Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Wondertwins

ROUND 18:  Stephen Drew (SS, Diamondbacks)

I open with a quote from Yahoo's Brandon Funston:

What is it about those Drew’s that they end up leaving you wanting when the dust settles.
What is it indeed.  Drew was another one of my high draft picks from last year, on the heels of his excellent 2008 campaign (.291/.333/.502  91/67).  Then in classicly Drew fashion he regressed to a .261/.320/.428 71/65 on a vastly improved Arizona offense.  Somebody slumming the later rounds of a fantasy draft might take this to mean that, on what promises to be an even better Arizona team in 2010, he could see an easy return to form and derive some serious fantasy value from selecting him in the eighteenth round.  Yahoo's position primer page had him in the three-star tier of shortstops, between Jason Bartlett and Elvis Andrus (both taken in round 7).  Andy Beherens went so far as to put him on the "Shortstop I Love" list.

Somebody with a more objective point of view would probably note that the Drew clan is known for its serial disappointment, and that he probably dropped this far for a very good reason.  Brandon Funston had Drew on his "Shortstop I Hate" list.  Now these lists are largely BS, since they never pick anybody even sniffing the top 10 at the position, but the nugget of wisdom quoted above is something to keep in mind.  Even if Drew can slug over .500 again, his position in the batting order, relatively low career OBP, and status as a Drew will prevent him from having one of those tier-jumping seasons.  His current line (.284/.361/.486 14/8) is encouraging, due largely to his improved walk rate and fewer strikeouts.  Of course, he also has a knack for getting the day off during Arizona's best games, such as last night's 12-run explosion.

In the end I expect another typical Drew-ish line, something just far enough above a generic SS replacement to prevent me from making a change, but not enough to crack the top-10.  In other words, when that desert dust settles, I'll still be wanting.  At least this time I paid a fair price.  And I can always hedge my bet with...

ROUND 19:  Alcides Escobar (SS, Brewers)

I considered this pick something of a steal.  Escobar was one of a tandem of highly touted sleepers, along with Everth Cabrera (round 16) who supposedly had blistering speed and a guaranteed starting job.  Given a choice between Escobar, who at the time was projected to bat first or second ahead of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, or Cabrera, stuck with the Padres, I wanted Escobar.  He supposedly has .300 BA potential, 40 SB potential, and if he ever developed power he could have been in the Jose Reyes category of electric infielders.

And while all this best-of-times projection is exciting, the reality is that he's a rookie known more for his defensive work, batting 8th in the lineup, posting a .274/.312/.438 11/8 with no stolen bases.  There are promising signs here.  He has a mind-boggling contact rate of 100% on swings outside of the strike zone, and he's at 94% inside the zone.  Overall he's fifth in MLB in contact rates.  The dude just doesn't miss the ball.  Good eye, right?  Well no, he also doesn't walk.  He doesn't strike out much either.  Mainly he just makes contact.  Of his twenty hits, he has three doubles, three triples, and one home run.  This is about 2.4 CLE, or 2.7 MTE (the new Mark Texeira Eq).  Just enough promise to prevent me from dropping him, since he might get moved in the order, might start batting with guys on base, his BABIP could climb above .300, he could start stealing bases, etc.  As it stands now, he's just another prospect warming my bench, but he's a nice asset to hold against Stephen Drew's slumps.

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