The unveiling of the annual draft review and rankings has become a tradition in this league. Part of that tradition is people bitching at me to get it written so that they can then turn around and bitch at me about their ranking…it’s a hoot.
Much like I did in 2011, I’m breaking the rankings up into three parts. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, I’m nowhere near being done with the entire write-up; like, seriously, nowhere near done. Second, it seems to be much easier to digest in smaller chunks than when it is one gigantic rambling tome.
What we have here today is the first of three parts. In this portion I rundown the five teams that I thought had the worst drafts and will, based on my incredibly flawed logic and rationale, inevitably be missing the playoffs.
As I find important to stress every year, no one should be taking anything I say here personally.
These rankings are based entirely on my admittedly 100% subjective and often biased opinion. I’m not really looking at average draft positions in the way that Mike does with his annual write-up. I’m not digging into any serious projections or past statistics, just the stats/projections that catch my eye as particularly interesting. I’m just basing it on my personal gut feelings about players and picks. It’s all opinion and my opinion in this league doesn’t mean any more than anybody else’s.
That having been said, let’s dive right in with the bottom five in this year’s draft:
14) 38 MPH Heaters
Draft Pick 7
2012 Rank: 11th
2011 Rank: 14th
2010 Rank: 10th
2009 Rank: N/A
Keepers: Dustin Pedroia (2B – BOS), Giancarlo Stanton (OF – MIA) & David Price (SP – TB)
First Pick: Yu Darvish (SP – TEX) [Pick 7]
Last Pick: Ross Detwiler (SP/RP – WAS) [Pick 231]
Best Pick: Ross Detwiler (SP/RP – WAS) [Round 17 – Pick 231]
Summary: Many teams did a fine job of finding value in the final round of the draft this year, in fact, in terms of overall upside, the final round may prove to be the most valuable in a lot of ways. Detwiler is no exception. This club had a solid starting core in David Price and Yu Darvish and a couple of question marks in Anibal Sanchez and Alex Cobb coming into the final round, the acquisition of Detwiler should help this club a lot.
Detwiler is not a 200+ K monster like the top of this rotation, but he is pitching for arguably the best team in baseball with a solid defense behind him and a lights out bullpen to ensure his wins. He’s got good ratios and assuming he can display the same skill he showed down the stretch last season, he could prove to be an incredibly valuable asset to this rotation and perhaps provide more return on investment than Cobb and Sanchez combined.
Worst Pick: Wil Myers (OF – TB) [Round 11 – Pick 147]
Summary: This one probably doesn’t require a bunch of exposition, so I’ll just get right to it, you do not, under any means draft minor leaguers this early in the draft; especially minor leaguers who play for a team renowned for its penny-pinching. Myers has an impressive minor league dossier, but there’s little indication—barring the finalization of a long-term deal—that the Rays would call him up early enough to give up a year of team control, potentially not even until they’ve ensured they can push back his “Super 2” eligibility date. That would put his arrival time in June.
It’s a ballsy move drafting minor leaguers and sometimes it works out and sometimes (read: more often than not) they end up gobbling up a valuable bench spot for a few weeks until you have to drop them. If Myers still had catcher eligibility, this stash would be more defendable. If this stash came about five rounds later, it would be more defendable. In round 11 when there were a number of solid outfielders (who are actually on Major League depth charts) still available, it’s a pretty bad pick.
Team Strength(s): Power & Potential
Power: Every member of the starting roster (I’m excluding Myers and Profar here) hit double-digit home runs in the big leagues last year. That’s pretty impressive. All but one player (Curtis Granderson) had at least 22 doubles and the bulk of the starting offense had 75+ RBI last year. This team can most certainly mash.
Potential: I feel like if I went back and looked at old write-ups for Morgan’s team, potential is always a factor. Thus far it has yet to work out for him, but this could be the year. There are a number of players ready to have breakout seasons on this roster in Montero, Hosmer, Stanton, Jackson, Darvish, and either of the two minor leaguers (if/when they get promoted). That’s obviously all speculation at this point, but if they all live up to their considerable hype and talents, this could be a great year for Morgan.
