In terms of player value, the Lower Haighters’ 2011 draft was the best in league history. The average value for the 26 players chosen by GM Robert Hood was 253.92. It is the only team to finish a season with a draft class with an average player value under 300.
On the strength of the draft, the Lower Haighters posted the most wins in league history, finishing 169-93-14 and 34.5 games in front of West Division rival A-Rod’s Mirrors. The Haighters opened the season with 14 consecutive series victories, still the longest series winning streak in league history.
While the superstars delivered as expected, it was mid- to late-round bargains delivering unexpectedly that fueled the team’s success. Relievers Jose Valverde (pick #239) and Sean Marshall (#271) and starter Johnny Cueto (#274) all delivered Keeper Level value. Outfielder Coco Crisp (#367) just missed, finishing the season ranked 84th. Fourteen of the 26 players drafted by the Haighters finished ranked in the Top 200.
The Machine (now known as the Eephus Monkeys) had their best draft in franchise history in 2011 and won the East Division pennant by a half-game over the Jersey Boys (Land Shark). The average player value for The Machine’s 2011 draft was 322.04, fifth best in league history. Keepers Jose Bautista and Jacoby Ellsbury both finished in the Top 10 while reliever Tyler Clippard (#228) finished in the Top 20.
The Vicious Fishes (Warning Track Power) and Bacon at Mile 11 had the season’s two worst drafts. The poor draft performance led to poor performances on the field as the Fishes finished with the league’s worst record while Bacon finished 10th and missed the postseason. Only 12 players drafted by the Vicious Fishes performed at or above replacement level. Adam Dunn single-handedly destroyed Bacon’s season. Dunn was protected by GM Eric Brown in the Keeper Draft and finished the season hitting .159 with a .292 OBP and 177 strikeouts. It’s widely regarded as one of the worst seasons in modern major league history.
Dunn wasn’t the only misstep. The Jersey Boys (Land Shark) drafted pitcher Johan Santana with the 108th pick and he missed the entire season with a shoulder injury. The Mirrors protected Ubaldo Jimenez and he struggled with an injured finger in April and then couldn’t command any of his pitches. He started 32 games and finished with a 4.68 ERA and ranked 1,154th at season’s end.
The Jersey Boys had the steal of the draft, grabbing Alex Gordon with the 396th pick. He finished the season ranked 39th.