Buster Gunns - Cobb Times Herald
As Cobb gets ready for the 17th draft in the history of the league, many front offices are breaking out their draft boards, pencils, and erasers in their quest to sign the best possible talent for their teams. With 13,376 players having been drafted to date in Cobb World, there have been more than a few steals, a kings ransom of busts, and enough studs to run a prize horse farm. Today the Times Herald examines in detail some of the greatest triumphs and tragedies ever experienced by the GM's of Cobb.
Chapter One: Wild West and Robber Barons
--As any old timer will tell you, the first few seasons in Hardball Dynasty were a free for all as owners were still figuring out what ratings were worth their weight in gold, and what were worth their weight in pyrite. The draft was rigid and unflexible, and more than a few teams got stuck with high stamina pitchers who basically had enough in the tank to walk 50 batters in a game and give up 10 runs in two innings every time out. But a lucky few managed to sign some keepers in low positions. An unlucky few had the misfortune of having their top picks refuse to sign and then not be compensated for it, which was a development that wouldn't occur until a few seasons down the road when the Type D draft pick was introduced. One lucky owner in particular made off like the Vanderbilts with a talent grab worthy of any railroad robber baron.
Chapter 2: The Rise of Law and Order
--With the introduction of preranking into the draft, which had prior to season 6 been only able to be arranged by an archaic weighting system, GM's were truly able for the first time to put their money where their mouths were and be solely responsible for the the results of their drafts. For some teams this wasn't pretty, and only now are certain franchises emerging from the talent gap that erupted from seasons 6-8. Draft steals also started to become less common, as most of the ML players were gobbled up by the end of the supplemental round.
Chapter 3: Equal Rights for All
--From season 10 until the present the draft has been improved with several innovations, the Type D pick, which allows for owners to be compensated for unsigned prospects, and the formula builder, which some consider to be a step backwards. The Type D truly changed the game, as it allowed owners to be more reckless with their picks and not suffer the consequence of having nothing to show for their efforts if a player refused to sign. This has allowed teams to maintain a quality flow of talent into their minors that was previously unseen, and as a result more equity has emerged among all teams in Cobb, and risky picks have signed at much higher draft positions than in the past, although from time to time a player does still slip for no apparent reason.
With the number of players picked, there have been some monster talents signed through the years. It would stand to reason that the #1 pick would produce a stud each time out, even in the bad old days before ranking was allowed, but this hasn't always been the case. Here are the #1 picks from the start of Cobb to the present day, rated on the Briggs and Buddle five star stud rating system.
#1 Draft Picks
--Season 1: SP Elvis Christman - Stud Rating: 4 stars
--Season 2: SS Enrique Guardado - Stud Rating: 4 stars
--Season 3: SS Carlton Nelson - Stud Rating: 4 stars
--Season 4: SS Omar Lewis - Stud Rating: 1 star
--Season 5: 2B Jamie Beimel - Stud Rating: 4.5 stars
--Season 6: SP Jerry Torrealba - Stud Rating: 2.5 stars
--Season 7: RF Benji Ordonez- Stud Rating: 5 stars
--Season 8: LF Tony Arnold - Stud Rating: 3 stars
--Season 9: SP Erick Houck - BUST (refused to sign)
--Season 10: SP Gary Ferguson - Stud Rating: 3 stars
--Season 11: SP Justin Barnes - Stud Rating: 2.5 stars
--Season 12: SP Furio Kydd - Stud Rating: 5 stars
--Season 13: SP Michael Leonard - Stud Rating: N/A (too early to tell)
--Season 14: RF Napoleon Graves - Stud Rating: N/A (too early to tell)
--Season 15: SS Samuel Baker - Stud Rating: N/A (too early to tell)
--Season 16: SP Vin Lunar - Stud Rating: N/A (too early to tell)
All Time Five Star Studs of the Draft
--Here is the cream of the crop, the best of the best, the all time greatest players ever produced in the history of the Cobb draft. From seasons 12 through 16, the studs are on projected greatness, as most of them are too young to have made the majors as of yet to confirm their talents. The major criteria used to select the five star studs was the "I know awesome when I see it" method.
