TDGX Recap – Team of Fate: Picks #1-16
For the TDGX, providence (and a small accounting error) brought Andy Barnes and I together to co-manage a franchise in the league. The devious, entertaining bidding system gave us the 16th pick. And G-talk has given us a 16-man nucleus on which we continue to build.
To be honest, we didn’t do a lot of strategizing ahead of time save for making our lists, but quickly found ourselves on the same page looking for value; prioritizing some predictability; favouring younger players where we could, but not necessarily chasing prospects; and, hoping to build balance across all positions. It wasn’t necessarily intentional from the outset, but our team looks more like a “win now” team than a “win in 2016” team. If you’ve read some of the other recaps it won’t be a surprise that as the draft got underway plans changed for many teams. We were no exception. For example, we noticed that between the prospects and older veterans going off the board, some mid-20s guys who we think have growth potential were available to us and grabbed a number of them.
While there are lots of picks left to go and any number of chances for missteps, here are our first week’s worth of picks with some thoughts.
1. 16. (16) Prince Fielder, 1B, Texas Rangers
We thought he was the best and most predictable bet at this stage, although we picked him ahead of some impressive names. We like him in Texas and like him to “bounce back” from a .275/82/25/106 season in 2013.
2. 5. (25) Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
We might have reached a bit to get Posey, but we both like him a lot and value his consistency. He can also help anchor our batting average, which has some value in a league this deep. We weren’t scared off by the prospect of an eventual move from behind the plate.
3. 16. (56) David Price, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
We wanted to make sure we had a top-tier starter and Price is a good as any. Like Posey, not concerned about a potential move out of Tampa – he should be a consistent low ratio, high-K guy wherever he is.
4. 5. (65) Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Our first prospect (and first for a while), Bryant looks like a monster power threat, which will continue to be in demand for a long while to come. He should track quickly to the Cubs, although his ultimate position remains a question.
5. 16. (96) Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay Rays and 6. 5. (105) Leonys Martin, OF, Texas Rangers
At this point, we started to feel like we needed to grab outfielders and felt like in these two guys we were getting players with room to grow given their age and skill sets. Between them in 2013 they hit 22 HR, stole 56 bases, and scored 148 runs. Neither is yet 28. Done and done.
7. 16. (136) Brad Miller, SS, Seattle Mariners
Seattle’s offense might be a work in progress still, but we think Miller (24 years-old) is going to play a useful role for them and for us. He should be able to hit double-digits in HR and SB. He has shown strong AVG and OBP skills in the minors that we are hoping translate into a spot near the top of the order and lots of runs.
8. 5. (145) Matt Cain, RHP, San Francisco Giants
It would have been really weird to see Cain last this long in a draft a year ago, but there he was for us, probably at a “Gee, Matt Cain had a weirdly bad 2013” discount. No diagnosed health issue and a better second half means we feel good having him as our #2 starter.
9. 16. (176) Khris Davis, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Davis is a power upside play at this stage in the draft. The Brewers don’t have a lot of competition lined up for him in left field, so we are happy to watch him uncork that violent swing all day. Just 26 years of age in 2014.
10. 5. (185) Justin Masterson, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Andy really made the case for Masterson having made sustainable improvements over the last couple of seasons that convinced me he was our guy here. I had clearly missed it, because his improved strikeout numbers surprised me. Solid third starter for us.
11. 16. (216) Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinatti Reds
Our first true grizzled vet, Phillips wasn’t who we had targeted to man the keystone but he was the best available and, as I mentioned, we wanted balance across the diamond. There was some strategy to waiting this long on a second baseman, of which we have yet to see the final results emerge (or whether they will).
12. 5. (225) A.J. Griffin, RHP, Oakland Athletics
No complaints about getting a 26 year-old who struck out 171 batters, with a 1.13 WHIP in 2013, who calls pitchers park home at pick 225.
13. 16. (256) Chris Johnson, 3B, Atlanta Braves
A bit like the Phillips pick, we saw Johnson as the last third baseman on the board that would contribute, not hurt us, offensively.
14. 5. (265) Wily Peralta, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers and 15. 16. (296) Michael Pineda, RHP, New York Yankees
Two upside arms under the age of 26. Pineda’s recovery will be watched intently given his team, of course, and his ceiling is high, but Peralta’s development after an improved second half will be interesting to watch as well. He improved his ERA, WHIP and K/9 in the second half after changing the way he uses his slider against lefties. Maybe most encouraging was that in the middle of his rookie season he figured out (or the Brewers did and he listened) something different he could do to be more successful and did it.
16. 5. (305) Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Our second straight up prospect, Sims is a big right-hander who got notice in a very successful A-ball campaign last year. He has upper rotation upside with a high floor for support.
So that’s where we finished up Monday night. We have filled most batting slots and have a good chunk of our pitchers with a couple of prospects to dream about hitting bombs in the Chi and tossing beebees in the A-T-L. All in all, not a bad week.
Andy will bring you another update on Saturday.