Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Draft Analysis - Part One

Let’s take a look at our recently concluded draft.  I will list the results for each round, followed by a few summary remarks and what I feel were the best and worst picks for each round.  This will be posted in three parts over the next couple of days.  I have a feeling it will engender some debate among our league and I look forward to being deemed a “noob” by Mark.  For those who aren’t part of this league and are wondering about its structure, this is a 12-team keeper league in a Head-to-Head format at Yahoo.  Each team keeps 7 players from last year without penalty.  Here are each team’s keepers:

Dissect Yourself

Owner: Micah

1. Brian Roberts

2. Troy Tulowitzki

3. Dan Uggla

4. Matt Holliday

5. Alfonso Soriano

6. Jay Bruce

7. CC Sabathia

Orc Mischief

Owner: Clint

1. Carlos Peña

2. Chipper Jones

3. Derek Jeter

4. Joe Mauer

5. Matt Kemp

6. Johnny Damon

7. Johan Santana

Order of the Phoenix

Owner: Mark

1. Lance Berkman

2. José Reyes

3. Vernon Wells

4. Josh Hamilton

5. David Ortiz

6. Scott Kazmir

7. Jonathan Papelbon

Butt Admirals

Owner: Kimball

1. Prince Fielder

2. Dustin Pedroia

3. Joey Votto

4. Grady Sizemore

5. Nate McLouth

6. Vladimir Guerrero

7. Dan Haren

Summer Fox

Owner: Rogstad

1. Brandon Phillips

2. Stephen Drew

3. Ichiro Suzuki

4. Manny Ramírez

5. Jason Bay

6. John Lackey

7. Daisuke Matsuzaka


Owner: Troost

1. Conor Jackson

2. Álex Rodríguez

3. Michael Young

4. Corey Hart

5. Torii Hunter

6. Jonathan Broxton

7. Francisco Cordero

Screaming Lemurs

Owner: Ben P.

1. Ian Kinsler

2. Aramis Ramírez

3. Ryan Braun

4. Carl Crawford

5. Curtis Granderson

6. Cole Hamels

7. Brandon Webb

The $5 Footlongs! (previously known as the Dinos)

Owner: Jonathan

1. Miguel Cabrera

2. Chase Utley

3. Albert Pujols

4. Carlos Beltrán

5. Jacoby Ellsbury

6. Bobby Abreu

7. Tim Lincecum


Owner: Nate

1. Russell Martin

2. Justin Morneau

3. Evan Longoria

4. Nick Markakis

5. Justin Upton

6. Félix Hernández

7. Chad Billingsley

The Balls

Owner: Brubaker

1. Ryan Howard

2. Hanley Ramírez

3. Adrián González

4. Carlos Quentin

5. Shane Victorino

6. Jake Peavy

7. Joe Nathan

Adrian's Revenge

Owner: Ben W.

1. Mark Teixeira

2. Carlos Lee

3. Brian McCann

4. Hunter Pence

5. Ryan Zimmerman

6. Chris Young

7. Ervin Santana


Owner: Tim

1. Geovany Soto

2. Derrek Lee

3. David Wright

4. Jimmy Rollins

5. B.J. Upton

6. Álex Ríos

7. Roy Halladay

Round One

1. Chris Davis             Dissect Yourself

2. Alexei Ramirez       Orc Mischief

3. Francisco Liriano    Order of the Phoenix

4. Brad Lidge              Butt Admirals

5. Kevin Youkilis        Summer Fox

6. Roy Oswalt             Tossers

7. Adam Dunn            Screaming Lemurs

8. Rafael Furcal           The $5 Footlongs

9. Robinson Cano       Naterade

10. Aubrey Huff         The Balls

11. Magglio Ordonez  Adrian's Revenge

12. Matt Wieters         Macafey

Comments: Pretty different from the way I thought things were going to turn out.  I felt that Adam Dunn was a little bit of a reach for the first round, but I find no fault with the Lemurs taking him here since he might not have been there the next time around.  It seems like the Butt Admirals reached on Brad Lidge, since there were other comparable closers available the next round.  A lot of teams are trying to find their next keepers in this round; I had a later pick so I just went with the best hitter available. 