Team Weakness(es): Bench (or a significant lack thereof) & Bullpen
Bench: I assume Morgan has already heard plenty of this since draft day and he’ll continue to hear it until he rectifies the situation, but right now he’s got no bench. He has two minor leaguers who can’t do jack to help him out. If there’s a nagging, non-DL injury or merely an off-day, he’s screwed. You cannot win without flexibility, period.
Bullpen: Much like the comment above about potential, I know for a fact that I harp on Morgan’s bullpen strategy every year and then he comes out and goes the same route. Holds are a fun category that most leagues don’t use. That doesn’t, however, make them the end-all, be-all of important stats. Holds vary wildly from week-to-week and even a team with multiple setup men can go a lengthy stretch without recording a single hold. Piling up on volatile middle relievers and going light on actual closers (or bench players) is not a winning solution. I will, however, say that this is the first time that I recall Morgan taking a legit top-tier closer. So that’s something.
Final Summary: In keeping with tradition, Morgan’s draft ranks in the bottom third of the league yet again. The obvious argument against this team being successful is the decision to draft two minor leaguers and three—count ‘em THREE—holds guys. This move left Morgan with no bench and almost no flexibility. Neither Myers nor Profar has an immediate path to the big leagues (barring injuries, trades, and/or long-term deals) and that creates a serious logjam for a roster that can’t afford to be handcuffed.
The pitching is very top-heavy and is relying on a Cy Young winner, a top-flight closer, and a lot of guys who could go either way. Darvish has the best chance of anyone to contribute in a big way, but he’s coming off a 3.90 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP, hardly ace numbers and the ballpark he plays in will never be in his favor. The lineup intrigues me, but could crater if the bad versions of Hosmer, Alvarez, Hardy, and Jackson reappear this season.
All-in-all, it’s a pretty good club, but clearly near the bottom of the pile. Morgan is once again on the spot to prove his mettle in this league. Last year’s late trades showed he’s willing to adapt, the question is how big of a step forward can he take as a manager or is this simply what we’re going to get from 38 MPH Heaters year in and year out?
13) Radioactive Rush
Draft Pick 6
2012 Rank: 13th
2011 Rank: 12th
2010 Rank: 12th
2009 Rank: N/A
Keepers: Adrian Gonzalez (1B/OF – LAD), Adam Jones (OF – BAL) & Matt Harvey (SP – NYM)
First Pick: Paul Goldschmidt (1B – ARI) [Pick 6]
Last Pick: Emilio Bonifacio (2B/OF – TOR) [Pick 230]
Best Pick: Glen Perkins (CL – MIN) [Round 10 – Pick 135]
Summary: Perkins stayed on the board much, much longer than he should have in this year’s draft, especially for a draft full of Minnesota homers. Since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2011, Perkins has averaged a 2.52 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, and 9.8 K/9. Perkins saved 16 games last season in roughly half-a-season as the Twins’ official stopper. Those numbers look pretty sexy when projected over a full campaign. It’s also important to note that in addition to his already excellent control, Perkins saw his velocity increase after he took over the closing duties last season. Given the always steep price teams pay for closers, Perkins in round ten was an absolute steal and one that figures to reap big returns all season long.
Worst Pick: James Shields (SP – KC) [Round 3 – Pick 34]
Summary: There were a number of picks I could have gone with here (see: Rutledge, Josh or Frazier, Todd or Perez, Salvador) but this one strikes me as the most glaring of the bunch. “Big Game” James has a reputation for piling up strikeouts and pitching a lot of innings. His numbers over the past couple of years have been stellar. There’s no denying that, in fact, I think this pick was right in his wheelhouse on just about every ADP report out there.
That having been said, we’re talking about a 30-year-old pitcher who is moving out of a dome and into a park that is less forgiving and he’ll be doing it in front of a less stellar defense than he had in Tampa Bay. Shields has a very good 3.33 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 8.1 K/9 pitching at Tropicana Field. Once you take him outside of the dome, however, his numbers plummet to a 4.54 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 7.3 K/9. Those are some pretty hefty drops in production simply by taking him out of the controlled elements of Tropicana Field. More proof he’s not going to be the same guy he was in Tampa Bay is found in his career stats at Kauffman Stadium, his new home, where he sports a career 6.38 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, and a meager 5.6 K/9 (note: albeit in a very small sample size).
