AL Robinson 2009 Draft Analysis Rounds 14-20
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Rewarding Risks and Weird Whims: clever strategies and mistakes to avoid


Here are the first 7 rounds of drafting from AL Robinson and my view of each manager’s best and worse picks of this phase: AL Robinson Draft Grid. Here are protection lists. The players below are listed in the opposite order of the draft. Some references will make more sense if you know that we all live in southern Ontario, although, Blair lives closer to Detroit than Toronto. I am the Tigers fan in the bunch, because that’s where my baseball loving relatives are from. Art is also American born and raised. He is a Mainer and the most partial manager in our league – to both the Red Sox and prospects. Glen is a strong admirer of Rays. George for some reason has always stayed loyal to the Royals, poor guy. Ryan is new Scoresheet baseball.


Gil - Team 3 - Dancin' Demons - As defending champion, Gil's selections made perfect sense for his team. Most of his picks were older players (Pettitte, C. Guillen, Uehara) or, at least, players who had a really good year last year (N. Cruz, Balfour, Downs). The most potentially rewarding pick was Travis Hafner on the fourth round - a player who decidedly did not have a good year last year, but is still young enough to bounce back to stardom. Will Gil be drafting Andruw Jones later?


For a weird whim, clearly Keji Uehara is Gil's weirdest. With his second pick he took an aging ex-starter whose ERA in Japan would translate to 6.67 in the big leagues this side of the Pacific. Who knows, though? As Clay Davenport reported in Baseball Prospectus, it was leg injuries in 2007 that turned him into a reliever and that year he was a rousing success setting Japanese records and posting a 3.05 translated ERA. And. he did pitch better in the second half of 2008 than in the first half for what that is worth. Although, I'm not sure Baltimore is the best team to follow on their gambles. Gil’s defense:


You know I had this thing for Gil Meche simply for his namesake? My favourite Japanese pop star recently is Takako Uehara. That's right, that's what your 3-time defending champ bases his draft on, a namesake of a hot-looking 26-year old.


Gil's 2008 most rewarding risk (R14-R20): J. Soria R15 or J. Saunders R20

Worse whim (R14-R20): Garko R14 or Ensberg R19


George - Team 7 - Wrecking Crew - did much gambling for the team that had our league's best regular season record last year. I think the most rewarding risk in the long run may be his sentimental choice of Royals prospect Eric Hosmer. I would have snatched him, if George hadn't near the end of R17. (It seems that happens too often.)


The weirdest whim of these gambles was probably Ian Kennedy. He was my second pick last year and, despite his disastrous Major League trial, he is still a highly valuable commodity to a team that can protect 40 players. However, he is currently the Yankees' 7th starter at best and will require George Tsuji to dump his 13th best player at any position in order to keep him next year.


George's 2008 most rewarding risk (R14-R20): Porcello? R18

Worse whim (R14-R20): Willis R14


Goff - Team 2Kendry Morales has been given the Angels' first base job "with virtually no safety net". The scouts ooed and awed about his talent when he was signed. That bat finally came alive last year in Salt Lake City. The Angels head office decided he was ready to replace Teixeira at first. Morales responded by dominating the Dominican League this winter. Although Goff's team does already have three firstbasemen, one (Ortiz) should be kept at DH, another (Youkilis) is a good thirdbaseman. Huff also qualifies at third base, but may be the player Goff was targeting to replace with Morales. Huff had an outstanding year, but those have not come regularly.


The weirdest whim in my estimation has to be Kenji Johjima a catcher with no discernable virtues greater than a half dozen others still unpicked. It is not like Goff has to worry about replacing Joe Mauer, although, catchers do get injured more often than other position players. Yet, Johjima was taken R17, while Goff still had an outfield spot to fill.


Stephane's 2008 most rewarding risk (R14-R20): E. Santana R18

Worse whim (R14-R20): Benoit R20


Blair - Team 9 - Huron Hornets - Although, Justin Masterson quite possibly has a great future, I was surprised that he was picked up in the first round. It was in R16 that Blair picked up the surest rewarding risk in Kurt Suzuki. Considering his age, durability, and his On Base Pct. compared to the other available catchers, he was clearly the prized plum.


