Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fantasy Focus: My Mock Standard Draft

This last weekend, I had a little extra time on my hands.  I decided to try another mock draft.  Since I am in an auction league, I intended to do another auction draft, but there was a glitch in entering the draft room and I found myself in a standard "snake" draft holding the #6 pick in a 12 team draft.  I think a lot of people would have bailed and let the autodraft take over, but I decided I could learn something from any experience that helps get a feel for how players are being valued.  Then I thought that some of my readers might be in fantasy leagues with a standard draft and might learn something from seeing how my mock draft went.

I posted my results on the Yahoo Message Board and got some criticism for where I drafted certain players.   In response to that, I looked up Yahoo ADP's on all of my picks in addition to the draft position from a recent LABR Experts Mock Draft.  The LABR draft was a 15 team affair, with a lot more total draft slots to fill, so some relievers went much later than they would in a 10 or 12 team draft.  So, here's my draft by round with my overall draft position for each player followed by the Yahoo ADP and finally the LABR Mock Draft position:

Round 1:  Albert Pujols 1B, #6, Yahoo ADP 6.6, LABR 9.  I have Pujols at #5 on my own ranking after Braun, Trout, Miggy Cabrera and Robinson Cano.  I believe last year's first half was an adjustment to a new team and new league.  I'm looking for a very strong year for Pujols in 2013.

Round 2:  David Price SP, #19, Yahoo ADP 23.6, LABR 38.  I have David Price as my #4 ranked SP, but right there with the top 3 of Verlander, Kershaw and Strasburg.  Much as I love Matt Cain, there is a distinct dropoff from Price to Cain and the next tier of pitchers.  Most experts wait on pitching, so it's safer to wait on pitching in an expert draft.  The top 3 were already gone in my draft.  I was not enamored by the position choices that usually go in round 2, so I took the guy I consider one of the 4 true #1's in this year's fantasy draft.  Needless to say this is where the most intense criticism came from the Yahoo board.  Those guys said I should have taken an infielder, but really?  Jose Reyes?  Aaron Hill?  No thank you!  I'll take David Price over those guys in a heartbeat.

Round 3:   Bryce Harper OF, #30, Yahoo ADP 35.1, LABR 14.  I admit you have to believe in Harper's upside to take him this high, but I do believe.  Notice where he went in the LABR draft, which is almost certainly on overdraft, but hey, that guy must believe too!

Round 4:  Yeonis Cespedes OF, #43, Yahoo ADP 53.4, LABR 31.  Another guy you have to believe in his upside with, but I picked him up off the waiver wire last year and he was a huge part of my championship fantasy team.  Even if he simply stays healthy all year without progressing as a player, he'll be a 5 category stud.  I consider 20/20 to be his absolute floor.

Round 5:  Yu Darvish RHP, #54, Yahoo ADP 58.7, LABR 47.  Something seemed to click for Darvish in September of last year.  I know you should not base these kinds of decisions on a 1 month performance, but I just couldn't resist Darvish' upside here.  Even if he just repeats last year, he's still pretty darn good and the potential for a lot more is there.

Round 6:  Allen Craig OF, #67, Yahoo ADP 58.4, LABR 36.  I think Craig is a steal here. Yahoo and LABR both seem to agree with me.  I took him as an OF since I already had Pujols for 1B.

Round 7:  Matt Moore SP, #78, Yahoo ADP 88, LABR 77.  As you can see, I am a sucker for upside.  I have been drafting and picking up pitchers who fit Moore's general description ever since I started playing fantasy baseball and I have been very successful with it.

Round 8:  Jonathan Papelbon, RP, #91, Yahoo ADP 78.1, LABR 128.  I didn't like any of the position options here and I already had 3 SP's.  I figured it was a good time to lock up one of the more reliable closers in the draft. Again, note that RP's went later in the LABR draft due to the larger size of the draft.

Round 9:  Wilin Rosario, C, #102, Yahoo ADP 103.2, LABR 137.  I consider Rosario a solid value here.  Not sure why he lasted so long in the LABR draft.

