Okay -- here's the question -- are Zito and Oswalt worth the very high draft picks it takes to get them? Zito is averaging the mid-teens in most drafts, and Oswalt the low 20's. After them, there's a bit of a drop before the Hudsons and Mulders.
I don't believe Zito or Oswalt is worth a second round pick. Third is okay, but not second. Here's my logic.
First, throw out Wins. Wins are a function to some extent of things beyond a pitchers control. So let's look at raw stats:
Okay, clearly Zito is slightly better than the rest. Lowest ERA and WHIP, and very nice strikeout number. After that, Oswalt is slightly ahead of the rest by virtue of his strikeouts.
But do people really think that Zito and Oswalt are *enough* better than the rest of the pack to justify taking them that early? I don't. I think there is only a 60/40 shot that Zito is going to do any better than Hudson or Mulder this year. I think Mussina and Mulder both had unlucky years where their ERA was oddly high given their WHIP and ability to strike people out. If you shave a half point or so off either of their ERA, they're just about the statistical equal of either Oswalt or Zito for fantasy purposes, and I give them a very good chance of shaving that half-point.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see spending a 2nd round pick on either of these guys. Give me more hitting and I'll grab my good solid pitcher a little later on.
"You can observe a lot just by watching."
I agree. Let someone else take Zito or Oswalt. If you can't get RJ, Shilling, or Pedro in the first 2-3 rounds, then stock up on hitting. There are plenty of excellent pitching options available in rounds 4-6 (Prior, Millwood, Wood, Hudson, etc).
My take on tossing out wins... If they are on the same team you can ignore wins if you think the pitchers are equal but if they are on different teams you cant ignore wins.
I am vexed with the same situation. I cant get rj, pedro, or schilling with the 11th pick (13 teams). I can get zito in the 2nd but I dont know if hes worth it. But if you think about it, when the 3rd and fourth rounds have x pitchers available and you think that y pitchers will be there in the 5th and 6th rounds, you will have to make the same decision: is x enough of an improvement over y to justify the draft position difference?
Wouldn't it help in your decision if you ALSO compared the players you might be taking, if you don't take the pitchers?
For example, if your thought processes were that you felt you could take an OF instead of the SP (due to the relative worth of the 5 SPs you listed), might not the same be true of the OFs?
And, if there are (just as an example) 8 OFs you figure to be about the same, wouldn't you be better off to take the SP to due more of a scarcity in the tiers you've put together?
Summing it up (because I don't think I've done so!), I think what you might want to do is set up tiers for the various situations. Also, deciding what sort of team you want (hitting-heavy, pitching-heavy, etc) is what we should all do first - and that's just personal preference.
1. Cardboardbox -- With regard to not being able to throw out wins unless the players are on the same team -- I disagree. As long as the pitchers are on decent teams (i.e. not a KC or TB), then they should be fine. I think the group of pitchers we're talking about are very likely to get between 16-20 wins. More than that is a bonus (and likely luck will play some factor). Less wins is probably due to bad luck or injury. All the pitchers under discussion, except Halladay, are playing for 90+ Win type teams.
2. Spike -- you are correct as a general matter. In *this* particular case, I am discussing two specific pitchers, and comparing them to the general pool of position players that we know are available in the second and early third rounds -- Tejeda, Nomar, Jeter, Manny, Berkman, Helton, Ordonez, etc. What I'm stating is that generally, Zito and Oswalt are not "enough better" than their pitching peers to justify taking them over this group of position players.
"You can observe a lot just by watching."
