Expert Slow Mock Draft Recap

Hey everybody,

What’s so special about Nolan Reimold? Well, he was the 345th and final pick of the 15-team, 23-round expert slow mock draft that began on January 9th and ended today. So I figured I’d take this opportunity to run through each of my picks and throw in some analysis.

By the way, you can view the full draft results here


OK, here we go! I drew the #12 spot and honestly wasn’t thrilled. Personally, I don’t like to be near the ends as it often forces you to reach for guys you really want, and there were a number of instances where I did just that.

1.12   Prince Fielder  (1B)

I wasn’t expecting Prince to fall to me here and was reluctantly preparing to take Stanton (I’m a bit nervous about the lack of a supporting cast in the Marlins’ lineup), but Joe Sheehan’s surprising Buster Posey selection at 1.10 combined with Jason Collette’s decision to snag Stanton enabled me to draft Fielder, who in light of the Ryan Braun controversy, is arguably the safest fantasy option outside of Miguel Cabrera. Prince’s late-season power surge gives me confidence that he’ll hit more than 30 home runs this year, and the guy has missed a combined 13 games over his seven full big league seasons. Now that’s durability!

2.4   Justin Upton  (OF1)

I’ll be all over J-Up this year if he can get him at any sort of discount. To me, 19th pick is a discount. How many other 25-year-olds can be labeled busts after batting .280 with 17 homers, 18 steals and 107 runs scored while battling a nagging thumb injury?

3.12   Matt Holliday  (OF2)

Holliday vs. Bruce was a tough call but I opted for the dependable, high AVG hitter over the budding young star who could hit 40 homers but might bat .250. Remember that AVG is an underrated category, but Holliday does come with some health concerns, so a strong case can be made for Bruce. And guess who was taken with the next pick? Yep, Jay Bruce.

4.4   Jimmy Rollins  (SS)

My first reach of the draft! J-Roll has been a favorite of mine over the years but I understand why many are skeptical about him for 2013. He’s getting old, the AVG is nothing special and maybe he’ll run a little less now. But give me a shortstop who can very realistically hit 18-20 homers, steal 25-30 bases and score 100-plus runs and I’ll gladly take him. I was considering Ian Desmond here but figured that Rollins was a little safer, and there was no way he would be around for my next turn.

5.12   Ian Desmond  (MI)

Now this wasn’t planned at all. The fact that Desmond was still available at this point means that Rollins probably would’ve still been available which means that I probably would’ve been better off drafting Ben Zobrist or even Craig Kimbrel at 4.4. Oh well. I liked the idea of taking another power/speed guy here and love the Rollins/Desmond MI duo.

6.4   Jonathan Papelbon  (CL1)

I always try to get one closer from the elite group and since I wasn’t going to pick again for awhile, I felt that now was the time to pounce.

7.12   Desmond Jennings  (OF3)

Shocked that he fell this far. The batting average might be mediocre but we’re talking about 15-20 homers, 35-40 steals and 90-100 runs. I’m pumped up about my Upton/Holliday/Jennings OF trio.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angeles

8.4   Dan Haren  (SP1)

Another reach. After waiting this long for my first SP, I probably would’ve been better off waiting a little longer. But I’m very high on Haren this year as a bounce back candidate and he was the only SP left, with the possible exception of Lincecum, who truly has ace-level upside.

9.12   Hiroki Kuroda  (SP2)

Proved last year that he can succeed in the AL East. More like a #3 than a #2 as there’s no guarantee he can duplicate last season’s 167 K’s, but he’s a pretty safe bet to again put up quality ratios.

10.4   Will Middlebrooks  (3B)

The 3B position is very deep this year and I had targeted Middlebrooks as a player who I’d be content with at this stage of the draft. Give me a choice between Headley in the 4th, Sandoval in the 5th or Middlebrooks in the 10th and I’ll choose Middlebrooks every time.

11.12   Dan Uggla  (2B)

Needed a starting second baseman badly and no other available 2B offered the same level of upside as Uggla. There’s a chance he will be just as disappointing in 2013 as he was in 2012, but there’s also a chance he will bat .250 with 30 homers. That would be nice!