Best Pick: Rafael Furcal

I think he’s going to be healthy and have a really good season in ’09.  I wish he had fallen a few more spots to me.

Worst Pick: Matt Wieters

This pick’s status as the worst depends on what roster moves Tim makes during the season.  Matt Wieters is probably the best hitting prospect in the league, but Tim already has a young catcher in Geovany Soto.  Taking Wieters doesn’t really make sense here since it’s not certain that he won’t spend the first two months of the season in the minors.  This pick only makes sense if Tim is planning on trading one of these two catchers sometime during the season.  If that happens, how we will look on this pick in the future will depend on who Tim receives in return. 

Round Two

1. Yovani Gallardo     Macafey

2. James Shields          Adrian's Revenge

3. Jermaine Dye          The Balls

4. Josh Beckett            Naterade

5. Mariano Rivera       The $5 Footlongs

6. Victor Martinez       Screaming Lemurs

7. Cliff Lee                    Tossers

8. Garrett Atkins         Summer Fox

9. Rich Harden            Butt Admirals

10. Ryan Ludwick      Order of the Phoenix

11. Jon Lester              Orc Mischief

12. Francisco Rodriguez Dissect Yourself

Comments: A couple more closers go in this round.  I think Gallardo is primed to have a good year.  I am not a Cliff Lee fan, and I think Troost would have been better off passing on him and getting someone like Jon Lester or Adam Wainwright.  It’s my opinion that Victor Martinez will bounce back this year; the Lemurs probably could have waited to take another catcher like Kelly Shoppach or Bengie Molina, but I’m not certain who they would have taken in this round instead.

Best Pick: Jon Lester

I really like Lester and I think he’ll have a strong season, better than Lee or Harden.

Worst Pick: Rich Harden

Harden has average 14 starts a season for the past 4 years, and he’s only made 25 or more starts in a season twice.  He has talent, but I think the injury risk he represents is too great to for him to be a good pick in this round, especially with so many other options available.

Round Three

1. Ryan Doumit          Dissect Yourself

2. Brad Hawpe            Orc Mischief

3. Brian Fuentes          Order of the Phoenix

4. Chone Figgins         Butt Admirals

5. Carlos Delgado       Summer Fox

6. Raul Ibanez             Tossers

7. JJ Hardy                 Screaming Lemurs

8. Howie Kendrick     The $5 Footlongs

9. Andre Ethier           Naterade

10. Mike Aviles           The Balls

11. Joakim Soria          Adrian's Revenge

12. Adam Wainwright Macafey

Comments: Owners focused mostly on offensive players this round, with a couple closers taken as well.  There’s a small focus on middle infielders with the picks of Hardy, Kendrick and Aviles.  I like Brad Hawpe, and I think he’ll have a good year as he tries to replace Matt Holliday’s RBI production.  Raul Ibanez is another decent pick; he’s on a three-year roll in which he’s never had less than 105 RBI or hit worse than .289.  He’s also averaged 157 games played over that same period, a testament to his durability.  He should post similar numbers for the Phillies, as he’s moving to a better team and a better ballpark.

Best Pick: J.J. Hardy

I think Hardy is going to have a great season, but he’s the best pick in this round because he was the best middle infielder available, and it’s a long drop to the next best available middle infielder.  The Lemurs are not going to have to worry about choosing between players like Kaz Matsui and Clint Barmes later on.

Worst Pick: Chone Figgins

I’m not a Figgins fan.  He hasn’t been very durable the past two years, and he really doesn’t provide you good value in any category aside from stolen bases, which have been in decline for the past four seasons.  He’s had one stellar season of batting average in the past three years, which seems to skew his perceived value upwards, sandwiched by two mediocre ones.  I think Kimball could have picked a player with more offensive talent in this round, like Hawpe or Pat Burrell.  It’s possible that Figgins would have still been around by Kimball’s next pick.

