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The OTBB Best DH in Baseball Draft

The following is a transcript of an OTBB team draft of the best DH’s in baseball- except its a little more complicated than that. Below, depstein1983 is Dan Epstein, Max is Max Frankel, and sean is Sean Morash.

depstein1983 [8:59 PM]
Is someone moderating/giving an intro?

Max [8:59 PM]

depstein1983 [8:59 PM]
Ha! OK

Welcome to the Off The Bench DH Draft! I am Daniel R. Epstein and I will be moderating as well as kicking everyone else’s butt.

Joining me in no particular order are Max Frankel and Sean Morash.
Say hello, gentlemen.

Max [9:01 PM]

sean [9:02 PM]
I feel like we should have started with a moment of silence, or with someone saying “dearly beloved” and immediately ripping into guitar solo.


depstein1983 [9:02 PM]
Guitar solos are for the winner, Sean. We’ll see how things turn out.

Max [9:03 PM]
I would like to point out before we go any further that I don’t really know what were doing. I need some ground rules

sean [9:03 PM]
There are no rules for Guitar solos

depstein1983 [9:04 PM]
The idea is for us to draft the 15 best designated hitter candidates in baseball. They do not necessarily have to actually be DH’s or even play in the American league. They just need to be the best combination of good offense and bad defense possible.

Max [9:05 PM]
The best Dh’s in baseball? Oh. I thought it was in the world. My first two picks were going to be Gronk and Pope Francis, I guess I’ll have to recalibrate

sean [9:05 PM]
Do they have to be alive?

depstein1983 [9:06 PM]
The scoring system, which we can revisit after the 2018 season, will use the FanGraphs leaderboards. It will be as follows: Off + 2(-Def) = points. In other words points are given for every run of offensive value and every two runs of negative defensive value

No they don’t have to be alive, but Babe Ruth isn’t likely to earn any points in 2018. But if you want to make that the #1 pick, be my guest.

Max [9:08 PM]
So I could pick Pope Francis if I’m ok with him not scoring any points next year?

depstein1983 [9:08 PM]
I suppose he has a better chance than the Babe. Max said hello first so he gets the first pick. Sean 2nd, me 3rd.

Max [9:09 PM]
Uh oh, that’s a lot of pressure. How many rounds will we do?

depstein1983 [9:10 PM]
5. We’re drafting 15 total players because there are 15 AL teams and theoretically 15 starting DH’s.

sean [9:11 PM]
Max isn’t very good at multiplication. Federal budgets are mostly rounding anyway.

depstein1983 [9:11 PM]
If you make mathematical errors, you have to draft Freddy Galvis.

Max [9:11 PM]
We’ll redact that previous comment. I am ready to start, With the first selection in the DH draft, I select: Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners

depstein1983 [9:12 PM]
DANGIT! That’s a good pick.

Care to give a brief explanation?

Max [9:14 PM]
Home Runs. Home runs are good, Cruz hits many of them. Also he’s very bad at defense and that’s the makings of a good DH. He’s always struck me as 1 tool (pull power) guy but no one can seem to prevent him from being good at that one thing, so he must be very good at it. I’m willing to bet on that

depstein1983 [9:15 PM]
I think half the Mariners team would be good picks in this draft.

sean [9:16 PM]
For the record, I was fully prepared to take Barry Bonds with my first pick before the ground rules were established. Other choices that I considered were Snorlax, Harry Potter, and Madison Bumgarner.

Max [9:16 PM]
I propose a follow up draft with non baseball players

Dibs on Francis

depstein1983 [9:16 PM]
Hagrid is definitely more of a DH than Harry

Max [9:17 PM]
Ok Sean, who’s the second pick?

sean [9:19 PM]
I am selecting Edwin Encarnacion with the second pick. He has everything we are looking for. Good offense, bad defense, experience being a DH. He’s likely to play the field more with Carlos Santana out of Cleveland. I see huge potential for the Wing

depstein1983 [9:20 PM]
The first two picks are combined 72 years old. Nice work guys, I’m sure there’s no chance of regression.

Max [9:20 PM]
Well if you can do so much better, prove it. Who’s your first pick?

depstein1983 [9:21 PM]
My first pick is SO good, no team has even proved worthy of his favor.

J.D. Martinez, free agent

Max [9:21 PM]
That is a good pick. But you’re banking on last year not being a fluke

depstein1983 [9:24 PM]
Led baseball in SLG last year, and it was kind of fluky. But still a career 129 wRC+, which includes some early years as a singles hitter, and he’s said he prefers to sign somewhere he can play the outfield. He also happens to be pretty awful at that.

Max, batter up.

