Thursday, June 11, 2015

All-Draft Team

Same thing as last night, but with opposite results.  This is a run down of a team of players, 8 position players with a starting pitcher and relief pitcher, who were all picked in the first five picks of the draft over the last 30 years.  There were some positions that were really tough to fill.  Namely second base and relief pitcher.  There have not been many selections for those two positions in the top 5 picks, so the names limited the choices greatly.  However, other positions, like third base could have had four or five really easy selections.  Here the list.......

C- Joe Mauer

The Twins elected the St. Paul, Minnesota native with the first overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft.  There was a lot of grumbling at the time over the Twins passing over USC pitching prospect Mark Prior who went to the Cubs second overall.  Prior quickly reached the Majors and pitched the Cubs to within a few outs of the 2003 World Series.  After that injuries caught up with the pitching prospect, Mauer came up with the Twins in 2004 and the rest is history.  He's now in his 12th year with the Twins and has posted a .316/.397/.455 line and is rated as the 10th best all time catcher by the JAWS rating system.  Mayer won the MVP award in 2009, has five Silver Sluggers, 6 All-Star Game Appearances, and 3 Gold Gloves.  The various Hall of Fame measuring sticks have him just short of Cooperstown and the Twins have moved their former top pick to first base to save a little bit of wear and tear on him.  

1B- Will Clark 

The Mississippi State star went to the Giants second overall in the 1985 MLB Draft.  Over a fifteen year Major League career the scrap first baseman posted a .303/.384/.497 line with 284 home runs, 440 doubles, and over 1200 RBIs.  While he has a career 137 OPS+ his best years were spent as a Giant where he posted an OPS+ of 145 and 35.5 of his 56.2 career WAR.  His half a season, spent as a Cardinal, was also spectacular (.345/.426/.665, 12 home runs, and 42 RBIs in 51 games).  Great career and a fun player to watch.  

2B- Rickie Weeks

This was the most challenging position on this list.  There were not many choices for second base.  Weeks is the best of them.  Honestly, Weeks had some decent years for the Brewers, but there just were not that many of them.  Weeks was drafted by the Brewers second overall in the 2003 Draft and spent his entire career in Milwaukee up until this year.  He is currently with the Mariners.  Weeks has a .247/.345/.421 career line with 150 home runs, 204 doubles, and 126 steals.  Could have been much worse, but it's also hard to believe that a career 104 OPS+ with a WAR of 23.7 is the best second baseman taken in the top 5 picks of the MLB Draft over the last 30 years.  

3B- Chipper Jones

Is ARod considered a third baseman?  The list here was long and came down between Chipper and ARod.  I am happy that ARod is having a nice season, but the jerk factor off set his career WAR below Chipper Jones OPS+ added to his photo commentary offered during this year's college football national championship game, and that time he rescued Freddie Freeman from the Interstate during a snow storm.   Jones was selected by the Braves first overall in the 1990 draft.  Chipper spent 19 years with the Braves and ended his career with a .303/.401/.529 line with 468 home runs, 549 doubles, 150 steals, 1623 RBIs, and a reservation in the Hall of Fame in a few years.  

SS- Barry Larkin 

The Reds made the former U of M star was picked by the Reds with the fourth selection in the 1985 Draft.  Over a year career as a Red Larkin had a .295/.371/.444 line with 198 home runs, 441 doubles, 379 steals, and lead the Reds to their first World Series, in 1990, since the Big Red Machine took home a pair of rings back in the 70s.  Larkin was the 1995 National League MVP, won 9 Silver Sluggers, and 3 Gold Gloves.  While JAWS only rates him as the 13th best shortstop, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2012.  

OF- Ken Griffey Jr. 

This was the slam dunk easy name that I put on this last with zero research.  The M's picked Junior first overall in the 1987 MLB Draft and got themselves one of the best players of his generation.  Griffey made his debut for Seattle in 1989 at the age of 19.  He would spent the first 11 seasons with the Mariners and hit more almost 400 home runs with the team.  He forced a trade to the Reds before the 2000 season and was never quite the same player once he got to Cincinnati.  He was often injured and his skills started to diminish with age.  Still in 9 seasons as a Red he hit more than 200 home runs.  Overall, Ken Griffey Jr. his 630 home runs, 524 doubles, and 2781 hits to go with his career line of .284/.370/.538.  JAWS rates him as the fifth best center fielder of all-time behind Willie Ways, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and Mickey Mantle.  Well, at least he's ahead of DiMaggio.  Not bad company.  

