Here’s how Baseball America’s Dream Draft broke down, team by team. Remember that the entire player universe was available, and each staff member’s only charge was to take what he deemed the best 10 players available, regardless of position. As with any BA project, we did it with an eye to the future.
Each participant was also asked to analyze the draft. In the round by round picks, staffers wrote about their thoughts as they made each of their picks. For the team by team, we took a broader look at our own drafts as well as everyone else’s. (Numbers in parentheses are players’ ages as of April 1.)
1. Alex Rodriguez, ss/3b, Yankees (30)
2. Josh Beckett, rhp, Red Sox (25)
3. Scott Kazmir, lhp, Devil Rays (22)
4. Casey Kotchman, 1b, Angels (23)
5. Jeremy Bonderman, rhp, Tigers (23)
6. Adrian Beltre, 3b, Mariners (26)
7. Vernon Wells, of, Blue Jays (27)
8. Jon Lester, lhp, Red Sox (22)
9. Rafael Furcal, ss, Dodgers (28)
10. Jason Varitek, c, Red Sox (33)
My Philosophy: Load up on power arms 25 and under, and take advantage of the draft’s inevitable emphasis on prospects by snagging undervalued, established big league hitters in their mid- to late 20s.
My Draft: I was pleased to get four potentially dominant young pitchers, though Beckett and Kazmir have durability questions. In retrospect, maybe I should have targeted younger position players. Beltre, in particular, was a gamble.
Best Draft: I love John Manuel’s top six but was less sold on the back of his draft. Still, a great mix of young, big league studs and superstars in their primes.
Worst Draft: Good, late picks Dan Haren and Brett Myers weren’t enough to salvage Jim Callis’ draft, which had too many boom-or-bust position-player prospects and frontline pitchers with histories of arm trouble.
Best Pick: There is no reason Manny Ramirez can’t continue to be baseball’s best hitter for five more years. Can’t believe he slipped to the sixth round–excellent value for Will Kimmey.
Worst Pick: Chris Volstad could move fast, but so many things could happen to derail him. It is hard to justify a pitcher with half a season of pro ball under his belt in the top 100 players in baseball.
He Wasn’t Taken?: Bobby Abreu is a five-tool star with four or five very good years left in the tank. How did he not get picked?
That Hurt: I passed on B.J. Upton in the second round so I could lock up a potential ace, but I hoped to land Upton three picks later as a premium young hitter to complement my veteran stars. J.J. Cooper foiled that plan.
1. Albert Pujols, 1b, Cardinals (26)
2. B.J. Upton, ss, Devil Rays (21)
3. Ben Sheets, rhp, Brewers (27)
4. Miguel Tejada, ss, Orioles (29)
5. Brian McCann, c, Braves (22)
6. Ryan Howard, 1b, Phillies (26)
7. Chris Young, of, Diamondbacks (22)
8. Hank Blalock, 3b, Rangers (25)
9. Joel Guzman, of, Dodgers (21)
10. A.J. Burnett, rhp, Blue Jays (29)
My Philosophy: I wanted a team that would be competitive throughout the six-year span we were targeting. Along with that, I preferred to stick with more position players, as there seems to be a lot more certainty among young hitters than young pitchers.
My Draft: It worked out relatively well. I wanted players who will still be in their primes in 2011, and with Upton, McCann, Guzman, Young and Pujols, the core of my team will still be young.
Best Draft: Will Lingo’s team is the closest thing to a sure bet to me, with a number of young stars who are pretty sure bets to produce and only a couple of fliers.
Worst Draft: No horrible teams in my view, but I think Jim Callis’ team has a lot of high-risk, high reward guys.
Best Pick: C.C. Sabathia is a No. 1 starter who is still only 25. To get him in the eighth round was a coup for John Manuel.
Worst Pick: Chris Volstad. Taking a high school pitcher who has yet to pitch in full-season ball seems like a high-risk, low-reward pick, as at best he’ll be a contributor in 2008. Also thought Conor Jackson went too soon.
He Wasn’t Taken?: Chris Carpenter hasn’t had many great seasons, but it’s hard to believe the National League Cy Young winner went unpicked.
