Home > Baseball > Drafting With History Part 2…

Drafting With History Part 2…

On Friday we started a draft retrospective of sorts.  It ran long, so I broke it in two.  If you want to know what we’re doing here, click here.  Otherwise, lets jump right into the second half…

With the 16th pick, the Los Angeles Dodgers select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 Lance Berkman 1B 1997 Col 1679 .957 339 48.1
Analysis: The Dodgers are in desperate need of some stability and a massive upgrade from James Loney at first.  Luckily for them, if you take a gander at the best 16th selections in history, there’s one Big Puma who fits the bill…  Lance Berkman was a rock for the Astros for 12 years, hitting 326 home runs, with a .410 on base percentage.  Honorable Mention: Lance Parrish (1974, 35.7).

With the 17th pick, the the Angels Angels of Anaheim select…

Player Pos Year Type Games Wins ERA WAR
Roy Hallladay RHP 1995 HS 358 176 3.29 56.5
Analysis: D’Uh… Honorable Mention:  Gary Matthews (1968, 30.5).

With the 18th pick, the Oakland Athletics select…

Player Pos Year Type Games Wins ERA WAR
Kyle Drabek RHP 2006 HS 15 3 4.71 0.9
Analysis:  What?  Ok, I’m sort of being silly here, but frankly, the 18th spot has been something of a black hole, with only Willie Wilson having a WAR above 12.  Wilson was a dynamic leadoff man whose 668 stolen bases are 12th all time, but his career OBP was an anemic .326.  That’s just so 1980… so I’d rather gamble on the man my wife has dubbed, Dr Abek.  Besides, I like the coincidence of him coming a pick after Doc.  Honorable Mention: Wilson (1974, 39.0).

With the 19th pick, the Boston Red Sox select…

Player Pos Year Type Games Wins ERA WAR
Roger Clemens RHP 1983 Col 709 354 312 128.8
Analysis: If I like the coincidence of Drabek being drafted a spot after the man for whom he was traded, I LOVE the coincidence of the Red Sox drafting in the 19th spot.  For it was with the 19th pick 28 years ago that the Sox selected a polarizing, bat chucking, god complex wielding, flame thrower who so enraged the Sox fanbase that Bill Simmons wrote 2500 on how he was the anti-christ.  So, on the one hand, you could see how the Sox would want to pass on the man who would bring them such heartbreak and vitriol, but on the other hand, he did win 192 games and 3 Cy Youngs with the franchise before hucking a giant loogie and extending a middle finger to the fans… So, yeah… Honorable Mention: Bobby Grich (1967, 19).

With the 20th pick, the Colorado Rockies select…

Player Pos Year Type Games Wins ERA WAR
 Mike Mussina RHP 1990 Col 537  270  3.68 74.6
Analysis: It seems like for a number of years, Mussina was criticized for what he didn’t do… win 20 games, win a Cy Young, stay with Baltimore even as they lost 10 billion games and descended down the large proverbial toilet into irrelevance.  And then, at the ripe old age of 39, Mussina reached abck into his youth a pulled out one last great season.  With the Yankee offence, he was able to win 20 that year and the narrative changed.  Now he is viewed as a probable Hall of Famer, pretty good value for the 20th pick.  Honorable Mention:  CC Sabathia (1998, 45.1), Torii Hunter (1993, 28.1), Bob Welch (1977, 41.1).

With the 21st pick, Your Toronto Blue Jays select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 Jason Varitek C 1993 Col 1506 .776 184 23.0
Analysis: Ok, so let me get this straight, three of the last four picks were Doc, the Rocket, and the Moose and when it’s the Jays time to pick, my choice is between Varitek and Rick Sutcliffe?  Really?  REALLY?!?  This is jinxed, this is stupid, I hate this stupid draft, F this s*** I’m going home… Honorable Mention: (Door Slamming).

