Here’s a look at some more guys that are going too early in drafts and guys that are hanging around too long in the draft.
As always Average Draft Position(ADP) courtesy of mockdraftcentral.com and all round estimates are based on a 5×5, 15 team league.
Carl Crawford, OF, Rays, ADP 29.3
His 3 year averages of .300 BA, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 84 R, and 44 SB are nice numbers but he has been consistently declining since 2006 with his OPS going from .830 in 2006 to .719 in 2008. A one hundred plus point drop in OPS is alarming, even more so when the player was quoted last year as saying he felt like “the oldest 27 year old ever”. Not exactly an encouraging quote from a guy you are gonna’ be relying on for SB’s. He goes nearly a round before Brian Roberts, Matt Kemp, and Alex Rios and 2 rounds ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino I’d rather wait and take any one of these players. Use that 2nd or 3rd round pick on a big bat or a big time ace then grab a player that will be as good or better than Crawford a round or two later.
I can not stress this enough. They are one category players. Papelbon, Lidge, K-Rod, and Nathan all are usually off the board in the draft in the 5th or 6th round, that is a wasted pick. You can not pass on a player that helps you in 4 or 5 categories for a guy that is a one category specialist. If you have a choice between Papelbon and Dan Haren, take Dan Haren. Brad Lidge and Magglio Ordonez, take Magglio Ordonez. There is a popular misconception out there that closers help you in WHIP and ERA as well, it’s a myth. Most leagues require 900 IP as a minimum. A closer pitches 60 innings, that is 7% of the MINIMUM IP, most teams exceed that number so it’s even less a percentage than that. This will have a very minimal affect on a teams WHIP and ERA. Another mark against closers is that a third of the closers that start the year as their teams closers don’t end the year as their teams closers. That’s an awful lot of volatility for one category. Now I’m not saying punt the category, you never want to punt a category, I’m saying be patient, you’ll be able to get saves late in the draft and off the waiver wire once closers start imploding.
Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs, ADP 73.63
.301 BA, 17 HR, 67 RBI, 71 R, 7 SB is his 3 year average. Now I really shouldn’t need to say more, but just in case you don’t understand why that’s not worth a 5th or 6th round pick, I’ll expound. Those numbers look eerily similar to players like James Loney(ADP 96.45), Conor Jackson(205.72), and Carlos Guillen(226.31) who all go MUCH later than D. Lee. That 2005 MVP caliber season is a distant memory, do not trick yourself into thinking he may rebound into that type of player again, not going to happen. He is 33 years old this season, an age when a player starts exiting his prime, it could get worse from here. Let someone else pay for the name.
AJ Burnett, SP, Yankees, ADP 99.33
This is a man who loves to get paid, not play baseball. Burnett’s two best seasons have just so happened to be the years he could hit the free agent market 2005 and 2008. In Burnett’s six other full seasons since 2001 he has averaged just under 21 starts a season. So outside of the 2 years he was looking at a big pay day he’s missed a third of his starts in those 6 seasons. The Yankees were foolish to give him a 5 year 83 million dollar deal and you’d be foolish to take him as your ace or 2nd starter in the 7th round. He is going to sit back, get out there when he feels like it, collect his checks, and be Carl Pavano: The Sequel. He goes ahead of solid starting pitchers that will get you 30 starts with real good numbers like Jon Lester, C. Zambrano, M. Cain, Dice K, D. Lowe, and Javier Vazquez; inury/bounce back candidates Justin Verlander, Yovani Gallardo, Adam Wainwright, Br. Myers, A. Harang, and C. Young(Pads); and youngsters that may take another step up Edinson Volquez, R. Nolaso, and Greinke. I recommend all these starters over AJ Burnett.
Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels, ADP 124.41
Now a 9th round pick may not sound like much but this part of the draft is crucial, you can’t afford to give away a pick like this. Anyone can pick pick productive players early in a draft, it’s getting impact players in the 9th-17th rounds that make a draft. Howie Kendrick is the furthest thing from an impact player. A 3 year average of .306 BA, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 41 R, and 7 SB, averaging 315 AB’s per season. Do you really want to take a 2B that plays half of a season with unimpressive numbers in the 9th round? Wait 100+ plus picks and take Polanco(ADP 229.96), Weeks(ADP 233.36), M. Ellis(ADP 256.36), O. Hudson(ADP 275.91), or Akinori Iwamura(ADP 284.31). These players will give you more than Kendrick and are more likely to stay healthy, though Ellis and Weeks have had their health troubles, you can afford that risk in the 15th or 16th round, not the 9th.
Cameron Maybin, OF, Marlins, ADP 264.2
This speedy prospect is set to be the Marlins CF and leadoff hitter on opening day this year, with the clear #1 pick in this years drafts Hanley Ramirez moving to 3rd in the lineup. While I agree the move in the lineup is clearly due to Hanley’s RBI potential in the 3 spot, it also shows the Marlins confidence that Maybin can handle the leadoff duties at the major league level. He will struggle, as most rookies do, with batting average as well as overall consistency, but Maybin can be a great SB and R source and can be had in the 18th round. 30+ SB’s that late is a steal on it’s own, combine that with Maybins overall offensive upside and you will have yourself a gem for one of your last picks.
Rick Ankiel, OF, Cardinals, ADP 221.12
Ankiel does come with injury risks, but the 15th round is a great time to be taking those types of risks. Ankiel is the starting pitcher turned OF that slugged 25 HR’s in just 413 AB’s last year. He is smack in the middle of the prime of his career and if he can reach the 500 AB plateau he will hit 30+ HR’s. Finding a 30 HR bat at this point of the draft is grand theft, snag Ankiel around the 14th or 15th round and possibly get top 25 OF production.
Conor Jackson, 1b/OF, Diamondbacks, ADP 205.72
The Diamondbacks number 3 hitter this year will be Conor Jackson. A line of .300 BA, 15-20 HR’s, 100 R’s, 100 RBI’s, and 10 SB’s is very atainable hitting in the middle of that lineup in a hitter friendly park. Jackson will be 26 this season, just entering his prime, is ready to take his game to another level, don’t miss the boat. He can be had for a 13th or 14th round pick and will far outproduce that spot.
Ted Lilly, SP, Cubs, ADP 199.79
This lefthander is as steady a SP as you’re going to find, how does he go in the 14th round on a regular basis? He has averaged 16 W, 173 K, 4.07 ERA, and a 1.29 WHIP, that is solid 4 category production. Injuries are not a concern either as he has averaged 33 starts a season for the last 3 years. He is 33 years old so don’t expect him to exceed these numbers, but you can expect more of the same steady production for the next few years. Grab him in the 12th or 13th round as your 4th starter and get borderline 2nd starter stats.
Aaron Harang, SP, Reds, ADP 158.91
Bounce back special on the big right hander this year. From 2005-2007 Harang was one of the top pichers in the game averaging 14 W, 199 K, 3.78 ERA, and a 1.23 WHIP, great 4 category production. I give him a mulligan for last year due to injury, he’s 30 years old in his prime, he will bounce back fine. Grab him in the 9th or 10th round and get borderline ace production.