Friday, March 26, 2010

2010 Middle Earth Fantasy Baseball League - Draft Analysis

Relax, I'm not going to go through every pick. I'm just going to give a general feel, offer my thoughts on who each team's best and worst picks were, and give a grade for the whole draft. It'll be quick and fairly painless.

The draft can be viewed here.

#1 - Those Guys
They moved their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks in trades, so depth was going to be an obvious concern. Even still, they made smart picks with what they had, and there's potential for greatness down the road.
  • Best Pick - Ted Lilly (9.12). Possibly the best pick of the whole draft.
  • Worst Pick - Mariano Rivera (1.1). With no pick for four rounds, you'd have liked to see Those Guys grab someone with more upside, more long-term potential.
  • Draft Grade: B-
#2 - Dunedain Rangers
The Roy Halladay/Dan Haren for Brandon Webb trade left the Rangers with two extra high draft picks, allowing them to trade their third round pick to re-acquire Haren. The Rangers grabbed several prospects, but in having only seven pitchers, they'll have a tough time competing at all this season without changes.
  • Best Pick - Jason Kubel (6.2). He's young, and doesn't have to improve to be worth his slot.
  • Worst Pick - Jay Bruce (1.11). His upside doesn't seem to be much higher than guys like Alfonso Soriano or Kubel or Raul Ibanez, all of whom went at least two rounds later.
  • Draft Grade: B
#3 - The Usual Suspects
After clearing out talent and draft picks from 2009, the Suspects had a stacked draft this season. They were able to pile on talent, but I wonder if they might not have been better off playing it a little safer and grabbing a guy like Dan Uggla or Jose Lopez to man second base, rather than counting on Rickie Weeks' first healthy season...ever.
  • Best Pick - Billy Butler (1.3) or Joakim Soria (2.1). Sometimes the easy picks are the best ones.
  • Worst Pick - Carlos Beltran (4.8) AND Juan Pierre (4.9). Either one is a good pick. But drafting both seemed out of place with solid closers and Uggla & Lopez still on the board.
  • Draft Grade: A-
#4 - Cleveland Enforcers
The Enforcers were the victims of some horrible luck in 2009, so they've got keepers with high upside, but still have a solid draft. They used their favorable draft picks to grab several high-end pitching prospects, and while the team will still live or die with its outfield, they're in solid shape going forward.
  • Best Pick - Brian Fuentes (6.4). Despite his unexceptional peripherals in 2009, Fuentes racked up saves. I was surprised he lasted that long.
  • Worst Pick - Rich Harden (2.4). At 28, with several injuries under his belt and an unimpressive 2009, I felt like he would've lasted longer.
  • Draft Grade: B
#5 - DamKnights of Columbus
Tragedy struck Columbus when it was reported that Joe Nathan had a torn tendon in his pitching elbow and would miss the 2010 season. It happened mid-draft, after the Knights had already passed on several upper-tier closers. Still, their draft yielded several exciting young players to go with keepers who hit about .320 last year.
  • Best Pick - Stephen Drew (13.5). Somehow, a consensus top 8 shortstop lasted until the second-to-last round of the draft.
  • Worst Pick - James Loney (9.5). A little late to call it the "worst" pick, but I feel like Loney's numbers are easily replaceable. We should've all listened when the "experts" said he'll never hit 20 HR in a season.
  • Draft Grade: A-
#6 - Mercer AutoWreckers
The AutoWreckers had a solid but unexciting draft. I don't see too much potential for guys to outperform expectations, which means another middle-of-the-pack finish seems in order.
  • Best Pick - Hunter Pence (1.6). The former Mosquito will look dashing in AutoWrecker Blue.
  • Worst Pick - Rick Porcello (8.1). I worry about a guy who doesn't strike anybody out.
  • Draft Grade: B-
#7 - Vandelay Industries
As with most seasons, Vandelay spent much of the draft targeting high upside starting pitchers, sprinkling in hitters for flavor. This year, however, they used one of their keeper SPs (Jon Lester) to acquire Jimmy Rollins, solidifying their offense with perhaps the perfect piece to send them on a championship run.
  • Best Pick - Edwin Jackson (9.7). A repeat of 2009 and a lot of people are going to look foolish for passing on him.
