Mock Fantasy Draft #1 – 2/4/2010


We’re slowly starting to get toward the start of baseball season (pitchers and catchers report in less than 2 weeks!), and that also means we’re getting close to the fantasy baseball season. I am an avid fantasy baseball player, and really enjoy playing the game.

I currently play in 3 main leagues:

  • a 10-team redraft league with a bunch of my oldest friends
  • a 14-team keeper league where we keep everyone on our roster, and include a 3-round minor league draft after each season
  • a 30-team keeper league with a full minor league system

I generally will add a league or two during the season, depending on who asks me about it. Each league has its interesting things, and part of the reason I play in the keeper leagues is because of the competition level in my 10-team redraft league.

Anyway, I figured it was time to start doing some mock drafts, because they are always illuminating for some things in fantasy baseball. I use mockdraftcentral.com mostly, and find them to be very useful.

As of right now, I have not purchased any magazines or books regarding the new 2010 season, and have not really read any in-depth articles about fantasy baseball yet either. I am going entirely off of my own knowledge, and the rankings that they list in the draft window itself.

The rules for this draft:

Yahoo-style league (5 games qualifies a player at a position)
Lineup: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UT, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, 5 BN
Scoring categories: AVG, R, RBI, HR, SB, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP
Teams: 12, snake draft
My Pick: #1 overall

Round #1 (Pick #1) – Albert Pujols (1B) – How can you not take Pujols as the #1 player overall? Hits for a high average, hits for high power, steals bases, drives in runs. Probably as close to a perfect player as possible for fantasy purposes.

Other first round notes: Utley went 3rd, and that seems about right actually. 2B is pretty thin at the top, and you’re pretty well set if you get Utley. Commenters in the draft thought it was a bad pick there, but didn’t really provide any backing. Longoria went 5th, with both Braun and Kemp left on the board at that point, which seemed odd to me as well. Fielder went 6th, ahead of Teixeira, Cabrera, and Howard. I imagine that they’re thinking that Fielder rebounds toward his 50-homer season. Braun (7) and Kemp (9) I think probably fell slightly due to the fact that this league only requires 3 OF instead of 5. Lincecum (12) seems extremely risky to me, but it seems like it would at least be understandable.

Round #2 (Pick #24) – Zack Greinke (SP) – As much as I am not a fan of taking pitching this early, I can’t really argue with taking Greinke here. Other pitchers available: Felix Hernandez, Dan Haren

Other second round notes: David Wright fell to the 1st pick of the 2nd round, which seems like it’s going to be a really good value. Top tier position players came off the board rapidly (Wright, Tulowitzki, Reyes, Kinsler), as to be expected also. Someone reached for Jimmy Rollins in my opinion, taking him 18th overall. I do not like where my team is trending right now, as it looks like the best players available when I get to pick again are going to be either starting pitchers (not my idea of fun) or 1B again. Justin Upton (2.8) reminds me of how good a season he had, because I wasn’t even contemplating him there. Mauer (2.9) went sooner than I’d take him even in spite of his season.

Round #3 (Pick #25) – Brandon Phillips (2B) – Of the players available here, the only other one I even considered was Jacoby Ellsbury. However, I’m not a fan of players who contribute a ton in one category and that makes up a majority of their value. I’d rather have a player who contributes to all categories. Phillips is a 20-20 hitter who should do just that at a position that is premium.

Other 3rd round notes: Ellsbury fell to (3.8), which seems about right in my mind for a player who does a lot of things alright and one thing really well. Werth (3.12) had a much better season last year than I remembered.

Round #4 (Pick #48) – Brian McCann (C) – I really like McCann to continue what he did from last season, which was to provide 20+ homers and 80+ rbi with a solid average at a position where there really doesn’t seem to be a lot of depth after the top 5 or so.

Other 4th round notes: Pablo Sandoval (4.2) seemed a bit of a surprise to me with Kevin Youkilis and Ryan Zimmerman still on the board. Johan Santana (4.4) seemed a little early with the injury concerns. I probably could have waited on a catcher, but I’m not a big fan of trying to fill that position in after the fact. The quality level after the top-tier of catchers really seems to drop off in my opinion.

Round #5 (Pick #49) – Derek Jeter (SS) – I’ve essentially filled all the positions I was concerned about, with a high-end consistent catcher, and a high-end consistent SS. I don’t expect Jeter to hit more than 15 homers and steal more than 25 in 2010, but with his high average I will take it.

