Draft Analysis

Inaugural Draft: Part IV of a Series

Aaron East

Randy Johnson is to Aaron what Maddux is to Ruth, and Philadelphia will ride his heat all the way to an eastern division title in 1995. The Phantom’s closest competition in 1995 will be from the red, white, and blue in Boston, but unless the Patriots make a move to pick up veterans with immediate impact soon, Philadelphia is as close to a division lock as we have seen in this league. Meanwhile, the eastern birds – the Flamingos and the Hawks – are building for the future, with interesting arrays of strong pitching talent.

Philadelphia Phantoms: Grade = A-. The picks of Randy Johnson, Dave Madagan, and Tony Gwynn make one thing clear above all else: Philadelphia wants to win right now. While a few forward-looking fans (obviously not from Philadelphia proper) have expressed concern about the age of the Phantom’s star players, no-one is questioning this collection of current talent, which should be enough to handily win the inaugural division crown. The editor-in-chief of this publication has publicly praised the late round signing of Stan Javier, a switch-hitting defensive specialist who should also provides spark on the bases and decent OBP, perhaps a good fit to bat in front of Gwynn at the top of the line-up. Finally, we’ve reserved a final piece of praise for LF Troy O’Leary, who is a well-known leader both on and off the field, and a class-act gentleman by all reports.

SP R. Johnson – A-
3B D. Madagan – A-
RF Tony Gwynn – B+
LF O’Leary – B
SP Stottlemyre – A-
C BJ Surhoff – B-
SP Ritz – A
2B “Dandy Little Glove Man” Morandini – A-
SS Vizcaino – B-
CF Stan Javier – A+

Boston Patriots: Grade = B+. The Patriots might not be able to keep up with Randy’s Phantoms in 1995, but the future of the team is bright having spent their first two picks on a 19- and a 21-year old, and we expect Boston to eventually eclipse the aging Phantoms in the competition for the east. Baby-faced Ismael Valdez should step-up as the ace of the staff very soon, while prime-aged Hanson and Leiter provide immediate value and stability, forming the core of an above average rotation. We predict that the Pats will hit more homeruns than any of their league rivals in 1995, but will struggle to get on base enough to take advantage of those runs, especially when facing the pitching talent that can be found across this division. Ultimately, Boston will rise (or not) on the emerging (or not) ability of its young shortstop Alex Rodriguez, who will presumably spend 1995 in the minors learning to play second or third base (what with Valentin ensconced at short).

SS Alex Rodriguez – B+
SP Valdez – A
SS John Valentin – A-
SP Hanson – A-
1B Vaughn – B-
LF Conine – C+
CF Hosey – A
3B Hanson – B-
SP Leiter – B+
CL Orosco – D

Florida Flamingos: Grade = C+. Clemens is the ace today, and Pedro is the ace tomorrow, and if they both start pitching to their talent levels at the same time, opposing hitters better take a step back. Contreras would make a very good third starter, but looks a bit unpolished for a 23-year old and will probably need a couple more years of development in the minors. Arrojo, on the other hand, might be too old of a prospect at 26 to ever crack the big league, although by all reports he’s a good leader in the clubhouse. The ‘pink birds’ also picked up RF Derek Bell, who will far and away be the most valuable hitter on the club, along with a rookie with some limited upside in LF Garret Anderson, and a good value late round pick-up in 2B Carlos Garcia. Surprising some analysts, Florida picked two relief-pitching prospects back-to-back in the 8th and 9th rounds, reinforcing the perception that the team is building for the future.

SP P. Martinez – A-
SP R. Clemens – B-
RF D. Bell – B
LF G. Anderson – B-
SP J. Contreras – B+
SP Arrojo – D
C Eusebio – B-
RP Foulke – C-
RP Zimmerman – C-
2B C. Garcia – A-

Holbrook Hawks: Grade = C-. Knoblauch, Schilling, and the bullpen are the stars of this Boston baseball-suburb. Schilling and Pavlik make for a good 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation, but some analysts are concerned that Schilling may never reach his true potential. The Hawks may intend to strongly limit the innings of most of their future rotation, instead relying on an excellent core relief squad of Fassero (whom some early draft reports had erroneously called a starter), Wagner, and the presumptive closer Jeff Nelson. With many early picks committed to pitching, Holbrook hasn’t yet put together a squad of position players around Knoblauch good enough to compete in 1995, although Ausmus and Sanders should provide decent long-term value if the club builds for the future. On the other hand, veteran talent in corner outfield spots and at third base does remain on the draft board if Holbrook decides it will push for contention this year.

2B Knoblauch – B-
SP Schilling – A-
CL J. Nelson – C
SP Pavlik – B+
RP Wagner – C-
C Ausmus – C
RP Fassero – D-
1B Mattingly – D+
SS T. Fernandez – C-
CF D. Sanders – B-

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