Max [9:25 PM]
I will select Kyle Schwarber for a variety of reasons.

depstein1983 [9:26 PM]
…none of which are health

Max [9:26 PM]
First, he’s a (probably) very good hitter and a (definitely) very bad fielder

Second, I didn’t prepare thoroughly for the draft and he’s an obvious pick

Third, very high upside

Fourth, it will reallllllllly annoy Sean

sean [9:27 PM]
It will only really annoy me if he does well on your fantasy DH team. Is that what we’re assembling here?

depstein1983 [9:28 PM]
Sure. We can call it that.

sean [9:28 PM]
You guys are all thinking too inside the box. I came into this expecting to be outside the box and am prepared to ruffle some feathers with my second pick, which is Mike Trout.

Max [9:28 PM]
I object!

depstein1983 [9:28 PM]

depstein1983 [9:28 PM]
I was planning to steal Trout in the late rounds!

Max [9:28 PM]
Wait wait wait. I think this is a blatant violation of the unwritten rules. Obviously I could have (and was going to) selected Jose Altuve there but I thought we were looking for DH-types. Its easy to just pick the best hitters in baseball. Where’s the fun in that?

depstein1983 [9:29 PM]
Sean, you may state your case.

sean [9:30 PM]
Trout is the best player in the world, but gone are the days where he grades out as an above average fielder. He was a negative value defender last year, and he’s not getting younger. He’s a lock offensively and will at worst be only slightly above average defensively.

Max [9:30 PM]
Actually those are good arguments.

Do you think he’d be below average in a corner OF spot though?

And what about my Altuve hypothetical pick? Would that have been allowed?

depstein1983 [9:31 PM]
Any living human, preferably current MLB players, are eligible.

sean [9:31 PM]
I think he’d be above average in a corner, but he has only played CF since 2014. And I like your Altuve pick. He, too, was a negative defender last year

depstein1983 [9:32 PM]
For the record, Max did NOT make an Altuve pick. He’s not up yet!

With my second pick I select…

Jose Altuve, Astros


Max [9:33 PM]
Ugh. I hate this

depstein1983 [9:34 PM]
You’re just mad you can’t draft the Pope.

Actually you can, if you really want. Your turn.

sean [9:34 PM]
Puts on Solomon hat… What if you guys just split him?

Max [9:35 PM]
I didn’t draft him. I shouldn’t get him

depstein1983 [9:36 PM]

Max [9:38 PM]
I will instead select Charlie Blackmon, of -.2 dWAR fame. Eat your hearts out

depstein1983 [9:38 PM]
Blackmon is kind of cool. His bWAR has increased every year he’s played in the majors.

At that rate he should be something like an 8 win player next year.

sean [9:40 PM]
I will select Wil Myers, who was moved out of the outfield because he was so bad out there only to be the literally the worst defender in the National League as a first baseman

Max [9:40 PM]
I sense a coming theme in this draft

sean [9:41 PM]
Fun fact about Wil Myers’ 2017 season: He played second base. Other fun facts: The Padres apparently really want Hosmer, so Myers may be moved back to the outfield.

Max [9:41 PM]
That makes that a potential great pick

sean [9:41 PM]
Has a horrific first baseman ever made it to the outfield and been adequate?

depstein1983 [9:41 PM]
Yes, but the Padres change their minds about what they want every 5 minutes.

Max [9:42 PM]
Good point. He could be baseball’s best catcher next year, you never know.  And I hear the Padres struggle with their catching prospects

depstein1983 [9:42 PM]
Also, I threw out everything I believed about outfield conversions after Hanley Ramirez.

Don’t get me started on Padres catchers….

Is this a distraction tactic?

It might be working.

Max [9:44 PM]
Let’s find out. Is your next pick Christian Bethancourt?

depstein1983 [9:44 PM]
I’m torn between two players for my next pick…. But I will go with a safe bet to be a terrible defensive player and pretty solid hitter…Jose Abreu, White Sox

Max [9:45 PM]
That’s a good pick. I like that one. Think he’ll rebound?

depstein1983 [9:46 PM]
He rebounded a little last year. 138 wRC+. I’ll take it. Plus he’s never really been hurt significantly, which is amazing for someone who seems like he shouldn’t be able to climb stairs.

So a quick recap of the first three rounds:

Max picked Nelson Cruz, Kyle Schwarber, and Charlie Blackmon.

Sean picked Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Trout, and Wil Myers.

I have JD Martinez, Jose Altuve, and Jose Abreu.

I love that we created a baseball draft in which Trout is the fifth best selection. On to round 4.

Max [9:48 PM]
I don’t hate my squad. If you guys didn’t have the best 2 players in the baseball, I’d feel better about things

Sean, how do you feel about Team Sean?

sean [9:50 PM]
I have Mike Trout. I regret nothing about Encarnacion, and Wil Myers was an overthought pick, even in this academic exercise. Wil Myers is like Darth Maul’s little horns. Just a little too much.

depstein1983 [9:51 PM]

They actually have an emoji for Darth Maul without horns.

Max [9:51 PM]
I wonder if Wil Meyers has ever been likened to Darth Maul’s little horns before? We should tell him.

I will selected now

With my 4th pick, I am pleased to welcome Kris Davis to Team Max.

depstein1983 [9:52 PM]

That’s the guy I almost picked over Abreu.

