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RotoAuthority Mock Draft Analysis

Last week, the RotoAuthority writers and a handful of readers partook in the time-honored tradition known as a "mock draft" over at MockDraftCentral.com. Picks were immediately regretted made, "lol"s were shared in the chat forum, and hopefully skills were honed so that the dress rehearsal will lead to a strong opening night.  The picks can be viewed and voted on here with an MDC account, or you can view/download a spreadsheet we've created here.

Now that a few days have elapsed and provided some necessary hindsight, let's get into some analysis. Up top, I've bulleted several different topics of interest. Further down, reader Alex Kantecki has provided a best and worst pick for each roster. As always, draft responsibly.

  • Based on positional scarcity, I came away from this mock convinced that when my real drafts roll around, I want a first baseman, third baseman and shortstop in the bag after three rounds (not necessarily in that order). These cornerstone positions get shallow in a hurry, as I learned the hard way, because it's advisable to take your ace no later than the fourth. Ideally, I envision this strategy yielding a trio like Joey Votto-Hanley Ramirez-Ryan Zimmerman. I got two-thirds of the way there in this mock (Votto and Jose Reyes), but abstained on a third baseman til the sixth, when I picked Aramis Ramirez..
  • Ryan Braun is back and will almost certainly be drafted in the first round, but not by me. I love what Braun has to offer (what's not to love?) but won't be spending my first pick on an outfielder for the reasons listed above. If you follow suit, know that Braun's overturned suspension means he could go in the top half of the first round, as he did here.
  • Pitching is hella deep. I came away with a small army of high-upside arms late in the draft -- well more than I needed, frankly, while I was light on bats. When the late-round doldrums set in (more on that in a later bullet), don't do what I did; even if you're on autopilot, at least focus on sifting through the scrap heap for bats.
  • Meanwhile, I was short on outfielders aside from Matt Holliday. This was a result of poor planning, mostly. Like an infield shift for a pull-happy hitter, there will be gaps if your strategy focuses your attention to particular players/positions. Know where you might be leaving yourself exposed, and target some guys who could address that for the later rounds.
  • Borrowing from Hannibal Lecter's dining preferences and my eighth-grade social studies teacher's unit exams, I played classical during the mock. I'm not sure that it was anything more than psychosomatic, but it seemed to help keep me relaxed and focused during what can be a frenzied experience. It didn't help that the missus was out, either.
  • Drafts are long. Depending on your league's settings, you're probably looking at two plus-hours of continuous monitor monitoring. Be prepared for that grind, and pace yourself emotionally.
  • To that end, there's a palpable oh-shyte moment when the no-brainer picks are off the board and you're on your own. I liken it to that exhilirating but queasy moment the first time I was on a bike without training wheels or the guiding hand of my dad (this was like, two years ago). In our mock, this was around the sixth or seventh round. Again, enjoy and focus on the early rounds, but there's a long way to go after the top 60 or so players are selected.
  • On with Alex's best and worst picks:

 

Alex Steers McCrum

  • Best pick: Troy Tulowitzki, 1.1 You can argue that a rejuvenated Matt Kemp, a suddenly clean Ryan Braun, and a soon-to-be (fingers crossed), third-base eligible Miguel Cabrera are all shoo-ins for the No. 1 pick, but I fully endorse taking Tulowitzki first. At the weakest position in fantasy, you’ll lose no sleep slotting in Tulowitzki at shortstop every day while your opponents pray for career years from Erick Aybar and perennial-sleeper and oft-injured Stephen Drew.
  • Worst pick: Nelson Cruz, 5.1 Cruz is a solid No. 2 outfield option, but pairing him with real life teammate Josh Hamilton, who was selected two rounds earlier, is a risky fantasy investment. A combined 60-plus homers is a possibilty, but so is the chance of two lengthy DL stints. 

