This is a new take on an exercise previously in Scoresheetwiz (When Stars Get Snared). Instead of making many tabulations and questionable analysis of the results, I have made this a more narrative approach
while still providing the essentials facts. There are other qualitative differences: my fellow managers are ever wiser, far
more prospect savy, and this former Canadian-only league switched to standard U.S. rules regarding the drafting of June Amateur
Draftees in 2009. Presented here are the draft rounds these players were last drafted and where they were in their career
when they were drafted. Additionally included is when they were traded, and when they might have been traded for at a bargain,
and in many cases their previous owners and why they were dropped, although I made it easy to skip the league specific notes,
if you wish. The frequent prospect rankings cited are Baseball America’s. The players are listed below in rough
order of Scoresheet value these past two seasons only.
Somewhere following the player’s draft
round, I include their age at draft time or the start of the next season and league or level they were drafted from (if not
already in the American League). While the year and draft position is always listed first, the age and level are usually buried
further in the text, so I highlighted those facts in bold. The discussion of their trades generally follows a discussion of
the player’s development (if relevant). I hope there are some interesting lessons and facts in there, however, to skip
that part: just stop reading each blurb after you see “. . .” and skip to the next “. . . “, if there
is one - otherwise skip to the next player. Tangents that go far off topic are indented.
In order to make those comments about their
trades as interesting as possible for those of you not in the league, here are a few quick indentifying facts about the traders:
(Unless otherwise indicated, we all live in
or near Toronto.)
Team 1: Glen - the Rays admirer and Dylan
chronicler from Thunder Bay, Ontario - has by far the most championships in another league I used to play in.
Team 2: Goff - Canadian tidally-winks
champion and oldest manager (half of us are Baby Boomers). He has a championship and the most wild card finishes. Previous
owner Stephane hails from New Brunswick as do Matt Stairs and Rheal Cormier. He finished in first or second place on
a regular basis.
Team 3: Gil - born in Hong Kong, has
won the 2nd most championships and just won it again this year with a furiously strong September. His team is sort of the
St. Louis Cardinals of our league.
Team 4: Brent - musician and author of
a book on Ojibway philosophy who favors veteran players more than the rest of us. Along with George and I, one of the original
Team 5: Art - moved to Canada from Maine
and still loves his Red Sox. His team tied for first place this year.
Team 6: Ryan - writes for Hockey Prospectus
with occasional contributions to ESPN.com. BP fans know him as R.A. Wagman. Ryan lived half his life in Israel. This
team’s previous owner Luc, also from New Brunswick, was our league’s most experimental owner ever.
Team 7: George - Royals fan with the
2nd most division titles. He joined this league as a Toronto teenager and is now a computer guy in Ottawa. He won an episode
Team 8: that’s me - an artsy Connecticut
New York area raised Tigers fan who moved to Toronto 30 years ago. I have the most championships and 20 division titles here
and have had many articles published in Bill James Online. My team clinched its division this year before the trading
deadline, but failed to win thanks to a disastrous September.
Team 9: Blair - retired chemical engineer
originally from Nova Scotia - lives closer to Detroit than Toronto, but roots for the Blue Jays.
Team 10: Richard lives in Colorado, but
roots for the Cubs. He also contributes comments to BA. I believe Richard and Ryan are the youngest owners. Previous
owner Jim grew up in Sarnia, Ontario and Jamaica, but lives now in Vancouver.
This is very long - probably too much to take
in all at once - especially if you read the in-league comments. I probably should have just taken them out, but they are a
part of the story.
I actually went way over
75, because it seemed completely arbitrary to cut out anyone of the bottom dozen without cutting the rest. In
fact, not much separates the bottom 30. For one reason
or another, I found enough difference to include all of these guys and not the ones I left off, even though I wasn't being
precise, so that's where I stopped. Consider the bottom 12 players tied for 75th.
- Mike Trout: R.44.10 -
the last player drafted in 2009 - as a 17 year old 2008 25th overall pick showing some good stats in the Arizona
Rookie League. . . I have to take some pride in this as I did not wait for the prospect rankers to tell me specifically
how he should be ranked. My wait was the last month of 2009, all of 2010 and 2011, and the first month of 2012, before he
was called up and exploded as the best player in baseball.
- Robinson Cano: R.43.4
last round of 2004 as a 21 year old non top 100 ranked Dominican just promoted to AAA. . . Kudos to George for
his analysis. Cano surfaced as a Yankee in early May of 2005. He was solid from the start, but George traded him away mid
season to Gil in a package for Carlos Delgado. Cano was an impact second-baseman in ’06, but missed July due to injury.
Upon his return, he was traded again with significant throw-ins to Jim for Edgar Renteria. Cano had one very disappointing
year in 2008 at age 25, but was wisely protected. He spent over 5 years with team 10, then was cashed in by new owner Richard
before 2012 with Trevor Cahill, for Ackley, Ramos, Niemann, Castellanos, and Paxton. That’s when Cano had his best year
yet. Ryan didn’t keep him too long, though. This August he was part of another blockbuster going to Art in a gearing
up for the play-offs.
- Miguel Cabrera: R.14.1
from N.L. in 2008. He turned 25 the April he started with Detroit. Only 30 now, this will be his 11th straight
year receiving MVP votes. I dinged him a notch for being hurt this September. . . This may some day top Pedro Martinez as
the best cross-over ever. It couldn’t have gone to a more deserving team. Jim had our worse record ever: 45-117. Traded
before 2012 by new owner Richard with a balance of players and picks for my Jose Bautista - ironically because Richard wanted
- Justin Verlander R.26.9
in 2005 with no professional pitches - a 22 year old out of Virginia’s Old Dominion University - the 2nd
overall pick of the 2004 draft - after Matt Bush. In one year Verlander commanded the high A level (9-2 1.67 ERA) and AA (2-0,
0.28 ERA) earning two starts in the Majors (not so commanding 0-2, 7.15). However, the next year he was co-leading Detroit
to their first World Series since 1984 (17-9, 3.63, 186 innings plus 22 post season innings.) Detroit was 71-91 in 2005 and
43-119 as recently as 2003. Verlander’s rookie season was also Curtis Granderson’s first full year. Detroit’s
2006 rotation was stabilized with the addition of Kenny Rogers. . . Certainly, this is Art’s greatest hit.
- Cliff Lee: R.24.5 in 2008
at age 28 after over four years in Cleveland’s rotation. His best year up to that point was 2005: 3.79 in 202
innings. His worse was the year before: 6.29 in 97 innings - hampered by an abdomen injury. . . That’s my pick that’s
been the gift that keeps giving.
- Felix Hernandez: R.28.9
in 2004 - I have John Sickels to thank for alerting me to this not quite yet 18 year old Venezuelan who last pitched
in the Midwest League. Baseball America was on to him, too, (no. 30), but I don’t think that list had
come out yet when I drafted him. As I have had much more success with position player prospects than pitching prospects (who
hasn’t?), it was a relief it took only a year and a half for King Felix to establish himself as a good regular starter
without having to protect him as a non-prospect while getting there. After his 12 start sensational rookie year, he didn’t
become the dominating ace we were waiting for until 2009 - still only age 23. That period lasted two years. Now, he seems
to be in the cagey veteran phase of his career. . . I’ll keep taking that as long as I can.
- Adrian Beltre: R.14.1
from N.L. in 2005 after his career runner-up MVP year. A major leaguer since he was 19, Beltre would be 25 his
first season in the A.L. . . Gil traded Beltre his first September in our league as part of a package for Alex Rodriguez.
Brent has protected Beltre ever since - including after a horrific age 30 season. . . Interestingly Beltre had his best year
and his worse year on his contract seasons - both of which are not unusual occurrences, by the way. It is also interesting
that other than his 1.017 season in ’04, he never hit over .835 until 2010 at age 31 when he hit .919 and has hit over
.880 ever since.
- David Price: R14.4 in
2008 his first year of eligibility under Canadian rules . . . by Rays admirer Glen. Not that anyone wouldn’t have drafted
him then . . . although, he hadn’t thrown a professional pitch, the 22 year old from Vanderbilt University
was no. 10 of the top 100 prospects. Usually cautious, the Rays moved Price through four levels in ’08, including a
September look-see. Back in Durham for 8 starts in ’09, Price established himself as an ace in ’10, and a Cy Young
winner in ’12.