Max [9:52 PM]
He will be an asset as much for his atrocious defense as his slightly above average offense

And we will sell lots of #krush t shirts

depstein1983 [9:53 PM]
I think the A’s are actually planning to play him at DH more. I don’t honestly know if that will hurt or help your point total.

Max [9:53 PM]
Guess we’ll find out

sean [9:53 PM]
I will select Joey Votto and I will be extremely happy about it when I wake up tomorrow.

Max [9:53 PM]
Also, that Darth Maul emoji looks like a very angry Pinnochio with sideburns

sean [9:55 PM]
When was the last time Votto had a positive Def? If you guessed a year, you’re wrong. He’s never been a good defensive player, and in 2016, he was right up there battling Wil Myers for worst defensive player in baseball. I’ll take it!

depstein1983 [9:56 PM]
But can he hit?

Max [9:55 PM]
Site some stats please

sean [9:56 PM]
Joey Votto » Statistics » Batting | FanGraphs Baseball
Joey Votto career batting statistics for Major League, Minor League, and postseason baseball (13 kB)

depstein1983 [9:56 PM]
That’s actually a good pick. I might like your team better than mine right now.

Max [9:57 PM]
He did win a Gold Glove in 2011 (-ducks behind table-)

depstein1983 [9:58 PM]
Maybe after we draft fictional characters, we should draft worst Gold Glove selections ever.

Max [9:58 PM]
Anyone who takes Derek Jeter will never be allowed to write on OTBB again

depstein1983 [9:58 PM]
OK, I’m going out on a limb here with this pick….

Trey Mancini, Orioles

sean [9:59 PM]
Hot take: Pitchers don’t deserve gold gloves.

Ok, that’s a wild selection. Do you really believe in the Trey?

depstein1983 [10:02 PM]
I believe in his extremely awful defense. I also believe the Orioles have several other players a lot like him that are 1B/DH guys, like Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo. They are going to have to play Mancini a lot in the outfield which should make O’s fans throw up just a little bit. He also slashed .293/.338/.488 as a rookie, so the bat plays.

Max [10:03 PM]
That is a risky but fantastic pick. It shows a level of preparation for this draft that I simply didn’t do. I like it

I still think my team is going to win though

depstein1983 [10:04 PM]
Final round, gentlemen.

Max [10:07 PM]
Ok. For my 5th uninspired pick, I will take Ryan Zimmerman– the awful defensive firstbasemen of the Washington Nationals who is probably pretty unlikely to repeat his great offensive season from last year.

My team is all upside

depstein1983 [10:07 PM]
I had him pretty high on my board.

But he hasn’t hit this well since 2010. It’s not likely to happen again.

Max [10:09 PM]
Embrace the risk!

sean [10:10 PM]
In the spirit of Max, I decided against using stats for this pick. I considered Adrian Beltre (who has three 7th place MVP finishes by the way) and Joey Gallo before settling on Giancarlo Stanton.

Give me the home runs! Give me the small park! Give me the change of position!

depstein1983 [10:11 PM]
Have the Yankees actually announced a change of position? Is Aaron Judge that much more solidified in RF than Stanton?

Max [10:12 PM]
Judge is very good in right. I think its very unlikely they move him off

depstein1983 [10:12 PM]
Also, we went this whole draft without picking Judge. How did that happen?

sean  [10:12 PM]
No official word yet, but I’m betting on the upside of a position change

There’s one more pick….

depstein1983 [10:13 PM]
Tempting, but I’m going in a different direction.

My pick gets an assist from Ryan Zimmerman, because RZ is the reason this guy hasn’t been moved to 1B…

Daniel Murphy, Nationals

sean [10:15 PM]
I like it. I feel like he’s the exact combination that we were looking for in this draft

depstein1983 [10:16 PM]
He and Altuve are probably the two best offensive second basemen as well as the two worst defensive second basemen.

The final draft results…

Max: Cruz, Schwarber, Blackmon, K Davis, Zimmerman

Sean: Encarnacion, Trout, Myers, Votto, Stanton

Me: JD Martinez, Altuve, Abreu, Mancini, Murphy

Max, final thoughts on your team?

Max [10:18 PM]
It’s not the best team. It might be the worst team. But it’s plucky and I think it will win when the numbers shake out

depstein1983 [10:19 PM]

Sean, your final thoughts?

sean [10:20 PM]
I want Barry Bonds on there, but I’m confident in these guys for 2018.

depstein1983 [10:21 PM]
Just for fun, we’ll give you Bonds as an honorary draft pick.

My team focused on really bad fielders that were also good hitters. That’s probably an oversimplification, but the defense was really the most important thing for me.

I have a confession to make: I didn’t actually have Altuve on my draft board.

Drafting him just seemed like the right thing to do at that point in the draft.

Alright then, thanks for playing, and may the best team win!

Max [10:24 PM]
Ugh. I liked Dan until right now

-Max Frankel, Dan Epstein, Sean Morash

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