January 2012

Mock Draft Articles

Hey guys,

The ongoing 411 slow mock draft has garnered plenty of attention of late throughout the fantasy community, so I figured I’d share these set of links. Both Lawr Michaels and I wrote articles for Mastersball about this draft and an in-depth discussion on mock draft strategy can be found under the comments section of Lawr’s piece (the top link). Lawr also wrote a follow-up article for KFFL (the bottom link). A lot of the discussion board talk centers around Cory’s strategies, so these are all fun reads!


Lawr’s Mastersball article

Zach’s Mastersball article

Lawr’s KFFL piece


2012 List of 12

When is the List of 12 not really 12 guys? When it’s 28 names, like this year!

For those of you unfamiliar with the List of 12, the concept is pretty simple: we look for starting pitchers who crossed the 500 career innings barrier during the previous season, and focus on them as potential breakout candidates for the upcoming season. The theory behind this is that it takes pitchers at least a couple of seasons to fully adjust to pitching in the Majors, so in fantasy we want to find guys who are ready to have breakout seasons but might still be a little under the radar. Some of these guys stink and will continue to stink, but if you’re looking for guys who are ready to take the next step, this list is a good place to start.

The original list was only 12 guys — hence the name — but since it’s drawn each year from an objective set of rules, sometimes we get fewer or more (in this year, a lot more!) than the original dozen.

There’s someone on the list this year for every taste and style. Some of them are already top-shelf stars (Kershaw, Price) and a few are already in that next tier of fantasy notoriety (Gio, Kennedy, Romero, etc). But even with so many whose values appears to be established, there are still some values to be found.

In the spirit of the original list, here’s a quick first-blush rundown of the dozen guys who I think are ones to watch this year, who best represent the spirit behind the List of 12:

***And here’s a link to the spreadsheet

Brandon Morrow – his walk rate has declined steadily since he joined the rotation in 2009, while maintaining an outstanding strikeout rate, for a nearly 3-to-1 K-BB ratio last year. VERY bad luck on his strand rate over the past two seasons has kept his ERA deceptively high, so he may still be struggling with runners on base. But if he conquers that this season, he could be a very solid #2… I’m buying.

Max Scherzer – moderately unlucky hit and strand rates, and a spike in his HR/FB, hid Scherzer’s overall improvements last year. His strikeout rate dipped somewhat, but he cut his walk rate even further, leading to a career-best K-BB ratio above the magic 3-to-1 mark. The home run may continue to be a problem, but Comerica Park should help mask that. 2010 looks like his baseline, and his upside is that of a #2.

Gio Gonzalez – the opposite of Morrow in that his walk rate has stayed too high, but he’s improved his strikeout rate while establishing his durability. The move to the NL should help, and even though he’ll miss pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum, Nationals Park is still a very favorable venue. He might not have Morrow’s upside but he’s not far behind… buy.

Anibal Sanchez – his strikeout rate spiked, he cut down the walks and got a few more grounders, but the ERA and WHIP actually rose as his home run rate doubled. As with Scherzer, 2010 looks like his baseline, and the improved Marlins’ offense should produce many more than the 10-11 wins he’s averaged over the past two seasons. Buy.

Brandon McCarthy – McCarthy was mostly healthy in 2011 and finally produced the strong season that eluded him in Chicago and Texas. His strikeout rate wasn’t great but he was extremely stingy allowing walks, leading to a Maddux-esque 4.9 K-BB ratio. His fly-ball ratio is about average, but thanks to cavernous Oakland Coliseum he allowed only 11 homers all season. Health is still a concern, but given that he should be a very solid #3 this year.

Luke Hochevar – Hochevar rediscovered his strikeouts in the second half, so the overall decline isn’t as alarming, and he cut his walk rate considerably overall. An excellent ground ball rate suggests his home run rate should drop down somewhat too, so if it all comes together this year he should be a strong #3.

Jeff Niemann – some of his second-half improvement came from good luck in his hit and strand rates, but his groundball and strikeout rates spiked as well, while the walk rate held steady. He gets enough grounders that the home run rate should be a little lower, too. It’s hard to see an ace here, but if everything breaks right, he could take a major step forward into the #3 tier.

Justin Masterson – he already had his breakout season in 2011, and he still struggles against lefties enough to suggest that he might not be capable of much better. On the other hand, his strong ground ball rate helps him limit the long ball, and while his K-BB ratio is good-but-not-great, it did improve in the second half. He’ll be hard-pressed to match 2011 again, but he’s unlikely to blow up again, and looks like a decent #3 or strong #4 starter.