- Chris Sale: R.41.6 (third
round of three June 2010 post Rule IV draft rounds) right out of Florida Gulf Coast University. He was 21 -
the 13th overall pick in Organized Baseball that month - pitched less than 11 innings in the minors, then produced a 1.93
ERA the rest of his first partial professional season for the White Sox . . . and for Goff. . . He continued as an outstanding
reliever in 2011, Goff wisely kept him as he became probably the most fantastic reliever to starter conversion ever. That’s
considering Pedro Martinez was a starter in the minors for three years before he became a reliever in his rookie season as
a Dodger. Pedro also had two starts for the Dodgers that year. Sale didn’t have any professional starts before 2012,
yet he’s accumulated more B-Ref. WAR than any other pitcher these last two years except Clayton Kershaw. (The group
of aces are all very close up here. Sale’s Scoresheet value might be a little less than his WAR due to the hitting friendliness
of his home stadium.)
- James Shields: R.17.4
in 2007 as a 25 year old after his rookie season. This was a bold and astute pick on Art’s part. Shields was
a 16th round draft pick who never made Baseball America’s top 100. He did have an excellent ten starts in AAA
Durham in 2006 and an excellent season in AA Montgomery the year before, but was certainly challenged by Major Leaguers in
his 21 starts (4.84 ERA) up to that point. He’s been a very reliable 3.70 pitcher ever since with the exception of one
off year (2010: 5.18) and one career year (2011: 2.82), although he has clearly beaten his career ERA the last three years.
Chalk one up for stats over scouts. . . Gil traded Nick Markakis to get Shields for his bad year along with prospect J.P.
Arencibia. Wisely, Gil hung onto to Shields for his good year, then traded him high to me for Gio Gonzalez and Michael Young
(after his last very good season).
- Gio Gonzalez: R15.9 in
2010 as 24 year old trying to establish himself in Oakland’s rotation. Gonzalez was an 18 year old Florida high
school supplemental first round pick of the White Sox in 2004. His prospect status reached the top 100 (no. 73) in 2006 and
stayed about there for 2007. . . That year he was drafted in our Scoresheet League by Glen. When his ranking shot up to no.
27 after a strong season in the AA Southern League, Glen included him in a deal to Brent, who then quickly flipped him to
Gil. . . Gonzalez did not have a particularly good year for Sacremento and had an ugly looking call-up for 7 starts and 3
relief appearances. His ranking dropped to 97. . . Gil kept him one more year. . . After 12 beautiful PCL starts,
he was recalled for a 17 start stint in Oakland blowing his rookie status and producing an ERA of 5.75. . . He was dropped
by Gil. However, I loved his strikeout rate, the pitcher development track record of his organization, and needed a starting
pitcher. He’s been a low innings ace ever since. (I guess that makes him a no. 2 guy in the current nomenclature.) .
. . Gil re-acquired Gio at the start of 2012 due to my cross-over overload.
- Hiroki Kuroda: R15.1 in
2012 as an established no. 2 starter from the N.L. and has continued to pitch with awesome consistency at age 37
and 38. . . A nice part of Art’s division title run this year.
- Max Scherzer R.14.4 in
2010 as a 25 year old with a full season and a month as an N.L. starter. Scherzer was an 11th overall first
round pick out of University of Missouri (Columbia). He spent successful half seasons at A+, AA, AAA, and the N.L. before
his full season as a Diamondbacks starter in which he rang up a 4.12 ERA. His yearly stats with Detroit show some up and down
and was really more volatile than it looks from his yearly record. During each season, he would have some great stretches
and some very rough stretches - until this year. (That reminds me of Randy Johnson’s early years in the Majors.) Scherzer
has pretty well been terrific all year long. . . After getting off to a terrible start last year, Blair traded him with Carlos
Quentin to George for Gavin Floyd and an R40 (from which he drafted Kyle Zimmer).
- Yu Darvish: R14.3 in 2012
(after Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder). He came stateside at 25 - fairly young compared to most Japanese imports.
Darvish was an instant success and, now after his second season in America, has reached stardom. . .
is nice to see a Japanese star on a team owned by our colleague of Japanese ancestry (George). If only Nutmegger Rajai Davis
became a star when I owned him - just kidding - I never cared whether I owned any players from Connecticut. Mo Vaughn, Charles
Nagy, and Carl Pavano have been about the only good choices over the life of our league - and it’s not as though Connecticut
has a notable cultural heritage or state pride. About ninety percent of Nutmeggers live in the Hartford (known for its insurance
companies) - New Haven (known for Yale) - Greenwich (closest suburb to New York City) corridor with its numerous ports and
do not have deep roots in the state.
Iwakuma: R19.9 in 2012 coming from Japan going into his age 31 season . . . an excellent snag by Gil. Iwakuma’s ERA is even
lower than Darivish’s so far. However, he wasn’t used as a starter until mid-season last year.
Mauer: R.19.5 of 2002 going into his first full pro year at age 19 after being the no. 1 overall pick - and, yes, he had
ruled the Appalachian Rookie League in his 32 game introduction. He was ranked the no. 7 prospect in baseball. Of course, this
was from back when Canadian Scoresheet Leagues had their own rules such as not allowing June Amateur Draftees to be taken
until the following winter and having to pledge allegiance to the Queen each week before we read our results. Mauer was called
up in early June of 2004, but an injury ended his season in late July after playing just enough to blow his rookie status
- which was stricter in those days. At least, he had an immediate impact along the way. Mauer had a decent sophomore season,
then became a super star in his third at age 23. . . Goff has hung onto a good thing. His concussion late in the season, though,
dimmed Goff’s play-off hopes.
- Edwin Encarnacion: R.15.8 in 2011 as a bad fielding sub .800 platoon hitter around his 28th
birthday . . . by Glen after being cut by his previous owner - a Blue Jays fan Ryan. . . Encarnacion produced the exact same
OPS (.787) in 2011 as 2010 and produced an even lower fielding percentage (.892) at third-base. However, his playing time
increased from 367 PA to 481 PA. . . That winter Blair took him on in a multi-player/pick swap. Encarnacion got off to a great
start. Injuries were piling up on my team and I needed a good bat. Since, EE’s increase in OPS came with no increase
in BABiP, I thought it looked like a legitimate rise in skill - especially since he played for the same team as Jose Bautista,
who had a similar late blooming rise in skill a couple years earlier. Unfortunately, Blair had a similar notion, so I had
to pile prospects Robbie Erlin, Jean Segura, young relief ace Jake McGee, and a pick (R35) to get him. He’s continued
to be excellent, but his injury this September came at the worse possible time.
- Ben Zobrist: R.31.10 going into his
age 28 year in 2009. Zobrist was a 6th round pick whose first professional half season came at the age of 23. At 25 - not
listed as a top 100 prospect, he earned his first shot as a starting shortstop in the Majors. He was terrible. The next year,
he was even worse. Finally, in his third year he came to life as a useful utility player, but broke his thumb before we could
draft him. . . Finally, Gil took Zobrist on with the last pick of round 31 the next winter (as noted). In one of the most
sudden rises to stardom in my memory, Zobrist finished 8th in MVP voting and probably deserved better. Gil sold high on Zobrist
to me for Asdrubal Cabrera. Zobrist then had a bad year in 2010 and I sold low to Glen - a strong Rays admirer for his R.18.
My excuse for that bad trade was that I was worried his 2009 season might have been a PED augmented mirage.
Holliday: R.14.2 in 2009. Holliday played less than a year in the A.L. That was in 2009 - his contract year before free agency.
Oakland gave Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith to Colorado for one year of his services. They didn’t
contend, so they flipped him at the July trading deadline for three other prospects - the best of which so far is Clayton
Mortensen. Yeah, not everything Billy Beane touches turns to (green and) gold. Holliday was 29 that year and had hit
his usual .900+ OPS - his 6th of 10 seasons in the Majors - all very consistent and generally healthy seasons. He is showing
some decline now. . . Of the three thumpers who crossed over to the A.L. in 2009, Ryan picked the best one. Glen was not so
lucky with Jason Bay (1st pick) nor was Brent with Pat Burrell (4th pick). That was the year Jim was caught unprepared and
somehow drafted a far from recovered Matt Clement third overall. He renamed his team Bag O’ Cement in honor of Clement’s
- Josh Donaldson: R.24.6 in 2013 - 27 year old coming off an unimpressive rookie season - unless you look at it more closely. Donaldson
was struggling badly until he was sent down in mid June of 2012. He batted 1.000 OPS in Sacramento, then hit with some impact
(.844 OPS) after his recall in mid August last year. Now he’s hitting .882. . . Donaldson is a major significant reason
the A’s and Art’s T.O. Mainahs are doing so surprisingly well this year.
