New Orleans Pelicans
Needs: 1B, 3B, SS, CF
By far, one of the best developmental farm systems ever to exist in ARod world. As would be expected, gjd is right on top of covering the developing holes on this team as he goes through a period of transition. Behind the plate, incumbent Trevor Prince is as solid and consistent as they come, and he should be around for awhile. Even if he falters, there are a number of options behind him. At 1B, future HOFer Frank Robbins is beginning to age. He is the big bat at the heart of the order and will be difficult to replace. Future gold glover and all-star Rusty Rowan has 2B well in hand. 3B has been covered by committee, and is in desperate need of a solid prospect to bring continuity. The same applies to the SS position, where long-time Pelican Benji Mangual made his home for so many years. Mangual has since been moved to RF, and even if this is only a temporary situation, it exposes the need to find his replacement at SS soon. In the outfield, gjd is pretty set at the COF positions with Moreno in LF and Mangual in RF, but they desperately need an upgrade over Clarke in CF. The pitching staff has been the focus of gjd in recent years to start his rebuild, and he has done an excellent job in establishing continuity between his old staff, and the new generation. There is no need to continue focus here.
Draft Expectation: Moderate
gjd has 6 selections in the first 5 rounds, including 2 first rounders, starting with overall pick no. 19. With such a strong pitching staff, he needs to concentrate on picking up some quality position players.
New Orlean's player payroll is just below league average, which should still allow an old pro like gjd some flexibility to do whatever he needs to make his draft successful. He chose to spread out his finances quite evenly, to have at least some degree of access to whatever drafting/signing opportunities may arise.
Round 1 Pick 19 3B Herbert Johnstone
An outstanding targeted choice by gjd with his first pick to aptly fill one of his most pressing needs. Johnstone is a solid hitter, with some considerable power, who also has a very sure glove. For a 3B, he has a below average arm, but should make up for it with that sparkling glove.
ML Projection: 35 HR/.275 BA/5 SB
Round 1 Supp Pick 50 SP/RP Jamie Daily
Although daly has some nice numbers, I can't get past those low left/right splits. His other numbers will help him move past those splits to some extent, but the big league hitters will take him long, and take him long often. His ground ball/fly ball ratio isn't strong enough to overcome that. My projection is that at some point he will be tested by gjd in a long relief role, but will not make the grade. Ceiling AAA.
Round 2 Pick 76 SP Tyrone Wagner
Although his overall rating does not reflect it, Wagner represents a better option to make the big league squad than Daly does. He has much better left/right splits, and is better at keeping the ball on the ground. 4 very effective ML quality pitches seals the deal, and if Wagner does not end up at the end of the rotation, he will at the very least find a home for himself as a long reliever.
ML Projection: 150 IP/8-10 W/.270-.280 OAV/3.80-4.50 ERA
Round 3 Pick 108 DH Christy Cintron
A monster hitter, Cintron is a defensive liability as a catcher. Obviously his greatest value is as a DH. Unfortunately he has been drafted by a NL team, but I have to believe somebody in the AL would love to have that bat in their order.
ML Projection: 30-40 HR/.290-.310 BA/0 SB
Round 4 Pick 140 1B Charley Bellhorn
Another solid bat, Bellhorn could find a home on most ML teams as a 1B. He has average fielding skills for that position, but his bat is good enough to supply extra power and run production to the latter-middle part of the order.
ML Projection: 25-30 HR/.280-300 BA/0 SB
Round 5 Pick 172 IF Alfonso Nunez
Nunez is a very versatile performer, who can play almost any position. A strong arm, and good range, means that he will make the perfect utility player. He has the added benefit of being an effective hitter against right-handed pitching.
ML Projection: Utility Player
Hidden Gems: none foreseeable
Overall Grade: A-
An outstanding pick with Johnstone at number 19 overall, makes gjd's grade. The fact he picked 5 possible ML prospects only strengthens that grade. Where he faltered slightly was picking up a career minor leaguer with his supplemental pick, but that is just a minor glitch in an otherwise very successful draft.