Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft 1.0
The three greatest moments during the fantasy baseball season are: winning your league, Opening Day, and the draft. You can buy all the magazines, print out all the spreadsheets, and read all the articles you want, but actually walking through a draft and observing different strategies remains one of the best ways to prepare yourself.
On February 20th, a panel of experts took part in FOXSports.com’s first fantasy baseball mock draft of 2013.
UPDATE: Check out the results of our 2013 Fantasy Baseball Experts League Draft (3/20)
Draft Order (company):
1) Jake Westrich (WhatIfSports.com)
2) Brad Johnson (Rotowire)
3) Andrew Gruman (FOX Sports Wisconsin – Milwaukee Brewers)
4) Anthony Andro (FOX Sports Southwest – Texas Rangers)
5) Matt Schnider (FOXSports.com)
6) Adam Meyer (FOXSports.com)
7) Eric Luchetti (FOX Sports Midwest)
8) Ryan Fowler (FOXSports.com)
9) Joel Beall (FOXSports.com)
10) Howard Bender (Rotowire)
11) Jay Clemons (FOX Sports South – Atlanta Braves)
12) John Halpin (FOXSports.com)
I’ve critiqued the first round and then assessed each expert’s specific draft.
1. Mike Trout, OF (Westrich) – He’s on top of my draft board, too. Trout provides great stats in every category (30 HRs, 83 RBI, .326, and 49 stolen bases for his rookie campaign) and he’s bulked up in the offseason.
2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (Johnson) – After the Trout selection, this is the easiest pick in the draft. A Triple Crown winner (44 HRs, 139 RBI, and .330 in 2012) and his lineup just got better with Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez.
3. Ryan Braun, OF (Gruman) – No. 3 on my list, as well. He’s averaged 37 HRs, 111.5 RBI, and 31.5 SBs over the last two seasons.The pick is that much simpler when you cover the Brewers on a daily basis.
4. Andrew McCutchen, OF (Andro) – There is always at least one player that has a great season the year before and propels themselves into the first-round of the next draft. Trout and McCutchen are those guys for 2013. He set career-highs in batting average (.327), home runs (31), and RBI (96).
5. Albert Pujols, 1B (Schnider) – After computer issues forced an auto-draft here, Matt eventually signed on and didn’t seem too thrilled with the pick. I have Fielder ranked higher, but “The Machine” is still first-round worthy (at least 30 HRs and 99 RBI in 12 straight seasons).
6. Robinson Cano, 2B (Meyer) – I found it difficult to pass on the best second baseman in the draft, in a hitter-friendly park. I expect bigger numbers from all of the hitters drafted in round one, but Cano’s separation from the rest at his position make him that much more valuable in 2013. He led all second basemen with .313/.550/.929, 33 HRs, and 94 RBI.
7. Justin Verlander, SP (Luchetti) – While I believe every fantasy team needs that standout ace on the roster, there are just too many quality starting pitchers in this draft. I found it a bit of a stretch that Verlander was taken ahead of the remaining players in this round. But, hey, it’s Justin freaking Verlander (at least 17 wins and 219 strikeouts in four straight years), so I can’t bag on it too much.
8. Matt Kemp, OF (Fowler) – Last year’s No. 1 pick falls a little after hamstring issues during the 2012 season, but still has the ability to be the best hitter in the game. Also, he managed to lead the Dodgers in home runs (23) with only 106 games played.
9. Joey Votto, 1B (Beall) – My eighth-ranked player overall. So, a semi-steal for Mr. Beall. In 374 at-bats he finished with the best OBP in the league (.474).
10. Giancarlo Stanton, OF (Bender) – Based on my first-round rankings, he’s No. 10 on my list. Spot on. His RBI total may dip because of the lack of talent (and possibly lack of effort) around him, but will still produce a solid home run total. In 27 fewer games last year, he hit three more home runs (37) and only one less RBI (86) than 2011.
11. Prince Fielder, 1B (Clemons) – This is definitely the steal of the first-round. I have him at No. 4 on my board. Over the past six years, he’s averaged 38 HRs and 112 RBI.
12. Jose Bautista, OF (Halpin) – Another semi-steal, because Joey Bats is No. 11 on my list. Though his home runs and RBI have slipped for three straight seasons, his total games have also decreased. Halpin also made the smart, obligatory move in a snake draft by drafting a pitcher (Clayton Kershaw) with the first pick of round two.