OF- J.D. Drew

The outfielders in the draft over the past 30 years outside of Griffey are solid, but there is nobody else who is in the same ballpark as Griffey.  I like J.D. Drew.  He had a good career that was mainly spent with the Cardinals and Red Sox with a stop over in Atlanta and Los Angeles.  Drew was an uber prospect coming out of Florida State.  He won ever award possible in college.  The Phillies drafted him and he did not sign.  The Cardinals drafted him and thought he was the next Mickey Mantle.  In the end it turned out that Drew was just a low key guy with a little bit of pop, a little bit of speed, and a pretty good ability to get on base.  On five different occasions during his career Drew posted an OBP that was greater than .400.  He only hit more than 30 home runs once and only drove in 100 runs once.  Mickey Mantle he was not, but he was still a good Major League player who ended his career with almost 250 home runs, an OPS+ of 125, and career WAR of 44.9.  Oh, and a World Series ring with the Red Sox.  

OF- Ryan Braun 

I am not sure that Bruan is going to be the player he once was, but like I said, the list of outfielders drops off after Griffey.  In 2011 and 2012 Braun posted MVP type seasons with 33 and 41 home runs and led the National League in OPS both seasons with marks of .994 and .987.  Then came his steroid suspension.   Since he has hit 9 home runs in 61 games, 19 home runs in a full 2014, and now has 13 through the quarter mark of 2015.  His career line of .304/.366/.548 is still very good, but his current line of .261/.332/.497 might be closer to what we get out of Braun for the next few years.  What started out as a Hall of Fame looking career has turned into a rather meh career.  Let's not forget the jerk factor is strong with Braun too.  

P- Kevin Brown 

I was really surprised that Kevin Brown ended up on my list.  He was the fourth pick in the 1986 MLB Draft, so as I flipped through the names I took note of him as a really nice player and kept searching.  There are plenty of pitchers who have been selected in the first five picks of the MLB Draft, some of have had some really good seasons, but none had as good of a career as Kevin Brown. The sinker baller was best known for:

1.  Signing a huge contract with the Dodgers after single handedly pitching the Padres into the 1998 World Series

2.  Sending that Mets Clubhouse guy 10K in cash in a FedEx box for some HGH

Seriously, he was underrated for much of his career.  He pitched huge amounts of innings and ended up with more than 200 wins by the time his 19 year career ended.  His best season was with the 1996 Marlins when he went 17-11 with a 1.89 ERA and an ERA+ of 215.  JAWS has him as the 46th best starting pitcher of all-time which is just ahead of some all of Famers like Jim Bunning and John Smoltz.  

RP- Gregg Olson

There are not many relief pitchers who are drafted in the top 5 picks, but this guy was not too shabby.    The Orioles took Olson 4th overall in 1988 out of Auburn.  I forgot just how good he was for awhile.  When you first glance at his numbers they look alright.  Olson had a 40-39 career record with 217 saves and an ERA+ of 123.  His similar platers on Baseball Reference include guys like Ugeuth Urbina, Keith Flounce, and Fernando Rodney.  Good closers, but not great.  In 1993 Olson tore a ligament in his elbow.  Before the ligament tear Olson had a career ERA+ of 176 and saved 160 games over a six year period.  In 1989 he had a WAR of 3.3 as the Orioles closer and posted a 2.4 and 2.6 in the following years.  That's basically what Craig Kimbrel has done for the Braves the past few years.  After leaving Baltimore Olson bounced around for a few years before he landed in Arizona with the expansion Diamondbacks.  He went on to save 44 games for the Snakes and ended his career with two more years pitching for the Dodgers.  


  1. Great post, crazy Rickie Weeks is the best 2B Drafted that high

    1. Way crazy. I had to triple check that just to be sure.

  2. Second base is tough - if a player is good enough to be drafted in the Top 5 and plays up the middle, they are usually at SS, CF, or C. Second basemen are usually the guys with a weaker arm and less range than the SS. Guys might be drafted as a SS, then move over to 2B when the defense is considered lacking. Other than Weeks, I can't think of any guys drafted in the top 5 as a 2nd Baseman. even looking at the entire first round the only guy I can think of that was drafted as a 2B and stuck there with any kind of career is Chase Utley.
    Generally players drafted in the top 5 are expected to be starting pitchers, just given the risk/reward of a high draft pick.

    1. Great points. I think the Cardinals used a pretty high pick on Kolten Wong, but the number of highly drafted second baseman is certainly limited.