  • Worst Pick - Manny Ramirez (1.7). Certainly the possibility of a great season is still there, but he's had trouble putting together a whole season of elite performance for a while now.
  • Draft Grade: B
#8 - Stewies SexyParties
The SexyParties are always competitive because they've got three elite keepers in Hanley Ramirez, Chase Utley, and Ryan Braun. Their draft is always a matter of trying to surround those guys with complementary pieces, and this year Stewie was pretty successful. Most of their picks were good value, and while there's not much upside, the Sexies don't need all that much upside.
  • Best Pick - Roy Oswalt (3.8). I just can't see him not bouncing back and having another solid season in 2010.
  • Worst Pick - Daisuke Matsuzaka (6.8). There were more interesting guys still on the board, and Daisuke seemed to have been playing with fire for a while before last year's implosion.
  • Draft Grade: B
#9 - Huber Heights Heroes
The recently renamed Heroes are a team that I have to judge slightly differently based on their unique, batting-average-punting strategy. Luckily, the strategy had a much greater impact on last year's draft than this year's. The Heroes' pitching is still suspect, but their hitting should keep them in the race most of the season.
  • Best Pick - Dan Uggla (6.3). Uggla would've been a great fit for a lot of teams. I'm amazed he lasted as long as he did.
  • Worst Pick - Garrett Jones (9.9). Jones is a fine player, but the Heroes needed speed from their last outfield spot. They grabbed Dexter Fowler in the twelfth who will likely start, but that means that they picked up Jones before him to be a bench player.
  • Draft Grade: B-
#10 - Akron Pronks
After finishing with the bronze medal for the third straight season, you'd have thought the Pronks might take more chances on risky players to see if they could catch lightning in a bottle and win a title. But they ended up just taking more solid guys, and they look like they'll be in the mix again, but may unfortunately come up short one more time.
  • Best Pick - Alexei Ramirez (6.10). It was a pretty late spot to grab your starting shortstop, but the Pronks did very well, grabbing a guy with impressive talent and, like most of their players, a power/speed combo.
  • Worst Pick - Nate McLouth (5.10). Not a particuarly bad pick, per se, but I think there were better fits out there at this point in the draft. Uggla, for starters.
  • Draft Grade: A-
#11 - Riders of Rohan
The Riders were without their own 1st and 2nd round picks, but through offseason trades acquired additional 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks. They were able to generate depth, but there's an obvious drop off in talent after the eight keepers. Their bullpen especially is full of questions.
  • Best Pick - Alex Rios (6.11). If you look at 2009 as anomalous (and you should), Rios is a .290 hitter with power and speed.
  • Worst Pick - Carlos Marmol (2.6). A failed attempt to trade up and acquire Joakim Soria left the Riders scrambling for saves. But they didn't really get good value with any of their closer picks.
  • Draft Grade: B-
#12 - Feisty Mosquitoes
The champion drafts last, the only negative about grabbing a title. The Mosquitoes took their draft position as an impetus to take chances on young starters and worry about the rest of their pitching staff later. When you keep seven hitters, though, you're looking at pitchers anyways. And with the innate risk of any pitcher, at least with prospects you're getting a chance at gold.
  • Best Pick - Raul Ibanez (5.12). He's got the potential to be just as good as several first round picks (Bruce, Manny, Pena). Great value.
  • Worst Pick - A.J. Burnett (4.12). Initially, my thinking was that Burnett is on a good team and has talent, so what's not to like? But he was in the same situation last year, and he didn't do much with it.
  • Draft Grade: B+
I would be remiss if I didn't mention how even I felt that all of the drafts were. I don't think any team had a particularly excellent or a particularly terrible draft. This speaks volumes to the growth of our league and its owners, and it makes me excited for how competitive this league could be in two or three years. I can see any of these teams winning the title in 2015...

...except Akron. They'll be in third.

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