Season 1: RF Hades Booker (#3), RF Ernest McConnell (#6), 2B Kenny Blair (#11)
Season 2: 1B Kory Arnold (#62)
Season 3: SS Corey Green (#2), SP Dean Hernandez (#3), RP Kirk White (#5)
Season 4: 1B Chipper Harper (#23)
Season 5: RF Louie Tarraga (#5), SP Clyde Ford (#13)
Season 6: SP Eric Collins (#3), SS Craig Lake (#7)
Season 7: RF Benji Ordonez (#1)
Season 8: None (Many 4.5 star players, but none that pop out as instant Hall of Famers)
Season 9: SP Tanner Halama (#9)
Season 10: SP Harold Austin (#3)
Season 11: 2B Tim Collins (#2), C Francisco Espada (#4), C Ralph Woods (#10), LF Jerome Mancuso (#13)
Season 12: SP Furio Kydd (#1) RF Wascar Galvez (#3)
Season 13: RF Doyle Grey (#4)
Season 14: RP Malcolm Tucker (#2), SP Howard Hall (#3)
Season 15: None (Worst Draft Class in Cobb History)
Season 16: SP Vin Lunar (#1), 1B Don Ross (#3), RF D'Angelo James (#5)
All Time Five Star Busts of the Draft
There have been more than a few busts in Cobb history, and many of the biggest ones happened early on in the history of the world. Here are the busts that the Times Herald considers to be the most egregious examples of draft mismanagement. The most recent seasons are omitted as most of the players are still playing and have yet to make it or break it in their careers. Of note is Season 1, when none of the owners knew what was going on, and as a result nearly half the first round picks didn't sign, either because they were jerks, or owners didn't know they needed 10 million dollars in prospect money in order to sign some of those guys. Outside of season 1, busts are only considered if they were signed players and stunk, or truly monumental signing disappointments. The busts in boldface type are the editorial staffs picks for the worst of the worst, even among the five star busts.
Season 1: 2B Jacob Miller (#2), LF Hades Booker (#3) SS Don Sanders (#4), SP Bonk Robinson (#8), SP Benji Eckenstahler (#12), LF Stuffy Crudale (#13), CF Rabbit Roberts (#15), the 6 other first round picks who didn't sign.
Season 2: SP Louis King (#6), LF Robin Daniels (#11)
Season 3: RF Darrin Weiss (#14)
Season 4: SP Francis Ford (#5), SS Jalal Smith (#14)
Season 5: SP Leon Green (#2), SP Ned Lieberthal (#6)
Season 6: CF Mike Fitzgerald (#8), SP Todd Evert (#10)
Season 7: P Fernando Coronado (#4), SP Joshua LaRue (#14)
Season 8: SP Rod Ross (#5)
Season 9: RF Marvin Gonzalez (#6)
Season 10: SP Roland Herzner (#6)
Season 11: SP Pablo Vicente (#11)
Season 12: SP Allie Kingman (#12)
All Time Five Star Steals of the Draft
There have been more than a few steals in the draft through the years, but with the improved ranking systems of modern times, they have become harder to achieve. Where a steal used to be in the 40's-60's, they now take place in the 20's. But they are still steals nonetheless. Here are the best examples of draft pilfering in Cobb History, with the best of the best in bold type. Seasons 13-16 are omitted as the careers have yet to develop to the point where an accurate assessment can be made.
Season 1: RP CJ Bones (#58)
Season 2: SP Glenn Nye (#46), 1B Kory Arnold (#62, 4x MVP!), C Darryl Bates (#149)
Season 3: SP Benito Rodriguez (#28), RF Luke Henley (#36), C Jim Henley (#65) 1B Gregg Young (#72)
Season 4: 1B Chipper Harper (#23, 4x MVP!), C Patrick Lamb (#70) RP Jose Rios (#492)
Season 5: SP Buzz Boswell (#32) SP Phil Hinch (#35), LF Hawk Gutierrez (#49) RP Gabe Salazar (#72), RF Domingo Pelaez (#92)
Season 6: RP Trevor Seelbach (#32),
Season 7: CF Napoleon Scott (#52)
Season 8: 3B Alex Brantley (#21), SP Kent Upshaw (#49)
Season 9: None (There were some steals, but none of the 5 star category)
Season 10: RP Zephyr Nolan (#35), C Dan Mottola (#75)
Season 11: C Greg Salazar (#54)
Season 12: C/DH Vinny Stuart (#19), SP Sam Starr (#80)
All Time Greatest Draft Heist: Season 2 - 1B Kory Arnold (#62) - This was a close call with Chipper Harper, but ultimately both have 4 MVPs, but Arnold was drafted 40 spots later than Harper. The amount of hardware out of that position in the draft will likely never be seen again in Cobb World.
All Time Greates Draft Heist #2 - The Great 3AM Raid: Imagine if you will not being able to sign your first round pick in season 1 because nobody was aware that it was written into the game logic that draftees could raise their demands, and thus your 7 million dollars in prospect budget wouldn't be enough. Imagine not being able to transfer budgets to cover the difference. Imagine all those players becoming unrestricted free agents the next season. Imagine one owner waking up at 3AM to sign them in the first available cycle. If you can, then you can visualize the season 2 Fargo Fug Nuts and owner mrploppie signing the likes of Hades Booker, Benji Eckenstahler, and a myriad of other top picks to minor league contracts that were accepted without bidding from other owners. Not technically a draft steal, but caused by the draft so it has to get mentioned. Fortunately the HBD commissioners saw fit to fix this loophole to prevent situations like this from ever occurring again, but they still remain legendary in the annals of HBD.
So there you have it, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly from 16 seasons of Cobb World drafts. If you agree or disagree, leave a comment with the editor, oversights happen and the Times Herald staff would welcome your input! Til next draft, good night!