12.4   Anibal Sanchez  (SP3)

Move to AL didn’t phase him. A solid mid-rotation SP who doesn’t come with a whole lot of risk. The other offenses in the AL Central aren’t great and he’ll be pitching in a favorable ballpark.

13.12   Huston Street  (CL2)

The most reliable closer left on the board. If only he can stay healthy…

14.4   Ryan Doumit  (C1)

Not expecting 18 homers again but still an above average fantasy backstop who won’t be catching every day. And that’s always a plus.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks

15.12   Jason Kubel  (OF4)

Much like Rollins, he’s a longtime personal favorite as he always seems to be underrated. After a stellar start to 2012, Kubel fell off a cliff in the second half, batting a measly .201. But take a look at the end of season numbers (.253 AVG, 30 HR, 90 RBI, 75 R, .833 OPS) and they’re good enough for a #3 OF in a deep mixed league. And I have him as my #4.

16.4   Shaun Marcum  (SP4)

Injury risk but the reward is substantial since I drafted him this late. Marcum will have the benefit of pitching his home games at spacious Citi Field and I love to target starting pitchers with consistently low walk rates.

17.12   Edwin Jackson  (SP5)

A couple of disastrous September outings ballooned his final ERA to 4.03, but otherwise E-Jax was fairly consistent last year. I needed to add more depth to my staff and Jackson, Beckett and Hughes were the three most attractive starters still out there. I don’t trust Beckett and picking Jackson over Hughes was basically an NL Central vs. AL East decision.

18.4   Brandon Belt  (CI)

Not an ideal starting CI but there was no way I was taking Adam Dunn with one AVG killer, Dan Uggla, already on my roster. I thought about Yonder Alonso here but figured that Belt had the higher ceiling.

19.12   Jon Jay  (OF5)

Looking to add a little more speed to my squad while at the same time addressing batting average, I came to the conclusion that Jay fit the bill. A solid #5 OF.

20.4   Cody Ross  (UTIL)

It’s a little weird to own both Kubel and Ross but the Justin Upton trade opens the door for Ross to get everyday at-bats and I’m really liking him this year as a cheap source of power. Playing half of his games at Chase Field, 25 homers shouldn’t be a problem.

21.12   Frank Francisco  (CL3)

30 saves? 20 saves? 5 saves? Who knows. But in the 21st round I’ll take any reliever who is actually opening the season in the closer role. After all, saves is a category!

22.4   Chris Iannetta  (C2)

Slim pickings at the catcher position at this point but Iannetta heads into the season as the clear-cut starting backstop for the Halos and offers 20-homer potential, albeit with a woeful batting average.

23.12   Johan Santana  (SP6)

Remember when he was a first-rounder? Hopefully, he can rebound from whatever went wrong immediately following that no-hitter.

So what’s the final verdict? Strong in power, good enough in speed, a decent bullpen and a starting rotation mix of high-upside injury risks and underappreciated veterans.

A first place team? Maybe not.

A team that I would feel comfortable going into battle with? Absolutely.



After my last question and your response I began looking for a #2 type pitcher. What I came up with may have been a bad idea. It’s too late to go back as it has been accepted so I need your opinion.

With my OF of Trout,McCutchen,Cargo,J.Upton,and Harper I felt like my best trading commodity was Desmond Jennings who I actually really like this year as i am sure you do as well after seeing your thoughts of getting him in your mock.

I ended up trading Jennings,J.Johnson and T.Hanson for Shields and R.Soriano.
I tried unsuccessfully to get Darvish but the guy wanted Justin Upton and wouldn’t barter.

Now my rotation will be Weaver,Shields,Garza,Estrada,T.Hudson, with Iwakuma and Beckett as backups.

So with this I have one more question. At my Utility slot now I have Either Konerko,Frazier,A.Escobar or LaRoche. Which one would you use?



Nevermind the question as the league vetoed the deal because he didnt mean to accept it i guess.
wow that was quick. sorry

The OF looks incredible and I really think you got a steal with Cody Ross. He’s going to play every day in AZ and his style of play fits right in with what they are doing in D-Backs land. Pitching is clearly your weakest area with a lot of guys that you “hope” will meet their upside, but that is the 411 way right? I’m curious who are the guys that you really wanted but got snatched up a draft pick or two before your pick was up?