That Hurt: I really wanted Michael Young or Victor Martinez in the fourth round, but both were taken.
1. David Wright, 3b, Mets (23)
2. Carlos Zambrano, rhp, Cubs (24)
3. Roy Oswalt, rhp, Astros (28)
4. Brandon Wood, ss, Angels (20)
5. Carlos Beltran, of, Mets (28)
6. Marcus Giles, 2b, Braves (27)
7. Travis Hafner, 1b/dh, Indians (28)
8. Francisco Rodriguez, rhp, Angels (24)
9. Jonathan Papelbon, rhp, Red Sox (25)
10. Carlos Delgado, 1b, Mets (33)
My Philosophy: After 15 years at Baseball America, I’™ve grown wary of projecting prospects too far. So I leaned toward known, all-around commodities young enough to contribute through 2010.
My Draft: This exercise has confirmed my genius, and I expect several major league owners to immediately can their GMs and hire me. You know my number, fellas.
Best Draft: Matt Meyers’™ group is strong, with Jason Bay and Adam Dunn on the experienced side, Rickie Weeks and Cecil Fielder young, and Bobby Crosby in the middle.
Worst Draft: Despite my tremendous respect for Jim Callis’™ baseball knowledge, I think he went with too many prospects for his position players. Too much can still go wrong.
Best Pick: Lastings Milledge in the ninth round (by Meyers), if only because he can be valuable trade bait. Also Miguel Tejada in the fourth round by J.J. Cooper. He’™s still has three or four excellent years left.
Worst Pick: Brian McCann to lead off the fifth round (by Cooper). No way he’™ll be more valuable than 30 players drafted after him.
He Wasn’t Taken?: I’™m an OBP guy, but Jose Reyes still will be one of the most 100 valuable players in baseball through 2011. Way too much room for improvement to be snubbed.
That Hurt: I would have gone with Adam Dunn in the fourth round had Meyers not snagged him. Too much offensive value to pass up.
1. Miguel Cabrera, of/3b, Marlins (22)
2. Dontrelle Wills, rhp, Marlins (24)
3. Rich Harden, rhp, Athletics (24)
4. Michael Young, ss, Rangers (29)
5. Alex Gordon, 3b, Royals (22)
6. Manny Ramirez, of, Red Sox (33)
7. Derek Jeter, ss, Yankees (31)
8. Carl Crawford, of, Devil Rays (24)
9. Pedro Martinez, rhp, Mets (34)
10. Ichiro Suzuki, of, Mariners (32)
My Philosophy: I wanted to take young, semi-established players with star potential and planned that 29 years old would be my cutoff point. My philosophy changed quickly when it seemed everyone was doing the same thing, and there was great value in dominant stars in the 28-33 range.
My Draft: I was pleased to get both pitchers I considered in the second round in Willis and Harden. Older players who should maintain their skills into their mid-30s seemed like the best value, so that’s where I went late in the draft.
Best Draft: I like Will Lingo’s battery of Joe Mauer and Jake Peavy, plus there’s nice value in the picks of Derrek Lee, Eric Chavez and Paul Konerko and good upside in Howie Kendrick and Brandon McCarthy.
Worst Draft: In Ryan Zimmerman, Chris Kline took the first player I see who doesn’t have major star potential, and you’ve got to hammer your first few picks in this draft. There are other nice players there, but I don’t see enough proven, dominant players on his roster. Jim Callis might have relied too much on upside, and his first pick left me with more worry than any others in that round.
Best Pick: David Ortiz is a great value in round five, and part of the reason I went with Manny the next time through. Carlos Delgado’s nice as the third-to-last choice, and I think he’ll out-perform all but Konerko from that round.
Worst Pick: Justin Upton is at least two years away from the majors, so that’s too early for me. I felt Brian McCann would be taken in the last two or three rounds. Marcus Giles went too early, and I’d rather have the undrafted Brian Roberts if you’ve got to have a second baseman in the draft.
He Wasn’t Taken?: Chris Carpenter won the Cy Young last year, and I’m more comfortable with him giving you three good years than any pitcher taken in the final round. Also, Bobby Abreu, because he’s good, and Jose Reyes, because I thought he’d I thought he would get taken more than I think he’ll be a star.