With the 22nd pick, the St. Louis Cardinals select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 Craig Biggio C/2B 1987 Col 2850 .796 291 66.2
Analysis: Whew, ok, I’m sorry about that.  Throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of a draft is very unprofessional and it’s awkward that it was caught on camera for everyone to re-watch on You Tube, lets just move on… The Cards have one of the best choices in the draft, they have a (future) Hall of Fame second baseman who for the five seasons between 1995 and 1999 was one of the four best players in the National League (with Bonds, Piazza and teammate Bagwell).  Or they could pick Rafael Palmeiro, who finished with .2 fewer WAR over his career.  Sure, he kind of comes off as a buffoon now because of the finger wagging in front of congress before a guilty test, but he did hit 569 HR and he did have 3020 hits, so… In the end, both guys played 20 seasons, both were very good hitters, although Biggio was better relative to his position, and both provided value with defence and base running (although again, Biggio provided more).  Most scouts say that you in the MLB draft you should never draft for need, unless two players grade out the same.  Well, Palmerio and Biggio grade out pretty similarly and the Cards just happen to have a pretty decent first baseman, so… Biggio it is.  Honorable Mention: Palmeiro (1985, 66.0).

With the 23rd pick, the Washington Nationals select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 Mo Vaughn 1B 1989 Col 1512 .906 328 25.8
Analysis:  The Nats already got Bonds with their first pick, so they have the luxury of taking a high risk, high reward guy here.  If they wanted dependable, they could grab Jason Kendall, who has been the epitomy of dependable during his 15 year career, but Big Mo Vaughn… Well, the peak was short, but in 8 years as a Red Sox, the slugging first baseman had a batting line of (.304, .394, .542) with 230 HR.  With Bonds, Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman, Vaughn would form an offensive core for the ages.  Honorable Mention:  Kendall (1992, 37.7).

With the 24th pick in the draft, the Tampa Bay (not so Devil) Rays select…

Player Pos Year Type Games Wins ERA WAR
 Chad Billingsley RHP 2003 HS 172 63 3.55 14.4
Analysis:  We’re getting to the place in the draft where it’s pretty slim pickings.  Sure there’s an occassional diamond, but mostly there’s just solid contributers.  Billingsley isn’t Greg Maddux, but he’s not canned tuna either.  A solid second starter for a team that values arms.  Honorable Mention: Rondell White (1990, 25.8), Alex Fernandez (1988, 27.3).

With the 25th pick, the San Diego Padres select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 Chuck Knoblauch 2B 1989 Col 1632 .783 98 41.2
Analysis: Sure, when he went to the Yanks, he became known more for his inability to throw the ball ten feet, than his phenomenal leadoff skills, but in seven seasons as an all star 2B for the Twins, the diminutive spark plug had a .391 OBP, stole 276 bases, and in 1996 put up an 8.8 WAR.  He was great, in his prime and on a Hall of Fame path, then he went to the Yanks, forgot how to throw the ball to first and was out of baseball by 33.  Baseball’s a weird sport  Honorable Mention: Matt Garza (2005, 10.1), Matt Cain (2002, 21.7).

With the 26th pick, the Boston Red Sox select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 Alan Trammell SS 1976 HS 2293 .767 185 66.9
Analysis: Some teams get all the luck.  Seven picks after taking a seven time Cy Young winner – even if he does have some *ahem* testosterone issues – the Sox get Alan Trammell.  Since trading Nomar in 2004, the Sox have had a revolving door at short (Pokey Reece, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Alex Cora,  Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Nick Green, Jed Lowrie, and Marco Scutaro have all played at least 500 innings at short for the Sox since they shipped Nomar off to the Cubs).  Trammell changes that immediately.  Undervalued by history, the former Tigers shortstop should be in the Hall of Fame.  He was, behind Cal Ripken, the second best shortstop in baseball during the 80s.  A man who could do everything on the diamond well, he should have won the 1987 MVP award (and I say that as a Jays fan).  Honorable Mention: Dave Henderson (1977, 27.3).

With the 27th pick, the Cincinnati Reds select…

Player Pos Year Type Games Wins ERA WAR
 Vida Blue LHP 1967 HS 502 209 3.27 42.9
Analysis: In 1971, as a 21 year old, Vida went 24-8 with a 1.82 ERA and 301 Ks in 312 innings.  A year later he was part of an A’s team that won the first of three straight World Series by defeating… the Cincinnati Reds.  Honorable Mention: Pete Harnisch (1987, 15.5).

