For those who missed it, here’s a review of my personal 2015 first round. Keep in mind this is what I would do if all the previous players were taken. It is not how I expect the rankings generated from projections to unfold.
Blech. That’s pretty much how I feel about the second round, at least as of this writing. Maybe after delving into the numbers I’ll change my mind, but as of now, just about every option will require going against one of my personal drafting doctrines. The choices will all be either injury risks or players with a limited track record at this level of success.
2.01 Jose Altuve - I’ll spare the regression narrative as there’s no way Altuve will repeat last season’s batting average. But here’s the thing. He’s still going to hit in the neighborhood of .300 and be among the league leaders in steals. He’s also going to score a ton of runs in an improving lineup (George Springer, Jon Singleton and Chris Carter). What separates Altuve from other stolen base artists like Billy Hamilton, Ben Revere and Dee Gordon is more pop and hitting atop an American League lineup so he’ll have a reasonable number of RBI – at least relative to the aforementioned troika. Circling back to the regression, there’s a very steep decline in dollars earned in the first round. The difference between the first pick overall and this pick is about 15 auction dollars. So yeah, Altuve won’t repeat but he has 15 dollars worth of buffer to work with. After all, he did lead all players in 2014 earnings.
2.02 Anthony Rizzo – While I’d be more confident if Rizzo had one more season under his belt, there are signs 2014 can be his expected baseline. There weren’t any metrics that spiked. Rizzo just put the best of 2012 and 2013 together. His contact is good but not great in today’s landscape of elevated strikeouts. His biggest improvement is the manner he handled southpaws. One concern is a career high in fly ball rate, so if there’s any regression, it will be fewer homers as a result of a drop in fly balls. That said, Rizzo missed time but should be healthy entering 2015 with the expectation of a full season. A full season of Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and possibly Kris Bryant should result in a bump in runs and RBI.
2.03 Charlie Blackmon – Yeah, Blackmon is a figment of Coors Feld, but last I checked, he’ll be manning center again in Colorado which means another run at 20 homers with even more steals.
2.04 Todd Frazier – This pick takes a leap of faith but perhaps not where you might assume. Frazier’s power spike wasn’t all that unexpected, considering his age and home park. What’s eye-popping is 20 steals as that’s what compensates for a lower average than others in this tier. It’s a bit disconcerting that 12 of the swipes came from April through June (eight in May) but it does appear like the Reds will run, which should mean at least double digits, hopefully high teens.
2.05 Adrian Beltre – Promise me he’ll stay healthy and I’ll bump Beltre up since I still believe in the skills.
2.06 Troy Tulowitzki – At what point does the injury risk fall behind the performance reward? That’s the question we’ll all have to ask ourselves and this is my answer. While I’m not going to use the same line as I did with Jacoby Ellsbury – he’s not injury prone, he’s accident prone – Tulo has missed enough time that he has to be considered a health risk. But at least nothing is chronic and he’s expected to fully recover from the hip procedure that cut his 2014 short.
2.07 Clayton Kershaw – As I mentioned last time, by the numbers Kershaw is worthy of the first overall pick and I expect an ADP between 3 and 5. It’s just that I believe in drafting to my strength and I’m confident in my ability to put together a competitive pitching staff without Kershaw. That said, there comes a time where the risk of the remaining hitters is too much. Realistically, it’s not going to come to this, but I’m listing my choices as if 15 Zola-clones were picking and the draft went chalk. Man, that’s a scary thought – 15 me’s. Whoever’s in charge of making Diet Mountain Dew would get a ton of overtime, that’s for sure.
2.08 Justin Upton – I’m not expecting the uber-stud we all thought was in store for Upton. But he’s now at the point where .270 with high 20s homers is bankable along with 180 runs plus RBI and a handful of bags. I’m paying for his floor, not his ceiling, which is exactly opposite of what many did a few years ago. There’s a good chance I use this exact same analysis in a couple of years, subbing in Bryce Harper.
2.09 Felix Hernandez – Again, I don’t love taking an arm this early but the reliability of The King trumps what’s left. I doubt I’ll have to make this pick since there aren’t 14 more of me populating the planet (I can’t speak for other galaxies) so someone already discussed will be available here.
2.10 Chris Sale – Sale may actually possess better skills than Hernandez but I feel the injury risk with the lanky southpaw is enough to drop him down a notch.
2.11 Madison Bumgarner – Check the numbers; he belongs in the tier below Kershaw, perhaps even at the top of it but I still like the preceding two guys a tad more.
2.12 Michael Brantley – Brantley’s numbers are awfully close to Blackmon’s but he’s dropped several spots since he’s more likely to incur a power drop. I can just as easily see Brantley hitting 10 homers as challenging 20 again.
2.13 Carlos Gonzalez – I’ll be honest, if I were to write this piece again, the order of the last three could be different. You know the narrative; CarGo is a stud between disabled list visits.
2.14 Hanley Ramirez – Similar to Gonzalez except Ramirez isn’t quite as consistent. His highs are higher than CarGo but his lows are also lower.
2.15 Yasiel Puig – Actually, not only could the order have been different, the names may also have varied. I considered Ryan Braun, Harper, Adrian Gonzalez and Max Scherzer – all of which will be discussed in the final installment of this series. Puig went through some down spells but the signs are there if he can mature and exhibit some consistency.
NEXT TIME – Notable omissions