Here’s a look at my selections and the rationale behindthe crucial ones.
The only prerequisites for an early-March mock: Get value at every turn, and snag six offensive players in the first eight picks.
Round 1, Pick 5 overall — Best overall player
First option: OF Matt Kemp, Dodgers Second option: OF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates Third option: 1B Joey Votto, Reds
Round 2, Pick 20 overall — Best overall player
First option: SP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers Second option: OF Josh Hamilton, Angels Third option: 3B David Wright, Mets
Round 3, Pick 29 overall — Best player available; targeting middle infielder
First option: SS Starlin Castro, Cubs Second option: 2B Ian Kinsler, Rangers Third option: OF Matt Holliday, Cardinals
Round 4, Pick 44 overall — Best pitcher available
First option: SP Cole Hamels, Phillies Second option: RP Craig Kimbrel, Braves Third option: 2B Jason Kipnis, Indians
Round 5, Pick 53 overall — Best infielder (emphasizing power)
First option: 2B Jason Kipnis, Indians Second option: 3B Aramis Ramirez, Brewers Third option: 2B Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
Round 6, Pick 68 overall — Best corner infielder or starting pitcher
First option: 1B Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks Second option: SP Chris Sale, White Sox Third option: OF Austin Jackson, Tigers
Round 7, Pick 77 overall — Best outfielder or pitcher
First option: OF Desmond Jennings, Rays Second option: SP Matt Moore, Rays Third option: SP Kris Medlen, Braves
Round 8, Pick 92 overall — Best power hitter or starting pitcher
First option: 1B Eric Hosmer, Royals Second option: SP Aroldis Chapman, Reds Third option: OF Shin-Soo Choo, Reds
Round 9, Pick 101 overall — Best starting pitcher
First option: SP Max Scherzer, Tigers Second option: SP Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks Third option: SP Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays
Round 10, Pick 116 overall — Best player available
First option: 1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs Second option: C/1B Mike Napoli, Red Sox Third option: SP Tim Lincecum, Giants
Round 11, Pick 125 overall — Best pitcher or corner infielder
First option: SP Anibal Sanchez, Tigers Second option: 1B Paul Konerko, White Sox Third option: 1B Adam LaRoche, Nationals
Round 12, Pick 140 overall — Best third baseman available
First option: 3B David Freese, Cardinals Second option: SS Alcides Escobar, Royals Third option: 3B Mike Moustakas, Royals
Round 13, Pick 149 overall — Best player available
First option: 3B Mike Moustakas, Royals Second option: SP C.J. Wilson, Angels Third option: SP Homer Bailey, Reds
Round 14, Pick 164 overall — Best starting pitcher
First option: SP Homer Bailey, Reds Second option: SP Mike Minor, Braves Third option: SP Matt Garza, Cubs
Round 15, Pick 173 overall — Best corner infielder
First option: 1B/OF Chris Davis, Orioles Second option: SP Matt Harrison, Rangers Third option: OF Coco Crisp, Athletics
Round 16, Pick 188 overall — Best starting pitcher
First option: SP Ryan Vogelsong, Giants Second option: SP A.J. Burnett, Pirates Third option: SP Wade Miley, Diamondbacks
Round 17, Pick 197 overall — Best outfielder or catcher available
First option: OF Norichika Aoki, Brewers Second option: C Salvador Perez, Royals Third option: 1B/OF Nick Swisher, Indians
Round 18, Pick 212 overall — Best closer
First option: RP Glen Perkins, Twins Second option: RP Kenley Jansen, Dodgers Third option: RP Casey Janssen, Blue Jays
Round 19: SP Marco Estrada, Brewers Round 20: SS Josh Rutledge, Rockies (should have 2B eligibility around April 20) Round 21: RP Bruce Rondon, Tigers Round 22: C Brian McCann, Braves Round 23: RP Jose Veras, Astros (an educated shot in the dark he’ll be Houston’s closer) Round 24: SS Jean Segura, Brewers Round 25: OF Domonic Brown, Phillies
1. Extrapolating his 2012 stats over 150 games, Matt Kemp (74 games) plausibly could have notched 45 homers, 128 RBI, 127 runs and 17 steals. Check out his absurd numbers from last April: 12 homers, 25 RBI, 24 runs, two steals, .417 batting, .490 OBP and an otherworldly OPS of 1.383.
2. I usually don’t take a starting pitcher in the first two rounds, but today was a good one to roll with Clayton Kershaw (my No. 1 overall pitcher) and then proceed from there.
3. Speaking of which, I would be thrilled to have a seven-man rotation of Kershaw, Cole Hamels (Tier 1 starters), Max Scherzer (Tier 2), Homer Bailey, Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Vogelsong and Marco Estrada — the least-regarded pitcher of the bunch, but one with a reasonable upside for 10 wins and 165 strikeouts.
4. I didn’t land either pitcher, but Madison Bumgarner (63rd overall) and Chris Sale (72nd overall) collectively bring sublime value to Round 6. Both aces have the capacity for 17-plus wins and 200 strikeouts.
5. Love the 1-2 punch of David Freese (20 HRs, .293 batting last season) and Mike Moustakas at third base. Moustakas got off to a torrid start last April, rolling for three homers, 12 RBI, 10 runs and a .315 batting average. He also posted double-digit tallies in runs and RBI for all six months.
6. In 211 career games in the minors (2010-12), Colorado’s Josh Rutledge had a .320 batting average and .496 slugging rate — strong numbers that were slightly diluted by his prolonged slump from three years ago. Playing in the thin Colorado air, Rutledge could belt 15-17 homers this season.
7. From Aug. 26 to Sept. 28 last year, spanning 13 outings and 14 innings, Twins closer Glen Perkins posted these high-end numbers: 1.28 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, one win, nine saves and a 12/1 K-BB ratio.