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.

1-2: David Appelman

Troy Tulowitzki. He’s still young (26) and at shortstop he has a great bat, and is a good fielder. The only thing not to like is his injury history, but none of them have been of the lingering variety. I probably would have snagged Longoria if he didn’t go first, but it would have been a tough call.

1-3: Carson Cistulli

Mike Trout. I recognize this could very well be a reach at No. 3, but the combination of sheer athleticism and baseball-specific skills (i.e. plate discipline) — combined with the fact that HE’S ONLY 19 (and raking at Double-A) — is incredibly promising. Also, will likely be good from marketing perspective. For all those reasons, could have picked Jason Heyward, too.

1-4: Matt Klaassen

Ryan Zimmerman. Matthew and The Dark Overlord took my first two choices, and I’m not quite brave enough to go the prospect route like Carson and pick Bryce Harper. I guess I’ll have to “settle” for Zimmerman despite his injury. I wanted a relatively young hitter at a tough position, and Zimmerman is only 26. The only thing Tulo really has on him is positional value — Zimmerman is a great defender, excellent hitter (who seems to be getting better, and good baserunner. It was tough to pass on guys King Felix, Hanley, Votto, and Chen, but once I thought about Zimmerman, I had to take him.

1-5: Dave Allen

Joey Votto. I am a little wary going with a guy whose value comes solely from the bat, but Votto is too good to pass up. He is just 27, has a history of good health, and is as good a bet to crush the ball over the next couple years as anyone in baseball.

1-6: Jack Moore

Albert Pujols. Sure, his last two months weren’t exactly Albert Pujols months, but come on — he still has a 135 wRC+ in what is pretty much the worst he could possibly do in two months. I know he’s 31, but you’re not going to find me betting on anybody — certainly not one of the top pitchers left like King Felix or Lincecum, and probably not even Jason Heyward — for anything more than 5 years down the road. He’s a .400 and possibly even .420 wOBA guy for the next 5 years, and I’ll take that to start a team.

1-7: Steve Slowinski

Carl Crawford. Maybe I’m just homesick, but I keep coming back to Crawford. I want to minimize risk as much as possible, so I’m steering away from pitchers, and I tend to think Craw gets criminally underrated by most people. He’s in his peak, has a skill set that generally ages well, and he’s a very well-rounded player: fast, great at defense, great on the basepaths, hits for average, and has some pop.

Plus, if I’m going to jinx one player to flop over the next five years, it might as well be a Red Sox.

1-8: Erik Hahmann

Jose Bautista. It’s hard to pass up a guy who on pace to far surpass his amazing 6.9 WAR 2010 season. He doesn’t have the sustained track record of the other picks, sans Trout of course, but I’m a believer in his newly found success. The changes he’s made in his swing and plate approach are amazing. I’ll take a .420-450 wOBA hitter for the next five plus years to start my team. Sign me up.

1-9: Niv Shah

Miguel Cabrera. As much as I want to grab a pitcher here, a bat as good as Cabrera’s simply cannot be ignored. He’s only 5 months older than the #5 pick Joey Votto and he’s been steady at first base since 2004. The only hitters ahead of him in WRC+ since 2008 are Pujols and Votto. I also considered King Felix and Hanley, but Hanley’s recent dip has me nervous on him and while Felix is Felix, he’s also a pitcher.

1-10: Tommy Rancel

Ryan Braun. Selecting an ace was tempting, but the allure of an elite hitter entering his prime won out. Braun’s fielding is a negative; however, not enough to scare me away. Offensively, he has the 7th highest wOBA since his 2007 debut. In addition to the power, he has increased his walk rate in each season while lowering his amount of whiffs. On top of that, he is decent baserunner and has played at least 150 games in each of the past three years. As the cherry on top, he will not turn 30 until after the 2013 season.

1-11: Paul Swydan

Clayton Kershaw — First pitcher comes off the board. I was tempted to go with a center fielder — Hamilton, McCutchen and especially Kemp — as well as Halladay, but Kershaw’s blend of youth and results won out. This season the 23-year-old lefty has pumped up his K/9 while reducing his BB/9, and his offspeed offerings are fast becoming the Majors’ most dominant (wSL/C and wCH/C both top five in Majors currently). With a road FIP under three both this year and last, he is no Dodger Stadium creation, and he won’t be 30 until well after the Rapture.

1-12: Eric Seidman

Bryce Harper — he is 18 years old and on pace to be a major league starter by the end of next season. On May 12 his slash line was .396/.472/.712, which was actually bogged down since he wasn’t wearing contact lenses for the first few weeks of the season. Word is he will move on up to Double A sometime soon — a .456 wOBA at Hagerstown likely merits that promotion — and if the Nationals are impressed with his production it won’t take long for further promotions. Ryan Zimmerman was handled much the same way. I considered other players in this spot — Felix, Hamels, McCann, J Upton, C Santana — but ultimately decided to take a risk on a player without a single major league plate appearance. Hard to see how Harper won’t be a legit stud.

Note: David Laurila, who did not have a selection in this draft, tried to perform a coup and draft Jay Bruce here. He had to be restrained by security and locked away until the draft finished.

1-13: Eno Sarris

Hanley Ramirez – Let’s not let his slow start keep us from remembering how great Hanley Ramirez really is. He has power. He has speed. He walks. He doesn’t strike out. He plays the most important defensive position on the infield. Of course, there are a few flaws in his game that people may point out. His defense isn’t great, yes. To which I would ask – if he was a better defensive third baseman with the same offensive stats, wouldn’t you want him on your team still? Lastly, he might have some concentration issues. With age comes wisdom, and even if it doesn’t, he’s been pretty sweet so far, even with those supposed issues. Ramirez is sixth in WAR since he joined the league full-time in 2006, and everyone ahead of him is older than him. Sign me up for a 27-year-old shortstop with all the tools, even if he’s on the DL right now.

1-14: Jesse Wolfersberger

Jason Heyward – I have to say, I’m surprised that Heyward is still here. He was Baseball America’s #1 prospect last year, and – unlike many top prospects – successfully made the adjustment to major league pitching. The 21-year-old has defense, baserunning, power, ridiculous plate discipline (14.1-percent walk rate), and one 5+ WAR season already under his belt. His current injury is the only red flag here, but he is too young and talented to let slip any farther.

1-15: Mike Axisa

Andrew McCutchen – Couldn’t be happier with this pick; I’m getting a true five-tool guy still shy of his 25th birthday. McCutchen does it all, with increasingly gaudy walk (12.5%) and power (.207 ISO) numbers that compliment his speed and standout defense (now that the Pirates have stopped with the no-triples alignment) at a premium position. McCutchen has never missed anything more than a handful of days due to injury as well, so his durability is a plus. He’s poised to go on a run of multiple 6+ wins seasons.

1-16: Jason Catania

Adrian Gonzalez. After debating alternatives like King Felix and Jose Reyes, I decided on A-Gon for his proven big-league stability, consistency and production. He just turned 29, putting him smack dab in the middle of what should be a long prime given his position and durability (he’s played at least 156 games in each of the past five seasons). And with the game increasingly shifting toward pitching, speed and defense, there’s a premium on power; so I want a lefty-hitting masher like Gonzalez — his already-impressive numbers were suppressed by Petco — who can also hit for average and get on base (.372 career wOBA) to anchor my lineup for years. And he’s a plus defender, to boot.

1-17: Joe Pawlikowski

Jay Bruce. I was going back and forth between him and Reyes, but he’s bringing the power at a time when it’s down in general. He’s living up to all that No. 1 prospect hype, and even though he plays a non-premium position he’s going to be a middle of the order bat for years to come.

1-18: Dave Cameron

Felix Hernandez. I was pretty relieved when David Schoenfeld took Felix Hernandez one spot ahead of me in the ESPN Franchise Player Draft, which made it an easy call to go for a position player with the #4 pick. It would have been hard to justify taking any pitcher ahead of of MVP caliber position players, but here at #18, I’ll do backflips over getting Felix. While pitchers are substantially greater risks, a hard-and-fast “no pitchers” rule misses out on the balance between risk and reward, and Felix is the value selection in this spot. If he’s not the best pitcher in baseball, then he’s really close, and none of the position players left on the board hold that kind of edge over their peers. He might break down, but it’s not like Jose Reyes, Justin Upton, or Carlos Santana come without their fair share of risk. I’ll take my chances with Felix.

1-19: Zach Sanders

Matt Kemp — This came down to Kemp or Jose Reyes, but Reyes’ injuries and other medical problems scared me off a bit. Kemp is still only 26, so it’s entirely possible the best is yet to come. Sure, he’s not a great defensive center fielder, but you can always move him to one of the corners and his value doesn’t fall too far. His combination of power, speed, and youth is just too much to pass up in the second half of the draft.

1-20: Chris Cwik

Justin Upton – I still believe Upton is a true 5-tool player with a legitimate chance to get better. He’s still only 23 years old, and his ceiling was sky high entering last season. It seems like his down year in 2010, caused by a shoulder injury, has caused people to temper their expectations for Upton. He’s the one player I hoped would be here when I picked, so I’m extremely satisfied with this selection.

1-21: Jeff Zimmerman

Eric Hosmer. That’s all he said, so we’re assuming that he’s either going to let Hosmer’s talents speak for themselves, of Laurila got free and took Jeff out moments after this selection occurred.

1-22: Navin Vaswani

Roy Halladay — You say he’s 34. I say he transcends age. While Doc will likely go down as the oldest player selected in this draft, the bottom line is: he’s getting better. There’s no other ace I’d want to mentor my staff, in terms of preparedness, work ethic, and, well, pitching. Doc’s strikeout rate is on the rise, and he remains the groundball pitcher of my dreams. And, on top of it all, he mastered his craft in baseball’s toughest division. If, as Mr. Keri rightly points out, we could all be dead tomorrow, I’m going out with Roy Halladay.

1-23: Patrick Newman

Joe Mauer — I assume that Mauer wouldn’t have made it this far if he was healthy. He’s had a historically great bat at catcher thus far in his career, and though he’s got a bit more wear and tear than most of the guys on this list, he’s still only 28. I will say that I’m kind of banking on the assumption that his injuries aren’t career threatening.

1-24: Alex Remington

Since Jeff took Hosmer, I’ll take Robinson Cano. If I were a bit more bold I’d have gone for Verlander, but it’s hard not to take the best under-30 middle infielder left on the board. I’d hope that his improvement in walks last year is legitimate, as he’s a spectacular contact hitter with plus power who appears to have improved his glove from leaden to adequate. He’s just 28, so he should have another half-decade of fine work.

