Yeah, the World Series hasn’t even begun yet, but it’s never too early to kick off the mock draft season, or at least the mini-mock draft season. So I decided to gather 11 of the brightest minds in the industry (12 including me!) to take part in a six-round mock draft for 2015. The league is a standard 5×5 roto, and here’s the list of participants, in draft order:
1. Tim Heaney – USA TODAY
2. Jeff Erickson – Rotowire
3. Paul Sporer – Rotowire/PaintTheBlack.com
4. Todd Zola – Mastersball
5. Fred Zinkie – MLB.com
6. Lawr Michaels – Mastersball
7. Ray Flowers – SiriusXM/Fantasy Alarm
8. Cory Schwartz – MLB.com
9. David Gonos – DavidGonos.com
10. Nando DiFino – FNTSY Sports Network
11. Zach Steinhorn – MLB.com/Mastersball
12. Derek Van Riper – Rotowire
And here are the results. I’ve also asked everyone to include a short comment with each of their picks. I will be updating this list regularly throughout the proceedings but you can also follow along HERE
1. Mike Trout (Heaney) – He hacked up a storm and “only” stole 16 bases … who cares? He’ll still put up 50ish HR+SB in his five-category onslaught as baseball’s best player.
2. Miguel Cabrera (Erickson) – I already know that I don’t like the second spot in the draft. I’m going to take the path of least resistance and go with Miguel Cabrera, but I’m not really happy about it, given his power fade this year. But I don’t think that the cliff is coming yet at age 32, and there’s a better chance he’ll be a 30-100-.300 player again.
3. Andrew McCutchen (Sporer) – I could get cute here, but there’s really no reason for it. He bested his HR total and finished an RBI short of last year’s mark despite missing 11 games (26 fewer PA). The speed dipped, but the efficiency was incredible (18-for-21) and while it may tick down again, he should still be good for at least 15. He’s excellent and in the midst of his prime.
4. Giancarlo Stanton (Zola) – I’ve never questioned Stanton’s power. I had two issues – one being health the other being lack of runs and RBI. I still have a health concern but am willing to take the risk for the edge I can get in power in this power-starved era. My ancillary production concern is in part assuaged by my new bromantic interest (bye bye Kole Calhoun, hello Christian Yelich) as well as some better hitters later in the order.
5. Clayton Kershaw (Zinkie) – The middle of the selection order is a good place to be this year. After Trout, there doesn’t seem to be much consensus in the next 5-6 players. Kershaw may be the player who is most likely to return No. 1 overall value next season, including Trout. Many owners don’t want to draft a pitcher in the first round, but the value with Kershaw is too good to pass up.
6. Michael Brantley (Michaels) – Well, I must admit, I was all set to take Kershaw as the new Pedro and a dominant first rounder until know it all Fred beat me to the punch. Still, I hate being mainstream, as you all know, so I am going back to the guy I predicted as a break out last spring, and owned on virtually every team I could in Brantley. A 20/20 season with 200 hits, he is now 27 and going into his prime, so I am betting he will indeed hold his own as the AL counterpart to McCutchen.
7. Paul Goldschmidt (Flowers) – Followed up his breakout 2013 effort (.302/.401/.551) with a nearly identical slash line in 2014 (.300/.396/.542). He continues to produce thefts as well, an average of 14 a year the past three seasons, to truly set himself apart from other corner infield options.
8. Jose Abreu (Schwartz) – With power in freefall across Major League Baseball, you better get it early in your fantasy drafts or you might not get it at all, so I’m going to take Jose Abreu. Twin Jays Joey Bats and E42 have longer track records, but are also older and injury-prone. Abreu significantly improved his plate discipline in the second half, even though his power declined, so I’m guessing the net effect will be a similar result in 2015: 30-35 homers and a .300+ average. That’s gold these days.
9. Carlos Gomez (Gonos) – Gomez proved his breakout 2013 season was no fluke. For the past two seasons, he has averaged 87 runs scored, 23 home runs, 73 RBI, 37 stolen bases and a slash line of: .284/.347/.491. He’ll still be just 29 years old, so we probably have a year or two before we can expect a dropoff in speed/steals.
10. Adam Jones (DiFino) – It was Hanley Ramirez or Adam Jones here, and I decided to go with the underrated consistency in pretty much every category (and a little bonus for his health). He’s a virtual lock for .280 and 25 home runs, with the upside of 12 steals.
