|Notes from my Draft|
Written by Brian Popkin (Contact & Archive) on April 25, 2007
I spent a late night in mid-March awaiting my draft. I had a restless energy and a nervous feeling in my belly. The same kind of feeling you get before a big game. Draft day comes once a year and it is over too quickly. I logged on 20 minutes before start time and found myself holding the first overall pick. Now a peaceful feeling came over me. Now that you won the lottery, what do you do next?
I would build my team around King Albert. Pujols will carry me to victory. All I need to do is surround him with a supporting cast that won’t screw it up. I’m looking for stability, consistency, and low risk players.
Here were the mistakes I knew to avoid. The first mistake is playing to the crowd. Trying to get the oohs and ahs. “Look at me, I’m so clever.” This was true last year when I spent a 12th round pick on BJ Upton and he was stuck in the minors. Instead I should take the boring, safe pick. This is also true when I play chess. Some chess players will play to the crowd with a ?!?! (brilliant/questionable) move like a rook sacrifice. Instead I’ll just make the textbook move to play to win.
Planning ahead, I know that this is a standard 5x5, 15 team league. So after pick #1, In rounds 2 and 3 I have picks 30 & 31 overall. I’m already salivating at Tejada and Mauer. Well, both were long gone. So now I’m looking at H. Ramirez for SBs. I’d rather have Rollins, but he too is long gone. The problem is that Ramirez only has 1 good year on his resume, so thankfully he’s gone at 29 saving me the tough call. My pick at 30 was easy because V. Wells fell to me there. The next one is real tough. I don’t want D. Lee or Abreu because of their injury risks. A. Ramirez is nice but 3rd base is way too deep this year. So I took Oswalt. This breaks my own rule about never taking a SP in the first 5 rounds. I even reached on him since I preranked Oswalt at 38. But, he was the best option for SPs since only Santana and Carpenter had been taken. Oswalt is the most stable one left. Peavy ended up going at 32, but I was worried about his arm. So after breaking the rule, I promised to make it up by waiting longer for my next SP.
For the next 2 rounds, pick 60 + 61, I originally planned on a Hall and Oats plan with Bill Hall and John Smoltz. Smoltz was rendered obsolete by Oswalt and B. Hall went at 59. It so often happens that my top choice is taken just one spot ahead of me. It can’t be pure coincidence. Anyway, H. Matsui is stable and a good fit, but I went with Pierre. He’s a steal at 60 and should compliment Pujols only weakness. I took Rivera at 61. He’s a top 3 closer with Nathan’s famous and Dr. K-Rod (he doctors the ball) already gone. Dice-K went at 65, but he was too Risk-K for me. Any of his projected stats might just as well be coming from a Ouija board.
Next I took Kent at 90. You see Clark Kent, I see Superman. He’s got a consistant .290, power, cleanup RBIs, and a scarce position. After that I get Giambi at 91. You can complain that he walks too much, but I see 90+ Runs, 30+ Hrs, 100+ RBIs in a loaded lineup. Besides he’s only getting 400 ABs after the walks, so how badly can he hurt my average when I’ve got Pujols. Other options would have been Sabathia who was long gone or Helton who will only bring me batting average.
At 120 I took Beltre who had a hot spring and I see a good SB/HR combo. At 121, Mussina seems like a good value pick for as high as SPs are going. Other choices were Schilling at 127, Big Unit at 126, or Verlander at 124. I had health concerns about the first two and the youngster didn’t have enough experience to sell me.
At 150, I got took O. Cabrera, then I got greedy and took Crede who hit 30 bombs last year. The problem was that I don’t have a spot for Crede. So later I got lucky and traded him for B. Phillips who was taken at 147. I just missed F. Sanchez at 149. I passed on JD Drew at 154 for injury reasons and F. Thomas at 155 because of no room. I could have gotten Freel who went at 164, but I passed.
At 180 and 181, this is where I earn my rep. I get Bonds and Burnett. I know it is risky, but it is getting late in the draft. Bonds had a hot spring and Burnett is brining the heat. I passed on Bush at 185 and Vazquez at 198 who I also liked.
At 210 I got C. Tracy for yet another 3rd baseman, I told you it was a ridiculously deep position and Tracy fell too far. At 211 I got my sleeper RP in S. Torres. He just gets the job done. At 240 I finally took a catcher in Estrada. And 241 was Brad Penny, last year’s All-Star pitcher.
My last 4 picks were nothing to write home about, J. Jones, Igawa, Capps, and Hung Chi Kuo. I should have taken Maine as a sleeper, but I still love Kuo’s K’s if he comes back to start in LA. After the draft I dropped by bottom 4 and picked up guys like Aurilia and Bonser.To sum it up, I think my team looks good despite a slow start. I would like to sell Torres high in a trade to get a reliable SP. My big mistake was counting too much on hot springs with guys like Giambi, Beltre, Bonds, and Igawa (except I still think Bonds hot spring was legit and I expect a monster year.) Well, Pujols has to hit sometime. Millions of people picking him first can’t be wrong...or can they?