Last week, I revealed my top 30 picks if I were building an MLB Franchise from scratch. The hardest ones for me were Harper and Trout. As minor leaguers, there is just so much risk tied to them and to start a franchise with them is really tough thing to do, but having seen Harper and having read so much about Trout, I feel like they are as close to sure things as prospects can get.
I want to do this exercise again in the offseason and see how things shift & change. I also wanted to share those who hit the cutting room floor as it were. I did a lot of shifting up and down throughout the process to the point that I even did some while I was doing the write ups. It’s a tough exercise, but tons of fun for sure.
Here are 10 guys who just missed:
Matt Kemp (CF) – This one was really hard for me as I’ve been a Kemp fan for years. If he continues to have a great season, it will be almost impossible to leave him off when I run through this again.
Cole Hamels (SP) – He doesn’t get the love he deserves as far as I am concerned. Even though he didn’t make my top 30, I still have him as the 6th-best starting pitcher in baseball with this ranking. He’s great and continues to improve. I get that Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee overshadow him a bit this year, but I still don’t get how Eric Karabell doesn’t see him as an ace. Teams can have more than one ace. Philly just happens to have three and maybe four depending on your definition.
Brian McCann (C) – A remarkably consistent backstop with a great bat. If the two young catchers, Posey & Santana, hadn’t emerged in the last year, McCann was a shoo-in for this list.
Brandon Phillips (2B) – At 30, he’s a bit older for a franchise starter, but a middle of the order bat and brilliant glove at second base make this late bloomer someone to consider.
Clayton Kershaw (SP) – I had him in, took him out, put him back in and eventually ended up with him just out. It is more the depth of high quality arms in the big leagues than it is anything against Kershaw. There’s a good chance we haven’t seen anywhere near his best work yet which is scary… for the rest of the NL West.
Drew Stubbs (CF) – What he lacks in his bat right now, he makes up for it with dynamic defense and stellar base-running. Still, that’s not enough to earn him the nod over the likes of Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Gonzalez, my top two CFs.
Dustin Pedroia (2B) – Not quite himself yet this year, but I’m not forgetting him because of 57 mediocre games. He didn’t make the cut because of better options ahead of him, not necessarily anything within his profile.
David Wright (3B) – If I’m not going to bury Pedroia over 57 games, there’s no way I can ditch Wright after 39. I will reserve judgment for when he’s fully healthy. For now, I’m betting on the track record and that says he’s a top 40 player at a very thin position.
Matt Holliday (LF) – Scoff at the age of 31 for a franchise foundation, but how do you ignore this bat? He is simply one of the best middle-of-the-order bats in baseball. If you started a franchise with him, you’d lean toward winning right away instead of youth and prospects, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Especially since there would still be plenty of talent to balance your approach if the entire pool of baseball was re-drafted.
Joe Mauer (C) – Despite being the cornerstone for my favorite team’s rival, I love Mauer, but I also realize that this isn’t fantasy baseball. There is no certainty that he remains a catcher going forward given this spate of injuries that has limited him to nine games. Beyond that, I love the batting average, but I’m not starting my franchise with someone who hits nine home runs a year despite being a middle-of-the-order hitter. Still, I don’t want to be clouded by these past two months so I still considered him right down to the end.