Other 5th round notes: Adam Wainwright (5.5) was drafted ahead of Cliff Lee (5.9), Javy Vasquez, and Chris Carpenter, among others. Lance Berkman lasted all the way until 5.12, which was a surprise to me.

Round #6 (Pick #72) – Bobby Abreu (OF) – Abreu is that player that you’re never really that happy to draft, and then you remember that he’s going to give you a .290 average with 12-15 homers, 30 steals, and almost 100 rbi every year. And I still felt the exact same way then about it anyway.

Other 6th round notes: The first closer went off the board with Mariano Rivera at 6.1. I was really surprised to see Tommy Hanson go at 6.2, with some very solid pitchers still left on the board. More pitching started coming off the board, with Javy Vazquez (6.5) and Josh Johnson (6.6). While this is going on, I am hoping that the two players I am targeting for my next picks last. And as soon as I wrote it, Carlos Lee came off the board. He would have been a GIANT steal in round 6. MDC has more closers in their rankings at this point, with Papelbon and Broxton both on the board halfway through 6th round. And just like that, my second player went with Shin-Soo Choo being taken at 6.11. Gotta scramble now…

Round #7 (Pick #73) – Andre Ethier (OF) – I really do not like drafting closers early, as they are too random for my taste. At this point I’ve now filled all my infield positions except for 3B, and 2 of my 3 outfield spots.

Other 7th round notes: Some potential high-upside picks: Alfonso Soriano at 7.8, Jake Peavy at 7.9. I know now that I would love to see Gordon Beckham fall to my next pick, but with 14 picks between then and now, and him showing as 5th best remaining, that seems unlikely.

Round #8 (Pick #96) – Carlos Beltran (OF) – At this point, other outfielders available included Hunter Pence and Alex Rios. I’ll take my chance with Beltran this late on him possibly being a top-tier value. Even with the injury, his ceiling seems to be a lot higher than either of Pence or Rios.

Other 8th round notes: Beckham went at 8.1. That’s not really that much of a surprise to me, as he’s going to be playing 2B for the Sox, and will have excellent position flexibility. Matt Wieters (8.2) really seems like a reach also. At this point, I am probably going to look for pitching with my next two picks, unless I see someone unusual available. Pitchers still available: Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, Josh Beckett, Ubaldo Jimenez

Round #9 (Pick #97) – Ubaldo Jimenez (SP) – I really like Jimenez here, and think he has the potential to build on his 2009 season, and possibly get over 200 strikeouts next year.

Other 9th round notes: Adrian Beltre went at 9.3, which also seems really high to me. Beckett and John Lackey both went after my pick, which seems about right for some reason. Russell Martin went off the board way too early (9.8) in my opinion, as he doesn’t really seem to have as much upside as a lot of other catchers. The commenters on the draft agreed.

At this point in the draft, I am probably looking at adding some more pitching, and potentially some high-end value. I still need a 3rd baseman, and a utility player.

Round #10 (Pick #120) – Matt Garza (SP) – Garza only had 8 wins last year, but still struck out a lot of batters.

Other 10th round notes: Alex Rios went at 10.3, and he’s probably going to provide a good value for the team there. Stephen Drew went at 10.4, and I can’t think off the top of my head how many more good shortstops there are after him. Of course the second I type that, Asdrubal Cabrera gets drafted as well. Ryan Franklin and Carlos Marmol continued a run on closers as well.

Round #11 (Pick #121) – Cole Hamels (SP) – I think he rebounds to a better season than he had last year, and with a lot of the other players available, I’m pretty happy to get both him and Garza.

MDC’s projections right now have me in 3rd place, and that is with essentially no help from closers or stolen bases (AVG – 11, HR, 6, RBI – 10, SB – 6, R – 6, W – 11, S – 2.5, K – 11, WHIP – 5, ERA – 5)

Other 11th round notes: More closers (Jenks – 11.3, Bailey 11.4), and high upside players (Scherzer, Bruce). Brandon Webb went at 11.5 as a potentially huge steal. Stephen Strasburg went at 11.7, which seems really risky to me with players like AJ Burnett and James Shields still on the board at that point.

I do know what I see as potentially my solution at 3B if it makes it to my next pick.

Round #12 (Pick #144) – Miguel Tejada (SS) – Tejada is going to qualify at 3B not too long after the start of the season, so if I can find someone to play there for a week, I’ll be pretty well set for 3B with the rest of the team.

