Draft Review and Rankings 2015

2015 draft review rankings
In what is probably a record, the draft review and rankings are completed and ready for public consumption just a little over a week since the draft and well before the season begins and everyone’s roster has been turned inside out.

As always, I want to make it very clear that there is no science or metrics (or legitimacy) to these rankings. 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.

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 and – aside from occasional mentions – I tried to avoid factoring your keepers into your team strength. I really wanted to focus on JUST the draft itself. Obviously, I probably screwed up somewhere along the way, 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 NA or 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 couple 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 and look at some stats, but I generally go with my “gut feel” for the final rankings. Some teams will move up or down the more I look at them (there’s a prime example of that this year), but for the most part the ranking is reflective of how I felt on draft day after round 17.

As always, I’d love some feedback – love it, hate it, wish I’d die in a chemical fire – hit me with it.

Alrighty, enough of me rambling, let’s do this thing, without any further ado; here is the 2015 Draft Review and Rankings…

insaneaudio

14. InSaNeAuDiO

Draft Pick # 8

2014 Rank: 14th
2013 Rank: 7th
2012 Rank: 9th
2011 Rank: 10th
2010 Rank: 9th
2009 Rank: 9th

Keepers: Miguel Cabrera (DET-1B/3B), Todd Frazier (CIN-1B/3B), & James Shields (SD-SP)

First Pick: Johnny Cueto (CIN-SP) [Round 1 – Pick 8]
Last Pick: Justin Turner (LAD-2B/SS/3B) [Round 17 – Pick 232]
Best Pick: Shin-Soo Choo (TEX-OF) [Round 10 – Pick 133]
Worst Pick: Alexei Ramirez (CHW-SS) [Round 2 – Pick 22]

Rundown: This strikes me as a classic “G-Doggy team” in that it is top-heavy with familiar names, guys who were clearly at the top of the board, and a handful of “I’m thinking way too hard for a guy who doesn’t really follow baseball but wants to make a savvy move on draft day” type of picks that probably do not belong on a SLB roster.

After all of the crap G-Doggy took for going with Alex Rios over a legitimate young ace last year, it was no surprise to see him take Johnny Cueto in the first round. I don’t hate the pick, but without a Madison Bumgarner, David Price, or Masahrio Tanaka on the market and a slew of undervalued pitchers, he could have gone elsewhere and still found plenty of solid starting pitching later. Unfortunately, he still largely whiffed on starting pitching overall, but landing Cueto as an anchor is nothing to sneeze at as he primes the pump for a huge year before hitting free agency.

The Ben Zobrist pick gives him some flexibility – which he’ll need – but there are still a slew of question marks. G-Doggy is quickly running out of time to rely on Miguel Cabrera and needs to start planning for the future. It’d also be ideal if the club wasn’t carrying four setup men and a utility player.

The short version here is that this is a club that will need very good in-season management to contend and G-Doggy has never been known for his in-season management, so…uh…we’ll see how this shakes out.

radioactiverush

13. Radioactive Rush

Draft Pick # 5

2014 Rank: 13th
2013 Rank: 13th
2012 Rank: 13th
2011 Rank: 12th
2010 Rank: 12th
2009 Rank: N/A

Keepers: Paul Goldschmidt (ARI-1B), Adam Jones (BAL-OF), & Matt Harvey (NYM-SP)

First Pick: Starling Marte (PIT-OF) [Round 1 – Pick 5]
Last Pick: Jimmy Nelson (MIL-SP ) [Round 17 – Pick 229]
Best Pick: Evan Gattis (HOU-C/OF) [Round 4 – Pick 52]
Worst Pick: Danny Santana (MIN-SS/OF) [Round 9 – Pick 117]

Rundown: Once again, Grant had the disadvantage of drafting online and not being present in the room. That sucks, and it’d be unfair not to at least mention that it certainly impacts how well someone can draft when they’re not physically present. That having been said, I still find his team to be pretty “meh” compared with much of the rest of the league.

