First “random” mock draft

Tony Cincotta from FantasyPros911.com asked me today how many mock drafts I do each year in preparation for the real thing, and my answer was, “a lot.” However, I’m really not interested in the exact team I come out with, because obviously that will vary greatly from draft to draft. The real value in mock drafts is the exercise of training yourself to be flexible and adaptable as each draft progresses and circumstances change in ways that you hadn’t (and perhaps couldn’t) anticipate.

The ultimate goal is to have yourself prepared for any scenario… what to do if guys you thought you would get don’t fall to you, and how to best handle it if something good falls into your lap. Think of each mock drafts as a series of flash cards (thanks Gabriel!)… by the time you sit down for your “real” drafts, you should have yourself trained to be ready for any outcome.

To that end, tonight I did my first “random” draft on Mock Draft Central… that is, just signed up for a random spot in a 15-team mixed draft with people I don’t know. (As an aside, if you don’t use mdc.com to prepare for your drafts, both by doing mock drafts and by studying ADP, you are wasting your time.) I always use my NFBC prep as a measuring stick for all my other drafts, and that’s what NFBC is… you sit down at a table with 14 strangers and see what happens. I drafted out of the fifth spot and after my first pick, nothing was really predictable. Here’s a link to the complete draft, pick-by-pick.

Lind.jpgIn all honesty, Aaron Rowand was an “oops” pick… I meant to put him on my “watch” list but hit “Draft” by accident. But, MDC.com did me a favor by sticking Kevin Kouzmanoff all the way at the bottom of the 3B list, so I was able to steal him in the 22nd round. Obviously this would not happen in a real draft but hey, I wouldn’t just blurt out “Aaron Rowand!” either!.

The post-draft projections have me in second place, which is no big surprise, because as in any other mixed draft I under-drafted SP’s, leaving me short in wins and K’s. But in every other category, I should be fine, and if young guys like Adam Lind (right), Ryan Spilborghs and Matt Lindstrom produce as expected, this could be a very solid fantasy team.

I’ll continue to post my “random” drafts as I do more, and I look forward to everyone’s feedback, good, bad or indifferent… don’t be afraid to criticize, I can take it, and if it will help me do better next time that will be even better!

–Cory

14 Comments

Cory- how right you are! MDC is an absolute must for anyone serious about fantasy baseball. I even turned my dad onto it last year, and he did like 5 mock drafts in one day.
The only problem that occasionally comes up is some screwball choosing weird players (drafting guys waaaay too early, drafting players all from one team, etc.). The ADP list is absolutely great too.

Cory, I was very interested to see you take Fuentes in the 7th. You were lucky to catch Soria as the last of the top Closers, but I thought you could have waited a round or so before adding the second closer. Do you really see something in Fuentes to lift him significantly above Jenks, Valverde, Broxton etc?
I would also love to hear what other options you considered, or who you missed out on with your SP picks.

I use MDC too; the one criticism I have (which you alluded to with Kevin Kouzmanoff) is that their rankings are not the best, and when you get a number of teams on autodraft, then players end up falling further than they would in a real draft.

Anyway, I liked your draft, Cory; I wonder if you would mind commenting on a couple of your picks, please?

Round 4 – what was the reason you took Abreu over Granderson?

Round 7 – your 2nd closer – Fuentes – was the 7th taken overall. I like him with the Angels too; but a lot of people seem to be taking guys like Valverde & Jenks ahead of him. Any thoughts why he’s falling outside the top 10 closers in a number of mocks?

Round 9 – Edinson Volquez for your 1st starter! (Kudos on having the nerve to stick to your plan re: waiting on starters!) Why did you take him over the likes of Zambrano, Cain, Sheets, Gallardo, etc?

Hey Kevin – great minds think alike (Fuentes)! It must be the English connection!

Yeh, we were typing the comments at the same time. How bizarre. I also wondered about taking Abreu that high, especially after he fell much further in the expert mock draft when Mike took him and both Mike and Cory have spoken of how they think Granderson will bounce back this year.
I am struggling to form a list of decent pitching talent and was like you surprised by some of the guys Cory took. Or rather, the guys he didn’t take. So I would like to know more and understand how he came to those decisions. Seems like the established pitching order in those mid rounds has changed massively from last year. But who was flash in the pan and who is the real deal?

Also interested that you took Russ Martin over Crawford and Ichiro in the 3rd. Was this a specific strategy to target a Catcher early, or purely on needs and merits. I guess you are not bothered by Martin’s drop in output last year, but how do you project Crawford and Ichiro for this year after they both disappointed in 08?

