Last week I had the great pleasure of participating in a deep 15-team industry mock draft, hosted by Scott White over at CBS. Now when I say deep I mean deep, as the mock lasted 30 rounds meaning we were rostering 450 players. While many leagues tend to roster between 200 and 300 players, this gave each of us the opportunity to explore what treasures and pitfalls the late rounds may have to offer. Today I’d like to take you through my thought process behind some of my picks, including the mistakes, heartbreaks and triumphs. To follow along with the full draft results, use the link to the CBS post here:
To begin, here is my 30 player roster:
|Pos.||Batters – Round/Pick||Pos.||Pitchers – Round/Pick|
|C||Danny Jansen – 11/153||SP||Aaron Nola – 2/28|
|C||Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 22/328||SP||Jack Flaherty – 5/63|
|1B||Anthony Rizzo – 3/33||SP||Nick Pivetta – 10/148|
|2B||Ozzie Albies – 4/58||SP||Tyler Glasnow – 13/183|
|SS||Garrett Hampson – 12/178||SP||Jimmy Nelson – 15/213|
|3B||Jose Ramirez – 1/3||RP||Brad Hand – 7/93|
|MI||Marcus Semien – 17/243||RP||Mychal Givens – 19/273|
|CI||Ryan O’Hearn – 21/303||RP||Trevor May – 16/238|
|OF||David Dahl – 9/123||Bench||Joey Lucchesi – 20/298|
|OF||Joey Gallo – 6/88||Bench||Jeff Samardzija – 24/358|
|OF||Andrew McCutchen – 8/118||Bench||Matt Strahm – 27/393|
|OF||Austin Meadows – 18/268||Bench||Caleb Smith – 28/418|
|OF||Franmil Reyes – 14/208||Bench||Ryan Pressly – 29/423|
|OF||Steven Souza – 23/333||Bench||Drew Smyly – 30/448|
|Bench||Niko Goodrum – 25/363||
|Bench||Brian Anderson – 26/388||
General Strategy: As you can probably tell from just looking at my team… I like upside. From Albies, Hampson and Reyes to Flaherty, Pivetta and Glasnow, my team is filled with players who I believe can take big steps forward this year. Of course all these picks can blow up in my face and I could be scouring the hypothetical waiver wire throughout the year to throw together a team… But why not go for it? Especially in deep leagues where you might not find the next Max Muncy or Jesus Aguilar sitting on the waiver wire.
Early Round Thought Process: As is the consensus since Lindor went down with his injury, I scooped up Jose Ramirez with the third overall pick hoping he can provide another season of impressive five-category production. When drafting in the beginning of the first round, especially in a league this deep, I plan on taking my first starting pitcher with one of my next two picks to make sure I don’t miss out on an ace. After watching Verlander, Kluber and Snell come off the board in the middle of the second round I made the executive decision to jump on the train and grab Nola with the 28th overall pick.
To my surprise, three of the four picks at the turn of the round were pitchers and I was back on the clock with Rizzo, Benintendi and Soto still on the board. I ended up grabbing the steady bat of Rizzo and wouldn’t be surprised if he puts up a .290, 30 HR, 8 SB season, which puts me way ahead of most teams in terms of 1B production seeing as it’s a relatively weak position going into the season.
My 4th and 5th picks may have been some of the biggest “reaches” in this mock, yet I don’t regret either of them. Albies, as only a 21-year old, smashed 24 home runs and stole 14 bases at a 80%+ success rate. He may get dinged for his lack of walks but he’s only a year removed from his rookie campaign where he walked 8.6% of the time. With further refinement I envision a 20 HR/20 SB campaign on the horizon with a .270+ average and solid counting stats. Flaherty, on the other hand, was a pick I made based on the lack of interesting bats around this ADP. I thought about Ozuna, Segura and Upton but ultimately chased the pitching upside by taking (in my opinion) one of the best young arms in the league. At this point I realized I hadn’t yet picked an outfielder and as round 6 progressed others seemed to notice the same fact as Castellanos, Robles, Upton, Brantley, Conforto, Pham and Pollock all were torn from my queue. It came down to Gallo and Myers but ultimately I was scared off from Myers due to the injury concern.
Favorite Picks: David Dahl, Nick Pivetta, Austin Meadows, Joey Lucchesi
Currently going as the 67th player off the board in NFBC drafts, Dahl fell all the way to me at 123. He’s still only 24, plays half in games in Coors Field and flashed immense upside in his 77 games last season. Currently slotted in as the Rockies everyday right fielder, Dahl’s batted ball profile in 2018 was absolutely beautiful (23% LD, 3% IFFB, 38% hard contact) and he even chipped in 5 steals. If he can stay healthy, a .270, 25 HR, 15 SB season could be on the horizon.
I think by now everyone has made their own Nick Pivetta sleeper post so all I’m gonna say is 3.42 xFIP, 12% SwStr% and an improved team (both defensively and offensively). I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always been a Meadows skeptic but what he did last year has given me a lot of hope. In the same vein as Dahl, Meadows looks to be penciled in as the Rays starting right fielder and he also flashed a beautiful batted ball profile in his 59 games in 2018. There’s definitely risk but at pick 268 I love the 15 HR, 15 SB upside in a solid lineup. Joey Lucchesi makes my “favorite pick” list due to the massive discount I was able to get on him. Currently going as the 198th pick in NFBC drafts, I got him a whopping 100 picks later and I’m hopeful he can be a 3.80 ERA, 180 K guy to anchor the back of my rotation.
Biggest Reaches: Brad Hand, Danny Jansen, Garrett Hampson, Tyler Glasnow
I’m generally not a “pick an elite closer” type of guy but as I talked about with Gallo (taken 5 picks earlier), my queue was quite depleted and nothing was jumping out to me at this point as a great value. I believe in Hand to deliver 35+ saves, 100 K and solid ratios and at pick 93 I’m trying to talk myself into it. My 153rd pick, Danny Jansen, was definitely my biggest reach of the draft according to an NFBC ADP of 210 but let me try to explain. This is a 15 team, 2 catcher league and the thought of heading into round 12 without a catcher was terrifying to me. I am very high on Jansen to deliver but even I realize the atmosphere of the mock got the best of me.
As my 12th round pick approached and my team was still lacking a SS, my eyes fell down the draft board to one of my favorite sleeper targets. Hampson finds himself on the reach list purely due to the lack of a lock down job but the upside is there if he can get 500 AB. I’m hoping he fills out my steals category nicely while providing a solid batting average floor, but he could always be a bench bat with Bud Black in charge. I have consistently been the high man on Glasnow after his encouraging debut with the Rays last season, but even I probably need to slow the hype train a bit. Yes he’s throwing 98 mph in spring training and he has some filthy secondaries, but the command issues could act up and destroy his value in an instant. Gosh, I love the upside though (are we sensing a theme yet?)
Regretful Picks: Andrew McCutchen, Jimmy Nelson, Trevor May
McCutchen is probably my biggest regret of the draft at 118 overall and it’s not even because I think he’ll be bad. I actually love the new ballpark and probable lineup spot for him to have a big bounce back campaign, but I think the lack of outfield depth I had drafted up to that point scared me into a bad decision. The risk with Jimmy Nelson is obvious and despite the reports that he is on track to be ready for Opening Day, he might never get back to his 2017 form. Trevor May is another pick I reached on due to the depth of this league. While he showed impressive skills in his 25 innings in 2018, the 14th round is a steep price to pay for a reliever who may or may not get save opportunities to start the year.
All in all I do really love this team and think the upside is immense, but the lack of solid, dependable assets could really end up sinking this team’s value if some of the gambles don’t work out.