The weirdest whim has to be Marcus Thames (R19) - a 4th outfielder who has little range and not even a platoon gig since Carlos Guillen is moving to the outfield. Even Blair's second pick Nady might end up being a 4th outfielder, but I'd expect around 400 at bats for him, while less than 300 for Thames. His at bats will only come when Sheffield, Guillen, or Ordonez need a break. Those situations will come at unpredictable times, rather than a steady stream of 4 or 5 starts a week from Nady. Thames has to be a supreme goofus for his mishaps to so adamantly appal my uncle with 50+ years of coaching a large private Michigan high school's baseball team and who witnessed Howard Johnson as a rookie playing regularly for the '84 champion Tigers - until Sparky decided it would be too embarrassing to play him in the play-offs and World Series.


Blair's 2008 most rewarding risk (R14-R20): Bradley R15

Worse whim (R14-R20): Janssen R18


John - Team 8 - Slick Silk Sox - Since I picked my own players, I feel their risk/rewards are all pretty well in line. Since baseball talent is at the far end of a bell curve, it is natural to think my first pick Adam Jones will have proportionally the greatest reward.  I was shocked that he was let go - let alone made it to the 6th pick. However, he hasn't had any big impact, yet. Considering the rounds they were drafted, the better bargain might just be Jack Cust (R16 – the pick acquired for Shoppach). I rated him about even with Burrell, just a hair below Bay. They all have very similar OBA, Slugging, and ranges - and they are all in their early 30s.


With a 39 year old closer, I felt I had to draft some top notch bullpen support. Yet, the pickings for starters seem very thin this year. In the first round, Art took the pitcher I thought had the best chance to be this year's Cliff Lee, who I took in round 24 last year: Sean Gallagher. After I drafted my two relievers, Gil threw me off by drafting the next starter on my list: Pettitte. So, I held my nose and drafted Millwood figuring with a lack of rotation depth, at least, I'd get someone who I was confident would pitch. I know many of you regard innings eaters as close to useless in Scoresheet, but I've been stung by too much Pitcher, AAA lately. Besides, he will be good trade bait to whatever team is getting pounded thanks to their AAA pitching. Then I wasted my second pick in the 19th round with my weirdest pick: Josh Fields. I really have no explanation, except that he stood out as young compared to all those other starting thirdbasemen/firstbasemen. I have a hole at first base and was looking for something to fill it. What? He might lose his job to Wilson Betemit? Oops, I didn’t see that possibility.


John's 2008 most rewarding risks (R14-R20): Wieters? R14 and Morrow R18

Worse whims (R14-R20): I. Kennedy R15 and Neshek R16


Art - Team 5 - T.O. Mainahs - As mentioned above, Sean Gallagher was a pitcher I was counting on sneaking into a Slick Silk Sox uniform. Art, I believe, read the available talent well and picked the most promising player at a shallow position. Pitchers are not predictable, however. If the not-quite-established Gallagher is too risky for a first pick, then Ramon Martinez was a most rewarding pick for R20.


Starting pitcher shortage or not, using your third pick to take a 42 year old pitcher coming off shoulder surgery is pretty darn weird, even if it is John Smoltz. I know, he's a Red Sox now. Thank you, favouritism. True though, it is wiser to be partial to Red Sox and Rays - and even Blue Jays than Royals and Tigers.


Art's 2008 most rewarding risk (R14-R20): D. Navarro R19

Worse whim (R14-R20): Julio Lugo R15


Brent - Team 4 - York County Lumber - Brent's highest reward for the risk might well come from Blue Jay Brandon League. He is improving and has plenty of room to improve as he is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. That is good value at R20.


As usual, Brent generally went for established veterans. That in itself could be considered weird for a team that hasn't made the play-offs since Kaleem Saleem shared with us his sympathy for the 9/11 terrorists – while the rest of us were still in shock and mourning over the tragedy. However, competitive teams can be built purely with veterans as Mike McEleny showed us. It requires vigilance about trading players at the right times. I wonder if Brent used his second pick to buy Orlando Cabrera a little too far down on his down slope. He could have drafted Jason Bartlett, who is five years younger and has more than enough defensive superiority to make up for his small power inferiority.


