickly and/or Bedard gets hurt (almost certain isn’t it?).

Notes: Levi finished 3rd overall in both draft rankings. This could be the year that drafting the entire Braves roster comes back to haunt Levi though. I count 6 on his team at the moment. I like Uggla as a personal favorite but we can’t deny he really struggled last season. It could be a trend for Popeye. He also has some injury risk in the OF. Stanton already hurting, Hamilton and Holliday probably not far behind considering their track records. Berkman is a regression candidate and injury waiting to happen as well. There is stuff to like here. I am sure Levi is looking at this roster with all its potential. Since I am his competition I see all the warts.

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Pick 13: cracker jack

Strengths: Dude has Kemp…Could be a pretty nice team.

Weaknesses: Kemp really can’t go 50/50 right. Probably not. A-Rod hasn’t played a full season in years. Gardner is still a #9 hitter. Drafting Utley might suck if he doesn’t come back. Dude has some questions here.

Notes: I like Justin’s pitching staff. I am high on Kennedy even though he should be a sure regression candidate. Same for Gallardo as he hasn’t pitched back to back really good years ever. I don’t know why I am so high on him otherwise but I do feel he put together a decent roster here. Doumit could be cheap as a part time OF part time C getting 450 to 550 at bats. Draft rankings give Justin a 10 and an 8 for his output. Sometimes I guess you just have a feeling. Track record also says half this team will not be with cracker jack by the end of the season.

Pick 14: Genies in a Bottle

Strengths: Mauer and Dunn on bounce-back years. David (I suck so bad I want to cry) Wright and Jay Bruce with picks 1 and 2. Ridiculous.

Weaknesses: Alex Rios sucks fella. Going to have to face that one soon enough. Ellsbury is a regression candidate if I ever saw one. Ethier in a contract push doesn’t mean he is any better than he was last year. 4 closers and no holds guys?!?! What were you thinking? Not my favorite strategy long term.

Notes: It’s Graves he will figure it out. Dude could have waited on Dunn though me thinks. I hate to admit it, but I like Graves’ roster overall. If his pitching holds up (which is no guarantee) he should be pretty good. A good top three assuming Gio’s second start goes better than his first. He is pegging a Rios bounce back which I disagree with but he has a lot of value here. If I were rating him myself It would be pretty high overall. ADP says Graves had a 6 ranking on both lists. Makes sense with his page jumping on Dunn, Marshall, and Dempster. I am curious to see where this goes. I am also curious why the 9 other drafters between Graves and myself couldn’t see the value of drafting Jay Bruce and David Wright before they got to Graves. Stupid drafting strategy to all of you frickers in round 1. They were two of the highest players on the board and you skipped over them. Stupid Stupid Stupid.

Final Rankings

So there you have it. This is how I feel you guys did this year. Hate my opinion or love it that’s ok. Like I said I can’t even look at my team rationally right now because I like its make up that much. So I am one of the worst at falling in love with “my guys”.

Please comment for everyone’s viewing pleasure.