Looking Back at the Draft’s Top Picks

It is still only May, but enough time has passed into the season that fantasy players can begin to evaluate their genius and mistakes in decision-making earlier in the season.

Big money investments are always endlessly thought about, but it often turns out to be a crapshoot.  Take this year, for example.  On draft/auction day, it is likely that the first few players taken/most expensive players bid on included some combination of Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley, Evan Longoria and Ryan Braun.

While you should still be happy with any of these players on your team at this point in the season (there is still more than enough time for A-Rod to turn it around), you can begin to evaluate how you could have known what did happen would happen.

Right now you are happiest if you have Braun and Longoria (I have both through some miracle of fate).  Both are ranked in the top five in Yahoo fantasy baseball.  They are, in fact, the only hitters ranked in the top five.

Granted, Utley and Pujols have been having great seasons and could very well be near the top of the league by the end of the year, right now it is two of the guys who went slightly lower in drafts putting up the dominant numbers.

So how could we have predicted these results?  Impossible you say?  I disagree.  Longoria and Braun are both in the prime years of their careers.  Utley and Pujols are both over 30.  Again, this is not to say they won’t be great this year, but in the battle for the most valuable fantasy player, potential for progress matters more than past returns.  Also, youth is one of the greatest protections against the unpredictability of injury.  I’d bet Utley or Pujols get hurt before Braun or Longoria (please don’t let this jinx them).

So when picking who to take first, or who to spend the most money on, don’t take the consensus number one guy.  He probably won’t be the consensus number one at the end of the year.  Take the guy who is 28 or younger, but has at least two years of experience as a great fantasy player.  Odds are higher he will be successful at the end of the year.  There are other, more statistical variables that are surprisingly accurate predictors, but they will be dealt with in a later post, and they don’t correlate as strongly as age.

So while you may be made a fool of at your draft or auction if you don’t take Pujols, you must not care about others’ reaction until the end of the year, when you’ll quietly take the money and prepare to take the next big thing in the next draft.

In a few years, this guy might be in consideration for the top pick in fantasy drafts. Sure, he’s only a 17-year-old catcher, but he’s thought to be the frontrunner for the Nationals top pick in this June’s draft.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Ben on May 7, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I too have both Longoria and Braun. Feels wonderful.


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