Our pals at the Platoon Advantage have spearheaded something they call the Great 2011 Expansion Draft (complete with commentary from Keith Law), which assumes that two new teams will be added to MLB in 2012. (This is a thought exercise, so roll with it… as well as the assumption that Portland, which couldn’t handle Triple-A, is a suitable host for a big-league team. Stick ‘em in Vegas if that makes it easier for you to suspend your disbelief; whatever, we’re just having fun here.)
Anywho, a bunch of us served as representatives of current MLB teams charged with protecting players from said draft. I represented — and this will come as a shock — the Padres.
My instructions were to protect 15 players for the first round. Then, I could pull back three more players for the second round and three more for an abbreviated final round. At the end of the draft, two new teams would have 35-man rosters and the Padres (as well as the other existing teams) would be missing a couple of guys.
Here is my initial list of protected players:
- Mike Adams
- Kyle Blanks
- James Darnell
- Jaff Decker
- Ernesto Frieri
- Chase Headley
- Nick Hundley
- Casey Kelly
- Mat Latos
- Cory Luebke
- Cameron Maybin
- Clayton Richard
- Anthony Rizzo
- Keyvius Sampson
- Tim Stauffer
We lost Will Venable in the first round. My logic behind exposing Venable, whom I still like despite his various maddening flaws, rested on two assumptions:
- He had gotten off to a horrendous start this season and just been demoted to Triple-A when we submitted our lists. I thought this might deflate his perceived value.
- The Padres could replace him immediately with some combination of Aaron Cunningham, Chris Denorfia, and Blake Tekotte if needed.
I then protected two of those three outfielders, as well as the guy I think will end up being the Padres third baseman in a few years:
- Aaron Cunningham
- Jedd Gyorko
- Blake Tekotte
I may have made a tactical error here. With three outfielders available to replace Venable, we still would have had two left if one were taken here. Instead, I left a talented young player at a scarce position unprotected, and sure enough, Jason Hagerty got popped.
In this case, I’d hoped that Hagerty’s age (23), level (High-A), and defensive reputation would scare the expansionists away, but no dice. Switch-hitting catchers with power are a rare breed, and I should have kept him… even if he turns out to be the second coming of Mitch Meluskey.
And here are the final three I protected:
- Anthony Bass
- Logan Forsythe
- Beamer Weems
These are all personal favorites of mine. I like Bass at the back end of a rotation, Forsythe as a utility guy, and Weems as… I don’t know yet. He was showing signs of offensive improvement when we submitted our lists but has slipped since; still, if he can post an OPS around 650 at the big-league level, his glove could keep him around a while.
I also protected Forsythe and Weems just in case one of the expansion teams took Jason Bartlett or Orlando Hudson. They didn’t. In fact, they didn’t take any more Padres.
So we lost Venable and Hagerty. I can live with the first one, but in hindsight, I probably should have pulled back Hagerty after the first round and left one of the outfielders exposed.
On the bright side, this ain’t happening. Still, it’s fun to ponder such things…