That Hurt: I didn’t expect Mauer would come back to me, but I wanted him. I realized I should’ve taken Matt Cain just after I said Alex Gordon. I had Carlos Beltran pegged in the fifth round, and when he went the pick before me I panicked and took Gordon.
1. Johan Santana, lhp, Twins (27)
2. Jason Bay, of, Pirates (27)
3. Rickie Weeks, 2b, Brewers (23)
4. Adam Dunn, 1b/of, Reds (26)
5. Prince Fielder, 1b, Brewers (21)
6. Brandon Webb, rhp, Diamondbacks (26)
7. Aramis Ramirez, 3b, Cubs (27)
8. Bobby Crosby, ss, Athletics (26)
9. Lastings Milledge, of, Mets (20)
10. Billy Butler, of, Royals (19)
My Philosophy: Didn’t want anyone who could remember the Carter administration, with a core of guys who still get carded at bars (or even have fake IDs).
My Draft: Would have liked more than two pitchers, but I’m very pleased by my young talent up the middle as well as crazy corner power.
Best Draft: I was not big on his last two picks, but John Manuel’s first eight probably gave him the best combo of upside and present performance. Lance Berkman in the seventh round was larceny. Did anyone here watch the 2005 postseason? Berkman is every bit the hitter that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are and he went after both of them.
Worst Draft: Aaron Fitt’s draft has too many guys with question marks like Josh Beckett and Adrian Beltre. I thought Casey Kotchman was a reach, and Jason Varitek has little long-term value.
Best Pick: Wherever he plays, B.J. Upton should be an impact player for the next 15 years, and he fell to the end of round two to Mr. Cooper.
Worst Pick: It was the last round, but Pat Burrell has had an uneven career. He just turned 29, is a poor defender and though labeled a power hitter has an unimpressive .476 career slugging percentage. Let’s hope Jim Callis can deal with his shortcomings better than Larry Bowa did.
He Wasn’t Taken?: If we had done this after the 2003 season, Jose Reyes probably would’ve been taken in the top four rounds. His absence is understandable because of his OBP and injury questions, but he is still just 23. Also, Chris Carpenter won the NL Cy Young last year, right?
That Hurt: Justin Verlander was set to fall in my lap in the sixth round before Manuel nabbed him. I can take solace in the fact that Brandon Webb is a safer bet.
1. Felix Hernandez, rhp, Mariners (19)
2. Grady Sizemore, of, Indians (23)
3. Jhonny Peralta, ss, Indians (23)
4. Mark Buehrle, lhp, White Sox (27)
5. David Ortiz, dh, Red Sox (30)
6. Justin Verlander, rhp, Tigers (23)
7. Lance Berkman, of, Astros (30)
8. C.C. Sabathia, lhp, Indians (25)
9. Carlos Quentin, of, Diamondbacks (23)
10. John Patterson, rhp, Nationals (28)
My Philosophy: Because everyone was available, drafting players who could both help a team now and still help in 2010 was not only possible but fairly easy. My tiebreakers were: lefthanded trumps righthanded for hitters and pitchers, the younger the better, and of course, personal link to the player.
My Draft: I felt like I executed my plan, though I drafted more pitchers than I thought I would going in. I love my first eight picks and like the fliers I took in the ninth (Carlos Quentin) and 10th (John Patterson) rounds.
Best Draft: Matt Meyers and Will Lingo both had a good mix of young and old, hitter and pitcher, toolsy and more subtle talents.
Worst Draft: I love Ryan Zimmerman, but not as a second-rounder. I thought Chris Kline took most of his players a round too early, with the exception of Victor Martinez and Huston Street. Jim Callis’™ draft skewed too young for me, and I have injury questions about the top two pitchers he picked (Mark Prior, Roy Halladay).
Best Pick: Martinez in the fourth round was stout, and so was Michael Young. I felt the fourth round looked better than the third round.
Worst Pick: Conor Jackson in the fifth round didn’™t do it for me. The other bats in that round have a lot more thunder, and so did the ones in the sixth and seventh rounds.