He should have a solid outfield, but he has – arguably – the weakest infield in the game, his starting pitching is top heavy and requires a slew of breakout seasons to be competitive. His bullpen has a couple of mid-tier closers and a top-flight setup man/closer-in-waiting.

It’s a decent enough team in a vacuum, but looking at the other clubs in the league; I can’t help but be underwhelmed by this roster. I also know that Grant is likely to have moved his best assets to Travis by Memorial Day, which is – you know – ridiculous and annoying.

There’s a chance for this club to compete with Goldschmidt and a (hopefully) fully-recovered Harvey on the roster, but it would require a monster campaign from an owner who has yet to prove he can pull it off and I don’t think this draft did him any favors.

zima

12. ZIMA

Draft Pick # 4

2014 Rank: 12th
2013 Rank: 9th
2012 Rank: 8th
2011 Rank: 11th
2010 Rank: 5th
2009 Rank: 8th

Keepers: Buster Posey (SF-C/1B), Robinson Cano (SEA-2B), & Clayton Kershaw (LAD-SP)

First Pick: George Springer (HOU-OF) [Round 1 – Pick 4]
Last Pick: Kevin Quackenbush (SD-RP) [Round 17 – Pick 228]
Best Pick: Jake Arrieta (CHC-SP) [Round 7 – Pick 88]
Worst Pick: Sean Doolittle (OAK-RP) [Round 11 – Pick 144]

Rundown: Collin has done an admirable job of avoiding scrutiny despite years of diminishing returns after an initial burst of success when he joined the league. I can’t help but think that this year’s draft could be the end of that “free pass” he’s received from the rest of the league.

I’m looking at his draft sheet right now and I can honestly say that there isn’t a single player taken in this draft – with the exception of his attempted annexation of Gio Gonzalez – that I’d want to swap with TCB. George Springer has serious breakout potential to go 30/20 and become a future keeper for this club and Javier Baez could be an absolute offense beast if he is given a chance to pile up counting stats, but his gaudy strikeout totals could prove a hindrance.

The rotation is anchored by the best pitcher in the game and that’s great, because while Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel both look like potential breakout candidates after strong showings last season, the rest of the rest of the arms he’s cobbled together here don’t inspire a ton of confidence. The bullpen could be an absolute trainwreck, but hey, at least we got to quack at the draft, that was neat.

Collin has a great set of keepers and some solid spare parts on this roster, but everything needs to go right for this roster to compete.

captainjacksparrow

11. Captain Jack Sparrow

Draft Pick # 7

2014 Rank: 8th
2013 Rank: 11th
2012 Rank: 14th
2011 Rank: 7th
2010 Rank: N/A
2009 Rank: 1st

Keepers: Yasiel Puig (LAD-OF), Michael Brantley (CLE-OF), & Max Scherzer (WAS-SP)

First Pick: Adrian Gonzalez (LAD-1B) [Round 1 – Pick 7]
Last Pick: Billy Butler (OAK-1B) [Round 17 – Pick 231]
Best Pick: Joe Smith (LAA-RP) [Round 16 – Pick 218]
Worst Pick: Ben Revere (PHI-OF) [Round 8 – Pick 106]

Rundown: When Travis was talking to me about his draft strategy on Friday night, he kept saying that he was playing for the future this year and he was going to work on securing the next great wave of keepers. Naturally, I assumed he was insane. In a three-player keeper league, there is no “rebuilding,” only reshuffling. To base an entire draft around gathering young future keepers seemed like lunacy. He did it anyway.

I have no doubt this team can still be competitive, he has proven to be one of the best in-season managers in the game and should have no problems wheeling and dealing to turn this roster into a playoff contender, but as it stands post draft, I’m not sold. The offense lacks a leigitimate masher with 30+ HR power and nearly all of the speed comes from a very one-dimensional player in Ben Revere. The rotation is full of question marks and the bullpen is far from intimidating in its current form.

