by Ivar G. Anderson
We held the second of our series of mock drafts last Thursday, February 20, and for this draft we used the CouchManager website. The rankings had a few blips, but overall the site is great for customizing drafts and I expect that we will employ that site for the balance of these mock drafts.
I have published the results of the draft on my Google Drive, and you can see the total draft by round and pick here. If you are interested in joining next week’s mock draft, it has been set up and you can get to the sign up page by clicking here. Password is ROTO3. I have taken care of the fees, and all the mocks I run will be free to join. I can be a bit more flexible with days of the week when the drafts are held once February ends and my Argentinean Tango lessons come to a conclusion, so if you want something special in terms of drafting on Monday through Thursday (must be at 8:30 PM EST or later to accommodate our West Coast drafters), or a different sort of roster set up (no, I repeat NO two catcher formats are allowed), send me an e-mail at email@example.com and I will do my best to set it up for us to test out.
Last week, we had one no-show and another drafter dropped out early on. I don’t ask a lot, but if you sign up for the draft, take part, be on time and stay at least until the first hour is completed. I realize things come up, but full participation is key to making these exercises valuable in helping us prepare for our actual drafts.
As always, I try not to dwell on my wonderful picks, preferring to discuss what everyone else did during the draft. Here are the picks that made me go, “Hmmm” this go-around:
We saw a surprise pick with Caveman going for Paul Goldschmidt with the second pick in the draft. I like Goldschmidt just fine, but I would have to have gone with Miguel Cabrera based on his 3B eligibility, and I might even prefer Andrew McCutchen as a five-tool outfielder over Goldschmidt, who’s only had the one breakout season. Bryce Harper is not a guy you can sleep on, as he is now a steady late first round pick. His ability to stay on the field concerns me, but in terms of what he can provide, I cannot argue with his ascension in the ADP rankings. Robinson Cano, on the other hand, while still a first rounder, is going much later than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, which is undoubtedly predicated on his move to Seattle away from the hitter’s park in the Bronx that he once called home.
I look for power early in drafts (power and speed when it is available) and we saw that philosophy put into practice at the end of the third round when Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Bautista went back-to-back. Following those picks, Randall selected top SPs in Stephen Strasburg and Jose Fernandez. Going for top middle infielders then two ace starting pitchers is an interesting approach to drafting. That is why we mock draft, though, isn’t it? I know I have tried some different approaches in the past, just to see what transpires during the course of the draft. Do not be afraid to test out new theories at our mocks, but it would be a small courtesy to post a message before the draft starts that you are going off-road with your strategy.
Justin Verlander is going late enough where I might be willing to take a chance that his September and October last season was a return to dominance. I was poised to select Ian Kinsler in the 5th round, but he went one pick early; getting Ben Zobrist was reward enough, however, and I will be pleased to plug him in at 2B or SS or even OF in appropriate cases, whereas Kinsler is eligible only at 2B. Like Verlander, Kemp is going late enough that he is on my radar, as he was on Kyle’s (Zool). I am expecting him to bounce back strong this season, with a renewed focus that should pour out on the field. At least, that’s what I tell myself as I prepare for my drafts.
Jose Abreu is a near certainty to open the season as the White Sox first baseman, and the power is there. Can he hit for average? Will his skills from Cuba follow him to the MLB? Big questions that need to be answered, but as a late top 100 player I would take the plunge. Curtis Granderson is a player I don’t really want any part of, but then again I am the guy that almost always targets Adam Dunn in drafts (not this draft, but usually). I believe Granderson did well by himself in moving across town to the Mets, but I also think he’s hurt his offensive production by taking on Citi Field as his home park.
Yackmann obviously did not concern himself with Iwakuma’s recent injury (strained right middle finger tendon), as this will lead to him missing his first couple of starts and will undoubtedly lead to him not being able to throw for the next couple of weeks. In the 12th, Wacha and Gray went with the 4th and 6th picks of the round. I like both of these young starting pitchers, and had them queued up, but felt I needed to grab another closer, especially as I gambled with my first round pick of Clayton Kershaw. Danny Salazar is becoming a draft darling and with his strikeout potential, I see the wisdom of grabbing him in the middle rounds.
At the end of the 13th, and the first pick of the 14th , drafters went on a mini infielder run. I am not sure I am going to move on Jurickson Profar, Brett Lawrie or Jed Lowrie at this point in my drafts. Lowrie has some nice position eligibility, I will confess, but Profar’s recent shoulder tendonitis concerns me, at least presently. Lawrie has not lived up the hype, but being patient sometimes pays off, ala Alex Gordon or Domonic Brown.
I was torn in the 17th round between two relievers, Casey Janssen and Neftali Feliz. I will probably shift back and forth between them, depending on reports coming out of spring training. If Feliz wins the closer job I will be favoring him, just based on team production. In the 18th round, I was poised to snag Drew Smyly but again had to “settle” for Brandon Beachy. Beachy has questions, such as can be come back to his 2011 production levels or was that the outlier for him? Smyly has a set spot in the Tigers’ rotation apparently, but there are some who doubt his move from relief to starting will be entirely hitch-free. At this point in a draft, however, both are worthy of consideration. I also like Kyle’s selection of Lincecum, who he sniped from my queue, as a high risk/high reward sort of pick. If it is just a mechanical issue, then I feel he can bounce back big time. This season will determine if he is ever in my draft tiers again.
Rajai Davis is seen as the 4th outfielder in Detroit, at best a platoon player in left field. I still believe he is a good source of steals, and should get 400 AB once the Tigers see what he can add to their offense. Axford is poised to be the closer in Cleveland, and getting saves this late in a draft (19th round, pick 12) is a true bargain.
End of the 20th round is right where BJ Upton should go, based on his disastrous 2013 season. He surely cannot be any worse than that, and most believe that he will pick things up this season. Getting 20 home runs and 20 steals with the 240th pick is truly bargain territory, even if his AVG will hurt you. I don’t like Ian Kennedy, even in the 21st round, but I have been known to discount players that have hurt me in the past, and I fear I am avoiding Kennedy at my own peril. Oscar Tavares is not guaranteed any MLB playing time this season, but should the Cardinal’s have some injuries pop up among Matt Adams, Craig Allen or Matt Holliday, then expect a call-up and this becomes a savvy selection. Josh Johnson is truly a sleeper candidate this year, assuming he can stay healthy and not hit the DL twice like last season. Pitching in San Diego should increase his value, as well. Depending on your leagues’ position rules, Lind is a great late round corner infielder who can supply dependable power at the end of the draft. As with Axford, Jim Henderson is a potential source of saves late in drafts, but it is not yet written in stone that he will be closing for the Brewers, so keep your eyes open this spring for adjustments to the Milwaukee bullpen situation.
Again, anyone who wants to mock draft is welcome to join us. The link and password are there in the second paragraph if you are interested. If you feel a need to contact me, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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