Other 12th round notes: Kurt Suzuki seems like a bit of an early reach, and Vlad Guerrero seems early too considering he won’t qualify as anything but a UT. Chris Davis

Round #13 (Pick #145) – Huston Street (RP) – I figured it was time for a closer, and Street looked like one of my better options at this point.

Other 13th round notes: More closers go, as JP Howell, Billy Wagner, and Brian Wilson were all drafted.

Round #14 (Pick #168) – Scott Baker (SP) – At this point, it was either drafting a 5th starter, or a backup to a position I already had filled. Looking back afterward, I wish I’d taken Jorge de La Rosa there, but Baker should still provide a lot of strikeouts and reasonable ratios.

Other 14th round notes: Brett Anderson looks like a really, really good pick at 14.2, as he could be a potential fantasy ace. Bengie Molina went at 14.4, which seems bad as well. Roy Oswalt also seems like a really good value as well at 14.5.

Round #15 (Pick #169) – Brad Lidge (RP) – Here’s everyone’s favorite high-risk, high-reward pitcher. Saves and strikeouts with the potential for a huge blow up.

15th round notes: Brian Matusz went at 15.8, and looks like a really good value pick there. He really could be a top-20 starter in my opinion.

Round #16 (Pick #192) – Kerry Wood (RP) – Another high risk, high reward pick here. If he loses his job as closer, he’s easily dropped when drafted this late.

16th round notes: Juan Pierre at 16.2 seems like an overdraft as well, although he does appear to have a starting job in Chicago.

After the 16th round, MDC has me projected as the league leader: (AVG – 11, HR – 3, RBI – 8, SB – 5.5, R – 2, W – 10, SV – 8, K – 10, WHIP – 10, ERA – 11). I am still short runs in mass proportion apparently, and HR as well, which isn’t good.

Round #17 (Pick #193) – Dexter Fowler (OF) – Another high-upside pick here, in that if he manages to get some consistent playing time, he’ll be able to steal between 30-40 bases and hit for a solid average.

Round #18 (Pick #216) – Chris Coghlan (OF) – Here’s a player who hit .300, with some power and some speed last season, who lasted all the way until round 18. Not an amazing player here, but I think there’s some potential upside if Dan Uggla manages to get traded, as it seems likely that Coghlan goes back to his original position of 2B.

18th round notes: High risk possibilities taken in round 18 included Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Francisco Liriano, Rich Harden, and Ben Sheets

Round #19 (Pick #217) – J.D. Drew (OF) – My hope was that taking him here would provide a solid outfielder with some good rns totals. Not sure if it will work or not, but I really didn’t like any of the players available at this point.

Round #20 (Pick #240) – Brandon Inge (3B) – I technically still needed a 3B, and the projections were slightly messed up without one. Inge has a lot of good power

Round #21 (Pick #241) – Chad Qualls (RP) – Here’s a closer who suffered a knee injury at the end of last season.

Late round notes: Marco Scutaro lasted all the way to 20.8,and some great values with Paul Konerko (21.4), Todd Helton (20.6), and Cameron Maybin (21.7) potentially. With a late pick like that, at worst it’s a place holder. Pedro Alvarez went ahead of Jason Heyward, which was really interesting considering Heyward is more likely to make it to the Bigs sooner.

Final projection:

My place: 1st (89 points)

Average: 11
Homeruns: 6
RBI: 12
Stolen Bases: 6
Runs: 7
Wins: 9
Saves: 8
Strikeouts: 9
WHIP: 10
ERA: 11

2nd place: 72.5

A lot of the players that were drafted at the end of the draft by me turned out surprisingly well, by my own account, as it has been my experience that I tend to take a lot of upside picks with the last 4-5 picks of a draft. There wasn’t a whole lot of upside in most of those picks, but definitely some solid production potential.

The final lineup:

C – Brian McCann
1B – Albert Pujols
2B – Brandon Phillips
3B – Miguel Tejada, Brandon Inge
SS – Derek Jeter
OF – Bobby Abreu, Andre Ethier, Carlos Beltran, Dexter Fowler, J.D. Drew, Chris Coghlan

SP – Zack Greinke, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, Cole Hamels, Scott Baker
RP – Huston Street, Brad Lidge, Kerry Wood, Chad Qualls

If I could actually have this draft, I’d be pretty happy with it. Thoughts on the draft?

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