Granted, this ranking does not include his draft day trade he made to land Giancarlo Stanton. It was a deal too good for either side to pass up, but for it to not blow up in Travis’ face, he really needs Jose Fernandez to bounce back to his pre-Tommy John form; otherwise giving up Max Scherzer – one of the best fantasy pitchers a team can own – looks ridiculous.

thefightingfernandos

10. TheFightingFernandos

Draft Pick # 10

2014 Rank: 1st
2013 Rank: 10th
2012 Rank: 10th
2011 Rank: 6th
2010 Rank: 7th
2009 Rank: 7th

Keepers: Ryan Braun (MIL-OF), Jose Abreu (CHW-1B), & Zack Greinke (LAD-SP)

First Pick: Evan Longoria (TB-3B) [Round 1 – Pick 10]
Last Pick: Drew Pomeranz (OAK-SP/RP) [Round 17 – 234]
Best Pick: Joc Pederson (LAD-OF) [Round 7 – Pick 94]
Worst Pick: Michael Pineda (NYY-SP) [Round 9 – Pick 122]

Rundown: The fucking Groundhog. I called it for weeks and on draft day, he proved to the world that I’d pegged him right all along. He’s a lying, no good, cheating snake in the grass. He’s willing to lie to all of his friends, miss out on months of enjoyable conversation, and steal players right off your draft sheet. The fucking Groundhog.

Despite the overall douchebaggery of Jay’s draft day strategy, he still put together a solid little team, but he’s playing for lots of upside and bounceback in 2015 if he’s going to contend. His rotation is going to need a lot of health to reach its full potential this year; last year only one of his drafted starters hit 200 innings and just two pitched more than 140 innings.

Overall the offense looks pretty pedestrian. If he’s going to contend with this crew it will require Joc Pederson to have a breakout campaign, bounceback years from Erik Aybar, Evan Longoria, and Ryan Braun, and continued high-level contributions from Melky Cabrera, Lucas Duda, and Alex Gordon who are all coming off of strong seasons. If I were in Vegas right now, I wouldn’t put a lot of money on this lineup to get Jay to the postseason without a midseason makeover.

high cheese

09. High Cheese

Draft Pick # 12

2014 Rank: 6th
2013 Rank: 3rd
2012 Rank: 1st
2011 Rank: 9th
2010 Rank: N/A
2009 Rank: N/A

Keepers: Freddie Freeman (ATL-1B), Anthony Rendon (WAS-2B/3B), & David Price (DET-SP)

First Pick: Corey Dickerson (COL-OF) [Round 1 – Pick 12]
Last Pick: Derek Holland (TEX-SP) [Round 17 – Pick 236]
Best Pick: Pedro Alvarez (PIT-1B/3B) [Round 14 – Pick 185]
Worst Pick: Nelson Cruz (SEA-OF) [Round 4 – Pick 45]

Rundown: I don’t know if you guys have heard, but Levi is pretty f’n good at fantasy baseball. Thanks to my implosion in 2013, he’s now the only team to have never missed the playoffs. He’s also managed to strip his teams down and rebuild them on a yearly basis, so while I may not be in love with his draft, I’ve got no doubt he’ll be hanging around the postseason fray in mid-to-late September.

It looks as though – in a sign that the league is changing – Levi only drafted one member of the Atlanta Braves and he chose the only one that seems legitimately worth drafting this year, uber-closer Craig Kimbrel. As is customary for High Cheese, he built a rock solid bullpen and a solid rotation which will anchor his team all summer long.

The offense figures to be his Achilles heel and will require the most work to get High Cheese into contention. It’s a mix of good, not great players with very few standouts in any category. Moving from the bandbox of Baltimore to the cavernous confines of Seattle, Nelson Cruz figures to take a sizeable step backwards from his mammoth power numbers last season. Honestly, any team that voluntarily gives Freedie Freeman a hittable pitch, given how punchless the rest of the Atlanta lineup figures to be this season, should be banned from competitive play.