Trevor Cahill – Even though he struck out more guys than in 2010, he walked more, and cruel regression in his hit and strand rates caused his ERA to climb by over a run. However, he was on the whole essentially the same pitcher, with excellent ground ball rates and a decent K-BB ratio. He won’t be an ace, but the move to the NL – even hitter-friendly Chase Field – should help him improve upon his 2011 numbers.

Colby Lewis – Lewis was essentially the same pitcher in 2011 as he was in 2010, but inflation in his fly ball and home run rates caused his ERA to jump by three-quarters of a run. The reality is probably somewhere in between, so he’s not going to be your ace, but he’s a solid rotation filler with good strikeout upside.

Chris Volstad – a poor man’s Justin Masterson, with an excellent ground-ball rate, good-but-not-great strikeout and walk rates, struggles vs. lefties. However, consistently unlucky strand rates have conspired to keep his ERA artificially high in past seasons… if he can improve his performance with runners on base, he could take a Masterson-like step forward this year. An excellent late-round flier in any format.

Rick Porcello – The good news is, Porcello reached a career high last year with 5.1 K/9. The bad news is, that’s awful. However, his strand rates have been very unlucky over the past two seasons, so with some regression there and even a slight bump in his K-BB ratio, he could take a step forward into the #3 tier. For now, he’s a useful end-of-rotation gamble.

As for the rest:

Clayton Kershaw and David Price are aces, and Price might even come at a small discount this year. Ian Kennedy and Ricky Romero are absolutely legit, although some small step back from their 2011 numbers wouldn’t be a huge surprise. C.J. Wilson and Hiroki Kuroda are known commodities.

Jeff Karstens, Kyle Kendrick, Clayton Richard, Kevin Slowey, Jason Vargas and Randy Wells are strictly pitch-or-ditch rotation fillers, although Richard is still a terrific home/away play whenever possible. Dallas Braden is coming off arm surgery and doesn’t provide enough K’s to warrant much concern, either.

Ryan Vogelsong was an out-of-the-blue shocker last year but faded in the second half and is a poor beat to repeat this year. Edinson Volquez walks WAY too many guys, but maybe the move to PETCO will help reverse his fortunes. I’m not going to be the one who rosters him to find out, though. Finally, near-perfect game or not, Armando Galarraga is simply not very good.

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Let’s hear it!



411 Expert Slow Mock

Hey everyone,

It’s official, the mock draft season is in full gear. Yesterday, we started up a 13-team, 30-round expert mock with many familiar names participating. I’ll be updating the results here on a regular basis so stay tuned. Here are the picks so far. Feel free to chime in with any questions or comments you might have, general or mock draft related.

On a side note, I’m sure a lot of you are wondering when Yu Darvish will come off the board. It won’t be anytime soon, but in the meantime check out Siano’s MLB.com article on Darvish. It’s a must-read!




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 1

Jeff Erickson – Matt Kemp

Zach Steinhorn – Albert Pujols

Lawr Michaels – Miguel Cabrera

Cory Schwartz – Troy Tulowitzki

Ray Flowers – Robinson Cano

Steve Gardner – Jose Bautista

Todd Zola – Joey Votto

Joe Sheehan – Justin Upton

Will Carroll – Jacoby Ellsbury

Derek VanRiper – Carlos Gonzalez

Paul Sporer – Evan Longoria

Jason Collette – Prince Fielder

Eno Sarris – Hanley Ramirez



Eno Sarris – Dustin Pedroia

Jason Collette – Ian Kinsler

Paul Sporer – Jose Reyes

Derek VanRiper – Adrian Gonzalez

Will Carroll – Curtis Granderson

Joe Sheehan – Clayton Kershaw

Todd Zola – Andrew McCutchen

Steve Gardner – Justin Verlander

Ray Flowers – Mark Teixeira

Cory Schwartz – Josh Hamilton

Lawr Michaels – Ryan Zimmerman

Zach Steinhorn – Mike Stanton

Jeff Erickson – Roy Halladay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 3

