Who really is No. 1? The consensus this year is that Hanley Ramirez should be No. 1, and it’s hard for me to argue against it. He’s a multi-tool talent, who will score you 30-30 with a high average, a great runs total and decent RBIs.
Really you couldn’t go wrong with most of the top picks, but I’m still not sure why Jose Reyes doesn’t get more No. 1 love.
Let’s play a numbers game:
If there was a player in the draft who was projected to hit .293, with 63 homers, drive in 116 runs, score 67 runs and steal 15 bags he would be the no-doubt No. 1 pick this year, right?
According to the projections over at www.espn.com, Jose Reyes’ stat line should look like this at the end of the season: .293-116 runs-15 homers-67 RBIs-63 steals. See what I did there, flipping a couple numbers around?
Pitchfork in hand and mob gathering behind you, you scream “You can’t do that!” Oh, I can, and I’ll prove right now why it makes more sense to pick Reyes-type speed and run production over that 63 homer power hitter any and every draft.
According to the same projections, Mr. Power Hitter’s RBIs and homers are less valuable than Reyes’ steals and runs scored.
Only 22 players are expected to score 100 or more runs, while 27 players are supposed to have 100 or more RBIs. It’s only a slight difference, but a difference nonetheless.
The more forceful argument comes when you pit the glorified home run vs. the undervalued steal.
Again we’re using projections, but recent major league trends reflect this as the norm, high-steal guys are significantly more scarce than high-power guys.
All the following projections are from www.espn.com :
- Ryan Howard will be the top HR hitter this season with 45
- Jose Reyes will lead the majors with 63 steals
- 34 players are projected to hit 29 or more home runs this season
- 17 players are projected to steal 29 or more bags
- A whopping 55 players are expected to hit at least 25 home runs this season
- Less than half that (25) are projected to steal 25 or more bases
So based on those indicators, and factoring in the minor difference in runs and RBIs it is no stretch to flip Reyes numbers into the more “important” positions.
Don’t just look at it from the perspective of Reyes either. How much more valuable is Bobby Abreu late, with his 22-homer, 22-steal, 100-run and 100-RBI numbers? What about Carlos Beltran?
How many times have you searched your rankings and looked at homers and RBIs as the most important indicators and picked Adam Dunn because of that 40-homer, 100-RBI line? Those are great numbers, but later in the draft settle for two 25-homer, 80-RBI guys and improve your numbers. And think about how many 20-homer guys you can pick up off waivers… Now think back to all those 20-steal guys you picked up.
Once the good steals guys are gone, you’re not going to find them. I ripped on position scarcity a little in my post about multi-tool players. Monitoring speed scarcity is far more valuable than snagging a 10-homer, 65-RBI second baseman because he’s the last decent one on the board.