- Chris Davis: R.21.3 in 2012 - his
age 26 year after four years of struggling to establish himself as a Major Leaguer. Davis was a 5th round draft pick, who
spent only two years in the minors before getting his first MLB look. At that point (2008), the 22 year old was ranked 65th
among his prospect peers. . . Davis got off to a hot start in 2012, then slumped one week hitting a .341 OPS to bring his
early season total into the .700s. Brent, evidently desperate for an outfielder, traded him for Vernon Wells, who at the time
was only hitting about .700 himself. Immediately after the trade, Davis went on another hot streak, but by the third week
of June was back down to about .800. That’s when Davis started to play outfield and when Blair moved him on to Glen
for his R.25. Davis was back up to .827 by the end of the year.
- Prince Fielder: R.14.2 in 2012 - at age 28 - a multiple all-star
and three time top five vote getting MVP including 2011 coming from the National League. . . That Richard, with the second
pick, was guaranteed to get Fielder, if not Pujols, was another reason he was willing to trade Cabrera for Bautista. It was
just in that window before it was revealed that the Tigers would try playing Cabrera at third-base. Fielder did not have a
good year this year - for him. Except for a career year at age 26, Prince’s father Cecil with a similar build had good
seasons through the age of 32. The most amazing thing about Fielder to me is that despite his body shape, he has missed only
one game in the last five seasons! In the three years before that, his yearly average nearly as sturdy: 158 games.
Ortiz: R22.7 in 2003 as a 27 year old released by Minnesota and signed with Boston that winter. For four of the previous
five years Ortiz had been a platoon DH/first-baseman. One of those years he was stuck in the PCL batting over 1.000 OPS. Boston
gave him just over 500 PA in his first year there. By the end of June, he was hitting a robust .866 - not out of the ordinary
from what he hit with the Twins. . . For Eric Byrnes and a pick down grade, I received Ortiz and the still useful Rondell
White from Stephane. For the rest of the season Byrnes tanked and Ortiz was on a tear. He’s been on a tear ever since.
Silly me, I traded him back to Stephane for his R.16. My team was a bit stacked - I had Teixeira at first-base and Manny as
my DH. . . The next year Ortiz became an every day playing masher. . . He was hurt the second half of 2012, but he’s
still mashing for Goff.
- Carlos Santana: R.17.1 in 2009. In 2008, 22 year old Carlos Santana was ripping through the
California League in the Dodgers system. Around the July trade deadline, the Indians traded their veteran third-baseman-outfielder
Casey Blake to the contending Dodgers for two prospects. One of them was Santana. The other was - well, I looked it up, but
have forgotten already. For the rest of the season, Santana ripped up the Carolina League bringing his season OPS over the
1.000 mark. Baseball America gave him the no. 26 overall ranking. . . That’s when Glen drafted him - and still owns
him. . . In 2009, Santana ripped up the Eastern League (.943 OPS). Next year, he was destroying the International League (1.044),
when on June 11, 2010, the Indians finally called the Dominican catcher up. His career OPS in the American League is currently
- Adam Jones: R.14.6 in 2009 at age 23 after a disappointing first full season in which he was cut by Jim. He’s been a no
question keeper for me ever since. Adam La Marque Jones had call ups of less than 42 games in each of 2006 and 2007, but was
up for all of 2008. I drafted him originally 24.10 in 2006 as a 20 year old AA Mariners prospect who had just made no. 64
on the top 100. . . A pennant chase later that year necessitated my trading him along with Edison Volquez and others for Brandon
McCarthy and a pick. It was a delightful shock to me when Jones was dropped after his age 22 season for hitting only .711
and I was able to get him back.
- Dustin Pedroia: R.41.7 (2nd of 4 July rounds) in 2005 as a 21 year old non top 100 prospect
hitting his way out of AA to AAA. . . At the end of the year, he did earn a no. 77 ranking, but his Red Sox fan owner
(Art) traded him with a pick downgrade for just-turned 28 year old Aaron Rowand who was then already a cross-over and a year
removed from his career year. Rowand was dropped before he had his only other excellent season - Art’s bad luck. Pedroia
kept his rookie status going into 2007, when he won Rookie of the Year. Except for missing half a season due to injury, Pedroia
hasn’t had an off year and Goff has not let go.
- Austin Jackson: R.37.4 in 2009. Twenty-two year old Jackson
was in AAA and rated in the top 50 among all prospects for the second year in a row. He finished that year in the minors and
started the next year as the every day center-fielder for Detroit. . . While in real life, Jackson was part of the huge Scherzer-Granderson-Edwin
Jackson deal, in our league, he was traded several times. During the August of ’09 in pursuit of
the pennant with Jackson still in Scranton, I traded him along with another outfield prospect Ben Revere for a couple of disposable
veterans. Early the next year as the rookie Jackson replaced Curtis Granderson in Detroit’s centerfield, Brent traded
him to George for Justin Duchscherer - a pitcher who’s previous season as a starter produced a 2.54 ERA and was off
to a 1.82 start at the time of the trade. Duchscherer lasted one more start the rest of his career. At the end of the year,
Jackson was returned to Brent along with Adeiny Hechavarria again for veterans: Torii Hunter (see below) and Jim Thome. Jackson
had sophomore slump in 2011 and was purchased by Blair for the Blue Jays’ first round pick of 2010: Deck McGuire. Jackson
had an all-star caliber season in 2012 and continues to be a solid force, while McGuire has been stuck in AA the last 2+ years.
Choo: R.15.9 in 2009 as the 26 year old Choo was still trying to establish himself as an every day outfielder. . . George
has happily protected the South Korean ever since - including after an injury plagued off year in 2011. George was the first
to draft Choo way back as a top 100 prospect in 2003. Stephane took a chance with him that September, protected him for two
winters, then gave up after a mediocre year in the PCL and a disastrous call-up in ’05. I drafted him next in R.32 of
’06 and he was excellent after a late July call-up. However, I needed an infielder, so he was traded to Jim that September.
It looked like Choo’s trade to Cleveland gave him the opportunity he needed, but an injury wiped out most of his 2007
season. He underwent a Tommy John surgery and finally returned to the Majors on May 31st of 2008. Choo wasn’t bad, but
no one took him that July. Too bad for us: Choo batted 1.057 from July 19 onward playing more than a platoon. During the winter
most of us were probably mislead by his mere 317 at bats and still regarded him as platoon player not worthy of a first round
pick. A closer look would have told a more accurate story.
- Josh Hamilton: R.41.1 in 2006 at age 25 after being out of baseball
since 2002. Hamilton was the no. 1 player selected in the June draft of 1999. In 2001 he was ranked the top prospect in the
world. This is when addiction issues began to wreck havoc upon his career. Over the next two seasons, he was only well enough
to play in only 83 games stalling his development - just reaching the high A level. He had toe and neck injuries and required
elbow and shoulder surgery. However, it was the failed drug tests and misbehavior that kept him out of baseball for all of
2004, 2005, and for all but 15 games of low level A ball in in 2006. However, 2006 was the year that Hamilton was sincerely
turning his life around. Cincinnati used the Cubs to take a chance on Hamilton with a Rule V pick. . . Brent wisely followed
suit and protected him. . . Bingo! Hamilton suddenly started playing like he was expected to all along. . . In August, Glen
put together a package including an equally young center-fielder who already had a few years of success, but was having a
bad injury plagued year Rocco Baldelli, plus the Orioles’ top prospect Billy Rowell, and a 5th starter type in Scott
Baker. That ended up being one of the most lopsided trades ever as Baldelli never recovered and Rowell never progressed. Even
better for Glen, Hamilton was traded to the American League the next winter, so he had no cross-over issue. (The Reds received
Edison Volquez and Danny Herrera from the Rangers.) Glen picked his timing with Hamilton well. This past winter he traded
him to Richard in a five player deal that principally netted this year’s Rookie of the Year favorite Will Myers. Hamilton
had a very down year.