Big steps forward from rising stars like Anthony Rendon, Corey Dickerson, and Marcell Ozuna will be a deciding factor for where this club’s season goes.

moneygrubbers

08. money grubbers

Draft Pick # 11

2014 Rank: 5th
2013 Rank: 2nd
2012 Rank: 3rd
2011 Rank: 3rd
2010 Rank: 1st
2009 Rank: 2nd

Keepers: Andrew McCutchen (PIT–OF), Nolan Arenado (COL–3B) & Corey Kluber (CLE–SP)

First Pick: Carlos Gonzalez (COL-OF) [Round 1 – Pick 11]
Last Pick: Yoan Lopez/Fuck Off/Mike Pelfrey [Round 17 – Pick 235]
Best Pick: Chase Headley (NYY-1B/3B) [Round 15 – Pick 207]
Worst Pick: Jean Segura (MIL-SS) [Round 6 – Pick 74]

Rundown: I’m not nearly as sour on Mike’s club as much of the rest of the league is this year, but this is the lowest I’ve ever ranked him before (the second year in a row he’s received a new record low ranking). He did suffer from a serious case of THE GROUNDHOG throughout the draft which impacted his selections and led to Jay’s inevitable murder later this summer in a terrible “boating accident.”

The rotation could be a disaster or could turn into a solid middle-of-the-pack group, but no one in the mix is a sure thing to put up 200 innings and that could leave Mike scrambling to the waiver wire for starting pitching early and often in 2015. The bullpen could be dynamite, but only if the Yankees figure out their closing situation. Dellin Betances has looked rough this spring and may be pitching his way out of the closer’s role.

The offense is a good mix of power and speed, but when you take the keepers out of the picture you’re looking at a team that needs Carlos Gonzalez to get 500+ at-bats and have a big bounceback year. He also needs Mike Napoli, Chase Headley, and Jean Segura to have big bouncebacks as well after down years. Brandon Moss moves to a better hitting environment, but he’s also coming off hip surgery. Brian Dozier saw his power and speed fade in a big way in the second half last year and needs to avoid a similar second half swoon to maintain his value. Needless to say, there are question marks aplenty.

There is a lot of room for this club to prove everyone wrong, but there is also a very real chance that Mike has assembled his worst team in a long time. He’s got the chops to right the ship, but he’s definitely starting off a few steps behind the pack when the opening bells sounds on 2015.

domedog

07. Dome Dog

Draft Pick # 9

2014 Rank: 7th
2013 Rank: 12th
2012 Rank: 2nd
2011 Rank: 4th
2010 Rank: 8th
2009 Rank: N/A

Keepers: Troy Tulowitzki (COL-SS), Edwin Encarnacion (TOR-1B), & Chris Sale (CWS-SP)

First Pick: Chris Davis (BAL-1B/3B) [Round 1 – Pick 9]
Last Pick: Jake Diekman (PHI-RP) [Round 17 – Pick 233]
Best Pick: Steven Souza (TB-OF) [ Round 12 – Pick 160]
Worst Pick: Dustin Pedroia (BOS-2B) [Round 4 – Pick 48]

Rundown: I have mixed feelings on Adam’s draft, in large part because he was targeting many of the same players that I was, albeit more aggressively. I had Chris Davis (HE’S STILL 3B-ELIGIBLE, Y’ALL!!) as a huge pickup in my round 2-3 wrap. I loved Yelich as a breakout monster this year…but both were gone before I ever got a second selection.

I feel like Adam took a page out of my book going after undervalued, underappreciated veterans and a few buzzy rookies and that works if everything clicks. Davis and Yelich both need to provide big value to justify their draft slots. David Wright, Wil Myers, and Dustin Pedroia all need healthy, bounceback seasons for this offense to do what they’re capable of doing. The club could use some more speed, but a healthy Pedroia and Wright could realistically swipe 10-15 bags apiece and youngsters Steven Souza and Marcus Semien both look capable of posting 15/15 seasons of their own.

The rotation leaves a bit to be desired, especially with Hyun-jin Ryu experiencing arm issues similar to those that sidelined him late last year and Ervin Santana moving to Minnesota where he’ll undoubtedly revert to pitching batting practice for the opposition 30 times a year. #TheTwinsWay

Adam needs a lot of things to go right, especially in the health department, for this club to contend, but I really like the mix he’s put together and I’d expect him to be in the fight for the playoffs.