Grant clearly paid for the 2011-2012 versions of Tampa Bay Shields and is very, very unlikely to get a return on investment with Shields doing his work in Kansas City. Given the talent pitching still around at this point, this looks like a tremendous overpay.
Team Strength(s): Power & Bullpen
Power: This club shouldn’t struggle to hit home runs or net extra base hits. The club is jam-packed with players capable of clubbing double-digit home runs and five of the nine offensive starters netted 39 doubles + triples last year. That’s some pretty sexy numbers to see up and down the lineup.
Bullpen: It’s not a high-profile bullpen by any means, but it figures to get the job done. Boggs, Perkins, and Parnell should all do a fine job of locking up saves early in the season while Venters—if his elbow issues prove to be minor—could take care of locking up numerous holds in front of uber-closer Craig Kimbrel. Once Jason Motte returns in St. Louis, Boggs can slip back into the setup role and this club should still be in good shape from the 7th inning onward.
Team Weakness(es): OBP & Starting Pitching
OBP: This roster has a lot of offensive talent. What it does not have is guys who know how to get on-base. Looking at the roster, I see maybe three guys who can be reliably counted on to post above-average on-base percentages. I see just as many who could completely negate those other three and potentially drag the lot down even further. This club might need to swap out a little sizzle for some substance to avoid getting obliterated in OBP week-in and week-out.
Staring Pitching: I said my piece on Shields above and despite what I said, he’s still probably the second best starter on this roster. Hyun-Jin Ryu is a complete mystery and could either blow up in Grant’s (and the Dodgers’) face or he could surprise everyone and quickly adapt to the American game. Mike Fiers is good, but was thisclose to losing his rotation spot before the season ever started. Given the influx of potential starters in Milwaukee he might not be long for the starting five if he falters. Homer Bailey has been one of the most up and down pitchers in the game for years. Josh Beckett—much like Ryu—could either bounceback and have a surprising year or he could continue to be a steaming dumpster pile on the mound. Matt Harvey, the club’s ace, is super young and pitching for a pretty mediocre Mets squad. He’s got some serious K/9 potential (although I highly doubt he keeps it at the absurd levels from his debut) and that’s awesome, but he’s also pretty much the only pitcher here I’d want on my roster and I’d have wanted him right around the place Grant took Beckett.
Summary: I loved the Goldschmidt pick in round one, I think he’s a very dynamic player and could pay huge dividends, but I also thought that—for the second year in a row—Grant should have been targeting pitching in the early rounds. Instead he waited until round three and dropped the ball by going after James Shields. His offense isn’t as daunting as it should be, despite his attempts to boost the lineup rather than the rotation. I felt like he reached on a number of players and left a lot of talent on the board.
The rotation is one of the least imposing in the entire league and I have some serious doubts about a number of the players plugged into this offense. I think that Choo could have a monster year in Cincinnati and Goldschmidt, Perez, and Perkins are all set for breakout years, but elsewhere it’s a big pile of “meh” up and down the lineup card.
Naturally, Grant will be involved in the trading game and I suspect he’ll be feeding most of this talent off to Travis by Memorial Day so I shouldn’t even have put anytime into this review, but where it stands right now, I’m not anticipating this club to do anything different than we’ve seen in Grant’s brief tenure with the league – compete for a short period and then come back to earth when Grant is forced to actually manage the roster.
12) Dome Dog
Draft Pick 9
2012 Rank: 2nd
2011 Rank: 4th
2010 Rank: 8th
Keepers: Troy Tulowitzki (SS – COL), Brett Lawrie (3B – TOR) & Justin Verlander (SP – DET)
First Pick: Jacoby Ellsbury (OF – BOS) [Pick 9]
Last Pick: James McDonald (SP – PIT) [Pick 233]
Best Pick: Mike Napoli (C/1B – BOS) [Round 5 – Pick 65]
Summary: This was exactly where I was pegging Napoli and given the way other catchers were flying off the board, this was a solid value pick. According to most draft sheets he was an ADP darling in round 5 and he’s one of those wonderful blessing-in-disguise plays where he’ll get the bulk of his starts somewhere other than behind the plate. It may be his last season of catcher eligibility, depending on how the Sox use Napoli and his janky hip this year. If that’s the case, Adam is in for a fun ride.
