Who to draft in 1978 ? Topic

My 1977 Pittsburgh Pirates, who were 40-80 at the 120 game mark, will have first pick in the 1978 draft, plus the 11th pick in that round due to a trade. We also have two second round picks if I have this right. 

But the 1978 draft seems to me one of the most difficult to select for. Granted Paul Molitor, a 3B and sometimes 2B is a first among equals, but even he has some great years and some off seasons when he is merely very good. 

The front row of players in '78 lines up like this:

3B: Paul Molitor (2B officially that year), Carney Lansford, Bob Horner
2B: Lou Whitacker and we can add Glenn Hubbard, perhaps at the tail end of this talent group but a great fielder
SS: The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Ozzie Smith, and Alan Trammell
C: Lance Parrish

Throw in a Wille Wilson (perhaps the fastest man in baseball history) in the OF and even Dwayne Murphy plus a number of talented pitchers among whom Bob Welch is, like Molitor among position players first among equals, but not necessarily a no-brainer as there are also Scott Sanderson, Ed Whitson, Don Robinson. 

In short, under any circumstances this is not the easiest of seasons to pick someone, no Jimmy Foxx or Willie Mays/Mickey Mantle etc. 

Now, one way to go is what the team needs. As my team's record for 1977 indicates it could be seen as needing everything, but that is also somewhat misleading: I did trade a few top players for good draft picks but knew that I had at least presentable players to replace them and in fact the team has been above .500 since the wave of trades. 

Plus, while any of the above players are better than those I currently have at their positions, I don't have any real holes. The current bunch, going into 1978: 

C: Milt May and Alan Ashby
1B: Andy Thornton (who will be out of commission for 1980 and not full time again till 1982,but then is good for some years.
2B: Rich Dauer
3B: Doug DeCinces
SS: Dave Chalk

so the infield has stable, decent major league players with no glaring holes, though it is weakest at SS where Chalk is nothing to write home about and will not be even close to full time again after 1978. 

The OF has Jerry Mumphrey, Dave Collins, and a who's who of DHs and jigsaw puzzle pieces of the late 70s:

Dan Meyer, Leon Roberts, Willie Horton and Rico Carty - though a number of these have very good years in 1979 and Meyer covers first base while Thornton is out. 

I also have Lee Lacy, the most ill-defined but good player of the era. 

The team is also not short on good pitching: 

For now Randy Jones a leads the staff, with Mike Caldwell, Scott McGregor, Mark Lemongello, Rick Langford, Spaceman Bill Lee, Marty Pattin, Pat Zachry and Tom Buskey (DL in '78). 

So no shortage for the coming seasons, and therefore while I can use one of the first rounders to get a good SP, it is not a desperate need. 

All of which means: there is an opportunity to lay the basis for a very strong rebuilding effort and even a successful team in the next few seasons, but wise choices are important here and harder to make given the relatively democratic distribution of talent among the potential draft picks and on my roster. 

I am also concerned that sentiment may lead me to err: it is hard not to love Ozzie Smith, and Bob Horner is my preferred kind of 3B, my favorite position on a baseball team. But are these really the good choices ? Parrish is one of my favorite WIS catchers but while neither Ashby nor May are in his league, catching is covered for most of the next decade by these two. If it ain't broke don't fix it ?

So, knowing that here there are clear-headed, less sentimental than I am WIS players, I ask that the floor be opened:

What would your priorities be given the number one overall choice in 1978 and the 11th overall first round pick?

What would you do given this particular roster and two first round picks with two second rounders ? 

My keepers list currently has us needing 4 picks and we have no 3rd or 4th round picks, as those went in some of the trades. 

4/9/2013 7:54 AM
I only see one guy in that whole mess with 3000 hits.  He's the #1 pick.  Take him, deal the guy in the spot he's replacing to try shoring up your need areas on the mound or in the outfield, then cover that second need spot with your second pick.
4/9/2013 8:00 AM
What are the parameters of your league? How many teams are drafting from the 1978 pool? Is there a salary cap?

In a 12 team prog (AL drafts from one year, NL from another 23 years apart) with a draft formula that rewards winning against salary the first round went:

Paul Molitor (2B)
Alan Trammell (SS)
Ozzie Smith (SS)
Lou Whitaker (2B)
Bob Horner (3B)
Lance Parrish (C)
Dick Ruthven (P)
Bob Welch (P)
Willie Wilson (OF)
Carney Lansford (3B)
Steve Comer (P)
Don Robinson (P)

4/9/2013 8:43 AM
It's 16 teams. No salary cap. You have to win 35 games by game 120 or you lose 6 spots in the draft, and below I think 33 lose another spot or two. 

But no winning v. salary system. 

My only skepticism about Molitor is that, great as he is, his best seasons are in the mid-90s. Take out 1979 and 1987 and his stats until 1991-96 are nothing great. 

I see evil twin's point. But we aren't drafting only career's - it is very true that over time he is the biggest bargain by far of the potential draftees. But we play in discrete units of one season at a time, and except for 1979, his first 9 seasons (which is a lot of time in the league) are not dramatically better than DeCinces - better yes, but given DeCinces' fielding not a dramatic difference. 