1-25: Bradley Woodrum

Gimme summa dat Mike Stanton! No, not either of the two now-retired middle relievers by that same name; I want Mike Stanton, 21-year-old outfielding phenom. He wowed us with a 118 wRC+ as a 20-year-old rookie last year, adding some nearly 9 runs of defensive awesomeness to boot. This year, he’s walking more, striking out less, and — oh yeahz — straight-murdering the ball (on pace for 34 homers). His 141 wRC+, good-to-great defense, and jawline that could slice a diamond scream “franchise keystone.”

1-26: David Golebiewski

Brian McCann. McCann has quietly racked up more WAR than any catcher not named Mauer over the past three calendar years, and he hasn’t experienced anywhere near the same physical problems as Mauer. McCann’s plate patience and power are very hard to find from a capable backstop. And, at 27 years old, he should have several productive seasons left in the tank.

1-27: Howard Bender

Starlin Castro — What better way to build the foundation of a franchise than starting with a shortstop who could conceivably play another 15-20 years? The talent is raw and in need of some refinement both at the plate and in the field, but Castro is only 21 years old and will continue to improve across the board. There’s not a lot of power and just modest speed, but he is a pure contact hitter, both inside and outside the zone, and doesn’t strike out very often. Potential batting champion here who will grow to be one of the top shortstops in the near future.

1-28: Marc Hulet

Stephen Strasburg — I debated a number of different names including young shortstop Elvis Andrus but – with one of the last picks in the round – I decided to take a risk on Strasburg. Had he been healthy, I imagine he would have been gone in the first five picks. When healthy, Strasburg showed a once-in-a-generation arm. With Tommy John surgery where it is today, most pitchers come back as strong – or stronger – than before the surgery. In five years, this move will either be hailed as one of the smartest baseball moves ever, or I’ll be out of a job and possibly the punch line for late night talk show hosts. Strasburg turns 23 years old in July and should be back on the mound for April, 2012 and has the potential to be an ace for the next decade or more.

1-29: Jonah Keri

Tim Lincecum — I get the risk aversion method, that pitchers break down, that most long-term contracts for pitchers end in misery, plagues, and death. But value is value, and Timmah is valuable. He struggled for a stretch last season. There were some worries about reduced fastball velocity, command wasn’t quite as stellar as it had been. He rebounded down the stretch, finished with three strikeouts for every one walk, struck out more than a batter an inning, kept the ball in the park, and was worth more than 5 wins to his team. That’s an off-year. This season he’s dialed his velocity back up, trimmed his walk rate, and is on pace to approach a 6-win campaign. You can count the number of pitchers who are likely to repeat that for the next 5+ years on one hand.

1-30: Reed MacPhail

Colby Rasmus. Marc picked my pocket by taking Strasburg, but I’ll settle for a 24 year-old centerfield who impacts the game in a lot of ways. Rasmus is an above-average defender, a solid baserunner, and I love that he’s walking more and striking out less this season. He’s not a real sexy pick, but he should provide a lot of 5+ win seasons. I also considered Carlos Santana and Carlos Gonzalez, but the wear-and-tear of catching and the transition from Coors scarred me off.

There you have it – a Franchise Player Draft according to FanGraphs. Which picks diverge the most from what you expected? Who got the biggest steal? We’re sure you guys will have plenty of opinions, so fire away.



Print This Post



Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Dave Gershman
Guest
Dave Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

I like Carson’s aggressiveness. I also like Matt’s pick of Zimmermann. A lot.

Paul Sporer
Member
Member
4 years 11 months ago

I hated Carson’s pick. It was the Ramos of this draft. Pretty indefensible at #3, IMO. Wouldn’t kill a franchise when starting from scratch, but I just don’t like it.

Resolution
Guest
Resolution
4 years 11 months ago

I hated Carson’s pick as well as pick 1, 2, and 4-30 since (unless I’ve misread) none of the players selected were Richie Sexson.

eric
Guest
eric
4 years 11 months ago

exactly

Telo
Guest
Telo
4 years 11 months ago

I made the entire draft a joke. Trout. At #3. That’s what happens when you let a poet play GM.

Other horrible selections:

Crawford (A reach at 7)
Kershaw (Also a reach)
Bruce (Pawlikowski is just an idiot)
Hosmer (See: Trout… and simpsons line about the boat…)
Rasmus (HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAH0

Honestly. Colby. Rasmus.

Linus
Guest
Linus
2 years 9 days ago

Ha! It is extremely funny when the poets are smarter than you are.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 11 months ago

Rather than take someone who is definitely an elite player, he picked someone who *might* become that. Even if he does reach his ceiling, he’s not going to give you that productivity right away.

Considering the rules (contracts don’t exist), it makes no sense to me to take an unproven prospect.

Ben
Guest
Ben
4 years 11 months ago

Agreed…I just don’t get the logic of taking a guy who may soon be one of the best players in the game when you can just, you know, take one of the best players in the game.

eric
Guest
eric
4 years 11 months ago

I think the logic is it’s a calcultated risk. If you just look at the WAR leaderboard you pick Bautista, hands down — of course – but if you’re looking forward a few seasons (assuming that in throwing out “real life contracts and situations specific to Major League Baseball” you can control the player for a long period of time) an extremely young player like the two Cistulli was choosing between, Trout or Heyward, is a good move.

The other reason was marketability, which isn’t addressed in these criticisms. While I don’t know if I’d have much to say about this either it’s true that for choosing a franchise player it would be a factor for the franchise. If you’re going to criticize this pick you probably should at least address this part of his reasoning.

Ben
Guest
Ben
4 years 11 months ago

As has been written time and time again on fangraphs, the marketability of players is vastly overrated. Fans don’t come to the ballpark to see individual players, they come to see a winning team. The best thing you could do from a marketing perspective is to pick the player who will make your team the most competitive.

As for the long-term value, of course I understand that. I would not suggest taking Bautista as high as #3. But you’re setting up a false dichotomy where you have to choose between A) one of the best players in the game or B) one of the players who will be one of the best players in the game for the next 10 years. In reality, there are plenty of players who already fit into both A and B, or are at least on the cusp of A while fitting into B. Ryan Zimmerman is 26 and one of the five or so best players in the game. Justin Upton is 23 and already a good major league player with upside. Same with McCutchen who is 24. Mike Stanton is 21 and could lead the majors in homers this year. Starlin Castro was born in 1990 (!) and already one of the better players in baseball at the game’s most premium defensive position.

And then of course there’s the larger point- we have simply come to overvalue prospects. Mike Trout (and Harper, and Machado who gets no mention here but probably should) are phenomenal, precocious talents. But if we’d done this exercise five years ago, you know who the top five prospects in baseball were? In order: Delmon Young, Justin Upton, Brandon Wood, Jeremy Hermida, and Stephen Drew. That’s not cherrypicking either (although it may be the worst top 5 around then). But go look at the top handful of prospects over the past decade and you’ll find a mixed bag. Rarely did the top two guys both go on to become star, ‘franchise’ type players.

The point is, Mike Trout, while only 19 and dominating in the minors, has never taken an MLB at bat. He might be a star, but he also may not pan out. It’s simply too insane a risk to take when you can just instead opt for a 21 year old guy who’s already an excellent MLB player or a 26 year old who is one of the game’s best players.

eric
Guest
eric
4 years 11 months ago

These are good points, Ben.

eric
Guest
eric
4 years 11 months ago

I really can’t say anything about marketability, I was surprised that Cistulli mentioned it then equally surprised that in responding people didn’t mention it.

In terms of comparisons you’re right to bring up fourth pick Ryan Zimmerman — and his back to back 7 WAR seasons! — or 23 year old Justin Upton rather than Bautista. I still think that Carson’s calculated risk is a defensible one but I’m curious about your perspective here, where do you think prospects like Bryce Harper or Mike Trout should rank in a draft like this? End of the first round? Second round? Later?

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

Agreed. Based on the similarities (premium defense, high OPS at young age, plate discipline) Cistulli would have selected Kotchman 5 years ago.

There’s just no rational for that pick. None, because Trout’s upside is already present in MLB. I also think Pujols should easily be number one, and the fact he isn’t means at least five participants over-thought their selection.

Ben
Guest
Ben
4 years 11 months ago

Good question Eric, and if I were smart enough to answer it I’d probably be writing for fangraphs instead of commenting on the story. I’d love to see Dave take this on as a follow up (Where Should Trout, Harper, and Machado Go In a Franchise Player Draft?) or maybe just hear from the other writers where they would have taken them.

Glancing at the rest of the picks, there are a handful of guys whom I’d consider passing on for one of the three prospects. But then again, there are also a few guys who weren’t selected (CarGo, Price, Andrus off the top of my head) who I’d have to consider. So at a quick glance, I’d imagine low first round is defensible but high second is probably where I’d be more comfortable with it.

Michael Scarn
Guest
Michael Scarn
4 years 11 months ago

I’ll assume Wilson Ramos went 31st.

Kool
Guest
Kool
4 years 11 months ago

I LOVE the Trout pick. That was ballsy. He doesn’t look like one of those BABIP-influenced prospect phenomenons that the Angels have had in recent years.

I can’t believe that Strasburg was selected ahead of Tim Lincecum.

Paul Sporer
Member
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Being ballsy and being smart are two different things, LOL. You like taking someone who have never played a major league game but you’re baffled by Strasburg over Lincecum? Not terribly different, IMO. That said, I’d have taken Lincecum ahead of him. And I’d have never taken Trout @ 3.

Love Carson, but that’s an odd pick.

eric
Guest
eric
4 years 11 months ago
Telo
Guest
Telo
4 years 11 months ago

Ahahahahahahahahah

That made me laugh out loud, hard.

hey, it could even be a boat! And you know how long we’ve wanted one of those…

Basil Ganglia
Guest
Basil Ganglia
4 years 11 months ago

IMHO – Jonah Keri has the steal of the draft with Lincecum at #29.

GiantHusker
Guest
GiantHusker
4 years 11 months ago

Good choice, but I rate Woodrum’s pick of Mike Stanton at #25 as the steal of the draft.
I was amazed to see so many mentions of Jose Reyes, but nobody had the bad sense to actually choose this DL perennial
This was a fun exercise altogether. I enjoyed it more than any other article for some time.

Bradley Woodrum
Member
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Y’know what? I AGREE!!!

Blue
Guest
Blue
4 years 11 months ago

Absolutely. He would have been in my top 5 with Zimm, Longoria, Tulo, and Votto.