- Mike Napoli: R15.4
in 2008 as 26 year old trying to beat out Jeff Mathis as the every day catcher in California. . . In ’98, he hit .960, but
to Glen’s chagrin, Scioscia still had him nearly splitting the catching duties with the .593 hitting Mathis. Finally,
Napoli’s playing time increased to 114 games in ’09 and 140 games in ’10, but Napoli’s hitting was
declining to .842 and .784. So, Glen sold him to Art for his R.19 - the same year Napoli was sold in real life via Toronto
to Texas. What insanity those real trades were! Toronto unloaded Vernon Wells and his bloated contract for Napoli and Juan
Cruz. Great!, but then they squandered Napoli on Texas for Frank Francisco. Napoli hit over 1.000 for Texas in 2011. He’s
with Boston now which must make Art very happy, except his Scoresheet value will be down next year as he will lose his catcher
eligibility. Mathis, by the way, year after year has lowered his team’s ERA by about 0.80 compared to other catchers
on his teams. Catcher ERA fell out of fashion, because it didn’t seem to be a repeatable skill, but not with Mathis.
This fact is per Sam Miller and Baseball Prospectus.
- Aaron Hill: R.16.10 in 2007 after his sophomore season
in which the 24 year old did not show significant progress. . . Hill was drafted by the same manager (Gil) in May of 2004
while the recently turned 22 year old was in AA and had just snuck into the top 100 prospect list. A quarter the way through
the 2005 season, Hill joined his fellow prized rookie Russ Adams in the middle of the Blue Jays infield: the new Trammell
and Whitaker! Adams was a number one pick. He lost his job by the middle of the next season and never earned it back - anywhere.
Hill was doing OK. Gil traded him to Brent that September with Beltre, Jim Edmonds and others for Alex Rodriguez. Hill did
not show any significant improvement in his second year, so Brent dropped him. Gil drafted him again - the pick that has lasted.
He was only 25. Hill showed some progress in ’07, but was horrible in ’08 and missed most of the season due to a concussion.
Gil held on and was rewarded with an outstanding season at 27. In August that year, Gil traded Hill to Brent for the second
time, this time getting Ian Kinsler. (Brent additionally got the still-decent Vernon Wells.) The next two years were disappointments
for Hill, the Blue Jays, and Brent, except the encouraging last quarter of the 2011 season when Hill suddenly caught fire
after his trade to Arizona. Hill continued to hit the first month of 2012, and needing a second-baseman, I traded my young
outfielder Desmond Jennings for him.
- Hanley Ramirez: R.23.2 in 2003 - a Dominican turning 19 bulleted to no. 19 on the top
100 list after his debut two level initiation to baseball in America (rookie Gulf Coast and low A N.Y.-Penn. Leagues).
. . Of course, being a Red Sox prospect, Art had to have him. He still has him. . . Although, his development appeared to
regress at the AA level in 2005, Ramirez was Rookie of the Year as a Marlin in 2006. After hitting in the .700s in 2011 and
2012, he hit 1.040 this year - in only 86 games, however.
- Evan Longoria: R.16.8: in 2007 - old Canadian rules prevented
his eligibility until that winter. The 21 year old was the no. 7 prospect blowing through three levels to AA. He dominated AA and AAA
another year and a bit - you know how the Rays like to keep their stars in the minors as long as they can get away with it.
. . Longoria has been my third-baseman ever since his mid April call up in 2008.
- Zach Greinke: R.17.2 in 2007 hammers
why drafting young pitchers can be so frustrating - or that I’m just stupid. I drafted Greinke in 2003 (R.36.9). The
19 year old from a Florida high school was MLB’s 6th overall pick the year before. BA had him ranked no. 54. After just a few innings
in three different levels during his professional debut tour, Greinke had settled in the high A Carolina League and was already
pitching very well there when I drafted him. One year later, he was in the Royals rotation. He had a fine rookie year, but
struggled his sophomore year. Greinke has/had social anxiety disorder and took almost the entire 2006 season off - retired
indefinitely. . . I thought he wasn’t going to be able to handle Major League Baseball which requires a special type
of mindset. At least, I was compensated with an R18 for him from Stephane who later passed him on to team 6 for some useful
pennant chasing bodies. Team 6 changed owners that winter and he was dropped, so Glen took a chance on the 23 year old with
the noted pick that stuck. Greinke started off with a 5.71 ERA though May 6th as a starter, so he was moved to the bullpen
where he performed much better. Glen, who obviously is not stupid, protected him, and he’s had an impressive Cy Young
winning career as a starter ever since.
- Jered Weaver: R.40.4 in 2005 (first of 4 July rounds) as a 22 year old Cal. State Long
Beach grad and younger brother of the former Tigers ace Jeff Weaver. The younger Weaver was the 12th overall player selected
in the June Draft over a year before he was drafted here. He would likely have gone higher in real life, but he was a Scott
Boros client with high salary demands. In fact, Weaver did hold out until May of 2005 - the longest Rule IV draftee hold out
ever. So, Weaver’s professional debut came late that spring, but his stay in the California League was brief. By the
time Gil drafted him, he was already in AA Texas League. Baseball
America hadn’t ranked Weaver that winter because he
was still unsigned. When they did the next winter, he only came in at no. 57 - his holdout had caused him to lose
some of the zip from his fastball. He got it back. Weaver blazed through AAA to have 19 impressive starts for the Angels.
. . However, Gil did not enjoy them. He had traded Weaver to Stephane that winter for an equally impressive 19 starts from
Roger Clemens - his last great gig. Goff has enjoyed the legacy of that trade since he joined our league in 2009.
Wilson: R.18.9 in 2010 - the year the 29 year old was converted to a starting pitcher. Like Sale, this was a complete abrupt conversion,
although Wilson was originally a starter in the minors and was converted to relief during his rookie season in 2005. . . Wilson
had outstanding years in relief in ’07 and ’09 for Stephane and Art respectively. George had him in his bad year
in ’08. I nabbed him just in time for his career as a starter.
- Anibal Sanchez: R.16.3 in 2012 coming from
the N.L. at the previous trade deadline. He is 29 and having the best of his eight seasons so far. . . Nice pick, George.
. . Considering the DH and the superiority of the A.L and the inferiority of Detroit’s defense - especially prior to
their acquisition of Jose Iglesias, that’s a little surprising.
- Yoenis Cespedes: R21.1 in 2012 as
a 26 year old promotional video star Cuban refugee. . . Our league has breaks between bunches of picks. Cespedes
became available during one of those breaks, so the manager with the first pick in each round - that year it was Ryan - had
a nice break when Cespedes became available on the 21st round. How much of a break was that? That is, would he have been drafted
much higher, anyway? I don’t think any of us thought he was going to be so good so instantly, but there was so much
hype about him, it seemed Ryan had no other sensible choice.
- Ian Kinsler: R.41.3 (2nd of 4 July rounds) 2004 . . .
George snagged Kinsler just after he turned 22 and had been promoted to AA. He was a 17th round pick and did not sneak into the Baseball America top 100
until the following winter. . . Less than a year later, he was included in that Cano, Bonderman, Sweeney package to Gil for
Carlos Delgado and company. Kinsler didn’t surface to the Majors until the following season. (2006). He was an instant
success, but Gil was swamped with talent and let Brett have him in 2008 for his R.19. Evidently, Gil missed Kinsler and traded
Aaron Hill and Vernon Wells to get him back in August of 2009. Gil never let him go again.
- Carlos Beltran: R.14.10
in 1999 - clearly the best player today who was picked in our league during the 1990s. Beltran had spent a half season in
the Carolina League and the Texas League where his OPS was over 1.000. He held his own in a September call-up (.783). He ranked no.
14 that year among prospects (no. 97 the year before). I was thrilled no one else scooped him during the first round - he
wasn’t going to be 22 until late that April. He won the Rookie of the Year award in his first year . . ., but I
only kept him two years. George had him next for Brad Radke and Vernon Wells. Near the trading deadline of ’04, George
and Brent made a spectacular 9 man exchange. The top two players coming to George were Victor Martinez and Roy Halladay. The
top two players going Brent’s way were Beltran and Ivan Rodriguez. Beltran didn’t stay with Brent long. That winter
Brent made a one for one trade with Stephane for Alex Rodriguez - and it is with team 2 (now Goff’s) that Beltran has
remained for the past 9 seasons. . . Beltran has had a fairly normal career path with a peak at 26 and 27, disappointing seasons
at age 23 and 28 followed by very strong comebacks at 24 and 29, and an impressively strong late career phase these past three
seasons (in the post steroids era) ages 34-36.