Napoli has a career batting line of .306/.397/.710 at Fenway Park. That is good enough for a 1.107 OPS. That includes 7 HR and 17 RBI in just 62 at-bats. Sure it’s a small sample size, but from a personal perspective, I’ve seen the dude hit here a number of times and he absolutely owns Fenway Park. The Green Monster is his bitch in every possible way. If he can keep that up for a full-season and gets 500+ at-bats by playing first base instead of catcher, look for a monster debut campaign in Beantown.
Worst Pick: Julio Teheran (SP – ATL) [Round 8 – Pick 104]
Summary: When the biggest Braves homer in the draft tells you that you went way too early on an Atlanta player, you should know you’ve made a grave mistake. That was the case when Adam stretched waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down his draft sheet to land Teheran in the eighth round. It’s another case of a player being drafted in a place where he needs to perform way over his head to even get close to matching his draft cost. Adam probably could have waited another half-dozen rounds or so and still gotten Teheran and still been reaching a bit.
Good player, bad pick.
Team Strength(s): Speed & Potential
Speed: This roster is built to burn. Ellsbury and Jennings could swipe 30+ each. On top of that Ruggiano, Marte, and Lawrie could add on another 20+ apiece and there is always the potential for Ackley and (a healthy) Tulowitzki to tack on 15+ apiece as well. Heck, even Jedd Gyorko and Mike Moustakas showed glimpses of speed in the minors and could conceivably reach double-digit steals if given the green light. This team should have no struggles in the stolen base game in 2013.
Potential: The most obvious thing about this roster is that it’s comprised of many young players and many young players who once were (or currently are) highly-touted prospects. This lineup is a veritable who’s who of “future stars” in the game. Chris Sale, Dustin Ackley, Brett Lawrie, Desmond Jennings, Starling Marte, Mike Moustakas, Julio Teheran, etc., etc…this club could bust out and run away with the league if all of these guys take big steps forward in 2013. It’s a big if, but one that could be the difference in this league.
Team Weakness(es): Injuries & OBP
Injuries: While this roster reads like a who’s who of future stars of the game, it also reads like a who’s who of DL stalwarts from recent years. Mike Napoli had his monster contract blown up due to a degenerative hip condition, Justin Morneau has been a physical train wreck for the better part of three years, Brett Lawrie has suffered a number of maladies in his short career, Troy Tulowitzki is made of porcelain, Jacoby Ellsbury is always one freak injury away from a lengthy DL stint, Chris Sale is this year’s poster boy for the Verducci Effect, Roy Halladay may or may not be held together with duct tape and copper wire at this point, and Bruce Rondon is probably going to spontaneously combust from all of the heat he throws. It’s a dangerous lineup.
OBP: I wasn’t’ sure if I wanted to go after power or OBP, but OBP seems to be the bigger issue as the power could take a step forward, OBP rarely makes monster leaps. As it’s currently comprised, that’s exactly what this lineup needs, a monster leap in OBP. This lineup has two, maybe three, guys that I’d say can be counted on to post above average OBPs and after that it gets rough in a hurry. This lineup has six guys projected to produce OBPs below .330…four of those six are expected to post a .316 or lower OBP. Not pretty.
Summary: This was a classic case of reachitis. The club has a lot of talent, especially young talent, but Adam left a ton of talent on the table going after some of the young studs he was clearly locked into on his draft sheet. If they all have big, breakout years he’ll be in good shape. If they struggle as young players are wont to do, he’ll be in a rough way for most of the 2013 season.
The bullpen has a lights out closer, the best setup man in baseball (and eventual closer in LA), and a dude who isn’t likely to make the big league club with his erratic spring training showings. The rotation has some serious fire, but Sale is an injury and regression risk waiting to happen and Teheran needs to pitch like an ace to justify his draft value. Halladay bouncing back would be optimal and prove to be a huge value and AJ Griffin is a bit of a wild card coming into the season.
