November 2007

Early 411 Mock Draft

Over the course of the past week, 12 prominent members of the 411 community (including yours truely!) conducted via e-mail a three round mock draft for 2008.  Below you’ll find a list of the participants along with the draft order and final results, including short comments by the various owners.  The league is a standard 5×5 roto with NFBC style roster construction (2 C, 5 OF, MI, CI, UTIL, etc.)  Please don’t hesitate to give your feedback!

Zach

DRAFT PARTICIPANTS AND ORDER
1.    Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus
2.    Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus
3.    Mike Siano of MLB.com Fantasy 411
4.    Cory Schwartz of MLB.com Fantasy 411
5.    Alex Cushing of MLB.com Fantasy
6.    Zach Steinhorn the Official Researcher and Blogger for MLB.com Fantasy 411
7.    Brett Kaplan the Producer of MLB.com Fantasy 411
8.    Jeffrey Ma of Protrade.com
9.    Mitch Watnik former 411 Listener League Champion
10.  Dean Chiungos of MLB.com Fantasy
11.  Brandon Costa of MLB.com
12.  Zack Stair former and current co-champion of 411 Listener League

ROUND 1

ALEX RODRIGUEZ  (1) (Will Carrol)  Ultimate no brainer

HANLEY RAMIREZ  (2) (Joe Sheehan)  I like taking up-the-middle and under-27 in the first round.  Yes, I would have taken him over A-Rod.

ALBERT PUJOLS  (3) (Mike Siano)  It was him or Reyes but ill get my steals elsewhere.

DAVID WRIGHT  (4) (Cory Schwartz)  A five category stat stuffer and only getting        better. Tough to pass on Chase Utley but I think depth is returning to the 2B position.

JOSE REYES  (5) (Alex Cushing)  Stolen base champ, elite shortstop, ceiling hasn’t been reached. Too talented to let September collapse affect him in 2008.

MATT HOLLIDAY  (6) (Zach Steinhorn)  A four category monster whose best days are ahead of him.  I wrestled with Utley here but I too am content to wait for a 2B…Also like to get a little more speed out of my second baseman.

CHASE UTLEY  (7) (Brett Kaplan)  Unlike Zach, I have no problem going with a second baseman in the 1st round.  Especially when his name is Chase Utley…

JIMMY ROLLINS  (8) (Jeffrey Ma)  I may be buying the top on JRoll but getting **** with his 5 category contribution is still a huge asset…

GRADY SIZEMORE  (9) (Mitch from Sacramento)  20/20 for 3 years running…

RYAN BRAUN  (10) (Dean Chiungos)  After A-Rod and Ryan Jorgensen, the best per-game player in fantasy in ’07.

MIGUEL CABRERA  (11) (Brandon Costa)  I could care less who Miggy is playing for next season.  4 straight killer seasons from this kid and he’s only going to get better. Not very thrilled with the depth at 3rd, that’s why I jumped on this position…

RYAN HOWARD  (12) (Zack Stair)  Even a limited Howard put up similar numbers as Prince and Howard’s done it for another year.  Another year of Prince at ’07 levels and he will pass Howard since he’s younger, but till he does it, I’m staying with Ryan Howard.

ROUND 2

CARLOS BELTRAN  (13) (Zack Stair)  A little more health and he’s equaling his excellent 2006 campaign.  Needed more power than what Crawford could give.  Thought seriously about snagging Prince here as well, although the power stack up was tempting, wanted a little speed.

PRINCE FIELDER  (14) (Brandon Costa)  This guy was the NL MVP until the Brewers fell out of contention in September.  Came through with huge power numbers in ’07 as expected. Expect nothing but the same, maybe better from this guy.  50 HRs and 100 ribbies?  Can’t pass it up.

CARL CRAWFORD  (15) (Dean Chiungos)  He’s too ridiculous of an athlete not to take the next step in the power department.

VLADIMIR GUERRERO  (16) (Mitch from Sacramento)  With Hunter hitting behind him, he’s going to be MVP worthy and will prove a steal this low.

ALFONSO SORIANO  (17) (Jeffrey Ma)  Hmm… seeing my top two choices go 1-2 before me I’ll have to go with the most opposite of my last pick. A guy who was hurt last season but will be healthy this season and will bounce back with a monster year in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

JOE MAUER  (18) (Brett Kaplan)  When you factor in his position…it’s hard to pass on Joe Mauer (please stay healthy)

DAVID ORTIZ  (19) (Zach Steinhorn)  Not thrilled about filling my UTIL spot this early, but Papi is simply the best run producer still available.

MARK TEIXEIRA  (20) (Alex Cushing)  After grabbing big-time speed in Reyes, I can’t pass up a power threat like Teixeira, who is coming off a huge second half, playing for a new contract in 2008 and turns 28 in April.  Stage is set for .300-40-120.

CARLOS LEE  (21) (Cory Schwartz)  It’s tempting to go against type here and snag one of the two best starters available, but that always seems to backfire on me.  So I’ll take Lee’s consistent five-category production.

