Draft Analysis

Inaugural Draft: Part I of a Series

Ruth Conference – Picks 1 through 7

To the relief of fans around the world, baseball is emerging from the ashes of the collapsed MLB. In seven rounds of an inaugural draft, the 24 newly hired GMs of the United Baseball Association have already put together their team cores, pulling in most of the top major league talent. In the following special editions of UBA TODAY, we will grade each team in the Ruth Conference on their picks, and make division-by-division predictions of success for the summer of ’95 and beyond. We will begin today with the East, followed by the Central and the West.

The Ruth Conference is already shaping up to be the more competitive of the two UBA conferences, with top hitting and pitching talent settling into new teams. The average new Ruthian is a full year older than the average Aaroner, and a number of Ruth clubs are clearly looking to compete for the inaugural championship trophy this year.

Ruth East

The Old Bridge Titans and the Charleston Rebels are emerging as the top clubs in the East, primarily picking up established veterans. The Titans are our current pick for the division champ.

Old Bridge Titans: Grade = A-. The Titans are going for it, and will be a top team in the Ruth Conference right away. At only 28 years old, Maddux will be the top pitcher in the Conference for years, is capable of single-handedly pushing a team into the postseason and beyond, and is undoubtedly the face of this club. Drabek and Finley make for a solid if unspectacular middle-rotation, while Alomar and Disarcina are the most talented double-play combo outside of Hollywood. On others clubs, drafting the decline years of Puckett and Clark would have raised questions (and poor grades), but in Old Bridge there is no time like the present.

SP Maddux – A+
SP Drabek – B
SS Disarcina – B-
SP Finley – B+
2B Alomar – A
RF Puckett – B-
1B Clark – B-

Charleston Rebels: Grade = A-. The Rebels are building a team that should be able to lead the conference in fewest runs allowed, with an unmatched combination of starting pitching and fielding. Brown, Smiley, and Wells are the core for what could be the best rotation in baseball, especially when paired with the spacious parks of Ruth East and when Fletcher is framing strikes behind the plate. The Rebels will go toe to toe with Maddux’s Titans all season long. However, to beat out the Titans in this division, and to earn an A grade from this paper, Charleston will need to find a few heavier bats, and convince the fans that a 32 year old glove-first keystone represents more than just an obsession with this run prevention narrative.

SP Brown – A
SP Smiley – A
C Fletcher – A
SP Wells – A-
SS Clayton – B
CF McRae – B+
2B Reed – D+

NYC Baseball Club: Grade = B-. NYCBC started the draft with pointed questions about their first round pick, but strengthened their team with good picks in the later rounds. At 26 years old, many fans are concerned – and this paper agrees – that Sosa will never live up to his tools. There is a reasonable chance that he will plateau as a league average right fielder with some pop, a profile not worthy of the first round. Few analysts believe that NYC will be able to keep up with the Titans and Rebels this year, but many point to the team’s youth as a promise of future improvements. The rotation of Glavine, Hamilton, and Henry is a good one, and young, and in a park that suppresses right handed hitting, along with very good gloves on the left side of the infield, the two lefties ought to put up good numbers against hitters from both sides of the plate. If you swapped out Sammy for a top hitter, this club would be on the verge of contending now, and is in a good position to challenge in years ahead.

RF Sosa – D
SP Glavine – B+
SP Hamilton – A-
SS Jo. Valentin – B-
C Posada – B
3B Fryman – B-
SP Henry – A-

Coney Island Whitefish: Grade = C+. The theme in Coney Island is young bats, and the Whitefish went seven for seven. At an average age of only 24 years, only Kansas City has drafted younger than the Whitefish. Youth means future talent, but also raw edges, and even with a good offensive club it is unlikely that the Whitefish will be competitive in this tough division in 1995, with a bunch of scrubs likely to fill out the rotation this year. That said, Salmon, Jones, Lopez, Stewart, and Gilkey represent a strong young core of position players around which the GM will build, and once the Whitefish put together a decent pitching staff, the rest of the Ruth East best watch their backs.

RF Salmon – A
3B Jones – B
C J. Lopez – B+
CF Stewart – C+
1B Olerud – C-
2B Alfonso – C
LF Gilkey – B-

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