Friday, February 20, 2009

Cup of Joe, Sanka Edition: 2008 Mock Draft

We are featuring a new entry in what will hopefully become a new semi-regular Canyon League Blog column: the Sanka Edition of the Cup of Joe (aka Joe English). Today, we have the Mad Englishman's take on the 1st Round Rookie Draft...keep in mind that these opinions may be intentionally distorted in a subtle attempt to alter the draft for nefarious purposes. Without further adieu, take it away Joe #2:

Canyon League Mock Draft 1.0

It is less than six weeks until the much anticipated Canyon League Selection Meeting. It is rumored that teams are heavy negotiations as they jockey for position to improve their organizations. Some GMs will be looking to improve their teams for the immediate future, looking to win the Canyon League World Series, while some have already conceded that 2008 will be merely a step on the way to future glory.

I have not spoken to any of the 11 other GMs in advance of this story…I have no sources…no proof…so I’ll be submitting this story to the New York Post…I figure that they’ll have plenty of room if there is no teacher sleeping with her 13 year old student or a governor sleeping with a hooker (and since New York Governor David Paterson is legally blind and has been since the age of 3 months he would not know what he’s missing anyhow) to splash on the front page!

I’ve tried to analyze each roster in an attempt to successfully estimate each team’s chances in 2008 and how those chances will affect their draft selections. Here are my prognostications on how the first round of the rookie picks will shake out.

1 – Houston Seraphs

Houston Seraphs general manager Joe Emmert has made it no secret that he is in the middle of his rebuilding his organization in search of 8th CLWS title. The cupboard is not completely bare. There are some young players who are proven at the major league level; but there is just not enough depth to be a major player in 2008. Emmert will select Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner, who is rated as the second best pitching prospect in all of baseball at age 19, after Rays phenom David Price. Adding Bumgarner to recent selections Jake McGee and Wade Davis of the Rays, and Gio Gonzalez of the Athletics and current staff ace Roy Oswalt and you could be looking at a deep and balanced staff in the not too distant future.

2 – California Cannons

This may be the season that the Cannons put it all together. The Cannons have a very good pitching staff heading into the 2008 season. GM Colby Spere knows he is four or five deep in the rotation and solid at the end with two of the games best closers. The Cannons may have a concern or two on offense. The limit of ABs for 2B Orlando Hudson and C Jorge Posada ABs and the lack of offense from the centerfielders are sore spots. Spere will select White Sox 2B/OF Alexei Ramirez to help at 2B and in CF and might look to ease his catching concerns during the free agent round or later in the rookie draft.

3 – San Diego Gulls

The Gulls come off winning the western division in 2007 and pick this high thanks to a trade with San Francisco. The Gulls boast a solid lineup and pitching staff. GM Nelson Somers knows his rotation is deep and his relief corps is solid. His options at 1B might be of a bit concern, but he has enough pop elsewhere to offset any problem, which could be considered minimal at its worst. The thought here is that there may be an advantage to taking Giants C Buster Posey who will turn 22 the day before the draft and is the top rated prospect at his position behind only Orioles stud Matt Wieters. The alternative is that he could also add another stud pitching prospect.

4 – Seattle Sea Bees

It would seem that Sea Bees GM Greg Weidemann would be trying to rebuild with his 2008 draft. He does have some good parts to work with, and his defense up the middle should be fantastic, but there may be holes at the hot corner and behind the dish. Posey would be the ideal catcher of the future. If Posey is off the board and because there are no 3B prospects worthy of a pick this high, Weidemann will select Rangers RHP Neftali Feliz, the highly regarded 20 year old fireballer.

5 – Baltimore Colt 45s

The Colt 45s finished last in the eastern division in 2007, but their record was respectable, finishing at 25-31. They have some good young talent and enough young arms that they could be on the verge of some good things in 2009 and 2010. This looks like a rebuilding team in terms of their draft approach. They have a replacement for the recently traded Derek Jeter in Yunel Escobar, but beyond Escobar and Alberto Callaspo, the talent is thin. GM Loren Nodolf will select Rays SS Tim Beckham, the number 1 overall draft pick in 2008. Nodolf can address other issues later in the rookie portion or in the free agent round of this draft with his other 7 choices.

