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.
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.
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.
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.
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.