Round Four

1. Nelson Cruz            Macafey

2. Jhonny Peralta         Adrian's Revenge

3. Carlos Marmol        The Balls

4. Lastings Milledge   Naterade

5. A.J. Burnett            The $5 Footlongs

6. James Loney           Screaming Lemurs

7. Bobby Jenks            Tossers

8. Joba Chamberlain    Summer Fox

9. Edinson Volquez    Butt Admirals

10. Pat Burrell             Order of the Phoenix

11. Jose Valverde        Orc Mischief

12. BJ Ryan                Dissect Yourself

Comments: I think Tim reached for Cruz in this round; Cruz is a good speculative pick, but he had a very poor track record in the majors prior to last season, and I’m not certain that he’ll be this year’s Ryan Ludwick.  Tim could have taken Lastings Milledge instead, who showed promise over nearly a full season last year and has more room for growth than Cruz.  Marmol is a fantastic reliever, but I’ve read that Kevin Gregg is the front runner for the closer’s spot so far this spring.  Four more relievers are taken from the board this round.  I’m surprised Mark didn’t try to take Burnett before this round since he was thinking about keeping him.  The Admirals took Volquez at the right spot, right after all of the proven pitchers were taken.  I had to take Peralta this round since I missed out on Hardy.

Best Pick: Lastings Milledge

He seems primed to take the next step forward after a decent full year in 2008.  He could be a 20/20 player as soon as this season, and he looks like a solid keeper.  The Nationals beefed up their lineup with Adam Dunn, which can only help Milledge’s value.

Worst Pick: James Loney

I’m a big fan of Loney as a player, but I don’t like him nearly as much in fantasy, especially in this round with other corner infielders available.  Loney won’t provide the power that you’d want from his position, though he is a career .303 hitter.  I don’t think he’s going to be much more than what he’s already shown us: a low-power, good-average first baseman.  Is Loney that much more valuable than a guy like Adam LaRoche, who will hit for less average but can provide ten more home runs and similar RBI numbers?  I think Loney is a little more valuable because of his youth, but LaRoche went three rounds later.

Round 5

1. Adrian Beltre          Dissect Yourself

2. Rick Ankiel             Orc Mischief

3. Pablo Sandoval       Order of the Phoenix

4. Jorge Cantu             Butt Admirals

5. Placido Polanco      Summer Fox

6. Jose Lopez             Tossers

7. Alex Gordon           Screaming Lemurs

8. Adam Jones           The $5 Footlongs

9. Matt Capps             Naterade

10. Xavier Nady         The Balls

11. Cameron Maybin  Adrian's Revenge

12. Josh Johnson         Macafey

Comments: I like a lot of picks in this round.  Beltre is a solid pick at third base, providing you 25 HR and double-digit steals.  Pablo Sandoval is a good pick by Mark; when it happened, I didn’t think too much of it, but I like it more now that I realize he is catcher eligible in our league due to the 11 games he played at the position last year.  Alex Gordon could be ready for a breakout season in his third year; his OPS has risen by a hundred points in the second half of his first two seasons, a possible sign that he’s been able to figure pitchers out better the more he plays.  Matt Capps is an underrated closer because of the team he plays for, but I think he’s just as good or better than closers like Jenks or Ryan.  Since Milledge and Adam Jones had already been taken, both of whom I had been targeting as young outfielders with upside, I reached a little for Maybin, who only has 81 career at bats, but he’ll be given the chance to succeed this year as the Marlins’ centerfielder.  Maybin’s talented, and I needed a young player with star-upside to build around, so I’ll be happy if he can put up numbers comparable to Milledge or Jones last year.

Best Pick: Rick Ankiel

Despite his age, last year was Ankiel’s first full-season as a major-league hitter, and he’s talented enough to improve on last year’s numbers.  He’ll hit 30 HR if he can get 500 at bats, which he will do if he stays healthy.  At the very least, he should be a clone of Pat Burrell, who went the previous round.

Worst Pick: Xavier Nady

Brubaker might have been suckered in by this former Padres prospect’s career year, but Nady is a 30-year-old part-time player whose career average is .280 and whose 555 at bats last year represent a career-high.  Nady’s numbers in 59 games with the Yankees are more representative of the type of player he’s been throughout his career. What concerns me is that he’s not guaranteed to have 500 at bats again this year; Nady will have to share playing with Nick Swisher, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui among the corner outfield spots and at DH.  I don’t think Nady will come close to last year’s numbers.

