Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
Don’t you love those coulda, woulda, shoulda moments? The times where if you only could have known something you would have done something about it. Baseball is about two-halves of the season and since we are at the halfway point, it’s a good time to look back on the draft and at some players where if you coulda known, you woulda pulled the trigger.
“If I Coulda Known…
… Edwin Encarnacion would be on pace to better last years career high in home runs (42), runs (93), and RBI’s (110), I woulda.” Hitting .270 with 23 bombs and 1B/3B eligibility, E-squared has been everything you wanted on pace for 45 home runs, 100-plus runs and 130 RBI’s and now with 3B eligibility.
… Cliff Lee would be pitching like he did in 2008 when he won the Cy Young and with the wins to back it up, I woulda.” Lee’s six wins last year might have scared a few away, but the ones who thought the odds were forever in his favor got the big end of the stick.
… Max Scherzer would be out dueling Verlander and tie a record set by Roger Clemens back in 1986, I woulda.”
… Adam Jones would be batting cleanup for the best slugging team and in front of the league’s Home Run King, I woulda.” Jones is forgotten about by
… Chris Davis would hit a home run in his first four games of the season driving in 16, I woulda.” The Texas native traded from Texas to Baltimore hit 33 home runs in his first full season (139 games player) with the Orioles last year. If you coulda told me he was going to nearly match last years total in the first half, I woulda.
… Adam Wainwright would pitch like his 19 and 20 win seasons before Tommy John Surgery, I woulda.” The third-rated pitcher in baseball is actually on pace to better his numbers before Tommy John and has put St.Louis back as a World Series contender.
… Jacoby Ellsbury would be almost back to his 2011 Silver Slugger self, but with more stolen bases, I woulda.” Hitting around .300 all year, the home run numbers are way down with only one this year, but he leads the league in stolen bases. If he is swiping bags at that rate and hitting around .300 as the leadoff man, the numbers will come.
… Matt Harvey would be the first-rated pitcher in baseball, I woulda.”
… Freddie Freeman’s third full season in the majors would be a charm, I woulda.”
… Justin Upton would be April’s player of the month, but only hit a combined .219 with three home runs in May and June, I woulda traded him.” I had to change the pace for a moment.
… Carlos Beltran would be starting in the All Star Game in right field , I woulda.”
… Yadier Molina would be playing as good with his stick as his five Gold Gloves, I woulda.” Winning Gold Gloves from 2008-2012, Molina now leads the NL with a .345 batting average and is the first-rated catcher. St. Louis Head Coach, Tony La Russa, once said in regards to Molina’s struggles at the plate is that he never had to worry about his hitting because his glove and behind the plate presence would be enough to keep him in the starting lineup.
… Allen Craig is the proof in the pudding and one of the reasons why Pujols flew ship, I woulda.” Craig is hitting cleanup on a team that is third in the league in runs, batting average and OBP, and a team that is set to break the all-time batting average record with RISP. The 96′ Rockies hold the modern era record batting .311 w/ RISP, the Cardinals are batting .335.
And for that, “if I could have known the Cardinals would be on pace to demolish the league’s all-time team batting average record w/ RISP, I woulda.”
Looking back on the draft there are players that you shoulda passed on. And I was one of those when speaking about Roy Halladay who I stretched on in the eighth round in one of my drafts. Here are other players that you should have trusted your gut and passed on.
“Man I Shoulda Passed On….”
Josh Hamilton- Picked in the 2nd/3rd Rd, 66th Rated OF
The bad signs were there, high swing and miss rate along with swinging at pitches outside the zone. Many experts were saying pass, but with all the potential how could not somebody take the risk. If you were that one, don’t feel bad because you weren’t the only one counting on him batting behind Pujols and Trout hitting bombs all day while driving in runs. That’s not the case for the career .296 hitter who is now batting .223 and hitting fifth in the lineup.
Jose Reyes- Selected around the 3rd Rd, 33rd Rated SS
I know him being on the DL for two months makes him an easy target, but after playing nearly a full season, 160 games, last year, baseball’s misfortunes were due with Reyes missing nearly 200 games in the three previous seasons. Unfortunately up to this point, he has played into the high risk side. When he is healthy, Reyes is one the more exciting players to watch. But the people aren’t really talking about him because they haven’t been able to watch him lately
Reyes leads me into another shouldn’t have for the SS category. Other than Troy Tulowitzski, 3rd rated SS who is on the DL, the top seven rated shortstops (Segura, E. Cabrera, Tulo, Desmond, Hardy, Peralta, A. Ramirez) were selected outside the top 100. At the moment, Starlin Castro (4/5th Rd, 23rd rated SS), Jimmy Rollins (6/7th Rd, 11th rated SS), Hanley Ramirez (3rd Rd, 19th rated SS) and Jose Reyes (2/3rd Rd, 33rd rated SS) have all been busts up to this point.
Stephen Strasburg- Selected as one of the top 3 pitchers, 23rd Rated Pitcher
I am a big Strasburg fan, not just because he went to SDSU, but because he has the electric stuff to back it up. Up to this point, Strasburg has not lived up to the first or second pitcher most leagues picked him as. This is only a first half article and in the first half of baseball, Strasburg is the 23rd rated pitcher. I do expect him to climb in the top 10 and so do you if you took the risk on selecting him.
Justin Verlander- Selected as one of top 2 pitchers, 49th Ranked Pitcher
2011 MVP and Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander, was about as sure as a lock for a first or second pick as there was before the season started. His strikeout rate above 9 per inning remains constant along with eight wins, but his 3.77 ERA and 1.40 WHIP are not following the path of 2011.
Cole Hamels- Selected around the 4th Rd, 97th Rated Pitcher
The Phillies Cliff Lee of last year of no run support, but even worse than Lee, Hamels has a 4.58 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. The 2-11 record this year is dismal making his 6-year, $144 Million contract that much more appalling.
Matt Kemp- Selected in the 1st Rd, 77th Rated OF
You shoulda passed on Matt Kemp in the first round, but you didn’t. Injuries to Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez haven’t helped his numbers, but neither is hitting .254 with 2 home runs in 209 ABs. If Kemp would have hit one more homer in 2011, he would have joined only Alex Rodriguez and Jose Canseco as the only members of the 40-40 (HR-SB) Club. The possibility was there, but going with guys like Cano, Cargo, McCutchen and Fielder would have been better suited for a first-round pick up to this point.