Hey all, thanks for the feedback. A few replies, working backwards:

* I like Crawford to bounce back this year, and 3rd round is good value for both him and Ichiro, but I like getting a top catcher and Martin’s all-around skill set fits well with my strategy. My top three picks should combine for about 70 homers (Wright 30, Phillips 25, Martin 15) and 60 steals (Wright 15, Phillips 30, Martin 15), which is where I like to be coming out of the first three picks, and I got a good player at two shallow positions (2B, C).

* I took Fuentes probably a round earlier than I typically would take a 2nd closer because I wasn’t thrilled at missing out on the top three closers (Papelbon, Nathan, K-Rod) and then again on my next two choices, Rivera and Soria. Fuentes’ strikeout, walk and homer rates have all been exceptional despite pitching half his games in Coors Field, and even though he’s going to the tougher league now, I think he’ll have the advantage of surprise over AL hitters, many of whom have probably never (or only rarely) seen his changeup, which is one of the best in the. This is a pick that combines stats and scouting: his numbers alone make him a strong pick, and I like the player vs. league matchup.

* Even though Abreu is unsigned, I picked as if I were building a team for the full season, and I’m sure Abreu will still end up playing everyday for someone somewhere (I still don’t know why Atlanta hasn’t grabbed him or Dunn). Granderson should have another big season but I’m confident Abreu is a safer pick to go 20/20 with 90+ runs and RBI’s, and as with my first three picks, I wanted to make sure I got the best balance of power and speed.

More replies to follow…

–Cory

re. Fuentes… “best in the game.” Nice sentence.

* One clarification re. closers… I did get Soria, but he was only my 5th choice and I generally like to get the 2nd or 3rd guy if I can. Had I gotten one of my top three I probably would’ve waited a round longer.

Anyway, re. starting pitchers…

* The guys I was hoping to get with my “next” picks but just missed: Lester, Vazquez, Nolasco, Greinke and Garza. Waited a round too long on all of those guys, and check what they all have in common: excellent K rates and (with the exception of Lester, though he’s improving), excellent command.

* I took Volquez because of his awesome strikeouts last year and strong peripherals, although his workload and home ballpark are a concern. Nonetheless, of the other guys mentioned, I think Zambrano and Sheets are major injury risks, Cain is a good pitcher in a good park but on a bad team and still somewhat inconsistent, and while I like Gallardo a lot and would’ve liked to get him, I think the Brewers will limit his workload this year.

Overall perhaps some of my picks were a little too dogmatic — it wouldn’t have hurt me to get a little stronger at SP given the format — but on the whole this is a draft that ended up fairly close “to plan.” I’m doing another one at 11 ET tonight and will post the results when done.

Thanks!
Cory

“Cain is a good pitcher in a good park but on a bad team and still somewhat inconsistent” — Cory

Do you think that Cain’s win totals will reflect his talent this year more so than last year w/ the improvement of the Giants. They won’t compete for the WC but w/ the West being so weak they are closer to the Diamondbacks/Rockies this year then they are to the Padres right?

Great feedback Cory. Thanks.

Cory,
I did my first ever mock draft at MDC.com a few days ago. I smiled when I saw your “oops” pick of Aaron Rowand. In my draft I wanted to place Adam Jones on my watch list to select in the latter rounds. However, I too inadvertently hit the draft button and ended up selecting him in the THIRD round. The comments I saw in the chat room are not repeatable here. Unfortunately I wasn’t prepared to deal with the unexpected and the rest of the draft went down hill from there.

Nate, you are correct that wins are very volatile and very team-dependant, but Cain’s low win totals are also a product of his inconsistency and inability to consistently work deep into games. I think he’ll improve this year through experience, but at the same time, I’m not totally convinced that the Giants are really going to be that much better offensively and defensively. Here’s a quick stab at their opening day lineup based on the depth charts on Giants.com:

Renteria SS
Lewis LF
Winn RF
Molina C
Rowand CF
Sandoval 3B
Ishikawa 1B
Burriss 2B

Tell me again how this team should reasonably be expected to win more than ~70 games?

CS

Cory, surely on that same basis some regression must be expected from Lincecum this year. Historically how many guys have managed to consistently rack up a high number of wins on poor teams (I don’t know the answer to this, I am not trying to be clever).
He is a great pitcher. But was he not just really lucky last year on W’s? What is a more realistic expectation from him and where does that rank him against the other aces? Also what about that jump in innings, or do those things not cause problems until later in life?

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