79 thoughts on “2020 WGOM Draft: Round 21”

  1. I should probably have at least one backup outfielder. I mean, I could just go with two outfielders on days my guys need rest, but someone has to bat... so I might as well grab a bat-first (career .341 hitter) corner outfielder who also stole 495 bases in his career. Plus, if I'm honest, I've got some sense of obligation with this pick:

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    Another of the very-old timers, I expect his bat and speed would easily still make him a regular in today's game, so he'll serve nicely as a 4th outfielder. Honestly, having a HOFer as a 4th OF is pretty cool, and his was the streak that DiMaggio broke, which is also pretty darn cool.

  2. Can I propose a rule change? Can we drop the snake soon? We could go bottom to top draft in rounds 22-26. I'm assuming we're doing 26.

    I'd rather have more time between picks.

          1. I'm with you. I kind of like making two picks close together, since it lets me plan them both out at the same time. But, I also don't have strong feelings either way, so I'm fine with what everyone else wants to do.

    1. I’m in favor of keeping snake. I find I have lots of time to mull things over, I find myself planning both picks during my “off time.”

  3. Looking at my roster, it looks like the biggest weakness is right field defense. I'll need to put the Babe at DH (or pitcher) occasionally and have a replacement right fielder. I went back-and-forth on this one. I considered going with a centerfielder that played a little right field but decided to go with a true rightfielder. He had one of the best arms of any MLB outfielder.

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  4. I've been planning this pick for a few rounds, but have been delaying in hopes he wasn't taken before I get the chance. I think it's time this round to pull the trigger, for fear someone else will be thinking along the same lines.

    He's already 14th all time in dWAR, and everyone above him played at least 5 more seasons than he has. One more year of his career average puts him into the all-time top 10 in dWAR; three years after that could put him into the top 5. Catching up to the Wizard of Oz in career dWAR is probably not going to happen, but getting into the top three has an outside shot. According to Fangraphs, he’s far and away the leader in UZR/150 among shortstops since 2002 (17.4, vs. 11.0 for second place). And the only player with a UZR/150 better than him at any position is Andruw Jones.

    Similar to my last pick, he’s only ever played one position in the majors, but I’m going to assume the current best defensive shortstop in the game can probably handle second base, too.

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    Needed a lefty for my bullpen. He won't be in the Hall of Fame and didn't have the longest of peaks, but he's one of my favorite personalities as a player. If he does get into the team Hall of Fame, I hope he takes at least some thinly veiled swipes at the former management that pretty much screwed him over early in his career.

  6. In the interest of having more than one reliever, or the ability to play matchups with my closer, let's get one more pitcher behind my seven starters.

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    I like knuckleballs and the pitchers that pitch them. It's just fun to see what looks like a soft-toss practice throw making professional batters look so, so silly. Wish this guy could have stuck around in MN for a couple more years for his really good seasons.

  8. I found a kind of fun website where a couple guys try to piece together what kind of careers Negro league players would've maybe had if they had shown their skills in a MLB environment. They take some liberties, obviously, but it's pretty meticulously done.

    Their piece on catchers hits a few of the obvious big ones (Gibson, Mackey, Campanella), but I'll admit, I had never heard of...

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    From their writeup:

    A triple slash of .327/.389/.460 looks like a good player, but not a superstar. Unless of course you compile it in the deadball era, like Louis Santop did. The big Texan’s .849 OPS results in a 147 OPS+, which ain’t half bad.
    (...)
    From the dawn of time to the end of Santop’s career in 1926, he led all catchers in OPS+, with the exception of Biz Mackey who had only just gotten underway and would ultimately finish behind Santop. He trailed only Mackey in doubles, triples, and homers, though Biz appeared 250 more times at the plate

    1. That catcher analysis makes me both more happy that I got beat out to the likes of Bench and Carter, and convinced that I will need to play Gibson a lot at DH and 1B. So, yea for not forgetting Earl Battey!

    2. I consulted that site and the relevant BBTF Hall of Merit threads pretty heavily before picking Martín Dihigo, Bullet Rogan, & Pop Lloyd. A very cool project.

      1. I checked them out as well, and they were a big push in the direction of taking Biz Mackey.

  9. ANOTHER BS PICK: I've hemmed and hawed for a while over a couple of different options at this stage. I've finally settled on getting myself another OFer.
    This guy was a prodigious free-swinger who nonetheless walked a ton, with six seasons of 100+ BBs, including a ridiculous 148 in 1969, his best season. He had seven top-10 oWAR seasons, including three 2nd-place rankings, and currently ranks 109th all-time. He was short(ish) and slight, but powerful, leading to one of the best nicknames in baseball history. A so-so defensive OFer, he nonetheless led the league in OF assists twice (and double plays as a CF three times) and putouts twice, as his speed and a spacious OF allowed him to show off excellent range.