11. Jose Bautista (Steinhorn) – The main risk is health but he avoided the DL in 2014 and the result was an elite stat line. Despite averaging only 105 games played per season from 2012-2013, he still averaged 28 homers and 69 RBI. He’s arguably the safest power source in fantasy.
12. Jacoby Ellsbury (Van Riper) – The Yankees’ lineup should improve between now and Opening Day 2015, improving Ellsbury’s R-RBI totals. I look at 10 HR as a floor in that park, 12-15 being more likely and 30+ steals as a nice investment here. Further exploration is needed to determine the cause of his decline against RHP this season, but his overall BB% and K% are steady.
1. Edwin Encarnacion (Van Riper) – Encarnacion just completed this third consecutive season with a .900+ OPS. In an era where home runs are increasingly difficult to come by, he should provide another 35-40 with steady RBI/R totals. Cory’s E5 prose is better than my own.
2. Jose Altuve (Steinhorn) – I’m not expecting a .341 AVG again but I think he has a pretty safe floor as a guy who will bat .300 to go along with 40 steals and around 100 runs, hitting in a young and improving Astros lineup.
3. Hanley Ramirez (DiFino) – In the popular “Hanley vs Tulo” game, I go Hanley. Health is thrown out the window with both, but I think Hanley has just a little bit more value as an overall fantasy asset.
4. Justin Upton (Gonos) – The younger Upton had an excellent season on a team that was having anything but an excellent season — only the Padres scored fewer runs than the Braves in 2014. Yet, Justin still .270 with 29 home runs and over 100 RBI. The Braves won’t be as bad as 2014, and Upton is only turning 28 years old next summer. If he can just dial back his strikeout rate a skosh.
5. Matt Kemp (Schwartz) – Los Anthonys (Rizzo and Rendon) are very tempting here but I want power over balance, and already have a first baseman, so I’ll wager that Kemp’s second-half explosion signals a resurgence to his peak form, rather than just being a nice three-month run. Assuming his shoulder is finally healthy again and the Matt Kemp of old is back, this is a slam-dunk .300-30-100 pick, even if he doesn’t run anymore.
6. Robinson Cano (Flowers) – Was tempted to go Billy Hamilton here… come on, no I wasn’t. I’ll go with Cano who has hit .300 for six straight years to tie Miguel Cabrera for the longest run in baseball. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the 14 homers climb back up to 20, but I’ll take a repeat of the 82 RBIs and 77 runs scored, even if they are both six-year lows. Cano and A-Gone are also the only two players in baseball to have appeared in 157 games each of the past eight years.
7. Anthony Rendon (Michaels) – I have seen that Cory and I are largely of a like mind since I met him over a decade ago (amazing, huh Cory?). Since Kemp had dropped so heavily last year, I thought he might still be mistrusted despite what as Cory noted was a fine year (comparable to Brantley and McCutchen). (So much for that, Cory, thank you.) If not, I was going straight for Rendon, whom Cory also likes. The kid is going into his third season which is usually where guys kick it in coming off 21 homers, 87 knocks, 17 swipes and he qualifies at second and third. Oh to have a dynasty core of Rendon and Brantley!
8. Ian Desmond (Zinkie) – After I took Kershaw, I thought I would take a masher 1B/OF-type in round two, but I don’t like any of those options as much as Desmond. Getting a 20-20 SS in round two is a nice way to start a hitting lineup, as it leaves all the deepest positions open for later rounds. I thought about Tulo, but with no hitter in round one, I can’t afford to get fewer than 100 games from my hitter in round two.
9. Anthony Rizzo (Zola) – I loathe the second round this year. It goes against everything I hold near and dear to me. The second round requires drafting either (A) an injury prone player, (B) a player coming off a great season with a limited track record of that level, (C) a pitcher or (D) Justin Upton. I’ll take B — there’s ample support behind Anthony Rizzo’s 2014 campaign to expect a baseline similar (with a drop in power due to a smidge fewer fly balls as 2014 had a spike in FB%).
10. Yasiel Puig (Sporer) – Really got snaked by that Desmond pick as I really believed he’d make it back to me. In lieu of that, I will instead bet on Yasiel Puig. I don’t think we saw a peak performance and yet he was 11th in wRC+ and an all-category contributor in fantasy. The expectations were higher (too high, to be quite honest) based on his 104 games in 2013, but the regression-infused 2014 is perfectly acceptable as a baseline. I think the potential is there for much more, particularly in the power categories which are scarcest in these Grapes of Wrathian offensive days.
