Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who Won The Vancouver/Portland Draft of Drafts?

Future MLS clubs Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers held a draft yesterday where they selected which priorities each club would have. Vancouver won the initial coin toss and here are the results:

1. Vancouver - MLS SuperDraft (#1 Selection)
2. Portland - Expansion Draft (#1 Selection)
3. Vancouver - Allocation Ranking (#1 Ranking)
4. Portland - Designated Player Ranking (#1 Ranking)
5. Vancouver - USL Player Priority (#1 Priority)
6. Portland - Discovery Ranking (#17 Ranking)
7. Vancouver - Waiver/Re-Entry Draft (#17 Selection)
8. Portland - Lottery Ranking (#17 Ranking)

On the whole I think Vancouver misused their first-pick advantage and did worse than Portland in this draft.

Being first in the expansion draft is MUCH better than being first in the SuperDraft. By being first in the SuperDraft, Vancouver picks 1, 19, 37, 55 and Portland gets 2, 20, 38, 56. That's only 2 picks of any real advantage, and the difference between first overall picks and second overall picks in SuperDraft history is negligible. In fact, you could make a case that the #2 pick has performed better over the 11 drafts they've had.

2000: Steve Shak, Nick Garcia
2001: Chris Carrieri, Ali Curtis
2002: Chris Gbandi, Taylor Twellman
2003: Alecko Eskandarian, Ricardo Clark
2004: Freddy Adu, Chad Marshall
2005: Nikolas Besagno, Brad Guzan
2006: Marvell Wynne, Mehdi Ballouchy
2007: Maurice Edu, Bakary Soumare
2008: Chance Myers, Brek Shea
2009: Steve Zakuani, Sam Cronin
2010: Danny Mwanga, Tony Tchani

To complicate matters, if Vancouver thinks that Omar Salgado is the best player available, they shouldn't want the number 1 pick since he can't play for a Canadian team for 2 more years. Let Portland take him #1 and then get whoever was at the top of your draft board next.

Meanwhile, in the expansion draft, Portland is going to get to select before Vancouver 10 times. Plus, Portland gets to set the tone of the draft early. Every expansion draft has a rule about how many players an existing team can lose. In this draft, since there are two expansion teams, it's almost guaranteed that no MLS team will be able to lose more than 2 players. Now Portland gets to hold Vancouver's feet to the fire after each pick. Vancouver knows that if they don't pick from the same team as Portland, then Portland can make all of those players unavailable by selecting another player from that team. That's a confusing couple sentences but hopefully you get it.

Here are the last 4 expansion drafts (Toronto, San Jose, Seattle, Philly)

2006 - Toronto FC
Paulo Nagamura
Danny O'Rourke
Jose Cancela
Adrian Serioux
Nate Jaqua
Rod Dyachenko
Jason Kreis
Tim Regan
Ritchie Kotschau
Will Hesmer

Note: Toronto basically gutted this roster by trading these players to other teams for other players, allocation money and draft picks. They got $125,000 for Kreis (although he would've been nice as a coach), Edson Buddle for Tim Regan, and 2 2008 first round picks for Nagamura and Dyachenko. Smart stuff.

2007 - San Jose Earthquakes
Ryan Cochrane
Clarence Goodson
Ned Grabavoy
James Riley
Joe Vide
Ivan Guerrero
Brian Carroll
Jason Hernandez
Gavin Glinton
Chris Pozniak

2008 - Seattle Sounders
Nate Jaqua
Nathan Sturgis
Jeff Parke
Jarrod Smith
Khano Smith
Peter Vagenas
Tyson Wahl
James Riley
Stephen King
Brad Evans

2009 - Philadelphia Union
Jordan Harvey
Andrew Jacobson
Brad Knighton
Sebastien Le Toux
Stefani Miglioranzi
Alejandro Moreno
David Myrie
Shea Salinas
Shavar Thomas
Nick Zimmerman

There aren't many world beaters here (although Clarence Goodson and Brad Evans are US Internationals) but TFC, Seattle and Philly should be very happy with their takes.

The rest of the selections are single use priorities, most of them involving the rare occurrence where two teams file paperwork for a given player on the same day. Allocation Ranking is obviously the most important and most likely to be used, so good for Vancouver not messing that up. Again though, they were either going to be #1 or #2, so unless they are fighting with Portland for a player it won't make a big difference.

Random note: if the Discovery Ranking had been #1 and #2 instead of #17 and #18 it may have been worth the third overall selection.

No huge advantage is gained on the rest of the selections by either squad, at least not enough to make up for Vancouver's mistake of selecting SuperDraft over Expansion Draft.

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