Franchise players recently did a draft in which 30 of ESPN's writers and analysts (some more inept than others) picked which players they would start a franchise with, using a draft system.  I was quite surprised by the results:


1. Troy Tulowitzki SS COL
Karl Ravech (Baseball Tonight)
2. Evan Longoria 3B TAM
Keith Law (ESPN Scouts, Inc.)
3. Felix Hernandez RHP SEA
David Schoenfield (
4. Joey Votto 1B CIN
Dave Cameron (ESPN Insider/FanGraphs)
5. Tim Lincecum RHP SFO
Amy K. Nelson (
6. Josh Johnson RHP FLA
Chris Singleton (ESPN Radio/BBTN)
7. Jason Heyward RF ATL
Jorge Arangure Jr. (ESPN The Magazine)
8. Albert Pujols 1B STL
Enrique Rojas (
9. Bryce Harper OF WAS
Eric Karabell (ESPN Fantasy/Baseball Today)
10. Ryan Braun LF MIL
Mark Simon (ESPN Stats & Information)
11. Jon Lester LHP BOS
Orel Hershiser (Sunday Night Baseball/BBTN)
12. Mike Trout CF LAA
Jason Grey (ESPN Fantasy)
13. David Price LHP TAM
Jim Bowden ( GM's Office)
14. Robinson Cano 2B NYY
Aaron Boone (BBTN/Monday Night Baseball)
15. Joe Mauer C MIN
Jim Caple (
16. Justin Verlander RHP DET
Steve Berthiaume (Baseball Tonight)
17. Carlos Santana C CLE
Jason Churchill (ESPN Insider)
18. Buster Posey C SFO
Christina Kahrl (
19. Starlin Castro SS CHC
Jerry Crasnick (
20. Hanley Ramirez SS Florida
Matt Meyers (ESPN Insider/The Magazine)
21. Mike Stanton RF FLA
Mark Mulder (Baseball Tonight)
22. Stephen Strasburg RHP WAS
Kevin Goldstein (ESPN Insider)
23. Neftali Feliz RHP TEX
Rick Sutcliffe (Monday Night Baseball/BBTN)
24. Carlos Gonzalez LF COL
Jayson Stark (
25. Clayton Kershaw LHP LAD
Tim Kurkjian (ESPN The Magazine/BBTN)
26. Jose Bautista RF Toronto
Jonah Keri (ESPN Insider)

Michael Pineda

Buster Olney (ESPN The Magazine/BBTN)

Roy Halladay 

Barry Larkin (Baseball Tonight)

Justin Upton 


Tristan H. Cockcroft (ESPN Fantasy)

30. Wilson Ramos C WAS
Doug Glanville (BBTN/


Notably, the top overall pick was Troy Tulowitzki.  I'm not sure that I agree.  I guess it comes down to whether you would rather start a franchise with a pitcher or a position player.  I personally would rather build around a pitcher than a position player just because it is what you want to start a franchise with . While a pitcher only goes once every 5 games, a hitter only comes up every 9 times in the lineup.  I guess I simply believe the old aphorism, "good pitching beats good hitting."  That said, my first pick would be Felix Hernandez.  Here are some things that surprised me quite a bit.


1: 4 Catchers taken, including Wilson Ramos and Carlos Santana, who I don't think even deserved a sniff at this list.  I guess elite catchers are tough to find, causing this run on Cs.  I guess with guys like Miggy, Adrian, and Josh Hamilton available, I'd just rather go with a solid player than drafting a catcher just for the sake of getting a catcher.

2: Going for youth: I get going for youth in a franchise player, but once again, with guys in their late 20s available, some guys preferred to take low-20s guys who have never seen the bigs.  I disagree.   I'd want my franchise player to have at least 2 years in the bigs, and at least 1 full year of that was solid statistically.  So picking Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Michael Pineda, and Wilson Ramos is just something I would not do.

3: Older guys: Jose Bautista and Roy Halladay were picked, despite being in their 30s.  I don't necessarily disagree with this, but to start a franchise with a guy who could very well decline significantly in 4-5 years is not ideal.

4: A few guys who weren't drafted: Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Hammilton, and Brian McCann.  I'm not sold on McCann, but he is sure better than Wilson Ramos.  Guys who shouldn't have been taken so high: Heyward, Votto, Tulo, Eva, Harper, and Braun.


There are a ton of polls I can attach here, but I'm just going to go with the basic one:

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