Thursday, August 15, 2013
I can't get on board with this whole 'rooting for draft position' thing
In my world, such a thought process is stupid.
Folks, this isn't the NBA. This isn't the NFL. LeBron James (pictured) will not be awarded to the MLB team that finishes with the sorriest record in the league. Andrew Luck is also not available, nor is .133-hitting uberprospect Mike Olt.
You see, the baseball draft is a complete crapshoot. It is less predictable and more volatile than drafts in other sports.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, aka the best young player in the game today, was selected 25th overall in his draft year. Chris Sale, the best young player on the White Sox roster, was chosen 13th overall in 2010. That goes to show you do not need to be drafting in the top 10 to get All-Star talent.
It's also true that the overall No. 1 pick is no sure thing. The Tampa Bay Rays have a track record of drafting quality players and stocking their MLB roster with homegrown talent, but ask them how that No. 1 overall selection of Tim Beckham in 2008 is working out for them. Five years later, Beckham still hasn't seen the bigs and is toiling at Triple-A Durham for a third straight season.
People need to understand, in baseball, you are not assured of getting any sort of franchise savior by securing the top pick or the second overall pick. I'm not going to root for the White Sox to land in a certain draft position, because I have no idea what I'm going to be getting when the Sox finally do make their first-round selection next June.
I'd much rather cheer for the guys who are currently on the team, especially younger players like Sale, Jose Quintana, Hector Santiago, Andre Rienzo, Avisail Garcia, Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo, Josh Phegley Addison Reed and Nate Jones. These are the guys who are still going to be around once GM Rick Hahn finishes the veteran purge that's going on right now. You want them to finish out the season strong, so they have a good feeling going into next year.
Take a look at the last White Sox team to finish in last place. You have to go all the way back to 1989, but understanding what that team did can be constructive. That season, the Sox were a godawful 32-56 at the All-Star break. But the second half of the season, they played much better. They went 37-36 after the break. Young players learned some things about playing in the big leagues. They finished with just 69 wins, but guys improved their games and came back the next season with the right attitude. In 1990, the Sox went 94-68.
Now, I don't expect the Sox to bounce back and win 94 next season. However, a good finish over the next 43 games can set the table for a much more competitive year in 2014. Personally, that's what I'm going to root for. I see no point to cheering for some nameless, faceless future draft pick. There will be plenty of time to root on that individual, whoever he may be, once that player joins the Sox organization next summer.