Gonzalez: R.14.1 in 2011 - from the N.L. at age 28 after three years in a row receiving some MVP voting. . . He’s been Art’s all
along now - even back in 2004-2005 when he was a Rangers prospect/rookie. . . Gonzalez had his best year his first year in
Boston, but has been hitting only .807 since - probably not worth the 21 million dollars he’s getting paid per year.
Swisher: R.41.1 (2nd of 4 July rounds) in 2004 as a 23 year old non-top 100 ranked prospect hitting over .900 OPS for Sacramento
of the hitting friendly PCL. He was called up that September and played only 9 more games in the minors afterward. .
. Swisher has never been traded in our league.
- (Note of interest only to league-mates: Gil has owned Swisher
longer than any manager currently has owned any outfielder. The all-time record in our league was Bernie Williams on my team
for 12 1/2 years, then that was topped three years later by his long time team-mate Manny Ramirez with 13 years. Jim Thome
is our all-time incumbency champ at any position - a property of team 9‘s for 17 years. No player is still with his
2003 A.L. Robinson team, but David Ortiz and Joe Mauer were owned by Stephane’s team 2 at the start of 2004 and I owned
Felix Hernandez - although he wasn’t called up until June of ’05. Stephane also had Carlos Beltran by the start
of 2005, so if Swisher’s two weeks in AAA during May of 2005 knocks out his incumbency string, then Beltran would be
the incumbency king of outfielders.)
- Alex Gordon: R.17.2 in 2011 as a 27 year old famously failed prospect
drafted no. 2 overall from the University of Nebraska. (Justin Upton was the first pick of his class.) Gordon was then a veteran
of four seasons - excluding some extensive returns to the minors. In doing this research, I have discovered that it seems
a majority of these position players had a sudden blossoming in their third year in the Majors - especially if they were sent
down for awhile in their second year and came back strong at the end of the season. Gordon finally put it together in his
5th try. . . Good for Ryan for taking a chance on Gordon at the right time. There was no sign I could find of Gordon’s
having figured out major league pitchers in 2010.
Quintana: R.40.2 in 2012. Quintana never made the top 100 prospects lists, but the 23 year old had a 1.25 ERA after his 6th start since
his call-up for the White Sox. . . That was around when we had our June supplemental draft and Blair had the first two picks.
. . The Columbian started off as a 17 year old in the Mets organization, but was released after 3 appearances in the Venezuelan
Summer League. Two years later he was pitching for the Yankees in the Dominican Summer League. Two more years later, he finally
came to the Gulf Coast League and ended the year in the South Atlantic League. In 2011, Quintana pitched the entire season
in the Florida State League - and pitched well, but the Yankees apparently decided he wasn’t the type of pitcher who
was ever going to get out Major Leaguers and he was released again. Then the White Sox got a hold of him. Pitching just as
well in 9 AA Southern League starts as he had the year before, Chicago promoted him all the way to the big club, where he
has a career 3.61 ERA and never misses a start.
- Doug Fister: R.36.4 in April of 2010 as a 26 year old who had only
joined the Mariners’ rotation the previous Aug. 11. Fister was a 6th round draft pick in 2006 and never made Baseball America’s top 100. He pitched league average the previous quarter season, but got off to a good start in 2010 - although,
he ended up around league average. . . That winter Blair traded him to Brent with Tyler Flowers for cross-over 34 year old
shortstop Alex Gonzalez. . . Fister took another step forward - especially after his real life trade to Detroit at the end
of July. . . The next winter, Brent cashed in that new found excellence as well as the formally excellent 30 year old Carl
Crawford all for an upgrade from the 4th overall pick to the first overall pick - i.e. to secure Albert Pujols instead of
the next best guy after Pujols, Fielder, or Darvish - which Art decided was a more all rounded cross-over Colby Rasmus (see
no. 73 below).
- Jarrod Parker: R.14.5 in 2012 as the 22 year old no. 26 ranked prospect came over from the N.L.
Given that Parker’s 2011 was a mere 3.79 effort in AA
with an unimpressive 2.18 K/BB, I was shocked that Blair
drafted drafted him so high. He did have one teeny-tiny sample sized runless four hit 5 ⅔ inning start for Arizona,
but with just 1 K and 1 BB. Basically, baseball insiders thought he was terrific, but his career stats up to then did not
agree. Here’s a big success for the scouts > stats argument.
- Bartolo Colon: R.36.6 April 2012 and R38.8
May 2013 - the latter around his 40th birthday. Two times in a row, Colon has gone undrafted during the winter, picked up early
in the season by Gil, and produced a fine season. It was actually much better than “fine” this year. Colon finished
second in the league in ERA (2.65) and had 190 innings behind it. Colon had a great season in his 6th year
- way back in 2002. He might have won the Cy Young were his season not split between the two leagues. He did win the Cy Young
in 2005. However, his shoulder wore out and the next five years produced a -0.7 Wins Above Replacement (Baseball-Reference).
The Yankees gave him a comeback in 2011, but the rotund Dominican did not have the durability to go strong all year. He had
a 2.88 ERA before the 4th of July and a 5.18 ERA afterwards. Last year, Colon made it to August 18 in decent form before his
suspension for PED use took place. This season we’ve been waiting all year for him to break down, but except for missing
a couple weeks due to a groin issue, he’s just been amazing. . . Going back all the way: Brent drafted him first, but
dropped him after a disappointing rookie season in ’97. Luc drafted him next and caught Colon’s first really good
year. That was the year Luc did not protect any Major League pitchers who were not rookies or prospects. Colon was traded
that August to Blair for Tino Martinez and Paul Quantrill. Blair had Colon for the rest of his prime, which was from ’98
to ’05 ages 25 to 32.
- Jake Peavy: R14.1
in 2010 coming from the N.L. the previous trade deadline. Peavy won the Cy Young award in 2007 - his 2nd year leading
the N.L. in ERA. He had another outstanding year in ’08. However, in ’09, ankle, elbow, and shoulder issues rendered
him healthy enough for only 102 innings. He was 28. The shoulder continued to limit Peavy’s 2010 and 2011 to little
over 100 innings and ERAs high in the 4.00s. After suffering two years with his first overall pick, Art traded him along with
two prospects and a pick to Richard for Dan Hudson. Ouch. Peavy had a huge comeback. Hudson had a huge comedown. . . To make
it even more aggravating for Art, Peavy is a Red Sox now.
- Clay Buchholz: R.22.9 in 2007 at age 22 after 1 1/2 professional
seasons reaching the high A level. The supplemental first round pick from Texas premiered on the top 100 that winter at
no. 51. . . Through up and downs - and their have been many, Blair has hung on - eluding Art’s drooling jealous gaze.)
. . . Buchholz lost his rookie status after the 2008 season and has provided some positive value each season since - but with
an average of only 128 innings per year. This year his ERA was 1.74 in 108 innings and had a 12-1 W-L record.
Granderson: R.24.1 in 2005 - after the soon-to-be 24 year old 3rd round draft pick center-fielder first made the top 100
(no. 57) by hitting .922 at Erie of the AA Eastern League. He continued to hit well for Toledo and was called up in time to
be a useful outfielder for Gil on July 22. Like so many players, Granderson brought his game up another step in his third
year (2007). . . In late May of 2008, I needed a centerfielder and gave up Nick Markakis, who is 2 1/2 years younger, for
Grandy. I got a second career year out of Granderson in 2011 when he adjusted his home run swing in the new Yankee Stadium.
Rios: R.20.9 in 2012. Not only can it be difficult to figure out the future of a young player, sometimes veterans can be incredibly
unpredictable. Rios had three good years in a row ages 25-27 from ’06 to ’08. It looked like the Blue Jays would
be set in right field for many years. However, his 2008 was a worrisome come down from his previous two
years - although hitting was down that year all over the Major Leagues. Then 2009 was an ugly season for Rios and the Jays
unloaded him and his contract onto the White Sox. Rios had a comeback in 2010, but then lapsed into hitting worse than ever
in 2011. Now, he’s had two surprisingly good years in a row. . . Luc was the first owner of Rios in 2003 as a prospect
from the Florida State. He was a 1999 first round pick moving up one level per year. That August, while in AA, he was traded
along with fellow Blues Jays prospect Jason Arnold to Art for Johnny Damon. Arnold never reached the Majors, but Rios was
called-up a third the way through the following season and immediately given the right-field job. He has been a regular ever
since. Art endured his erratic career until after his .613 OPS producing 2011. Gil picked him up and Rios had the best year
of his career at age 32, plus another halfway decent season this year.