Evan_S
Member
Evan_S
4 years 11 months ago

DL perennial? The guy played four straight seasons of 150+ games or more, and 2009’s injury was mostly because the Mets handled him terribly, rushing him back when he wasn’t ready. In 2010, he had bad luck (a thyroid issue that’s 1 in a million) and his oblique injury mid year was exacerbated by Jerry Manuel’s ingenious idea to only allow him to hit right handed instead of letting him sit for a week.

If Tulo is a top 5 pick, there’s no reason Reyes shouldn’t be at least a top 20. Tulo himself has had some injury history as well.

Zack Arenstein
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

I’m sorry, but Jose Reyes not being picked is an absolute travesty. Colby Rasmus? Are you serious? Roy Halladay at 34 years old? That’s stupid too.

speckops
Guest
speckops
4 years 11 months ago

I’d be willing to bet that over the next 4 years, Halladay has a higher WAR than Reyes.

William
Guest
William
4 years 11 months ago

Not really the point.

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 11 months ago

franchises last longer than 4 years

Evan_S
Member
Evan_S
4 years 11 months ago

Agreed. Reyes’ 3 best seasons are better than Tulo’s, he’s only 16 months older and has absolutely been phenomenal this season. Not saying he’s better than Tulowitzki, just that he’s not that far off the guy.

Sean ONeill
Member
Sean ONeill
4 years 11 months ago

I’d much rather have Rasmus over Reyes. Rasmus is a potential 5 tool player in CF, he’s only 24, and he’s done an excellent job shoring up the few weaknesses he had coming into the league (he’s totally eliminated his platoon split against LHP and he’s cut way down on his Ks). I would not be surprised to see him run off a long stretch of 5+ WAR seasons over the next decade.

Julian Levine
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Seconded. Timmy at #29 is an absolute steal.

eric
Guest
eric
4 years 11 months ago

I liked this pick too.

Jvoxx
Guest
Jvoxx
4 years 11 months ago

I really like the Rasmus pick late. Kid is a 5-6 win player at 24, with the potential to improve power, reduce K rate, and work on defense. He has the tools, and he’s putting them together. He’s one of the more underrated youngsters in baseball, In my mind. I’d take him over Heyward easily, if you dismiss years of team control left.

Ben Hall
Member
Member
Ben Hall
4 years 11 months ago

I’m not saying it’s a bad pick, but he is not yet an established 5-6 win player. He had 4.3 last year, and is _on pace_ for about 5 this year.

Zachary
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Good picks overall. Would be worried about Trout. If you’re going to go prospect, I would pick a bigger basher for run production. Harper would be my first minor leaguer.

Was surprised how far Felix fell, but I’m biased.

Would be concerned with Pujols a bit as well. I know it sounds silly, but we just haven’t had the chance to see mid-to-late-30’s boppers since steroid era (Thome and Konerko do seem to still have it though).

Eric P
Guest
Eric P
4 years 11 months ago

Are you really surprised King Felix lasted that long? I mean, he only had 12 wins last year!

B13a
Member
B13a
4 years 11 months ago

You underestimate The King…he had 13 wins last year…

Eric P
Guest
Eric P
4 years 11 months ago

Dang it. I knew I should have looked that up before I posted…

Dan M
Guest
Dan M
4 years 11 months ago

From 2009 to present, the top WAR guys not drafted include hitters Ben Zobrist, Matt Holliday, and Chase Utley. For pitchers we got Justin Verlander, Cliff Lee, Zach Greinke, and CC Sabathia. Most of those snubs make sense though I’m surprised nobody mentioned Matt Holliday. Actually, I’m pretty sure Verlander was the only one of those guys that did get mentioned.

Roy
Guest
Roy
4 years 11 months ago

Zobrist’s offense has fluctuated after one awesome season, Holliday and Utley are injured, Lee and Sabathia are old for a draft like this (as was Halladay) and Grienke is another guy with a lot of value tied up in one season.

Bradley Woodrum
Member
Member
4 years 11 months ago

I briefly considered Ben Zobrist at 25, but last year’s offensive down — combined with his relative older age — and I decided to go with pure, youthful upside (in Mike Stanton).

williams .482
Member
Member
williams .482
4 years 11 months ago

although you are right in that he does not deserve a first round pick, Zobrist’s versatility does give him a bit of additional value in that he really does not block anyone. I would probably consider him very strongly in the second or third round.

Bradley Woodrum
Member
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah, if he’s around at 2-25, I would totally nab him there. Of course, we only were going one round. :(

keegs
Member
keegs
4 years 11 months ago

Nationals: 3 in the top 30…before pieces already in the show locked up like Espinosa, Werth, Storen, Zimmermann and Ramos.

Curly dub is takin’ over.

JH
Guest
JH
4 years 11 months ago

Plus Rendon.

hawkinscm
Member
hawkinscm
4 years 11 months ago

I like the Jose Bautista pick. He’s the best hitter in baseball right now, and he seems like he’s so locked in that he’s going to be tearin’ it up for a long time to come.

On the other hand, I’ll assume Bruce Chen wasn’t taken because he’s on the DL right now, but under normal circumstances he’s the first pitcher off the board.

Colm
Guest
Colm
4 years 11 months ago

Bruce Chen? Huh?

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

Lift your head up a little bit; hear that “whoosh” sound?

JoeDaddy
Guest
JoeDaddy
4 years 11 months ago

Big Game Timmy Jim at #29 in the draft? Gotta be the best value on the board, right there.

Love the Stanton pick at #25. A yr from now, it’s pretty easy envision him going top-10 in a franchise draft like this.

Surprised Starlin Castro went ahead of Jose Reyes in the SS category…

Herlin
Guest
Herlin
4 years 11 months ago

I am a little surprised that David Price isn’t mentioned in the discussion at all. Why?

William
Guest
William
4 years 11 months ago

Because he’s not as good as the other people picked?

Greg
Guest
Greg
4 years 11 months ago

Kershaw and Strasburg being better than him is debatable, of course they both have the youth advantage.

Chris
Guest
Chris
4 years 11 months ago

AL East is much more difficult to pitch in than the NL West.

bartleby
Guest
bartleby
4 years 11 months ago

I get this sneaking suspicion we’re going to look back on Longoria in 10 years and think “wow, we overrated him for a decade.”

DKulich44
Guest
DKulich44
4 years 11 months ago

Hard to overrate some one that, since 2008, has been 2nd in WAR. He sits just behind the guy considered to be the best player in baseball for the last 10 years.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 11 months ago

Are you implying his defense isn’t as good as the metrics say?

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 11 months ago

are you suggesting that in 10 years the words “over” and “under” will have swapped meanings?

Meatslab
Guest
Meatslab
3 years 11 months ago

I was just skimming through the comments while comparing this year’s draft to last year’s and noticed this little exchange. Your comment made me burst out laughing in a quiet, semi-crowded place, Jim. Thank you.

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

I think the same about Stanton (and don’t at all about Longoria). If minor league pitchers struck the guy out 150 times a season, I suspect their major league brethen will have a far easier time.

xrayxtals
Guest
xrayxtals
4 years 11 months ago

His K rate is down from last year, while he BB rate is up. You say that as if 150 K a year is terrible. When it comes from a perennial threat for the HR crown, you take it and love it.

Louis
Guest
Louis
4 years 11 months ago

Good job with McCann. The ESPN draft was a travesty with Posey, Santana and Ramos all getting picked and not Mac. With others having major injuries, Mac is the best catcher is baseball and is right in is prime.

reillocity
Member
reillocity
4 years 11 months ago

Shouldn’t he be Mc?

JT Grace
Guest
JT Grace
4 years 11 months ago

Couldn’t agree more. That ESPN draft was a joke with the guys they selected ahead of Brian McCann.

Dick
Guest
Dick
4 years 11 months ago

Nice draft! On my dynasty team, I have 8 of the 30 (Tulo,Zimm,Trout,Felix,Kershaw,Bruce,Hosmer, & Rasmus). It’s only a 10 team league, but 27% of top 30 is still very strong.

Ivdown
Guest
Ivdown
4 years 11 months ago

Why would this get negative votes?

Brad
Guest
Brad
4 years 11 months ago

Because no one wants to hear about his fantasy team

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

Cabrera, Braun, Votto, Pujols. That is the top 4 for any franchise. It isn’t even close. After that you might be fine, but since it took 10 picks to take the top 4 players and none went in the top 3, you should just trashed this article and start over.

GiantHusker
Guest
GiantHusker
4 years 11 months ago

You are obviously one of those casual fans who thinks HR’s are everything, but then why not Bautista (or maybe Stanton)?

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

If I thought HRs were everything, I would have mentioned Bautista and Stanton, and not listed Votto as the third best player. Braun can do literally everything. Cabrera is the best player in baseball. He can hit the ball anywhere and gets on base and converts on RISP. He also is the most feared player according to pitchers. Pujols has shown he is a monster for 10 straight years. He might be at the edge of his prime, but he is still years away from being out of the top tier of players. If you think this list is good, then you are one of those people who doesn’t care about results.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

Hey Michael Bourne, just wanted to correct you on a few glaring typos I found. It’s no big deal, really, just helps clarify the point you’re looking to make.

“Braun can do literally everything.”
“Cabrera is the best player in baseball.”
“He [Cabrera] also is the most feared player according to pitchers.”
“If you think this list is good, then you are one of those people who doesn’t care about results.”

Number 3 especially made me giggle. “According to pitchers.” Better luck next time, friend.

majorkong
Member
majorkong
4 years 11 months ago

Cabrera. Not the best hitter in baseball. Below average first baseman. How does that add up to best player in baseball?

leoleo
Member
leoleo
4 years 11 months ago

Aside from the fact that it would be impossible for Ryan Braun to do literally everything, when it comes to baseball, he cannot field his position well.

phoenix2042
Member
Member
phoenix2042
4 years 11 months ago

uuuuh… sarcasm i hope?

aap212
Guest
aap212
4 years 11 months ago

Four guys with little to no positional value are your top four?