Tim Dierkes

  • Best pick: Clayton Kershaw, 3.2 After taking Justin Verlander in Round 2, why not double down with baseball’s other Cy Young Award winner? The pick looks even better when you consider Dierkes was still able to land his starting first baseman, Eric Hosmer, and third basemen, Pablo Sandoval, with his next two picks, solidifying his corner infield and starting rotation by Round 5. Oh, and he got Matt Kemp in Round 1. That’s a nice start. 
  • Worst pick:  Chris Iannetta, 16.11 There isn’t much supporting evidence for an Iannetta explosion with the Angels, so this pick was a head scratcher. Iannetta has never hit 20 home runs and has a lousy average to boot. I’d much rather have Russell Martin, Ryan Doumit, or Salvador Perez, who were all selected in the 20th round or later. Dierkes did go on to draft Kurt Suzuki and A.J. Pierzynski as fallbacks.

Mark Polishuk

  • Best pick: Jemile Weeks, 12.10 I’m not the biggest Jemile Weeks fan, but the speedster represents fantastic value for the MI slot. I must admit, teaming Jemile with big brother Rickie, who Shukleball took in Round 5, has me feeling all tingly inside, and given Rickie’s propensity for the DL, Jemile could prove plenty useful.
  • Worst pick: Yadier Molina, 13.3 By the time Molina was taken in the 13th round, Shukleball had already selected Miguel Montero and Alex Avila. Instead of taking a third catcher, Shukleball could have looked to improve on an outfield that consisted of Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, or even strengthened a staff that already featured Roy Halladay, Matt Cain, and James Shields

Towliesox

  • Best pick: Adam Wainwright, 8.9 It’s completely possible that Wainwright would have been available for Toweliesox seven spots later, but if you have a gut feeling on someone, go for it. Yu Darvish and Josh Johnson were selected two and three picks later, respectively, and all represent similar value with question marks. A friendly reminder: Wainwright posted a 2.42 ERA with 213 strikeouts in 2010. 
  • Worst pick: David Wright, 2.9 I like David Wright, but I’m not willing to risk such a high pick on a guy who is trending in the wrong direction. This selection screamed for Halladay, Verlander, or Kershaw as the first pitcher drafted, and all three were gone by the time Toweliesox’s next pick rolled around. 

dmojr

  • Best pick: Jeff Francouer, 17.5 Even if another 20/20 season is out of the question, and it’s not, Francouer is a solid fourth or fifth outfield option who gives you a little bit of everything. It’s hard enough to find players who contribute across the board, let alone this late in the draft.
  • Worst pick: Craig Kimbrel, 7.5 My only criticism of this pick is that, in a two-catcher league, it’s important to land one of the big guns when you have the chance. Whether or not you believe Kimbrel is leaps and bounds better than the next closer, Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, and Alex Avila were all available at this point. Instead, dmojr settled for a gruesome twosome of Geovany Soto and Nick Hundley.

bombers

  • Best pick: Emilio Bonifacio, 12.7 I tried not to like this pick, but if the multi-position eligible Bonifacio fills in here and there at either of the MI or CI spots or in the outfield, I won’t complain. Bonifacio is a good bet for 30-plus steals with regular playing time, and the middle rounds are a smart place to select a player with his skill set. 
  • Worst pick: Michael Bourn, 6.7 If Bourn is going to go this early in drafts, count me out. Sure, he gives you elite speed, but you can’t count on him batting near .300 again. Aside from his early price tag, Bourn was bombers’ first outfielder selected, followed closely by Drew Stubbs in Round 7. I understand the strategy, but this one could fittingly blow up in bombers’ face, you know, like a bomb. 

Dan Mennella

  • Best pick: Jesus Montero, 12.6 Even though he’s only DH eligible, grabbing Montero in the 12th round is a solid buy. If, and when, he gains catcher eligibility, Mennella has a potential catching duo of Matt Wieters, who was taken in Round 7, and Montero. Even as a rookie, he represents a relatively safe grab, and fits nicely at UTIL for the time being. 
  • Worst pick:  Jose Tabata, 15.7 What happens when you select Tabata in Round 15, you ask? A chat room full of drafters screaming, “Reach!” I have no problem taking him as a fifth outfielder, but Angel Pagan was taken five rounds later and represents better value, and he has a track record of production. Tabata could have been had much later. 