11. Bryce Harper (Erickson) – Maybe Matt Williams will leave him higher in the order this year. At any rate, five homers in September plus his dominant playoff performance indicates that he’s at least fully recovered from the injuries that waylaid his season. Can he avoid outfield walls and third base bags? If so, I’m happy to take the chance here.
12. Evan Longoria (Heaney) – Considered the ageless Adrian Beltre, but you have to wonder when he’ll really start slowing down. Even with a slight power dip, Longo kept producing runs, as well. How the heck is he only 29? Either way, I don’t see a big difference between the outfielders that are left, save maybe for one risky venture. Longo, at a scarier 3B lot, is a warm blanket.
1. Troy Tulowitzki (Heaney) – The lowest I’ve been able to draft him in a long time. For the 400-ish AB in which he’s healthy, there’s no better shorstop in fantasy.
2. Chris Sale (Erickson) – Debated going with Beltre or King Felix, but I don’t want to be a year too late on Beltre and I’m marginally more confident in Sale.
3. Josh Donaldson (Sporer) – He had a fantastic follow-up season even with the big AVG drop. If he’d have just had an average June, he probably would’ve topped 30 HR and 100 RBI with something closer to a .265-.270 AVG. I’d take a 2014 repeat, but I think there is still room for a bit more.
4. Adrian Beltre (Zola) – The age and health concerns aside, the pertinent question to me is the drop in HR. Beltre’s HR/FB fell for the second straight season – will it rebound? Additionally, his 2014 FB% dropped to a career low. To earn this draft spot, either his HR/FB or FB% has to bounce-back as well as the Rangers in general (to jack up run and RBI). If both happen, there’s some profit potential. I may go in a different direction come the spring, but today I’m willing to take the chance.
5. Hunter Pence (Zinkie) – Pence has played in at least 154 games in seven straight seasons. He hit at least 20 homers in all those seasons, and he surpassed 10 steals in five of them. Other than 2012, he has been a solid source of batting average too. He won’t win anyone their pool, but he is less likely to be a bust than just about any other player available at this point.
6. Buster Posey (Michaels) – .348-11-41 with a .941 OPS over the second half as he has helped, once again, lead his team to the Series for the third time in five years. Fred might be right that Hunter is steady, but i am not sure Buster is more of a potential bust. It is nice that he catches, and that I can move him to first, but I simply think he might be among the best and steadiest hitters still on the board. And, he is just going into his peak years.
7. Corey Dickerson (Flowers) – So tempting to go with an arm here, but I’ll stick to my waiting on arms philosophy. Ryan Braun and Carlos Gonzalez seem like must adds at this point, but with the injury concerns both are carrying I’ll go with a bit of a stretch and take Corey Dickerson who was basically what those guys used to be in 2014 (.312-24-76-74-8).
8. Nelson Cruz (Schwartz) – Over the last three seasons Cruz has played in 97.7% of his team’s games when not suspended, a 158-games-played pace; he’s become durable. He’ll turn 35 next season, but there’s been no decline whatsoever in his key indicators; age is not a concern. And, his power numbers in 2014 were even better than before his suspension; he’s not a creation of PED’s. Overall, he’s averaged 37 HR and 107 RBI per 162 games over the past six seasons, and 35-104 over the last three, so he’s a legitimate big-time power bat and I intended to stock up on those.
9. Todd Frazier (Gonos) – Frazier blew up in 2014 the way we hope for in 2013. He brought his power and average up a bit, and he’s one of very few 20/20 players, much less at the third base position. Even if his speed dips 25 percent, he’s still a quality all-around player that I hope keeps it up in his fourth full season — at age 29.
10. Carlos Gonzalez (DiFino) – He’s pretty much a lock for .290/25/20, even with the usual 20+ games missed. With three surgeries in 2014 behind him, I’ll take the first-round talent here in the third.
11. Yoenis Cespedes (Steinhorn) – Played in a career-high 152 games in 2014, so the injury-prone label is wearing off. I’m expecting big things from Cespedes as he heads into his first full season playing his home games at Fenway Park. 30 homers and 100-plus RBI are well within reach. Oh, and if you’re a believer in the contract year thing, there’s that too.