He Wasn’t Taken?: Jose Reyes and Chris Carpenter were in the mix for my last two picks, and I’™m shocked neither one went off the board.
That Hurt: I made a mistake in taking Quentin in front of Street. I wanted both for sentimental reasons, and I should have known to take Street, whom I almost took in the eighth round.
1. Mark Teixeira, 1b, Rangers (25)
2. Ryan Zimmerman, 3b, Nationals (21)
3. Chase Utley, 2b, Phillies (27)
4. Victor Martinez, c, Indians (27)
5. Zach Duke, lhp, Pirates (22)
6. Chad Billingsley, rhp, Dodgers (21)
7. Jimmy Rollins, ss, Phillies (27)
8. Andy Marte, 3b, Indians (22)
9. Huston Street, rhp, Athletics (22)
10. Daniel Cabrera, rhp, Orioles (24)
My Philosophy: Take emerging stars and shy away from aging veterans while mixing in a few risks here and there. Even though my plan was to stay away from too many arms, I ended up above the curve, mainly because I could not resist Billingsley in the sixth round.
My Draft: I think it worked out fine, though I wish I could have gotten another big bat. Martinez and Teixeira will hold their own in the middle of the order just fine, however.
Best Draft: Will Lingo. Those first five picks were the best five rounds selected by anyone.
Worst Draft: Jim Callis. I’m from Philly and I wouldn’t have banged Pat Burrell in the first 100 picks. A lot of health questions with Roy Halladay and Mark Prior, and I’m not sold on Ian Stewart.
Best Pick: I liked both Brett Myers in the ninth round (to Callis) and C.C. Sabathia in the eighth round (to John Manuel). I thought J.J. Cooper grabbing Brian McCann in the fifth round was also a good move.
Worst Pick: Other than Burrell, I have to go Jason Varitek in the 10th round by Aaron Fitt–purely a sentimental pick from the New England native.
He Wasn’t Taken?: Two guys I can’t believe I didn’t take were Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Russell Martin. I can’t believe no one else took them either.
That Hurt: Manuel taking Grady Sizemore and Lingo taking Howie Kendrick as they were moving up my draft lists. Ouch.
1. Joe Mauer, c, Twins (22)
2. Jake Peavy, rhp, Padres (24)
3. Derrek Lee, 1b, Cubs (30)
4. Howie Kendrick, 2b, Angels (22)
5. Jeff Francoeur, of, Braves (22)
6. Eric Chavez, 3b, Athletics (28)
7. Chad Cordero, rhp, Nationals (24)
8. Brandon McCarthy, rhp, White Sox (22)
9. Jorge Cantu, 2b, Devil Rays (24)
10. Paul Konerko, 1b, White Sox (30)
My Philosophy: I went in intending to grab only young big leaguers (with 27-28 being a target for peak value) and trying to avoid prospects, who I thought would be overvalued in a BA draft.
My Draft: It actually worked out better than I expected. I ended up with an average age of just under 25 years old, and there’s no one on my roster who I wouldn’t be comfortable starting in the big leagues right away.
Best Draft: I don’t see any that are head and shoulders above the rest, but Matt Meyers and John Manuel seemed to share my approach of focusing on guys who are big leaguers and still have lots of miles left. I’m not a Billy Butler fan, but I love that Meyers ended up with no one older than 27 yet isn’t overloaded with prospects.
Worst Draft: Again, no real dogs in the group, but I think Will Kimmey’s team is too old (Ramirez, Jeter, Pedro and Ichiro are all on the back side of their careers), and I’m not sure Alex Gordon and Carl Crawford can fill the void when the veterans are gone.
Best Pick: Travis Hafner had an OPS of 1.003 last year, essentially the same as David Ortiz, and he’s two years younger than Ortiz. So why did we let Schwarz wait until the seventh round to grab him?
Worst Pick: I like Chris Young, but I’m not sure I like him as the 61st-best player in the baseball universe. I think J.J. Cooper probably could have held off for a while and still gotten him at the end of the draft.
He Wasn’t Taken?: In a draft where age was so important, it’s hard to believe a 24-year-old Wily Mo Pena didn’t get popped. Wait a minute . . . Can I have my last pick back?
