I'm going to be writing about this draft as I go, with some analysis at the end.
Pre-draft: I have the 9th overall pick. I'm looking at Jimmy Rollins in this spot. I don't think he'll hit as well as he did last year, but those numbers from SS are pretty valuable and he'll score a ton of runs at the top of a potent Philly offense. I'd be OK taking Prince Fielder also.
Round 1: And Jimmy Rollins it was. First round went about as expected, except Chase Utley got taken before David Wright.
Round 2: Grady Sizemore, as I had expected. That's a ton of runs for my team and a solid HR and SB base from which to work. A big time RBI 1B will be good.
Round 3: RBI 1B? Justin Morneau. Hopefully an improved Twins offense gets him some good numbers and the batting average comes back up to MVP levels
Round 4: Brandon Webb gives me my #1 starter. I'm not going to get to pick again for a while and will likely miss out on Nick Markakis now. Targeting Rickie Weeks at 2B, Ryan Zimmerman at 3B, Geovany Soto at C, Corey Hart at OF.
Round 5: Markakis is gone 5 picks before me. Garrett Atkins at 3B was available and the boost to batting average was a need. There wasn't another value pick here.
Round 6: Damn, Hart is taken before his ranking. Looks like I won't need Weeks as I picked Ian Kinsler for 2B. I didn't want him quite this early, but there wasn't a much better choice (Dan Haren maybe?). It's so much better building steals up from multiple sources as opposed to getting a guy like Juan Pierre who only adds in one or two categories.
Round 7: Batting average definitely needs some work. Tim Lincecum should be in the bag in round 8. For now it looks like I have my choice of #2 starters. I do like to have that strong pitching staff. And my #2 starter is... John Smoltz. I don't usually pick older pitchers like Smoltzy, but I think he was good value at this position. He'll break down eventually - hopefully not in 2008.
Round 8: I folded under pressure. Chris Young (SDP SP) was still available and I couldn't take Lincecum over him, but I couldn't take Young over an outfielder so I took Brad Hawpe. Hawpe helped me out last year and so I took another flier on him. Taking a 1B who hits better than Hawpe was another choice, but I didn't want to risk getting left with a bad OF. Two Rockies in the starting line-up so far.
Round 9: Wow, if things go right in the next 5 picks, Lincecum will still be left. Otherwise Nick Swisher's a possibility. Tim Lincecum - 9th round selection. If he gets 180 innings he may K 200. Might only win 10 games, though.
Round 10: No saves yet, and I still need some BA. Come on Jeff Francoeur, let's hit .300 this year! At least the man understands that plate discipline is important.
Round 11: Either Rich Hill or Yovanni Gallardo look like they'll be left for me here.
After that I'll look for some saves (Matt Capps?), followed by maybe another starter (Ian Snell?). I feel like I'm getting too much pitching at the expense of offense, but that may not be the case. On the other hand, if he's there I think I need to take Matt Kemp. Which apparently happened as my computer froze. Thankfully I had clicked on him last.
Round 12: I should have taken Capps here - I still have no saves - but Gallardo couldn't be passed up.
Round 13: Damn, Soto was taken. I now have no catcher. Dustin McGowan was picked to round out a sick starting staff. They're young (minus Smoltz) but boy can they bring it.
Round 14: OK - saves and catcher, here we go. Joakim Soria - #1 Closer. Great Rule 5 pick by the Royals last year.
Round 15: All I need is a catcher that can hit .300 20 HR 15 SB. Yeah, right. I don't have any hitters who do well at any one thing. Morneau should lead the team in HR with 31 (projected). If Rollins could hit 30 again I would be happy. Cracked under the pressure and picked JR Towles before I had to. Still, double-digit steals from catcher is rare.
Round 16: Jim Thome fell so far that I can't not pick him. That kind of power is not freely available, even if it's just from the Util. spot. And after my pick comes a run on the back-end closers. Hopefully CJ Wilson lasts till me in 17.
Round 17: And he does. One more closer to go, and then some bench spots to fill.
Round 18: Ramon Hernandez to provide for some insurance for Towles. Ramon is supposed to be in better shape this year. 20 HR?
Round 19: Asdrubal Cabrera takes what was going to be Yunel Escobar's spot as multi-position back-up. 2B and SS are covered. Now 3rd and another RP (Sherrill?)
Round 20: And here goes Sherrill. I can't believe Rich Harden lasted this long. If he gets hurt they lose nothing. If he doesn't get hurt then they get 8th round production in the 20th. Great pick. Too bad I didn't need any more starters.
Round 21: Back-up 3B? OF? 1B? We'll see who the best player left is. I don't need another outfielder. I should have picked Aubrey Huff and his 1B / 3B eligibility, but Jay Bruce may be awesome. If he plays all year he might hit .275 25 75 80 10, which is great value at this point. Nobody will pick Huff up, so he'll always be out there.
Main Offense Totals: 0.286, 786 R, 201 HR, 762 RBI, 115 SB
The offense actually projects to be worse than the first drafts'. It's the lack of a big bopper (Braun) and a hole at catcher (there was really no way to tell when Soto was going to be taken - I just guessed wrong). Hopefully some of the guys have good years. Thome should make up for the lack of power but finding some batting average will be tougher. It's all about luck at that point.
Main Pitching Totals: 3.55 ERA, 74 W, 48 SV, 1022 K, 1.24 WHIP
Now this is a pitching staff. Saves will be there (3 x 30 = 90) and the Ks and rates are very good.
It seems I was right - I did pick pitching at the expense of offense. I couldn't resist passing up a Gallardo or a McGowan in favor of a bat that was ranked much lower overall. There were plenty of quality arms left later (Snell, Blanton, Greinke) and next time I'll be more flexible with the market as opposed to picking the guys that I like the best. There is some definite upside on offense though. In my opinion, everyone except Kemp could beat their projections pretty easily. An extra couple HR from each guy jumps the total to 219. If Thome has another big year then the RBI will be there. It's about how my teams generally look - young, with top shelf pitching and some low budget closer, and an offense with a hole or two but several multi-category contributors. Maybe a trade of an outfielder (like Bruce it he gets off to a hot start) can net me an upgrade at catcher or ?. I hope Kemp gets to play every day. Man, what a pitching staff. There are four guys who could have years as good as my #1 in the other draft.