12. Felix Hernandez (Van Riper) – I love the value here with Hernandez. There are no signs of decline, he’ll turn 29 in April, and the Mariners are gradually improving the team around him, which may give him a chance to exceed the 15 wins he piled up this season. His three-year ERA (2.73) is third only to Kershaw and Johnny Cueto (fewer innings), while his 2.67 FIP is second. K’s, few BB’s, and a lot of IP’s, what else is there?
1. Stephen Strasburg (Van Riper) – Was 2014 the year that he completely turned the corner with control (1.8 BB/9)? He was outstanding down the stretch (79:13 K:BB, 2.20 ERA and 0.88 WHIP L60 days) and proved capable of handling a full workload (215 IP). The kid gloves are finally off, and Strasburg will head up the rotation for the best club in the National League again next season.
2. Prince Fielder (Steinhorn) – Remember him? Fielder was a borderline first rounder last year, so what has changed? Yeah, there’s some risk involved here but Prince is expected to be fully healthy for spring training. I’ll gladly take the risk at a cost that is three rounds cheaper.
3. Billy Hamilton (DiFino) – The ugly .200 second half batting average will likely be avoided in his sophomore season. The 50+ steals should be 70+ in 2015. I can now focus on power hitter speculation with my bats instead of trying to pick up steals here and there.
4. Ian Kinsler (Gonos) – Kinsler’s entering his age-33 season, coming off a successful first season in Detroit. While he surpassed highs in some of his counting stats last season (RBI, hits, at-bats), he also played a career-high 161 games, which likely won’t happen again. Even at 150 games, he does enough in multiple categories to be a great Fantasy benefit as my second baseman.
5. Jose Reyes (Schwartz) – Now’s the time of the draft when I’d like to be working off real rankings or projections, since I feel like I have a sufficient power base and want to start layering in other categories and positions. There are seven or eight players I’m considering, but I’ll take Jose Reyes… hey, I said I wanted a strong power base, not that I was punting speed! Reyes is always an injury risk, averaging only 132 games over three seasons, but he’s productive when he plays: .289-13-60 with 35 SB and 98 runs per 162 games over that time. This feels like fair value for that risk/reward profile.
6. Freddie Freeman (Flowers) – Do I go pitching – there are some great arms, or hitting? Ryan Braun is tempting, but we just don’t know about his thumb yet. Jason Kipnis was terrible last season and I already have Cano anyways. I’m going to go with stability instead, something that is becoming harder to find these days than it should be. I’ll take Freedie Freeman. It locks me up at the corner field spot since I already have Goldschmidt, but I’ll take the certainty that is Freeman.
7. Corey Kluber (Michaels) – I remember grabbing Kluber in the magazine draft Rotoman does each year around the sixth or seventh round and getting a bunch of “damn” responses, which is always a good thing in drafts (well, almost always as it depends upon performance). Anyway, Kluber certainly justified both the pick, and the responses as he climbed into the top tier of both AL and MLB hurlers last year with over a whiff a frame, and a terrific 1.095 WHIP over 235.6 frames. Kluber is just 28, going into those peak years, so as long as he can avoid the deadly TJ, I think he is a nice grab here.
8. Jason Kipnis (Zinkie) – He can’t be as bad as he was last season, right? Right?! I went with safety when I took Pence last round, so I will go with upside here. Kipnis was a second-round pick in most leagues last year, and he is still in his prime, so I will take the chance that he won’t have two down years in a row.
9. Dee Gordon (Zola) – Similar to Cory, I like my foundation of power, but I’m woefully devoid of steals. I don’t care if he’s a one-trick pony, my team needs more tricks and fewer treats. Gordon showed enough that he’ll be a regular in 2015, either staying at 2B of moving to SS in the event Guerrero takes 2B and Hanley moves to 3B.
10. Brian Dozier (Sporer) – A four-category guy who’s fifth you’re willing to trade because it yields the power in return (43% FB rate tied for highest among 2B w/Kinsler; t9th in MLB). I’m not sure many realize that he scored the 2nd-most runs in baseball to only Trout. He does that by walking a ton and mitigating the modest AVG. I buy the 20-20 and I think we could see the R-RBI jump as that Minnesota offense grows. They have already had an infusion of young talent in the form of three 23-year olds (Arcia, Santana, and Vargas) even before getting so much as a major league AB from the guys drawing all the attention in their system: Buxton and Sano.
11. Brett Gardner (Erickson) – Let’s go with a little bit of speed, a little bit of power with this pick. I’ll find a scarce position player maybe in the 8th or 9th round, but I’m not going to sweat the 2B run.
