As I mentioned in my last article, I take part in a 20 team/15 man minor league dynasty league. We are currently in the midst of the minor portion of our draft and I thought it could be instructive to go through each round and comment on what I liked or didn't and see what you guys think as well. Our draft consists of four rounds and only players with less than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched are eligible to be drafted. This league is not starting from scratch and has been under way for several years now. One other note: Yu Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes, Jorge Soler and Gerardo Concepcion were all eligible to be picked under our guidelines with the idea that they were or would be with major league teams within a short period of time.
My strategy going into this was simple: weight the bats available a bit heavier than the arms both because I value bats more than arms in general (I know I'm not alone there), and because I thought there was unusual depth in terms of pitchers available so I could get similar value late in the draft. Off we go...
1. Team 1 - Yu Darvish (SP TEX)
2. Team 2 - Anthony Rendon (3B WAS)
3. Team 3 - Trevor Bauer (SP ARI)
4. Team 4 - Gerrit Cole (SP PIT)
5. Team 5 - Dylan Bundy (SP BAL)
These picks went largely as I anticipated, though there were a few wrinkles. First and foremost, Team 1 used a loophole in our rules about not trading draft picks by making his pick and immediately flipping Darvish to Team 19 for Alex Gordon and Jeremy Hellickson. I'm ok with this practice and thought he received pretty good value for his pick, especially since Team 1 has shown a tendency to focus on statistically good performers in the minors who aren't what their numbers say they are (you'll see what I mean later). I had Rendon #1 on my board, followed by Bundy, Bauer, Darvish and Cole, so that those five went in some order seems about right.
6. Team 6 - Bubba Starling (OF KC)
7. Team 7- Francisco Lindor (SS CLE)
8. Team 8 - Archie Bradley (SP ARI)
9. Team 9 - Danny Hultzen (SP SEA)
10. Team 10 - Tyler Skaggs (SP ARI)
Which of these picks is not like the other? I suppose there are a couple answers here as Skaggs was not a 2011 top 10 pick, but the real answer for me is Francisco Lindor. I was shocked to see him picked this early, and while I can understand the motivation, the bottom line for me is that there is more impact talent available elsewhere at this time. No issues with Starling going sixth as if it all clicks he is an absolute monster but that is balanced by some substantial risk. I love the value of Skaggs at the tenth pick here as well. I love Bradley's upside, but think that Skaggs will pretty good himself, and is MUCH closer to providing value to both his and your ML squad.
11. Team 11 - Gary Brown (OF SF)
12. Team 12 - Travis D'Arnaud (C TOR)
13. Team 13 - Yoenis Cespedes (OF FA)
14. Team 14 - Josh Bell (OF PIT)
15. Team 15 - Taijuan Walker (SP SEA)
Several surprises both positive and negative for me in this grouping. Gary Brown was a late first/early second round talent at best on my board. I am lower on him than most, and even knowing that I was surprised he went as high as he did. He's one of the guys I discount some as he generates a ton of love from scouts for his defense. His numbers were great, but did come in the Cal League and I don't buy his power production. His speed is absolutely legit though, rating an 80 on the scouting scale. I was thrilled to land D'Arnaud at 12, as I think his combination of position and production will land him in the top 25 of many prospect lists. He was the BPA for me at the time. I was surprised Cespedes last this long given the hype around him and his ability to contribute quickly, though this falls more in line with my view of the value he'll provide. Bell and Walker were great selections as they were who I debated taking over D'Arnaud.
16. Team 16 - Javier Baez (SS CHC)
17. Team 17 - James Paxton (SP SEA)
18. Team 18 - George Springer (OF HOU)
19. Team 19 - Jorge Soler (OF FA)
20. Team 20 - Jake Marisnick (OF TOR)
This is when it struck me how deep this draft will be due to the massive haul of talent the 2011 MLB draft brought in. Great value for Team 20 as they add a guy I think will be a top 25 prospect this time next year in Marisnick. Team 19 adds to their selection of Darvish by taking a project/question guy in the 19 year old Cuban Soler. When I started preparing for this draft in November, I had Baez as someone I was targeting at 12, and I think he could be a steal this late. I absolutely love his bat speed, and if he can stick at SS (highly questionable) he could be a superstar. Paxton I was hoping would fall into the second round, but is a solid pick here as a guy with good upside and could help in the near future (relative term). I am ok with the Springer selection as well given his potential skill set, though I would have passed on him in favor of Marisnick or a few of the guys who now drop into round 2.
As far as first rounds go, I think this was fairly predictable in terms of players picked with the two wildcards being Lindor and Brown for me. I understand the reasoning on both of them as Lindor is a true shortstop with a possible above average bat, and that's no common thing in a league this size and Brown is at worst a speed guy and much more than that at best. My argument would be that at those picks there are similar ceiling talents with higher probabilities or higher floors. We'll see some of those guys in the next installment where I break down the second round. I'll try to get more in depth with certain players as the draft gets deeper, but tried to be brief here as these names should be recognizable to most prospect junkies. What do you think though? Were any major sins committed in the first round?