Last night five writers from the site participated in a draft to pick all-time Mets teams. There’s no point scoring involved in this and everyone was left to their own on how to rank and rate the players. For the sake of simplicity, this was based on the best one year of a player’s career as a Met. So, a guy who was great for one year was more valuable than a guy who was good for seven years. We had a roster to fill out and you had to have played 50 games at a position in order to qualify. But if a guy only qualified at a position for one year, those are the numbers that you get for him. If you wanted Michael Conforto as your center fielder, you could only use his 2018 numbers, not his great OPS in 2017 or better counting numbers in 2019.

Our roster was comprised of 21 players. You needed five starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, a starter at each of the eight positions, a backup catcher, a backup corner infielder and a backup middle infielder. Some positions had greater depth than others, a fact that weighed heavy into the first overall selection. Names of the five writers were put into a draft generator, which spit out the following order: David Groveman, Chris Dial, Brian Joura, Jim O’Malley and Chris Flanders. We used a snake draft, which meant the odd number rounds the order was 1-2-3-4-5 and the even number rounds it was 5-4-3-2-1. Here’s how our draft played out:

Round 1:
Reyes, Wright, Seaver, Gooden, deGrom
In my estimation, the top three picks should have been the three pitchers in some order. Certainly, the talent level at shortstop dropped off considerably after Jose Reyes and there was no way he would have been available when David picked in Round 2. Sometimes in drafts when you want a guy, you just need to take him.

Round 2:
Beltran, Alfonzo, Olerud, Matlack, Piazza
This was the only time in the draft when I got foffed, as Jim took Edgardo Alfonzo one spot ahead of me. Certainly wasn’t disappointed to get John Olerud but selfishly hoped he would be available for me in the next round.

Round 3:
Strawberry, Carter, Gilkey, Hundley Jones
This was a tough round for me. Cleon Jones was one of my all-time favorites and his 1969 season is certainly one of the best in team history. It’s just that Bernard Gilkey’s 1996 season was better. But this was still better, in my opinion, than later rounds when my pick ended up being guys not on my favorite player radar.

Round 4:
H. Johnson, Cone, Ventura, L. Johnson, Saberhagen
It’s weird to think about third base being a relatively deep position but there were much better options after the top guy at third base than there was at either second base or shortstop. There were actually two good third basemen who didn’t get drafted at all.

Round 5:
Bonilla, Hernandez, Stearns, Rosario, Cabrera
We all had our individual ways to rank people. My rankings were different from others, right from the first round. But this was the first round where my rankings were significantly different than those used by the other writers.

Round 6:
Alonso, Wagner, Harvey, Harrelson, Syndergaard
It wouldn’t have surprised me if Chris F. had taken Pete Alonso with the first pick on the second round but he certainly fits better here. It’s always a question in drafts when the first reliever is going to go off the board and here it happened at pick #27 overall.

Round 7:
Cespedes, Granderson, P. Martinez, Koosman, Santana
It was a little surprising that someone liked Curtis Granderson more than me – certainly thought he would have ended up on my team before this draft started. But Pedro Martinez still would have been my pick here. Didn’t expect pitching to go the way it did. Coming into the draft, my feeling was that I’d get whichever of the big three was left and then fill out later in the draft with the rest. But instead my team ended up with three of the top seven pitchers on my board.

Round 8:
Ramos, Brooks, Agee, Leiter, Dickey
My fandom started in earnest in the 1972 season and after a solid start, Tommie Agee was really terrible for most of the year. But he was really good before that and was too good of a value at this round to pass up, even if center field was deeper than you might think.

Round 9:
Valentin, Viola, Nimmo, Wilson, Conforto
Dial likes his LHP. After nine picks, he has three lefty starters. And the trend would continue throughout the draft for him, as six of his eight pitchers ended up being lefties.

Round 10:
Fernandez, Lo Duca, Ojeda, McNeil, Delgado
Secretly hoping that Dial was gnashing his teeth as I took Bobby Ojeda right in front of him but he got a real nice consolation prize getting Jeff McNeil here.

