Tuesday, August 24, 2010

NBA Draft Grades

The summer has given us an opportunity to further assess the 2010 Draft class. Here are my grades:
Round 1: Larry Sanders (15)
Round 2: Darington Hobson (37), Jerome Jordan (44), Keith Gallon (47)
Grade: A. Love the potential upside with Sanders, Hobson can contribute off the bench, and Gallon is a skilled big man.
TORONTO RAPTORS                                                                                                
Round 1: Ed Davis (13)
Round 2: Solomon Alabi (50)
Grade: A-. Love this draft. Replacing Bosh will be impossible, but Davis could have been a top-5 pick. Alabi could have been a first rounder too. Great values.
Round 1: Cole Aldrich (11)
Round 2: Tibor Pleiss (31), Latavious Williams (48), Ryan Reid (57)
Grade: A-. Aldrich is a bit of a stiff, but he'll protect the rim which is something the Thunder needed badly last season.
Round 1: Avery Bradley (19)
Round 2: Luke Harangody (52)
Grade: A-. Grabbing a defensive stopper like Bradley with the 19th pick was a coup. Pairing him Rondo late in games will be a great weapon. 
Round 1: None
Round 2: Devin Ebanks (43), Derrick Caracter (58)
Grade: A-. Grabbing two rotation players this late in the draft is a job well done.
Round 1: Craig Brackins (21), Quincy Pondexter (26)
Round 2: None
Grade: B+. I might be in the minority, but I like both of these guys. Brackins can score and Pondexter is a great athlete that can run the wing for CP3.
Round 1: Evan Turner (2)
Round 2: None
Grade: B+. With the second pick, the 76ers got the second best player. What else could you ask for?
CHICAGO BULLS               
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Grade: B+. They used the #17 overall pick to unload Kirk Hinrich's salary which allowed them to sign Carlos Boozer. Nice move.
Round 1: John Wall (1), Kevin Seraphin (17), Trevor Booker (23)
Round 2: Hamady N'diaye (56)
Grade: B. With the first pick, the team got the best player. After that though, more questions than answers. I do like Booker too.
NEW JERSEY NETS              
Round 1: Derrick Favors (3), Damion James (24)
Round 2: None
Grade: B. I would have preferred Cousins over Favors, but I think the James pick is an underrated addition.
Round 1: Al-Farouq Aminu (8), Eric Bledsoe (18)
Round 2: Willie Warren (54)
Grade: B. Aminu's a tweener, but I like the risks they took on Bledsoe and Warren especially when we hear Baron Davis has ballooned to 260 lbs.
Round 1: Luke Babbitt (16), Elliot Williams (22)
Round 2: Armon Johnson (34)
Grade: B. Blazers got more talent, but it seems like they have way too many players and not enough minutes.
Round 1: James Anderson (20)
Round 2: Ryan Richards (49)
Grade: B. Classic San Antonio. With the 20th pick, they get a contributor for the 2010-11 squad.
Round 1: Jordan Crawford (27)
Round 2: Pape Sy (53)
Grade: B-. Not sure how much they improved their team this year since Jordan Crawford seems to be a younger version of Jamal Crawford.
Round 1: Dominique Jones (25)
Round 2: None
Grade: B-. I like Jones as a player but don't the Mavs have plenty of these types?
Round 1: Patrick Patterson (14)
Round 2: None
Grade: B-. Solid player. Fits the system. Ho hum. 
UTAH JAZZ           
Round 1: Gordon Hayward (9)
Round 2: Jeremy Evans (55)
Grade: C+. White dude that strokes the 3. Good fit.
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Grade: C+. Traded this year's first rounder for Ty Lawson, a deal that has worked out very well for the Nuggs. 
DETROIT PISTONS                 
Round 1: Greg Monroe (7)
Round 2: Terrico White (36)
Grade: C+. The Pistons needed a bruiser inside. Monroe plays like another guard. Is he talented? Yes, but he doesn't fit their needs.
Round 1: DeMarcus Cousins (5)
Round 2: Hassan Whiteside (33)
Grade: C. On talent alone, the Kings get an A+. However, both of these guys have character issues. Add them to a team whose best player just got arrested for driving 140mph and it seems like a recipe for disaster.
INDIANA PACERS                      
Round 1: Paul George (10)
Round 2: Lance Stephenson (40), Magnum Rolle (51)
Grade: C-. George plays the same position as the Pacers' best player. Is another deal in the works? If not, how does he fit? Hate the rumors surrounding Stephenson too. Hate them.
Round 1: Ekpe Udoh (6)
Round 2: None
Grade: D+. Not only is Udoh injured, but if they planned to trade for David Lee, why would they take another PF? 
Round 1: None
Round 2: Andy Rautins (38), Landry Fields (39)
Grade: D. Blah.
PHOENIX SUNS                      
Round 1: None
Round 2: Gani Lawal (46), Dwayne Collins (60)
Grade: D. Blah.
Round 1: None
Round 2: Dexter Pittman (32), Jarvis Varnado (41), Da'Sean Butler (42)
Grade: D. Pittman might hit 400 lbs. before he sees significant minutes in the NBA, Varnado has already signed in Europe, and Butler is recovering from a gruesome knee injury. Could have done more.
Round 1: Wesley Johnson (4), Lazar Hayward (30)
Round 2: Nemanja Bjelica (35), Paulo Prestes (45)
Grade: D-. Last year it was the point guards, this year it was the small forwards. Again, why no diversification? Johnson can be an above average 3, but the other picks seem wasted.
ORLANDO MAGIC               
Round 1: Daniel Orton (29)
Round 2: Stanley Robinson (59)
Grade: D-. Put simply, I don't believe in Daniel Orton. He did nothing in college. What did he do to deserve a first round grade? I really think Thunder GM Sam Presti put out false information that his team was interested in Orton to brew interest from other teams. Great move by Presti, terrible move by Orlando.
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Grade: F. This team desperately needed something positive out of this draft and got nothing.
Round 1: Xavier Henry (12), Greivis Vasquez (28)
Round 2: None
Grade: Inc. The Grizzlies still haven't signed Henry despite the fact their is a "hard" slotting system for all rookie salaries. Makes no sense to quibble over a few thousand dollars. Pay the man now so he's motivated when he takes the floor.
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Grade: N/A.