The biggest factor that will dictate the season for Dome Dog is the overall health of this ball club. There are a ton of potential injury risks on this roster and if a couple of those key players suffer injuries, this team is going to struggle to stay competitive into the (Dome) Dog days of summer. If they all stay healthy and the kids produce, however, this team will be virtually unstoppable. It’s a tough call placing the club this low, but with so much uncertainty surrounding the injury risks and the kids, I couldn’t justifiably go much higher.
11) Captain Jack Sparrow
Draft Pick 4
2012 Rank: 14th
2011 Rank: 7th
2010 Rank: N/A
2009 Rank: 1st
Keepers: Bust Posey (C/1B – SF), Bryce Harper (OF – WAS) & Stephen Strasburg (SP – WAS)
First Pick: Ian Kinsler (2B – TEX) [Pick 4]
Last Pick: Sean Marshall (RP – CIN) [Pick 228]
Best Pick: Michael Young (1B/2B/3B – PHI) [Round 14 – Pick 193]
Summary: Young is one-year removed from hitting .338/.380/.474 with 41 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, and 106 RBI in Texas. He’s also proven to be one of baseball’s most reliable superstars having played in 155+ games in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
Is it asking too much for a 36-year-old to have a bounce back season? Maybe. We are, however, talking about a guy who is notoriously an odd-year stud and is moving to another hitter’s haven in Philadelphia and he won’t have to deal with distractions about his position and/or playing time and he won’t have to fight the Texas heat for half of the season. He may not replicate some of his monster numbers from the past, but with multi-position eligibility and a round 14 price tag, his value figures to exceed his draft day price.
Worst Pick: Hanley Ramirez (SS/3B – LAD) [Round 4 – Pick 53]
Summary: Don’t get me wrong, I love Hanley Ramirez more than anyone. The dude has been my keeper for years and up until the injury just before our draft, he was slated to be my keeper once again. The thing is, however, that he is injured. Ramirez went under the knife to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and is slated to miss at least two months. There’s no guarantee he’ll come back that quickly or regain his 20/20 form when he does come back.
Ramirez’s numbers have been in decline for years and this figured to be a make-it or break-it season for him in the heart of a potent lineup. Now it’s looking like he’ll miss time and could be relegated to third base permanently upon his return, thus hampering his value going forward. He was slow to recover from shoulder surgery a few years ago—some might say he’s yet to fully recover—and this could prove to be more of the same. In round four, the risk factor is just too high for this gamble.
Team Strength(s): Balance & Breakout Potential
Balance: Looking at this roster, there’s a good mix of guys who can hit for power and handful of guys who could swipe 20-30 bags pretty easily as well. A full, healthy season of Brett Gardner—especially in a power-depleted Yankees lineup—could swipe 50+ in 2013. One of my favorites from last year, Chris “Crash” Davis took a big step forward in 2012 and could be primed for his big-time breakout year this year and easily pop 40 home runs hitting in Baltimore. The pitching has some high K guys and, with the exception of Garcia and League, a slew of guys who are prime for solid years and have established roles on their big league clubs.
Breakout Potential: Bryce Harper had an amazing year last season and figures to build on that in 2013. I don’t know if I’m ready to prime the pump for a 30/30 campaign like so many others, but I think 30+2B/25+HR/20+SB seems completely realistic. If he can pump up his OBP above league average, he’ll be a veritable force. Stephen Strasburg has “no limitations” coming into this season and could be in line to run away with the NL Cy Young award. Jon Lester made some tweaks to his mechanics and is primed for a bounce back campaign. The aforementioned Davis is one of my favorites for a breakout season after the showing he had in 2012. Adam Eaton could prove to be a big-time OBP/SB/R machine in Arizona when he gets healthy. Kris Medlen gave everyone a taste of what he can do last season and although his numbers figure to regress, a full-season of Medlen in the rotation will be a boon for Atlanta and Captain Jack.
Team Weakness(es): Current Injuries & Injury Potential
Current Injuries: Travis clearly drafted for upside in going after a number of injured players and hoping to get better long-term value out of them. The problem is in taking the banged up Pablo Sandoval in round two and the DL-bound Hanley Ramirez in round four, he passed on getting and “sleeper value” out of these injured players by passing up on talent that can help him right out of the gate. Getting future DL-bound players such as David Ortiz and Adam Eaton in rounds 11 and 13 made more sense, but not when you’ve already compiled a roster full of the walking wounded.