True that later he is a superstar. But a first round pick for a rebuilding team should make a difference during the rebuilding process, not after most of the other players obtained during rebuilding have gone into retirement. 

I am overstating it as a devil's advocate I know. But I remain not totally convinced. More views on this ? 
4/9/2013 9:31 AM (edited)
If you are not set on Molitor, then trade down a couple of spots. You can try making a deal with the guys in the 2-4 range and see if you can pick up a piece you need or get another 2nd round pick.

The other thing I would try to do is trade your #11 pick plus your replacement player (and whatever else it would take) to get another top 5 pick in this draft. That way you get 2 of the top 5 on your list and dramatically upgrade at 2 positions instead of 1.

If that fails, take the player that best helps your team in the window that you see yourself winning in...if that is 3-5 years from now then take the best fit so long as you are not sacrificing long-term value. One of my tactics is to add up the player's career salaries. This gives you a value of a players over their career and gives you an idea if you are getting a $100 million player versus a $60 million player. If the gap is that wide, I would say take the $100 million guy. If it winds up being $85 mil vs $75 mil, then go for the seasons that match.
4/9/2013 9:55 AM
Ozzie would be a heckuva upgrade over Chalk... just sayin'.
4/9/2013 10:51 AM
You make a fine point contrarian23, I was thinking the same thing myself.

Trammell ?
4/9/2013 10:59 AM (edited)
Frazzman, I am not sure why my reply to you got erased. 

Let's try it again: 

Thanks. It is a great idea, though I am not sure I am entrepreneurial enough to pull it off, nor that many top 5 pick owners would trade that for a no.11 pick and one of my admittedly good but not great players whom I plan on replacing with a pick. Might we worth sending out some feelers though. But the top 5 holders will also be rebuilding teams. 

Thank you. 
4/9/2013 11:04 AM

I'm an active trader. 

Personally, i'd pick up Molitor for his high trade value.  I'd shop him immediately, trying to get a pick in the top 5-6, plus maybe a pair of 2nd rounders (this year and next) or another first rounder (next year?).  I know that even in 4-5 years, I could move him again for another first round pick, assuming I couldn't deal him immediately.

Plus, he plays SS the next 3 years.  Better than Chalk. 

4/9/2013 11:18 AM
More good points. Heavyweights on the site weighing in. I just rechecked everyone's career numbers and I ...still can't decide, though there are a number of good plans on the table. hmm. More ideas welcome. 

4/9/2013 12:02 PM
I tend to shy away from the short term fix.  Always take the greatest talent.  If that player just doesn't fit, trade the player he'd be replacing.  if you can't find a deal there (for Dauer in this case), deal the pick. 

In your case, trading down to take Ozzie would be a nice second option.  Should Smith somehow be taken before your new position, you can always take the best pitcher available.  You can never have too much pitching.
4/9/2013 12:14 PM
Posted by italyprof on 4/9/2013 11:04:00 AM (view original):
Frazzman, I am not sure why my reply to you got erased. 

Let's try it again: 

Thanks. It is a great idea, though I am not sure I am entrepreneurial enough to pull it off, nor that many top 5 pick owners would trade that for a no.11 pick and one of my admittedly good but not great players whom I plan on replacing with a pick. Might we worth sending out some feelers though. But the top 5 holders will also be rebuilding teams. 

Thank you. 
I understand...just wanted to throw out the GM side of things to you. Some of those rebuilding teams might not mind a 4 for 1 if you include those 2nd round picks.
4/9/2013 5:15 PM
Always go pitching unless your are severley lacking PA's at a position for the short & long term
4/9/2013 5:24 PM
Posted by blackmink18 on 4/9/2013 5:24:00 PM (view original):
Always go pitching unless your are severley lacking PA's at a position for the short & long term
FWIW, I don't agree with this at all.
4/9/2013 10:45 PM
I drafted first in a 1978 prog not all that long ago and I thought that Molitor was a fairly obvious choice.  We got through the 1987 season and I'll post the stats I got from him below.  I think he would be a great pick for any team, regardless of team makeup.  My team had George Brett on it already, but didn't even think twice about taking Molitor.

Year    G  PA  AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI    R   SO   BB   SB  CS    BA   OBP   SLG   OPS
1987 122 553 475 167 56 4 12 102 109 69 74 51 12 0.352 0.438 0.562 1
1986 114 490 443 154 27 5 14 100 79 70 43 20 8 0.348 0.402 0.526 0.928
1985 140 652 593 165 32 4 2 82 100 90 56 27 5 0.278 0.339 0.356 0.695
1983 153 722 675 165 24 4 12 53 107 86 46 63 20 0.244 0.294 0.345 0.639
1982 162 746 663 235 28 10 16 122 132 86 74 49 14 0.354 0.417 0.499 0.916
1981 155 432 379 126 13 4 2 66 60 50 43 0 0 0.332 0.4 0.404 0.804
1980 113 524 463 140 28 2 6 63 98 61 56 32 6 0.302 0.38 0.41 0.79
1979 138 656 595 206 25 20 9 72 108 48 60 26 18 0.346 0.405 0.501 0.906
1978 155 579 552 180 37 7 5 60 92 52 18 41 19 0.326 0.356 0.446 0.801
4/9/2013 11:05 PM
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