Friday, August 20, 2010

MLB Draft Thoughts / Links

My Thoughts
1- Karsten Whitson got terrible advice.
Major League teams, for the most part, have very good information as it pertains to potential draftees. Because teams employ so many scouts across the entire country that speak with these potential picks, they almost always understand what it will cost to sign a player before they draft him. This explains why players with "signability" issues drop into the later rounds. Knowing this, it utterly shocks me that the Padres could not sign the ninth overall pick, and without knowing the entire story, I am inclined to blame KW's "advisors" (I use the term advisor loosely). 
How much higher can he expect to go when he's eligible in 2013? Does he know there could be a slotting system by then?
I hope for their parts, the advisors took all of this into consideration when deciding college was the kid's best option.
My last point on this topic: Whitson's father said something along the lines of "It was always Karsten's dream to play college baseball, not professional baseball." Not only do I find that hard to believe, but I also find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe the Padres wouldn't know this BEFORE they picked him so highly.
The only winner in this situation is the University of Florida, the school KW will presumably attend for the next three years.
2- This was my Top 10:
 1- Bryce Harper (Actual choice: 1)
 2- Manny Machado (3)
 3- Zach Lee (28)
 4- Jameson Taillon (2)
 5- Brett Eibner (54)
 6- Josh Sale (17)
 7- Yasmani Grandal (12)
 8- Christian Colon (4)
 9- Kaleb Cowart (18)
10- Stetson Allie (52)
We'll see in a few years how I did.
3- As the final numbers trickle in, it looks like the Pirates spent the most of any team this year(~$12m). All the talk about small market teams not being able to afford the best talent is simply not true. This sums things up nicely.
4- Teams are finally realizing that the draft is one of the cheapest ways to compete with the big boys.
5- The teams that get screwed most with the late signing deadline are the college teams. Look at what the Red Sox alone took from LSU (Anthony Ranaudo, Garin Cecchini, Lucas Leblanc) all on deadline day. That leaves these Paul Mainieri with about a week to enact contingency plans.
6- Ty Linton, drafted by the D-backs in the 14th round, hits hard: Exhibit A.
7- In Monday's column, I suggested the Mets not sign Matt Harvey. After seeing that he agreed to take slot money, I love the move.
8- Teams that spent the most money acquired the best talent. Isn't that how it should be?
9- Arkansas' Zack Cox should have been drafted higher than 25th. He reminds me of Brett Wallace (pedigree as a proven college hitter, build), a player that was essentially traded for Matt Holliday. So, even as a trade chip, he's much more valuable than many guys picked ahead of him.
10- The whole draft process reminds me of the way venture capital firms. Players (investments) cost a bit now with the possibility of striking it rich later. If the GMs (portfolio managers) can land one superstar per class (vintage), your fans (investors) will be thrilled with the return.
Thoughts of Others
-Keith Law's NL and AL reviews. [ESPN]
-Bryan Smith's AL East, Central, West, NL East, Central and West reviews. [Fangraphs]
-Reviews by John Manuel and Aaron Fitt. [Baseball America]
-Kendall Rogers' review. [Yahoo]
-As Jayson Stark explains, it will be very difficult to implement a hard slotting system for the draft. If it happens, I think college baseball will be the biggest beneficiary. [ESPN]

Monday, August 16, 2010

What I Would Do If I Ran The Mets' Organization

1- I would not sign Matt Harvey. Yes, Harvey was the #7 overall pick in this June's MLB Draft. However, he wants over-slot money and was abused at North Carolina last year (he threw 157 pitches in an April game). I am no expert, but to me, his arm action leaves a lot to be desired as seen hereBy not signing Harvey today, the Mets would receive the 9th pick in the 2011 Draft (assuming the D-backs do not sign Barrett Loux) which scouts have been raving about for two years. Couple that with the top-15 pick they will have by virtue of their position in the final standings this year, and the organization will be able to select two rocks upon which to build next June.

2- Beginning with the 2011 Draft, I would make a commitment to paying for the best amateur talent available. The Mets find themselves in the world's largest media market. Yet, they refuse to spend come draft time. Instead, they employ the method of overpaying "proven" players as free agents. This completely inefficient business model has failed miserably (see point 4).
3- I would do everything in my power to void the remaining years on K-Rod's contract. Jack Moore at Fangraphs has a nice summary of how this could actually work out well for the club although Rob Neyer has his doubts.


4- I would put Johan Santana, Jason Bay, and Carlos Beltran on waivers. If by chance one (or more) was claimed, I would allow the claiming team to have him (them). Let's look at the remaining commitments to these players remaining after this year:
Santana: 3 years, $77.5m
Bay: 3 years, $51m
Beltran: 1 year, $18.5m
The money "saved" by allowing the player(s) to be taken off the books could then be spent addressing point 2.
5- I would release Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. Just cut bait already. These two are doing nothing for the franchise except clogging the 40-man.
The primary goal of these moves would be to field a competitive team led by Jose Reyes, David Wright, Jon Niese, and Mike Pelfrey in 2012 and beyond.