We just completed our annual listener league draft where Cory and I compete against ten listeners from the radio days. Very competitive and fun league. We had a little turnover this year but brought in champs of other leagues and long time friends Neighbor Steve, Fred in Cali and Dave in Delaware.
12 team mixed 1500 innings max, 2 DL, 2 bench, 2 catchers.
Here are the results with comments on my picks. I’m going to get killed for this but at least I have a reason.
SIANO’S PICKS (CORY’S DISAGREEMENTS BELOW)
THURSDAY, MARCH 31
Verlander @ Sabathia
Weaver @ Hochevar *I have faith in Luke but let me see a start or two. If you disagree since it’s so early that’s fine.
Lowe @ L. Hernandez *Livan probably goes 5-0 then 2-15.
Gallardo @ Volquez * I don’t have an issue starting EV here.
Stauffer @ Carpenter *High on Stauffer but he wasn’t supposed to be the first guy out. Could be a short leash Thursday.
Lincecum @ Kershaw *Second of two elite matchups on Opening Day.
FRIDAY, APRIL 1
Buehrle @ Carmona *Carmona a sleeper but reward isn’t too high unless he gets some Ks.
Lester @ Wilson *Ok CJ let’s see you do it again.
Pavano @ Romero *I’ll give American Idle a little love here, it may be last time.
Guthrie @ Price *Guthrie can succeed but he may be POD for certain stretches.
Haren @ Francis *The Franchise!!! Pass.
F. Hernandez @ Cahill *Not hard to say pitch vs. M’s woeful lineup.
Myers @ Halladay *Best matchup storyline wise of the young season.
Correia @ Dempster *Correia? Really?
Kennedy @ Jimenez *Kennedy goes Coors and Wrigley first two starts. Hang in there.
Pelfrey @ Johnson *Let’s see what the Big Pelf has.
J. Sanchez @ Billingsley
SATURDAY, APRIL 2
Jackson @ Carrasco *Love Carrasco but expect pains.
Liriano @ Drabek *Drabek = Carrasco
Santana @ Davies *BIG ERV!!!!!!!!!!
Penny @ Burnett *I’ll be at this game. Wife may be asking to leave after four innings. Like Penny at home for now.
Matusz @ Shields
Lackey @ Lewis *Nice first test for Lackey
Vargas @ Anderson
Maholm @ Zambrano
Hanson @ Lannan
Richard @ Westbrook *I’ll chase a win for fun vs. Padres lineup.
Cain @ Lilly
Wandy @ Lee
Marcum @ Wood *Wood a sleeper proceed with caution.
Niese @ Nolasco *I’m waiting and seeing on Niese.
D. Hudson @ De La Rosa *A Siano special!
SUNDAY, APRIL 3
Danks @ Masterson *Waiting on Masterson
Scherzer @ Hughes *Not bad.
Blackburn @ Cecil *I’m a Cecil fan.
Tillman @ W. Davis
Buchholz @ Harrison
Kazmir @ Chen *Say What?
Fister @ G. Gonzalez
Wolf @ Arroyo *Could be 3-2 or 9-8.
Dickey @ Vazquez
T. Hudson @ Zimmermann *Would love to pitch but want to see more.
Happ @ Oswalt *Happ should consider the flu here.
Moseley @ J. Garcia *Garcia’s bad spring means nothing and it’s the Padres.
Ohlendorf @ Garza *Garza gives up no homers and we laugh at you all then you remind us it was Pirates.
Saunders @ Chacin *I like the Ks
Zito @ Kuroda *Zito was in a neck brace last night…ditch
-Pitch Stauffer on Thursday, as well as Carrasco, Drabek and Niese on Saturday; let’s see what they have.
-Ditch Richard on Saturday in St. Louis. In general though, I’m a lot more inclined to say “pitch” on more guys this early in the season, because we have all year to make up for any early bad decisions. But for now, let’s run some guys out there and see what they have.
NOTE: In the process of upgrading our blog software, a few of the posts and comments were lost. These issues should be fixed within the next few days but in the meantime feel free to re-post your questions and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Yesterday was my sixth NFBC Main Event draft; I’ve won two league titles and finished in the top 10 nationally, and also have a third- and fourth-place finish on my resume, but last year was my worst season as I ended up ninth in my league. I needed to redeem myself this year.
Let’s get one thing out of the way early: I did not get Edwin Encarnacion, the white whale and holy grail of my draft planning this year. More on that below, but the bottom line is, no matter how much you like the player, you have to get him at the right value. I was willing to reach (in my opinion) to get him, but someone caught me offguard by reaching even more.
Unlike in an auction, when you have a theoretical chance to get any player as long as you have money left, in a straight pick’em draft you are at the mercy of your ability to time the draft properly to get the right players at the right prices. For the first half of the draft my timing was nearly perfect, and I got the majority of players I targeted, but things got more unpredictable after that, so I had to adjust to some unexpected circumstances.
With my trusty sidekick Mike Siano assisting, here are my picks in order starting out of the #13 slot in New York league #1, along with my latest composite projection for each player (AVG-HR-RBI-SB-R for hitters and W-SV-ERA-WHIP-K for pitchers). In every case except for a few I think these projections are very realistic, and some have considerable room for upside:
1.13 – I expected I would get David Wright here, and thought Adrian Gonzalez or Robinson Cano might fall to us, but ultimately we got the player we wanted from the start, Alex Rodriguez. At the age of 35 he may indeed be in decline, but he’s healthier this season than he’s been in years, and he’s batting cleanup for the best offense in baseball in a terrific hitter’s park. Projection: .279-35-105-10-95
2.3 – I gave serious consideration to Jose Reyes in this spot, figuring that his upside – .300 with 15 homers and 50 steals – gave him potential first-round value. But I ended up taking my original target, Dustin Pedroia (right), who lacks Reyes’ upside in steals but should match or exceed him in every other category, and whose batting average upside is critical to some of the lower-average picks I expected to take later. We wanted an encore of the laser show, and got him, while Reyes went with the very next pick. Projection: .299-17-85-18-103
3.13 and 4.3 – We planned to take two outfielders here out of a group of five or six, and wanted a good chunk of steals to go with Pedroia and A-Rod, so we took B.J. Upton at 3.13 and then the solid power/speed combination of Jayson Werth at 4.3. Even if Upton only hits .250 he has massive power/speed upside, and while moving to RFK from CBP will likely hurt Werth’s average, his power and speed combo should remain intact. Hunter Pence, Jayson Heyward and Andre Ethier also earned consideration; Heyward went on the turn after we took Upton but both Pence and Ethier were available at both picks. Projections: Upton .251-16-72-44-83 and Werth .271-28-93-15-91
5.13 and 6.3 – The classic 411 playbook calls for a stellar bullpen and stacking picks on the wheel, so while we examined several scenarios here, we decided to run the plays we trust. We made Carlos Marmol the first closer off the board at 5.13, going for his uniquely starter-like strikeout totals, then complemented that with Joakim Soria‘s miniscule ratios at 6.3. I generally don’t like taking the first closer off the board, and even with Mariano Rivera going on the wheel, we not only took the first one, we took two of the first three. But our fear was that if we didn’t move quickly here, none of the top tier we liked would be available at our next pair of picks, and we were justified as Neftali Feliz, Heath Bell, Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Wilson all went off the board before our next pick. The run on closers intensified quickly after that as FIFTEEN closers went in the next four rounds. Projections: Marmol 4-36-3.05-1.26-107 and Soria 3-38-2.56-1.09-73
7.13 – I wanted Stephen Drew here but didn’t expect to get him and didn’t, as he went at 7.1, so we got our second-choice target, Gordon Beckham. Even though his ADP and my valuation suggested something more along the line of a mid/late 8th-round value, the fact is that if we didn’t take him in this pair of picks we weren’t going to get him at all. His hot July and August last year, along with his favorable batting order spot and positive spring training reports, give me confidence that he is capable of a breakout season. Projection: .275-17-74-8-78
8.3 – My original target here was Shaun Marcum, but with sore-shouldered Mat Latos (right) still on the board I could not resist the potential reward for this degree of risk. Early reports suggest that although Latos will likely need a DL stint, his prognosis is still positive; I only projected him for 188.1 IP anyway, so even if he misses three weeks this pick can still pay off nicely. I usually don’t draft “ace” starting pitchers, but if Latos stays reasonably healthy I got one at a major discount. Projection: 13-0-3.35-1.16-180
9.13 – I targeted Carlos Quentin and had no reason to think that I wouldn’t get him, given his late 10th round ADP and my mid ninth-round valuation, so I was surprised when he went at 9.3. Instead I took who I felt was the best available outfielder, Torii Hunter. Both ADP and my valuations had him as a late 8th round pick, so I felt this was good value for a player who, while no longer in his prime, is still a very solid four-category contributor. Projection: .275-22-81-13-77
10.3 – Although my original target Wandy Rodriguez was still available, I was more pleasantly surprised that 8th-round target Shaun Marcum was still on the board, so I grabbed him a full two rounds later than originally anticipated. I assume he stuck around based on worries about his shoulder, but I’m not at all concerned and think he could approach “soft ace” status this year while making an outstanding transition to the NL. Projection: 13-0-3.69-1.20-170
11.13 and 12.3 – I likes me some Marlins, targeting Ricky Nolasco and Gaby Sanchez here and getting both. Nolasco is a perennial underachiever based on his rate stats and leading indicators, and may just be overrated, but this is fair value for him based on ADP as well as my projections, and I think he’ll finally break through and exceed them easily. There were better power than Sanchez left on the board, but I think he has upside in several categories. He has strong plate discipline and contact skills so he could sacrifice some power to be a .290-.300 hitter, or he could gear up from the #5 spot in the Marlins order to hit 25-30 homers. Either way he’s a solid value here and in his age 27 season. Projections: Nolasco 13-0-3.97-1.23-181 and Sanchez .272-20-81-3-73
* * *
Let’s take quick break here and review: through 12 picks I’ve gotten 10 of my 12 targeted players, only missing out on Quentin and effectively passing on Wandy to gamble on Latos, so I actually could’ve had 11 of 12. I’ve got two middle infielders, two corners, three outfielders, three starters and two closers… optimal balance for a deep NFBC style league. Whether my player valuations are realistic or not is a topic for another discussion, but without question I’ve read this draft board as well as can be done through the first half of the regular draft, and I’m completely on course to build the team I’m after.
* * *
13.13 – I had originally considered Neil Walker or Jose Tabata here, but both were gone, not that I needed another second baseman or speed-oriented player. Instead I opted for who I felt was the best available power bat, my former NFBC whipping boy Alfonso Soriano (right), whose ADP had him going in the middle of this round and who I projected as a 12th round value. He won’t hit for average and carries considerable injury risk, but the power is still there and he will still steal the occasional base. A value/need-based pick. Projection: .257-24-84-8-69
14.3 – I targeted Hiroki Kuroda here as my #4 starter, but he went with the pick immediately after we took Soriano, becoming the first player we lost “out of our queue.” Instead we traded some strikeouts for a few wins, picking up Tim Hudson, who we just missed out on in last year’s draft. His ERA and WHIP will likely climb from last year but should still be solid, and he should pick up a few more wins than Kuroda. Projection: 14-0-3.48-1.25-125
15.13 – From the moment we found out we got the #13 pick, I penciled this one in for my long-time mancrush and 2011 pick for “this year’s Jose Bautista” – the infamous Edwin Encarnacion. ADP pegged him as an 16th-17th round player, and my valuations made this pick the perfect balance of risk and reward. Unfortunately though Team 14 – who took Kuroda from us two rounds earlier – also liked E5 and even more than we do, taking him at 14.2, right before we took Hudson. This one hurt. We recovered well value-wise by taking Chase Headley, who I had projected as a 13th-14th round player, but missing out on my single-most coveted pet player really stung. Projection: .264-13-65-16-70
* * *
Having taken Headley instead of Encarnacion, the issue that already had us concerned suddenly came into sharp focus. Instead of getting 50 or more homers from Quentin and Encarnacion, we took a tandem of players in Hunter and Headley who will probably top out around around 35, and if our two targets go off as we think they might, the discrepancy could become even greater. We compensated with more speed – our pair should get 25 or so steals more than our targeted pair – but by taking Upton over Pence in the 3rd round we committed ourselves to getting cheap power in these middle rounds and we didn’t get it.
So, from here on out, we had two paths to choose from: try to chase power and make up for the two lost picks, or maximize speed and make sure we win that category and finish well in runs.
* * *
16.3 – It was an easy decision. Without a difference-making power bat left on the board, or even one likely to hit 25 homers, we took “best available” player Will Venable (right) to try and lock down the steals category. I considered Mike Cuddyer and Nate McLouth here, but figured Venable gave us the best chance to secure points, as none of the three of them are great gambles top more than 20 or so homers. Projection: .250-17-64-32-67
17.13 – I usually take my third closer in the 18th round, so I went a few picks early to nail down Johnny Venters. Even if he only gets a third of the save chances in Atlanta, that should be worth a dozen or so saves, and he should contribute excellent strikeouts and rate stats. I considered taking him with the previous pick where we got Venable, so I was pleased that he lasted this long; Craig Kimbrell had gone much earlier at 11.6. Projection: 4-13-3.35-1.29-77
18.3 – Not only were we short on power by this point, but we’d taken some considerable batting average risks, so I grabbed Omar Infante. I didn’t want to lock up my utility spot this early and don’t believe he’s a .321 hitter like last year, but he should hit in the .290’s and score plenty of runs while batting second in Florida, and has three-position eligibility. A poor man’s Martin Prado, minus a half-dozen homers. Projection: .295-7-52-7-72
19.13 – Intended #5 starter Anibal Sanchez went earlier in this round so we took Jason Hammel, who is also on my Tout Wars roster. He has the strikeout and ground ball rates to survive in Coors Field, and will contribute plenty of strikeouts. Projection: 12-0-4.49-1.39-145
20.3 – I had originally considered Russell Martin as early as the 13/14 turn, so I was very happy to grab him here. Reports out of spring training have not been especially positive, but the Yankees do not have a backup catcher to legitimately challenge his playing time, so he should get enough at-bats to justify this pick. Projection: .264-8-42-9-56
21.13 – Clayton Richard is a reasonable sixth starter when pitching at home in PETCO Park, although he’s not trustworthy on the road just yet. Maybe I can platoon him with Hammel. Projection: 11-0-4.06-1.40-134
22.3 – NFBC rules do not require a legal roster after 23 rounds, but I like to draft it that way, and I still needed a shortstop. I had effectively conceded that position by the mid rounds, so I decided to jump early on a likely early reserve pick and take Jed Lowrie (below). He could steal the job from Marcos Scutaro, and will play a lot in case of injury to any of the Red Sox infielders, so he scrape together the 360 at-bats I projected him for, and potentially many more. Projection: .262-11-51-2-50
23.13 – I certainly didn’t set out to draft half of the Padres offense, and I had enough batting average risks, but Nick Hundley was the best available catcher left here. He’ll play more regularly now that Yorvit Torrealba is gone, and has pretty good pop, although PETCO masks it. Projection: .243-13-54-5-47
* * *
My strategy for the reserve rounds in NFBC is to build some starting pitching depth, hedge any potentially thin offensive positions and/or injury risks, and add at least one long-shot closer and/or prospect. My reserve picks:
R1 – Yet another Padre, Brad Hawpe, who will be eligible at 1B and OF. He’s hit fairly well away from Coors in his career, so if he bounces back as expected, he could be my UT in a home/away platoon with or even instead of Infante. Projection: .256-19-72-2-67
R2 – Yet another one of my Tout Wars starters, Randy Wells, who is having a strong spring and is coming cheap even though leading indicators say he should improve upon last season. Not bad for a #7 starter. Projection: 11-0-4.08-1.36-137
R3 – Orlando Cabrera, who I hope will hold down an everyday job long enough until Lowrie wins one. I wish Infante was shortstop eligible in NFBC like he is in Tout Wars! Projection: .270-5-43-11-60
R4 – I’ve been saying all winter to anyone who will listen that Joel Peralta is my super darkhorse candidate to lead the Rays in saves, and I put my money where my mouth is. He’s such a deep sleeper that they NFBC didn’t even have a sticker for him to put on the draft board, but I think he’s going to shock the world Axford-style this season. Projection: 3-11-3.71-1.19-60
R5 – Jesus Montero could win the job from Martin, or could win a backup catcher/DH role, or could get traded somewhere and play every day. Or he could just languish in the minors while Martin continues to play regularly. This is the catcher equivalent of a handcuff and should ensure I don’t have a zero at either catcher spot this year. Projection: .276-9-35-0-26 in 197 at-bats
R6 – Mike Leake will start the season in the Reds rotation and hopefully build on last year’s decent debut. Or he’ll stink and I’ll cut him. Hey, in the 29th round, these are the chances you take on your #8 starter. Projection: 9-0-4.37-1.42-46
R7 – Ryan Kalish is a super lottery ticket; he’ll start the season in Triple-A and would likely only be recalled if he was going to play regularly. This could be a throwaway pick but at this point in the draft it’s not like we missed on anyone that valuable! Projection: .258-7-34-20-39 in 277 at-bats
* * *
Overall this team should be in the middle of the pack offensively, although we have plenty enough speed to lead our league in steals. We should have a solid pitching staff that could be outstanding if Latos is healthy and if our late-round starters enjoy the positive regression in their hit and strand rates that we expect. In classic 411 fashion we have a tremendous bullpen, which should help offset any weakness in our starting pitching group. Add it all up and our team should be competitive in our league, and if we can stay healthy and find one more solid bat in free agency, we could win our league. I’m not getting my hopes up for the overall though, too much injury risk and not enough in the Triple Crown categories to worry about that right now.
Regardless though, I’m glad I was able to get so many of picks in the early going, and after that it became another lesson in sticking to a plan while maintaining flexibility. It will be six months or so before we see if I did either well enough, but at least now I have some new pet players to root for!
Looking forward to comments and feedback… play ball!
Hey, anytime you can put together a team leaving $19 on the
table, you gotta do it … right?
So things didn’t work out exactly the way I wanted to for my first Tout Wars adventure, but in all seriousness, I’m still digging my squad.
My entire gameplan was to get Hanley, 2 top 1Bs, 3 solid closers, pay for 1 OF, get either Mark Reynolds, Pedro Alvarez or Pablo Sandoval as my 3B, and fill out my catchers, the rest of my OF and starters on the cheap.
This somewhat went according to plan but then closers starting going crazy expensive and I was left overspending on Kevin Gregg. That’s never a good thing. I also am a bit short on steals and my saves are a little shaky. Whoops!
Anyway, let’s take a look at my squad:
C Nick Hundley — $3 – Padres
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia — $3 – Red Sox
Analysis: I actually wanted to spend less on my backstops and would have been perfectly fine settling on any starting catcher that would give me production. John Jaso went for $7, I got crickets on Salty at $3. I’ll take that any day of the week. I wanted at-bats, and I wanted catchers with upside. It might be minimal upside but I like Hundley’s power potential even in PETCO and I like Salty in that stacked Red Sox lineup. This went according to plan.
1B Miguel Cabrera — $38 – Tigers
Analysis: I had 39 as my max bid on Miggy and I couldn’t feel less threatened by his off-the-field shenanigans. He’s the most talented hitter in baseball not named Albert Pujols. Will gladly take him over Votto (36) and definitely over Teixeira (37 � wowza).
2B Ryan Raburn — $11 – Tigers
Analysis: Went a few dollars extra on Raburn, but it’s not like I didn’t have them to spare. .270/25/85 seems completely doable. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. Should I have opted for Nishioka at $9? Definitely. But Carty had tons of dough at that time and I was actually running on the cheap if you can believe it. Trust me, I was there.
SS Hanley Ramirez — $47 – Marlins
Analysis: I wanted Hanley. I got Hanley.
3B Pedro Alvarez — $12 – Pirates
Analysis: I thought all the value in 3B this year was in the mid-tier guys, so I targeted Pedro, Reynolds and Panda. I budgeted about $14 for this spot and was totally panicking when Aramis Ramirez went for $20. Pedro proved to be a bargain at $12 along with Casey McGehee at $11 by Wiegert.
MI Marco Scutaro — $1 – Red Sox
Analysis: This was not the gameplan. Sure Scoot Scoot will get me some runs in that lineup but I should have paid more for a 2B. If only I had more money left at the end …
OF Jay Bruce — $19 – Reds
Analysis: My plan all along was to target Nelly Cruz or Andrew McCutchen for around $29. Bruce was someone I had interest in but figured I’d have to overspend to get and didn’t really budget for him. Then he became the opening guy on the table and I got him for $19 because I thought that
was an incredible deal. I still think that way. I love this pick and I have to
think if his name got tossed out a round or two later he woulda gone for $25. Ya know, like what Ichiro went for.
OF Nate McLouth — $6 – Braves
Analysis: So I had money left and no outfielders and McLouth was the best guy on the board in my opinion. I needed speed, he looks good this spring and he’s shown flashes of being a productive OFer before. It’s a risk but, hey, let’s roll the dice.
OF Alex Gordon — $2 – Royals
Analysis: Gordon is exactly the type of cheap, 1-2 dollar outfielder I was targeting. High upside, minor league pedigree, new swing this spring, I’m in. I say this every season, but I really mean it this time. I say that every season too. This analysis is giving me a headache.
OF Will Venable — $2 — Padres
OF Peter Bourjos — $1 — Angels
Analysis: I needed speed and I needed outfielders.
UTIL Eric Young Jr. — $1 – Rockies
Analysis: I needed speed and I don’t want Marco Scutaro along for the ride if I can avoid it. If EYJr can lock down the starting gig this is a steal.
SP Gio Gonzalez ($9), Ian Kennedy ($8), Javier Vazquez ($7), Mike
Minor ($4), Jorge De La Rosa ($4), Erik Bedard ($1)
Analysis: Love this staff and got them at all good prices. Definitely thought Gio and DLR would go for more. I wanted cheap strikeout pitchers and I got’em.
RP John Axford ($14), Ryan Franklin ($9), Kevin Gregg
Analysis: Ideally I wanted another top notch guy but clearly that didn’t go according to plan. I <3 Axford so I didn’t mind spending on him. Hoping Gregg can just hold on to the job and Franklin is Franklin.
FANTASY PROGRAMMING TO RETURN TO MLB NETWORK FOR 2011 SEASON
MLB.com’s Fantasy 411: 2011 Fantasy Draft Preview to Air on Sunday, March 20 & MLB.com’s Fantasy 411 Begins April 4
Secaucus, NJ, March 17, 2010 – With Opening Day only two weeks away and fantasy baseball drafts in full swing, MLB Network will air MLB.com’s Fantasy 411: 2011 Fantasy Draft Preview on Sunday, March 20 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Hosted by MLB Network’s Matt Yallof and Harold Reynolds along with MLB.com’s Cory Schwartz and Mike Siano, MLB.com’s Fantasy 411: 2011 Fantasy Draft Preview will provide detailed player rankings and position-by-position analysis, including potential ‘breakout, bargain and bust’ candidates. The two-hour preview show, which will be simulcast on MLB.com, will discuss different strategies for draft day and which injured stars will recapture their elite fantasy status this season.
MLB.com’s Fantasy 411 will once again be simulcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com on weekdays at 2:30 p.m. ET, beginning Monday, April 4. The program, hosted by MLB.com’s Jeremy Brisiel, will provide key insights from Schwartz and Siano to help keep fans informed on the latest fantasy news, notes and trends in Major League Baseball.
To help him prepare for his upcoming AL Tout draft, Siano asked me to put together this list of dollar values from the recently completed AL LABR expert league draft. So I figured I’d post this on the blog as a handy resource for those of you in AL-only auction leagues. The players are broken down by position and listed alphabetically. I’ve also spaced it out so that it should print rather neatly.
We’re done! Here are the complete 23-round mock draft results along with comments from the various participants on their best and worst picks, general strategy and/or any other random thoughts. I’ll add more comments as I get them so stay tuned. We’d love to hear your feedback.
1 – JB – Albert Pujols
2 – Sheehan – Troy Tulowitzki
3 – Chaprales – Hanley Ramirez
4 – Feldman – Miguel Cabrera
5 – Kay – Ryan Braun
6 – Steinhorn – Evan Longoria
7 – Stryshak- Carlos Gonzalez
8 – Nando – Joey Votto
9 – Siano – Robinson Cano
10 – Schwartz – Carl Crawford
11 – Costa – Adrian Gonzalez
12 – Collette – David Wright
13 – Collette – Chase Utley
14 – Costa – Ryan Zimmerman
15- Schwartz – Alex Rodriguez
16 – Siano – Mark Teixeira
17 – Nando – Josh Hamilton
18 – Stryshak – Jose Reyes
19 – Steinhorn – Matt Holliday
20 – Kay – Prince Fielder
21 – Feldman – Kevin Youkilis
22 – Chaprales – Ryan Howard
23 – Sheehan – Joe Mauer
24 – JB – Justin Upton
25 – JB – Andrew McCutchen
26 – Sheehan – Matt Kemp
27 – Chaprales – Dustin Pedroia
28 – Feldman – Nelson Cruz
29 – Kay – Shin-Soo Choo
30 – Steinhorn – Roy Halladay
31 – Stryshak – Dan Uggla
32 – Nando – Felix Hernandez
33 – Siano – Brian McCann
34 – Schwartz – Ian Kinsler
35 – Costa – Brandon Phillips
36 – Collette – Cliff Lee
37 – Collette – Jose Bautista
38 – Costa – Tim Lincecum
39 – Schwartz – Victor Martinez
40 – Siano – Jacoby Ellsbury
41 – Nando – Zack Greinke
42 – Stryshak – Adam Dunn
43 – Steinhorn – Jayson Werth
44 – Kay – Adrian Beltre
45 – Feldman – Jason Heyward
46 – Chaprales – Ichiro Suzuki
47 – Sheehan – Clayton Kershaw
48 – JB – Buster Posey
49 – JB – Rickie Weeks
50 – Sheehan – B.J. Upton
51 – Chaprales – Jon Lester
52 – Feldman – Elvis Andrus
53 – Kay – Mike Stanton
54 – Steinhorn – Jimmy Rollins
55 – Stryshak – Hunter Pence
56 – Nando – Alex Rios
57 – Siano – Jay Bruce
58 – Schwartz – Derek Jeter
59 – Costa – Chris Young
60 – Collette – Andre Ethier
61 – Collette – CC Sabathia
62 – Costa – Colby Rasmus
63 – Schwartz – Carlos Marmol
64 – Siano – Mariano Rivera
65 – Nando – Curtis Granderson
66 – Stryshak – Carlos Santana
67 – Steinhorn – Kendry Morales
68 – Kay – Drew Stubbs
69 – Feldman – Adam Wainwright
70 – Chaprales – Justin Morneau
71 – Sheehan – Josh Johnson
72 – JB – Neftali Feliz
73 – JB – Joakim Soria
74 – Sheehan – Justin Verlander
75 – Chaprales – Shane Victorino
76 – Feldman – Heath Bell
77 – Kay – Alexei Ramirez
78 – Steinhorn – Brian Wilson
79 – Stryshak – Cole Hamels
80 – Nando – Francisco Liriano
81 – Siano – Grady Sizemore
82 – Schwartz – Torii Hunter
83 – Costa – Andrew Bailey
84 – Collette – Billy Butler
85 – Collette – Martin Prado
86 – Costa – Stephen Drew
87 – Schwartz – Yovani Gallardo
88 – Siano – Jonathan Papelbon
89 – Nando – Jason Bay
90 – Stryshak – Tommy Hanson
91 – Steinhorn – Michael Bourn
92 – Kay – Ubaldo Jimenez
93 – Feldman – Adam Lind
94 – Chaprales – Pedro Alvarez
95 – Sheehan – Nick Markakis
96 – JB – Jered Weaver
97 – JB – Mark Reynolds
98 – Sheehan – Kelly Johnson
99 – Chaprales – Delmon Young
100 – Feldman – Pablo Sandoval
101 – Kay – Mat Latos
102 – Steinhorn – Dan Haren
103 – Stryshak – Aramis Ramirez
104 – Nando – Chone Figgins
105 – Siano – David Price
106 – Schwartz – Roy Oswalt
107 – Costa – Shaun Marcum
108 – Collette – Corey Hart
109 – Collette – Paul Konerko
110 – Costa – Jose Valverde
111 – Schwartz – Ben Zobrist
112 – Siano – Max Scherzer
113 – Nando – Michael Young
114 – Stryshak – Matt Cain
115 – Steinhorn – Aaron Hill
116 – Kay – Jonathan Broxton
117 – Feldman – John Axford
118 – Chaprales – Chris Carpenter
119 – Sheehan – Travis Snider
120 – JB – Brett Gardner
121 – JB – Jose Tabata
122 – Sheehan – David Ortiz
123 – Chaprales – Jonathan Sanchez
124 – Feldman – Brandon Morrow
125 – Kay – Chad Billingsley
126 – Steinhorn – Geovany Soto
127 – Stryshak – Huston Street
128 – Nando – Adam Jones
129 – Siano – Ian Stewart
130 – Schwartz – Mike Napoli
131 – Costa – Matt Wieters
132 – Collette – Rafael Furcal
133 – Collette – Francisco Rodriguez
134 – Costa – Daniel Hudson
135 – Schwartz – Chris Perez
136 – Siano – Ian Desmond
137 – Nando – Josh Beckett
138 – Stryshak – J.J. Putz
139 – Steinhorn – Brad Lidge
140 – Kay – Brian Roberts
141 – Feldman – Juan Pierre
142 – Chaprales – Francisco Cordero
143 – Sheehan – Gordon Beckham
144 – JB – Carlos Pena
145 – JB – Tim Hudson
146 – Sheehan – Drew Storen
147 – Chaprales – Matt Thornton
148 – Feldman – Gio Gonzalez
149 – Kay – Joel Hanrahan
150 – Steinhorn – Wandy Rodriguez
151 – Stryshak – Angel Pagan
152 – Nando – Carlos Beltran
153 – Siano – Matt Garza
154 – Schwartz – Ricky Nolasco
155 – Costa – Nick Swisher
156 – Collette – Colby Lewis
157 – Collette – Miguel Montero
158 – Costa – Casey McGehee
159 – Schwartz – Carlos Quentin
160 – Siano – Jorge De La Rosa
161 – Nando – Derrek Lee
162 – Stryshak – Ted Lilly
163 – Steinhorn – Carlos Lee
164 – Kay – Brett Anderson
165 – Feldman – Jhoulys Chacin
166 – Chaprales – Ryan Dempster
167 – Sheehan – Jorge Posada
168 – JB – Kurt Suzuki
169 – JB – Craig Kimbrel
170 – Sheehan – Aroldis Chapman
171 – Chaprales – Clay Buchholz
172 – Feldman – Trevor Cahill
173 – Kay – Leo Nunez
174 – Steinhorn – Joe Nathan
175 – Stryshak – Jeremy Hellickson
176 – Nando – Ian Kennedy
177 – Siano – Vernon Wells
178 – Schwartz – Howard Kendrick
179 – Costa – Madison Bumgarner
180 – Collette – Frank Francisco
181 – Collette – Bobby Abreu
182 – Costa – Austin Jackson
183 – Schwartz – Gaby Sanchez
184 – Siano – Rajai Davis
185 – Nando – Jake McGee
186 – Stryshak – Denard Span
187 – Steinhorn – Adam LaRoche
188 – Kay – Ike Davis
189 – Feldman – Ryan Raburn
190 – Chaprales – Domonic
191 – Sheehan – James Loney
192 – JB – John Danks
193 – JB – David Aardsma
194 – Sheehan – Hong-Chih Kuo
195 – Chaprales – Manny Ramirez
196 – Feldman – Chris Sale
197 – Kay – Neil Walker
198 – Steinhorn – Starlin Castro
199 – Stryshak – Jonny Venters
200 – Nando – Alfonso Soriano
201 – Siano – Fernando Rodney
202 – Schwartz – Hiroki Kuroda
203 – Costa – C.J. Wilson
204 – Collette – Carlos Ruiz
205 – Collette – Jake Peavy
206 – Costa – Omar Infante
207 – Schwartz – Edwin Encarnacion
208 – Siano – Asdrubal Cabrera
209 – Nando – Ricky Romero
210 – Stryshak – Sean Rodriguez
211 – Steinhorn – Phil Hughes
212 – Kay – Dexter Fowler
213 – Feldman – Lance Berkman
214 – Chaprales – Russell Martin
215 – Sheehan – Chase Headley
216 – JB – Alcides Escobar
217 – JB – Chris Coghlan
218 – Sheehan – Ervin Santana
219 – Chaprales – Daniel Bard
220 – Feldman – Tsuyoshi Nishioka
221 – Kay – Edinson Volquez
222 – Steinhorn – Brandon Lyon
223 – Stryshak – Michael Cuddyer
224 – Nando – J.J. Hardy
225 – Siano – Matt LaPorta
226 – Schwartz – Aubrey Huff
227 – Costa – Luke Scott
228 – Collette – Seth Smith
229 – Collette – James Shields
230 – Costa – Anibal Sanchez
231 – Schwartz – Ryan Franklin
232 – Siano – Rafael Soriano
233 – Nando – Magglio Ordonez
234 – Stryshak – Raul Ibanez
235 – Steinhorn – Jason Kubel
236 – Kay – Mike Minor
237 – Feldman – Jordan Zimmermann
238 – Chaprales – Javier Vazquez
239 – Sheehan – J.D. Drew
240 – JB – Jaime Garcia
241 – JB – Jair Jurrjens
242 – Sheehan – Rick Porcello
243 – Chaprales – John Lackey
244 – Feldman – J.P. Arencibia
245 – Kay – Chris Iannetta
246 – Steinhorn – Johnny Cueto
247 – Stryshak – Brian Matusz
248 – Nando – Koji Uehara
249 – Siano – A.J. Burnett
250 – Schwartz – Gavin Floyd
251 – Costa – Mitch Moreland
252 – Collette – Matt Joyce
253 – Collette – Brandon League
254 – Costa – Tim Stauffer
255 – Schwartz – Kevin Gregg
256 – Siano – Nate McLouth
257 – Nando – Miguel Tejada
258 – Stryshak – Vladimir Guerrero
259 – Steinhorn – Cameron Maybin
260 – Kay – Andres Torres
261 – Feldman – Kila Ka’aihue
262 – Chaprales – Jesus Montero
263 – Sheehan – Joel Peralta
264 – JB – Mike Aviles
265 – JB – Justin Smoak
266 – Sheehan – Brett Wallace
267 – Chaprales – Freddie Freeman
268 – Feldman – Yadier Molina
269 – Kay – Jarrod Saltalamacchia
270 – Steinhorn – John Buck
271 – Stryshak – Josh Thole
272 – Nando – Nick Hundley
273 – Siano – A.J. Pierzynski
274 – Schwartz – Covelli Crisp
275 – Costa – John Jaso
276 – Collette – Jason Hammel
My strategy was the usual, ignore SP for as long as I could and get some position scarcity and my CL locked up. Took care of catcher and 2B early with Cano/McCann and love the Rivera/Papelbon combo. Very happy with Price/Scherzer up top and didn’t have to take them until 9/10. One place I could be hurting is 3B but tough to be perfect. Favorite picks were Ellsbury in the 4th, Rajai Davis in the 16th and Garza in the 14th. Hated taking Vernon Wells but at least it was the 15th.
My typical strategy in a 12-team mixed daily league is to go heavy on bats, get two top-tier closers early, and fill in starting pitchers later. Unfortunately, I drafted this with a 15-team weekly league in mind and ended up overpaying for starting pitchers, which hurt my outfield (in particular) and bullpen. I’m glad it was only a mock draft!
Best pick: Edwin Encarnacion (19.10). Yes, everyone may think I’m kidding about him at this point, but I’m expecting a .270 season with a worst-case scenario of 25 homers, making him a bargain in the 19th round.
Worst pick: Yovani Gallardo (8.3). It’s fair value for him, but an unneeded departure from my usual strategy.
Usually I wouldn’t even think about taking a starting pitcher in the third round, but when you’re in a draft with 11 other guys who seem to be strictly adhering to the 411 “wait on pitching” philosophy, going against the grain isn’t always a bad idea. Among starters, Halladay is in a class by himself and I do not at all regret taking him at pick #30. In my opinion, he was simply the most valuable player left on the board.
Best pick: Joe Nathan at pick #174: I understand there’s some injury risk here but it sounds like Nathan has a good chance of being ready for the start of the season. Even if he misses the first couple weeks, this is a small price to pay for potential top-tier closer production.
Worst pick: I hate Jayson Werth this year, and I’m still trying to figure out why I took him at pick #43. At the time, I was zeroing in on the outfield position and was faced with a Werth/Ichiro/Heyward dilemna and felt Werth was the best combination of experience and power/speed. In retrospect, I probably should have just reached for the outfielder I really do like…Hunter Pence.
Overall, my team is OK but not one I’d be thrilled about. The pitching is strong and I think I’ve covered the categories pretty well, but I have too many specialists and not enough across-the-board contributors. This could lead to problems in the event of injuries.
I loved getting JJ Hardy in the 19th round. I think he’s one of those guys who could really break out this year. He’s definitely on par with someone like Stephen Drew, who went 86th (Hardy went 224th). He’s a sneaky late round pick.
Obviously, my worst pick might turn out to be Beckett in the 12th round. But he could also turn out to be my best pick. I don’t know which Beckett is going to show up. I’m like 51% sure that it’ll be Good Beckett, and 49% that it’ll be Bad Beckett, but I’d rather have him on my bench tanking than have him on another team beating me.
I kind of (and this is up for debate) screwed up in not knowing how long the draft was going to be and how many rounds I had left to fill out my starters, so I had to drop Soriano and Magglio–picks I loved–for Varitek and Arroyo–who were just the first two available names I could think up. My mind is stuck in Boston, c. 2003. But I drafted like I always draft. Pick the best guys, fill most of my spots, then wait until the day before the season starts and drop my two worst players for a couple guys like Varitek and Arroyo.
I’m also pissed that I lost out on Sean Rodriguez. He’s my super-sleeper this year. It’s like that King you hold on to in “War” until the very end. Unfortunately, Stryshak got him right after I picked Ricky Romero. My bad. I’m not going to cry over it, but it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who is on to Rodriguez, so I’ll remember that in my upcoming non-mock drafts. This is, after all, part of the reason we do the mocks.
Best Pick: No doubt: Brian Matusz. Getting a rookie 10-game winner (in the AL East!) that late in the draft was the kind of unexpectedly happy accident that makes drafts so much fun. Matusz killed it down the stretch last year, going 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 43 Ks in his last eight starts despite the O’s offense scoring exactly four runs in six of those victorious efforts. A full year of Buck Showalter at the helm and a retooled offense finally offering some backup, I wouldn’t rule out 15 Ws.
Worst Pick: I wouldn’t call it the worst because that word doesn’t belong in the same sentence as Carlos Gonzalez, but immediately
after I took him with the seventh overall selection I began second-guessing myself and wondering if David Wright would have been the better choice.
Ultimately I think they’ll wind up posting similar stats in the 5x5s, but I felt just a bit more secure in going with the younger player who owns a considerable home park advantage.
General Strategy/Comments: Although it contradicts nearly every piece of “expert” draft advice you’re ever likely to hear, I’ve done well for myself in leagues past by focusing on starting pitching early and often. If everyone else is zigging, I have no problem pulling a prolonged zag. If my stable of aces stay healthy, I should have a profound edge in four of the 10 categories and I won’t have to make decisions like, “Am I really going to spot start Carlos Silva today?” I was preared to put my pitching-centric plan into action once again but early on it became pretty clearly that this collection of owners had a pitching phobia as severe as I’ve ever seen, so I decided, on the fly, to play along – and I’m glad I did. I took my first starter in the seventh round where I happily snatched up Cole Hamels, who I expect to capitalize on his big second half last year with a career year in ’11. It just goes to show that you can’t ever be too locked into one particular strategy on draft day. Sure, execute your plan as best you can, but also try to get a sense for what commodities are being over/undervalued and think about how to use that information to your advantage.
balance. Taking Big Papi was completely out of character for me, but the chance for power numbers at that point in the draft was too good to pass up.
Here is version 2.0 of this year’s composite projections:
Please read the version 1.0 post, and the older posts linked from that one, for details on what is and is not included in these projections, how they get generated, and so forth. I don’t mind answering questions, but I’d rather not repeat any answers if they’re already included in previous posts. :-)
Here are the changes since the last version:
* Added projections from the 16th and last provider I’ll be integrating this year. The more projections we have, the wider a range of opinions
get incorporated, and the closer we come to consensus.
* Filtered to include players appearing in six or more projections, rather than eight last time, to represent more players. Keep in mind though that those with fewer projections are typically minor leaguers, and these represent “what if” projections, since the playing time amounts are often unrealistic. So don’t get too excited just yet about those projections for Jesus Montero (right) or Mike Moustakas, since I doubt they’ll see that much playing time!
* Added date of birth on the batting and pitching tabs to help find those all-important Age 27 seasons;
* Added a games by position tab, with MLB and minor league totals from last year, to help determine position eligibility based on different league requirements.
The last steps I need to do in my own prep are to adjust for playing time and roles, that is, starter vs. relief pitcher vs. closer, etc. I encourage everyone to tailor these to fit their own expectations in those regards, but try to not tinker too much with the other numbers except for pro-rating them to match the playing time… otherwise it defeats the purpose of doing these in the first place!
I hope this helps you all in your draft prep. Enjoy!
Mike’s Overrated Team
C Carlos Santana *Just not sure a guy with 150 at bats is a top 100 player. I think he’ll be good this year but maybe all the chatter makes me think he’s being drafted to be great.
1B Billy Butler *Said it on the show, I just don’t see a bunch of those doubles becoming homers. he’s not a guy I’d want at 1B, rather he was my CI or UT.
2B Chase Utley *One of my favorite players but I don’t trust his health.
3B Jose Bautista *Draft for 30-35 not the 54. Love the pos flex but there are other OF and 3B I’d rather have.
SS Elvis Andrus *He has to steal a ton to be valuable. Could be empty in three cats. I think he is a better real baseball player than fantasy. I’d rather have Alexi, Ian Desmond and others.
OF Matt Kemp *Cory thinks he is now potentially underrated or fair value but I still think the expectations on him are too high in the mainstream fantasy world. A tweep wanted to trade Carlos Santana and an early 7th rounder for him. I’d rather have Santana and Jay Bruce than Kemp.
OF Jayson Werth *I don’t think he will be happy watching the Phillies win while Washington still develops even though I think they got better. His comment about doing it for the union and leaving that park and lineup worry me plus the drop in HR, RBI and SB.
OF Alex Rios *Addressed it on the show. he should be good but not great.last year was his first 20-20 season ever all of a sudden eh goes on a roll of them?
SP Trevor Cahill *Great 2010 but no K’s and he’ll have a hard time besting those very nice wins and rate stats.
SP CJ Wilson *I think the league will be ready for him this year. like the guy a ton but I don’t trust him to take the next step. that was a magical year in Arlington.
CL Neftali Feliz *The main reason I picked him for this is the looming chatter about him going into the rotation and his year was outstanding can he repeat or best? Made an enormous jump in ADP.
Cory’s Overrated Team (see below)
C Buster Posey
1B Billy Butler
2B Brandon Phillips
3B Casey McGehee
SS Elvis Andrus
OF Josh Hamilton
OF Austin Jackson
OF Alex Rios
SP Clay Buchholz
SP Dallas Braden
CL Ryan Franklin
C Matt Wieters *Classic post hype. I like what he did in September and think this could be last chance to get him at a discount. Jump on it.
1B Kendry Morales *The news that he has alittle ways to go for Scioscia to let him play makes me even more high on him. He plays 1B for God’s sake once he gets back he will do what he’s done since taking over and that is rake and mash.
2B Chone Figgins *He was atrocious last year and still stole 42 bags. I’ll take my chances he can’t be that bad again so everything comes up.
3B Alex Rodriguez *Scratching your head? He could end season as #1 3B. Doesn’t that make him undervalued if he is going 3rd or 4th at the position?
SS Asdrubal Cabrera *Man crush city. Would have had a solid year if not for the injury which he only got because he plays hard. Huge value for 2011.
OF Carlos Beltran *The power of the walk year, move to right and he’s a world class talent. Hopefully the knee cooperates but his ADP is 221 so where is the risk?
OF Nate McLouth *Super sleeper for this year. No risk and 20-20 reward. I believe.
OF Grady Sizemore *If I think Beltran can bounce back I think Grady can too. he’d be a trailblazer for coming back so quick from the surgery, putting some eggs in his basket based on age.ADP is 94 so I’m not the only believer.
SP Dan Hudson *Some guys are so talked about they lose sleeper value. Looks like that happened to me on the new Danny Boy in MLB (sorry Haren). Knew Cory was picking Marcum so I went with next guy in line.I expect a very good year. Rank among SP is 35 according to ADP.
SP Jorge De La Rosa *It’s a battle over who loves him more me or Joe Sheehan. ADP is 186 his strikeouts should top that number.
CL Jonathan Broxton *Needs to get off to a fast start but if he does I think he regains close to form and never at a lower price. Closer rank is 15th. Draft as a # 2 CL and enjoy the ride.
Cory’s Underrated Team (see below)
C Chris Iannetta
1B Gaby Sanchez
2B Sean Rodriguez
3B Edwin Encarnacion
SS Alcides Escobar
OF Carlos Beltran
OF Carlos Quentin
OF Seth Smith
SP Shaun Marcum
SP James Shields
CL Chris Perez
Finding overrated and underrated players is by definition a zero-sum game: for every overrated player there must be an underrated player. For me, finding them is easiest done by finding two players who appear comparable, with the exception of maybe one category and/or degrees of risk, and then comparing their likely draft position or auction value. So rather than going through my teams one at a time, let’s compare my selections at each position, including their expected production and current ADP in recent mock drafts:
Catcher: Buster Posey plays in a tough hitters park in an average lineup, and has neither the fly ball rate nor the minor league track record to suggest big-time power numbers. Chris Iannetta, on the other hand, has the job to himself this year and both the fly-ball rate and home ballpark to easily top 20 homers given everyday playing time, and his rate stats have remained stable the past two seasons despite his struggles. Certainly Posey will hit for a much higher average and Iannetta has much greater risk given his flops of the past two seasons, but is Posey worth a 3rd or 4th round pick compared to Iannetta’s near-reserve status?
First Base: Everyone keeps waiting for Billy Butler to convert his 40+ doubles into big-time homer production, but that appears unlikely given that his groundball rate has remained consistently high. He’s an excellent contact hitter who will hit for high average, but if you cover up the batting average column, is he worth a 6th or 7th round pick compared to Gaby Sanchez, who’s going in the 15th or 16th round? Sanchez projects as the superior power hitter, and while he won’t approach Butler in average, he will also chip in a handful of steals that the slow-footed Butler won’t.
Second Base: Anyone else notice that Brandon Philips has gone from 30-30 to 20-20 to teen-teen over the past four seasons? Franchise has lost very little in terms of his underlying skills, but the power and speed are clearly in decline as he wears down from years of nagging injuries. Using a 3rd or 4th round pick on him seems very risky when you can get Sean Rodriguez in the very late rounds of 12-team mixed league drafts. S-Rod has contact issues and so won’t hit for much average, but has the power and speed to approach a 20-20 season, and may be eligible at three positions during the season.
Third Base: A big chunk of Casey McGehee‘s value is very heavily tied to RBI’s, which we know can fluctuate wildly without any relevance to the player’s skill. His ground ball rate is too high to support more than 20 or so HR’s, his underlying stats suggest .275-280 more than the .285-300 of the past two years, and he won’t steal. An 8th or 9th round pick is not terribly expensive for him, but I’d rather wait until the reserve rounds and take Edwin Encarnacion. E5’s trends in his contact and fly ball rates, combined with his presence in Toronto’s take-and-rate lineup and favorable home ballpark, and his release from the defensive burden of third base, make him my preseason pick for this year’s Jose Bautista Award.
Shortstop: Given that I hit as many homers last year as Elvis Andrus did, and that he’s not a big contributor in batting average, his value is tied entirely to runs and steals, neither of which qualify as elite. Alcides Escobar was unimpressive as a rookie last year, but his rate stats suggest he could approach Andrus’ production in those two categories this year, and while Andrus is going in the 5th or 6th round, Escobar is going in the 20’s. If you cover up the names they are very likely to be virtually identical players this season, so there is no reason to take one 15 rounds ahead of the other.
For the outfielders, I’ll try to pair them up in terms of who is most comparable…
Outfield: Josh Hamilton is a no-doubt superstar, but he’s not a .359 hitter, not that there’s nothing wrong with a .325 average. However, he is also a major injury risk, just like Carlos Quentin, who outside of batting average is a reasonably comparable player in terms of the other 5×5 categories. Given similar playing time they should put up similar numbers outside the batting average, and if either has a 40+ homer upside, I think it’s Quentin. Hamilton is going in the late first or early second round, but I’d rather gamble on Quentin in the 12th or 13th round.
Outfield: Alex Rios had a great May last year but otherwise performed at a very similar level to what he’d done in previous seasons. His rising ground ball rate points to fewer homers, not more, although he should continue to post solid steals thanks to the green light he enjoys from manager Ozzie Guillen. Carlos Beltran, on the other hand, is a former power/speed threat who will move to right field this year due to persistent knee problems. He’s no sure thing, but he had a huge September last year to demonstrate that the skills are still there. Figure on comparable stats across the board outside of
steals, where Rios should top 30 while Beltran will be lucky to reach double-digits, but Rios is going in the 5th or 6th round while Beltran is going
an average of 10 rounds later.
Outfield: OK, Austin Jackson and Seth Smith aren’t great comps, but these are my last two! Jackson’s huge rookie season was driven by an astonishingly high BABIP, which can’t be expected to be repeated, and his massive strikeout rate and high ground ball rate suggest his average could in fact collapse, leaving him as a one-category player in the 16th round. On the other hand, Smith is going undrafted despite the fact that he’ll be near everyday player in Coors Field, where his established power makes him a threat to approach 25 homers with a solid average and a handful of steals. While he’ll likely be platooned to some extent, he did show the ability to hit lefties during his minor league career.
Starter: Clay Buchholz was one of the luckiest pitchers in baseball last year, with his strikeout, hit and strand rates suggesting an ERA around 4.00, rather than 2.33. On the other hand, Shaun Marcum is getting out of the brutal AL East into the NL, where he has struck out nearly a batter per inning so far in his career while putting up “soft ace” rate stats. Buchholz is going a round or two ahead of Marcum in mock drafts so far, but it’s Marcum who is far more likely to put up superior value this season.
Starter: When considering late-round starters, stay away from Dallas Braden, who was extremely lucky last year, as his ERA should’ve been a run higher than it was, while his poor strikeout rates further limit his fantasy value. Take a closer look though at James Shields, who was as unlucky last year as Braden was lucky, with his rate stats suggesting an ERA more than a run lower than it actually was. Shields is going in the 16th round or later in mock drafts but has the skills to put up considerably more value than that cost.
Closer: Chris Perez is already going about two rounds ahead of Ryan Franklin in mock drafts, but it shouldn’t even be that close. While
Franklin has better command and arguably more job security, his mediocre strikeout rates limit his value, and he’s been consistently lucky with his
home-run rate, a trend that is likely to regress at some point. Perez on the other hand seized the job in the second half last year, improving both his
strikeout and walk rates, and giving up fewer fly balls. Perez is likely to move up in the closer ranks this year, while Franklin is one of the most likely to
lose the job.
I’ve done a handful of mock drafts so far this spring but
haven’t provided any type of recap on any, so here is a brief rundown of my
picks in today’s 12-team mixed league draft organized by our friend Jeff
Erickson of Rotowire. The projections on MDC.com don’t like this team much,
which may be reasonable due to some of the injury risks I rostered, but I’d be
very happy to come out with this team if the season started tomorrow. Probably
a little shy on power, and my pitching ratios have some risky spots, but
overall I think this is a very balanced team.
My picks in order, starting out at #9…
1.9 — Ryan Braun
(OF, MIL) – The declining slugging percentage and increased ground ball
rate are slightly worrisome, but the increased walk rate shows he’s still
improving. With his age and track record he’s a very safe first-rounder, and he
should steal more this year, too.
2.4 — Chase Utley
(2B, PHI) – I’ll be a lot more worried about the knee problem if I’m still
hearing about it in mid/late March, but not on February 28. He had a huge
September, so if healthy (admittedly a question mark right now) he will more
than justify this pick.
3.9 — Kevin Youkilis
(1B, BOS) – Another one with injury concerns, but the OPS keeps going up, he’s
in the middle of a loaded lineup, and he’ll have additional position
flexibility in case I need it later. 1B gets thin very quickly after him, get
4.4 — Andrew
McCutchen (OF, PIT) – Whether he bats leadoff or third in Pittsburgh, he
has the range of skills to provide plenty of value. A rising star, he probably
won’t last the fourth round in any draft, and it wouldn’t shock me if he
produced late 1st/early 2nd round value: .290, 20 homers, 40 steals.
5.9 — Derek Jeter
(SS, NYY) – If he’s truly on the decline then this is a bad reach. If he
bounces back even 10 percent above what he does last year, this is a solid pick
for useful across-the-board stats in all categories. My fallback option,
Stephen Drew, went at 7.3… mental note for future drafts.
6.4 — Joakim Soria
(RP, KC) – I wanted Jay Bruce here but Derek Van Riper from RotoWire took
him three picks earlier. I generally don’t like to take the first closer, but
with my first choice gone I decided to get ahead of the anticipated closer run,
and chose Soria’s outstanding ratios over Marmol’s massive strikeouts.
7.9 — Carlos Marmol
(RP, CHC) – Surprisingly, to me at least, only Brian Wilson and Mariano Rivera went after
Soria, so it came down to Marmol (below) or Heath Bell. I took the ratios last time so
this time I got my K’s. They complement each other perfectly and should of
course rack up 70 or more saves between ‘em.
8.4 — Pedro Alvarez
(3B, PIT) – I was sitting on Aramis Ramirez here but Tim Heaney from KFFL
took him two picks before me, so I went for the next-best available 3B. I’m not
convinced he’ll hit more than .250 or .260, but he should hit 30 homers by
mistake, and if he figures out lefties, the upside is massive.
9.9 — Chad
Billingsley (SP, LA) – Top SP’s went faster in this draft than I’d expect
from a typical 12-team mixed industry league, but there were still plenty of choices
here. Billingsley has shown gradual improvements over the past three seasons
and could approach the “soft ace” tier if all goes well this year.
10.4 — Shaun Marcum
(SP, MIL) - Perhaps a little bit of a reach, but I just missed on Carlos
Quentin so I decided to not wait around on my next SP. Check out Marcum’s
numbers outside the AL East last year; he’s a very solid #2, and would be ideal
as a #3.
11.9 — Nick Swisher
(OF, NYY) – So let’s see, I just missed on Bruce, Quentin and Shane Victorino… Swisher
is a decent consolation prize. He probably won’t approach .290 again, but .265
with 25 homers is a very reasonable expectation, and the loaded lineup means
plenty of runs and RBI’s.
12.4 — Ricky Nolasco
(SP, FLA) – He’ll challenge for a Cy Young Award one of these years. Once
again he’ll need to overcome the porous Marlins defense, but with his strikeout
ability he might be able to get it done on his own. I’m still on the bandwagon.
13.9 — Gordon
Beckham (2B, CHW) – A good mix of risk and reward here. If he builds on his
second half surge last year from before he got hurt, he could hit .280 with 20
or more homers, and early word out of spring training suggests he’s
rediscovered the aggressiveness he lost early last season.
14.4 — Jonathan
Sanchez (SP, SF) – Not as big a fan as Siano, and I worry that his gradual
ERA decline is more due to good fortune (BABIP) than any improvement in skills.
But if I get a 3.75 ERA and 200 strikeouts here, I’m not going to complain!
15.9 — Drew Storen
(RP, WAS) – I gambled that Chris Perez would get back to me, but he went
two picks after Sanchez… bad gamble. Storen will probably struggle at times this
year but should put up good strikeout numbers and should be fine as my #3 as
long as he doesn’t melt down.
16.4 — Edwin
Encarnacion (3B, TOR) – This year’s Jose Bautista. Mark it down. I’m not
talking 54 homers, that’s crazy talk, but if E5 (below) finally stays healthy this is
the year he hits .275 with 35 or more longballs. The power is legit and he’s in
the perfect situation to deliver on it.
17.9 — Russell
Martin (C, NYY) – As with Utley, I’ll be a lot more worried about his knee
if he’s not catching in three weeks. As for today, this is a fair value gamble
for 10-12 homers and steals, and as with Swisher, you have to love the lineup
18.4 — Coco Crisp
(OF, OAK) – My darkhorse candidate for the AL stolen base champ this year.
He put up sick numbers last year when healthy, and while he’s no sure thing to
play 150 games this year, he’ll produce when he’s in there.
19.9 — Seth Smith
(OF, COL) – He might get platooned some with Spilborghs, but he has the
power – plus a little bit of speed — to put up big numbers on planet Coors: 39
doubles, nine triples and 32 homers in 693 at-bats over the past two seasons.
20.4 — Angel Pagan
(OF, NYM) – Not a great player but a solid contributor who should produce
similar numbers to last season. He, Crisp and Smith will “battle” for the last
two OF spots on my imaginary team, with the loser opening up the UT spot for
some waiver wire trolling.
21.9 — Anibal
Sanchez (SP, FLA) – I could’ve taken Ian Kennedy or Carlos Carrasco here
but Anibal was a nice find for me last year so he’s rewarded with my fifth
starter spot. The IP increase from last year is a bit worrisome but it came
with a very strong finish.
22.4 — John Jaso (C,
TB) – Perhaps baseball’s most unlikely leadoff hitter until you consider Jaso (below) had a .372 OBP last year. The Rays offense might struggle at times but I’ll
take .275 and 70 runs out of my #2 catcher in any format.
23.9 — Brandon
League (RP, SEA) – The obligatory closer-in-waiting end-game gamble. I’m
not hearing good things about David Aardsma‘s recovery or outlook, and League is
capable of big strikeout numbers. Hey, if not, I’ll just Pitch or Ditch in this
So whaddya think? Looking forward to your feedback!