38mphheaters

06. 38 MPH Heaters

Draft Pick # 2

2014 Rank: 4th
2013 Rank: 14th
2012 Rank: 11th
2011 Rank: 14th
2010 Rank: 10th
2009 Rank: N/A

Keepers: Giancarlo Stanton (MIA-OF), Josh Donaldson (TOR-3B), & Julio Teheran (ATL-SP)

First Pick: Jose Altuve (HOU-2B) [Round 1 – Pick 2]
Last Pick: Michael Cuddyer (NYM-1B/OF) [Round 17 – Pick 226]
Best Pick: Adam LaRoche (CWS-1B) [Round 12 – Pick 167]
Worst Pick: Koji Uehara (BOS-RP) [Round 8 – Pick 111]

Rundown: The defending champion got stuck in the two hole in this draft and it was clear from the get go that he had not expected that at all. He made do with his position and put together a pretty solid squad overall. I’ve got him in my cream of the crop here as a potential playoff team, but I don’t think I’m as in love with this team as Morgan or Steven are right now.

Offensively, this club figures to have one of the stronger OBPs in the league and should provide plenty of thump with at least five players capable of hitting 25+ home runs. Jose Altuve and Elvis Andrus should handle the bulk of the running for this crew, but AJ Pollock – who is a monster breakout candidate – and Yasiel Puig figure to kick in 15-20 SB a piece.

I’m tempering my expectations a bit as Jose Altuve is just one year removed from pulling an Elvis Andrus impression, Matt Kemp is one year removed from spending all season in a body cast, Michael Cuddyer is made of glass, Albert Pujols is 300-years-old, and Elvis Andrus continues to be, well, Elvis Andrus.

On the flipside, the pitching looks formidable, but not intimidating. The loss of Darvish during keeper selection week was a buzzkill, but a guy could do a lot worse than turning to Julio Teheran as his ace stand-in for Darvish. If Morgan could swing a trade for someone like – oh I don’t know, let’s just say – Max Scherzer…that would be huge for this club. I’m worried about the bullpen most of all, but I think this club should contend.

My big question is how will Morgan respond if this wasn’t the perfect draft like last year and he’s forced to make moves and adapt? We haven’t seen that side of Morgan yet in this league and it just might be necessary for him to defend his crown.

Kris Bryant

05. Sea Bass v10.0

Draft Pick # 6

2014 Rank: 10th
2013 Rank: 4th
2012 Rank: 12th
2011 Rank: 8th
2010 Rank: 6th
2009 Rank: 10th

Keepers: Carlos Gomez (MIL-OF), Kris Bryant (CHC-3B), & Madison Bumgarner (SF-SP)

First Pick: Justin Upton (SD-OF) [Round 1 – Pick 6]
Last Pick: Jered Weaver (LAA-SP) [Round 17 – Pick 230]
Best Pick: Jered Weaver (LAA-SP) [Round 17 – Pick 230]
Worst Pick: Josh Harrison (PIT-2B/3B/OF) [Round 6 – Pick 79]

Rundown: I’m not going to lie, when I started making these rankings, Craiggers was slotted in 8th. The more I look at it, the more he keeps sliding up, and now we’re at the second-highest draft ranking ever for our resident whiskey-soaked computer guru.

I think the biggest strength of this club – for a second-year in a row – has to be the starting pitching. Sonny Gray, Carlos Carrasco, Yordano Ventura, Jesse Hahn, AND Jered Weaver makes for a very, very good rotation on their own, but he’s also still got a pretty solid keeper by the name of Madison Bumgarner. His bullpen, despite suffering slightly to accommodate with wealth of starters, is solid if not understaffed. I’d expect Craiggers to repeat last year’s strategy and move an arm or two from his surplus to fortify weaknesses elsewhere on this roster.

One area where Craiggers has zero need is power. Excluding, rookie Yasmani Tomas, EVERYONE Craiggers drafted had double-digit home runs last season and six of them had 17 or more. Hell he drafted THREE different players who drove in 100+ runs. This club could mash its way into contention pretty quickly…and that’s not factoring in Carlos Gomez, Tomas, or uber-prospect/keeper Kris Bryant.