I was hoping to get Gallardo as my “soft ace” but missed out on him by one pick in the 7th round. I would’ve seriously considered taking him over Jennings. Shields was the other guy I was thinking about as he was really the last ace-type SP available. I gambled that he’d come back to me in the 8th round but of course Cory grabbed him! At that point, I probably could’ve gotten away with waiting another round to take my first SP but with such a long wait I didn’t want to chance it. And I do like Haren.



Missing out on Gallardo may be a blessing in disguise. He took a little bit of a step back last year. Shields on the other hand-that guys is seriously under-rated in my book.

Yeah, for some reason I have a soft spot for Gallardo, patiently awaiting for him to have that true breakout year. But you’re right that last season was a step in the wrong direction. As for Shields, I totally agree that he’s being undervalued. I think there’s just some concern about the KC defense being not as formidable as the TB defense along with his moving away from a pitcher’s park. But it’s not like Kauffman Stadium is a hitter’s park! Just couldn’t resist Jennings there.


Zach just reposting this as you may have missed it in an older posting.
12 tm mixed pts league. Would you keep Latos for $32 or Kuroda for $9? For reference, according to the player preview, the only SP ranked higher than Latos that will be available in our draft are Felix (est. auction price $50-$52), Cain ($45-$50), C.Lee ($45-$50).
While Latos and Kuroda will put up similar #’s, I’m just not sure if it makes sense to put back a SP that will go for $8-$10 higher than what I have him for. Kuroda is always underrated and I could get him for roughly the same price.


Definitely yes on Kuroda. After what he did last year and with this level of inflation, I’d be shocked if you can get him for $9 again this year. I’d lean towards no on Latos. $32 seems a bit too pricey, even with the inflation.



What do you think of Konerko and T. Hanson for Scherzer?

I would be getting Scherzer.



If you can afford the power loss, I think it’s fine. Like Cory, I’m very concerned about Hanson. Totally not convinced that he’s healthy.


Would you drop either Cuddyer or Maybin (both bench players) to pick up any of Dotel/Coke/Rondon, Santos, Lyon, or Veras? My only closers are Perkins and Ryan Cook, as well as Parnell for speculation purposes so you can see I’m scrapping the bottom of the barrel here. Also is Billy Hamilton worth keeping this year in a non-keeper instead of any of the guys listed above?


Yeah, in your situation I’d drop either, the choice depending on category strengths, for Rondon, who along with Veras (who I just don’t trust), seems like the safest bet to at least open the season in the closer role. Pass on Hamilton for now in a non-keeper. There’s no guarantee he opens the season in the Majors and he might struggle at first getting on base consistently enough to use his ridiculous speed. It’ll be a Dee Gordon situation where he’ll have to run every time he gets on!


Thoughts on Lincecum, Ricky Romero, and Lester this year? For some reason, I have this guys on a must have list. I have a feeling for a nice bounce back from 2 of the 3.


I’m the most optimistic about Lincecum, cautiously optimistic about Lester and scared to death about Romero. But just to be on the safe side, draft one of Lincecum/Lester, not both.


Who are you higher on in a standard h2h: Brett Gardner or Denard Span? I need a 4th/bench outfielder


Gardner. I think he has more upside, though there’s more risk attached to him. So it really depends on if you’re the gambling type.


Quick note for Steveo… Span said he is working with the Nationals’ coaches and wants to steal more this year. That could just be spring training noise, and I’d still keep Gardner anyway, but keep in mind that steals are “elective” as much as anything, so that does bear watching…



The owner countered with scherzer for konerko and beckett so i took it. Konerko and beckett were both bench players for me.

I also dealt jim johnson and laroche for gallardo and pierzinski.

I have mccann as my second catcher so pierzinski can fill in but now im a little worried about my closer situation. I have holland and street and jansen whos not the closer in la right now but i also dropped tommy hanson and picked up fieri who may start as the angels closer because of the madsen problem.

My rotation is alot better with weaver, gallardo, scherzer, garza and estrada. What do you think?


