Lego’s of the Future.

     An updated outlook of which players I would want, by each position, taking into account age of course.  I will generally pick a great 24 year old over a great 31 year old player.  It is simple, I will have more great years from the younger player who has not even reached his prime yet, and therefore will find more long-term value in that particular player. 

     C-  Joe Mauer is ridiculous.  I may choose him over anyone in baseball.  Not only does he have the potential to win multiple batting titles (as he has won already).  Mauer should be able to post an OPS north of .900 almost year in year out.  Mauer fell well short of that .900 OPS this season, but battled injuries and never could get into a groove.  He also carries the reputation as being one of the best defensively behind the plate.  Keith Law, who I might as well listen to, because of the fact that I do not see Mauer that much and cannot accurately judge his defensive prowess.  Anyway, Keith Law thinks Mauer is already great defensively and the stats I have seen (although not entirely reliable) show the same facts.  As far as his game calling skills?  I am not aware.  I see him far less than I should to comment on such a thing (But on that note I cannot accurately judge any catcher outside of Boston on this skill). 

     1B-  Albert Pujols, as I mentioned in my previous blog, is still among the best in the game, and could possibly be the best.  I am a little skeptical because he does play in the NL, and as we are all quite aware of, the competition is at least a little easier.  But what does that mean?  At worst in my opinion, he may be the fourth best, but very well maybe the best.  It doesn’t matter, few, if any, are better than he.  And he adds superior defense, superior to every first baseman in the game that is, at his position. 

     2B-  Chase Utley is clearly the best second baseman in baseball.  He appears to be above average defensively and can swing the bat as well, if not better than any other second baseman.  His road stats aren’t quite as dominant as they are in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank, but they are still good.  And he does turn 29 next month, so it isn’t as if he was recently drafted or anything of that nature.  So it would be tempting to go with a great hitter like Cano because he is so young (24).  But I would have to choose Utley, he is the best now, and has already developed into one of the game’s best all around players. 

     3B-  David Wright.  This is a very difficult decision.  Miguel Cabrera has a chance to be the best hitter in the game.  But his work ethic is in question.  So with that being established, I would go with the player who is already a leader and shows no signs of lacking intangibles.  He is an MVP caliber player right now, and is clearly better than Cabrera with the glove.  Obviously Alex Rodriguez is the best at this position right now, but he is 31.  And don’t forget Ryan Zimmerman either, but he would be after these three of course, as he has much less of a track record, but in all fairness is only 22. 

     SS-  Jose Reyes.  Very difficult choice also, but not as hard as one might think.  Derek Jeter is 33 and needs to move to another spot on the diamond.  Hanley Ramirez is only 23 but has the reputation of being the worst defensive shortstop in the game, and may need to move to another position if he does not get his act together there.  MVP Jimmy Rollins is good, but he is four years older than Reyes.  Remember that Jose Reyes is only 24, but because he plays in New York has already endured a large amount of criticism.  The guy is still learning how to play at this level, and is still, even through the learning process, one of the best at this position.  His average fell 20 percentage points from 2006, but still he posted the exact same OBP as he is learning how to draw walks.  But no, I would not argue if one were to choose Ramirez in this situation. 

     CF-  Grady Sizemore.  I started with center field because it was the clear position in the OF where there is no doubt in my mind about my decision.  Sizemore is a lot of fun to watch.  He is capable on the defensive side and should only get better as he learns how to take even better paths to the ball.  And his OBP is at almost .400 already at the age of 24.  He has the potential to get his OBP up above the .400 mark for multiple years, and this being from the leadoff spot.  And when a team has a guy who can bat first and reach base around 40% of the time then they, simply put, have one of the best assets in the game of baseball.  Sizemore is excellent already and will only improve upon this. 

     LF-  Matt Holliday.  I am torn on this because Matt Holliday is a good player but his home/road splits scare me a little.  I almost went with Carl Crawford as he is better roaming around the outfield and steals a large amount of bases.  And is a few years younger than Holliday in addition.  Dunn could have been nice but brings only a powerful bat to the team.  Even though fourty home run pop is an excellent quality to possess.   

     RF-  Vald Guerrero.  Magglio Ordonez was the best right fielder in baseball THIS season, no question.  But the problem with Ordonez in this discussion is that he is 33.  And uncharacteristically had an incredible year.  There is no question that he was already a good player, but he was a good player that has battled injuries and never has he quite put up this dominant of a season.  Magglio had never batted higher than .320 but batted .363 this year.  He had never posted an OBP higher than .381 but it skyrocketed to .434 in 2007.  He basically matched his career high slugging percentage of .597 (.595 in pitchers park this season, which is probably actually better).  But what this tells me is that he is probably going to revert back to his old form to at least some extent.  To duplicate a season like Ordonez had this year would be difficult for anyone.  So by default I chose Guerrero in right field.  He is also in his thrities (31), but I have a hard time choosing a player such as Rios or Markakis (young, but unproven in comparison).  And I could go the Justin Upton route, but I will leave this blog open for players that have had a season where they have at least qualified for a "Rookie of the Year" award. 

