Yesterday, I posted the results of my major league draft auction in the UBA League. This league is a NL-only 4 x 4 league with 12 owners and a two round minor league draft that usually takes place right after the auction has completed. This year, since two owners in the league owned 9 of the first 10 picks in the first round, we decided to hold the minor league draft throughout the day yesterday.
Part of my rebuilding strategy involved trading for more first round draft picks along with drafting several big name players in the major league auction draft who I could trade during the season for cheaper keepers for the 2011 season. I had the following picks in the MLD: 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 23, and 24.
Here are my picks:
#2-Dee Gordon, SS, LAD
#3-Drew Storen, RP, WAS
#6-Derek Norris, C, WAS
#7-Ike Davis, 1B, NYM
#10-Jaff Decker, OF, SD
#23-Chris Withrow, SP, LAD
#24-Chase d'Arnaud, 2B, PIT
Each player is assigned a $5 S2 contract.
When I traded for the #2 pick in the offseason, I set my sights on drafting Dee Gordon. Gordon was the Co-MVP of the Low A Midwest League in 2009 after hitting .300+ with 73 stolen bases. I did not follow conventional wisdom that told me to draft Cubs SS prospect Starlin Castro. Sure, Castro will make it to the majors sooner than Gordon, but I think Gordon will be the more valuable fantasy player when he makes his debut in 2012. I think even if he hits .250 in the majors, he can steal 40+ bases. A player that can steal 40+ bases is worth $30+ in 4 x 4 leagues.
With the 3rd pick in the MLD, I selected the Nationals future closer Drew Storen. I normally would not draft a closer so high, but Storen appears to be the real deal, and will more than likely have the Nat's closer job sometime this season, barring a blowup or an injury. Closers have alot of value in a 4 x 4 league and go for $25+ in the major league auction draft in the UBA league, so Storen at $5 for two years is very good value.
More MLD draft analysis after the jump:
With the 6th pick, I took Nationals catcher Derek Norris. Norris is a power hitting catcher with a solid eye at the plate. He will play in High A this season, but should he have success at the plate once again, I could see a mid-season move to AA. In 540 at bats in Low A last season, Norris hit .286-.413-.513 with 23 HRs and 84 RBIs. He struck out 116 times, but also walked 90 times. Catchers with power and the ability to take a walk don't come along too often. There is a chance Norris is moved to 1B down the road because of his defensive abilities, or lack thereof.
With the 7th pick, I had my sights set on drafting Mets outfield prospect Fernando Martinez until he was traded the day before the keeper lists were to be submitted. The new owner retained FMart at $5 S1. So, he will have to raise him to $10 in 2011 should he keep him, or raise him to $15. I had a chance to trade for him this offseason, but didn't see the value in dealing for a guy that may not be worth $10 going into the 2011 season. So, instead I drafted Mets first base prospect ike Davis with the 7th pick. The Mets are keeping first base warm for Davis for later this season, at the earliest. Davis, the son of former big league hitter Glenn Davis, is a big power hitting first baseman with a good glove.
My decision at the 10th pick was not as easy as the first four picks, as I gave thought to drafting Astros catching prospect Jason Castro, Dodgers pitching prospect Chris Withrow and Padres outfield prospect Jaff Decker. I decided on Decker for several reasons. One, Decker has lots of power and has a great eye at the plate, as reflected in his .299-.442-.514 slash line at Low A Fort Wayne last year. Fort Wayne is in the Midwest League and is a pitcher-friendly league. With that said, Decker hit 16 HRs and drove in 64 in 358 at bats in 2009. He stole 10 bases, even though he is considered slow afoot, and had a 92/85 K/BB rate, which proves he has a solid eye at the plate. ESPN's Keith Law ranked him as his 26th best prospect in his Top 100 rankings in 2010. The second reason is I already picked a catcher in Norris earlier, so I didn't want to pick another catcher in the first round. Finally, I gambled and thought Withrow could slip to me at the 23rd pick and he did.
With my two late second round picks I selected the Dodgers top pitching prospect Chris Withrow who I think could be in the rotation at some point in 2011. In two spring training appearances, Withrow struck out 5 in two innings of work, and according to Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein, some in the LA organization think Withrow could help the Dodgers bullpen THIS season.
With my final pick, I thought about picking Padres second base prospect Logan Forsythe, but decided to pick Pirates infield prospect Chase d'Arnaud. d'Arnaud hit .293-.398-.454 split between Low-A and High-A last season. He hit 7 HRs, drove in 57 runs, and stole 31 bases in 39 attempts, and sported a 72/60 K/BB rate. I chose d'Arnaud over Forsythe because I think the Pirates may move him quickly through their system and we could see him in Pittsburgh in 2011 at some point, plus Forsythe is moving to second base after several years at third base in the Padres system. But recent reports state that Forsythe has a natural feel for second base and could be an above average major league second baseman according to ESPN's Keith Law. I regret not taking Forsythe.