Jeff Erickson – David Wright

Zach Steinhorn – Matt Holliday

Lawr Michaels – Felix Hernandez

Cory Schwartz – Carlos Santana

Ray Flowers – Cliff Lee

Steve Gardner – Adrian Beltre

Todd Zola – Mike Napoli

Joe Sheehan – Ryan Braun

Will Carroll – Cole Hamels

Derek VanRiper – Elvis Andrus

Paul Sporer – Jay Bruce

Jason Collette – CC Sabathia

Eno Sarris – Brett Lawrie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 4

Eno Sarris – Hunter Pence

Jason Collette – Pablo Sandoval

Paul Sporer – Brian McCann

Derek VanRiper – Alex Gordon

Will Carroll – David Price

Joe Sheehan – Carl Crawford

Todd Zola – Jered Weaver

Steve Gardner – Starlin Castro

Ray Flowers – Kevin Youkilis

Cory Schwartz – Desmond Jennings

Lawr Michaels – Tim Lincecum

Zach Steinhorn – Michael Bourn

Jeff Erickson – Shin-Soo Choo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 5

JE – B.J. Upton

ZS – Alex Rodriguez

LM – Ben Zobrist

CS – Eric Hosmer

RF – Nelson Cruz

SG – Buster Posey

TZ – Brandon Phillips

JS – Craig Kimbrel

WC – Stephen Strasburg

DVR – Rickie Weeks

PS – Jason Heyward

JC – James Shields

ES – Jon Lester

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 6

ES – Dan Haren

JC – Matt Wieters

PS – Dan Uggla

DVR – Zack Greinke

WC – Drew Storen

JS – Joe Mauer

TZ – Jimmy Rollins

SG – Paul Konerko

RF – Shane Victorino

CS – Drew Stubbs

LM – Matt Cain

ZS – Asdrubal Cabrera

JE – Miguel Montero

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 7

JE – Alex Avila

ZS – Mariano Rivera

LM – Erick Aybar

CS – Jonathan Papelbon

RF – Adam Jones

SG – Brett Gardner

TZ – Yovani Gallardo

JS – Chase Utley

WC – Ichiro Suzuki

DVR – Aramis Ramirez

PS – Lance Berkman

JC – Corey Hart

ES – Mike Morse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 8

ES – Joel Hanrahan

JC – Cameron Maybin

PS – John Axford

DVR – Brian Wilson

WC – Ryan Howard

JS – Matt Moore

TZ – Michael Young

SG – C.J. Wilson

RF – Howie Kendrick

CS – Madison Bumgarner

LM – Andre Ethier

ZS – David Ortiz

JE – Michael Cuddyer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 9

JE – Dee Gordon

ZS – Ian Kennedy

LM – Nick Swisher

CS – Jayson Werth

RF – Mark Reynolds

SG – Billy Butler

TZ – Chris Young

JS – J.J. Hardy

WC – Ryan Roberts

DVR – Ike Davis

PS – Peter Bourjos

JC – Derek Jeter

ES – Adam Wainwright

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 10

ES – Logan Morrison

JC – Martin Prado

PS – Matt Garza

DVR – Brandon Beachy

WC – Dustin Ackley

JS – Mike Moustakas

TZ – Ryan Madson

SG – Andrew Bailey

RF – Alexei Ramirez

CS – Jason Kipnis

LM – Jordan Walden

ZS – Jemile Weeks

JE – Kenley Jansen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 11

JE – Brandon League

ZS – Jose Valverde

LM – Nick Markakis

CS – Jason Motte

RF – Ricky Romero

SG – Danny Espinosa

TZ – Chris Carpenter

JS – Jesus Montero

WC – Yadier Molina

DVR – Neil Walker

PS – Dan Hudson

JC – Michael Pineda

ES – Freddie Freeman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 12

ES – Lucas Duda

JC – Sergio Santos

PS – Huston Street

DVR – Brandon Belt

WC – Yu Darvish

JS – Joakim Soria

TZ – Rafael Betancourt

SG – Mat Latos

RF – Josh Beckett

CS – Edwin Encarnacion

LM – Carlos Marmol

ZS – Gio Gonzalez

JE – Paul Goldschmidt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 13

JE – Kelly Johnson

ZS – Austin Jackson

LM – Coco Crisp

CS – Jordan Zimmermann

RF – Wandy Rodriguez

SG – Carlos Beltran

TZ – Cory Luebke

JS – Brandon Morrow

WC – Emilio Bonifacio

DVR – Josh Johnson

PS – Jeremy Hellickson

JC – Matt Joyce

ES – Tommy Hanson

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 14

ES – Josh Willingham