With the 28th pick, the Atlanta Braves select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
Colby Rasmus CF  2005 HS 348  .792 44 7.4
Analysis: Wow, an interesting decision, as the Braves turn their nose up at the man who retired as baseball’s all-time save leader.  They must know – as I do – that the save stat is horribly overrated and that while Lee Smith was good for a long time, he wasn’t great.  Still, leaving 478 saves on the table is a ballsy decision, especially for a player who has a mere 348 games under his belt.  Rasmus does have considerable upside and if he ever gets out from beneath Tony La Russa’s thumb, could be a venerable star.  Honorable Mention: Daniel Bard (2006, 4.5), Charles Johnson (1992, 22.0), Smith (1975, 29.7).

With the 29th pick, the San Francisco Giants select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 George Brett SS/3B 1971 HS 2707 .857 317 85.0
Analysis: Despite being the World Series Champs, the Giants are in desperate need of some offense… and along comes Brett.  The man who in 1980 at the age of 27 hit .390/.454/.664.  Brett could hit, he could pick it at third, he was a leader, he was arguably the second greatest 3B in history; he would help solve many of the Giants offensive wows, which when combined with their prodigious pitching and Buster Posey, should keep them in contention for a decade.  Honorable Mention:  Adam Wainwright (2000, 20.5).

With the 30th pick, the Minnesota Twins select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 Mike Schmidt 3B 1971 Col 2404 .908 548 108.3
Analysis: Wow, 1971… If Brett is arguably the 2nd best 3B in baseball history, then Schmidt is the consensus best.  He’s the strongest fielder not named Brooks, he’s a three time MVP, a eight time HR champ, and (for the Twins) the perfect right handed power bat to spit lefties Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.  But lets think about that 1971 draft for a second: Back to back with picks 29 and 30, the two best 3B – if not ever – of the 70s and 80s were selected.  What are the odds of that?  Having spent two days and far too many hours on this project, I cannot think of another time when two Hall of Famers – let alone two iconic HOFers – went back to back.  Plus, keep in mind that their were only 24 teams then, which means that every team passed on those two at least once, while the White Sox, Padres, Brewers and Expos whiffed twice.  The first pick?  Danny Goodwin -1.4 WAR.  You have to love baseball.  Honorable Mention: I really, really wanted to pick: David “Are you eating that?” Wells (1982, 50.1), but just couldn’t.

With the 31st pick, the Tampa Bay (Go Ahead Fine me Andrew Friedman, I said the “D” word) Rays select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 Greg Maddux RHP 1984 HS 744 355 3.16 96.9
Analysis:  Didn’t get Greg Maddux with our first pick?  No worries, we have two more… Ho hum, another day, another ace pitching prospect for the Tampa Bay (Dont’ Call Us Devil) Rays.  I don’t really need to say any more about why Maddux was the right pick, right?  Good.  Honorable Mention: Casey Daigle (1999, -1.5)… what?  He might not have been great, but if drafting him means Jennie Finch is coming to the park every day, well that seems worth considering.

With the 32nd pick, the Tampa Bay (Are you getting Deja Vu Too?) Rays select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
 Dave Magadan 1B 1983 Col 1582 .767 42 22.2
Analysis: Phew, I was starting to think that the given the luck of the Rays, Albert Pujols was going to have been selected with the 32nd pick… Forunately though they are stuck with no better option than Magadan.  I mean, no offense to Magadan, but without power in the AL East is like a (…).  Honorable Mention: Matt Murton (2003, 3.3).

With the 33rd pick, the Texas Rangers select…

Player Pos Year Type Games OPS HR WAR
Brad Wilkerson 1B 1998 Col 972 .790 122 10.3
Analysis: Don’t get me wrong, I love Brad Wilkerson, but after 33 picks and 3500 words, and 10 million Wins Above Repalcement, this draft really ends with a whimper…  Honorable Mention: Dave Burba (1987, 13.6).
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