Injury Potential: Only four players on this roster got to 550 at-bats last year and one of them—Ramirez—is already on the DL. Garcia, Gardner, Ortiz, and Sandoval all misted significant time with injuries last year. Buster Posey is coming off an increased workload once again and figures to regress a bit behind the plate. Ian Kinsler is only a couple of seasons removed from being counted on for an annual trip to the DL. Adam LaRoche has a history of back problems. Stephen Strasburg is a second Tommy John surgery waiting to happen. The potential for injury to ravage this team is just devastatingly high.
Summary: It’s really tough for me to look at this roster and know how to feel about his club. There are a slew of injuries and guys who are injury prone up and down the roster. There’s also a veritable pile of potential breakout superstars here. This team will need some work—and obviously some reinforcements as it currently has no shortstop—but it could contend.
The low ranking is based on the draft itself and the strategy (and risk). I really didn’t like Sandoval in round two (dude hasn’t had 500+ at-bats since 2010) and is already banged up. Following that up with Ramirez in round four was a stretch, but then to add two more DL-bound guys in Ortiz and Eaton was just ridiculous.
Much like previous low rankings for Travis, I’m not worried about his club over the long haul. He’s a shrewd manager and will make the appropriate moves to get his club on track and move onward if his injury gambles don’t work out.
10) j’s team
Draft Pick 13
2012 Rank: 10th
2011 Rank: 6th
2010 Rank: 7th
Keepers: Evan Longoria (3B – TB), Ryan Braun (OF – MIL), & Zack Greinke (SP – LAD)
First Pick: Matt Cain (SP – SF) [Pick 13]
Last Pick: Jason Vargas (SP – LAA) [Pick 237]
Best Pick: Aramis Ramirez (3B – MIL) [Round 3 – Pick 41]
Summary: Sometimes you just can’t pass up a good thing. That’s the position Jay was in as the draft looped back toward him at the end of round three. Despite third base’s reputation as a thin position, Aramis Ramirez, one of the game’s most steady presences at the hot corner was still on the board. Jay already had Evan Longoria entrenched at 3B, but Ramirez’s offensive contributions were too good to pass up – especially with Levi waiting to draft a third-sacker of his own with the next pick.
In 2012, his first year with the Milwaukee Brewers, Ramirez scored 92 runs, hit 50 doubles, wreck 27 home runs, drove in 105 and posted a .360 OBP. Not bad for an “over-the-hill” 35-year-old, huh?! In the past five years (despite missing significant time due to injury in 2009 and 2010) Ramirez has averaged 30+ doubles, 25+ home runs, 75+ runs, 90+ RBI and a .356 OBP. Call me crazy, but that’s some solid value at the end of round three, especially at a thin position.
Worst Pick: PLAYER (POS – TEAM) [Round # – Pick #]
Summary: This is another case of the pick being far worse than the player. I think Anthony Rizzo is a very solid young prospect with a bright future ahead of him in Major League Baseball. I also think that Jay reached taking him at the top of round two. There were a number of far more valuable players on the board and Jay went after one of the deepest positions in the game. I think similar (or better) value could have been landed by drafting Ike Davis, Ryan Howard, Paul Konerko, Chris Davis, Nick Swisher, Adam Dunn, Todd Frazier, or Adam LaRoche anywhere from two to four rounds later.
I think Rizzo could still have a solid year, but I’m not ready to go full-in an expect the 30+ HR/40+2B/100+RBI/.350+OBP that a lot of other experts are this year. I think that in another full go’round of the league, he struggles a bit. I’m anticipating something closer to 25-30 homers, 25-30 doubles, 70-90RBI and an OBP closer to the league average if not below it given his penchant for strikeouts.
Team Strength(s): Balance & Cool Last Names
Balance: This offense could be pretty potent. It’s got some serious speed candidates in Crawford, Escobar, Braun, and—if his legs don’t fall off—Ichiro. On the flip side, Braun, Ramirez, Longoria, Rizzo, and Doumit could all provide some solid power numbers to keep things copacetic on that side of the ball. All-in-all, it’s a pretty tight looking offense.