Tom Warman

  • Best pick: Chris Young, 10.5 This selection stood out to me as one of value versus positional need. Warman could have gone in a different direction, but he decided to build on an already potent outfield of Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, and Hunter Pence instead, which looks like the best outfield of the bunch by far.
  • Worst pick: Brian Wilson, 11.8 For the same reason I like the Chris Young pick, I dislike taking Brian Wilson here. With four closers going in Round 10, it’s likely that Warman wanted to secure an elite closer. However, a more pressing need for first base existed, and, with only first-base eligible Michael Young on his roster to this point, he passed up on Adam Lind and Ike Davis – not exactly sure-things, but guys with 25-homer potential.

Van Buren Boys

  • Best pick: Ryan Roberts, 16.4 It’s hard to like a selection of any .248 hitter, and that’s exactly what Roberts was in 2011, but he was also one home run and two stolen bases away from a 20/20 season. Given his dual eligibility at second and third, I couldn’t pass up on the Tat Man in Round 16 for the MI slot. 
  • Worst pick: Andrew Bailey, 15.9 I immediately regretted this pick. I didn’t trust Bailey in Oakland, and I don’t particularly trust him on a bigger stage in Boston, either. I would have rather drafted Jason Motte, who was taken just two picks later and is settled in with the Cardinals, or went with another starting pitcher, like Jeremy Hellickson, who fell to Round 17. 

RelliM

  • Best pick: Ian Kennedy, 8.3 Pegged as a major candidate for regression or not, a 21-game winner in the eighth round is nothing to sneeze at. A run of pitchers similar in value to Kennedy, including C.J. Wilson, Adam Wainwright, Yu Darvish, Josh Johnson, Max Scherzer, James Shields, and Dan Hudson, went right after this pick, and it’s possible RelliM would have missed out on all of them had he not chosen Kennedy first. 
  • Worst pick: David Freese, 12.3 With all the big boys at third already off the board, it’s easy to see why RelliM opted to go with Freese in Round 12, but the next third baseman wasn’t taken until Round 16, and RelliM later took Mike Moustakas, who could easily prove more valuable, in Round 18.

Steve Adams

  • Best pick: Jimmy Rollins, 8.2 I was initially critical of this selection, but after looking at the draft board, I’m more than okay with it. Adams already picked Starlin Castro in Round 3, and, to this point, his only outfielder was Shane Victorino. It would have been easy to go outfield here, but the next three outfielders taken, Jason Heyward, Brett Gardner, and Jason Werth, all have their own flaws.
  • Worst pick: Devin Mesoraco, 17.11 Banking on a rookie on a Dusty Baker led squad is hard to support, but what makes this pick look bad is that there’s seemingly no backup plan. The other Reds catcher, Ryan Hanigan, was scooped up by Mennella in Round 23, and Adams’ second catcher is equally questionable Jarrod Saltalamacchia. In a two-catcher league, I’m not sure Adams has one. 

Edwin Van Bibber-Orr

  • Best pick: Jhonny Peralta, 17.12 If things fall into place for Jhonny Peralta in 2012, this is the steal of the draft. It’s hard to see how a 20-home run shortstop gets drafted after Stephen Drew, who, ironically, Bibber-Orr picked two rounds earlier. In a powerful Tigers lineup, Peralta is sitting pretty. 
  • Worst pick: Stephen Drew, 15.12 I’ve already voiced my concern for an injury-plagued Stephen Drew, and this pick would have been better served on an outfielder with some upside, like Colby Rasmus, who was picked one round later. This would also give Bibber-Orr more depth in the outfield, who is relying on Yoenis Cespedes as his fifth outfielder.


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