     SP-  Josh Beckett.  After the playoffs this season, he is my ace.

     SP-  Johan Santana.  Sorry, but even if he declines a little, he will still be one of the best.  And the good thing about this blog?  I am not taking into account the contracts (or future contracts). 

     SP-  CC Sabathia.  My hard throwing lefty sits in this rotation. 

     SP-  Justin Verlander.  I ch-ch-choose you (The Simpsons).  You know why?  Because he has enormous potential and is already good. 

     SP-  Jake Peavy.  26 years old.  Best ERA in baseball.  Best ERA+ in baseball.  One of the best in the game.  The two times I saw him this season he was hit well, but the stats show me something different than the two-game sample that my eyes saw.

     Closer-  Jon Papelbon.  The best closer in the game.  Well, Putz and Nathan are right there with him.  But Putz is 30 and Nathan is 32.  Papelbon is only 26 and already good as they are, maybe not better, but definitely as good. 

15 Comments

I did this in June.
http://paullebowitz.mlblogs.com/my_weblog/2007/06/who_comes_first.html

The Twins are going to have to move Mauer out from behind the plate before he’s thirty I would say. I had Francisco Rodriguez as the closer, but you’re right, I’d put Papelbon up top now. I still wouldn’t touch Peavy and would add a pitcher who’s a star that no one knows and is going to win a Cy Young one of these years—Aaron Harang.

I know about Harang, and he is underrated. Pitching well in a hitters park. I debated about that fifth spot, but I debated between Webb and Peavy. I personally think Harang comes after a few others in the NL. But he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, that second part he will agree on. He is also three years older than Peavy.

i’d kill for that line-up. but i want curtis granderson. can he move to right and should i keep sizemore in center or vice versa?

i agree with paul…mauer won’t last long as a catcher, but i’ll take him for now as well. he’s one of my favorite players. ( i wish punto could hit…the plays he makes are astonishing…but, he can’t )

i really love utley, but will go with cano…his future is still ahead of him.

i want a-rod. i think some veteran presence will help my team, so i’ll put jeter at first base as well. i’ll like your starters, but i have a strong hunch based on *very* little that santana is going down.

i want beckett of course

sabathia is my lefty

dan haren is my guy as well.

i’m going to take a chance and go with lincecum and joba as well.

pap? let’s get real…who else?!

I went with players at their current positions.

I wouldn’t go with Lincecum though, personally. I probably wouldn’t even go with Lincecum first on the Giants (Cain).

From what I hear, Granderson was the better defender over Sizemore this season. That is from the experts that I read. However, you would actually have to choose one or the other altogether if you were using the same guidelines that I used.

I don’t think that three year difference means much of anything. Their motions and size are what I would consider first. Harang is 6’7″, 240; Peavy is listed at 6’1″, 180 and I bet he’s smaller than that. Harang’s motion is effortless and gentle; Peavy goes all out with every pitch and his arm bullwhips violently at the end of his motion. I wouldn’t touch Lincecum either. He’s too small and throws too hard to last long. He wore out as the season moved along.

didn’t santana start as a smallish type guy that threw hard?

Santana had elbow problems years ago and then was worked slowly into the big leagues by the Twins as a reliever. He’s also 200 lbs. even though he’s only around 5’11″. Lincecum is listed at 5’11″ but is supposedly closer to 5’8″. Also Lincecum has some unusual techniques with his arm like not icing after games and not having any deep massages and relying on stretching exercises. And if you look at his gamelogs(http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/gl.cgi?n1=linceti01&t=p, )he didn’t pitch all that great; I think his high 90s fastball and a couple of dominating games lulled everyone into missing the facts of what kind of season he had.

thanks for the article…i’ll check it out paul

Law actually believes that Lincecum could possibly be better utilized as a long reliever so he will hold up longer and wearing down during games wouldn’t be a problem.

ok…you’re team will beat mine.

again :)

Well that may be because your team only consists of five position players as of now.

is THAT why i keep losing?!

Buster–you will be punished for not having the good sense to pick a few Detroit Tigers!

Grady Sizemore is terrific but Grandeson out doubled and out tripled him this last year while hitting 25 points higher. Other than that, very similar kinds of stats.

Polanco deserves some recognition for having the 3rd best average in MLB. Best hitting 2Baseman and played a whole SEASON without committing even one solitary error. He is one of the toughest outs in baseball.

Utley is fantastic but to not even give Polanco mention is an oversight to be sure.

Well, it is not an oversight. Polanco is 32 now. This was meant for who I would take at each position for the long term. I know Vlad is in there, but that will be different next time I do this. I just couldnt think of anyone better. Utley is 29, and Cano is 24. I know Polanco is a pretty good player, I just don’t want to build around a 32 year old.

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