Archive for Franchise Player Draft

2012 FanGraphs Franchise Player Draft

Last week, ESPN conducted their second annual Franchise Player Draft, where they recruited thirty of their contributors to select players to theoretically build a team around. When they did this last year, we thought it was a fun idea, so (with their permission), we did one ourselves. Obviously, our guys have a slightly different perspective than many of the ESPN guys, so while the idea is the same, the theories behind the picks are not. It won’t take very long for you to see where some of the ideological differences begin to display themselves.

The draftees were given fairly simple instructions — everyone is starting a franchise from scratch, so it’s up to you to decide how to value short term versus long term wins. You’re not currently in either rebuilding or win now mode, but what pick you make might determine which path you go down. You will control the player’s rights for 10 years, and the actual contract they are signed to in MLB does not come into play. This is solely based on expected future production, so there is no cost analysis that needs to be done. That’s the game — take the guy that you would most want to build around for the next 10 years.

So, without further ado, let’s get to the picks.

#1 — Mike Axisa: Matt Kemp, OF

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Jarrod Parker Deserves a September Call Up

For a prospect who has spent the past four seasons steadily ranked between numbers 29 and 46 on Baseball America’s top-100, the discussion surrounding Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect Jarrod Parker has varied wildly. From Tommy John surgery, to questions surrounding his recovery, the past couple of years has brought more questions than answers about the young right-hander.

In mid-July, I had the opportunity to scout Jarrod Parker in Chattanooga against recent Dodgers call-up Nathan Eovaldi in a battle of mid-90s hurlers. And while Eovaldi burst back onto the prospect scene this season as one of the best starters in the Southern League, Parker was better. Using predominantly fastballs and changeups, Parker dominated the Lookouts allowing only one earned run and two hits over five innings pitched. The outing was impressive enough for me to rank him in the top-15 amongst players I’ve ever had the opportunity to scout.

Video after the jump.

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Braun Improving As Franchise Player

A few weeks ago, I took Ryan Braun with the 10th pick in FanGraphs franchise player draft. Truth be told, I was set to pick Miguel Cabrera before Niv Shah grabbed him with the pick right before mine. I briefly considered an ace like Felix Hernandez or a top prospect, but “settled” on one of the best hitters in baseball who also runs the bases well despite his defense being an all-around negative.

In addition to his durability (150-plus games in each of the past three seasons) and past production (.307/.364/.554 from 2007-2010 with an average of over 70 extra-base hits), I also considered Braun’s improvements at the plate in 2011. His current .417 wOBA is the fourth-best in the National League and would be the highest-single season mark for him since his smashing 2007 debut (.422 wOBA in 113 games).

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Franchise Draft Discussion: Carl Crawford at #7

I can’t speak for the other writers here, but I can tell you one thing with certainty: I put way too much time into thinking about the FanGraphs Franchise Player Draft. Even though it was a hypothetical draft and merely a fun exercise, I found myself sweating bullets as my turn came around to pick. What’s the best strategy in this sort of draft? Should I go with upside, or with certainty? How much risk is too much risk, and how much is not enough? Gah, so many questions!

As we went through this draft, every one of us writers had to ask ourselves the exact same questions, and judging from the final results, each of us chose to answer them slightly differently. That’s one of the beautiful things in a draft like this: there’s no real “wrong” strategy (outside of selecting Chone Figgins or someone of that nature). Everyone still picked a potential franchise player — it’s just that each person’s pick can tell you a little about themselves if you look closely enough. For instance, I think Cistulli may just be one of those people that goes “All In” and then turns to his table-mate and says, “Now…what game is this again?” Go big or go home — Carson loves prospects and upside, and picking Mike Trout at #3 was living life on the wild side.

So why did I choose Carl Crawford with the #7 pick? I thought this was a potentially controversial pick at the time, but I had a very deliberate, thought-out reason for selecting Crawford. Let me explain.

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FanGraphs Franchise Player Draft

Last week, ESPN invited a group of 30 contributors – including myself and Jonah Keri – to take place in what they called the Franchise Player Draft. The directions were straight forward – throw out real life contracts and situations specific to Major League Baseball and simply evaluate the players for their abilities, deciding which one you would most want to build a franchise around if you were starting from scratch. We picked 1 through 30 and selected the player we would most want as our cornerstone going forward.

The concept was a lot of fun, and after the picks were revealed, many of you guys suggested that FanGraphs should do our own version – so we did. This week, we conducted an internal version of the same concept, asking 30 of our writers to pick the player left on the board that they would most want as their franchise player.

The results of that draft are below. I’m sure that, just like the ESPN version, you won’t agree with all 30 selections, but this is undoubtedly a fun exercise and hopefully gives some insight the perspectives of a variety of the staff members here.

1-1: Matthew Carruth

Evan Longoria. He was the first name to pop into my head when told I had the first pick and though I considered others, nobody knocked him off. Really wanted to take Felix, but couldn’t justify a pitcher at 1/1 and frankly, Longoria is just more valuable.

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