The future of stars

Analyzing the best and worst picks in ESPN.com's MLB Franchise Draft

Originally Published: May 31, 2012
By Dan Szymborski | Baseball Think Factory
Harper-Trout US Presswire, Getty ImagesBryce Harper and Mike Trout are two of baseball's brightest young stars.

What would happen if 30 baseball writers came up with $20 billion or so, enabling them to buy every team in baseball and pick the best players in baseball schoolyard-style?

That's the scenario we attempted to create with ESPN's second-annual ESPN Franchise Player Draft. Thirty ESPN.com writers came together to draft the cornerstone players for their dream team. Since this is fantasy, the players play for free, representing more of a nightmare than a fantasy for the MLB Players Association.

To get the opinion of a projection system in the mix, the ZiPS projection system was given the task of projecting out each drafted player for five and 10 years. Projecting what happens this year is hard enough, so there's a lot of variability in predicting what someone will do over the course of a decade. But if teams can risk hundreds of millions of dollars on their evaluations of the long-term future, we can certainly risk a much cheaper meal of crow down the road.

After crunching the numbers, one can see how many realistic candidates there are for best player of the next decade.