    He was hampered in his career by a tumultuous first marriage (his then-wife stabbed him in the stomach in December 1970, on their anniversary! requiring abdominal surgery), racism, crappy managers, and an extremely pitcher-friendly home park. In 1968, he led the NL in road HRs with 17, but hit only 9 (of his team's TWENTY-TWO) at home.

    In 1969, however, he was great at home. He hit 33 HRs overall, 16 at home, with a home slash line of 303/477/561, including 83 of his 148 walks. His then-teammate, Joe Morgan said of him in 1969,

    “Jim never sees a fastball anymore,” said Morgan at the time. “They throw him breaking balls down and away all the time. If we had someone who could hit even 15 home runs batting fourth, the pitchers would have to give Jim at least one pitch to hit.”

    He ranks 17th on the career rWAR list for primary CFers at 55.8, with a very credible 43.3 WAR7 (13th). I think he will do nicely as a backup OFer, pinch hitter and sometime DH.

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      1. He was up there. César Cedeño was probably my favorite, but I'm happy to take Wynn (even with Cedeño still available).

        1. this put me down a rabbit hole. Cedeño was traded to Cincy in 1981, then in midseason 1985 traded to STL.

          Slash lines for 1985

          Team PA slash
          CIN 245 241/307/336
          STL 82 434/463/750

          Talk about SSST!

    1. I almost pulled the trigger on him a couple of rounds ago, but I decided loading up my infield defense and getting more firepower in my bullpen were slightly bigger priorities.

  10. Oh yeah, one of the most famous SSST slash lines.

    Other favorites include 1993 Glenallen Hill, 1968 Gates Brown, and if course 2003 Mike Ryan

      1. I could've sworn he was playing with the Iowa Cubs when I was in college but looking at the info, I think I was confusing him with Ozzie Timmons. That Iowa Cub team also had Matt Franco (Kurt Russell's nephew) so there would be Kurt Russell sightings at the ballpark.

    1. let's not forget Doyle Alexander, 1987.

      Team Innings W-L ERA+ FIP
      ATL 117.2 5-10 105 4.84
      DET 88.1 9-0 279 3.20
      DET post 9.0 0-2 10.00 ERA -0.69 WPA

      😉

      1. His second half in 1987 was almost worth giving up a future Hall of Fame pitcher. (One that somehow gets paid to tell us how much he hates baseball now.)

        1. I don't think if they kept Smoltz they would have been a 90s powerhouse. Maybe Smoltz wouldn't have developed in their system.

          Granted, Doyle shouldn't have been that good.

  11. I’ve been thinking about bench depth & substitutions. I engineered a good bit of positional flexibility into my roster on the front end, so at this point I can pick bench guys who are really limited to just one or two positions. It’s a little weird to frame this pick as a defensive replacement, given he doesn’t play an up-the-middle position, but he won eight Gold Gloves in a ten year span, played in one of the toughest parks for his position, and commanded respect from baserunners.

    Despite not being a great runner, my pick entered his first major league game as a pinch runner for one of the other players on my team. Their team was up 9-0 in the sixth inning of a mid-September game against a pretty bad Cleveland squad. In his first career plate appearance he batted out of turn, but given the number of substitutions and the score, this was not caught by the umpires or by Cleveland. He was a solid player early in his career, then suffered a concussion that stuck with him and eventually pushed him into platoon duty by age 29. His career was saved by an adjustment suggested by his batting coach. Before age 29, he had never led the league in any offensive category. Over the rest of his career, he led the league in walks three times, OPS twice, and runs, homers, OBP, and total bases once each. His career really took off:

    Ages OBP ISO OPS+ rWAR RC rank
    20–28 .344 .186 114 26.3 77th
    29–39 .385 .206 135 40.8 5th

    Ultimately, he’s something like the 75% projection of a guy that, in retrospect, I should have picked in the 5th round instead of trying to get out in front of a rush on second basemen that didn’t quite materialize. Still, if I’m getting 75% of a legend sixteen rounds later, I guess that’s a decent value pick. If you haven’t figured out who he is by now, Bill James wrote an open letter to the Hall of Fame making the case this player was one of the most underrated players of all time, which is pretty incredible if you consider his primary team, and the fact that four of his teammates are Hall of Famers. One of those HoF teammates, who shared an outfield with my pick for sixteen seasons, was completely unaware his teammate’s sons were afflicted by serious health problems. When he found out — nearly two decades after they played their last game together — the soon-to-be Hall of Famer with a fearsome reputation cried. Another of the Hall of Famers marveled at his teammate's accomplishments in spite of all the shuttling from ballpark to hospital and back during his career:

    “We talked some about his kids,” Yastrzemski told Sports Illustratedin 1985, “but there was nothing you could do. He used to tell me that he knew that to play this game you had to be 100% mentally at the ball park. But how do you do that when your kid is in the hospital?”

