Gregory Bull/Associated Press
|Allan Travers 4ever
|New York Knights
|Upton No Good
|Betances with Wolves
|The Mighty Sombrero
|Ya Heard with Perd
My Pick: Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics
Call it a hunch, but I think Cespedes could have a breakout season in his third year. He was pretty great as a rookie two years ago (.292 BA, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 16 SB), but I feel like he has more in his bat than what he's showed so far.
Maybe his monster performance in the Home Run Derby last season is swaying me, but 30 homers should be reachable—remember, he did hit 26 last season—and a little better luck in the BABIP department (.274 last year) should boost what was a yucky .240 average as well as his other numbers across the board.
Gee, pitchers much? The first six picks were arms, five of which were starters in the same boat—young, exciting and with unknown ceilings: Danny Salazar, Michael Wacha, Alex Cobb, Masahiro Tanaka, and Julio Teheran.
Of that group, it was a tad surprising to see Teheran come out last in the order given what he did as a rookie once he found his groove at the start of May. From that point on, the 23-year-old had a 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 8.6 K/9. I like the potential of the other four, but it's hard to pass up Teheran and go with more uncertainty in an arm like Salazar, Wacha or Tanaka entering their first full season. As you'll see below, Reuter—who took Wacha—actually agrees with me.
For what it's worth, Cobb actually came close to matching those Teheran numbers when healthy last year, and while he'll be good in 2014, I just don't buy a repeat performance.
Among the bats this round, I didn't mind either Pedro Alvarez or Mark Trumbo. Neither slugger is a sure thing to top .800 in OPS because they only dabble in free passes, but both have a chance to hit 40 homers. If you're scoring at home, that's a lot.
Pick That Left Me Reeling: Joel Reuter (New York Knights)
Michael Wacha, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (Round 9, No. 82 overall)
After taking three proven starters early (Felix Hernandez, David Price, Anibal Sanchez), I was ready to take a risk with my next pick.
I had my sights set on Danny Salazar, but Zachary Rymer swooped in and took him one spot before me, and I wound up settling for Michael Wacha. I certainly don't hate having him after the way he finished the 2013 season, and he has plenty of upside. In hindsight, though, guys like Alex Cobb, Masahiro Tanaka, Julio Teheran and Matt Moore were still on the board and may have been better options.
We shall see.
Pick I Wound Up Stealing: Karl Buscheck (Karl's Team)
Masahiro Tanaka, SP, New York Yankees (Round 9, No. 85 overall)
Last year, Masahiro Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA while pitching in Japan. I appreciate that wins aren't exactly the best way to measure a pitcher's success. But 24-0? I'll take that in the ninth round.
Pick That Left Me Reeling: Mike Rosenbaum (The Mighty Sombrero)
Matt Moore, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (Round 9, No. 88 overall)
With only one starting pitcher (Jordan Zimmermann) on my team so far, I loaded up my queue with four quality young arms in anticipation of my ninth-round pick. Well, I should have added more, because each of those pitchers—Danny Salazar, Alex Cobb, Masahiro Tanaka and Julio Teheran—came off the board early in the round and led to my selection of Matt Moore.
While I admittedly love Moore, 24, for his pure stuff and ability to miss bats, his inconsistency between starts will be an ongoing concern until he proves otherwise. Also, I'm not entirely convinced his elbow injury last season was/will be a one-time occurrence.