Round 11:
Ryan, Swan, Walker, Staub, Familia
The first guy not on my list was taken with the first pick of this round. Nolan Ryan was a great pitcher after he left the Mets and had some okay numbers in Queens. But it’s hard to imagine that he earned this selection. And if I had to hold my nose with Agee, it’s fair to wonder what Chris F. did with Jeurys Familia.

Round 12:
Millan, Magadan, Wheeler, McGraw, Floyd
Dave Magadan was a great value at this pick but having already filled first base with Olerud, it was hard for me to justify picking a bench player before my starters were in place. Every draft ends up having unexpected value and Magadan is a great example here.

Round 13:
Kent, Orosco, Ordonez, Kingman, Pagan
Had to hold my nose again by drafting Rey Ordonez but it’s not like the other shortstop options were any better. Angel Pagan was a real nice value here, too.

Round 14:
Clendenon, Darling, Benitez, Mazzilli, McReynolds
Certainly wasn’t my game plan to take a relief pitcher this early but Armando Benitez was the top guy on my board at the position. It’s hard to judge taking your top guy versus getting the best value. Didn’t get the best value here but that’s how it goes sometimes.

Round 15:
Matz, Hampton, Youngblood, Franco, Swoboda
It seems the only thing people remember about Joel Youngblood was that he was traded mid-game and ended up playing for two different teams on the same day. But his 1979 is an underappreciated year in Mets history. Plus, he gives you that vaunted versatility, able to play anywhere in the field you need him.

Round 16:
d’Arnaud, Thomas, Garett, Dykstra, Lugo
It was fair to wonder who the earliest Met to be picked would end up being. Surprised, but happy, to see the original Frank Thomas earning the nod. If center field wasn’t so deep, it could have been Richie Ashburn. My money was on Al Jackson but he went undrafted, too.

Round 17:
Lockwood, Duda, Murphy, Jefferies, Niese
Thought that my team would end up with Skip Lockwood, who had some nice years on some bad Mets teams. The 2010s were well represented on this round with Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Jon Niese.

Round 18:
Gentry, Murray, Grote, Teufel, R. Henderson
As if Agee wasn’t bad enough, my team ended up with Jerry Grote, too. At least there was no Wilmer Flores action. Wondered which Henderson would go first and it ended up being Rickey Henderson. Steve Henderson’s 1977 wasn’t enough to get him picked.

Round 19:
Rodriguez, Cerone, Cameron, Myers, Backman
Backup catcher was a wasteland and Rick Cerone wasn’t on my radar. Had a better year than I remembered, especially given his relatively few ABs.

Round 20:
Blevins, Cedeno, A. Reed, Apodaca, Zeile
Thought of Metsense singing Elvis Costello when Addison Reed was picked.

Round 21:
Sasser, Hunt, Looper, Stone, Frisella
Enjoyed that the draft ended with two guys who were traded for one another in George Stone and Danny Frisella. While he wasn’t on my list, people forget Frisella had a really strong year in 1971.

*****

My rankings were done by fWAR – it made sense to me to do it that way. Below is everyone’s team and the highest fWAR for the player as a Met. Now, this may have a mistake or two in it. The list was done by hand while tired. And it also doesn’t take into account that the best year may not be at the position which he fills for the team in this exercise. Finally, some writers picked a year when they drafted a guy. This does not take that into account – instead picking the best fWAR year.

Also, keep in mind that this isn’t the final word on things. Just because my draft was done by fWAR doesn’t mean that others rated things that way. If we used bWAR the results would be different. And if other owners drafted with fantasy value – certainly a reasonable approach – with that emphasis on Saves and SB, the rankings would be vastly different.