- Fernando Rodney: R.36.5 in 2012.
After five straight years managing to keep his job as a Major League reliever with an ERA well over 4.00 - often even as a
closer, at age 35, the Rays were finally able to harness that ability the Angels and Tigers were hoping for - and then some. His 0.60
ERA for 75 innings is the lowest qualifying reliever ERA in history. The Ray mined 85 saves out of old man Rodney these past
two seasons. . . Of course, Glen was there last April to soak up all this Tampa Bay productivity.
- Koji Uehara: R.24.9 in 2012 and 20.3 in 2013 - his age 37 and 38 seasons. Uehara came over
from Japan in 2009, and was essentially a league average starter until he strained his elbow in mid June. . . Gil drafted
him the following winter R.25. . . The Orioles made him a reliever and he’s been outstanding in that role every year
- whether he’s pitching for Baltimore, Texas or Boston. . . Gil has been the one to draft him each time - until this
year - Richard poached him before Gil’s usual Uehara round. As a matter of fact, I was planning to draft him that round
if no one else did. In both recent years, Uehara was traded near the trading deadline to contenders (George in ’12,
Goff in ’13).
- Joe Nathan: R.19.7 in 2012 and R.19.3 in 2013. Nathan was the 2nd best reliever in the American
League over the years 2004-2009 - perhaps, the best. In March of 2010, he underwent Tommy John surgery. He pitched 45 innings
in 2011 to no great effect. He was turning 37 . . . Ryan’s 6th round confidence in the procedure even at such an old age was rewarded
with a 2.80 season (64 innings). Richard selected the 38 year old in the same round last winter and Nathan’s ERA was
half what it was in 2012 - pitching in just as many innings!
- Darren O’Day: R.37.5 in 2012 and R.19.4 in 2013
ages 29 and 30. O’Day broke through as a great reliever in 2009, but he wasn’t eligible for the A.L. until 2010. .
. I was keen to try him first (22.9), but traded him to George for Delmon Young the year Young started to look like he like
the highly feared hitter we expected him to be. Blair took O’Day in 2011 at 19.4 and he flopped. That scared us away
from O’Day until George redrafted him with a late April pick in 2012, while Gil secured him early in 2013 - ahead of
- Brandon Moss: R.41.7 in 2012 - Here is another incredibly late bloomer. Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia had him
through the age of 27 producing a total WAR in the negative. He wasn’t a bad hitter in the National League; it just
looks like he was destined to be one of those AAAA players. Oakland gave him a shot in 2012. With Daric Barton not hitting
and Moss hitting .952 for Sacramento, Moss was promoted on June 6th. The 28 year old hit over 1.000 OPS his first few
weeks with Oakland, so I drafted him with my second round pick that month. He gave my team excellent depth that year. . .
I wish I had kept him - with Encarnacion’s injury this September I needed him far more this year than last. Instead
Gil had him and he won the championship despite finishing with 16 fewer wins than mine. No, I traded him to Brent over the
winter with Tommy Milone for a mere R.37. Brent cashed him in before the trade deadline for Gil’s R.19.
- Billy Butler: R.14.8 in 2007 after a strong year in AA - the third year in a row he made the top 100 after his selection
14th overall from a Jacksonville high school in 2004. He was now ranked 25th and about to be 21. He played far more for
the Royals over the next two years than for Omaha. His break-out year, though, was (surprise, surprise) his third year. .
. George drafted Butler in ’07. At the end of the year, he paired him with Fausto Carmona (now Roberto Hernandez) for
Mark Teixeira. That wasn’t one of my better trades, but I did enjoy his him through 2011, then included him in the Bautista
for Miggy trade along with Lorenzo Cain getting back and R.16 and and R.38. Richard almost immediately flipped him over to
Ryan for an R.29 and and R.44. Team 10 under Jim owned him previously as a prospect (R.22.3 in ’05, protected for ’06).
Hence, that team has owned him twice without his ever playing for them. More interesting is the fact that instead of protecting
Butler, Jim saved an unranked AAA .676 OPS hitter about to turn 26 named Jerry Owens. I don’t know what “expert”
was touting Owens in the off season of 2006/2007. Jim often travelled to minor league games. I wonder if Owens was someone
who made such a great impression one game that Jim wanted to give him a try.
- J.J. Hardy: R.14.7 in 2010. Hardy
came to the Twins as a 27 year old five year veteran. His salary was approaching 5 million, so the Brewers dumped him
for Carlos Gomez. After only one season, the Twins passed Hardy along to Baltimore for two prospects - neither of whom are
likely ever to be helpful. Meanwhile, Baltimore . . . and Ryan . . . have done very well with Hardy. He won a gold glove in
2012 and an all-star berth this year.
- Elvis Andrus: R.26.9 in 2008. Andrus was just made available to A.L. Scoresheet players as
he was part of the the Mark Teixeira trade coming from the Braves organization. Playing for two different high A teams, Andrus rose from no. 65 to the no. 19 best prospect in professional baseball. He was now 20. . . Andrus was George’s
baby all the way and he hasn’t let go. . . The next year he was the starting shortstop in Texas and has averaged 150
games per season, fantastic defense, and a respectable .688 OPS - which is pretty decent for a shortstop in the post PED era.
Lowrie: R.14.8 in 2011 and R.15.4 in 2013. Lowrie has always been considered a good hitting and quite valuably versatile infielder,
whose body just can’t endure a full season of baseball. . . Gil owned him this year - his age 29 season, and he played
in 154 games, 119 at shortstop, 24 at second-base, batted a .791 OPS. With 7 RBI, he was the most valuable player in our championship
series this year. Lowrie’s previous high mark in games played was 97 games during his 2012 season spent in the N.L.
That year ended early for Lowrie with a sprained ankle and aggravated peroneal nerve. Glen had him for 88 games in 2011 cut
short with shoulder injuries. In 2010, Lowrie wasn’t touched by us until the last round of August, when Ryan took a
chance on him after his wrist surgery. Lowrie finished the year with 55 games. Of course, being a Red Sox product, Art was
the first to draft Lowrie in July of 2007. At that point he was a Stanford man who blasting his way out of AA. He was up and
down the I95 from Pawtucket in ’08 and ’09. His 2009 season ended in August with wrist surgery.
Kipnis: R.20.5 in 2011 after the 2nd round 2009 pick from A.S.U. had an impressive year split between the high A Carolina
League and the AA Eastern League. He was ranked no. 54. Turning 24 after his selection, he spent most of 2011 proving himself
at Columbus. His OPS was in the .800s at all four levels he played in the minors. His Major League career of 2 1/2 seasons
had been inconsistent, so far, . . . but overall a nice pick-up for Blair. . . His OPS has crept into the .800s this year
- his third year.
- Chris Tillman: R.42.3 in 2012 - as a recently recalled 24 year old former top 100 prospect
and 2nd round pick after getting about a dozen Orioles starts in each of the three previous seasons - each producing ERAs
in the 5.00s. His three or four starts up to that time had gone much better. He’s now entrenched in Baltimore’s
and Richard’s rotations. . . Glen originally drafted him 43.3 in 2008 as a 20 year old AA pitcher. Glen traded his R16
and Edwin Jackson to Art just for an extra protection slot in order to keep him in 2010. He was cut at the end of the year,
but Glen tried again with his Round 20 pick in 2011. Nope, 2012 would be his breakthrough year and he’s all Richard’s.
Harrison: R.36.1 in 2011. Almost identical to Tillman, Harrison struggled for about 75 innings in each of his first three
seasons in the Majors mixed with send-backs to the minors. His ERA averaged 5.39 those three years. While Tillman broke through
in his age 24 season, Harrison was 25 the year George nailed him in 2011. Both were drafted out of high school, Harrison went in
the 3rd round instead of the 2nd. Both cracked the top 100 list, although Tillman cracked it more often and with superior
rankings. Harrison’s body only held up to two seasons of Major League rotation. It remains to be seen how long Tillman
lasts. It is possible Harrison will make a comeback from his shoulder and back woes. . . In this case, George did draft Harrison
a couple times earlier, although Goff gave him a shot in 2010.