Brent's 2008 most rewarding risk (R14-R20): Kinsler acquired for R19 & Gio Gonzalez

Worse whim (R14-R20): Jason Jennings R15


Jim - Team 10 - Grey Royals - Although, we all Ontarioians, none of us show a strong Blue Jays bias. However, if any of us do have detectable bias for the Blue Jays, probably Jim has the most. The Blue Jays were criticized by many experts for ignoring AJ Burnett's and BJ Ryan's calculated injury risks. Jim swallowed the company Kool-Aid and has continued to protect Ryan throughout his Tommy John surgery and recovery. Now, he has drafted another injury prone relief ace Kerry Wood. As a reliever, the concerns with Wood are much more subsided than they were when he was a starter. Hence, this could be a rewarding risk.


Of course, the disaster of the night was getting to and the actual making of Jim's first pick. When I finally reached him by cell phone at the airport about an hour and ten minutes late for the draft, it was a bad connection and he wasn't ready to make his pick. He misheard who I said was taken thinking I said Matt Clement and Jason Bay instead of Matt Holliday and Jason Bay. The plan was to call me right back with the pick. We waited and waited. Then I kept trying to call him back, but had no luck. Meanwhile, he had called me back, but for some reason it went straight to our voice mail instead of ringing for me to pick it up. So there we were for another half hour or so not able to reach each other. Finally, I called his wife's phone and talked to Jim to find out he had left a message saying he wanted Matt Holliday. When he realized the error, we were both so frazzled that he just went ahead and picked Matt Clement instead. It must have been set in his mind that Clement was a reasonable first pick as that's what he thought I originally said and he didn't want to waste any more of our time pondering someone else. I should have said something, but was too exasperated to think calmly, so I passed along that silly pick. (I had a few of my own series unexpected complications going on at home, too.)  To Jim's credit the next day he jokingly claimed he said, "bag of cement". Gil suggested that’s should be his team’s new name.


Jim's 2008 most rewarding risk (R14-R20): Quentin R15 or Miguel Cabrera R14 (great, but obvious choice for first overall)

Worse whim (R14-R20): Sarfate R20


Ryan Wagman - Team 6 - Tao of  Bureaucracy - I'm not sure if my projections are using the most reasonable updated park effects concerning the humidor-ed Coors Field, but I thought Matt Holliday was the pick of the draft. I'm partial to players who are above average fielders and are consistent achievers. He is a star and will probably remain so.


The weirdness of Ryan's fourth pick (R17) Chone Figgins may stem from the warping of value that Rotisserie plays on your mind regarding stolen bases. As in real life, they really don't add up to many wins. By the way, Figgins SB total has dropped from 62 to 52 to 41 to 34. He is 31 years old, put many years in at second base, and a guy named Brandon Wood is looking for a job. The other thirdbasemen available (other than Fields) are older or as old but more fragile, so the choice of Figgins is defensible in Scoresheet. All around though, I ranked a few of them a little higher, so going another round before choosing one of them wouldn't have hurt.


Michael's 2008 most rewarding risk (R14-R20): Sonnanstine R16

Worse whim (R14-R20): R. Betancourt R15


Glen Dundas - Team 1 - Thunder on the Mountain - The year's no. 1 June draftee Tim Beckham wasn't taken until R19 - round 6. That has a decent chance to be most rewarding risk of the draft. I had my eye on him as all the other "top tier" prospects were taken, and surely would have taken him, at least, with my second pick later in that round. I ended up with my weirdest pick instead.


Both Glen and Ryan needed thirdbasemen, and I wasn’t any more impressed with Glen's choice: Eric Chavez at R20. It would be wonderful for Glen and Oakland, if Chavez had a miraculous comeback, but I haven't seen any indication of that potentially happening. Gil and I cleared Guillen and DeRosa off the boards early by the middle of the second round. There's not a huge difference in expected value among the rest of them, so I guess we are nit picking here. I'm sure Glen preferred Eric due to that small chance he returns to his prime.


Glen's 2008 most rewarding risk (R14-R20): Napoli R15 or Price? R14

Worse whim (R14-R20): Gomes R18

John Carter