ICHIRO SUZUKI  (22) (Mike Siano)  The runs, AVG and steals are too good to pass up and I think I can complement Albert’s power with a remaining player with my soon to come pick at 27 whereas Ichiro may not make it to pick 27.

JOHAN SANTANA  (23) (Joe Sheehan)  I just don’t think there’s 23 position players better than the best starting pitcher.  Or 15, for that matter.

C.C. SABATHIA  (24) (Will Carroll)  I agree with Joe’s logic.  Sabathia’s fresh off a Cy and headed into a contract year.

ROUND 3

JAKE PEAVY  (25) (Will Carroll)  It’s as close to a sure thing as there is with pitchers and I can’t take Eric Byrnes or Hunter Pence over either of them.

B.J. UPTON  (26) (Joe Sheehan)  This feels like a reach, but I don’t know why, because I see no one better than him on the board.

BRANDON PHILLIPS  (27) (Mike Siano)  Follwing Joe’s lead somewhat, I’ll take a 30-30 100+ runs scored middle infielder who is in a great park and should do well again.

RUSSELL MARTIN  (28) (Cory Schwartz)  I was hoping for Upton or Phillips, but with them gone, it’s time for Plan B.  I’m not big on positional scarcity this early in the draft, but name me another catcher who can hit .300 and go 20-20 with 80 or more runs and RBI’s?  Sit down Mr. Mauer, step right up Russell Martin.

ALEX RIOS  (29) (Alex Cushing)  A few other players were tempting, but Rios and I go back like bagels and lox.  OK, maybe not that far back. Also doesn’t hurt that he’s entering his age-27 season after taking significant strides over the past couple of years.

VICTOR MARTINEZ  (30) (Zach Steinhorn)  Fairly significant dropoff at the catcher position after the trio of Martin-Mauer-V-Mart.  Having an elite backstop is especially important in a 2 C league like this one.

LANCE BERKMAN  (31) (Brett Kaplan)  I can’t pass up his 40-130-.300 and 100 run potential.

CURTIS GRANDERSON  (32) (Jeffrey Ma)  I will resist the urge to pick Adam Dunn just to spite Mitch for jumping ahead of me and go with this 5 tool, extra base machine.

ADAM DUNN  (33) (Mitch from Sacramento)  Who is the only hitter to have 40 or more dingers for each of the past 4 years?  Who has the most homers and RBI amongst those still on the board for the past 4 years?

MANNY RAMIREZ  (34) (Dean Chiungos)  If Manny is Manny – and he is – I’m getting first-round production here.  Wah.

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ  (35) (Brandon Costa)  Still the best fantasy closer in my opinion. He’s as close to a sure thing as you are gonna find in the saves column.  Papelbon may be growing into the best closer but I don’t like how he has the potential to be babied by the Sox.  40+ saves (I’ll save myself a headache on that category) and a nice helping of Ks.

MAGGLIO ORDONEZ  (36) (Zack Stair)  Magglio has at least 7 years of production to a third round level, with a 2 year hiatus for well publicized injuries.  Are those injuries a drawback?  Oh yeah.  But I don’t think last year was even his career fantasy year (see 2001/2002) and with two healthy years removed from that knee & hernia, I’m going with the jheri curl.

TEAM PICKS BY ROUND

Will Carroll:

1.    Alex Rodriguez
2.    C.C. Sabathia
3.    Jake Peavy

Joe Sheehan:

1.    Hanley Ramirez
2.    Johan Santana
3.    B.J. Upton

Mike Siano:

1.    Albert Pujols
2.    Ichiro Suzuki
3.    Brandon Phillips

Cory Schwartz:

1.    David Wright
2.    Carlos Lee
3.    Russell Martin

Alex Cushing:

1.    Jose Reyes
2.    Mark Teixeira
3.    Alex Rios

Zach Steinhorn:

1.    Matt Holliday
2.    David Ortiz
3.    Victor Martinez

Brett Kaplan:

1.    Chase Utley
2.    Joe Mauer
3.     Lance Berkman

Jeffrey Ma:

1.    Jimmy Rollins
2.    Alfonso Soriano
3.    Curtis Granderson

Mitch Watnik:

1.    Grady Sizemore
2.    Vladimir Guerrero
3.    Adam Dunn

Dean Chiungos:

1.    Ryan Braun
2.    Carl Crawford
3.    Manny Ramirez

Brandon Costa:

1.    Miguel Cabrera
2.    Prince Fielder
3.    Francisco Rodriguez

Zack Stair

1.    Ryan Howard
2.    Carlos Beltran
3.    Magglio Ordonez

   

 

 

Pre-Turkey Mock Draft

All,

This past week I participated in on a mock draft, hosted by our friends at
creativesports.com. Now, this was a 15-team 5×5 league, so there wasn’t tons of
talent for the taking. And it is November, which means it’s still very very early.

But enough disclaimers.

There were some surprise picks from yours truly. And others not so
surprising. I’ll let you make your own judgments.

