Now that my CBS Sport draft is complete I will go on record with my list breakouts, busts, good values and bad. Go ahead and agree with me or tell me I am nuts. At the end of the year we will see if I know as much as I think I do or if I am just another windbag.
Before getting into the details I will say right off the bat that any pitcher drafted in the first four rounds has been over paid for. Sure, you might get a great year out of one of these studs. Considering that pitchers are about three times as injury prone as hitters I would never give up said hitter of a pitcher.
Paid too much for:
5. Victor Martinez or Joe Mauer: Sure these guy are two of the best catchers in the game, but catchers are just as, if not more, injury prone than pitchers. Not to mention the fact that instead of drafting one of them in the first three rounds you can grab another hitter that is 15% more valuable and has a far less chance of injury.
4. Curtis Granderson: Many seem to think that if you take a 29 year old that has ranked in the 20’s for a few seasons now and put him in the Yankee lineup that he becomes a late 4th round pick. I understand the concept here, but what most people do not understand is that the Yankees will not tolerate a full-time starter hitting .200 against lefties. My guess is he will be in a platoon situation by May.
3. Justin Upton: Every year there are a hand full of players that woo owners with young potential and 90% of them fail to live up to the expectations. If he repeats his performance from last year he will fall short of several other outfielders that he is being drafted ahead of. If he exceeds last year’s production then he will be worth the price being paid, but players at this age rarely do that. That same pick could have gotten many owners Jason Werth or Shane Victorino and they would instead have a 90% chance of getting the production they paid for.
2. Javier Vazquez: He had a career year that far surpassed anything he had ever done before at the age of 33. He now returned to the AL where he has been lit up year after year and to the AL east of all places. He has never been a crunch time performer so unless the Wizard of OZ granted him a “pair” I see him falling far short of his average 5th round selection.
1. Jimmy Rollins: He is going around the late third round which is a little high given his value last year and the fact he has been on a steady decline for a couple seasons now. His decline is even more disturbing when you realize that the offense around him has gotten better every year. This guy is primed for a collapse.
Purchased at a bargain price:
5. Matt Holliday: Owners got scared off when his move from Colorado to Oakland decimated his productivity. When you are playing in a pitcher’s park and you are the only legitimate threat in the line up, how many fast balls are you going to see? One he was traded to the Cardinals and took up residence behind Pujols (the best hitter in history through his first nine seasons) Holliday easily a top 10 hitter and I see no reason for that to change.
4. Joey Votto: He missed about 20% of the season last year and over a full season could have scored along side of Miguel Cabrerra. Add in the facts that he is 26 and entering his third year on a good offensive team and I believe you get your next top tier 1st or 2nd round first baseman for the bargain price of a 4th or 5th round pick this year.
3. Jake Peavy: This is a guy that has been a top starter for years and he is going in the late 5ht round. He is leaving one of the best pitchers parks but his home / away splits are usually very close and his inter league record falls in line with his numbers against AL teams. It is likely that any increase in WHIP and ERA will be off set buy having the opportunity to get more wins on a more competitive team.
2. Shane Victorino: He scores in the top 15 in the outfield and he is being drafted around the 9th round. Are people assuming he will fall apart at 29 or that the Phillies will stop destroying baseballs? That is a textbook value pick right there.
1. Andrew Baily: Though I am usually skeptical of players with only one year under their belt I will make an exception here. He is about the 13th closer being drafted despite the fact that he was one of the most dominant. His ERA, WHIP and K’s/9 were all superb. The key stat is that he only blew one save after establishing himself as the closer in June. He fits the mold of such clsing greats like Gosege, Rivera and Gagne in that was a promising starter in the minors that was converted to a closer.
Breakouts and comebacks:
4. B.J. Upton: He tantalized owners with a breakout year in 2007 and started out hot in 2008 before running into shoulder problems. The Rays were having their miracle season so B.J. played through it and as a result had off-season shoulder surgery. What most people do not realize is that shoulder surgery may be worse for a hitter that it is for a pitcher, remember Scott Rollen? Upton is young enough to heal fully and after a full year to recover he could regain his power storke and if he was capable of hitting 25 at age 22 what can he do in the future? The good thing here is that even if he does not regain his power stroke his speed still makes him worth starting in most leagues.
3. Ubaldo Jimenez: He just turned 26 and already has two and a half season under his belt. He already ranked as a number two fantasy starter last year but he still has room to improve. He is a prime candidate to move into the elite tier of pitchers for the next several years.
2. Cole Hamels: Owners get caught up in the ups and downs of starters and draft them too early or too late. Cole is a supremely talented pitcher that showed steady improvement until last year when he had a bad year. Guess what? Pitchers are up and down far more than hitters. There was more major injury so unless he has been mentally damaged you can expect him to return to form especially since he is no longer the team’s ace and the pressure is off.
1. Adam Jones: He had similar production to Justin Upton if you compare them when healthy and yet he does not have the incomprehensible buzz surrounding him that Upton does. I will gladly take Jones in the 11th round and save my 4th round pick for someone other than Upton. Jones could far out value an 11th round pick and if he struggles compared to last year he will probably still be wirth and 11th rounder.