Cool Last Names: Seriously, the only common last names on this roster are Parker and maybe Cain. If you want to hit the foreign names, Suzuki, Ramirez, and Escobar are all pretty common, but beyond that, it’s a wild collection of last names. Longoria. Greinke. Vargas. Clippard. Papelbon. Lincecum. Doumit. Rizzo. Lucroy. …it’s madness I tell you, pure madness!!
Team Weakness(es): Bullpen & Bad Juju
Bullpen: Fernando Rodney is a piece of garbage.
Coming in to 2012, he had a career 4.29 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and a 1.69 (read: garbage) K/BB ratio. Despite all this he had 87 career saves and the Rays gave him the closer’s role when Kyle Farnsworth was injured to start the season. Out of nowhere he posted an absurd 0.60 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and a 5.07 K/BB ratio…all while sealing up 48 saves (read: more than half his career TOTAL after NINE full big league seasons).
He. Will. Implode.
Bad JuJu: Honestly, I don’t know what it is about this squad, but it doesn’t really do much for me. I look at it and I see some serious talent, but nothing about this particular ballclub says “potential champion” to me.
Summary: I don’t know if it’s just sour grapes over the Ryan Doumit pick or if there’s more to it, but honestly, I just can’t get into Jay’s squad. I look at this roster and I see plenty of talent and lots of potential, but nothing about this team excites me or makes me think he’s going to make another run at this third trophy.
I see lots of potential implosions in the rotation from Rodney to Lincecum to Greinke to Vargas. I see some serious injury potential in Longoira, Beltran, and Crawford. I see some regression candidates in Niese, Escobar, and Lucroy.
Again, it’s hard to explain my issues with this club. I think it’s a fine club with some real potential to compete, but overall it just strikes me as underwhelming. I see one great keeper, one very good (and potentially great if/when healthy) keeper, and an overrated pitching keeper and a lot of what strikes me as “filler.” Jay will ultimately dictate how this story ends, but right now, I don’t see this club getting him back to the postseason.
…and so ends Part I of this year’s Draft Review and Rankings. Look for Part II: Teams 9-5 coming soon!
By: Justin Kunkel
The players listed below were chosen to be the eventual 2013 Most Valuable Player, Cy Young winner, and “Best Return on Investment” for each team. The only caveat was that Justin chose only from non-keeper players in an effort to keep all of the focus on the draft itself.
Justin’s original terminology “I was totally expecting this much value when I drafted him” was revamped to be “Surprise MVP,” but then I decided to go with “Best Return on Investment” as these are the guys who are most likely to provide more value than was anticipated on draft day.
Without any further ado, here is Justin’s analysis of each team:
Genies in a Bottle
MVP: Matt Holliday
Cy Young: Gio Gonzalez
Best Return on Investment: Asdrubal Cabrera
MVP: Ryan Howard
Cy Young: Josh Johnson
Best Return on Investment: Wilin Rosario
MVP: Freddie Freeman
Cy Young: Brett Anderson
Best Return on Investment: Brandon Belt
MVP: Yoenis Cespedes
Cy Young: Max Scherzer
Best Return on Investment: Kendrys Morales
MVP: Jason Kipnis
Cy Young: Jeremy Hellickson
Best Return on Investment: Paul Maholm
MVP: Hunter Pence
Cy Young: Ian Kennedy
Best Return on Investment: Jesus Montero
MVP: Ike Davis
Cy Young: Matt Moore
Best Return on Investment: Kevin Youkilis
MVP: Shane Victorino
Cy Young: Ryan Vogelsong
Best Return on Investment: Michael Cuddyer
MVP: Anthony Rizzo
Cy Young: Matt Cain
Best Return on Investment: Carl Crawford
MVP: Joe Mauer
Cy Young: Mat Latos
Best Return on Investment: Domonic Brown
38 MPH Heaters
MVP: Austin Jackson
Cy Young: Yu Darvish
Best Return on Investment: Alex Cobb
MVP: Shin-Soo Choo
Cy Young: Homer Bailey
Best Return on Investment: Josh Beckett
Captain Jack Sparrow
MVP: Ian Kinsler
Cy Young: Jeff Samardzija
Best Return on Investment: Jon Lester
MVP: Justin Morneau
Cy Young: Chris Sale
Best Return on Investment: Dustin Ackley