Sunday, March 1, 2009

You don't deserve to be a top draft pick!

I was recently watching a segment on a national cable news channel that was titled "You don't deserve to be rich!". Needless to say this was fascinating television for a number of reasons, with so-called experts and television personalities debating the actual monetary value of everyday people like me and you while pretending to be doing a public service. And all the while, the viewer had this feeling of inescapable doom that could only be cured by directing all of their pent-up anxiety and anger toward the everyday joe in question. Somewhere Karl Marx was saying, "I f***ing told you so!".

As this wonderful segment went on, it began to focus on the life of some poor schmuck in Jersey who ran the local SPCA (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Now, the first thing that occurred to me was that I had never even heard of local SPCA's, which kind of blew my mind, and the second thing that occurred to me was that the local dog-lover-in-chief makes 300K a year, which totally blew my mind. But, if you think about it, so what? So this guy has put himself in a position to be well-paid at something that he loves doing. Isn't that the American way? Shouldn't we all be so lucky? This guy is just happily going through life, blissfully unaware of how lucky he is to be extraordinarily overpaid. Then one day, the bottom falls out of the markets, we have financial armageddon all around us, and BOOM, he's public enemy #1. Break out the guillotines! Let them eat cake!

Now, I'm fully aware that I was supposed to be shocked by this guy's story, and normally I don't fall for such media hyperbole. But I convinced myself to make an exception in this case because regardless of how poorly they were selling it, they were right: No way this guy deserves that kind of coin. I would argue that he deserves to be paid $300k a year in the same way that Josh Hamilton deserves to be a first round pick in a fantasy draft. Which is to say, not at all. Therefore, I feel like we should translate this newfound public awareness to the world of fantasy. But I discussed Hamilton last week, and I don't think I need to get back into that. So, let's focus on some other players who are going way, way too early in drafts this year:

Evan Longoria
Average Draft Selections:
Yahoo: 17.3
ESPN: 26.2
CBS: 16.5

The expectations on this kid are huge, but the thing to remember is that he's just that, a kid. He has enormous potential, and in a few years will be a no-doubt-about-it first round pick. But by then he will have mastered the art of hitting major league pitching, a process that is still being developed right now. He'll struggle to hit .270 this year with about 27 HR's, 90 RBI's, and 85 runs scored. Potentially he could steal 10 bags, but somewhere around 6 is more likely. But, if he runs into a sophomore slump situation, ala Troy Tulowitzki last year(who is now undervalued), those numbers could be even lower. Why, then, is he being taken over guys like Chase Utley, Alfonso Soriano, and Lance Berkman? Position scarcity is part of the answer, but don't fool yourself, taking Longoria before the 4th round is a reach.

Johan Santana
Average Draft selections:
Yahoo: 14.7
ESPN: 10.5
CBS: 16.9

I may have added Santana to this list anyway because there is plenty of pitching this year, but the primary reason he is on here is because of the news that he is experiencing elbow soreness and may not be ready for opening day. Don't take a pitcher this early if you are even remotely concerned about injury risk. Hurt pitchers generally will kill your stats for two or three starts before they go on the DL. It's like they want to kick you when you are down, and the only reason you are down in the first place is because they already stabbed you in the back.

Carl Crawford
Average Draft Selections:
Yahoo: 32.8
ESPN: 37.4
CBS: 32.6

Carl Crawford is one of my favorite ballplayers. My son's first MLB game was at the Trop, where we witnessed Crawford go yard and make a spectacular catch in a game during his rookie year. He also has legendary work ethic and isn't past his prime yet(28 in August). I still do hold out hope that he can be the same player he was a few years ago when he was swiping 50 bags, scoring 100 runs, knocking in 80, and hitting over .300 with close to 20 bombs. But I don't think it's gonna happen until next year, not with the litany of injuries he endured last season. I think he'll work his way back slowly this year, he'll be a great asset both defensively and with timely hitting types of things. But the overall numbers, especially the steals, probably won't be back yet. And, either way, I'm not about to spend a 3rd round pick expecting it to happen. But that is where he's being drafted right now, leading me to believe that some owners disagree. I hope they are right, though, for their sake and for his.

Carlos Quentin
Average Draft Selections:
Yahoo: 26.9
ESPN: 64.3
CBS: 28.9

Talk about riding the under/over valued roller coaster. This guy has been all over it the last year or so. He went undrafted in mixed leagues last year. Then he became a hot pickup that owners were merely hoping to catch on a hot streak. I doubt they expected that hot streak to last 3 months though. But it did, it lasted until he broke his wrist in September. The key word in that last sentence, of course, is wrist. Judging by the ESPN slide in his draft position, I would suspect that someone on their site has already stated this, but wrist injuries are tricky, even for proven players. For players that went undrafted the year before, let's just say I would stay away.

Jonathan Papelbon
Average Draft Selections:
Yahoo: 41.1
ESPN: 46.5
CBS: 35.7
Don't take a closer before at least the 7th round. It makes no sense when they only provide one category. That's really all I have to say about that.

1 comment:

  1. I hate watching Crawford play from a fantasy standpoint. It seems everytime I watch him, he really does nothing and I pray for him to steal second, but the Rays would always ground him out last year. It was so frustrating! He wasn't that productive last year, but he had his big games when I wasn't watching.

    As for Quentin, I'm keeping him this year, but I have already tried to shop him. He fell into my lap (almost literally) so I feel like I must keep him, but I am looking for offers.

    Maybe you should think about why Hideki Matsui is going for so much. :)