The club is heavily banking on Bryant getting an early call-up and hitting out of the gates as well as Tomas adapting quickly to the big leagues. The club’s infield is comprised of players coming off career years, aging veterans, hyped rookies, and players looking for a big bounceback. I see this being the area where Craiggers may find himself scrambling for replacements as the season wears on.

dominators

04. Dominators

Draft Pick # 14

2014 Rank: 3rd
2013 Rank: 6th
2012 Rank: 5th
2011 Rank: 13th
2010 Rank: 2nd
2009 Rank: 4th

Keepers: Mike Trout (LAA-OF), Anthony Rizzo (CHC-1B), & Felix Hernandez (SEA-SP)

First Pick: Jose Reyes (TOR-SS) [Round 1 – Pick 14]
Last Pick: Wilmer Flores (NYM-2B/SS) [Round 17 – Pick 238]
Best Pick: Wade Davis (KC-RP) [Round 12 – Pick 155]
Worst Pick: Masahiro Tanaka (NYY-SP) [Round 5 – Pick 70]

Rundown: Steven loves himself the wrap. I think we can safely make that call at this point. He clearly was very unhappy with certain parts of the draft, as you may recall from him screaming “THAT’S MY FUCKING GUY!!!” roughly twice per round like a raving lunatic.

Despite that, I think he put together a pretty tight little team. I might be swayed by the many former Genies on his roster, but I really like this squad. He’s got power up and down the lineup, including three big-time, reliable mashers. He’s got a lot of speed and plenty of players who will contribute double-digit steals. He could take a beating in OBP, but the counting stats should make up for it.

I’m not overwhelmed by his rotation, I’d put it in the good, not great category. There is some serious injury risk – especially with Tanaka. His bullpen situation is interesting. He’s got two of the highest strikeout setup men in baseball, but one of them figures to be a fill-in closer for at least a month while his lone closer is on the DL, a move which figures to hinder his usage. Additionally, relievers are very hard to rely on from one year to the next, so there could be some regression here as well.

Ultimately, I like this team and I think it’s got plenty of upside, but the bullpen will need some tinkering – at least early on – and the rotation will require A LOT of things clicking for that assortment of arms to do what Steven’s expecting of them.

geniesinabottle

03. Genies in a Bottle

Draft Pick # 1

2014 Rank: 9th
2013 Rank: 5th
2012 Rank: 4th
2011 Rank: 2nd
2010 Rank: 3rd
2009 Rank: 3rd

Keepers: Carlos Santana (CLE-C/1B/3B), Adrian Beltre (TEX-3B), & Gio Gonzalez (WAS-SP)

First Pick: Ian Desmond (WAS-SS) [Round 1- Pick 1]
Last Pick: Pat Neshek (HOU-RP) [Round 17 – Pick #]
Best Pick: R.A. Dickey (TOR-SP) [Round 15 – Pick 197]
Worst Pick: Brett Gardner (NYY-OF) [Round 6 – Pick 84]

Rundown: I’m going to go out on a limb and assume there’s a handful of people who will disagree with my assessment on this one and I’m a-okay with that. As always, my rankings are fully subjective and based on my opinion and I am very, very high on the club I’ve assembled this year.

There is a great combination of speed and power on the offensive side of the ball – albeit likely at the cost of my OBP. I’m hoping that the counting stats can help mitigate my club’s deficiency in that department.

On the other side of the ball, I snagged two of the top second-tier closers, both who are projected to nail down 35+ games apiece. My rotation – much maligned by Steven – boasts three starters who tossed 200+ innings and three starters who notched 173Ks or better…and that’s not accounting for Gio Gonzalez as my keeper or rising stars Danny Duffy, Kevin Gausman, and Danny Salazar (who struck out 120 in 110 innings last season).

This club needs a lot of guys to live up to my high expectations (looking at you, Kolten Wong and Mookie Betts), but it’s built to compete week in and week out barring a full-on collapse or plague of injuries.

