If you were starting a franchise and you could pick any player in professional baseball, who would you choose and why? That's the precise question posed by ESPN.com to 30 of its baseball "experts" and 30 selected fans on Thursday as they partook in ESPN's second annual Franchise Player Draft.
Not surprisingly, Reds slugger Joey Votto was nabbed within the first ten picks at no. 8 by ESPN Insider Dave Cameron.
Here's his reasoning behind the selection:
"I was happy to get Votto with the fourth selection last year, so I’m doing backflips about getting Votto at No. 8 this year. Since the start of the 2010 season, he leads the majors in Wins Above Replacement, a pretty impressive feat for a first baseman. I briefly thought about taking Bryce Harper before realizing that Votto is already what Harper could eventually turn into. I’ll bypass the risk and take the 28-year-old who may just be the best hitter in baseball.”
And here's what Kevin Goldstein had to say regarding the pick:
"I would worry about the end of those ten years. His kind of skills are the kind that do not age gracefully, and as a first baseman, he has to stay an elite hitter because he doesn't offer value in other aspects of the game."
Votto was the only Red taken in the expert draft (30 picks), however, two of his teammates did garner nods from the fan draft.
- Tony, one of 30 people who took part in the fan portion of the draft, took Votto with the 7th overall pick.
*"Joey Votto. A game changer. He improves all the players around him on the field and in the clubhouse."*
- Jay Bruce came off the board at 12th by fellow fan Ian Manor.
*"I know people will disagree but I'm going to go with Jay Bruce. He is so underrated. Only 25 and has ridiculous upside and power. Also the best arm in all of baseball."*
- Marcus pegged Cuban sensation Aroldis Chapman with the 24th overall pick in the fan draft.
*"aroldis chapman,he has everything and then some to build a team around....0.00 ERA so far,he will be a stud SP."*