Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Expansive Thinking

Brave men and ESPN buddies Bill TPA and The Common Man, the high-quality dudes behind The Platoon Advantage as well as weekend Getting Blankards, recently undertook a daunting but interesting exercise. In their infinite wisdom, they went ahead and added two big league teams for the 2012 season. Not content to simply realign the leagues, the decided to fill the rosters of the new teams. 25 players per team aren't going to come out of thin air so...expansion draft time!

The guys asked us to protect 15 players ahead of the first round, then pull three exposed players back. Another round of picks then another three get protected. Read the introductory post, the first round of picks and the second/third rounds.

As this is a 'real team', contracts count as does age, I suppose (read the rules here). The Jays have so few albratross contracts so I didn't have much to worry about on that front. I simply tried to protect as much talent as possible.

With no further ado, here is my list with some general commentary following.
  1. Jose Bautista
  2. Ricky Romero
  3. Brandon Morrow
  4. Travis Snider
  5. Brett Lawrie
  6. Yunel Escobar
  7. Kyle Drabek
  8. Marc Rzepcyznski
  9. Adam Lind
  10. Zach Stewart
  11. J.P. Arencibia
  12. Anthony Gose
  13. Rajai Davis
  14. Henderson Alverez
  15. Travis D'Arnaud
With the 21st pick in the first round, the Portland Webfoots select Brett Cecil of the Toronto Blue Jays. And the crowd booed Toronto's inept GM lustily.

Time for round two! My protected players:
  1. Carlos Villanueva
  2. Aaron Hill
  3. Deck McGuire
And with the first selection of the second round, the Portland Webfoots select Eric Thames of the Toronto Blue Jays. And I feel shame. To the third and final round!
  1. Adeiny Hechavarria
  2. Carlos Perez
  3. Jake Marisnick
Finally, with the sixth pick of the third round, the Brooklyn Hipsters select Brad Mills. Whatever.

And that's it. I fear protecting Rajai Davis was a mistake. In light of his play (both recent and historical) and two players I lost, I regret it. Leaving Davis exposed while protecting Cecil and then exposing Hill while protecting Thames probably helps me sleep at night.

On the other hand, I feel like Thames-type players are exactly the kind to move in an expansion draft. Maybe he could be the Webfoots' Al Woods? Sucks to see him go but players like him are not too hard to find. Hopefully, he proves me wrong.

In the end, not bad. Too mid-rotation lefties and a decent-if-defensively challenged power bat lost. The pitching depth makes the first two losses easier to swallow, the outfield competition and Bautista contract make Thames a little easier to take.

What are your thoughts? Always a good exercise to help realize other fans don't value your prospects quite like you do.

Make sure you click over and check out the full rosters, it's good stuff. Awesomely Keith Law compares the rosters and breaks down their merits. Once you finish taking in their entire project, come back here and tear a strip off yours truly in the comments.

Sad image of a happy guy courtesy of Reuters via Daylife.


  1. i don't think deck or hill had to be protected. deck was drafted too recently (if i'm not mistaken) and hill is likely a free agent. if his option gets picked up i'd imagine his payroll hit for next season would be enough protection from an expansion teams perspective.

  2. I think you're exactly right.

  3. I don't know about Deck... He's a polished arm who has potential to contribute to the Majors in a relatively short amount of time (how much value he'll be able to contribute is the real question). I'm surprised a guy like Moises Sierra wasn't picked up, someone with a decent eye, Jose Bautista's right arm and pretty decent pop. Raijai Davis makes very little sense though, from a financial and talent standpoint, but the loss of Thames isn't really heartbreaking. Even if he breaks through that 'fourth outfielder' wall, there will plenty quality corner outfield prospects waiting to supplant him. I think Mills will turn out pretty good, but I digress.

  4. Very surprised that you protected Hill, Villanueva and Davis. Hill's basically replacement level now. Villanueva is striking out around 4 guys per 9 since he became a starter. He's doing well now, but he's not a guy you lose sleep over. Davis is obvious.

    I think you're really undervaluing Thames. Guys who hit 308/385/535 in the minors aren't the type of players you want to just give away. I get that he's older, but a lot of that is due to injuries and not him struggling in the minors.

  5. Something for Jays fans to consider: J.Chavez, the corner infielder included in the League/Morrow trade, was an early first round pick.

    Obviously you have to give to get and nobody is re-doing that trade but he's one to keep an eye on.

  6. Note: I didn't attempt his first name as I'm on my phone and, yeah, no shot. Johlmyr?

  7. Dammit. Outfielder. Again, phone!

  8. I was a little confused with your comments regarding Thames. Although you say that "players like him are not too hard to find", the stats he has posted in the Pacific League this year make him appear to be better that your average player. Consider his .434 wOBA and 17.2 wRAA in 241 PA. While these stats may represent a limited sample size, his stats last year in AA were not that shabby: .393 wOBA and 29.0 wRAA in 573 PA.

    Could you comment further on Thames, and further explain why you think he represents a player who will be only average at the major league level?


  9. Also, in response to Drew, Johermyn Chavez currently has a .279 wOBA a -12.2 wRAA in AA. What exactly are we supposed to be watching for?

  10. Davis was the only name that jumped out at me as a mistake to protect, but I wouldn't have been upset if you didn't protect Rzep either.

  11. @ekenyon - his name caught my eye, which is why I mentioned him. Obviously he caught a few others eyes around the league.

  12. @ekenyon - his numbers at AA and AAA are encouraging, though I don't put any stock in PCL numbers. None. Look at the numbers Arencibia posted there last year versus what he's producing this year.

    JPA has a lot of pop for a catcher but there's a world of difference between his AAA numbers and those in bigs.

  13. peop the PCL is not some sort of league where everyone rakes the power numbers get inflated but OBP and average are real

  14. Oh? Fly balls turn from outs to hits, thereby inflating both average and on base. Breaking balls don't break, increasing the number of nibbling fastballs just off the corner or right down the middle.

    Don't believe me? Ask JPA or Mike McCoy, owner of an OBP > .400 on year in the PCL.


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