JC – J.J. Putz

PS – Carlos Pena

DVR – Ubaldo Jimenez

WC – Heath Bell

JS – Justin Morneau

TZ – Adam Lind

SG – Angel Pagan

RF – Alex Rios

CS – Anibal Sanchez

LM – Mike Trout

ZS – Ervin Santana

JE – Joe Nathan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 15

JE – Max Scherzer

ZS – Jhonny Peralta

LM – J.P. Arencibia

CS – David Freese

RF – Chris Perez

SG – Johnny Cueto

TZ – Torii Hunter

JS – Derek Holland

WC – Bryce Harper

DVR – Colby Rasmus

PS – Gaby Sanchez

JC – Daniel Murphy

ES – Wilson Ramos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 16

ES – Frank Francisco

JC – Jeff Francoeur

PS – Jaime Garcia

DVR – Grant Balfour

WC – Geovany Soto

JS – Dexter Fowler

TZ – Carlos Lee

SG – Stephen Drew

RF – Melky Cabrera

CS – Brennan Boesch

LM – Jonathan LuCroy

ZS – Shaun Marcum

JE – Vernon Wells

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 17

JE – Trevor Cahill

ZS – Russell Martin

LM – Justin Masterson

CS – Brandon McCarthy

RF – Ryan Doumit

SG – Kyle Farnsworth

TZ – Marco Scutaro

JS – Neftali Feliz

WC – Clay Buchholz

DVR – John Danks

PS – Chris Heisey

JC – Mark Trumbo

ES – Zack Cozart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 18

ES – Ben Revere

JC – Sean Rodriguez

PS – Alcides Escobar

DVR – Adam Dunn

WC – Scott Rolen

JS – Yunel Escobar

TZ – Ted Lilly

SG – Jason Kubel

RF – Kurt Suzuki

CS – Ramon Hernandez

LM – Jhoulys Chacin

ZS – Kendrys Morales

JE – Jed Lowrie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 19

JE – Michael Brantley

ZS – Matt Capps

LM – Gordon Beckham

CS – Matt Thornton

RF – Carlos Quentin

SG – Hiroki Kuroda

TZ – Yoenis Cespedes

JS – Lorenzo Cain

WC – Yonder Alonso

DVR – Jarrod Saltalamacchia

PS – Chris Iannetta

JC – Colby Lewis

ES – Addison Reed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 20

ES – Tim Hudson

JC – Devin mesoraco

PS – Edwin Jackson

DVR – Vance Worley

WC – Dayan Viciedo

JS – Ian Desmond

TZ – Ryan Raburn

SG – David Robertson

RF – Scott Baker

CS – John Mayberry

LM – Alexi Ogando

ZS – Bud Norris

JE – Aaron Hill

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 21

JE – Doug Fister

ZS – Mike Minor

LM – Jair Jurrjens

CS – Ricky Nolasco

RF – Alejandro DeAza

SG – Miguel Olivo

TZ – Tim Stauffer

JS – Julio Teheran

WC – Ivan Nova

DVR – Salvador Perez

PS – Roy Oswalt

JC – Jim Johnson

ES – Chris Sale

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 22

ES – Mitch Moreland

JC – Gavin Floyd

PS – Lonnie Chisenhall

DVR – Nolan Reimold

WC – Grady Sizemore

JS – Jonny Venters

TZ – John Buck

SG – Javy Guerra

RF – Ryan Dempster

CS – Luke Hochevar

LM – Aubrey Huff

ZS – Delmon Young

JE – R.A. Dickey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 23

JE – Mark Buehrle

ZS – Carlos Ruiz

LM – Mike Carp

CS – Jose Altuve

RF – Jonathan Sanchez

SG – Ty Wigginton

TZ – David Carpenter

JS – Tyler Pastornicky

WC – Johan Santana

DVR – Chad Billingsley

PS – Jake Peavy

JC – Matt Harrison

ES – Chase Headley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROUND 24

ES – Ryan Hanigan

JC – Nick Hundley

PS – Denard Span

DVR – Justin Smoak

WC – Rafael Furcal

JS – Chipper Jones

TZ – Daniel Bard

SG – Allen Craig

RF – Pedro Alvarez

CS – Aroldis Chapman

LM – Cliff Pennington

ZS – Jose Tabata

JE – Edinson Volquez

Updated 2012 Rankings

Hey guys,

Because our most recent 2012 position-by position rankings came all the way back in September, we here at the 411 felt it was absolutely necessary to provide an update, with the Ryan Braun suspension having the most obvious effect. So here it is. And let us know what you think. Disagree with any of these? We want to hear from you!