Here’s some strategy, my
picks and all that other jazz:

Strategy going in:

Since pitchers are unreliable from
year to year, my general strategy is to err heavily on the side of offense and
target hitters early. Especially players who contribute in all five categories
and are under the age of 30. They usually make the best buys. Position scarcity
is also critical. There comes a point at each position when the talent level
drops off significantly. I hoped to add one or two top middle infielders, a
couple of top 30 outfielders and one of the top four third basemen. Beyond
that, scrounge for underrated starters and find value wherever it lies.

 

 

1.    Ryan Braun:
Probably a little early, but talent like this only comes around so often.

2.    Carlos
Beltran:  Can’t wait too long to take first of five outfielders.

3.    Russell Martin:
Five-category catchers don’t grow on trees.

4.    Ian Kinsler:
Star in the making at scarce position.

5.    Corey Hart:
20-20 in first full season, what’s next?

6.    Adrian
Gonzalez: With so many first basemen to go around, up-and-coming slugger fell.

7.    Billy Wagner:
Showing no signs of age.

8.    James Loney:
320-20-90 wouldn’t be shocking.

9.    Javier Vazquez:
Durable veteran, one of baseball’s most underrated starters.

10.   Justin Upton: Here’s
to the future.

11.   Pat Burrell: AVG
stinks, but big second half can’t be ignored here.

12.   Julio Lugo: Speedy
shortstop worth forgiving this late.

13.   Joakim Soria:
Quietly emerged as reliable closer in rookie season.

14.   Pedro Martinez: How
times have changed.

15.   Ty Wigginton:
Qualifies at second, full season at Minute Maid spells sleeper candidate.

16.   Joe Blanton:
Developing into reliable control pitcher.

17.   Kevin Slowey:
Slippery rookie draws comparisons to Greg Maddux.

18.   Corey Patterson:
Could return to 2003-04 form after finally cutting down on Ks.

19.   Wandy Rodriguez:
Nifty late-game sleeper if he can solve road woes.

20.   Jack Cust: Minor
League masher finds opportunity in Oakland.

21.   Pat Neshek: ERA
& WHIP insurance.

22.   Shaun Marcum:
Successful conversion to rotation dampened by late-season fatigue.

23.   Gregg Zaun: Needed a
second catcher, even if his name rhymes with yawn.

      

 

Post-mortem

It’s almost impossible to look back
on any draft with 100 percent satisfaction. What can be said is, minus a few
picks here and there, I executed my strategy and took players I believe in.
Grabbing Braun, Kinsler, Martin, Beltran and Hart early meant I didn’t have to
play catch-up at those positions later on. A top shortstop would have been
nice. And I probably came away with the youngest team, which has its risks.
Then again, one thing that struck me was how many veterans slipped into the
middle rounds (Pedro, Wigginton, B.J. Ryan), a growing trend of late.

 

 

Best pick: Pedro Martinez

Sure, Pedro’s durability is a
question mark at this stage of his career. But that risk is certainly worth the
reward at pick No. 200. It goes to show what happens when you wait on starters.

 

 

 

Worst pick: James Loney

As much as I love Loney’s future in
the batting average department, I probably jumped the gun drafting him with the
105th pick. He probably would have fallen, and there were still lots of first
basemen available.

 

– Alex Cushing, MLB.com

 

Mike & Cory as Chuck & Larry

Thanks to Zack in Philly for this!Siano_and_schwartz__1

Free Agent Frenzy!

On Thursday’s Leading Off, a segment was devoted to predicting where each prominent free agent (or player on the block) will land.  The participants included the Leading Off crew of Vinny and John, Peter McCarthy, Mike, and Cory.  Here’s how it all played out:

1.     MIKE LOWELL RE-SIGNS W/RED SOX-  Everyone agrees

2.     JORGE POSADA STAYS W/YANKEES- Everyone agrees except Mike (Mets)

3.     MARIANO RIVERA STAYS W/YANKEES-  Everyone agrees

4.     A-ROD TO ANGELS-  Everyone agrees

5.     BARRY BONDS-  Leading Off (Angels), Pete (Tigers), Mike (Yankees), Cory (Padres) 

6.     TORII HUNTER-  Leading Off (Rangers), Pete (White Sox), Mike (Rangers), Cory (Rangers)

7.    AARON ROWAND-  Leading Off (Phillies), Pete (Phillies), Mike (White Sox), Cory (Phillies)

8.    ANDRUW JONES-  Leading Off (Giants), Pete (Nationals), Mike (Phillies), Cory (Nationals)

9.    MIGUEL CABRERA-  Leading Off (Yankees), Pete (Dodgers), Mike (Yankees), Cory (Yankees)

10.     MIKE CAMERON-  Leading Off (Braves), Pete (Orioles), Mike (Braves), Cory (Cardinals)

11.    FRANCISCO CORDERO-  Leading Off (Tigers), Pete (Astros), Mike (Brewers), Cory (Brewers)

12.     BARTOLO COLON TO METS-  Everyone agrees

 

      

We’re Back!!!

The Fantasy 411 will return this THURSDAY at 2 PM ET.  The 411 will air throughout the offseason from 2-3 PM ET on Thursdays, so start sending in your questions to baseballchannel@mlb.com.  If for some reason your question isn’t answered on the show, don’t fret!  I’ll take care of it.

Zach

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