I’m gonna say it up front. I want to win this contest. Even though the rules were a little bogus, every game has rules, and you have to win playing by, even exploiting, the rules.
These were the rules. We would add up the average bWAR’s of each player drafted and whoever has the highest number wins. We would count the WAR of the best five continuous years. If a player didn’t have five seasons with the Astros we would count his Astros career average so long as it was at least two years.
As some commentators have noted these rules favor some fleeting, temporary rent-an-Astros at the expense of those whose long tenure made a much bigger impact on the Astros franchise history.
But that didn’t matter to me. I had no qualms picking as an all-time Astro a guy like Carl Everett, whose career had only two really good years, his only two years with the Astros. His two years gave him an average WAR of 4.6, making him one of the top 15 Astros of all-time. By this measure he had a greater impact than career or long-time Astros players like Terry Puhl, Joe Morgan, Bob Watson, J.R. Richards, Nolan Ryan, Glen Davis, Shane Reynolds and many others. Oh well.
I got him at #23.
Another rent-an-Astro on my list was Rogers Clemens, although no one will question his overall quality or career credentials.
I myself picked one lesser qualified by WAR player before I picked Everett because we needed six pitchers and the competition to get the best started early. When HH shocked the board by taking Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole with picks five and six (both 6+ WAR producers) it was on. By the time I got to pick again I chose the two best pitchers on the board for my next two picks, Clemens (5.6 WAR) and Larry Dierker (4.4 WAR).
Since we had to pick one player for each position it wasn’t always possible to just pick the highest WAR player available. And it wasn’t always desirable to do so. Picking Altuve #3 (6.0 WAR) behind Bagwell and Biggio seems like the obvious choice, but I passed up three players with a higher WAR rating, Cesar Cedeno, Verlander and Cole. I chose Altuve ahead of them because the next best second baseman was 2.5 WAR less, with #3 another 1 WAR behind that. Altuve gave me a huge positional advantage whereas I knew if I didn’t get the best at many other positions the second or third best would be nearly as good.
Finding positional advantage was my main strategy in general at all stages in the draft.
Mhatter’s pick of Alex Bregman at #9 gave him a very similar advantage at third base. And if he could have kept Biggio at catcher, it would have been the biggest positional advantage of all.
But alas he waited too long to pick another second baseman. For some reason the second best Astro second baseman by our measure, Billy Doran, who was the 16th highest rated Astro by 5-year or Astro career average WAR, was picked after Jeff Kent and Joe Morgan. I took Doran (4.5 WAR) just before Hatter’s pick. Pickings were slim at second after that.
I consider the Doran pick the best steal of the draft. His WAR rating was about one whole point above those drafted near him. He gave me the best and second best second basemen, which denied Hatter his positional advantage at catcher, and gave me a positional advantage at DH, which tended to be drafted much lower with players in the 2-3 WAR range.
I believe I was the first to draft a catcher, Brad Ausmus, (2.2 WAR) a historically weak position for the Astros, even though higher WAR players were on the board at positions I still needed. But I knew good players at those positions would still be there later, whereas if I didn’t take Ausmus or Jason Castro, the drop-off at catcher would be steep.
I made mistakes. Everyone except Hatter overlooked a 3 WAR pitcher, Turk Farrell, (drafted 69) when the rest of us were picking 1.5 WAR (+ or -) pitchers. With my second to last pick I took Larry Anderson when Wade Miller, more than 1 WAR better, was still on the board. We all overlooked Pete Harnish, a 2+ pitcher with the Astros. My last pick, a 1.9 WAR shortstop, Miguel Tejada, wasn’t bad for the last round, but I overlooked Denis Menke, a 2.3 shortstop. My biggest team weakness is the left side of the infield, with Phil Garner (2.3) and Tejada.
The WAR ratings have not been calculated yet but I predict I win. Yeah, I’m that arrogant, but besides being the smartest GM, I picked single-mindedly by the narrow measure of trying to get the most WAR. I know that some of my colleagues picked with more holistic goals. They may be better in the sim tournament.
Of course, as you know, I’m probably full of s#&t.
We will conduct a poll to get your opinions of which team is best. Then we will announce the winner by WAR rating. Next we will proceed to run our OOTP simulation double elimination tournament.
Although I picked a few faux Astros, actually most of my roster has a pretty classic Astros pedigree. Here’s my team.
1. DH Jose Altuve, 2. P Roger Clemens, 3. P Larry Dierker, 4. OF George Springer, 5. OF Carl Everett, 6. 2B Billy Doran, 7. 1B Bob Watson, 8. P Danny Darwin, 9.P Mike Hampton, 10. OF Kevin Bass, 11. P Shane Reynolds, 12. C. Brad Ausmus, 13. 3B Phil Garner, 14. P Larry Anderson, 15. SS Miguel Tejada
Oh yeah. I wasn’t around to pick the uniforms. I got the Brick Red.