David   Dial   Brian   Jim   Chris F  
Syndergaard 6 Matlack 7.5 Seaver 9.1 Gooden 8.9 deGrom 9
Dickey 4.7 Leiter 4.8 Harvey 6.9 Cone 6.5 Santana 5.2
Saberhagen 5.4 Viola 5.8 Martinez 6.1 Koosman 5.4 Fernandez 4.9
Ryan 1.7 Swan 4.4 Ojeda 5.1 Darling 3.5 Niese 2.9
Matz 2.5 Hampton 4.6 Wheeler 4.7 Stone 1.7 Gentry 2.6
Lugo 2.3 McGraw 2 Benitez 3.1 Wagner 1.9 Familia 2.1
Lockwood 2.3 Orosco 2.2 Reed 2.4 Franco 1.3 Blevins 0.9
Rodriguez 1.5 Apodaca 0.8 Looper 1.7 Myers 1.7 Frisella 1.3
Piazza 5.8 Carter 6.7 Stearns 5.6 Hundley 4.7 Ramos 1.4
Delgado 2.8 Hernandez 5.8 Olerud 8.1 Magadan 5.4 Alonso 4.8
Valentin 3 Teufel 3.1 Walker 3.6 Alfonzo 6.4 Millan 3
Bonilla 3.6 Wright 8.4 Ventura 7.3 Brooks 2.5 H. Johnson 7
Reyes 5.8 Harrelson 3.8 Ordonez 3 Rosario 2.7 Cabrera 3.6
Strawberry 6.5 L. Johnson 6.4 Gilkey 7.6 M. Wilson 2.9 Beltran 7.8
Cespedes 3.7 Granderson 5.3 Agee 5.4 Staub 2.6 C. Jones 6.3
Floyd 3.7 McNeil 4.6 Nimmo 4.5 Kingman 2.6 Conforto 4.4
McReynolds 4 Mazzilli 4.7 Youngblood 4.1 F. Thomas 2.1 Pagan 4.9
R. Henderson 2.1 Dykstra 4.5 Cameron 3.8 Cedeno 1.5 Swoboda 2.5
Sasser 1.5 Cerone 1.9 Grote 3.1 Lo Duca 2.5 d’Arnaud 2.8
Zeile 2.7 Duda 3.2 Garrett 4 Murray 2 Clendenon 3
Kent 2.8 Hunt 3 Murphy 3.1 Jefferies 2.7 Backman 3.1
Totals 74.4   93.5   102.3   71.5   83.5
Pitching 26.4   32.1   39.1   30.9   28.9
Hitting 48   61.4   63.2   40.6   54.6

This gives a systematic approach to rate the drafts. Just because it’s organized this way doesn’t make it right. At the end of the draft, I asked the other writers to chime in with how they approached their draft. So hopefully they will give some insights into their picks.

6 comments on “A five-owner draft for all-time Mets team

  • JimO

    Brian asked if we could put up a summary of our strategies. Here’s that plus some misc comments:

    The Strategy was fairly simple. Once it was established that a player could only be drafted once, then all I had to do was go through the season stats on Baseball Reference and see who had impact years.

    So for a player like Jose Reyes, or Mike Piazza, there could be multiple solid years. I just kept their “best” year.

    Then I broke those players down by their position. It turned out that catcher, shortstop, second bases and third base were all relatively thin. The outfield, the starting pitching, relief pitching and first base all had a larger pool of players with “good” seasons. I tried to emphasize the infield including picking my back-up catcher (LoDuca) even before I had finished picking my starting line-up.

    I was surprised by Jose Reyes as the first pick. I had the fourth pick in the draft and I thought I would be able to get him. I had pegged Seaver, Wright, Piazza, and/or Gooden as higher draft choices.

    I was more than happy to get Dwight Gooden and Edgar Alfonzo with my first two picks.

    I was surprised that Ray Knight and Neil Allen didn’t get drafted.

    I was also surprised that Jon Olerud was the first first baseman chosen (although he was my top pick there).

    I’m glad Ron Hunt got drafted.

  • David Groveman

    So I wanted to take a comparative look at the lineups that our teams wound up with after the draft.