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

I am sorry. I thought the point was to draft the foundation of a franchise. If you built a franchise, why wouldn’t you start with the best player in baseball and go from there? If fangraphs could explain that, then maybe I would pick a player with zero mlb at bats over Miguel.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

Michael: context matters, too. First of all, Cabrera is not the best player in baseball. But, whatever, let’s assume he is. If you’re the Rangers, or Giants, or Phillies–a good major league team contending for a title with a need at 1B (assume Ryan Howard doesn’t exist or his contract is negligible; I’m sure plenty of Phillies fans do), then yes, Pujols or Votto or Cabrera would be an excellent choice as they are trying to win now. However, if you’re the Pirates or the Royals, those guys aren’t going to help you all that much as your major league product isn’t great. It would be better to take a Stanton, or Longoria, or Trout, or Harper because they are younger and will be at their best when your organization’s prospects and young players are at their best as well. Like just about everything else in this game, this exercise is not black-and-white and what may seem to be may not, in fact, be.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

So Miguel Cabrera wouldn’t make the Pirates or Royals a better team? I argue Cabrera will still be the best or one of the best players for a decade, and so unless you don’t plan on trying to make a winning team (like the Pirates and Marlins), Cabrera will be a threat. In addition, if I built a franchise from scratch, Cabrera would make my team good now by himself. That is before I add my second, third, fourth, ect. picks around him.

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

Mike, your argument is solid, yet your pick isn’t. I’m not saying that Cabrera isn’t the top hitter in baseball, although I doubt he is even if he and his peers switched leagues and stadiums. What I am saying is that he has a drinking problem, and because he does, not only is his game unreliable but his career arc will probably be effected by that.

Just say “Pujols”, as that works for everyone except Carruth, Appleman, Cistulli, Klaasen, Allen, and maybe Moore.

Your contention that a premium bat is most valuable is legit to me.

Eminor3rd
Member
Eminor3rd
4 years 11 months ago

Sultan/Bourne

It’s not just about the value of the defense they play, it’s about the fact that they play the position they do. The point of positional scarcity is the fact that way fewer good hitters play SS/3B than play 1B/LF. So if you had to pick first, you’d pick the elite hitter at the position where it’s super hard to find a good hitter, assuming that you can pick a good hitter at the other positions later. In other words, it’s way easier to find/develop a good hitting 1B than a good hitting SS.

Would you rather have M. Cabrera and someone like Alex Gonzalez, or Tulowitzki and someone like Paul Konerko? The latter combination will produce a lot more because even though Cabrera is the best overall hitter of the bunch, Konerko can produce 85% or what Cabrera can and is just a middle of the road 1B. Gonzalez is a middle of the road SS, but can only produce maybe 50% of what Tulo can.

Does that make sense?

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

Oh, now it makes much more sense. Thanks for clearing things up, Eminor :D

I would pick a premium bat first, and I don’t care where he plays. Figure, there are a dozen of these guys; guys who year in and year out are 1.000 OPS monsters. Way less common than good (.850ish) hitting fielders.

jrogers
Member
jrogers
4 years 11 months ago

If you only want to read articles that agree with you 100%, you should probably just write and read your own blog.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

I like fangraphs because they like to put the numbers back into baseball. The whole point is to look at players and judge them by their production (past and future). Somehow they ignore stats when making this list.

JH
Guest
JH
4 years 11 months ago

So um, what stats show Miguel Cabrera is the best player in baseball? Th famed “pitcher fear index?”

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

Pitcher fear index? As in Intentional walks? Cabrera has 13 this year. That tops mlb in 2011. I guess that is manager fear index but it says enough for that point.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

In addition, Cabrera had 24 in the post asb last year leading that period.

dnc
Guest
dnc
4 years 11 months ago

So managers don’t respect the hitters behind Cabrera. Guess that settles it. Miggy’s the best.

Tigers homers are teh funny.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

Three first baseman and a left “fielder.” Hrmmmmm…

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

“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.”

So removing positions and lineup protection and ball parks, that is the direction of this article. When 30 “experts” can’t even follow their own instructions, I wouldn’t expect you to.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

Ooooooooo, a biter. Aren’t you quick to snap back? Man, if everyone on a webpage filled with (supposedly…) intelligent readers and, in your words, 30 FREAKING EXPERTS disagrees with you…well, yeah. You’re probably not seeing something that we’re all missing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

So are we trying to argue that you are able to link to wikipedia better than me, or that you know less about reading the introduction to an article than I do? I don’t understand why anyone would pick in this order, and no one has yet to explain why Longoria, Tulowitzki, Trout, and Zimmerman are better choices for the foundation of a franchise than Votto, Pujols, Cabrera, and Braun. Is it age (I know 27 is old)? Accounting for position depth when an article starts by saying to ignore baseball factors and look at ability? I still don’t have an answer.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

Holy Christ, this isn’t difficult. From 2008 to present, position, WAR and age:

Pujols: 1B, 27.5, 31.
Longoria: 3B, 22.3, 25.
Votto: 1B, 19.3, 27.
Zimmerman: 1B, 17.6, 26.
Braun: LF, 17.4, 27.
Cabrera: 1B, 16.9, 28.
Tulowitzki: SS, 15.7, 26.
Trout: CF, 0, 19.

Pujols is over 30, easiest position to find production from. Votto is about average with the glove, easiest position to find production from. Cabrera is poor with the glove, easiest position etc. Braun is abysmal with the glove, second easiest position to find production from. Tulo and Trout play + defense at premium positions, Zim and Longo play ++ defense at a tough position. Tulo, Longo, and Zim are slightly below Cabrera, Votto, and Pujols (not-so-slightly) with the bat and are superior in every way defensively at much tougher positions. I thought Trout was a stretch, but Tulo, Zim, and Longo all more than make up for the disparity in offense with their positions and defense, which were actually included in this exercise despite your best efforts to overlook that. “…evaluate players for their abilities…” i.e. defense counts. Have fun brooding and being wrong, snark doesn’t suit you, etc.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

Also, I was making fun of you with the wikipedia link. Please take the time to read it and hopefully get the joke, I thought it was funny. I mean, I wouldn’t expect you to get it–you seem to have a habit of missing the point–but, for my sake, I’d appreciate you giving it a whirl.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

Thanks for a statistical answer shrouded by vein insults. I guess I don’t agree with the WAR then, but at least there is more to make sense of the picks than I thought.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

I reserve my vein insults for only the most difficult to deal with; typically those who fired first. Rejoice in know you have justly received them, friend.

ToddM
Guest
ToddM
4 years 11 months ago

What exactly is a vein insult, anyway?

Your momma’s so vericose, her legs look like a trail map at a national park?”

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 11 months ago

Wait wait wait… I need to understand this. How does the words “throw out real life contracts and situations specific to Major League Baseball” end up meaning “do not consider the positions players play?” Are you implying that ONLY in MLB do we have SS or CF or 2B or 3B? We are STILL talking about, you know, baseball, right?

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

My point on position is when I am picking the first player in my franchise that I would simply ignore position and take best player available. Then from there I start taking position into account as well as how to compliment my first pick. I think the bpa are in order Cabrera, Braun, Votto, and Pujols. I can find players to compliment Cabrera quicker than Longo, but that is my opinion.

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 11 months ago

if you can you should probably apply for a job with the detroit tigers front office because they’ve been trying to do that for years.

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah… You obviously suffer from “I am an average fan” syndrome. Because it’s clear in your mind, talent = hitting. As long as you can hit, who cares what other skills you have. That in and of itself doesn’t make you a complete idiot; naive, perhaps. Except, of course, you have to go off here and call everyone else who doesn’t think the same stupid, and not only that, say that they “can’t follow instructions.” In the game of baseball, people don’t just go up there and swing the bat… They catch and throw and run too.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

Baseball players run and catch and throw? Is that how it works? Well good thing you are here to tell me that. I guess that is how you factor in a gold glove. Cust Kayin’

As for the Tigers supporting Miguel, I only have to point to Victor Martinez this year.

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 11 months ago

Well first of all, besides Pujols, which of your other “Big Four” has won a Gold Glove? Obviously even that matters little to you.

Second of all, you come to fangraphs and use… Gold Gloves as your criteria for measuring defense? Seriously? Maybe you should stick to commenting at ESPN. I hear there are plenty of fans with your level of understanding of baseball over there.

sc2gg
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Why are you continuing to talk with this troll?
I don’t understand why you people want to waste so much time trying to educate some moron on the internet who’s just disagreeing with you to giggle to himself about how he gets a rise out of you.

Important Advice:
http://xkcd.com/386/

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

Because I disagree with the vocal minority of people reading this article, so they have to argue with me and be heard. That is how the whole world works, not just fangraphs.

A guy from PA
Guest
A guy from PA
4 years 11 months ago

Sorry, Michael, but I think you are dealing with the fact that the majority of people disagree with you, not just the vocal minority. Trying to say you’d rather have Cabrera than Longoria makes you part of the minority. I’ll try to explain to you in a quasi statistical way the idea of positional scarcity. Imagine position A’s best player was ranked 100/100, 2nd best player was ranked 99/100, 3rd best 98/100 and so on for fourth best/fifth best all the way down. Now imagine position B’s best player was ranked 98, 2nd best was 88, 3rd best was 78, and so on. In a franchise draft, you take the best player at position B, because while you aren’t getting the best player, when you combine the values of the player you get from A and B in the end, you’ll end up with a better TEAM. That’s the idea, create the best team.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
4 years 11 months ago

Bourne,

We disagree with you too.

Sincerely, The Until-Now Silent Majority

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

Well, I don’t disagree with the guy. I may disagree that his offensive super-power has a drinking problem so god knows how long he’ll last, but bats such as Pujols, Braun, AGon, Bautista, Fielder, Votto as number one? Hell yeah, gimme some of that. These bats are the most influential players in baseball.

To support that opinion, how many defensive plays does Longoria make per year? 400, maybe? Of which if he’s even 50% better than the next guy (which he’s not, not even close) , he saves, what, 25 plays?

Yet he has never OPS’d .900

He’s not as valuable as a 1.000 bat. I don’t think so, anyway. He’s a great player, but I wouldn’t start my team with him.

Eminor3rd
Member
Eminor3rd
4 years 11 months ago

Sultan/Bourne

It’s not just about the value of the defense they play, it’s about the fact that they play the position they do. The point of positional scarcity is the fact that way fewer good hitters play SS/3B than play 1B/LF. So if you had to pick first, you’d pick the elite hitter at the position where it’s super hard to find a good hitter, assuming that you can pick a good hitter at the other positions later. In other words, it’s way easier to find/develop a good hitting 1B than a good hitting SS.

Would you rather have M. Cabrera and someone like Alex Gonzalez, or Tulowitzki and someone like Paul Konerko? The latter combination will produce a lot more because even though Cabrera is the best overall hitter of the bunch, Konerko can produce 85% or what Cabrera can and is just a middle of the road 1B. Gonzalez is a middle of the road SS, but can only produce maybe 50% of what Tulo can.

Does that make sense?

JamesDaBear
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Removing positions? Exactly where does it say to do that?

