For the fourth straight year, ESPN's panel of experts put on their general manager hats and drafted 30 franchise players to be the cornerstones of our theoretical teams, a much simpler task than trying to come up with the hundreds of millions needed at a minimum to buy our own franchise. As I do every year, I asked the ZiPS projection system to grade our work, based on the projections for all MLB players over the next decade.
As might be expected, there is substantial agreement between the computer and the pundits. Both are working off similar information, after all. Still, there will be some departures between our flesh-and-blood writers and that black box living under my desk.
Let's take a look at which players the ZiPS projection thinks were taken too high, too low, and were missed entirely. A complete list of the projected 10-year WAR for every player taken in the Franchise Player Draft can be found at the bottom.
Drafted too high
Cabrera is one of the most feared sluggers of this generation and the leading cause of post-Cabrera stress disorder in opposing pitchers. Too much was made of his relatively weak start, but the fact remains that he's still a first baseman on the wrong side of 30 and it's likely that the best part of his career can be seen on his resume rather than in a crystal ball.