Since all of our draft slot bids failed to land we ended up at the mercy of the randomizer. The randomizer was not kind to us as it quietly doled out pick #20 in the for the TDG draft. While we realized we wouldn’t land one of the top 8 guys we were interested in pick #20 meant that we would have time to fully survey the landscape of the draft and make two picks at the turn. And as you will see it also pushed us into the decision that we would go very young with our team, grabbing prospects early with preference for those closer to the majors. Figuring if we didn’t have a top ten player leaving this draft perhaps we’d have one next year or in 2015.
In fact we even considered taking the combination of Buxton/Bogaerts with picks 20 and 21 to really fuel our youthy, prospecty fire. But after some discussion we decided that we didn’t want to completely punt 2014 and settled on Jason Kipnis as our main target, we liked the position, the age, the potential for 20-20 over the next 3-4 years and believed in his BA from 2013.
And for 18 picks it seemed we were locked and loaded to take Kipnis and one of the two best fantasy prospects in the baseball. But of course our well thought out plans were completely destroyed as Craig Goldstein ended up snagging Kipnis one spot before us. Immediately we were back to the thought of “Do we take Buxton/Bogaerts back to back?” We knew that neither of those guys would make it back to us at picks 3.59 or 4.60 but we knew if we took both of them there was no turning back, we’d be building entirely for 2015. After some discussion we once again decided we didn’t want to punt 2014 and felt we could compete this year with a mixed roster, our reasoning was simple, in fantasy baseball crazy things can happen and you can punt 2014, or go for it, at anytime during the 2014 season no use forcing ourselves into the decision this early. Our 1st round pick should be worth just as much mid season as he is today, possibly even more.
So we went for the most upside/youth we saw on the board:
Chris Davis at 1.20 and Byron Buxton at 2.21.
Davis is a pure power play for us, as the steroid age has subsided power numbers have plummeted. Davis outpaced everyone by 9 HRs last year, and while we think 53 is out of reach for 2014 Davis’ improvements in batted ball distance, fly ball rate and plate discipline mean that a 40 HR campaign should be in easily possible and on top of that the BA should be palatable. The upside is a top 7 player for 2014 and the floor shouldn’t be much lower than a top 30 player. At 28 Davis also has a few in-prime years ahead of him and no trading partner will be scared off by his age if we decided to move him during the year.
And then we went all in on the #1 prospect in the game. Personally I have Buxton ranked somewhere in the 30s for dynasty leagues but in other expert leagues I’m in I’ve seen him traded straight up for Buster Posey, so with no other youthful stud MLB guys on the board we made the plunge. We could have gone Bogaerts at this point but I think Buxton will be the superior fantasy player in the future, which could arrive as soon as next year.
After our first two picks we focused on value with preference for youth everywhere we could.
Chris Sale at 3.60 and Jose Bautista at 4.61
We felt Sale here was a good match, we wanted to end up with one of the stud SPs and Sale fits that bill. Sure the mechanics are funky and people are worried about injuries but he’s put up two fantastic seasons and started 59 games over the course of them so our hope is that he’s just a freak of nature.
With Bautista we felt the need to go for another upside power play. Like Davis, Bautista has the ability to put up huge power numbers in a declining era and while he’s getting long in the tooth 30 HRs are easily doable without the freak injuries that plagued him over the past two years. Also he hit a HR in spring training the day we drafted him, so there’s that.
Looking back on these two picks I kind of wish I would have thought harder about taking Gerrit Cole who went three picks after us. I’m a huge believer in his moving forward and knew he would never get back to us at our next pick but for some reason got cold feet about taking him over Sale and couldn’t convince myself to take two SPs at this point.
Jose Altuve at 5.100 and Gregory Polanco at 6.101
Altuve may have been a bit of a reach here but we were looking to supplement all of our power with speed, a decent BA and youth, all while trying to fill an MI slot. And while 2012 is quite possibly Altuve’s peak at 24 it’s a peak we’ll take for years to come. Also as the Astros lineup gets significantly better around Altuve I expect his RBI/Runs to jump accordingly. If Altuve churns out 75/7/50/30/.285 seasons for the next 3 years I’ll be extremely happy with this pick.
At 101 we were back at the prospect game again and took one of my favorites, Gregory Polanco. Polanco has been described as Starling Marte with better strike zone judgement or as Andrew McCutchen-lite. I’ll take either of those comps and since the Pirates have a rotating cast of mediocre players in Polanco’s way we could see him up in the majors as early as 2014 at the Super 2 deadline. When he gets there I’m expecting big things, a 15 HR/15 SB pace and of course marked improvement in 2015. Also like Bautista he hit a HR in spring training the day we drafted him, so there’s always that.
Looking forward to the rest of the draft!
I tweet about Baseball/Digital/Funny things @lukechatelain, feel free to hit me up with comments, questions or jabs about my lesser intellect.