Heed my warning, nerds…2015 will bear witness to the rise of the Genies.

sldisappointments

02. SL Disappointments

Draft Pick # 3

2014 Rank: 11th
2013 Rank: 8th
2012 Rank: 7th
2011 Rank: 1st
2010 Rank: 11th
2009 Rank: 5th

Keepers: Jose Bautista (TOR-1B/OF), Kyle Seager (SEA-3B), & Mat Latos (MIA-SP)

First Pick: Cole Hamels (PHI-SP) [Round 1 – Pick 3]
Last Pick: Matt Cain (SF-SP) [Round 17 – Pick 227]
Best Pick: Matt Cain (SF-SP) [Round 17 – Pick 227]
Worst Pick: Dee Gordon (MIA-2B) [Round 2 – Pick 26]

Rundown: This is very reminiscent of John’s 2012 draft where he went full-bore to load up on top-notch pitching. The pre-season loss of Cliff Lee necessitated a move, but John went all-in and has built, arguably the best pitching staff in the league.

He has a rotation five deep and every one of his starters could potentially throw 200+ innings and pile up 175+ K. The lone member of his rotation who isn’t considered the “ace” of his team’s staff is Matt Cain – who is about a year and a half (and one magical World Series run from Madison Bumgarner) removed from being the “ace” of the Giants.

His bullpen could be absolutely lights out, but many of his pegged holds guys could end up in save situations sooner rather than later and may force him to adjust. Overall, however, this pitching staff looks elite.

The draft day attention his pitching staff received makes his offense even more impressive. Seven different players in his lineup hit double-digit home runs last year. Three of the four who didn’t, made up for it by cracking 35+ doubles. The other guy who didn’t hit double-digit homers made up for it by swatting a league leading 12 triples and swiping 64 bags.

There’s a chance for some regression on offense, but this club figures to be potent even with a small step back. This is arguably the best roster John has put together in a decade and if he’s on top of it this summer, it could be time for the inaugural champion to add another golden fish to his mantle.

crackerjack

01. cracker jack

Draft Pick # 13

2014 Rank: 2nd
2013 Rank: 1st
2012 Rank: 6th
2011 Rank: 5th
2010 Rank: 4th
2009 Rank: 6th

Keepers: Hanley Ramirez (BOS-SS/OF), Bryce Harper (WAS-OF), & Stephen Strasburg (WAS-SP)

First Pick: Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY-OF) [Round 1 – Pick 13]
Last Pick: Darren O’Day (BAL-RP) [Round 17 – Pick 237]
Best Pick: Brandon Belt (SF-1B) [Round 14 – Pick 184]
Worst Pick: Rusney Castillo (BOS-OF) [Round 5 – Pick 69]

Rundown: This club is getting a lot of hate for being “injury prone,” but looking at this roster, there is a very real chance that cracker jack is going to spend most of this season injuring his opponents.

He took some gambles on players coming back from injury (Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Homer Bailey) and combined them with two keepers who have earned the injury-prone label in Harper and Ramirez, but as of right now, all of those guys are expected to be 100% in 2015.

This club features power (literally every player drafted projects for double-digit home runs), speed (five different players drafted project for double-digit steals), and a very solid OBP across the board. That’s what you want to see out of your offense. The bats also figure to be bolstered by keeper Ramirez and draftee Pablo Sandoval moving from the cavernous stadiums of the National League West to the bandbox that is Fenway Park and the other launching pads that play home to clubs in the American League East.

The rotation will require some bouncebacks from Justin Verlander and a return to health for Michael Wacha and Homer Bailey, but overall this rotation could feature five pitchers who notch 175-200 innings and rack up 150+ K along the way. The bullpen boasts two elite closers and a top-flight setup man. Needless to say, this could be a very scary bunch.

I like this club a lot, despite the many red flags surrounding it and while I expect JUSTING to have turned over half the roster before June, the club he’s put together right now strikes me as a legitimate contender for a third golden fish.

———————

So there you have it, the definitive 2015 SLB Draft Rankings and Review.

Do you hate it? Agree with it? Wish I’d just stopped writing these for good?

Hit me up with your feedback.

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