Round 10. Matt Harvey, SP, #115, Yahoo ADP 149.7, LABR 174.  OK, I reached.  I absolutely love this guy!  I think he just might move into ace territory this year.

Round 11.  Pedro Alvarez, 3B, #126, Yahoo ADP 155.7, LABR 143.  Most of the 3B were gone by now. Alvarez hit 30 HR's last year.  Yes, he struck out a lot, but K's are not a fantasy category for hitters and his .240+ BA is not nearly as bad as, say, Adam Dunn.  I think there is still upside here as he is a former #2 overall draft pick.  I probably could have waited for a Moustakas or Todd Frazier, but I had Alvarez on my fantasy team last year and felt like he really helped me a lot.

Round 12.  Carlos Gomez, UT, #139, Yahoo ADP 130.8, LABR 152.  Gomez is a bit of a polarizing figure, but he did come 1 dinger short of a 20/20 season last year and seems to be finally living up to his potential.

Round 13.  Ben Revere, UT, #150, Yahoo ADP 160.9, LABR 106.  Philadelphia didn't make this trade for Revere to sit on the bench.  He is clearly going to be their Michael Bourn.  I actually think he might steal more bases and score more runs than Bourn who is going much earlier in most drafts.

Round 14.  Neil Walker, 2B, #163, Yahoo ADP 179, LABR 108.  Steady Eddie 2B who is going much higher in expert mocks than drafts that ADP is based on.

Round 15.  Glen Perkins, RP, #174, Yahoo ADP 196, LABR 209.  I wanted a minimum of 3 RP's and preferably 4, so had to start taking them.  Perkins is a very underrated one.

Round 16.  Jason Grilli, RP, #187, Yahoo ADP 177, LABR 200.  Grilli gets the first shot at closing for Pittsburgh.

Round 17.  Casey Janssen, RP.  #198, Yahoo ADP 191.5, LABR 136.  I'll have to double check that LABR number.

Round 18.  Steve Cishek, RP.  #211, Yahoo ADP 206.6, LABR 229.  OK, I took 5 RP's in all.  They come in handy as trade bait once the season starts.

Round 19.  Wade Miley, SP.  #222, Yahoo ADP 199.  LABR 235.  I'm not sold on Miley, but he was the best SP option here and I had already made up my mind to wait SS out until the final round.

Round 20.  Johan Santana, SP.  #235, Yahoo ADP 243.6, LABR 230.  I have this sneaking suspicion that Santana might have a big comeback up his sleeve.  I'm willing to risk a late round pick to find out.

Round 21.  ? ? Ryu, SP.  #246, Yahoo ADP 226.7, LABR 238.  Unfortunately, I'm starting to think this guy could be for reals and the Dodgers have themselves a steal.  Again, a late round pick to find out.

Round 22:  Gerrit Cole, SP.  #259, Yahoo ADP ???, LABR 414.  Gotta stash either Bundy or Cole for the long haul.

Round 23:  Zack Cozart, SS.  #270, Yahoo ADP 263.1, LABR 334.  Cozart hit 15 dingers in his first MLB season.  His R and RBI's might suffer if he hits out of the 8 hole, but SS is so risky from top to bottom this year, I just don't see that a young guy who hit 15 dingers is a bad choice even if you took him much higher in the draft.

So, here's my team by position:

C   Wilin Rosario
1B  Albert Pujols
2B  Neil Walker
3B  Pedro Alvarez
SS  Zack Cozart
OF  Bryce Harper
OF  Yoenis Cespedes
OF  Allen Craig
UT  Carlos Gomez
UT  Ben Revere
SP  David Price
SP  Yu Darvish
RP  Jonathan Papelbon
RP  Glen Perkins
P    Jason Grilli
P    Casey Janssen
P    Steve Cishek
P    Matt Moore
P    Matt Harvey
BN    Wade Miley
BN  Johan Santana
BN  Ryu
BN  Cole

3 criticisms:  1.  Not enough power.  2.  Depends too much on upside from Harper and Cespedes  3.  Pitching is too strong.  Those are fair criticisms, but I figure pitching is half the categories and I always try to dominate the pitching side of the ledger.  If I took away this team in a real draft, I'd actually feel pretty good about it.


