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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Monday, March 16, 2009

From late-night boredom, a question

In thumbing through my extensive cache of old Sports Illustrated baseball articles, I came across one written about Evan Longoria in the March 3, 2008 issue.

The article, written by Ben Reiter, contains an interesting detail, revealed to Reiter by Rays' GM Andrew Friedman, about the team's draft board in 2006.

Friedman reveals that Longoria was their first choice, but it's the next three names that I find interesting: Behind Longoria on the Rays' board were Brad Lincoln, Andrew Miller and Tim Lincecum.

Lincoln was taken 4th, by the woebegone Pirates, and has posted a 6-10 record with 94 Ks in 127.2 innings and a WHIP of 1.32. Lincoln will turn 24 this season, so he still has time to turn it around. So far, though, not very impressive.

Miller, along with Cameron Maybin, was one of the co-centerpieces of the trade that sent Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. He flashes ace-quality stuff at times but still hasn't quite put it together. He'll also turn 24 this season (four days before Lincoln, in fact), so the jury's still out.

Lincecum, well, we all know Tim Lincecum:

Last season, he:

- Struck out 265 batters.

- Was responsible for a quarter of his team's wins.

- Had a WHIP of 1.17 and an ERA+ of 167

- Allowed 72 runs. The rest of his team allowed 687.

So, the question here is: Knowing what you know now, would you rather have Longoria or Lincecum?

I'd take Lincecum simply because I believe an ace starter is the most important commodity in baseball. There are 30 teams and maybe half of them have true aces on their staff.

What do you think?


OpenID campk111yourself said...

I tend to disagree with your assessment. While an Ace pitcher is a hot commodity, and very important, the chances of falling upon a top 3B in the draft are very slim, if not slimmer than an ace pitcher. From what we've seen of Longoria so far, he has every chance to be the next Rolen or Chipper.

A great 3B bat/fielder is probably one of the toughest spots to fill outside of MIF or C. Look at how important Hanley Ramirez is to the Marlins, more so because of the position he plays than his great bat. Were he a 1B or an OF I'd have to believe the Marlins would consider him much more expendable and replaceable.

Aside from David Wright, every drafted 3B has either failed to live up to their potential as a middle lineup bat (Zimmerman, Gordon, Blalock) or changed position (Braun, Teixeira, Youkilis).

Since the 1998 draft, we've seen CC Sabathia, Cole Hamels, Brandon Webb, Jake Peavy, Josh Beckett, and Time Lincecum come out of the draft, all of whom are Cy Young winners or World Series MVPs. Then you also have Chad Billingsley, Rich Harden, Joba Chamberlain, Danny Haren, Matt Cain, John Lackey, Aaron Harang, Ben Sheets, and James Shields drafted in that period, as well as Felix Hernandez, Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez, Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Ervin Santana being acquired via free agency.

Whether or not those names are all true aces or not is debatable, but you can't nearly stack a list of 3Bs anywhere near as high as that.

My point isn't that I'd rather have Longoria than Lincecum or vice-versa, but in terms of revisionist history I can't say that the Rays made the wrong decision then, especially if you consider that just one year later they drafted David Price, who seems to have the makings of a Cy Young winner much the same way Lincecum does. But I bet you can't find the great middle order 3B taken in the same draft as Price.

March 16, 2009 at 9:40 PM 

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