“…simply evaluate the players for their abilities…”

You can’t do that without taking into account the position or positions they’re capable of playing. When it’s only 1B, that’s a huge hit in value a player takes.

Pauly
Guest
Pauly
4 years 11 months ago

Halladay was easily the worst pick imo. He will be done in a few years, while every other player picked will be in his prime.

DavidCEisen
Guest
DavidCEisen
4 years 11 months ago

“He will be done in a few years”

I’m sure you are basing that statement on something, so please do tell.

doug K
Member
doug K
4 years 11 months ago

Those who think a player transcends age obviously dont understand the nature of aging. I am old enough to know all about it and I am not planning on dying any time soon. But the odds are strong that it happens to Doc before it happens to Timmy who was clearly a better choice for this exercise.

phoenix2042
Member
Member
phoenix2042
4 years 11 months ago

or he could be the SP version of mariano rivera…

Chris V.
Guest
Chris V.
4 years 11 months ago

Haha good logic phoenix. Are you suggesting that the decline based on age is as likely as the .000001% that hes the Mariano Rivera of starting pitchers.

Pauly
Guest
Pauly
4 years 11 months ago

the dude is 34 years old. Time is time and you can’t stop it.

Terenn
Member
Terenn
4 years 11 months ago

Or the next Nolan Ryan.

DavidCEisen
Guest
DavidCEisen
4 years 11 months ago

I am old enough to know” Are you a multimillionaire who makes a living that requires that you stay in top physical shape while having access to the world’s greatest doctors, trainers, personal chefs, ect? No? Then I don’t care about your rundown body.

“odds are strong that it happens to Doc before it happens to Timmy” Which of these two pitchers has experienced a greater loss of velocity during the past four years? Which pitcher is 5-11 and 163 pounds and which on is 6-6 and 230 pounds?

I guess I have different definition of “done” and “a few years,” but if someone placed an under/over 25 WAR for the rest of Halladay’s career, I’d gladly take the over. Halladay is in the middle of his best season.

BALCO
Guest
BALCO
4 years 11 months ago

“the dude is 34 years old. Time is time and you can’t stop it.”

Gimme a call.

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

Pitchers drop all the time. Young ones, old ones, fat ones, slim ones, fast ones and slow ones. Fastballers, slidereres, curveballerers, etc, etc, etc; no one knows which ones will last and which won’t, including those pitchers themselves The only thing wrong with that Doc pick is that it’s for a guy who plays once every 5 days.

That said, there should not be a single pitcher on this list. If for no other reason that I’d chose Reyes over any of them.

pacbellpilgrim
Guest
pacbellpilgrim
4 years 11 months ago

Wow. I assume that none of the writers would have gone with Cole or any other pitcher in the first round of the 2011 draft this week. Not much love for the pitchers. I’m good with the hitters for the first half-dozen picks or so, but I think that the top pitchers (whether Felix or Kershaw or Lincecum or even Verlander) compare well to guys such as Carl Crawford and Ryan Braun.

Ben Hall
Member
Member
Ben Hall
4 years 11 months ago

I was surprised that Posey and Santana didn’t go. Young catchers who are good hitters are pretty valuable. Also thought that the best pitchers were avoided for too long.

GiantHusker
Guest
GiantHusker
4 years 11 months ago

I assume the writers are afraid that Posey’s injury might be a career-ender, or at least a catching-career-ender. At 1B or even 3B, he’s not a star.

jorgath
Guest
jorgath
4 years 11 months ago

The only disagreement I have is with the Trout pick, and even then I don’t argue with taking him, just that early.

Really, I think that if you switch Harper and Trout, you get it right.

Blue
Guest
Blue
4 years 11 months ago

I picked Jason Kendall first in a dynasty draft many years ago under that same assumption.

Los
Guest
Los
4 years 11 months ago

Matt Wieters says hello.

I hate saying that because he is a very good catcher but he is no “Mauer with power”.

Jon
Guest
Jon
4 years 11 months ago

Interesting that aces were so underrated in this draft… Pitchers do get hurt more often, but an ace is worth it’s weight in gold come playoff time.

I also don’t get the trout pick so early… So much can happen to a young player, while there are guys already playing in MLB that are only a few years older

All in all a fun article and a much better draft than ESPN

phoenix2042
Member
Member
phoenix2042
4 years 11 months ago

agree with the trout assessment. here’s how i think about it: what is his ceiling? ryan zimmerman? joey votto? miguel cabrera? well instead of hoping he hits his ceiling, why not take the guy who actually has hit the ceiling of what we can expect from trout… and who might be getting better like votto and zim seem to be.

JH
Guest
JH
4 years 11 months ago

I actually think Trout has a higher ceiling than those guys, believe it or not. If we’re just talking ceiling and not likelihood of reaching it, years like 2010 Josh Hamilton aren’t out of the realm of possibility IMO.

El Guapo
Guest
El Guapo
4 years 11 months ago

Interesting that no one selected Carlos Gonzalez. Guess opening 2011 with a couple of weak months has dropped him off the radar. Pretty solid young player to be left off entirely, though.

Also, I like Ryan Zimmerman over Longoria.

GiantHusker
Guest
GiantHusker
4 years 11 months ago

Cargo has only had one good year, but then Trout and Harper have not even played yet, so he’s probably a better pick than those.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
4 years 11 months ago

Trout’s a 19 year old CF, as opposed to corner OF, and Bryce Harper’s (also only 19) has much more power potential than CarGo.

Seth
Guest
Seth
4 years 11 months ago

CarGo plays left field for the Rockies, but he is still a top tier defensive outfielder, and could easily be a center fielder for the sake of this hypothetical draft. I don’t think that’s fair to give Trout a mark over Cargo because he’s a center fielder.

TheGrandslamwich
Member
TheGrandslamwich
4 years 11 months ago

I’m guessing last years elevated BABIP and Coors splits scared people off.

Scott
Guest
Scott
4 years 11 months ago

I was all ready to say that Kershaw shouldn’t be the first pitcher selected (Felix or Timmy would have been my choice), but he’s improved remarkably the last couple of years, and he’s still young. If he can keep his walk rate below 3/9IP and sustain that low home run rate, he’s definitely in the conversation for best pitcher in the game. If he keeps getting better, well, game over.

Jason in Ctown
Guest
Jason in Ctown
4 years 11 months ago

What? No one took Phillips, Stubbs. Homer, Cueto, Leake, or Cordero? The anti-Reds hate continues at fangraphs.

Jonah Keri
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

I was going to take Francisco Cordero instead of Tim Lincecum, but I didn’t think that would be fair to my soon-to-be-dominated opponents.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
4 years 11 months ago

You forgot about Miguel Cairo!

db
Guest
db
4 years 11 months ago

If you could have one, not sure I would take Trout over Harper.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas
4 years 11 months ago

No Hamilton? He had 8.7 WAR last year and when healthy is easily one of the top 5-10 players in baseball at the minimum.

reillocity
Member
reillocity
4 years 11 months ago

“when healthy” isn’t exactly an expression that you’d want associated with your franchise player.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

I mean, I would frickin love to have Hamilton on my team, I’m just not so sure I wanna be the one picking him because of that whole “when healthy” thing.

jorgath
Guest
jorgath
4 years 11 months ago

The only disagreement I have is with the Trout pick, and even then I don’t argue with taking him, just that early.

Really, I think that if you switch Harper and Trout, you get it right.

Chappee11
Guest
Chappee11
4 years 11 months ago

I stopped reading as soon as I saw Mike Trout taken over Albert Pujols.

DavidCEisen
Guest
DavidCEisen
4 years 11 months ago

Congratulations!

Blue
Guest
Blue
4 years 11 months ago

I cannot believe Stanton lasted until pick 25.

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

34 walks, 134 K’s. You can have him.

xrayxtals
Guest
xrayxtals
4 years 11 months ago

So we’re pretending players aren’t going to improve in this exercise?

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

As funny as Wilson Ramos @ 30 in the ESPN draft was, I’m not sure there was a dumber pick than Neftali Feliz by Rick Sutcliffe, no matter the number. Not only was his reasoning (i.e. Feliz wanted to start but stayed the closer for the team) off a bit (Feliz wanted to close the whole time), but I have a hard time telling anyone they are more wrong than Rick Sutcliffe.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

This list does look much better than ESPN’s attempt.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
4 years 11 months ago

The words “Rick Sutcliffe” are redundant when you’ve already used the word “dumber” in the same sentence.

Jason
Guest
Jason
4 years 11 months ago

It amazes me how down people are on Upton. Guys like McCutchen, Heyward, and Bruce going over him. Justin is the most talented player in baseball, it’s like the baseball community has fallen in love with all these other young players, without realizing that the best of them resides in Arizona.

Personally, i think he’d be a top 5 pick. If you want to take Trout because of upside, why not Justin Upton? If he never gets better, he’s still pretty good, and his upside is much higher than Trout’s.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 11 months ago

How’s the weather in Arizona?

Chris Cwik
Member
Member
4 years 11 months ago

What Jason said.

reillocity
Member
reillocity
4 years 11 months ago

I’m thinking that Justin Upton’s career will follow a similar trajectory to that of Ellis Burks. He’ll be a good player, make a few all-star teams, but he’ll never come close to being the superstar that many prospect touts made him out to be in years past. He just won’t hit for a high enough average, steal enough bases, or throw well enough to ever be considered a 5-tool player. All that said, there’s no shame in having an Ellis Burks-type career.

JT Grace
Guest
JT Grace
4 years 11 months ago

I like Justin Upton a lot and I would agree that he is better than McCutcheon and Bruce. But I take Heyward every time before Upton. He is younger and already has a much better knowledge of the strike zone than most players in baseball.

My echo and bunnymen
Guest
My echo and bunnymen
4 years 11 months ago

I’d take McCutchen every time I could before Upton. But I’d hope I could still get Upton as well.

Eric
Guest
Eric
4 years 11 months ago

yeah, he’ll still be there, I’d bet

JH
Guest
JH
4 years 11 months ago

I think McCutchen’s kind of overrated. He’s a good but not great hitter, and available data suggests he’s not exactly a dynamo in CF. UZR loves him so far this year in a tiny sample, but unlike Upton and Heyward (both of whom are significantly younger), he’s never had a 4-WAR season.

fredsbank
Guest
fredsbank
4 years 11 months ago

“…never had a 4-WAR season”

his rookie season was 3.5, last season was 3.7, this year he’s already got 3.2.

or if you like bref WAR better, he’s got 3.1, 4.0, 3.1.

so, while you’re technically correct, you’re…. not.

