Will They Make Your Team Less Miserable?
The 2014 MLB Draft started on Thursday night, with the first two rounds representing most of the excitement for casual and even serious fans. While the draft is more about long-term prospects than immediate impact stars (as we see in the NBA, NFL, and NHL), it still represents a vital opportunity for struggling teams to add depth and talent to their systems.
In looking at this year’s draft-particularly the top-10 picks-I decided to take a new approach to measure each participating team’s needs: the misery meter. The Fan Misery app, which was recommended by Verizon Wireless before the 2013 as one of the best baseball fan apps out there, measures each team’s fan base misery as if it’s a stock value, with 0 representing bliss and 10 representing misery.
It’s a gimmick, essentially. However, given that values are determined by actual fan voting-most will only be inclined to vote for teams they actually care about-it’s a fun gauge of each team fan base’s dissatisfaction.
It’s also a different angle of looking at just how desperate the teams picking in the top-10 are for a boost. Fan Misery values fluctuate, but here’s a recap of the MLB Draft’s top-10 picks complete with misery scores from right around Draft time on Thursday night!
1. Houston Astros (7.6 misery) – Brady Aiken
Off to another miserable start, the Astros’ 7.6 rating is, if anything, less miserable than one might expect. Perhaps it got a boost from the Aiken pick. The 6’4” left-handed pitcher out of San Diego has become the consensus best talent in this draft in recent weeks.
2. Miami Marlins (7.0 misery) – Tyler Kolek
The Marlins ought to be a bit more chipper sitting at second place in the NL East, so maybe the misery meter got a boost (in a bad way) from the Kolek selection. He is a hard-throwing right-handed high school pitcher, but the Marlins passing on Carlos Rodon was a shock.
3. Chicago White Sox (5.5 misery) – Carlos Rodon
Rodon is the biggest name in this draft, even if Aiken went first. Snagging this left-handed pitcher out of N.C. State has likely boosted the mood in Chicago, as Rodon is projected as a future star by most analysts out there.
4. Chicago Cubs (7.8 misery) – Kyle Schwarber
The Cubs are always miserable, so 7.8-the highest number in the top-10-probably isn’t a surprise. And this pick might not help. The book on Schwarber is that he can hit but can’t catch, which is often a tricky issue for prospects. If nothing else, his bat could provide Cubs GM Theo Epstein with a trade asset.
5. Minnesota Twins (4.6 misery) – Nick Gordon
I’m not sure what the Twins have to be so happy about, but the Gordon pick may have cheered them up. A sharp-fielding high school shortstop out of Florida, Gordon is viewed as a very strong prospect with a rapidly improving bat.
6. Seattle Mariners (6.4 misery) – Alex Jackson
If the Mariners are holding onto Robinson Cano for 10 years, they’ll need to put some good hitting around him in the lineup. That seems to be the goal with Jackson, a prep player projected as an outfielder with very high offensive upside.
7. Philadelphia Phillies (5.1 misery) – Aaron Nola
The right-handed pitcher out of LSU was tabbed by ESPN’s Keith Law as the starting pitcher most likely to see MLB time first, in this class. The Phillies could use quick pitching help, so this pick may have contributed to a moderately optimistic misery score for a horrendous team.
8. Colorado Rockies (6.0 misery) – Kyle Freeland
At 6’4”, left handed, and with a nasty slider, Kyle Freeland could be a significant pitching prospect for the Rockies. This pick may well have kept the Rockies below a 7 on the misery meter, considering that the team is sub-.500 in a brutal division.
9. Toronto Blue Jays (5.1 misery) – Jeff Hoffman
The Blue Jays have no right being above a 5, given that they’ve taken firm control of the AL East. Taking an injured pitcher might have ticked some fans off. Hoffman, a righty out of ECU, is talented, but risky.
10. New York Mets (6.9 misery) – Michael Conforto
The left fielder out of Oregon State is viewed as one of the best hitters in the draft, and he’s also an adequate fielder. The Mets, as always, could use help as soon as they can get it, and Conforto could be ready in a hurry.
Hence, a rare (I assume) misery score below 7 for the Mets!