MLB Draft

My MLB Draft Rant

Just so you are forewarned: this will not be something that will happen on this blog very often. No statistics, not many examples of what I’m going to be writing about, not much research, really all opinionated theory. You probably found this if you wanted to read something like this, but if you somehow stumbled on it and were looking for something to project out how well guys who got drafted will do, this isn’t the post for you. It might come later, but not right now.

Something that MLB Network analyst and draft guru Jonathan Mayo said during day 1 of the draft really struck a chord with me, and it wasn’t a good chord. I don’t have the recall skills to directly quote him, but it was something to the effect of “in the first round, you draft talent, not needs.”

Um… WHAT?

I’m no GM (of course I would like to be at some point in time), but I like to think I know some stuff about the game. I really think that at some point you need to draft to your team’s current and future needs, and the players who will fill these needs best are going to be in the first round. Granted, If you have a pick in the top 3-5, you go with the best guys on the board. Then if you’re in the later picks of the first round, you can aim for talent, but presuming you don’t have many needs at the major league level, you get guys to bring depth into your farm system. I.e. if you have five right-handed starters who are top-ten prospects, and you only have two lefties in your top 30, grab a freakin’ high school lefty there, and maybe draft one with the next pick you have, too. Don’t reach too far if you can help it, but try and keep a well-rounded farm system. Worst case is you have depth everywhere and you can play with some trade offers. As it gets into the later rounds, around day 3, probably even late day two, start to go for talent there.

Think of it this way, if you are drafting a fantasy team (I know, the fantasy baseball to real baseball comparison is a stretch, but it works here) in a deep keeper league, and you have Jose Altuve, Jason Kipnis, David Wright, Manny Machado, and Pedro Alvarez. You have to decide a late round pick, when you go for sleepers/prospects, and you can go with Garin Cecchini or Mookie Betts. Cecchini is ranked higher and probably profiles as a better fantasy player, but Betts isn’t bad at all either. So who do you draft?

Betts. Mookie Freakin’ Betts. That is who you draft. not because he is better than Cecchini, but because you already have three third basemen, and you don’t need another one. Plain and simple. Why keep four third basemen when you can only play one or two at a time?

I’m not saying MLB teams did this. I looked at the first round again, and it seems like they did pretty well with drafting needs over talent in the first round. The Padres didn’t draft a catcher to sit behind Austin Hedges like I saw in one mock, and the A’s didn’t draft a shortstop to do the same with Addison Russell, which was from the same mock. I just want to tell Jonathan Mayo, “Bro… no,” at least if I were making decisions.

So there it is, for any questions/opinions, comment, tweet me (@tanman128) or the blog (@AnalyticsAnonWP), or email us at analyticsanonymousblog@gmail.com. Thanks for putting up with this – TM

Two Extra Points:

1. My draft strategy also entails where the player is in development. If you are about to hit the panic button, draft a top college guy. He should be up before the top high school guys.

2. Just want to say congrats to Tyler Humphreys, who was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the seventh round yesterday out of St. John’s River State College. We are good friends with he and his family, and I’ve played ball with his brother since we were ten. He led all JUCO players in the regular season with 18 homers this year, and plays a solid defensive third base.

Vandy and their Dynamic Pitching Duo

This was supposed to go up a few weeks ago… but it didn’t. So here it is, better late than never.

Carson Fulmer Image Courtesy of ESPN

Carson Fulmer
Image Courtesy of ESPN

Friday night baseball games at McKethan Stadium always provide great entertainment and great baseball. The competition provided in the SEC is the best in the country, and many future Major Leaguers are produced by those programs. Vanderbilt is notorious for this, putting out names like David Price, Sonny Gray, Pedro Alvarez, and Ryan Flaherty, among others. Coach Tim Corbin is one of the greatest coaches in college baseball, and it shows with the talent he recruits, the talent he puts on the field, and the talent he sends to the pros. They are perennial contenders to make a trip to Omaha, and this year is no different. As the old adage goes, pitching and defense wins championships, and the Commodores certainly have pitching. Righthander Tyler Beede is projected to be a top-10 pick in this June’s First-Year Player Draft. This time next year, I expect the same to be said about Beede’s teammate, fellow righty Carson Fulmer. Beede is 6’4″ with a four seam fastball that sits in the mid to high-90s, a two seamer that sits in the low to mid-90s that tails, and two exceptional off-speed pitches; a curveball with good 12-6 break and a changeup that sits in the high-70s with good movement. The change could be his best pitch. Off the field, Beede raps under the alias Young Beedah, and he’s actually pretty good. Maybe one day we could see a Beede-Trevor Bauer collaboration feat. Ken Griffey Jr. I didn’t get to see him pitch on Friday (he threw Thursday), but I got his autograph after the game and he seems like a really nice guy.

Tyler Beede Image Courtesy of baseballjournal.com

Tyler Beede
Image Courtesy of baseballjournal.com

As for who I did see pitch on Friday, the 5’11” Fulmer was absolutely masterfulthy (I wanted to say masterful and filthy, so we now have a word for that). His delivery is very quick, and he generates a lot of torque with his lower half. Notice how I said he was 5’11”; he throws 95. This is something that I’m going to rant on for a few sentences, so prepare yourself; there is no such thing as a player being “undersized”. Not in baseball, not in football, not anywhere. If a guy can play, he can play, and Carson Fulmer can play. He also has above-average secondary pitches, and can command the zone. Early and late in the game he had some short stints where his control eluded him, but in the middle he was solid, and even went on a treak of retiring twelve straight Gators.

(Side Note: I am really excited about Fulmer as far as his stuff, and how he pitches. This is probably because I actually saw him pitch in person, so I know more about his game, even though it was only one game, and probably his best game. All I have for Beede are some clips from YouTube, so that’s what I’m going off of, along with another scouting report.)

Fulmer’s start in Gainesville resulted in a complete game-four hit-shutout, the first shutout of his college career. He was still hitting 95 on the gun in the ninth on one of his fastballs to the last batter of the game, who he struck out. His line at the end was: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Post-game, when i went to go try to get his autograph, he had A Lot of friends and family there. He is from Lakeland, so I wouldn’t really expect anything less, and he put on a great show for his “hometown” crowd.

As far as pro player comps, you can’t help but compare him to “small” pitchers. I’ve put him up with two guys who have had success and were successful; Drew Storen and Marcus Stroman. Storen is three inches taller than Fulmer, and he was a reliever his whole career so that would probably be the least accurate comparison. Stroman is two inches shorter, and started some at Duke, so we could put these guys up next to each other and get a good comp.

Fulmer, Storen, and Stroman's college stats. Courtesy of www.thebaseballcube.com

Fulmer, Storen, and Stroman’s college stats.
Courtesy of The Baseball Cube

Fulmer’s WHIP and ERA are closer to Storen’s but his K/9 are closer to those of Stroman, so it could really be the best of both worlds. Fulmer only has four collegiate starts because he was just recently moved into the weekend rotation, and it looks like a move that is paying off for the ‘Dores, with his 0.98 ERA. He had recorded 9 saves prior to the move, which goes back to the comparison to Storen; Storen led Stanford in both wins and saves his sophomore year.

Vandy has good defense to stand behind these two guys, and if they can score runs, the can really be a force in the NCAA Tournament. They are definitely worth keeping an eye on, whether it be this year or next.