Round 6

1. Erik Bedard            Macafey

2. Zack Greinke          Adrian's Revenge

3. Ricky Nolasco         The Balls

4. Miguel Tejada         Naterade

5. Delmon Young       The $5 Footlongs

6. David Price             Screaming Lemurs

7. Jayson Werth          Tossers

8. Ken Griffey Jr.        Summer Fox

9. Ryan Theriot           Butt Admirals

10. Paul Konerko        Order of the Phoenix

11. Max Scherzer        Orc Mischief

12. Carlos Zambrano   Dissect Yourself

Comments: Teams are starting to fill out their pitching staffs, and there are a few intriguing picks here.  Bedard could be a steal in this round if he’s completely recovered from last year’s shoulder injury.  Nolasco could be another great pick if he’s not worn down from last year’s career-high 212 innings pitched.  Zambrano’s stats have been in decline the past few seasons, but this seems like the right place for him to be taken.  Jayson Werth is a solid 20/20 outfielder if he can get to 500 at bats.  We’re still waiting for Delmon Young’s career to take off, but he would be great value here if he can improve in Minnesota, though he will be battling for playing time with three other outfielders.  I don’t like taking Miguel Tejada in this round; he’s an older player whose skills have diminished and whose off-the-field legal problems could overshadow his time with the Astros. 

Best Pick: Zack Greinke

Greinke has improved greatly over the past two years, and I think he’s underrated as a starting pitcher.  Last year in the second half, his 9.08 K/9 ratio was better than CC Sabathia, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Javier Vazquez, Chad Billingsley, Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, and Cole Hamels.  His K/BB ratio of 3.95 was better than Lincecum, Burnett, and Shields.  He’s only 25, and I think he’ll be getting better this season.

Worst Pick: Ken Griffey Jr.

Over at ESPN, Griffey’s average draft position is 197.  Rogstad took him with the 152nd pick.  I don’t think Griffey will hit more than 15 HR this year.  Other offensive players available: Milton Bradley, Adam LaRoche, Willy Taveras, Mark Reynolds, Kelly Johnson, Jim Thome, Orlando Cabrera.  I don’t feel like saying anything more.

Check back tomorrow for the second part of my draft analysis.



Jonathan B said...

Good work Ben, as usual.

Round 1 - I say kudos to Macafey for taking Weiters and Gallardo, especially if he was exhausted and soon workbound and wanted to go out with a quick bang. They were two of my top three options for my round 2 pick; they definitely would not have come around to him again. I can't believe Magglio fell so far in the round. I had him pegged above furcal for my first pick, but I never thought he would fall to me so I focused all my plans around nabbing Furcal, and did.

Round 2 - I had planned to take Beckett, Gallardo, Wieters or Dye with this pick, and they all went right before me, so I had to scramble and take Rivera, which I deeply regret. I really wanted an SP or OF.

Round 3 - Don't forget Figgins is 2B eligible! I think its as good a pick as the other MI in this round, and it really started the run. ESPN has him ranked above Hardy, Kendrick, and Aviles, and that's only with 3B eligibility.

Round 4 - I wanted to make sure I got one solid OF and then one from the Adam Jones, Delmon, Maybin group. But I needed to grab an SP first, so I went for Burnett. I really wish I had gotten someone better for my #2 starter like Gallardo or Beckett. I missed out on the best outfielders, but I was able to get Jones and Delmon with my next two picks, which was fine with me.

Ben Westrup said...

I have no problem with him taking Gallardo, I think Gallardo is good. I just don't think Wieters was a good first round pick. Figgins is 2B eligible, but I definitely like Hardy, Aviles and maybe Kendrick over him. I liked your Adam Jones pick, I think he'll be good in a year or two.

Ben P said...

Drafting this early with a lot of roster uncertainty was different, and I know I took a few gambles.