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 11 months ago

upton’s strikeout rates say hello

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
4 years 11 months ago

“Justin is the most talented player in baseball”

re: talented – I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

(Or what Xeno said.)

Joe
Guest
Joe
4 years 11 months ago

Justin Upton is an off the charts talent, no doubt. However, he isn’t more talented than Kemp who is also in the league already and he’s also not more talented than Harper. All that said, I am in the Justin upton fan club.

Pat
Guest
Pat
4 years 11 months ago

One more round! One more round!

shariyar
Guest
shariyar
4 years 11 months ago

I’d love to see a second round (snake of course) to see what kind of 1-2 people put together and how 1 & 60 looks vs. 30 & 31. Only fair.

Hayden Simpson
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

What, no Wilson Ramos this time?

William
Guest
William
4 years 11 months ago

So everyone is ok with Longo 1 and 1a? Seems a lower ceiling at not a top fielding position to get first overall, to me…

JH
Guest
JH
4 years 11 months ago

Tough to argue with a guy who averages over 7 war per full season who’s still under 27.

My echo and bunnymen
Guest
My echo and bunnymen
4 years 11 months ago

I’m not surprised that no one here chose a RP for their franchise player. How do you even begin to justify that thought process?

Seth
Guest
Seth
4 years 11 months ago

How exactly do you justify your thought process? Relief pitchers are the most expendable players, thus none were even close to warranting going in the top-30 players you would start your franchise with. That seems fairly logical to me.

Anon21
Guest
Anon21
4 years 11 months ago

He said: “not surprised.” Thus, the question was posed to those who WOULD do such a foolish thing as take a RP in a draft like this.

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 11 months ago

you fell right into the chasm.

My echo and bunnymen
Guest
My echo and bunnymen
4 years 11 months ago

Thanks for reading the question, immediately proceeding dudes.

JH
Guest
JH
4 years 11 months ago

Maybe the same reason real-life teams don’t stress finding an impact closer as step one in the rebuilding process?

Even the very best closers are complementary pieces, not building blocks. The best closer in history can’t do anything to turn a team into a contender if they can’t consistently get him leads to protect.

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 11 months ago

you fell into the same chasm.

dont worry, echo and bunny, i got it.

Eric
Guest
Eric
4 years 11 months ago

chasm !

My echo and bunnymen
Guest
My echo and bunnymen
4 years 11 months ago

Perhaps I could have used a better phrasing, to say that I have no idea how ANYONE (like Rick Sutcliffe) could even begin to justify drafting a relief pitcher in a franchise draft. Thanks for those that understood.

fredsbank
Guest
fredsbank
4 years 11 months ago

ohh, it’s about the neftali feliz pick. wow, you got everybody, dude.

juan pierre's mustache
Guest
juan pierre's mustache
4 years 11 months ago

trixy hobbitses

Joe dirt
Guest
Joe dirt
4 years 11 months ago

Silly, pointless exercise when guys in A and AA ball go ahead of HOFers with many good years left. I guess every hyped prospect becomes a superstar now. I’m going to ask Travis Lee and Ruben Mateo if that is the case.

JWay
Guest
JWay
4 years 11 months ago

Where’s round 2! :P

savery1406
Member
savery1406
4 years 11 months ago

really dont like the trout pick. if you are starting a team from scratch you have already made your team that much worse from the outset of your “franchise”. With the 3rd pick of the draft you can find a proven MLB player that is still young and help your team right away as well as 10 years from now: Upton, McCutchen, Zimmerman, Braun, Kemp, etc. If you get later into the draft, say 15-25 or so, then taking a young minor league prospect is plausible and still ballsy. Gotta take guys that have proven themselves more with the first 10-15 picks.

Seth
Guest
Seth
4 years 11 months ago

Ok, Trout is the worst pick here. He’s hardly the biggest sure-thing prospect, and, as others have noted, there are plenty of proven stars still ascending that any reasonable person would obviously want over a prospect.

That said, the Colby Rasmus pick is a close second as far as head-scratchers go. I’m not saying Macphail should have taken GarGo, but if you’re going to take an outfielder, what numbers are you going to use to claim that Rasmus is the better pick? Of course CarGo blows him away last year, but even if you’re worried about aberrational aspects of that season, CarGo had a better wOBA in 2009 after flailing in April of that year. CarGo is also better defensively, has more power, and is roughly the same age as Rasmus. This is just one player that I’m particularly familiar with, but it’s hardly the only one I would’ve taken. I can’t even imagine Rasmus going in the second round of this draft, much less the first.

JH
Guest
JH
4 years 11 months ago

Right or wrong (personally I agree with it), there’s a strong tendency to regard players with suspicion when a large part of their value comes from batting average until they prove they can sustain success with that approach over a period of several seasons. Gonzalez has looked much more solid than star-level this year, and a large part of that is a 70-point drop in BABIP. Rasmus is actually an interesting counterpart, as he’s also seen a big dip in BABIP from last year (42 points), but thanks in large part to his plus discipline he’s still having an excellent year at the plate (123 wRC+ to Gonzalez’s 103).

Sometimes hacks are exceptions to the rule. Robinson Cano has certainly proven that selectivity isn’t an absolute must to be a perennial star. But the league has a tendency to adjust to the uber-aggressive approach, so there’s a premium placed on patience.

I’m sure the fact that Rasmus is a year younger and a better defender helped his case, too.

Seth
Guest
Seth
4 years 11 months ago

What are you basing Rasmus being a better defender on? Also, you can take Rasmus’ better wRC+ from 60 games this year, I’ll take CarGo’s career wRC+ of 120 to Rasmus’ 112. This includes CarGo’s abysmal Oakland season and the poor start to his 2009 season that had him being sent down for almost two months. In other words, I would be shocked if Rasmus’ wRC+, wOBA, or WAR are higher by the end of the season, considering the terrible slump that CarGo just went through and is showing signs of breaking out of. And in general, if I’m taking a player to start my franchise, I’ll take the one with superstar tools over the statistically comparable one without them.

JH
Guest
JH
4 years 11 months ago

Basing superior defense on scouting reports on them both as amateurs and professionals and UZR data from the last 3 years.

When the concern is that Gonzalez’s candidacy is based on a season where he enjoyed the fruits of an unrepeatable skill, it’s kind of missing the point to quote career wRC+. 2010 is greater than 40% of Gonzalez’s career plate appearances (in contrast, Rasmus’s rough 1st season in the majors accounts for nearly 40% of his career PAs, while Gonzalez’s bad MLB debut is only 20% of his career).

If the concern is he won’t sustain his breakout because his production relies on a skill that shows wild fluctuation, that career # doesn’t add much to the discussion. The argument I raised is that Rasmus’s skill-set lends itself better to consistent production moving forward. A cumulative number that’s influenced in huge part by what today look like clear outliers doesn’t do anything to challenge that argument.

JH
Guest
JH
4 years 11 months ago

“And in general, if I’m taking a player to start my franchise, I’ll take the one with superstar tools over the statistically comparable one without them.”

See, you and I differ: I think Rasmus absolutely has superstar tools. Better than Gonzalez’s, in fact. Rasmus was the superior prospect, he’s a year younger, has better plate discipline (making it more likely he’ll make the most out of his natural offensive ability) and his performance record to-date is stellar. I really don’t think Gonzalez’s tools are superior by any stretch. Rasmus was considered the superior prospect coming through the minors, and it’s not like his tools have gotten worse.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
4 years 11 months ago

@ Seth — you do realize that wRC+ is an offensive measurement, not a defensive measurement, right?

Rasmus is better defensively by UZR and he’s a CF instead of a corner OF. Going w/ CarGo instead is defensible but choosing Rasmus isn’t a ridiculous move in the least.

Also, I’m sorry that CarGo wasn’t selected. Your response makes it seem as though someone just ran over your dog. You really shouldn’t take it so personally; it’s not really that serious.

Genius
Guest
Genius
4 years 11 months ago

You people are idiots. Jose Reyes doesn’t make the list, but Ryan Zimmerman is fourth….LOL!!! TWITS!!!

Evan_S
Member
Evan_S
4 years 11 months ago

Zimmerman is a safer pick than Reyes, but excluding Reyes is pretty laughable.

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 11 months ago

Because Zimmerman is younger, a better defender, and unlike Reyes, didn’t decide to take two years off in the middle of his most productive seasons. Oh, and he has more power and gets on base more often than Reyes, a… leadoff hitter.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
4 years 11 months ago

I understand why some like Reyes, but you should realize that he’s had 2 really good months since George W. manned the White House.

If people are a little dubious that he’s going to be able to keep it up for an extended period of time, it’s difficult to blame them.

Evan_S
Member
Evan_S
4 years 11 months ago

@chuckb

Reyes had a thyroid issue last season and missed all of spring training, so after the first month of the season for him, by which I mean his first 30 games, he had an 800 OPS. He was very good last year with the exception of the first month when he hadn’t played any baseball for almost an entire year.

Travis
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

2 good months in his career? Did you mean to say Obama?

Dan
Guest
Dan
4 years 11 months ago

Crawford? HAHAHAHAHAHA.. Do these guys even watch baseball? And Trout over Harper?

Dan
Guest
Dan
4 years 11 months ago

To answer my own question, by the way these doofs throw out statistics, it’s obvious they don’t watch baseball.

jim
Guest
jim
4 years 11 months ago

obvious troll is obvious

Eric
Guest
Eric
4 years 11 months ago

chasm!

walkoffblast
Guest
walkoffblast
4 years 11 months ago

Crawford was the only pick I just cannot understand but it has nothing to do with his performance this season.

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

And everything to do with your being a Yankee fan. Please, y’all up in NY, Carl Crawford is a great, great player. Get over it.

walkoffblast
Guest
walkoffblast
4 years 11 months ago

What the hell are you talking about? I am a Red Sox fan and I think Crawford has a lot of talent. 7th most talent out of anyone I could build a franchise around? Quite simply, just no.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

Why isn’t Cano considered with the top SS and 3rd basemen (like Zimmerman, Long, and Tulo)? I know we are taking out his lineup support as a Yankee, but he is the best player at another thin position and MI to boot? He is young enough he will be a factor for years to come. He wasn’t even drafted in the top 30 and I am wondering why he wasn’t.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

Sorry, missed him at 24, but why is he not higher with his weak position depth and high production/upside?

Jesse
Guest
Jesse
4 years 11 months ago

more importantly why is Cano on the List but not Pedroia?

