2012 NL LABR Draft Results + My NL-only Mock
First, here’s a link to Gardner’s NL LABR article which includes a link to the draft results.
Now let’s move on to my NL-only mock.
Last week, I was invited by the guys over at rotoexperts.com to take part in a 12-team NL-only expert mock draft. Even though the lone non-mixed league I will participate in this year is a 10-team auction keeper, I figured this would at least help a little bit in my preparation as I would get a feel for the overall depth at the various position. So I enthusiastically accepted! Our draft took place Sunday night, so I thought I’d run through my picks and the thought process that went into each of them. By the middle of the draft (fortunately we didn’t draft a bench!) we were well into the slim pickings stage, so pretty much all the players still available carried a medium to high level of risk. But I did the best I could and tried to use as many of my early picks as possible to scoop up guys who will provide above average production in multiple categories. I drew the fourth pick and was planning on deciding between some combination of Joey Votto, Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Upton. Right off the bat I’d be in for a surprise. Let’s get started!
1.4 Matt Kemp
Whoa, I did not expect this. Votto went #1 overall, which isn’t necessarily a bad idea considering the huge dropoff that followed among NL first basemen. Braun and Tulo followed, leaving me Kemp, who I fully expected to get taken first. I know there are a lot of different opinions as to where Kemp should go in drafts this year, but fourth overall? I’d take him there every time. Even if he puts up a .285-30-100-100-30 line it’ll be worth it.
2.9 Pablo Sandoval
The only thing that separates the Panda from elite status is his propensity to eat too much, but I’m not impressed with the NL 3B pool depth. I would’ve probably taken Zimmerman if he didn’t get snatched up the pick right before me. Pablo did hit 23 homers in just 117 games last year.
3.4 Jimmy Rollins
I’m a big believer in addressing position scarcity early and I’m not that worried about J-Roll. Yeah, he’s no longer MVP material but he’s good for 15-plus homers and 30-plus steals to go along with a hefty number of runs.
4.9 Yovani Gallardo
Drafting an ace quality pitcher relatively early is a lot more important in a non-mixed league than it is in your standard 12-team mixed, and I’m thrilled to land a 200 K lock who last season showed marked improvement in the control department. I fully expect a career year.
5.4 Jayson Werth
Last year he was overrated. This year he’s underrated. Somewhat hidden in his 2011 bust season is the fact that he came one steal shy of going 20-20. A very strong NL-only #2 OF in my mind.
6.9 John Axford
I was surprised Axford fell this far and pounced on the opportunity to snag an elite closer at this point in the draft.
7.4 Ryan Howard
Here’s where I got a bit off track. Determined to grab a 1B before things got very ugly at the position, I took a chance on Howard, hoping that he could give me four and a half months of solid power numbers. Then after the draft I read that his rehab is going slower than originally thought. Maybe I’ll get only three months out of him. Maybe two months. I really don’t know. I probably should’ve opted for Ike Davis instead, but the whole Valley Fever thing combined with the Mets’ terrible luck in the health department scared me.
8.9 Anibal Sanchez
I thought about filling my 2B spot with Aaron Hill but Hill inspires little confidence in me and I felt that it was important to not be stuck with a mediocre #2 SP. I now have a pair of 200 K starters, which I like.
9.4 Marco Scutaro
Time to address second base. Scutaro’s multi-position eligibility is very appealing. Oh yeah, then there’s that Coors thing. After making this pick I realized that I actually slightly prefer Scutaro over Hill anyway.
10.9 James Loney
Not a huge fan of this guy but he did bat .320 in the second half last season and I desperately needed another decent 1B to hold the fort for Howard.
11.4 Frank Francisco
I always try to be one of the few teams with multiple closers in deeper non-mixed leagues, so I couldn’t resist taking Francisco here. After all, saves is a category, and if you open the season with more than one closer you’re already ahead of the game. I later made the prudent decision to handcuff Francisco with Rauch to ensure that I’ll be getting all 25 of those Mets saves! The main downside of this decision was that Carlos Ruiz, one of the final semi-acceptable #1 catchers, got taken a few picks later, turning my backstop situation into a disaster.
12.9 Bud Norris
My third 200-K caliber SP. I love my rotation so far.
13.4 Allen Craig
Not happy at all about this pick. Was all set to take Alex Presley but he didn’t make it back to me. I was close to grabbing him in the 12th but if I went that route I would not have gotten Norris, who I later learned would have picked by Tim Heaney. Despite the fact that Craig will open the season on the DL, I just thought his upside was greater than that of teammate Jon Jay, but in retrospect I should’ve went with the healthy Cardinal. Craig is an extremely weak #3 OF.
14.9 Jason Bartlett
An unexciting pick but I’ll take the 20 steals, though I probably would have been better off opting for an OF like Huff or Parra.
15.4 Edwin Jackson
Pitching in the NL and on a one-year contract, I’m pumped up about E-Jax this year. I’m also very surprised that he lasted until the 15th.
16.9 Ryan Ludwick
I expect Ludwick to get enough ABs to matter in an NL-only and his move from Petco to Great American Ballpark should help a great deal. I’m not giddy over this pick but it could turn out to be a decent one.
17.4 Sergio Romo
A lockdown middle reliever carries plenty of value in a non-mixed, let alone one who could see some save chances should Brian Wilson’s health woes continue.
18.9 Jason Castro
This was embarrassing. I actually had to do some research during the draft to find out if Castro was indeed the Astros’ projected Opening Day starter. And he’s my #1 catcher!
19.4 Jon Rauch
Injury insurance for Francisco and a guy who has done a decent job in his previous closing stints.
20.9 Kyle Blanks
I have no idea what to expect from Blanks this year but as long as he avoids the Minors and the DL (no guarantee), the power potential is enough to warrant a selection this late in the draft.
21.4 Jim Thome
Maybe he’ll get a couple starts a week at 1B while Howard is out? Maybe Wigginton gets hurt and Thome plays even more? Probably wishful thinking. I totally overlooked Brett Jackson here, not to mention Nolan Arenado, who inexplicably didn’t even get drafted.
22.9 John Baker
The second half of the worst catching duo in the history of fantasy baseball!
23.4 Jeremy Guthrie
I’m not expecting a whole lot from Guthrie being that he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher who will now call Coors Field home. But he’s been a decent pitcher in the AL East and that should count for something, no? Not a bad #5 SP in an NL-only.
The Final Verdict
-Starting pitching, particularly strikeouts
-Two quality closers, one of them elite
-Above average speed (Kemp, Rollins, Werth, Bartlett)
-Awful at the catcher position
– Weak in the outfield beyond the top two
-Dicey situation at 1B, at least to start the year
Well, there you have it! All comments are welcome and Click Here for the full draft results, though you need to be registered on Fantrax to view them.