I’m in one league where less than an month into the season and a couple of owners blew up their teams. I guess they couldn’t take the poor performance of their top draft picks.
Well, if those owners are already looking ahead to next’s year’s draft, then let’s look with them. Based upon the play of this April, who would be the first round picks next year?
Now before some joker with poor reading comprehension comments on how it’s only April and much too early to think about next year’s draft, we all realize this is for fun, right? Just like those owners shouldn’t have blown up their teams after just one month, it’s silly to be thinking about next year’s draft after just one month.
Let’s do it anyway!
Realizing that drafts were different, I’ll just list 15 guys who were the odd’s on bets to be a first round pick in most leagues. We’ll give them a pass / fail grade, then jump forward to the 15 guys whose present performance is laying claim to a first round draft pick in 2014.
Miguel Cabrera gets a passing grade for certain. He went #1 overall in lots of drafts and is proving why in that he’s following up a Triple Crown season with even stronger numbers this season.
Ryan Braun isn’t having a career year, but owners should hardly be disappointed with much, unless they are fixated on his having just two stolen bases.
Mike Trout got off to a slow start and those who love to say ‘told you so’ were more than happy to decry a sophomore slump. Well, he warmed up quickly and proved that the critics spoke too soon.
Robinson Cano has once again been unspectacularly spectacular. He’s proven that he was worthy of a top pick by once again hitting for power and average.
Andrew McCutchen has seen his average free fall this year, while his homers and steals have been respectable. Owners who drafted him high hoping for an increase on his 2012 success may be wishing they took another pick.
Matt Kemp has been horrible. His average is slowly climbing as are his steals but a single home run is not first round material, particularly not for someone who has 40/40 potential.
Albert Pujols has seen his slow starts last longer and longer. At some point they will simply last all season. I think he’s already showing that he doesn’t belong in first round conversation much longer.
Carlos Gonzalez already has 30 runs, is hitting for power and stealing bases, while doing everything else that you hope a first round pick will do. I have to imagine his owners are pleased thus far.
Prince Fielder was probably drafted late in round one if he didn’t slide into the early second. Well, he’s performed like a late first round pick, so I can’t imagine anyone is displeased.
Troy Tulowitzki has been on the field all season and played like we all know he can play. He’s a first round pick if healthy.
Justin Verlander was most likely a second round pick, but I did hear of a few guys going against the grain to grab a pitcher first. I’m sure they are pleased with his performance thus far.
Buster Posey was likewise a probably second round pick, although his slow start would be hard=pressed to justify even that thus far. But he’s thawing out.
David Wright was snatched up by some guys who like to grab thin positions early. He’s rewarded them with solid all-around play.
Giancarlo Stanton has 50 homer potential so he snuck into the first round in a lot of drafts. So far it’s been an absolutely wasted pick.
Shockingly, the first round has held up quite well, considering that on average a full 40% of first rounders fail to return first round value. Maybe this is a year that we see that number dip and see owners rewarded for their early pick. With that in mind, let’s list out 14 for 2014, just for fun.
- Miguel Cabrera: Based upon his history and early season numbers, there is little reason not to look at him early in 2014.
- Ryan Braun: While it looks like his steals will tumble somewhat, he’s still got that track record you like in the first round.
- Justin Upton: He’s flashed MVP before and it looks like his age plus potential will rocket him up draft charts.
- Bryce Harper: He’s showing insane power at a freakishly early age. Why wouldn’t you draft him early in 2014?
- Mike Trout: Maybe his slow start will give drafters pause. But it looks like there is little doubt that he’ll be drafted high in 2014.
- Carlos Gonzalez: While he is hitting for average while flashing power and speed, he’ll be a solid #1 again.
- Robinson Cano: There will be so much contract chatter that folks will grow sick off hearing about him. Still, they’d be nuts not to draft him.
- Paul Goldschmidt: Why not? He’s now had plenty at bats to prove he’s for real. He takes the spot Pujols used to occupy as an elite first baseman.
- Evan Longoria: He’s right now putting together the season that folks knew he could. It’s not unimaginable he’ll be the second third baseman off the board.
- David Wright: One more year before his speed goes in decline and Manny Machado is making him look like yesterday’s news. But never underestimate the masses drafting a solid track record in the first round.
- Adam Jones: He goes a little under the radar, but he’s following up a break-out season with another gem. His stock will rise.
- Matt Kemp: His horrible start will scare off many, but the wise will realize that he’ll be a steal in this slot.
- Andrew McCutchen: Many will say his 2012 was a career year. Others will draft for a repeat in 2014.
- Troy Tulowitzki: It was hard not putting Joey Votto in this spot (or even Anthony Rizzo), but if Votto hits under 25 homers, folks will go for the thin SS position, provided Tulo stays on the field.
It’s obviously too early to tell, but is there anyone I missed that you think will be a first rounder in 2014? Let us know via Twitter or in the comments.