They both play second base, but Pedroia is a year younger (despite the hairline and a better fielder to boot. these are the two lines for the players carreers

Pedroia (616 games) 300/369/449 wRC+118, wOBA 362 20.6 WAR
Cano (932 games) 307/345/490wRC+ 117 wOBA 356 20.1 WAR

Since 2007 these are the WAR totals

Pedroia 3.7/6.8/5.1/3.3/2.2
Cano 4.9/0.3/4.3/6.6/1.8

Evan_S
Member
Evan_S
4 years 11 months ago

I know this is like my fourth post on Reyes here, but Reyes is better than Cano and younger as well. There’s no reason to include Cano over Reyes.

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 11 months ago

Perhaps they were following your advice and ignored positions.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

@Jesse I think Pedroia’s lack of homers makes people forget his xbh and ability to get on base and create runs. Combine this with his injury last year and most non-BoSox slappies don’t count him as a top player.

Cano comes off a >.900 ops year and was half of a mi combo that produced more that 100 runs each last year. Not many MI combos produce 200 runs, and Cano’s defense s coming off a year with only 3 errors.

@Phillie697 I didn’t suggest to always ignore position, but to take the best player available with your first pick. BPA ignores position and looks at production. Your comment says they looked at position with the first dozen picks, but none after that…

joe
Guest
joe
4 years 11 months ago

I think Pedroia didn’t make it because the FG folks don’t add the ESPN “scrappy” value He also has a .344 career wOBA when he’s not hitting in Fenway (Cano’s home/road wOBA split is close to 0… yet the Yankee stadium meme always gets trotted out)

Why do people always discount hitting stats in NY or Colorado yet are more than happy to not worry about them in places like Fenway or Arlington?

Bubba
Guest
Bubba
4 years 11 months ago

Michael Bourne, why on earth would BPA ignore position?

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 11 months ago

No, they didn’t ignore position. Cano just isn’t that good (all three players you mentioned are good to great defenders, while Cano is at BEST average). And besides, are you suggesting that at some point in the draft position starts to matter for you? Can you please enlighten us when that is, and why it doesn’t matter with the first 4 picks but matters later?

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

Sorry, missed him at 24, but why is he not higher with his weak position depth and high production/upside?

Probably the best argument for why Longoria would never be the actual first player chosen (if this list was for real).

Better player? Pedroia, easy
Better offense? Cano, easy

Offense rules. It rules WAR, f and b, and it rules value.

Phillie697
Guest
Phillie697
4 years 11 months ago

Oh really, offense rules WAR? Is that why Longoria, younger than Cano btw, already has two 7.5 WAR seasons under his belt, whereas the closest Cano ever got was… 6.6 WAR last year? Before you make any claims, perhaps you want to check the validity of those claims first, especially when it can be done in 30 seconds.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

Cano had 3 errors last year and Longo had 14.

I don’t think Cano is necessarily better than Longo. However, I think he should be in the same conversation as players like Eva, Zim, and Reyes, Tulo, HanRam as top tier IF not at first base. That is why I made the initial comment on this thread of replies.

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

Oh really, offense rules WAR?

As a component of WAR, Runs Above Replacement is its most influential input. That’s all I meant.

Graeme Charles
Guest
Graeme Charles
4 years 11 months ago

I’m a huge Bautista (jays) fan and even I think that’s the worst pick. Mind you I’m biased since he lost me 100 bucks today.

I’d love to see a dark-horse draft. Screw ’round 2′, let’s have the experts pick the guys nobody sees.

Mine: J.P. Arencicicbcbicbibia (obviously)

Joe dirt
Guest
Joe dirt
4 years 11 months ago

Cano is regressing. Embarrassing OBP and declining defense, as well. If it wasn’t for the 8 HR’s in Yankee Stadium, he would be totally invisible this year. You don’t build a team around a guy with a questionable work ethic.

John
Guest
John
4 years 11 months ago

It is amazing that Cole Hamels does not get any respect. Take a look at what this guy is doing this year, with a fully developed arsenal of pitches for the first time in his very successful career. He could have the best stuff of ANY pitcher in baseball.

DavidCEisen
Guest
DavidCEisen
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah if only Dave Cameron would write an article about Cole Hamels being the best left handed pitcher in the NL.

Tim
Guest
Tim
4 years 11 months ago

Uh, I’m pretty sure he was talking about how he wasn’t picked in this draft. He’s actually the best left handed pitcher in the MLB, so that article doesn’t give him full respect either.

DavidCEisen
Guest
DavidCEisen
4 years 11 months ago

He said Cole Hamel’s doesn’t get any respect, which is completely false.

It isn’t clear to me that Cole is better than CC. I’m also a Phillies fan and Cole is one of my favorite players, but lets not get carried away.

T
Guest
T
4 years 11 months ago

I think Matthew Carruth had the steal of the draft.

T
Guest
T
4 years 11 months ago

No one ever gives any love to the guy that picks first.

Jim
Guest
Jim
4 years 11 months ago

It is amazing to me how easily people on these forums get trolled. Whenever I see a minus 30 next to a post it just reinforces how lame most sabr people are.

Chone Figgins
Guest
Chone Figgins
4 years 11 months ago

Where am I?

sc2gg
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

You only get picked when this draft is done by actual MLB GMs.

Joel
Guest
Joel
4 years 11 months ago

Felix at 18? I’d love to play general manager against you guys…

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
4 years 11 months ago

The guy who picked him is a Mariners lapdog.

Telo
Guest
Telo
4 years 11 months ago

Felix should’ve gone sooner…

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
4 years 11 months ago

Really did not like either the Hosmer or Kemp picks, which came in close proximity to each other. For one, I’m not convinced that Hosmer is any better than Freddie Freeman or Justin Smoak. There were plenty of other young first basemen who did not get drafted and might be comparable in value.

In Matt Kemp, you have a centerfielder whose defense is poor enough that should be a corner outfielder. Move him off of centerfield, and the .360 career wOBA looks impressive. Yes, he’s absolutely killing the ball this year, but he had nearly 2500 PAs of date prior to this season. Perhaps he’s slightly better than a .360 wOBA going forward, as he’s now reaching his prime, but it’s unlikely he’s suddenly a .400 wOBA player. Just among hitters, I’d have easily taken Prince Fielder, Matt Holliday, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Josh Hamilton, and Dustin Pedroia ahead of Kemp, none of whom were taken. Include pitchers, and Kemp could end up being a third rounder (probably not, but still shouldn’t have been 19th.

oscar
Guest
oscar
4 years 11 months ago

kemp age 26. hosmer 21 n raking, gfood job

Ivdown
Guest
Ivdown
4 years 11 months ago

I guess it could be impossible that he’s hitting the peak of his career and he’s 26 years old, putting up most of those 2500 at bats before as a kid still learning the game. Or…all the stuff I just said. UZR is the only metric where Kemp’s d really suffers. BB-ref has his numbers much higher on defense, though I agree he’s not a top flight defender, but I would say somewhere in slightly below average to average. Kemp has always had the potential to be a 40 home run hitter if you’ve ever watched him consistently, he had never fully put it together until now. No one thought he would be an over .300 hitter, but taking out last year he’s always put up .290 or better averages in full seasons, and he is able to sustain his high BABIPs even when people think he shouldn’t be able to. His great speed is a big reason for that, and unlike last year, he’s showing that speed again this year.

Kemp was definitely a good mid to late first round pick.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
4 years 11 months ago

UZR is not the only metric that dislike’s Kemp’s defense. TZL is pretty down on him as well. Which is probably worth a bit more than basic TZ, but sometimes you can’t tell. DRS has had him in the positive at times, but you have to understand that DRS is not scaled to a league-wide zero, such that a DRS of 2 over a season still puts him in the bottom half, even the bottom third of qualified centerfielders.

He’s young, he’s good, but even amidst this current explosion, he’s only on PACE to have the kind of year that, for example, Matt Holliday has already had. Holliday is hurt right now, yes, so perhaps that explains his exclusion, but you also can’t assume that Kemp’s present hitting is now his true talent level. That’s why we look at stats.

Joe
Guest
Joe
4 years 11 months ago

Not convinced he is better than smoak? Hes not better than the rookie down in SD? Yes, his name is Rizzo.

Ivdown
Guest
Ivdown
4 years 11 months ago

How long until we see the top 50 player value series again? I’m interested to see how it’s changed from last year.

Wes in Austin
Guest
Wes in Austin
4 years 11 months ago

What a surprise; Dave Cameron takes a Felix Hernandez. I knew it before I even read it. What a homer.

Also, is it any surprise that FanGraphs ONCE AGAIN steals an idea away from ESPN? Cameron totally ripped off Bill Simmons in a similar fashion last year with his trade rankings.

Jesse
Guest
Jesse
4 years 11 months ago

actually its not a surprise at all. in fact it was totally given away in the first paragraph when it was mentioned they were copying ESPN.

Chris Cwik
Member
Member
4 years 11 months ago

You can ask Dave about this, but I believe ESPN gave us permission to recreate this project.

fredsbank
Guest
fredsbank
4 years 11 months ago

i love me some dave hate, but… you’re an idiot.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
4 years 11 months ago

He was chosen 18th. If you had the 18th pick and King Felix was still out there, you’d have passed? In favor of whom?

Felix at 18 was a steal.

Los
Guest
Los
4 years 11 months ago

He didn’t rip Simmons either. He gave him credit for it. He’s been doing the trade value series for years.

Michael
Guest
Michael
4 years 11 months ago

The idiotic part was that Cameron said “if Felix Hernandez isn’t the best pitcher in baseball, he’s real close.” He’s not close at all, actually. In fact, I would take 3 pitchers in the Phillies rotation over him (Doc, Hamels, Lee), and the stats currently back that up as they all have higher WARs than Hernandez.

Sultan of Schwing
Guest
Sultan of Schwing
4 years 11 months ago

Not saying I agree, but I would like to see Felix pitch an entire year outside of Safeco. But then again, I’d also like to see what he could do motivated by a contender for once, as well.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
4 years 11 months ago

If you think the Phillies have 3 pitchers better than Felix Hernandez, it’s not Cameron who’s the idiot. They might have 1.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
4 years 11 months ago

Well they clearly have 1, because Roy Halladay is Roy freakin’ Halladay. He’s better, at least for the time being. Then there’s Cliff Lee.

2008: 7.2 WAR
2009: 6.6 WAR
2010: 6.1 WAR
2011: 2.8 WAR

Cliff Lee also leads Felix in bWAR, if not by as much. He’s clearly the superior pitcher at this moment. Not that I would take Cliff Lee ahead of Felix in this exercise, because he’s much older, but it’s absolutely fair and realistic to say that the Phillies have two pitchers at present better than Felix.

