I gave some quick thoughts about Rotoprofessor’s first mock draft immediately following (click here to view), but now that we are a few days removed I wanted to give a little bit more to you. Again, I want to thank everyone who participated as it was a great draft and a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from some of the picks that were made. Let’s take a look:
Pretty much exactly what you expected here, except for the pick of Chase Utley. I do understand the reasoning for taking him at the end of the first round, to ensure that you obtain the player you want and still being able to get a quality player in the second round, but it’s not a strategy that I’m going to employ. I would much rather take someone like Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler or Jimmy Rollins, but there is some debate there as well. It’s wide open after the first 6 or 7 picks, but I still think Utley better suited for the second round.
I think the most surprising thing in this round was the inclusion of Prince Fielder, with Justin Morneau still on the board (who fell much further then he should have). The gamble is that Fielder is going to return to being a 50 HR gut, but in the second round, that’s not a gamble worth taking. People say that you can’t win your league in the first few rounds, but you certainly can lose it. If you’re in this position, I’d grab the steady and skilled Morneau who is going to help buoy your team in four categories. He’s going to improve on his HR total from last season while having the potential to easily exceed .300.
Nothing too shocking here, except for maybe that Ichiro fell to the end of the third round and was on autopick. I’ve advocated passing on him here before and it seems like people took that to heart. It’s the right move, he’s not the player that he once was.
I mentioned it in my quick thoughts, but I don’t like the pick of Alexei Ramirez over Brian Roberts. To me, Ramirez is still a question mark, and one I’m not willing to gamble on this early. I know he’s going this early in the draft, and that’s fine, but if I have the choice I’m going to take Brian Roberts (which I did).
The biggest shocker was clearly Stephen Drew going this early, considering his ADP right now is 94.92. I can’t argue with the pick, as I’ve ranked him #5 among SS heading into the season, but I think he would have hung around for at least one more round, if not two. The next SS taken was Rafael Furcal in the middle of the sixth, then Peralta (who I ranked #4) went with the second pick of the seventh round. If it were me (and I did have the next pick), I would have gone Granderson with that pick and then picked up either Drew or Peralta with my next pick. Again, I love the player, just not this early.
Chris Davis just goes up and up and up the draft. Next time we draft, he may go in the fourth! Lots of promise, but again, I feel like maybe it was a slight bit early for him, especially since the same owner took bit of a gamble the round before with Drew. Again, it’s a player I love, but I’d much rather try to grab him a round or two later. His current ADP is about 78, so maybe that’s not possible, which is why I didn’t end up with him.
How far would David Ortiz have fallen had it not been for auto pick? I can tell you that if he was still on the board when my pick came around, I was going to take him over Pence, no questions asked. He’s got way too much upside to let slip past you in the sixth round. While he is just as much a risk as Davis is, he’s a risk that has already proven he could perform in the past. If he’s healthy, this could be the biggest steal of the draft.
The round was pretty much the norm, so there isn’t much to say. Want me to split hairs? I wouldn’t have taken Ervin Santana over James Shields (or Felix Hernandez and Roy Oswalt who went the following round), but maybe that’s just me. His ADP is 89.84, so it was pretty much right on. I just prefer the other pitchers over him myself.
Finally Oswalt came off the board. I hadn’t taken a pitcher yet and was seriously hoping that he’d slip down a little bit further to me, but it wasn’t to be. Oswalt has proven to be a steady, top-notch performer year in and year out, albeit without the strikeouts, but he’s a great bargain at this point in the draft. If you believe in waiting for pitching, he’s a very good place to start.
The debate has already raged on regarding the Matt Wieters pick and I voiced my stance on him yesterday. If he’s going this early, I for one am not going to be selecting him in a yearly league. Obviously, a keeper league is a different story.
I also don’t love the pick of A.J. Burnett, as he is way too big an enigma for me to gamble on. This is the right spot in the draft to take some gambles, but I’d rather have gambled on Rich Harden myself. I know, Burnett is a Yankee now and that should mean something, but it honestly just doesn’t to me. That’s going to lead to potential wins, but that’s about it. It’s not going to help his ERA or WHIP.
I’ve sung the praises of Alex Gordon on the site, saying that I thought he would take the next step, but this was way too big a reach. Edwin Encarnacion went Round 14. Adrian Beltre went Round 15. Those are both players that I would take before Gordon. Sleepers and bounce back picks are great, but when they cost you value they could end up doing more harm then good.
Basskickers had a strategy, and he performed it to perfection, but I still think this was a bit early to take Willy Taveras. I tend to doubt he was on anyone’s radar at this stage, though with his ADP at about 162, it was only about 2 rounds early. That is certainly an acceptable reach, and it fit into his strategy (he was focused on drafting speed and pitching), but if it was me I’d be grabbing Brad Hawpe who was still on the board. Taveras is a very one-dimensional player and is more of a player to help supplement a roster full of power. No matter how many SB he gets, it’s unlikely he has much trade value later on and when you use this type of strategy, you’re going to be looking to trade some of your speed to get power.
There were some good value picks in this round. I like the pick of Hawpe a lot. I also love the pick of Gallardo and kind of regret not grabbing him myself. I had been considering him in the 11th Round, over Adam Wainwright. He’s got the potential to be a fantasy gem and is an absolute steal at this point in the draft. He’s got an ADP of about 123, so it was extremely surprising to see him slip, especially with some people focusing on pitching early on.
I also really like the pick of Greinke, and think the twelfth round is a very good spot for him, but I would not have taken him over Gallardo. That’s my only knock on that pick.
Heath Bell before Francisco Cordero, who was selected in the same round? Bell had a good season, but it was a step back from his tremendous 2007 campaign. There’s also a chance that he could be replaced in the role rather easily. While I think he’s going to be good in the role, and is likely to keep the job, I’d rather go with the safer pick, and one who I know will be successful in the role and retain his spot.
I know, I know. I took Jonathan Broxton the round before and if I had it to do again, I may not repeat that pick. Still, he has more strikeout potential, which was why I felt the need to pull the trigger earlier then the other two. Plus, he’s closing games for a much better team, which should lead to more save opportunities.
The rest of the draft:
At this point, it’s harder to dissect, since people really take players that they like or are high on. You can take significantly bigger risks and not worry about the consequences. Of course, there were some risks that I wouldn’t recommend taking. I’ve promoted taking Aaron Hill, but as a last round flier, not in Round 18.
Oliver Perez in the last round is a great pick as he’s someone that I’ll talk a bit more on in the next few days. The same goes for Philip Hughes, another solid late round flier.
I was very surprised John Smoltz hung around until the very last round but I love the pick. He’s the perfect sleeper and even though he’s likely to miss the first few months of the season. Pitching for the Red Sox, you’ll get a great return on his 4 months, that’s for sure.
Other late round picks I really liked included Travis Hafner, Jim Thome and John Maine.
What about everyone else? What picks in the last few rounds stand out for you?
Thanks again to everyone. I’m working on scheduling our second mock draft and will let everyone know when it is all set.
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.