February 10, 2014
Fantasy Experts Mock Draft
Recap and Analysis
On Thursday evening, we hosted our first mock draft with a 15-person group of industry folks going 23 rounds deep to fill out a standard roster of C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, CI, MI, 5 OF, DH, and 9 P of any kind. Couch Managers hosted the event. I randomized the draft order just before game time and here’s how it came out:
Brent Hershey [Baseball HQ]
Jason Longfellow [Razzball]
Nick Raducanu [FantasyTrade411]
Ryan Carey [Mastersball]
Cory Schwartz [MLB]
David Gonos [Sports Illustrated]
D.J. Short [Rotoworld]
Jake Ciely [RotoExperts]
Tim Heaney [KFFL]
Derek Carty [DFSEdge]
Zach Steinhorn [MLB]
Nick Shlain [Rotowire]
I’m worried I’m using all of my good draft order luck in mock season!!! This is my second draft with a top-two pick and third straight with a top-four pick. I just know that once they count, I’ll be saddled with a bunch of sixth and eighth slots. The ideal spots for me this year are top three or bottom two—I just want to stay out of the middle. I was able to get Paul Goldschmidt with the fourth spot in that one draft, which is exactly who I wanted, but he’s moved up as the consensus no. 3.
The First Round
The top four was chalk and I’d be surprised if there was much change (outside of maybe the order of Trout/Cabrera or Goldy/Cutch as pairs). It gets really interesting at five and Carey wasted no time making a statement with Kershaw. The timing couldn’t have been better as I had just spent the day on an email discussion with the Flags Fly Forever crew regarding Kershaw as a viable pick in the 5-7 range. My main point regarding the situation is that the opportunity cost to your offense is nowhere near as great as it was 5-10 years ago, so you can get a significant leg up on your pitching without severely damaging your offense.
The glob of offensive talent from the middle of the first round to, say, the fourth (maybe even fifth) round just isn’t that disparate. Meanwhile, Kershaw—even accounting for the fact that he’s unlikely to throw down another 1.83 ERA—is still a reasonable amount better than his peers and perhaps more importantly, he’s also markedly more stable. Betting on pitching is scary, I understand that, but we’re talking about a guy with five straight seasons of sub-3.00 ERAs. First round picks are suspect as a whole with their success rate. Baseball HQ showed in the fantasy forecaster that just 36 percent of first round picks have delivered top-15 value that season since 2004. Starting pitchers are 3-for-3 in the last three seasons with Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, and Kershaw.
Moving on, the rest of the first round contains some names you’ll see in every first round (Cano, Ramirez, and Davis), but also ones that are part of that amalgam of talent I was talking about so they are just as likely to be mid-second rounders (Fielder and Kipnis) depending on the preferences of your leaguemates. If there is one thing I would have changed, it’s that I would’ve taken Edwin Encarnacion ahead of both Davis and Fielder at first base. Expanding it out to all positions, I would’ve taken him ahead of Jones, Kipnis, and Ellsbury, too.
The last one to join the party was Schwartz when he took Jordan Zimmermann at 7.96 (first number is the round, second number is the overall pick). Zimmermann was actually as his second pitcher, as he took Trevor Rosenthal the round before. Compare his staff to Carey, who selected the first pitcher with the fifth-overall pick.
Whose do you like better?
Next I noticed that my cohorts were catcher crazy! Or maybe I was just catcher lazy. I believe the position is deep, so I didn’t mind waiting a bit, but all of a sudden nine were gone after seven rounds. Five more—including two of my favorites, Wilson Ramos and Yan Gomes—would go before I finally got in on the action and took Josmil Pinto, a guy who could start the season in Triple-A, something I was unaware of when I took him. At least I don’t do this for a living.
Schwartz and his longtime podcast partner Mike Siano have long advocated the power-closer route, a strategy that encourages getting in early on the position and even breaking the seal if necessary. With Schwartz and MLB colleague Steinhorn in the draft, it was all but guaranteed that one of them would get Craig Kimbrel. Steinhorn made the move at 6.78 and the floodgates opened up. I was prepared to jump in that same round with Rosenthal or Greg Holland, but the latter went right after Schwartz took Rosenthal. With my two favorites off the board, I decided to wait.
Eleven closers would fly off the board in a 50-pick span in the sixth through ninth rounds, plus another eight in just the 10th and 11th rounds alone. After seeing Glen Perkins sail by in the eighth, I knew I could wait a while until I finally landed Addison Reed at 11.152. True to form, Schwartz had two of those first 10, landing David Robertson at 9.126.
Outfield is not deep. At all. I feel like it’s mischaracterized as such yearly because those doing the ranking underestimate the effect that every team needing five will have on the pool. I can definitely see it evolving into a steady position and possibly even a deep one, but as it stands right now, it’s thin on bankable talent. After the top 30-35, there are a lot of question marks. Here are a few among the next 20 OF selected:
These are just the second- and third-outfielder types.
Best/Worst Picks by Team
This draft doesn’t even count, it’s a mock so I should probably wrap this up, but I’ll close with a look at my team by itself:
Now, that is a squad.