I liked the Weiters pick a lot more when I didn't know Tim had Soto too. However, with Weiters possibly beginning the first month or so in the minors, it's not the worst thing. Weiters will be up about the time people will be looking to make trades.

After hearing all winter about how my team was underpowered, the Adam Dunn pick is panned? Unbelievable.

I agree that I jumped too early for a catcher, but it was more a reaction to Weiters going so early. I was expecting guys like Ianetta and Molina to go way sooner. I was pissed seeing Ianetta sit there and sit there when I had him really high on my list. I try to avoid pitchers early, but I'd have taken Cliff Lee or Jon Lester if given another shot.

I actually had Hardy and Peralta at about the same level, and was debating Hardy v. Soria, thinking I wouldn't get Peralta or Hardy if I didn't go for one now. I went with the hitter and Ben W. got both of the other guys. Another tough pick.

I hated picking Loney from the beginning, but with no 1B or CI at that point, I felt that my hand was forced. If he can hit .315 that will take a lot of the sting out of the .240 I'll get from Dunn. At 25, there's still some upside, and the Dodger lineup with Manny back will give him some extra R & RBI. I've been without a top 1B talent since David Ortiz in 2005.

Greinke was a good pick, but I think Nolasco is the best pick of the last round. No one realizes just how good he was last year.

This was a lot of fun to read; thanks Ben. Looking forward to the next installment and several more "best picks" for the lemurs.

Ben Westrup said...

Glad you liked it Ben.

I wouldn't say that I panned the Dunn pick, because I did say that it was understandable that you'd take him in order not to miss out him. It was a surprising pick at the time, but he was the best power hitter on the board, and now he's probably the best power hitter on your team.

Loney's average will help you, though I was reading some blog today that disparaged his ability to take a walk. For your team, and mine (the Dodgers) I hope that he hits for a great average.

Clint said...

Hey! Mark is Order of the Pheonix, and I am Orc Mischief. I am the one with the fantastic draft strat.

jon said...

griffey will hit 4 hr the first week i play you ben.

Ben Westrup said...

Sorry Clint, but I get your team names mixed up sometimes. I've edited my mistake.

Clint said...

Thanks. Good work on the analysis by the way.

Nate said...

very nice analysis westrup.

its probably not a surprise but i really like weiters pick because he has the highest upside of any player drafted on saturday. of course i probably overvalue upside...

Anonymous said...

I think its easy to forget the differences between a keeper league and a not keeper league. Most all the rankings we stare at everyday are not for keepers. The lists we do see are often drastically different. I am sure Nate is happy he drafted Longoria last year, I would have taken him but I had Gordon. I did not make that mistake this year. This year I drafted the players I wanted on my team and disregarded somewhat where I drafted them. I did not want to miss out and then have to deal with trading with someone like Nate.
A guy at home who owns a card shop told me he played fantasy back a little before 2000 and won most years even when he didnt know much about what he was doing, the reason? He was in a keeper league and drafted Mike Piazza. Piazza being a catcher and putting up the numbers he did was tremendous. I doubt Soto will ever reach Piazza numbers, I would rather have Mcannon personally, but Weiters? I think we are talking about something else. As for the biggest stretch I made in the draft, that was Cruz. Another player I read about destroying the minors last year and got excited. Me drafting him a bit early throws things out of wack, but I won last year so I wanted to enjoy some high risk players and he was one of them (and I was delirious). I regret not also getting ian stewart and josh fields as well. Furcal however, I do not regret that one bit (nice player though). I would have drafted Dunn, Ordonez, Davis of course. The former Brave just doesnt do it for me like he does dodgers fans.

Nate said...

Tim - I agree with all of your comments but whats wrong with trading with me?

Micah said...

You made that up about the card shop guy didn't you? I mean, Mike Piazza was a machine but you don't win a league because of one guy. I call shenanigans.

Macafey said...

No, I didn't make that up! He told me that a few years back. And Nate, we have never successfully traded together despite a lot of talk, it just hasn't worked

Louise said...

Houston Astros should be always competitive enough to keep pace with the others. I really like them; they’ve always been my favourite teams in MLB. Just read about them here: