November 2011

Another Mock!

Monday night was the Mastersball Magazine Mock Draft, the issue hits newsstands January 24th and has more to it than just a mock. 15-team mixed league and I had pick #11.


Other participants

Scott Pianowski – Yahoo! Sports

Doug Anderson – RotoExperts

Al Mechior – CBS

David Gonos – RotoExperts

Mike Siano –

Steve Gardner – USA Today

Lawr Michaels – Mastersball

Peter Kreutzer – Ask RotoMan!

Mike Piekarski- BIS

Doug Dennis – BBHQ

Todd Zola – Mastersball

Nicholas Minnix – KFFL

Jeff Erickson – RotoWire

Tim McLeod – RotoRob

Gene McCaffrey – Wise Guy Baseball

1.11 Jacoby Ellsbury: Would have considered Hanley here but he went two picks earlier so it came down to Ellsbury or Justin Upton. As much as I love Upton I thought Ellsbury’s runs, steals, average and newfound pop were too much to pass up. Not sure he can have a better year but as long as he comes close to repeating 2011 he is a first rounder.

2.5 Ian Kinsler: Wanted Pedroia but he went right before me. Kinsler finally was healthy and showed what he can do. Worth the risk that is still out there but man I wanted Pedey.

3.11 Jay Bruce: Was looking best OF available and to me that was Bruce. Power with some speed at a thin position in a 15-teamer. My average is already hurting but that’s ok.

4.5 Brian McCann: Addressed OF/2B and C in first four picks and got a top tier catcher.

5.11 Drew Stubbs: Took the chance that he goes 30-30 and gets his average up. Lots of good OFs still available but he may have the chance to be a great OF in 2012.

6.5 Craig Kimbrel: As the 411 states, get two stud closers. Cory isn’t a big fan of being the first to choose a CL but I’m honey badger on that. Jeff Erickson said on twitter I basically got a closer and a 5th SP because of his Ks and he is right. Was wondering if this would start a run, it did not.

7.11 Alexei Ramirez: Get up Alexei. I think he is underrated in fantasy, not great but definitely doesn’t hurt you. I like this pick.

8.5 Mariano Rivera: Believe it or not, I wrestled with Mo or David Freese. I really needed a 3B but felt that as much as I think Freese will have a solid year, he was unproven. This would come back to bite me some but I also could have taken Freese in the 7th. He would end up going two picks later.

9.11 Ricky Romero: I was the next to last GM to take a SP. No issue with this pick, very happy. To get an ace I would have had to take a starter in the

6th. The difference in talent at SP between the 7th and 9th was a wash unless you count Josh Johnson, but there is a reason he went in the 7th right?

10.5 Ike Davis: Only time will tell if this was a reach and as we get closer to March and games are played, we’ll see if he goes up or down. Could be a steal, could be fair or a bust I’ll take my 66% odds and hope for the best.

11.11 Ervin Santana: BIG ERV!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12.5 Max Scherzer: Romero, Erv and Scherzer is coming together nicely. I’m going to assume Max bounces back.

13.11 Austin Jackson: I took three OF in first five picks which allowed me some time to wait. Like Max, I’m expecting a bounce back on certain aspects of his game. He’s averaged 95 runs and 25 steals his first two years, not a bad 4th OF at all.

14.5 Derek Holland: Love this pick, great second half, high ceiling low risk in the 14th.

15.11 Jonny Venters: Hedge for Kimbrel and more. 96 Ks in 2011.

16.5 Casey McGehee: My least favorite pick but there was nobody else left except Danny Valencia. Gross.

17.11 Mike Adams: Who knows, he may be the CL in 2012. If not, I have a K per IP and great rate stats.

18.5 Justin Smoak: Here’s to hoping this is the year. Needed a CI/DH.

19.11 Eric Thames: It was him or Soriano, Soriano is boring.

20.5 John Jaso: Still the starter and still a chance to contribute no?

21.11 Ivan Nova: Great value here, absolutely nothing to lose and I think he has a big year. Love his stuff and demeanor.

22.5 Kendrys Morales: The main reason why my 2011 was a lost season was due to having Kendrys on too many teams. Now he becomes a buy opportunity. True story, since he didn’t play last year he was omitted from the draft room queue, I took Val Pascucci as a placeholder.

23.11 Marco Scutaro: Hey, he may play the whole year there, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Early, Early Mock

Here I was kind of looking forward to an extended breather from the world of fantasy baseball. Those six months, or really eight months when factoring in the draft prep period, are so intense that by the time it’s all over I’m more than ready for it to be over, that is until about mid-January when I can’t wait for it to start again! In fact, I’ve never even done a mock draft before mid-January. Maybe I take mock drafts a bit too seriously, but I just wasn’t ready. Well, this year I decided to break my rule after being invited by Derek VanRiper of Roto Sports Inc. to participate in an NFBC style expert mock. 15 teams, 30-man rosters, hey why not? This would be the deepest mock draft I’ve ever been a part of, and by far the earliest. So what did I do to prepare? Very little. I printed out a set of rankings just to have the names in front of me on one page. In a 450-player draft, this was a must. My strategy? Nothing too complicated. I’d follow a best available player approach while paying attention to position scarcity. I know a lot of people like to try out radical strategies in mock drafts, but for the most part I’m not one of them, particularly this early in the offseason. I chose the #6 draft position as I generally prefer to be in the middle rather than having to constantly reach for players, but in retrospect I’m now thinking that the more teams in the league, the more it pays off to be at the wheel as you’re more likely to get the players you want. Anyway, click on the link below to see the results. Scroll further down for my commentary.

-Zach Steinhorn


Round 1 (Pick 6): Matt Kemp

Kemp vs. Tulo was a real tough call here as I’m a huge position scarcity guy, but I had my eye on a few of the mid-tier shortstops and I’m not overly impressed with the depth of the outfield pool. Will Kemp approach 40-40 again? Maybe not. But if his downside is 30-30 with a .285 average, I’ll take it.

Round 2 (Pick 25): Andrew McCutchen

Doubling up on outfielders with my first two picks. Not something I usually do but there’s a first time for everything! Thought about Holliday but opted for the younger and healthier McCutchen, who is coming off a poor second half but at 25 still carries tons of upside.

Round 3 (Pick 36): Dan Uggla

I was all set on taking A-Rod and then Lawr Michaels snatches him up with the pick right before me. Not in love with this pick but Uggla’s really the only second baseman who is a 30-HR lock, giving me a considerable power advantage over the other 14 teams.

Round 4 (Pick 55): Aramis Ramirez

One of my least favorite picks. Was focused on addressing the somewhat weak 3B position but probably should’ve waited a round and taken Lawrie. A-Ram is old and injury-prone and a move away from the Friendly Confines will only hurt his overall value.

Round 5 (Pick 66): J.J. Hardy

Continuing the trend of power middle infielders. There’s some downside with Hardy but, taking into account his position, I felt he was the best hitter available, and I was waiting as long as possible to draft my first pitcher.

Round 6 (Pick 85): Freddie Freeman

I like Freeman but considering his decent but not great power upside he’s not quite my ideal starting 1B choice. But at least I’d take Freeman over Billy Butler, who went with the pick before me. OK, I feel better now.

Round 7 (Pick 96): Ricky Romero

The SP wait is over. I’m going with Siano favorite Romero, hoping that he makes some progress in the control department.

Round 8 (Pick 115): Mariano Rivera

Whoa. Shocked that only three closers were taken up until this point, I’m more than happy to grab Mariano.

Round 9 (Pick 126): Jayson Werth

Yeah, yeah, he was a total bust last season. But I love taking guys at a discount the year after their bust season. Note that Werth came just one stolen base shy of going 20-20.

Round 10 (Pick 145): Jeremy Hellickson

Love this pick. The kid’s for real.


Rounds 11-15

Best pick: Joe Nathan (Round 13)

There’s little doubt in my mind that he’ll close next year, whether it be for the Twins or some other team. K rate is still strong and he’s coming off a solid second half. Low risk, high reward.

Worst pick: Kurt Suzuki (Round 15)

Needed a catcher and he was the best available. Not an awful pick but I’ve seen little to suggest that he’ll return to his ’09 form.


Rounds 16-20

Best pick: Jason Kubel (Round 17)

This guy is always underrated the fact that he missed a good chunk of last season due to injury makes him even more underrated. A safe bet for 20 homers and 85 or so RBIs. Should the free agent find a new club, he would benefit from the move away from pitcher-friendly Target Field.

Worst pick: Jair Jurrjens (Round 16)

Hard to criticize this one but I’m not a fan of the low K rate and the awful ’11 second half.


Rounds 21-30

I won’t bore you with this too much. Viciedo, Seager and Presley are nice fliers and Jim Johnson could see some save chances. Tim Heaney got really upset that I stole Johnson from him. Stealing picks in the 30th round. I love it!

All in all, I think I did a decent job in this ultra-challenging mock draft. Not overly thrilled, but then again I’m rarely satisfied with my early mock draft teams, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

OK, I’m officially done with mock drafts until 2012…I think.

411 Postseason Recap

First, a re-post of the important 2011 end of season blog links:

Top 10 First Basemen and Third Basemen for 2012

Top 10 Second Basemen and Shortstops for 2012

2012 Catcher and Outfielder Rankings

2012 Starting Pitcher and Relief Pitcher Rankings

2011 All-Surprise Team

2011 All-Disappointment Team

2011 All-Rookie and All-Injury Teams

2011 All-Fantasy Team and Report Cards

Fantasy 411 Pitch or Ditch Category Chart (Final Update)



Here is a little look at some news and performers from the 2011 Postseason that I thought warranted a blog post. I’m a firm believer that the playoffs are irrelevant in impact to the following regular season. Otherwise, Pat Borders and Scott Brosius and Bucky Dent would be first rounders the following year and then there is what I call the Beckett trap. In the 2003 playoffs he made his name as he was outstanding and then promptly followed that up in 2004 with the same exact regular season, which was OK but not worth where he probably was drafted in the majority of leagues.


                                                                                                                                                         Ryan Howard

Phillies hope he is ready by April. He should drop down on draft day, especially for those like myself who drafted Kendrys Morales and got ruined by his injury. Could be a value, could be a guessing game when he gets back. Long way to go but I’m probably avoiding altogether.

Matt Moore

Postseason (2 Games, 1 Start): 1-0  0.90 ERA  0.60 WHIP

He’ll be cheaper in mixed leagues than in AL-onlys, which sounds obvious but think about it in this perspective. Using Hellickson as a comp, he went for $13 in AL Tout this past season but went in the 16th round of a 12-team mixed. A 16th rounder sounds a heck of a lot cheaper than a double-digit dollar player in a $260 cap.

Jason Motte

Postseason (12 Games): 5-for-5 in saves  2.19 ERA  0.49 WHIP

Well now with LaRussa gone, we’ll never know if he was the closer. One weird game aside in the World Series and a Hamilton home run in the weirdest/greatest game ever, he was unbelievable to watch. I know we won’t see as drastic a usage and uncertainty in the 2012 regular season no matter who the skipper is. Love Motte as a #3 CL and we’ll see as mocks start in earnest in 2012 where he is falling. Right now, too early to tell.

David Freese

Postseason (18 Games):  .397 AVG  5 HR  21 RBI  .794 SLG  1.258 OPS

Great story and I feel solid future. He is the one guy who probably drove up his draft day price the most with his October and he may actually earn it. Went for $14 in NL Tout and if it was a keeper league and you had some slots open I don’t think it was the worst idea since he possibly could be a $20 player at a thin position. In mixed leagues he was probably undrafted so could be a gold mine to those who grabbed him off the wire and can keep him in last round. Or maybe I’m just smitten.

Allen Craig

Postseason (15 Games): .243 AVG (9-for-37)  4 HR  8 RBI  .622 SLG  1.013 OPS

Speaking of smitten, could Joe Sheehan say his name any more times than he did in 2011? Seems he just needs a place to play every day. If Pujols doesn’t return he would be the biggest beneficiary. If Pujols does he becomes a solid NL- only play and a wire guy in mixed.

Paul Goldschmidt

Postseason (4 Games): .438 AVG 7-for-16)  2 HR  6 RBI  .813 SLG  1.339 OPS

The merry go round for 1B in the desert is now out of commission.

Alex Avila

Postseason (11 Games): .073 AVG (3-for-41)  1 HR  2 RBI  .146 SLG  .263 OPS

I hope he drops on draft day because of his postseason but he won’t because the leagues I’m in the players are too smart to let that happen.

David Murphy

Overall Postseason (15 Games): .317 AVG (13-for-41)  0 HR  3 RBI  .439 SLG  .868 OPS

ALCS (5 Games): .412 AVG (7-for-17)  0 HR  3 RBI  .647 SLG  1.147 OPS

The Rangers have some good problems to figure out in 2012 and this is one of them. If they give Leonys Martina a shot to win the center field job, there is no everyday job for Murphy it seems. This one needs more time since basing his value on the inevitable injuries to Cruz and Hamilton just isn’t enough in a mixed league.

Shaun Marcum

Postseason (3 Starts): 0-3  14.90 ERA  2.28 WHIP  .395 BAA

August (6 Starts): 2.95 ERA  1.13 WHIP  2 HR allowed

September (5 Starts): 5.17 ERA  1.34 WHIP  5 HR allowed

I think he was hurt from September on. Maybe not DL hurt but he was just too awful. Could create a buying opportunity in mid to late rounds.

Derek Holland

DS (2 Games, 1 Start): 1.42 ERA  1.42 WHIP

LCS (2 Starts): 8.59 ERA  2.05 WHIP

WS (2 Games, 1 Start): 1-0  0.87 ERA  0.58 WHIP

Pre All-Star break (18 Starts): 7-4  4.68 ERA  1.47 WHIP

Post All-Star break (14 Starts): 9-1  3.06 ERA  1.21 WHIP

He could have pitched four CG SHO or pitched like Marcum, I’m buying either way. High ceiling and can dominate. He is a 411 darling for 2012.

Alexi Ogando

Overall Postseason (13 Games as reliever):  2.77 ERA  1.54 WHIP

DS (3 Games): 0.00 ERA  0.37 WHIP

LCS (4 Games): 1.17 ERA  0.65 WHIP

WS (6 Games): 10.12 ERA  5.25 WHIP

Just a weird October for Ogando. Wash needs to decide on his future and who knows what that means. It could depend on the Neftali Feliz decision for 2012 and/or CJ Wilson coming back or not. My guess is Rangers rotation and bullpen will look very similar to what it looked like in 2nd half of 2011 regular season.

                                                                                                                                                NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS SO FAR

CC Sabathia signs extension with Yankees

No real change in value except that you won’t be chasing wins with CJ Wilson as a Yankee.

Derek Lowe traded to Indians

Good move by both teams. Indians lost two pitching prospects in the Ubaldo deal plus Carrasco.

Giants trade Jonathan Sanchez to Royals for Melky Cabrera

Sanchez: This is a better baseball trade than a fantasy trade I’m afraid. Sanchez, who I am a big fan of, leaves a great park, league and division. He now gets deeper lineups and could get hurt badly by his love for walking guys. Worth drafting in all leagues but to me value takes a hit.

Melky: I think his 2012 will be somewhere between his 2009 and 2011 seasons. I’d be shocked if he has another year like 2011. He could be a prime candidate for over drafting if people aren’t paying attention.