Owner-by-owner draft analysis:
Liked: Drafting Marco Scutaro in the 19th round. I mentioned in a previous write-up, how I will try to draft Scutaro and Adam Eaton in every league and Jake blocked that from happening (shouldn’t that be a “dislike”?).
Disliked: With the exception of Adam Wainwright in round seven, I wasn’t impressed with his starting pitchers. I know that there is a lot of depth in that position this season, but his choices of Zack Greinke (over Gio Gonzalez), Yovani Gallardo (over Matt Moore and Ian Kennedy), and Wade Miley (over Mike Minor) surprised me.
Liked: He was patient. He did not draft a starting pitcher until the seventh round and still managed to score a solid rotation. In my opinion, Brad had the best draft and I would be worried if I was in a league with him.
Disliked: The only decision I didn’t agree with was taking Ian Kinsler in the second round instead of Justin Upton. Hindsight is 20/20, but the next second baseman (Dustin Pedroia) was selected after Johnson’s pick in round three. So, he still could have nabbed a great second baseman while upgrading his outfield.
Liked: Here’s another solid draft strategy. The best players just fell into Gruman’s lap. It started with Ryan Braun in round one and continued through Doug Fister in the 11th round.
Disliked: While it’s often considered to be a one-category position, he took a risk by drafting only two relief pitchers and both in hitter-friendly parks.
Liked: Drafting Victor Martinez in the seventh round. He has eligibility as a catcher, but will likely DH or play first base throughout the season.
Disliked: In a post-draft analysis Andrew said he was happy to get Yu Darvish in the fourth round, but I think it was a mistake passing up on Cliff Lee. I’m sure covering the Rangers had a significant impact on this choice (drafted five of Nolan Ryan’s guys). Darvish is 18th in my starting pitcher rankings, which means he probably could have drafted him two rounds later instead of Johnny Cueto.
Liked: Carlos Gonzalez is 13th on my top-300 list and Matt snagged him with the 20th selection. Not to mention, picking up Jered Weaver (round four) and Roy Halladay (round six).
Disliked: Honestly, I don’t want to force a critique. I really liked his balance of power and speed hitters, while also manufacturing a good pitching staff. Second-best draft goes to Schnider.
Liked: Yoenis Cespedes is No. 41 on my list and I was able to take him with the 54th pick overall. Also, I was able to temper my Cleveland Indians’ fanhood until the sixth round (Carlos Santana).
Disliked: Ultimately, I didn’t stick to my top-300 game plan. I took Robinson Cano instead of Prince Fielder and Felix Hernandez over David Price. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate the spreadsheet.
Liked: This was probably the draft I agreed with the least. I’ll award points for creativity, but the lack of offense will cost him half the 5x5 stats.
Disliked: As I mentioned in the first-round analysis, Justin Verlander with the seventh overall selection is a tad too high. Also, taking three starting pitchers in the first four rounds in a pitcher-heavy draft pool is just excessive.
Liked: Ryan, aware of the huge starting pitcher population, was able to stare down Stephen Strasburg, David Price, and Felix Hernandez in the second round, drafting Jose Reyes.
Disliked: Paul Goldschmidt is 67th on my list of 300, and Fowler drafted him 32nd overall (instead of Edwin Encarnacion and Freddie Freeman). Also, we both agree that he reached with Mike Fiers in the 16th round.
Liked: Joel drafted a very solid offense led by Votto, Tulo, and Jay Bruce.
Disliked: I really like Matt Harvey as a sleeper in 2013, but he loses value when you take him over Hiroki Kuroda, Lance Lynn, and C.J. Wilson in the 12th round.
Liked: Howard also received the “ample supply of starting pitchers” memo and stock-piled his offense.
Disliked: The only pick I would change is his second-round move. I think it was too early to draft a catcher, even if Buster Posey is the defending National League batting champion.
Liked: Jay found great talent late in the draft taking his relief pitchers in rounds 17-19, his catcher (A.J. Pierzynski) in the 20th round, and Torii Hunter in the second-to-last round.
Disliked: The only move I disagreed with was his choice of second baseman in the seventh round. He went with Aaron Hill instead of the speedster Jose Altuve.
Liked: John found great value with Chase Headley in the sixth round and Josh Rutledge with his 15th pick.
Disliked: He was dealt an ace early with Kershaw 13th overall, but I wasn’t a fan of the rest of his pitching selections. He waited until the 11th and 12th rounds to add to his rotation.
• 5x5 Roto (OBP instead of AVG)
• 22 Rounds