Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pillaging Your Peers-NL East

Imagine yourself as the GM of an expansion baseball franchise. Bud Selig has given you the power to select two players from an established MLB team. One player is for the short term, and you can only keep him for 3 years. The second player is yours as long as you want him. The only drawback is you have to submit your choices before you know how many or which teams you will receive players from. So you are choosing under the assumption that you may only get the players from one team. I normally do this around the trade deadline, thinking like the Tigers, so I figured I would put it in writing, and see how much my preferences have changed. I will start in the NL East, since my early research has shown it to be rather difficult.

Atlanta Braves- This was one of the more difficult decisions. The two players I would covet most are very young, and would be excellent choices as my long term preference. The two players are Jason Heyward and Julio Teheran. Jason Heyward just turned 21, and finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year race. Teheran is  19 and considered one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. So therein lies the problem. They both are destined for greatness, but which one do you want long term? Do you take a player like Brian McCann for three years, and take Heyward long term, since Teheran isn't too close to being Major League ready, and may not reach his potential? Do you take three years of Heyward and gamble on a potential ace in Teheran?  If I were in this position, I gamble on Teheran. I take Heyward short term, and Teheran long term. Pitching wins in most cases like this in my opinion.

Florida Marlins- Another difficult one, but easier than Atlanta. The long term option is Mike Stanton. Amazing power hittter. 22 homers in 100 major league games this year, and he's only 21. The short term players in contention are Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson. Hanley Ramirez is arguably the best all around SS in baseball, and Johnson is a dominating pitcher. They are only a year apart in age, so that doesn't help. I think I would actually go with HanRam. Josh Johnson had Tommy John Surgery in August of 07, and although he has been great since, I am using it as justification to take Ramirez. I can't go wrong with either, but Ramirez is one of my favorite players.

New York Mets- Before I actually looked at this, I thought it would be fairly easy. Then I realized how bare their Minor League system compared to the rest of their division. Most of their top prospects have huge question marks. For three years, there are 3 legit options: David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Johan Santana. Two years ago, they were three of the best players in baseball, but Wright had a horrible(by his standards) 2009, Reyes can't get/stay healthy, and Johan just isn't the same player he was in Minnesota. I would go Wright, who bounced back in 2010, and distanced himself from the other two. As far as prospects, I will trust  the experts and go with Wilmer Flores. John Sickels feels he's the Mets' top prospect, and he plays SS, so positional scarcity plays a factor as well. The future is bleak for the Mets.

Philadelphia Phillies- Roy Halladay. Nuff said. As far as prospects go, there isn't much left. The Halladay and Oswalt trades have helped empty the cupboard, as they say, and they are left with Domonic Brown, and a few marginal pitchers, so Brown it is. Big, fast, outfielder who Athlon compares to Darryl Strawberry (in ability, not recreational activities, I assume.) The easiest by far in the NL East, and probably top five easiest in MLB.

Washington Nationals- Another Braves situation, with the added headache of having a very good player at the Major League level. Stephen Strasburg is the most hyped pitching prospect probably ever. Bryce Harper graduated from high school a year early to go to community college so he could get drafted earlier. He is also...well see for yourself...
Both were selected number one overall. Both are among the top 3 prospects in baseball. Then you have Ryan Zimmerman. A young All-Star 3B who isn't close to being selected. In this context, I would have to take Strasburg for three years, and Harper for keeps since Harper isn't close to reaching the majors. I am this close to going Zimmerman for 3 and Strasburg forever. Flip a coin on this one. This will be the one to watch from this division.

This was tougher than I expected. When I looked at this from Detroit's perspective, it was fairly easy. With Cabrera at first that position is blocked, so a slightly less player at a position of need was always selected. Same with outfielders, With Austin Jackson in center and leading off, I looked at power over speed in outfielders. All in all this was fun. I look forward to doing the other divisions, and I will see if I could cover every position without trying. Feel free to leave any comments if you feel I overlooked someone.

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