- Derek Holland: R.32.2 in 2009 after shooting up three levels of the minors to AA. . . He’s been with Ryan
ever since. . . Holland’s rookie season that year at age 22 produced the impressively bad ERA of 6.12. Holland spent
most of 2011 in the minors. He finally locked himself into a secure spot in the Rangers rotation in 2011 with sub 4.00 ERA,
then found last year more difficult: 4.67. He had a lovely year this year - 3.42 in 213 innings.
- Miguel Gonzalez:
R.44.8 in 2012 and R.22.6 in 2013. These have been the only seasons in the Majors so far for this hurler from Guadalajara.
He was a rookie at 28. After three years in the Angels system, Gonzalez injured his knee and missed the entire season
except for a comeback that fall/winter in the Mexican Pacific League. Then Gonzalez missed all the following
season requiring Tommy John surgery. Boston gave Gonzalez a two year shot in their system before they released him. He pitched
only one game at their AAA level. The Orioles picked him up and started Gonzalez in AAA. Suddenly, he was a fine pitcher.
His 45 innings for Norfolk produced a 1.61 ERA. On July first, Baltimore stuck him in their wild card contending rotation
and, except for time off for a couple of minor injuries, he has stuck to it ever since. . . No one in our league took a chance
on Gonzalez until Glen picked him up last August. Goff was the first to get to him this winter.
- Torii Hunter: R.15.3
in 2012 by George. Hunter was 36 and showing a significant decline from a career that never had a .900 level peak to fall
from. . . The previous time he was drafted R.14.3 by Brent - after the 2009 season in which the 34 year old played in only
119 games due to various minor ailments. Hunter played in over 150 games in each of the next two seasons and was over 140
games these last two. Before these last four years, the previous time Hunter was drafted goes back to R.20.10 in 2001. He
was drafted and dropped frequently before then. In 2001, Hunter was 25 - in essentially his third season with Minnesota -
and had showed progress after his wake-up-call / send-down in the middle of 2000. . . My team received a first round pick
for him the next winter. Hunter has been surprisingly consistent ever since: playing for team 10 two and a half years and
for Art for five and half years. At the 2010 trading deadline, Brent traded Hunter to George for the impressive rookie Austin
Jackson. This year George traded Hunter for to Goff in an exchange of play-off hopeful veterans. Just as in real life, the
oldest players in Scoresheet move around from team to team more often.
- Salvador Perez R.43.2 2nd of 3 rounds late in 2011 as a 21 year old recent call-up to the Royals - coming
out of nowhere. Well, he was born in Venezuela actually and slowly worked his way up to the Carolina League in 2010. In 2011,
he spent most of the season in AA, then only a couple weeks in AAA when Kansas City decided to give him a try on August
10th . . . shortly before the last Scoresheet draft of the season when Brent was keen to catch him. Ryan Lavarnway was
taken one pick before Perez and he’s still looking for a steady job in the Majors.
- Matt Wieters: R.14.5
in 2008 - age 22 and the 5th overall pick in the June draft the year before (last year of Canadian rules in ’08). Wieters’
highest level of experience was playing for Georgia Institute
of Technology, which doesn’t sound like much of a baseball
academy. . . When I was accumulating talent for my championship drive in 2011, I loaded up on useful but expendable talent
from Blair’s team for primarily the price of 25 year old Matt Wieters. I was hesitant to give up Wieters over Alex Avila,
but the latter was having a career year: .175 OPS points higher than Wieters’, so Wieters had to be my trade lure. I
considered offering Avila for Wieters back at the end of the season, but how do I rationalize that to Blair, when he knows
that I’m a Tigers fan?
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia: R.17.1 in 2012 and R.15.7 in 2013 - Salty was a supplemental first
round draft choice out of Royal Palm Beach High School in 2003. By 2006, he reached number 26 on the prospect list. In 2007,
he was called up on May 2nd and played in 93 games his rookie season. He didn’t top that until 2011 with 103 games.
He was then turning 27 the following May. . . Blair, who had drafted Salty in the 18th round, threw him back
in the pond. Art had better luck with him the next year (121) games, after drafting him one round higher. He redrafted him
this year in the 15th round and Salty had easily his best season, yet (as Art is having his best season, yet). Salty wasn’t
drafted in our league until 2008. He was the 2nd overall pick taken that year - by Brent (after Miguel Cabrera, before J.D.
Drew, David Price, and Matt Wieters.) Brent hung onto him for another year, then gave up. Ryan invested his 2nd pick (R.15)
of 2010 for him and gave him up after one year.
- A.J. Pierzynski R.23.2 in 2012 and 18.1 in 2013 - Last year at 35,
Pierzynski had the best year of his career offensively. . . George tied for first place last year with A.J.’s help.
Blair used him as a DH most of year this year - he tried selling him, but no one bought him at his asking price. Pierzynski
was first drafted in our league in 2001 by me at 25.10. He was a 1994 third round pick, but after a couple of shots, he finally
broke through in 2000 with an outstanding year in AAA and a productive call-up in mid August. The Twins’ catching job
was immediately his. By today’s hitting standards, he was protection worthy for about the first 9 years of his career
ages 24-32. However, 2001 was near the peak of a hitter’s era and I had Jorge Posada, so Pierzynski was dropped. Indeed,
Blair picked him next up at 17.6 and kept him for 7 years including one year as a cross-over. Art took Pierzynski with his
R.21.5 in 2009 and he had his best season in three years. 2010 was the worse season of his career, although, certainly not
terrible for a catcher in a low run environment (.688). He was dropped, then Brent took Pierzynski in 2011 with his R17.3.
Holland: R.21.10 in 2012 and R.18.7 in 2013 - these were Holland’s 2nd and 3rd excellent seasons as a Major League reliever
- ages 26 and 27. . . I drafted him in 2012, Art took him this year. Blair drafted Holland in 2011 and traded him to me as part of
that large package of useful play-off tools/depth for Matt Wieters.
- Dave Robertson: R.18.8 in 2011 and R.15.10
in 2013. Robertson settled in as a reliever in May of ’09 after struggling since mid-season of ’08. . . I first
landed him then in the June draft (41.10). Ryan beat me to him in 2010 (R.17.8) . . ., but he really didn’t become a
dominant reliever until 2011 at the age of 26. . . I drafted him again for that season, protected him in 2012, then redrafted him yet again
in 2013 at 28. I’m leaning towards protecting him for next year.
- Grant Balfour: R.18.6 in 2012 and R.20.1 in
2013. Balfour has been outstanding for the past six seasons - except for 2009. He was 34 and 35 these past two years.
. . He was property of Gil that first great season (2008) after the last pick of the first July supplemental round (R.40.10).
Gil then redrafted him for his bad year. I took him in April of his next good year (2010: R.36.8), and again from R.15.9 in
’11. Glen snatched him up in 2012, then Blair gave him a run this year until he sold him back to me near the end of
the season. (A few years from now, I will very likely be embarrassed to disclose Dylan Bundy was part of that trade going
to Blair. My consolation prospect was Kyle Zimmer.)
- Coco Crisp: R.16.8 in 2012 - This oldster defying long established
expectations by an even wider margin than Hunter. Why draft a 32 year old on the 3rd round who hasn’t been worth
protecting in a half dozen years? . . . Goff knew. How many of us have owned Crisp before? We all passed on his rookie season
in 2002. Team 1 had him first in 2003. That owner (Chris) died and his replacement owner redrafted Crisp in 2004. Crisp broke
out as a solid player that year, but he was dropped anyway. Team 6 drafted him in 2005 - his peak season at age 25 - along
time ago in baseball. That owner protected him one winter. I gave Crisp a shot in 2007. In ’08 a new owner for team
6 drafted him. He traded him back to me for Cuban rookie Alexei Ramirez and then prospect Alberto Callaspo. I must have been
desperate for an outfielder. Finally, despite four drafts and one trade in five years, Crisp is picked up by his third team
in 2009 thanks to Blair - going cheaply at R.27. He gets taken on that same round in 2010, this time by Gil. Goff first wised
up to Crisp in 2011 taking him in the 18th round.
