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Mock Draft Analysis: Can My Team Win?

Congratulations! After hours weeks of preparation, plus a couple hours of your precious time spent drafting, you've assembled your fantasy roster for 2012.

All the agonizing about who will boom and who will bust is set aside till next year. You shelve yet another dogeared copy of Ron Shandler's Forecaster. During web-browser spring cleaning, you delete your bookmark to Fangraphs' ZiPs or Marcel pages, or whichever absurdly titled projection system you use. And, yes, you finally stop trolling mock draft forums.

Wasting no time, you rush over to your team's page at the conclusion of your draft. Maybe you tweak your squad's name and avatar to honor someone you've just drafted (e.g. Bourn Mediocrity). With or without that step, the reason you're there is to plug the players into their corresponding positions. To see the lineup slots fill up till everyone is in his right place ... it's fantasy magic.

But, for most of us, there's more to it than just the aesthetics of seeing a rounded-out roster. We want to know: Is my team any good? Sure, if you've drafted competently, your team will probably pass the eyeball test. But truthfully, most teams look decent enough on paper before Opening Day, so how can you really tell?

Thankfully, we have a pretty good idea of what it will take to win fantasy leagues in 2012, courtesy of some number-crunching by Tim Dierkes. Using Tim's what-it-takes-to-win estimates, as well as his 2012 projections, I'm now going to see how closely the team I drafted in RotoAuthority's mock will finish to 90 roto points. The league is classic 5x5 roto, with two starting catchers, five outfielders, nine pitchers (1,500 innings cap), and three bench slots.

Here's my roster:

And here are the results:

Offense

  • Target average: .270
  • Projected average: .278
  • Target homers: 271
  • Projected homers: 272
  • Target RBI: 1,071
  • Projected RBI: 1,046
  • Target runs: 1,092
  • Projected runs: 1,044
  • Target steals: 187
  • Projected steals: 121

Pitching

  • Target ERA: 3.54
  • Projected ERA: 3.67
  • Target WHIP: 1.21
  • Projected WHIP: 1.24
  • Target strikeouts: 1328
  • Projected strikeouts: 1376
  • Target wins: 99
  • Projected wins: 97
  • Target saves: 101
  • Projected saves: 52

 

Analysis

This roster should net nine or more roto points in four of 10 categories as of now. That's a decent start, and although I do think this team is better than that would typically suggest based on some easy-to-correct roster glitches, there is obviously work to be done. Here are some thoughts:

  • Saves and steals are the categories I most want to address as areas of need. Fortunately, they can both be dealt with post-draft to varying degrees, but that's not necessarily ideal, so I'll take a hack at a realistic and minimal draft reconstruction. 
  • A botched 14th-round pick on the underwhelming Alonso looks to be an obvious culprit. The projection systems just don't like this guy very much -- obviously not for speed, since that's not his game, but not for power, either, and perhaps not even to get a full season's worth of ABs. Had I passed on him in favor of a closer (there were still plenty of good ones available at that point), I could have then rounded out my outfield several rounds later with a much-needed steals contributor like Angel Pagan, who would have cost me my late-round flier on Bedard. I like Bedard as a sleeper this year, but a closer like Joakim Soria or Rafael Betancourt and Pagan would help my team much more than Alonso and Bedard, so it's pretty much a no-brainer.
  • ERA and WHIP don't look great, although those stats are fairly inflated by Billingsley and Liriano. It's especially unlikely that I'd take two guys like that, let alone one. But assuming Liriano shows nothing out of the gate, I'd probably drop him pretty quickly for a top setup man like Greg Holland, who can contribute (albeit minimally) in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. Pitchers like Holland can always be dropped without pause if and when the time comes that you need to stream starters to meet the innings cap. Billingsley, too, would be on a very short leash.
  • Street is my only sure-thing closer, although I'm not especially worried about that. For one, I do think Jansen will eventually (hopefully sooner than later) wrestle closing duties away from Javy Guerra, which would give me two closers. But aside from that, I'm pretty confident in my ability to nab spec closers off the wire when a change occurs. Whether you're willing to follow this or prefer the security of completing a draft with three closers in the big is really a matter of knowing how shrewd and quick you are to the draw.
  • Obviously, Howard's injury setback (announced after this mock took place) changes the look of my team pretty significantly. Again, I don't want to completely overhaul my draft with hypotheticals, but Gaby Sanchez (15th round) could have been a decent target as an alternative.
  • Position flexibility is not a strength of this team, so it's something I should be cognizant of. In fact, I've actually taken a liberty just by slotting Montero in at catcher, although it appears he will gain eligibility there before too long. Anyway, there aren't any utility types in my lineup, and those guys can be very useful to account for injuries and off-days of others.


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