Expert Slow Mock Draft Recap
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.
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.
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.