    Groveman:
    1. Jose Reyes, SS
    2. Jose Valentin, 2B
    3. Darryl Strawberry, RF
    4. Mike Piazza, C
    5. Carlos Delgado, 1B
    6. Yoenis Cespedes, CF
    7. Cliff Floyd, LF
    8. Bobby Bonilla

    Dial:
    1. Lee Mazilli, CF
    2. Jeff McNeil, LF
    3. David Wright, 3B
    4. Gary Carter, C
    5. Keith Hernandez, 1B
    6. Curtis Granderson, RF
    7. Ron Hunt, 2B
    8. Bud Harrelson, SS

    Joura:
    1. Tommie Agie, CF
    2. Brandon Nimmo, RF
    3. Bernard Gilkey, LF
    4. John Olerud, 1B
    5. Robin Ventura, 3B
    6. John Stearns, C
    7. Neil Walker, 2B
    8. Rey Ordonez, SS

    O’Malley:
    1. Mookie Wilson, CF
    2. Edgardo Alfonso, 2B
    3. Frank Thomas, LF
    4. Todd Hundley, C
    5. Eddie Murray, 1B
    6. Rusty Staub, RF
    7. Hubie Brooks, 3B
    8. Amed Rosario, SS

    Flanders:
    1. Wally Backman, 2B
    2. Cleon Jones, LF
    3. Carlos Beltran, CF
    4. Pete Alonso, 1B
    5. Howard Jonson, 3B
    6. Michael Conforto, RF
    7. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
    8. Wilson Ramos, C

    I’m still biased but I can’t see this any other way.

    Groveman>O’Malley>Joura>Flanders>Dial

    • David Groveman

      Realizing as I hit the bench that I have a few lineups wrong but I think I know why I rank so low in Brian’s lists vs how the team looks to me on paper. I had discounted certain stats because things like Runs and RBIs were things that I didn’t take as written in stone. Since if these were teams you’d have completely new people on base setting the tables etc… So in my exercise that became secondary to how their personal batting stats ranked vs. how those where the team around them contributed.

  • David Groveman

    Now for rotation evaulations:

    Groveman:
    1. Bret Saberhagen
    2. Noah Syndergaard
    3. R.A. Dickey
    4. Nolan Ryan
    5. Steven Matz

    Dial:
    1. John Matlack
    2. Al Leiter
    3. Frank Viola
    4. Craig Swan
    5. Mike Hampton

    Joura:
    1. Tom Seaver
    2. Matt Harvey
    3. Pedro Martinez
    4. Zack Wheeler
    5. Bob Ojeda

    O’Malley:
    1. Dwight Gooden
    2. David Cone
    3. Jerry Koosman
    4. Ron Darling
    5. George Stone

    Flanders:
    1. Jacob deGrom
    2. Sid Fernandez
    3. Johan Santana
    4. Jon Niese
    5. Gary Gentry

    Here we have, in my mind a clear #1 and #2 a contentious #3/#4 and a clear #5. My rankings here are as follows:

    Joura>O’Malley>Dial=Groveman>Flanders

  • David Groveman

    And Bullpens…

    Groveman:
    1. Seth Lugo
    2. Skip Lockwood
    3. Francisco Rodriguez

    Dial:
    1. Tug McGraw
    2. Jesse Orosco
    3. Bob Apodaca

    Joura:
    1. Armando Benitez
    2. Addison Reed
    3. Braden Looper

    O’Malley:
    1. Billy Wagner
    2. Randy Myers
    3. John Franco

    Flanders:
    1. Jeurys Familia
    2. Danny Frisella
    3. Jerry Blevins

    I don’t see a clear winner here but I’m favoring the following order:

    O’Malley>Dial=Groveman=Joura>Flanders

  • Chris F

    This was a fun, but a little bit stressful, event. I really enjoyed the working with the other GMs, even if I felt a little like John Ricco being invited to the grown ups table. Ive never done fantasy baseball or did a draft like this before, so I perhaps had less deep strategy other than rack up the most WAR possible early, and hope to fill in the holes. I picked last in the first round, and first in the second round (similarly for each round after) so it was interesting getting two picks back-to-back each round, and really stressful when your planned picks disappeared right I front of your pick. Time went super fast and towards the end, when the herd was thin, I lost track of picks taken and made some rash decisions, leading to a classical Mets bullpen of failure.

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