Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fantasy Owner's Most Frustrating Times: The 2010 MLB Player Draft

To get it out of the way, I am as surprised as you are that the website still works. Let's move on.

Now two weeks after the MLB 2014 First Year Player draft, deep fantasy leaguers can only salivate and place keeper league free agency bids as teams continue to ink players to lucrative contracts. Often times, we (fantasy baseball managers) won't even see these players for another 2-6 years, and even then, most of them will not pan out. But every year, the story is the same. Phrases such as "loaded", "deep", or "top-to-bottom" are thrown around in an attempt to keep the average baseball fan from thinking about the fact that the draft bust rate is north of 70%.

Back in 2010, things were no different. Not only was the 2010 draft class deep, but the top of the class was loaded with talent. The top three picks were high school studs then followed by college level, MLB-ready arms. Even today, names such as Noah Syndergaard, Taijuan Walker, and Delino DeShields Jr are near the top of prospects lists as names knocking on the door. The 2010 draft was STACKED....or so we thought.

Even coming into the 2013 season, you looked at the 2010 draft and saw nothing but future all-stars, MVPs, and top of the rotation arms. Chris Sale (13th overall) signed a large extension with the White Sox after finishing 12th in the 2012 Cy Young award race. Manny Machado got called up to the bigs and was immediately worthy of his all-star selection. And finally, Matt Harvey won NL Pitcher of the Month in April and never looked back. Again, this was supposed to be it. This is the new generation of young player.

But somewhere along the lines, the wheels fell off. Prospects flamed out, arms broke down, and power never showed. Now halfway through the '14 season, the 2010 Draft looks like a bunch of replacement players and question marks, rather than the dynasty that it should have produced. So who is to blame for this fall from grace?

5. The Injured: Jameson Taillon, Matt Harvey, and Taijuan Walker

  • Three premiere arms taken within the first 50 picks of the draft, all showed immense potential, and all
    have blown out their elbows/shoulders/knees & toes. Not much fault here, just some extreme bad luck. One could also look at that horrible GQ article that Matt Harvey did as some sort of karma though.
4. The "Drafted higher than I should have been" Class: Drew Pomeranz, Gary Brown, and Jesse Biddle
  • Sure, one day Drew Pomeranz may be a serviceable starting pitcher, but was never going to be a front line starter. Colorado saw it, then Cleveland saw it, and I am sure soon, Oakland will see it. Definitely not good enough to go 5th overall. Biddle is iffy and still hasn't shown front-line potential and Gary Brown is very close to earning a "bust" label after a .231 avg in AAA Fresno.   
3. The Immature: Josh Sale & Manny Machado
  • Machado's immaturity was on full display last week as he smirked at an injured catcher and threw his bat at poor Alberto Callaspo. Who does that? While he has a lot of growing up to do anyways (he is still super young), there are suddenly concerns about his actual hitting ability and whether or not he will fully develop. Josh Sale was too immature to even make it to the big leagues. A handful of steroids and a weird trip to a strip club have pushed him to the back of the line in the Tampa Bay organization.
2. The Over-then-Under-Achievers: Mike Olt & Nick Castellanos
  • It's not that either of these players are awful players, but they aren't who we thought they were. early in their minor league careers, both players were hot commodities. Olt mashed minor league pitching. He was once thought of as the future in Texas. Olt raised expectations up to a high level, waited a bit, and then went blind. Even lasik hasn't help him as he now is a bench bat for the Cubs. Let that sink in. With Castellanos, his prospect hype has so far outweighed his production. Yes, he is a decent player, but not the type of player his pedigree first made him out to be. 
1. Bryce Harper
  • Bryce was it. He was labeled as the next big thing. A savior for the entire league. A young kid who was going to be the greatest player to ever play the game. And to that point, he is a failure. Harper has come into the bigs at a very young age and played extremely well. While injuries have hampered his time at the major league level, he still managed to put up 22 HRs with a .270 average as a 20 year old. Yes, a 20 year old. But still, he hasn't become the greatest player of all time. Since he was drafted, Trout has emerged onto the scene and Miguel Cabrera has won a triple crown. Bryce Harper is very good, and very young, but not what the draft hyped him up to be.
So who cares? Probably no one. But who loses? We all probably do. This was the draft. This was a time when a new era was being ushered upon the league. An era of massive arms, smoking hot bats, and all supposedly steroid free. But sadly, now we all wait. Wait for a draft class that won't let us down....which unfortunately......will never happen.