MLS SUPERDRAFT: "Four Beers and a Prayer"

The 2013 MLS season kicks off in less than two months and the Columbus Crew find themselves with one of the smallest listed rosters in the league. With needs everywhere, this year’s SuperDraft might be more about signing healthy warm bodies than it is landing talented college players for the future.

Looking at the top picks from recent SuperDraft events and their contributions this past season should tell us what to expect from the players picked this year.

Here is total minutes played by 2012 SuperDraft pick 1-15.

PICK# : MINS -NAME
1 : 823 -Andrew Wenger
2 : 1300 -Darren Mattocks
3 : 1897 -Kelyn Rowe
4 : 2061 -Luis Silva
5 : 908 -Casey Townsend
6 : 101 -Sam Garza
7 : 2175 -Nick DeLeon
8 : 426 -Andrew Jean-Baptiste
9 : 2520 -Austin Berry
10 : 426 -Ethan Finlay
11 : 2021 -Matt Hedges
12 : 946 -Aaron Maund
13 : 204 -Chandler Hoffman
14 : 1693 -Tony Cascio
15 : 0 -Andrew Duran

Out of the top 15 picks there seems to be seven regular 1st Team players. A bit surprising that all the rest saw at least some league time (save for #15, Seattle’s Andrew Duran). The names are not so much as important is the fact that half of the players were significant contributors. Why?

THINGS CHANGE AFTER PICK 15

Zero players from picks 16-30* in the 2012 Draft could be considered regular league players, 10 of them didn’t see a single minute, and the rest <700 minutes.

Of course this does not mean that picks later in the draft will never contribute, quite the opposite. If you go back to the 2010 and 2011 draft and look at 16-30 (30 total picks) and their minutes earned in 2012 you see 2/3rds have seen at least a run-out and 7 of the 30 are full on starters. This counts as good news for any league watchers as it does appear that clubs are able to develop players.

Down the road is one thing though, the Columbus Crew need contributing 1000-2000 minute type players this year. As things stand the club can only take the roster up to 23 players with their two picks. Still a scant amount with preseason starting and the regular season right around the corner. It’s critically important for the team to have enough professional level players training together, not only for player development, team chemistry and familiarity but for good old fashioned camaraderie (especially considering turnover in recent years).

WHY MOVE UP
It’s not impossible to find a good player after the top 15 that can become an important player down the road, but if the Crew want to have an impactful talent this year they need to A) make a move up from 28th or B) just deal it away for some other usable value, perhaps more picks in the January 22nd Supplemental Draft.

Here’s a high level look at last year’s draft picks and how they did:

2012 DRAFT PICKS 1-10

1,264 : Avg # minutes
1,104 : Median

$62k : Avg Base Salary
$52k : Median

30 : Goals from Top 10 (8 different scorers)
18 : Assists

2012 DRAFT PICKS 11-20

582 : Avg # minutes
247 : Median

$48k : Avg Base Salary
$44k : Median

6 : Goals from Top 10 (2 different scorers)
3 : Assists

2012 DRAFT PICKS 21-30

51 : Avg # minutes
0 : Median

$36k : Avg Base Salary
$34k : Median

0 : Goals from Top 10
0 : Assists

The Crew have selected eight players** in the last three MLS SuperDraft events, second most in that time frame. Five of those were picked in the top 15. Of those three are left; Dilly Duka, 2010 8th pick, Justin Meram, 2011 15th, and Ethan Finlay 2012 8th. While it could be debated which players should be regular starters, the fact is none are.

With recent team roster changes (and small size) the Crew need a important team contributors from this year's draft. A tall order when reviewing the past few years but not impossible.

Four_biers_mrpost2_medium

A post on theCrew.com recently (Countdown to SuperDraft: Tradewinds could be blowing in Indianapolis, by Cody Sharrett, January 11th, 2013) quoted Brian Bliss describing how some deals get done; "...evening before the Draft in the bar, and it's usually four beers and a prayer at that point."

Not sure the Four Beer Plan for SuperDraft Success is a reliable one but, if you are going this route, a couple glasses of 1964 Aberlour 25 Year Old Single Malt might get you further.

----------
*2012 draft lasted 38 rounds. 31st pick Ryan Meara-1620 mins and pick 35 Raymon Gaddis -1475 mins technically picked in the SuperDraft are exceptions. I stopped at 30 so as to compare with previous shorter drafts over the years. I will visit lower/supplemental draft picks another time.

**Crew SuperDraft picks since 2010: Dilly Duka, Bright Dike, Rich Balchan, Justin Meram, Cole Grossman, Ethan Finlay, Aubrey Perry and Kevan George.

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