After word came down that Ricky Romero will start on Opening Day for the Blue Jays, some debate arose in the comment section about the 2005 draft. Romero was famously selected immediately before Troy Tulowitzki, the all-world shortstop of the Colorado Rockies.
Prior to “bursting” on the scene in 2009, many considered Ricky Romero a bust. The quality of player chosen after him certainly hastened that distinction. Far from a bust, Romero is now the Opening Day starter and nominal ace of the Jays staff. Does that mean you’d still pick Romero over Tulo again? Unlikely. But, just for fun, let’s take another run at the 2005 draft.
The great people at Baseball Reference have a great tool, making it easy to rank the players drafted in the first round by their Wins Above Replacement. Using these criteria, Tulowitzki stands out as the best player in the draft. (hat tip to commenter Tom Jackson.)
On the other hand, Fangraphs WAR calculates defense quite differently. Using UZR, it is actually Ryan Zimmerman with the most WAR of this draft class by quite a bit (26.4 – 17.8). Not to mention a solid list of players drafted outside the first round. All things consider, here’s my attempt at redoing the first 20 picks of that draft.
Wow, that was much harder than I thought. In the end I opted for players like Romero who I feel have higher upsides than players who may have already reached their peak like Garza or Pelfrey. (Plus I’m a giant homer.) Anyone who knows anything about me knows putting Troy Tulowitzki as the first pick is a no-brainer due to my undying love of all things Tulo. Leadership! Mullets! He really is the whole package.
Have I undervalued defense like so many before me? Should Jay Bruce be higher and Braun lower? What about Brett Gardner, a third round pick who is excellent at two things (defense, drawing walks) but doesn’t have much power.
I’m interested in your thoughts, loyal Getting Blankards. What would you do with this very strong draft class?