I'd say you have to give these guys 2nd round consideration. Either way you look at it you need to have a well balanced team to field a championship squad. So say you pick a stud 4 category fielder with your 1st round pick. By the time you get around to your 2nd pick the big 4 are gone and you need to at least start considering who will ANCHOR your staff. These guys may not be in the top level, but young studs have an upside you must be crazy to overlook. Thus the 2nd round Zito, Oswalt, Mulder, Halladay. If you choose to pass on that and further asure yourself rbi, sb, and hr's then you need to look at nabbing consecutive young gambles ie.. rodrigo lopez, Johan Santana, Brian Lawerence, and hope at least 1 takes the step this year to that next tier. It's all about security. I've found pitching security is harder to come by than hitting stats. I personally am aiming at a staff that looks like this . RJ, W.Miller, M.Prior, R.Lopez, J.Santana, J. Vazquez. To do this I take a gamble people give up on Roberto Alomar and I pick him up in a mid round.. I gamble on Randy Winn at a OF spot. I pick up a Vernon Wells in a later round. And nab Sweeney and Abreu in 2 high rounds. I haven't drafted yet so this is my ideal plan which I doubt will happen but it's a gameplan.
Yo man, y'all don be himmer hammin bout the roto league or point league man. I done been hammin' on Oswalt and Zito damn near 2 year down at himmer site try da maka me hummiin' pay sandbox site man.
I'm not gun frammin pick on upandown Zito way too early man. Dat um Oswalt he done flippin hammin it for he whole creer inna damn shoebox, man. Oswalt's a hammin stud anneve better he a damn Texan taboot, ya know.
Thus the 2nd round Zito, Oswalt, Mulder, Halladay. If you choose to pass on that and further asure yourself rbi, sb, and hr's then you need to look at nabbing consecutive young gambles ie.. rodrigo lopez, Johan Santana, Brian Lawerence, and hope at least 1 takes the step this year to that next tier.
Slow down there -- you're mischaracterizing my argument altogether. My argument is this -- Zito and Oswalt are being drafted too high. That's it. Nothing more and nothing less.
Mulder and Halladay are NOT typically being drafted in the second round. I didn't say ignore pitchers until the 8th round and see what kind of mid-level stuff is left. I'm saying that there is a corp of elite guys we all know by their first names -- Randy, Curt and Pedro. After that, if I said Barry, and you didn't know we were talking about pitchers -- you'd be thinking Bonds, not Zito...
Point being -- there is a group of guys behind the Big Three who are pretty fungible for the most part, and a couple of them are being drafted too high, IMHO.
Here's the main thing -- over the last few years, it was Hudson or Mulder who got all the accolades for the A's. It's only last year that Zito suddenly became "da man". And I, at least, am not at all certain that Zito is once again going to post numbers that are *that* much better than Hudson or Mulder, or any of the rest of the guys in the second tier behind the Big Three.
My bottom line is to avoid pitching (other than the Big Three) in the first three or so rounds because it's being overvalued, and then in 4 or 5 grab whoever is around from the Mussina, Mulder, Maddux, Hallday, Hudson type group of guys. More than likely, there'll be one or more of those types left, and they will be damn near as good, maybe even better, than Zito or Oswalt.
I specifically remember, by way of example, being VERY annoyed last year when Javier Vazquez was picked up right in front of me in the 4th round. I had him as a high priority pitcher to anchor my rotation. I did want the next best pitcher I had on my board, whose name was Zito, and he did just fine for me. Of course, by the time I took Zito, Hudson and Mulder were already gone. And I have no confidence that Zito is going to be that much better than the other two this year. All are young, top-shelf pitchers playing for the same team.
I did NOT say take Brian Lawrence as your staff ace...
"You can observe a lot just by watching."
I've been lucky enough to own both Zito and Oswalt the last few years in my leagues. For this year, I'm laying off Zito, but I will take Oswalt if he is there late in the 2nd round. Zito has had some pretty bad stretches in his short career. Oswalt hasn't, and he gets more K's. He's been remarkable considering where he pitches.Depending on your draft, for instance I picked 2nd overall this year and took A-Rod (Vlad went #1), then Oswalt in the 2nd. I'd consider taking Randy and Roy, and trading Randy for a top 1B and 2B/OF or something.
I think Prior is worth drafting in the 4th round. Other than that, I pretty much buy into your theory of grabbing SP's later. You can get a good SP in the 6th-8th round, I just wouldn't want to anchor my staff with one. I really can't knock your theory, but personally I think Oswalt in particular is worth taking around pick 20 or so.
* Steroid induced record