1. Brian McCann

2. Mike Napoli

3. Carlos Santana

4. Miguel Montero

5. Alex Avila

6. Buster Posey

7. Joe Mauer

8. Matt Wieters

9. Russell Martin

10. Yadier Molina

Honorable Mentions: Geovany Soto, J.P. Arencibia, Wilson Ramos

                                                                                                                                                     FIRST BASE

1. Albert Pujols

2. Miguel Cabrera

3. Adrian Gonzalez

4. Joey Votto

5. Prince Fielder

6. Mark Teixeira

7. Eric Hosmer

8. Paul Konerko

9. Lance Berkman

10. Michael Morse

Honorable Mention: Freddie Freeman

                                                                                                                                                SECOND BASE

1. Robinson Cano

2. Dustin Pedroia

3. Ian Kinsler

4. Dan Uggla

5. Chase Utley

6. Ben Zobrist

7. Rickie Weeks

8. Brandon Phillips

9. Howard Kendrick

10. Dustin Ackley

Honorable Mentions: Neil Walker, Danny Espinosa


1. Troy Tulowitzki

2. Jose Reyes

3. Hanley Ramirez

4. Asdrubal Cabrera

5. Starlin Castro

6. Jimmy Rollins

7. Elvis Andrus

8. Alexei Ramirez

9. J.J. Hardy

10. Jhonny Peralta

Honorable Mentions: Derek Jeter, Erick Aybar

                                                                                                                                                   THIRD BASE

1. Jose Bautista

2. Evan Longoria

3. David Wright

4. Adrian Beltre

5. Ryan Zimmerman

6. Brett Lawrie

7. Michael Young

8. Alex Rodriguez

9. Aramis Ramirez

10. Pablo Sandoval

Honorable Mention: Mark Reynolds


1. Matt Kemp

2. Jacoby Ellsbury

3. Justin Upton

4. Carlos Gonzalez

5. Curtis Granderson

6. Andrew McCutchen

7. Mike Stanton

8. Hunter Pence

9. Matt Holliday

10. Carl Crawford

11. Jay Bruce

12. Josh Hamilton

13. Nelson Cruz

14. Desmond Jennings

15. Alex Gordon

Honorable Mentions: Shane Victorino, Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Bourn

                                                                                                                                         STARTING PITCHER

1. Justin Verlander

2. Clayton Kershaw

3. Roy Halladay

4. Tim Lincecum

5. Cliff Lee

6. CC Sabathia

7. Jered Weaver

8. Felix Hernandez

9. Cole Hamels

10. Dan Haren

11. David Price

12. Matt Cain

13. Jon Lester

14. Zack Greinke

15. Ricky Romero

Honorable Mentions: Yovani Gallardo, Ian Kennedy, James Shields

                                                                                                                                                 RELIEF PITCHER

1. Craig Kimbrel

2. Mariano Rivera

3. Jonathan Papelbon

4. John Axford

5. Heath Bell

6. Drew Storen

7. Jose Valverde

8. Brian Wilson

9. Joel Hanrahan

10. J.J. Putz

Honorable Mentions: Andrew Bailey, Joakim Soria, Ryan Madson, Jordan Walden

2012 MLB Fantasy Preview Magazine!

Zach here again,

Just a heads up that the 2012 Official Major League Baseball Fantasy Preview magazine will be available in newsstands January 27th. It’ll have positional rankings, individual player blurbs and projections, a 12-team mock draft in which Mike, Cory and I all participated and much more!

Buy it. You’ll like it.

Mastersball Mock – Version 2

Hey everyone,

Hope you all had a fun and relaxing holiday season! Now onto the business of fantasy baseball as draft day will be here before you know it. Time for the official mock draft season! Mike recently participated in a redo of the 15-team mock for the Mastersball Magazine (full post on the first draft can be found here), picking from the #11 spot. A lot has happened between November and now (most notably the Braun suspension) so that’s why the guys decided to do the draft again. Click on the link below for Mike’s round-by-round picks for both drafts along with his commentary for draft #2.

Mastersball Mock Draft

The magazine hits newsstands January 24th.

We’ll be putting up more blog posts over the next few days, so stay tuned. And as always, all comments/questions are welcome.