I’m not willing to annoint Hamels into that hierarchy just yet.

Rick
Guest
Rick
4 years 11 months ago

They might have 1? Are you an uneducated fool? They definitely have two, and they have three so far this year since they are all outperforming Hernandez. They pitch in a homer-friendly park while Hernandez pitches in a cavern somewhere in Washington and the FIPs are still better from the Phillies guys.

JamesDaBear
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

And Roy Halladay isn’t “much older” than Felix Hernandez? He’s an entire contract older than him.

Felix has an arm that wasn’t abused when he was young. He’s never had injury problems. He’s just coming into his prime years. I’m still shocked he didn’t go much, much higher.

I hate being put in the position to disparage Cliff Lee, but you asked for it… You might want to look up Cliff Lee’s numbers on the road before you give him credit for pitching in a homer friendly park.

Felix’s road numbers are ridiculously good, and almost identical to his SafeCo Field numbers. It obviously helps him like it would help anybody, but he could pitch in a random park and still dominate.

Jimmy the Greek
Guest
Jimmy the Greek
4 years 11 months ago

The Trout pick is probably the worst, but whatever, it’s a future draft, he’s a great prospect, it’s all in good fun.

But Carl Crawford? I just don’t get the love affair with him. If you want guys who play great defense, run, don’t draw walks, and hit the occasional home run, where was the love for 2005-2008 Jimmy Rollins? J-Roll probably wishes he’d hit the free agent market so Boston could’ve given him a $140M deal.

Crawford is a nice player. But he’s been overrated by the Red Sox and now apparently overrated on Fangraphs. I just wouldn’t bet my life on a guy who derives so much value from defensive metrics at a non-up the middle defensive position. If he played CF, I could see it based on positional value.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
4 years 11 months ago

Of those years from Jimmy Rollins, only 2007 was better than what an average year from Carl Crawford looks like. And Crawford has had better years than Rollins’ 2007.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
4 years 11 months ago

“But he’s been overrated by the Red Sox and now apparently overrated on Fangraphs.”

One person picking him in the top ten does not mean the whole site is in love with him. Don’t generalize. That’s what people in Russia do. :)

Michael Scarn
Guest
Michael Scarn
4 years 11 months ago

Carl Crawford was the 6th most valuable player in baseball from 2009-2010 according to WAR, and in addition to that is currently in the middle of his prime. Maybe he got drafted a little too high, there’s no way he’s not a top 15 guy.

Rusty Shackleford
Guest
Rusty Shackleford
4 years 11 months ago

Adrian Gonzalez before Prince Fielder. I understand that he’s a worse fielder but I’ll take the 26 year old without a shoulder surgery.

Michael Bourne
Guest
Michael Bourne
4 years 11 months ago

Dear SOS, thank you for the comments.

Michael Scarn
Guest
Michael Scarn
4 years 11 months ago

I don’t get the picking of prospects like Trout or Hosmer. I feel like those picks would make sense if teams were not in a “win now” mode, but with all teams and contracts being scrapped there is no reason why every team can’t compete both now and later. It seems to me that these teams are sacrificing the present for the future when they have no reason to do so.

Victor
Guest
Victor
4 years 11 months ago

Much more informed baseball people than us are absolutely convinced Harper, Trout, and Hosmer will form an uber triumvirate for the next decade plus. You trust the scouting process. In the end, you want the premium talent who will provide premium production for the longest period of time.

NoCryingInBaseball
Guest
NoCryingInBaseball
4 years 11 months ago

This is a pretty can’t miss list, but I would DEF pick Jose Reyes above a few of these other picks. The dude is a legit MVP candidate right now and just turned 28 this week. For me, he is a definitively better MI pick than Robinson Cano (Reyes is a better defender, a harder worker, & with oodles more speed), and he is a better pick than Crawford (they have similar skillsets but Reyes plays a premium defensive position and is 3 years younger; Reyes has played one fewer year than CC and has nearly as impressive a WAR total even w/ the injuries). I know the injuries (rightfully) scare folks off of Reyes, but in a calculated risk/reward he is, to my mind, a shoe-in for a list like this.

Secondly, I am glad to see Andrew McCutchen get some love. He seems to make an amazing play day in and day out, and is just getting better and better as a hitter. He’s a legit 5-tool player, as the article states. I take him over any other center fielder in baseball, Kemp & Rasmus included.

Cole Hamels needs to be on this list as well. Best lefty in the game, Cliff Lee and CC be damned!

LeChoke
Guest
LeChoke
4 years 11 months ago

I’m gonna join MLB! NBA is too hard to win a ring.

David S
Guest
David S
4 years 11 months ago

Since everybody has differing criteria on what they consider a wise choice in this type of draft format, I knew there wouldn’t be a consensus on the picks. However, the comments in response to this draft are outright ludicrous. I mean, no one on the comments section seems to have objectivity anymore. Everyone wants to support their hometown players and disregard the talents of the players from their rivals. To me, in a draft like this, you have to be objective and try to maintain that in any criticism you provide.

With that being said, there are obviously some picks in here that I question, but only a few that I thought were just flat-out reaches. Obviously, the Trout pick is going to be hammered because it’s a prospect that hasn’t played in MLB and drafted at #3. However, I don’t criticize it as harshly as someone else will because hey, scouts are being paid to see the future potential in a given player at the MLB level. If Carson believes that Trout is going to be a top 3 player in a couple of years, maybe he’s ahead of the curve. But I can’t nail him until the guy plays some time at the MLB level. This is the only way we will be able to tell if his analysis is as wild as everyone thinks it is. That’s why I’d like to see this article stay in the archives and then every year around this time, it should be critiqued again to see who made the “wise” choices.

In evaluating the draft as a whole, I think FanGraphs writers participating got a bit too carried away with potential. Like most people who play fantasy baseball (especially in keeper leagues) or those who play a lot of video games, it’s exciting to see a player in his youth and watch them develop. I think some people feel better in calling a prospect a bust or a star before they really get to play consistently at the major league level, because it’s a “I told you so” moment. They want to say to their friends or whoever will listen, that they were ahead of the curve and they knew how that player would turn out before everyone else. In addition, since FanGraphs does a lot of reporting of the minor league system for all MLB teams, I believe that this sentiment of drafting an undeveloped player is more prominent with the writers of this site.

Anyway, that’s my two cents on the article. I loved reading it. It was interesting from start to finish and I hope FG keeps this as an article series for future years to come.

Dave G
Guest
Dave G
4 years 11 months ago

Picking a guy like McCann over Jose Reyes, who only just turned 28? That’s lunacy.

Chris B
Guest
Chris B
4 years 11 months ago

I don’t understand why these drafts aren’t filled with picks of guys in their mid to late 20’s. You generally know who they are as players and you have years of similar production ahead.

Marcus
Guest
Marcus
4 years 11 months ago

I know others have said it, but it truly is despicable that Cole Hamels is not on this list.

kid
Member
kid
4 years 11 months ago

I love reading these things because we get to see writers point out all of the positives in their picks w/o addressing any potential negatives. Even age (“He’s just 29”) can be massaged to look good on a computer screen.

Hated:
1) Trout -better than trivial probability that he doesn’t pan out as a “superstar”
2) Halladay – 34?
3) Carl Crawford – Absolutely terrible pick. Defense? LF at Fenway is an absolute joke. Some pop? Sure, if you call slugging .440 “pop”. Speed? Overrated.
4) Adrian Gonzalez – “Only 29”; maybe that meant something 10 years ago.
5) Mauer – “Just 28” (with a 38-yr old’s knees). It’s impossible to ignore Mauer’s recent injury history (all to his lower body) and the probable shift to a different position (destroying his value in the process).
6) Castro – Defense sucks, and hitting an empty .300 (i.e. with no pop or run production) is enough to warrant that high of a selection.
7) Rasmus – His manager up until recently considered platooning him. That tells us all we need to know.

Loved:
1) Tulo – It’s obvious, but look at his 2009 and 2010 seasons. .300/.380/.550 seasons (and higher) out of a SS is absolutely incredible.
2) Braun – Gets skewered because of his defensive position, but he’s a perennial MVP contender with incredible durabillity.
3) Cano – That lineup, that park, the power, the contact skills… he’d have to consciously TRY to not be the best 2B in baseball.
4) Timmy – Writers falling all over themselves trying to get the Next Big Thing and forgot about the thing that’s already here.

Dustin
Guest
Dustin
4 years 11 months ago

people still do not realize how great TIM LINCECUM is after back-to-back cy youngs and a world series ring in his first four years in the MLB (ya thats nuts). He is a strikeout machine (just became the 8th player in mlb history to record 1000 k’s in his first 5 season and if you havnt seen the list it is impressive to say the least). He’s the best big game pitcher in baseball bar none, no one comes close (no not even the supremely overrated cliff lee). not to mention he is far from injury prone, his motion maximizes velocity without much stress on his shoulder or elbow which means he will be on the field (*cough* steven strausberg), he plays on the giants who have one of the worst offenses in baseball and still puts up respectable win totals (more than “king” felix), and the fact that he is not ahead of sterlin castro, kemp, mccutchen, zimmerman, felix, and some bum minor leaguers who wont do anything (minus harper) is ridiculous. on top of that he is probally one of the most down to earth and cool athletes to hang around (a buddy of mine went to high school with him and we played I got to play a round of golf with him at spring training this year). ESPN and the east coast bias surrounding them is getting out of hand. If you want someone to change the face of your franchise look no further than freak. In fact he has already proven he could wipe away one of the most polarizing figures in all of sports the past decade and that would happen to be barry bonds. Proven franchise player and leader, awesome representative of club, has ridiculous numbers (especially in big games), and a great teammate (an underrated trait that half of the people on the list do not have ie: hanley ramirez). slam dunk top 15 because i do think position players hold more value day to day.

MatthewJBarnard
Member
MatthewJBarnard
4 years 11 months ago

Why the massive national league bias?

Jacob
Member
Jacob
4 years 11 months ago

Why no love for Curtis Granderson? His performance at times may be inconsistent, but he has durability, power, speed, intelligence, and plays an excellent center field. I understand that a 30 yr old is not the best candidate for a franchise player, but if a 34 yr old pitcher can get picked at #22, is it too much of a reach to consider Granderson in the Top 30?

Eric
Guest
Eric
4 years 8 months ago

Trout

test pc
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

F*ckin? awesome issues here. I?m very glad to look your article. Thanks so much and i’m having a look ahead to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

wpDiscuz