  1. I'm somewhat troubled by the complete and total failure to procure representation from the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

    Looking closer...aside from Grilli has anyone even spent time in the organization?

    Make that very troubled.

    1. The Giants are a much better team in real life than in fantasy. That is true in more ways than one, BTW. I have rostered Giants players in the past. I had Sandoval and Bumgarner all last year. Matt Cain was a mainstay of my first two fantasy teams as was Brian Wilson. Last year I picked up Scutaro to be my SS long before he came to the Giants. That certainly worked out well. Sometimes from the way the draft falls it just doesn't work out. Matt Cain, who was undervalued for years, has now gotten quite expensive.

      Sandoval is certainly a 3B target for me this year. Scutaro could be a late option for a middle IF spot. Bumgarner and Vogie are certainly SP options to think about targeting. Timmy is a candidate for a bounceback season and is a terrific late-mid round target. I had him in my sights but somebody grabbed him 2-3 picks before I was planning to. Anyone who has a closing gig is going to be drafted in my league. Romo is a good pitcher, but may not get all the Giants Save opportunities due to all the LOOGYs and durability concerns.

      Buster is easily the #1 catcher in baseball, but that also makes him very expensive. Do you want to spend that much on any catcher? Pagan and Pence are great pieces on a real team, but don't put up the kind of fantasy numbers you really want. Belt and Crawford may become fantasy relevant, but aren't right now.

    2. I know what you mean Kelly. I always tried to get the top Giants player available in the draft, so I would get Bonds, then Lincecum or Cain (I stopped a few years ago once I got my new job). That sometimes put me behind the other teams, but I had to have a rooting interest on the team. Thus, I usually did not pick up any Dodgers either.

      I agree about Buster. I think Vogelsong, Bumgarner and Sandoval are probably easy ones to pick up, as they are more under the radar, though the 3-HR game obviously got Panda more love among the general crowd. Belt too, as I believe in him (though more for my bench, though, just in case). And I would bet on Lincecum to comeback to prior levels of performance, he should be undervalued as well, relative to his potential. Romo probably will be gone by the time you are ready to draft a closer, but with his high K/9 and low WHIP, I would still go for him.

      Not sure why Pence is not fantasy relevant. He averages basically 90/90 for runs and RBIs, lifetime 285 BA, hits roughly 22-25 homers per year plus gets you some steals, 5-10. Isn't that considered good?

      In Pagan's case, he's useful in certain situations, as a complementary player. If you are short on steals, he can get you 30+ per season. He has a .281 BA career, plus scores around 80 runs per season. He's lacking in HR and RBI, but that's to be expected out of a leadoff guy.

      I would also consider Blanco too if you are looking for SB, but more as a waiver pickup than a draft pick, as you want a full-time starter.

    3. I didn't give you props for not having any Bums.

      Yeah, the sum of Giants seems to be more than the individual parts. Agree with OGC that Giants I'd probably target are under-the-radar guys. Vogie and Belt come to mind. Pence too, as he doesn't seem to have fantasy value right now. I think he's worth the chance that he'll bounce back.

      Thanks for pointing out the mock drafts on Yahoo, Doc. I think I enjoy the drafts more than maintaining the teams.

    4. Oh yeah, the fantasy draft is definitely one of the sports highlights of the year for me. I'd draft every day if I could!

    5. One more thing: I completely compartmentalize being a Giants fan and being a fantasy baseball manager. When I'm managing my fantasy team, there is only one team I care about and that is the Savvy Vets. If a Clayton Kershaw or Matt Kemp are going to help the Savvy Vets win the fantasy championship, well, they are going to be on the team. Just win, baby!

    6. Yeah, your way is better DrB, I know that handicaps me, but since I was able to win my leagues playing that way, I haven't felt the need to change my tactics. In public leagues, if you want it more than the other managers, I can usually pick up a lot of good players off the waiver wires, as well as catch the players on fire, then dump them when they cool off (however, that cost me Bautista in his first big homer season...). But if you are playing the same people every year, yeah, you probably need to not handicap your play in any way. Wasn't saying my way was best, just that it is my way.