TDG Experts League – Explaining My Picks
By now you’re all well aware of what the TDG Experts League is, and what we’re doing with it. The draft began on Wednesday (February 26, 2014), and while four hours was allotted for each pick, we got to 19th overall (me) early in the afternoon. The first 18 picks were:
1. Mike Trout
2. Bryce Harper
3. Miguel Cabrera
4. Paul Goldschmidt
5. Andrew McCutchen
6. Carlos Gonzalez
7. Clayton Kershaw
8. Giancarlo Stanton
9. Ryan Braun
10. Joey Votto
11. Hanley Ramirez
12. Yasiel Puig
13. Troy Tulowitzki
14. Adam Jones
15. Robinson Cano
16. Prince Fielder
17. Jose Fernandez
18. Yu Darvish
This left me with some very solid players to pick from, which means I had a choice to make and I’m not sure if you know this but holy hell do I suck at choices. First, the larger pool:
Chris Davis, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Wright, Jason Kipnis, Evan Longoria, Xander Bogaerts, Edwin Encarnacion
Nothing against pitchers but with Kershaw, Darvish and Fernandez off the board, there’s no one that stood head and shoulders above the hitters for me. Maybe Wainwright for the short term, but it was too short.
From there I culled the pool of my potential picks to:
Wright, Kipnis and Davis
Reasons: Encarnacion is great and even adds some speed from first base but if I’m being honest, I like Eric Hosmer more due to his age, and I wasn’t ready to consider him this early. Ellsbury gets cut because while he’ll generate a ton of value, I think it’s mostly going to be speed based (at least what we can bank on), and I think that speed will be available later. Longoria has the same health concerns I have about Wright but doesn’t add the speed that Wright does. Bogaerts gets cut because it’s just too early, and my hope is someone takes the guys I’ve left so I can pop Xander with no remorse at 22.
The pick: Jason Kipnis
He plays a position that’s thin up top and gets the edge over Pedroia because he’s only 26 and has posted two 30 stolen base seasons. I’m actually a big proponent of Pedroia, but in a dynasty league it’s hard to ignore the extra years here.
As much as I like Davis, he isn’t an across the board contributor and a large part of me is concerned he’s more what he was in the second half of last year than the first half. That’s still a good player, but not worth sacrificing an across the board talent like Kipnis for. Wright was the guy I almost took, but the hamstring injury could sap some speed and if he’s not a 25+ home run guy, then the value is once again an issue.
20. Byron Buxton
21. Chris Davis
The turn took Buxton and Davis, and interesting pair to say the least, but the bigger issue is, they didn’t solve my problem by taking Wright. So now I’m back to my head telling me Wright, but my heart telling me Bogaerts. I hemmed and hawed for quite a while here before turning to the only person who could understand me: Tom Cruise at the end of Risky Business. Y’know what he said? Sometimes… you just got to say “fuck it.” I’ll be damned if he’s not right, and I took Bogaerts. Risky business indeed.
I figure Bogaerts is a net loss behind Wright (and others like Ellsbury, Upton, Gomez, etc) for a few years, but I’m also the guy who put him at #1 on his dynasty shortstop rankings. If I believe Bogaerts will hit immediately (and I do) then this is the choice. I always advise people to go for the win now, rather than build for the future if all else is equal. The likelihood is that I didn’t take my own advice, but there’s a chance Bogaerts comes out and hits like Wil Myers did last year. I don’t think that needs to happen to justify the pick, but it goes a long way.
My expectation is that I won’t draft another prospect for a long while. Not as a reaction to the Bogaerts pick, but because I came into the draft expecting to avoid prospects for the most part, at least until later rounds. It’s been a fun draft so far and the way it’s going, I’m going to have some more tough choices to make come my next two picks.