Yes, I like what you did with the rotation and would be OK beginning the season with your current closer group. In shallower leagues, there are always plenty of opportunities to pick up useful closers in-season once some closers start to lose their jobs, and who knows when Madson will come back.



Just an idea, but I’d love to see a post or something about the accuracy of the many different outfits that put out pre-season projections for players, i.e. PECOTA, Marcel, Zips, ESPN, etc. I know CW puts them out too. Are any of these worth a damn thing or are they just as good as the rest of us as trying to figure it out as we go along?


Not too familiar with the specifics of each of those models but my general strategy is to use a couple of different sources (don’t go overboard!) as a starting point and then form your own opinion. After all, it’s your team and if you don’t feel comfortable with it because you solely relied on a spreadsheet to tell you what to do, that’s a problem!



I generally go with my own thinking under the theory that most people who foretell the future have no idea what they are talking about. But, baseball is one of those games where you can utilize the wonder of math to make reasonably foreseeable projections on players. It’s part of the reason we all love it so much, right. And, it’s also part of the reason I listen to you guys, because more often than not you are actually correct in your projections. So I was wondering if anyone smarter than I has utilized these statistics we all rely on in a way to make projections that consistently come out more accurately than your average bear.

Would you keep Heyward over Wright in a keeper league?


Yes, we haven’t seen the best of Heyward yet. We’ve probably seen the best of Wright. For this season, it’s close and although I’d lean towards Heyward, it kind of depends on the rest of your keeper group. Longer term though, Heyward’s the guy.


Speaking of projections, right around this time last year Cory posted the first installment of long awaited composite projections … any chance that gift will come again this year? It’s a huge help in the draft!

Scratch that. I see Corey’s note from the last post. Lookin forward to them!


Yep, I would’ve directed you to that!


I can keep 4. 12 team 5×5 mixed with OPS instead of AVE. 25 round draft. Anyone drafted in first 7 rounds not keeper eligible. Trout in round 20 is obvious. My other three choices are J Montero (8), J Zimmerman (10), J Motte (13), J Johnson (23) Free agent pickups who are kept in 25th, 24th, 23rd, or 22nd round are Wil Middllebrooks, Brett Anderson, and Rafael Soriano. Lots of pitchers and closers, not ideal keeper pool. I’m leaning towards Zimmerman and Soriano to go with Trout. Last one a tossup in my mind between Anderson and Middlebrooks. LIke Motte over Soriano, but draft value wins there. What are your thoughts? Thank you

Id go JZ, JJ, Middlebrooks and Soriano.


If you had your choice what order would you take these pitchers?

Tommy Hanson, Edwin Jackson, Chad Billingsly, Jason Hammel, Brandon McCarthy?



Jackson, Hanson (injury risk but highest ceiling of this group), McCarthy, Billingsley, Hammel. Not sold on Hammel repeating what he did last season and I’m thinking that the K hike was an aberration.


Good stuff Big Z will check it out soon.
Here’s a very nice piece on heatmaps and stuff about Medlen, how he pitches and whether he can sustain it. Unsuprisingly the heatmaps look similar to Cliff Lee, the master of the K/BB rate.
I was so impressed by him last year, the guy really helped win me my keeper league. And now the contract decision looms….same scenario as always my friend:
1 year ($9), 2 years ($12), 3 years ($14) or renewable year ($12).
Which do you recommend? He was so good last year this performance (not to that level obviously) might be repeatable, was thinking only the 1 year initially but would 12 bucks really be a lot if he pitches like he did again?

Oh and i didnt even post the article, here:

Cool article. When it comes to any pitcher, I’m always skeptical until I see at least one full season from him, but $12 isn’t really a ton of money for Medlen. It’s #3 mixed league SP type money, and it’s totally reasonable to expect him to meet that price.


That j johnson was rp jim johnson btw.


I agree with BB. Zimmermann, Johnson, Middlebrooks, Soriano.


Hey Zach, got another question.
Another owner approached me with a trade. I get Braun, AJ Burnnett and Dempster, I give Desmond Jennings, Hosmer, and Grilli (he is down on Burnnett and Dempster and really believes in a huge season from Hosmer). I accepted the trade and it got vetoed, my guess is that the other owners didn’t want me to get Braun, especially since I picked third and got Cabrera as well. I know there wasn’t any collusion, was this trade so lopsided that it should have been vetoed?


