Pre-Turkey Mock Draft
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.
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?
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.
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
— Alex Cushing, MLB.com
— Alex Cushing, MLB.com