That Hurt: Jeremy Hermida, Andruw Jones and Zach Duke were among the players I would have liked to have on my team, though I think Matthews probably saved me from myself with Andruw and I’ll be happier in the long run with Kendrick.
1. Delmon Young, of, Devil Rays (20)
2. Vladimir Guerrero, of, Angels (30)
3. Francisco Liriano, lhp, Twins (22)
4. Andruw Jones, of, Braves (28)
5. Barry Zito, lhp, Athletics (27)
6. Matt Cain, rhp, Giants (21)
7. Brad Lidge, rhp, Astros (29)
8. Jon Garland, rhp, White Sox (26)
9. Nick Markakis, of, Orioles (22)
10. Chris Volstad, rhp, Marlins (19)
My Philosophy: Given the parameters, I placed the most importance on players’ ages, and tried to identify players that would perform at closest to their ceiling during the 2006-11 window.
My Draft: Despite watching three players in Joe Mauer, Jeff Francouer and Mark Buerhle drafted in the same round I had targeted them, I was pleased with the 10 players I wound up with. Because more established big leaguers went off the board more quickly than prospects, I decided to take advantage of the prospects available.
Best Draft: Will Lingo. I don’™t think Chad Cordero will be as dominant as Brad Lidge, who was also on the board, and I have serious doubts about Jorge Cantu’™s long-term impact in the big leagues, but otherwise his draft had the best nucleus of young, yet proven talent.
Worst Draft: Chris Kline. It’™s tough to tell what his philosophy was. These 10 players represent the lowest aggregate potential of the 10 drafts.
Best Pick: Mauer. Although we were not strictly building teams in this exercise, here’™s a lefthanded-hitting catcher with potential to win multiple batting titles and Gold Gloves. Not only does Mauer play a premium position, but he’™s also lauded for his ability to handle pitching staffs and his makeup.
Worst Pick: Ryan Zimmerman. I guess it’™s the fact that he made it to the majors so quickly, but I believe BA and others are overrating him. He’™s a peerless defender and has great makeup, but he’™s a corner infielder with modest power and has slightly more than 300 professional at-bats.
He Wasn’t Taken?: Khalil Greene. A year after being named BA’™s Rookie of the Year, Greene posted modest offensive numbers, but has a good glove, great instincts and feel for the game as well as age on his side.
That Hurt: Mauer. I was pretty sure Mauer wouldn’™t be there when I discovered I’™d be picking ninth, but when Lingo stepped up to the podium, err, speakerphone, and Mauer was still available, I thought I might get lucky.
1. Mark Prior, rhp, Cubs (25)
2. Jeremy Hermida, of, Marlins (22)
3. Justin Upton, ss, Diamondbacks (18)
4. Roy Halladay, rhp, Blue Jays (28)
5. Conor Jackson, 1b, Diamondbacks (23)
6. Stephen Drew, ss, Diamondbacks (23)
7. Ian Stewart, 3b, Rockies (20)
8. Dan Haren, rhp, Athletics (25)
9. Brett Myers, rhp, Phillies (25)
10. Pat Burrell, of, Phillies (29)
My Philosophy: Take players under 30 and try not to go crazy taking prospects over big leaguers.
My Draft: I loaded up on prospects, but at least they were elite prospects. In three years, this would be a dominant nucleus for a big league club.
Best Draft: Matt Meyers. He got the best pitcher in baseball (Johan Santana), didn’t make a bad pick and stole Lastings Milledge in the ninth round.
Worst Draft: Will Kimmey. I liked his first five picks, but he went too old in his last five. Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Pedro Martinez and Ichiro are still formidable, but their best days are behind them.
Best Pick: Meyers again, with Rickie Weeks at No. 25. Milledge at No. 85 is a close second.
Worst Pick: Ryan Zimmerman at No. 14 to Chris Kline. I really like Zimmerman as a prospect, but there are a ton of gifted young third basemen and that was a huge overdraft.
He Wasn’t Taken?: Jose Reyes or Troy Tulowitzki. But we drafted 11 shortstops, so some had to be left on the board.
That Hurt: I hoped Joe Mauer or Delmon Young would get to me at No. 10, but both went right before I could pick.