Absolutely not! I actually have a tough time deciding which side I prefer but would probably lean towards the Braun side just because I usually subscribe to the “best player in the deal” motto. But there is certainly some risk with Braun taking into account this whole PED controversy. Enough risk on both sides to make this a fair trade.


Hey Big Z thanks for the response on Medlen. Got a couple young rooks to ask about this time.

Trevor Rosenthal and Trevor Bauer…the two Trevors! Got both these kids down on my farm and wondering what to expect from them at the big league level this year. Reckon both could start the year in the bigs, and if so what would you expect from them? Love their stuff, Rosenthal was dominant outta the pen in the playoffs and Bauer showed promise despite wildness too. Just wondering if I should promote either now, or take a wait and see approach during the year.


Depends on what the penalty is for promoting them but I think Rosenthal has the better chance of making a meaningful impact in 2013. The problem is that we don’t know whether it’ll be as a starter or reliever. Bauer is expected to open the season at Triple-A. I’d take a wait and see approach on both.


14 team Keeper League, get to keep between 10-15 guys. I traded Shelby Miller(whom I am high on) and Brett Anderson for Anthony Rizzo. Really needed a 1B with no quality 1B in the draft pool. Did I overpay a little? What do you think?


It’s a high price but anytime you can acquire an elite hitting talent like Rizzo in a dynasty-type format for a reasonable price, you have to pounce. And you know how we all feel about hitters vs. pitchers. I’d take a high-end hitting prospect over a high-end pitching prospect 9 times out of 10. I’m very optimistic about Rizzo this year.


Hello, Zach.
I’m relatively new guy to baseball (from 2010) and fantasy (same year), though may be excusable (if I used right word, and wrote it right), because I’m Russian, and here we don’t know much about both (especially, about baseball :)) ). So, I’m about to… well, call you for a challenge :)) If you’re not too busy for that.
I’m looking for getting some experience in both things, and the best option I see in challenging those, who supposed to be the best. How about a fantasy league (maybe a couple of them) between me, you and 8-10 other experts of your choice?? Sounds crazy, I know, but I hope you’ll think about that.
With best regards, Mike.


Unfortunately, I’m way over my limit in terms of leagues this year so I’ll have to pass. I hope to be hearing from you throughout the season though!


If only I’ll find a way to do that🙂


Question for you regarding SPs. I am trying to value SPs who are coming off of disappointing seasons. They are all being drafted on average within a couple of rounds of each either and the list includes Dan Haren, Jon Lester, C.J. Wilson, and Tim Lincecum. What is your outlook on these four pitchers regarding a successful rebound campaign? In addition, how would you rank these four pitchers? Thank you for your help,



It’s extremely close, as all of these guys come with a certain degree of risk. In terms of NFBC ADP among starting pitchers, Lincecum is #30, Haren #34, Wilson #35 and Lester #36, so that gives you an idea of just how tight it is. I’d rank them Lester, Haren, Lincecum, Wilson, and it’s a very good idea to draft at least one of these pitchers, as the profit potential is significant. Just be sure to protect yourself and not draft more than two from this group, just in case they turn out to be flops.


Thank you Zach. I really appreciate your advice and have one more question for you. It is regarding RPs. I am generally unwilling to spend an early pick on a closer considering the volatility of the position. Therefore, can you recommend a couple of closers who can be drafted later on in a draft who can return a top 10 overall RP ranking for 2013? Thank you,


Zach – h2h question. Ethier, Morse, and Hunter. Will probably be able to get 2 of them. Thanks alot!!


The three main guys who come to mind are Romo (I’m not buying the idea that the Giants won’t commit to him as their full-time closer), Holland (especially if he can lower his walk rate) and Wilhelmsen, who is coming off a very impressive season and faces basically zero job competition.



I’d go with Ethier and Morse. I think Hunter is a prime bust candidate. He isn’t getting any younger and his home run production took a big hit last season. Oh, and considering that he’s a .277 career hitter, don’t count on a .300 AVG again.


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