- Colby Rasmus: R14.4 in 2012 at age 25. The local (to all but
one of us) Blue Jays paid a solid starter Edwin Jackson and some fine relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski for Rasmus,
so the expectations were high - despite his discouraging A.L.
debut the previous end of the summer (.517 OPS). We had faith
in our bright G.M. and former Scoresheet player Alex Anthopoulos. Rasmus was a first round Alabama high school draft pick
who reached no. 3 on the BA list after his three and a half year cruise through the minors. Rasmus blossomed in his second
year with St. Louis, but his third year did not go well and he found himself in Tony LaRussa’s dog house - hence, the
trade to Toronto. . . He’s still with Art and Toronto.
- Jacob Ellsbury: R.15.8 in 2011 at age 27 after a lost year due
to a broken rib cage. . . Art naturally drafted Ellsbury first as a 23 year old no. 33 ranked prospect graduating from AA
back in 2007. He protected him after Ellsbury narrowly blew his rookie status that year, then enjoyed acceptable production
from his first two full seasons. After Ellsbury fractured his ribs and missed missed all but 18 miserable games in 2010, Art
dropped him. Gil alertly scooped him up and now has a championship with his help. Ellsbury had a career year (so far) in his
first year with Gil.
- Shane Victorino: R.14.7 in 2013 coming from the N.L. He’s 32. . . At least, Art has
this Red Sox outfielder to enjoy - and Daniel Nava, too, who came very close to making this list.
- Albert Pujols: R.14.1 in 2012 - After 11 years of establishing himself with the Cardinals as a no-question Hall of Famer, Pujols signed with the Angels going into his age 32 season for a ten year contract of Alex Rodriguez
/ Barry Bonds proportions. It is not going well so far. In 2012, he had his worse season ever. This year his hitting declined
another couple of notches further before he was finally given the D.L. hook to end his season on July 26th. . . As mentioned
in the Doug Fister entry, Brent gave up Fister, Crawford, and his first round pick for the rights to Pujols. Let’s hope
he rebounds to something close to player he was in the N.L. before Godfather Time says, “fah-get-about-it”.
Bautista: R.21.9 in 2010 - one of my proudest picks. He finished 2009 with a sudden surge of power and was continuing that
power in spring training. He was eligible at third and in the outfield. Although, he was already 29, baseball has had a few
stars ignite at such a late point in their career. Dwight Evans, Davey Lopes, Marco Scutaro, and Raul Ibanez come to mind.
. . Why not have the fun beating out all my fellow Torontonians to Bautista? After his two great years, Richard (the one non-Ontario
resident in our league, who’s not even Canadian) made an offer for him that I couldn’t refuse: then first-baseman
Miguel Cabrera - while I was using Bautista as my first-baseman, anyway. Joey-Bats has hit pretty darn well these last two
years (.868 OPS), but hasn’t been around to contribute in either September.
- Asdrubal Cabrera: R.41.4 - 2nd of
4 July rounds in 2007 - at age 21 as the prospect not rated in the top 100 was making clear in AA that he should have been.
A year earlier, he was in AAA, but struggled to impress. Cabrera was promoted back to AAA just around when the draft results
came out. In less than two weeks he was called up to Cleveland where he finished strongly. . . I enjoyed his output for 2
½ years before trading him to Gil for Ben Zobrist. He remains under Gil’s control and had a strong September contributing
towards his championship.
- Howie Kendrick: R.14.6 in 2011 as a 27 year old - and the Angels well established regular
second-baseman going into his 5th year in the Majors. He went on to have his best year (and only all-star appearance) in 2012.
George first drafted Kendrick in May of 2005. He was just a 21 year old on verge of a promotion from the California League
to the Texas League in the season that led up to his ranking as the number 12 prospect. After a month into the 2006 season,
he was in the Majors. Injuries and slumps kept Hendrick to 400 plate appearances or less those first four seasons, then he
averaged 612 PA and 148 games for the next three. Last year he played in only 122 games. . . A 2007 trade put him on Glen’s
team for 3½ seasons. It was George who redrafted Kendrick in 2011.
- Eric Aybar: R.21.1 in 2008. Aybar was signed
from a Dominican Republic high school in 2002 and worked his way into the middle of the top 100 lists by
2005. He remained there for three years sinking slowly down the list. He played for the Angels for almost half of 2006
keeping his rookie status, then spent almost all of 2007 in the big leagues. Yet, he only had 251 PA and a .569 OPS. He was
24 in his third season, when he finally developed adequately with the bat (.699). He improved another step in 2009.
. . That was Jim’s fortune. Although, Aybar was originally drafted by team 6 in 2006, he played for team 10 five years
- one of the few players to survive the turnover from Jim’s team to Richard’s. However, this winter he was part
of the Will Myers for Josh Hamilton trade going to Glen. I believe Aybar was the last of Jim’s veterans to stick with
- Jean Segura: R.23.9 in 2011 based on my weakness at shortstop - and that I think it is generally best to draft shortstop
and center-field prospects. He looked good in the Midwest
League and made no. 57 on the prospect list. He turned 21
the March of that draft. . . He moved up to the California League, but was injured, so I kept him for 2012. There, he was
just holding his own in AA - so I didn’t wince when I included him in the deal to Richard for Encarnacion early that
July. A few weeks later Segura was included in a real life trade from the Angels organization to the Brewers. Boy, did they
unlock his talent. He hit 1.000+ OPS in 8 games for their AA team, then on August 6, he was in Milwaukee. This year he played
for the National League all-star team.
- Brian Dozier: R.38.8 in 2012 and R.29.1 in 2013. Dozier is an 8th round pick out of the University
of Southern Mississippi. He worked his way up to AAA in 2012 when after 48 games and hitting a paltry .623 for Rochester,
the Twins figured he had to be an improvement over sub .600 hitting 38 year old incumbent shortstop Jamey Carroll. Dozier
started off well his first two weeks, while George needed a shortstop that May and picked him up in that month’s draft.
. . Although, is was evident Pedro Florimon would the Twins shortstop in 2013, Brent astutely concluded that Dozier was taking
over second-base giving a 25 year old full timer eligibility at both middle infield positions. That in itself made him
a valuable Scoresheet player. Dozier had a surprisingly good season this year: a .728 OPS and good defense.
Machado: R.39.4 (4th overall pick after June draft) of 2010 - and the 3rd overall pick that summer (behind Bryce Harper and
Jameson Taillon who went to N.L. franchises). Machado was only 17 - going on 18 and coming from a Miami high school. It only took
the teenager two years to reach the Majors and has been solid from the start. . . Blair is very happy with that one. He probably
doesn’t belong on this list by Scoresheet value, but his defense was so off charts great - at third base, yet - that
his WAR value would place him far up the list. According the Sean Smith’s formula used by Baseball-Reference, Machado’s
defense alone was worth 4.4 Wins Above Replacement level this year. John Dewan of Bill James Online confirms that Machado has saved a league leading 34 runs this year with
his defense. As you know, Scoresheet ranges are affected by the previous couple years of data - not the current year.
Castro: R.19.8 in 2013: Let’a extend this list one last guy, so we can have an Astro. George benefitted from
hooking the 25 year old who played in only 87 games in 2012. Castro was a 43rd round high school draftee from California who decided
to go Stanford instead. That was probably a good decision. After three years there, he was a first round draft pick - 10th
overall. He spent two years in the middle of the top 100 list as he moved up from the New York - Penn. League to the Texas
League. He split 2010 between the N.L. and the P.C.L. Castro missed all of 2011 due to knee surgery, so, yes, he is another
third year breakout success.
I leave it to you to have the fun of drawing
conclusions from these observations. It might say something about the value of various draft picks, what type of players we
undervalue, or when the best time is to try to lasso a player for your team. But, before you start drafting every third year
player or act upon whatever you think you learned: make sure you test your theory. If I was right with my gut feelings from
these observations, then there would be far more breakouts coming from players in their third year than their first, second,
or fourth year. Well, I tested that. And it wasn’t particularly so. Twenty-two of the non-pitchers did very nicely in
their rookie season. Seventeen reached a significantly higher level in their 2nd year. Twenty made some sort of jump in that
third year. However, only four improved much in their fourth year. Yet, seven did improve in their 5th year, three in their
6th, three in their seventh, one in his eighth, and Edwin Encarncacion took a huge step in his 9th crack in the Majors.