6 – New York Knights

The Knights finished just one game below .500 last year and they have procured 8 total picks in an effort to help rebuild the franchise. Things are looking up in NY for GM David Moxness in his 3rd year at the helm. He has two of the top starters in the league and what seems like a sure thing in Rays LHP David Price and some young starters who could easily fill the four and five spots to Moxness’ satisfaction. The Knights are a bit more challenged offensively with little in the way of depth. It looks as if the most need is in the infield and it may turn out that Moxness’ choice of White Sox SS Gordon Beckham may play a position besides shortstop on the big league level as some scouts believe he might be switched to 2B or 3B in the future; apparently he has the power to make that transition work, how well he would adjust defensively remains a mystery.

7 – Boston Blue Sox

While in contention for awhile, the Blue Sox faded in the second half of 2007 despite what GM Joe English deemed as a ‘favorable’ schedule. The Sox have young talent offensively, which allowed English to trade long time LF Carlos Lee this offseason for a pick later in this draft. The Sox staff is at best serviceable but the staff is still young and English expects improvement over time. The bullpen is below average and needs to be given some serious attention. The run of shortstops could continue at this spot due to the fact that the Rangers expect Michael Young to pay 3B this season and since Omar Vizquel is at best a defensive replacement at this point in his career. The inside scoop is that the Sox expect to contend in 2008 and the selection of Angels RHP Jose Arredondo fills a need in the bullpen and that the selection of a future SS will wait until later in the draft or next off-season. It has also been suggested that this pick might be available for trade…take that for what it’s worth.

8 – Detroit Scouts

The Scouts made a run late in 2007 only to fall short in the season’s final rounds. Scouts GM Erin Weidemann has a solid offense consisting of a mix of veterans and young stars who are game changers while still not quite in their prime athletically. The starting rotation is not as solid as in past years and injuries will force her to explore other options at points during the 2008 season; the bullpen remains solid. The Scouts could go in many directions here but my guess is that they go the prospect route and tab Braves RHP Tommy Hanson given that he is almost ready to contribute at the major league level.

9 – Cincinnati Zouaves

The Zouaves joy over winning the central division in 2007 was short lived as they failed to make the Canyon League World Series. GM Tully Moxness was unavailable to return calls when contacted about his team’s disappointing playoff performance. The Zouaves should contend again in ’08. The lineup boasts plenty of speed and power at the top and should be formidable once again. The only area of concern might be outfield depth as it seems injuries have haunted GM Moxness and his options there are limited past the scheduled starters. The pitching staff should be fine and the bullpen has many available options that could be effective. The feeling here is that another bullpen arm is the target and Moxness selects Dodgers RHP Corey Wade to help get him bridge the gap from the starters to his closer.
MOXNESS'S REBUTTAL: I can tolerate one Dodger reliever but no way will I have two of these guys. I'd actually have to root for the Dodgers to win games. Blech!

10 – San Diego Gulls

The Gulls will use the second first round pick to grab another stud pitching prospect using this pick to choose Orioles LHP Brian Matusz, the 20 year old who pitched locally in college for the University of San Diego Terreros.

11 – New York Knights

The Knights use their second first round selection to add Rockier OF Dexter Fowler who is a five tool player who appeared briefly with the Rockies last season. He projects to be future star outfielder for the Knights.

12 – Detroit Scouts

The Scouts acquired their second first round pick from the eventual Canyon League Champion Cleveland Thunder in exchange for RHP Javier Vazquez. As previously noted, the Scouts have many options in the first round due to the organizations depth. The guess here is that the choice is Diamondbacks RHP Max Scherzer who has top of the rotation ability and should reach that goal if he can locate better than he did in he brief major league appearance last season.

There it is folks. The first 2008 mock draft is complete. It is possible that more trades will come down and this will change. But as it stands on Friday, February 19, 2009, this is my prognostication…this is all for fun and not intended for wagering purposes!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent take, Sanka Joe! It's great to hear a 'new' voice come out of the Canyon League rank-and-file. Loved it!