The Pre-Rookie Draft

Dynasty fantasy football players consider the rookie draft to be the ultimate comparison to real-life football. It’s a draft, like the NFL does, you can wheel and deal to move around, and the picks you make set your team up for the next few years.

Baseball has a draft too. It’s conducted by conference call. ESPN even showed it this year for the first time. The differences are obvious. Baseball draftees are unlikely to see “The Show” for three to five years. NFL draftees are already on the squad. People also know the NFL draftees by name. Ask a random guy on the street who the Raiders took at number one and most of them are going to know. If you asked 100 sports fans who the Devil Rays took with their first overall pick, you’d get blank stares. David Price, pride of Vanderbilt, was the pick.

I’ve been all but absent in my two dynasty baseball leagues this year. It’s just hard to set a lineup every week without really knowing what’s going on, let alone set up a 1-9 batting order and 1-5 pitching rotation. When the minors draft came up, suddenly my interest piqued.

Most of these guys are born in the mid to late 80s. Unlike the actual draft, some of them are a year or two away from the majors, at most. Heck, some of the minor league-eligible guys have been in the majors. Last year’s preseason Rookie of the Year, Jeremy Hermida, is available. His fall shows how quickly guys can be discarded.

While starting pitching and outfielders have the most starters, and therefore get the most attention, it’s pretty much a best player available kind of draft. The league that started drafting today is in the second year, so we are one minors draft in the bag. Still it was weird to see the first guy take Kevin Slowey. He’s a starting pitcher for the Twins. Considering that they already have Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano (returning next year), this guy will be a number three starter at best. This guy drafts like the White Sox.

I have the third pick, thanks to my horrible finish last year. My top pick will probably be Reid Brignac of the Devil Rays. He’s a shortstop, and both of my current SSs have one-year contracts. Honestly, the Devil Rays have some ridiculous young talent, and they drafted the top 3B in the minors, Evan Longoria, last year. Maybe they’ll finish in third place in the AL East one year.

While the NBA Finals has been a disaster, it makes me think of the Titans. LeBron James led the Cavaliers to the finals in his fourth year. If Vince Young leads the Titans to the Super Bowl in his fourth year, that would be fine by me. I’d hope for a better performance on the big stage, of course.

The only comparison I can make between the Titans’ horrible receiving corps that works is last year’s Patriot group. The leader was Reche Caldwell with 61 catches. He had 28 the year before with the Chargers. Brandon Jones had 27 catches last year, and he will be the top returning receiver. In short, don’t draft him in your local fantasy league.

153 of Brady’s 319 completions went to wideouts. The Titans completed less than 100 passes to the wideouts. Hmm. I’ll have to work on this one.

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