12. Starling Marte (Heaney) – I’ll follow Jeff’s theme and go with a power-speed fly-catcher. Marte responded to his midseason slump with authority over the final two months. I believe in that polar end of skills more confidently. .270-15-70-80-30? Nice.
1. Victor Martinez (Heaney) – Instead of taking my age risk with Beltre in Round 3, it’s more comfortable here. Even at age 36, he’ll sustain elite contact peripherals as DH in a fine run-producing lineup. Something around 25 homers still makes this price worth it, but I have enough top-end power in tow to account for fewer.
2. Max Scherzer (Erickson) – 250 strikeouts are good, right? I’m a little surprised he was still available – just think what he could do if he lands in the NL.
3. Adrian Gonzalez (Sporer) – 20-something homers and 100-something RBIs feels bankable at this point and I’m still not ruling out another 30-homer season, even at 33 years old. Although that .588 OPS v. LHP would have to change drastically for that to come through.
4. Madison Bumgarner (Zola) – If this were a real draft, and I was physically capable, I would be doing cartwheels and somersaults right about now. Kershaw is obviously in a tier by himself. Then I think there are four equal arms — Sale, Felix, Scherzer and MadBum. Getting Bumgarner as the 7th SP off the board makes me very happy. With a starter this early, I want to be relatively certain of 220 quality innings. I get that here. Truth be told, I was ruing going with Gordon last round and not taking Bumgarner and hoping Gordon dropped to me in the 5th. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
5. George Springer (Zinkie) – The power is there, and I think the steals will come soon. I’m not expecting a great batting average right away.
6. Leonys Martin (Michaels) – Joining the speed fray with a guy I have loved for a few years (the AL Marte?) who swiped 31 last year and who seems to have some power potential, and on a team that likes to score runs. He will be just 27 going into 2015, and goes into that magical third full season with a pretty stable two-year mean that seems to point to kicking up his game.
7. David Price (Flowers) – Ryan Braun or Adam Wainwright? Both are elite players when healthy. Are either going to be healthy at the start of 2015? At this point we just don’t know. Same could be said about a guy like Yu Darvish. Given all that I’ll go with the safest elite level arm that is left.
8. Kyle Seager (Schwartz) – Awfully tempting to take Braun or CarGo here and I doubt I’ll be able to pass on them here when we do this for real in March. For today though I’ll take Kyle Seager… more solid power production at an unsettled position. My draft day projection for him this year was for .262-23-87 with 11 SB and 85 runs, and he pretty much delivered on that value albeit with a slightly different shape. I’m going to bet there’s room for more growth as he enters his age-27 season.
9. Ryan Braun (Gonos) – Braun dealt with a thumb injury all last season, which understandably affected his ability at the plate. He underwent a procedure involving cryotherapy in October, and he began swinging a bat a couple weeks later. If he doesn’t rebound after this procedure, I’ll be needing some cry-otherapy myself.
10. Albert Pujols (DiFino) – He hit almost .280 with 28 home runs and 37 doubles, quietly adding five steals. Plus, 105 RBI. He’s healthy and has a perennially good lineup to help with the counting stats.
11. Craig Kimbrel (Steinhorn) – Since I’m having a hard time finding a hitter who is a no doubt pick here, I was all set to take an SP. But since DVR already has two SPs and there are a few starters who I’d feel comfortable taking, I’ll go on a 411 themed tangent and grab Kimbrel instead to anchor my bullpen.
12. Shin-Soo Choo (Van Riper) – I’ll take Ralph Wiggum’s favorite player at the end of Round 5. The ankle injury surfaced so early that it’s easy to see how his productivity fell off so much from 2013. Further, the likely improved health of the lineup around him should enable the counting stats to return to near-elite levels. Even if he’s .280/.390/.450 instead of the crazy OBP from CIN, Choo should be a very good five category player again in 2015.
1. Aroldis Chapman (Van Riper) – I don’t often invest much in closers, but this seems like the appropriate spot to jump in on Chapman. Job security is a non-issue, and the extra strikeouts he provides compared to second-tier closers will also enable me to focus on offense a bit longer in the middle round before rounding out the staff foundation of Felix and Strasburg.
2. Adam Wainwright (Steinhorn) – I’m somewhat surprised that he’s still available. Maybe it’s due to concerns over his recent elbow issues, but it sounds like it’s nothing serious and I’m not about to downgrade him on my cheat sheet until I hear otherwise.