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    1. Another one of those, "Wow, he's still available?" Love Dwight Evans. I think maybe I passed on him because I was looking for a CF for my backup outfielder, but Evans was incredible in right field.

      1. I checked once last night, and again this morning. Got a back-up pick ready, just in case. Hopefully that one will still be available next round!

      2. Ditto. I almost pulled the trigger on him each of the last three or four rounds. Great value pick.

    2. Walt Hriniak sighting in that article. Speaking of underappreciated. He might merit inclusion in the HOF as a hitting coach, right behind Charley Lau.

      1. If Cooperstown has room for owners, executives, and commissioners, it should definitely have room for the very best skills coaches. I think the R&RHoF gets a lot of deserved criticism, but the folks in Cooperstown could learn something from the Sidemen category.

    1. When we started, I assumed picks would get easier the deeper we got, as we filled in rosters and got past the head-scratchers of elite pitcher vs. elite middle infielder/center fielder, and the head games from trying to anticipate others’ picks. In some respects, that’s the case. It’s clearer now who still needs what type of player, but what’s actually gotten harder is parsing out who’s the right fit for the roster out of the remaining Hall of Very Good candidates for the role.

            1. I mean, I have no recourse. If someone would want to draft him I couldn't stop them.

        1. I'm right there with you. This is most of the reason I have my position player slots pretty much filled, with a bunch of openings in the bullpen left.

  12. Alright. Well, I need a lefty, and I've only drafted starting pitchers so far. Will take a shot at a guy who's had some ridiculous seasons and has plenty of time left on his career hopefully. His ability to not give up hits despite a relatively low strikeout rate is amazing. Plus, Blyleven would be happy. He keeps the ball down in the zone, which is great with all the power hitters he'll be facing.

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  13. While Charleston was supposed to be a great defensive player, who knows how well Negro League statistics translate. Dewey Evans would have been perfect because 3 of my 4 outfielders hit left-handed. Alas... I want to get someone who could definitely handle centerfield (and either slide over or allow Charleston to slide to right when Reggie Jackson gets seated in the late innings).

    I also considered the small sample size wonder mentioned in this thread, but his involuntary manslaughter conviction is a little tough to look past. Instead, I'll go for another player (who admittedly probably wasn't quite as talented), but whose off-field activities got him in even more controversy (but for much more noble reasons). (And he won a bunch of Fielding Grammies)

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      1. I decided against this player for the same reason as Pirate. There is more beyond the manslaughter case, unfortunately. He was also arrested at least twice following domestic violence incidents in the late Eighties/early Nineties, both involving girlfriends who were mothers of his kids, one of whom was apparently pregnant at the time.

        1. Yea. I loved the concept of him as a player. He was a spectacular athlete.

          But as a human being....

          1. He possessed incredible talent, no doubt about that. It’s disappointing to see a gifted person so thwarted by their terrible choices.

    1. Kudos. Another great value pick. His compiling stats were truncated by his activism, which probably cost him 2-3 decent seasons and around 10 rWAR. Modern players owe him (and, to a lesser extent, Andy Messersmith) a great debt.

      Gotta love his age-20 season. 2 stolen bases, 12 caught stealing. What?

  14. Tawny Kitaen may not agree with this, but having a hard tossing lefty in the bullpen and for occasional spot starts seems like a nice thing to have.

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    1. I was wondering if the former DJ at Commiskey had taken a job as the DJ at the Honeywell Plant in Phoenix yesterday.

  15. I will also put another lefty in my pen that could make a spot start if I needed him to. The first pitcher to both throw a no-hitter and lead the league in saves:

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    1. He was one of the few I was considering for my next pick. Thanks for making my decision easier.

  16. It seems that lefties to the bullpen are trending, so I'm taking this ex-Twin and inductee into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

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    As an added bonus, in 1965 he appeared in an episode of the television series, "Branded", with former baseball player and series star Chuck Connors.

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