ESPN.com 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:
|Karl Ravech (Baseball Tonight)|
|Keith Law (ESPN Scouts, Inc.)|
|David Schoenfield (ESPN.com/SweetSpot)|
|Dave Cameron (ESPN Insider/FanGraphs)|
|Amy K. Nelson (ESPN.com)|
|Chris Singleton (ESPN Radio/BBTN)|
|Jorge Arangure Jr. (ESPN The Magazine)|
|Enrique Rojas (ESPNDeportes.com)|
|Eric Karabell (ESPN Fantasy/Baseball Today)|
|Mark Simon (ESPN Stats & Information)|
|Orel Hershiser (Sunday Night Baseball/BBTN)|
|Jason Grey (ESPN Fantasy)|
|Jim Bowden (ESPN.com/The GM's Office)|
|Aaron Boone (BBTN/Monday Night Baseball)|
|Jim Caple (ESPN.com)|
|Steve Berthiaume (Baseball Tonight)|
|Jason Churchill (ESPN Insider)|
|Christina Kahrl (ESPN.com/SweetSpot)|
|Jerry Crasnick (ESPN.com)|
|Matt Meyers (ESPN Insider/The Magazine)|
|Mark Mulder (Baseball Tonight)|
|Kevin Goldstein (ESPN Insider)|
|Rick Sutcliffe (Monday Night Baseball/BBTN)|
|Jayson Stark (ESPN.com)|
|Tim Kurkjian (ESPN The Magazine/BBTN)|
|Jonah Keri (ESPN Insider)|
|Buster Olney (ESPN The Magazine/BBTN)|
|Barry Larkin (Baseball Tonight)|
Tristan H. Cockcroft (ESPN Fantasy)
|Doug Glanville (BBTN/ESPN.com)|
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:
Which player would you start a franchise with?
Felix Hernandez (16 votes)
Troy Tulowitzki (14 votes)
Longoria (4 votes)
Tim Lincecum (2 votes)
Bryce Harper (5 votes)
Joey Votto (2 votes)
Jon Lester (7 votes)
Adrian Gonzalez (14 votes)
Albert Pujols (2 votes)
Josh Johnson (2 votes)
68 total votes