3. Julio Teheran (DiFino) – I wasn’t really a believer coming into last season, and now I’m going to overcompensate and hope nobody notices me grasping on the back of the bandwagon. He produced a sub-3.00 ERA after his 2013 surprise, held a decent K rate (7.6 k/9), and gave his owners a 1.08 WHIP in 220+ innings. I thought he might take a step back from 2013; he instead brought his game up to the next level. He’s now my staff ace, and the low ratios allow me to go strikeout hunting later in the draft.
4. Johnny Cueto (Gonos) – While we’re not drafting for the past season, it’s tough to not think about Cueto’s 20 wins, 242 strikeouts and sub-1.000 WHIP. He was pretty consistent all season, giving up more than three earned runs in just four different starts, and he’s going to still be just 29 years old in 2015. I’m aiming for an 18-win season with 220 innings/strikeouts.
5. Kenley Jansen (Schwartz) – I’ll keep the pitcher run going, but with a closer, not a starter. Greg Holland is probably the clear-cut best guy left on the board but something about watching him pitch scares me… Kenley Jansen, on the other hand, looks so much more effortless doing the job. In more tangible matters, Jansen had more strikeouts and fewer walks than Holland in more innings pitched, with only two fewer saves. If he’s not already elite, I think he’ll arrive this year.
6. Dustin Pedroia (Flowers) – Carlos Santana would have been my selection, but if we’re using 20 games at a position as the qualifier then he doesn’t have catcher eligibility (11 games, 10 starts). Not taking Yu Darvish here seems stupid, but with his health concerns I’ll pass. Instead I will go with another injured vet, locking up Pedroia as my middle infield option. With health he will easily return 6th round value.
7. Marcell Ozuna (Michaels) – First of all, you all know as a Berkeley-ite with an advanced degree in English I am capable of coupling the word “fuck” with words like “obstreperous” in fashioning a pretty good (and sometimes entertaining) sentence. Well, I had been sitting on D-Ped since last round so the flood of expletives coupled with that very obstreperous word came spewing out when Ray made his pick. Truth is his Santana suggestion is also a good one, but I am going again with a youngin’ going into his third year, having jumped 80 points in OPS last year. He is a bit of a free swinger, but the 40 walks ain’t horrible, and I am thinking that will improve as he establishes himself as a vet.
8. Christian Yelich (Zinkie) – I like Yelich as a developing elite leadoff hitter. He will be good for double-digit homers, over 20 steals and 90 runs. Also a helpful batting average. His ability to help in four categories, combined with the possibility of him jumping up another tier, makes him a fine pick once the best outfielders are off the board.
9. Kole Calhoun (Zola) – I’m not sure how to say bite me in Canadian but that’s my reaction to Fred’s taking Yelich — I love me some Yelich in 2015. I haven’t felt this way since this time last year when I felt this way about Kole Calhoun. So instead of pushing the envelope to (hypothetically) see if Calhoun would have made it to me in R7, I’ll take him now. Getting a leadoff hitter with some pop helps balance my hitting having sacrificed HR and RBI with the Gordon pick.
10. Jordan Zimmermann (Sporer) – I was gonna go ahead and pull the Carlos Santana trigger that has been discussed multiple times now, especially since I had him written out for my last pick before changing to Gonzalez, but not only does he not qualify at C, but I also have all of his qualified positions filled so I have to pass. I’ll jump on the pitcher train with Jordan Zimmermann. He has three straight 32-start seasons, two of which were sub-3.00 ERA efforts. His turned up K rate was a pleasant surprise, too, and I think there is reason to believe he can sustain it. He’s a full-on stud.
11. Carlos Santana (Erickson) – OK, I’ll bite and take Santana, seeing as I don’t have a third baseman. I’m short power now, so I went with him and will have to find a high-average guy on the comeback. I have just the player in mind, at a scarce position no less.
12. Jason Heyward (Heaney) – His big 2012 (.269, 27 HR, -21 SB) was his third season. 2015 will be his sixth. Forget every other year — Heyward will go nuts every three! In all seriousness, I still believe in the 25-year-old’s raw ability enough to take a guarded chance. A simple HR/FB rebound to old levels, through some swing corrections, could push him back toward 30 dingers. He’ll still approach 40 combined HR and SB in some form. The power-speed makeup of my outfield has turned out quite nicely with Trout, Marte and Heyward.