With news today that Adam Wainwright is probably going to become fast friends with Dr. James Andrews, and having left my spreadsheet materials at home, I'm forced to revisit some of my round 1 mock draft choices. Let's assume for now that Tommy John is in order.
I think James now has an interesting decision to make w/r/t keepers. He can technically keep Wainwright around in hopes for a 2012 comeback, though he will be 30 years old, which is when I'd start gaming out future keeper replacement strategies, and there's no guarantee he makes a full recovery to form. But then, if you're going to risk your keeper slot on a stud arm recovering from ligament replacement, why not just keep Strasburg instead? He'll probably be ready for opening day 2012, is seven years younger than Wainwright, and has as much promise as any pitcher in the game right now.
But then, you're committing a keeper slot to someone who won't play 2011 and has no guarantee for success onwards, however successful modern Tommy John procedures tend to be. Tommy Hanson is another promising young arm who will actually pitch innings this season, and some fantasy outlets feel this will be his major breakout year.
If I'm James, the first thing I do is congratulate myself for owning the pitching side of the 2010 draft (Wainwright, Hanson, Hamels, Strasburg). Then I agonize for a month over two pitchers, to the point where I consider not keeping Utley so that I can hang onto them (but which two?). I really don't know what the right call is here. My guess is that you can probably gamble on picking up Strasburg during the draft in the mid-to-later rounds, and Wainwright shortly afterwards, whereas Hanson may be available at pick 11 but not 18. I'd probably go Pujols-Utley-Hanson, but I would feel terrible about it.
Either way, this has some implications for the back end of the first round. James has pick 11, and I had him going outfield, but I think that with the Wainwright-to-Hanson demotion, and with one less ace at the top of the SP pool, I'd have to deeply consider SP at 11. This means Chris Carpenter. I'd eat the full 1:30 of drafting time and probably still take Werth though.
Then Joe still goes Posey, leaving Mike (who I know wasn't thrilled with the Ethier pick) still needing pitching. With one less name at the top, you can probably justify Carpenter here, and maybe even Jered Weaver or Hamels (perhaps on the rebound at 16?). Carpenter/Weaver/Hamels are the guys straddling the back of the ace pool and the head of the "good arm with some questions" guys like Cain (can he keep outperforming his expected stats?), Oswalt (will age finally catch up?), Price (can TB give him enough run support?), Gallardo (can he build the stamina to not collapse late in the season?), and Liriano (was he Cain-lucky or was this a return to form?).
So let's say the end of round 1 goes:
Mike: Hamels (youth and team factors winning over Carpenter's injury concerns and Weaver in the AL)
How could round two theoretically go?
Tom: Brandon Phillips (locking in the middle infield before another 26 picks go by and he's stuck in the bottom half of both positions)
Mike: Weaver (youth, strikeouts)
Joe: No idea. Jimmy Rollins for position scarcity, Carpenter for board value, Ichiro for steals and runs, Alex Rios for overall counting numbers in a better CWS lineup. I'll have to think about this more before I move onto round 2 analysis.
Jeter/Phillips feels like a really shitty pair of picks for Tom, though. Stepping back from the weeds of draft lists and positional needs, I'd be very unhappy with those players on my roster as my round 1/2 picks. Maybe Tom actually goes Weaver at 14 and Jeter 15, leaving Carpenter for Mike if he wants it, which technically makes Phillips the value pick for Joe at 17? Ugh.