Industry Mock Draft Recap
March 25, 2016 | gregsauce
On March 8th, twelve analysts from TheFakeBaseball and RotoBallers descended on Yahoo for a fantasy baseball mock draft. I attempted to record video of the draft experience with a running commentary from me and Zach Jacobson. A fine time was had all around until I stopped the recording and the file was lost to the digital ether when “resource allocation failed.”
I considered what Michael Bolton would do in my situation. Not wanting to smash my personal computer with a Louisville Slugger, my thoughts shifted to how the other Michael Bolton would manage in this predicament. Lacking a knack for adult contemporary songcraft, I was stuck. No video, no baseball bat, and no easy listening. It was a true crisis.
Two days later, Zach posted his write-up. Keep in mind, I’m just a simple video recording guy. His words typed into a document were strange and confusing to me. Zach was secretly a sorcerer. I was sure of it. I didn’t even believe in sorcery before this mock draft. Now aware of magic’s existence, I thought I’d try my hand at it.
The task was arduous and arcane, but today is March 24th and I have three paragraphs, going on four. Now, dear mortals, revel in my mystical powers as I transport you (with mere words!) back to that fateful night of mock drafting…
- 12 Teams, Snake Draft
- Rotisserie Scoring, 5×5 with Quality Starts instead of Wins
- Rosters: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 4 OF, Util, 2 SP, 2 RP, 5 P, 5 Bench, 2 DL
Mock Draft Results & Analysis
My draft is outlined below, but click here to see the full results of the draft.
Pick 1.05 (5th overall): Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL
Once Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Paul Goldschmidt are off the board in some order, opinions begin to diverge on how to value the subsequent first-rounders. If you believe Clayton Kershaw is worth a top-5 pick, your choice at fourth or fifth pick is easy. I don’t fall into that camp. I prefer to target third basemen in that range because there are a few elite options and the position dries up faster than all others. With Josh Donaldson taken immediately before my pick, I went with Arenado.
Pick 2.08 (20th): Joey Votto, 1B, CIN
I have George Springer ranked higher than Votto, but Yahoo doesn’t. I wanted to use the default rankings to my advantage and try to score Springer in the third round, so I opted for Votto.
Pick 3.05 (29th): Chris Davis, 1B/OF, BAL
Of course, Justin Bales sniped Springer just ahead of me here and my backup plan was Chris Davis. I like dual-eligible players and Crush’s home run ability is unmatched. Plus, the strain Davis would put on my team’s batting average wasn’t a concern with Votto already in tow.
Pick 4.08 (44th): Lorenzo Cain, OF, KC
When your first three picks combined for 15 stolen bases in the previous season, you’ve got to let Lorenzo roll in your Benz-o. Some other available players ranked higher, but my statistical need for speed was the deciding factor with this pick.
Pick 5.05 (53rd): Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS
Pick 6.08 (68th): Danny Salazar, SP, CLE
Pick 7.05 (77th): Kenley Jansen, RP, LAD
In our lost recording, Zach and I discussed trying strategies contrary to our typical styles because this was a mock draft. For both of us, that involved holding pitchers in higher esteem. Round 5 is generally when I start to consider starters, so Strasburg wasn’t a radical reach, but backing that pick up with two additional pitchers — including a top-flight closer — goes against the Gregsauce grain.
Pick 8.08 (92nd): Matt Kemp, OF, SD
Embarrassingly, this was an auto-pick, as I got a little too caught up in my banter with Zach to pull the trigger on someone I wanted more than Kemp. Still, he’s not a bad pick in the eighth round or in the context of my team. Don’t worry, Autopick, no hard feelings.
Pick 9.05 (101st): Francisco Lindor, SS, CLE
I annually preach waiting on second base, but I don’t mind spending more significant draft capital on shortstops in 2016. When I don’t end up with Manny Machado or Carlos Correa in the first round, I tend to land Xander Bogaerts or Lindor. I just missed on Bogaerts in the sixth round, so Lindor in the ninth was my consolation. I was tempted by Maikel Franco in this spot, but he was so buried in the Yahoo rankings that I thought I could wait one more round and guarantee a shortstop I liked.
Pick 10.08 (116th): Evan Longoria, 3B, TB
I did not consider, however, that this was a mock draft full of experts who wouldn’t allow Franco to slip all that far. He was chosen by Justin Klein just before I could take him. With Franco gone, I didn’t love many of the other options available, so I snapped up Longoria for my corner infield spot. In my estimation, he was the last solid third basemen available and shutting the door on that tier of players gave me depth and put strain on other drafters to take more risk at fake baseball’s thinnest position.
Pick 11.05 (125th): Billy Burns, OF, OAK
I admitted to Zach that I was reaching here, but my team needed more swipes. Only seven players stole 30 or more bases last season and Burns should join that company in 2016 if he stays healthy.
Pick 12.08 (140th): Carlos Martinez, SP, STL
Pick 13.05 (149th): A.J. Ramos, RP, MIA
Pick 14.08 (164th): Patrick Corbin, SP, ARI
I wasn’t alone rounding out my staff of arms in this span, as each of these three rounds featured at least seven drafters taking pitchers. Under my normal draft strategy, Martinez and Corbin might be my second and third starters. In extreme cases where I go all in on offense, they might even be my first and second arms drafted. Slotting them behind Strasburg and Salazar in this draft felt like a luxury. Meanwhile, Ramos felt like the last quasi-elite closer left after Zach took Rondon in the previous round. I was glad to pair him with Jansen to solidify my fake bullpen.
Pick 15.05 (173rd): Kevin Pillar, OF, TOR
I needed one more speedster to round out my offense and it came down to Kevin Pillar vs. Delino DeShields. I chose Pillar primarily for the lineup and park he plays in, but I’ll admit that DeShields might be a better bet to stick a the top of his respective batting order. Regardless, what value Pillar might cede in runs should be balanced by his projected advantage in homers and batting average. DeShields in the late 16th feels like a better value, but I don’t regret this pick.
Pick 16.08 (188th): Luis Severino, SP, NYY
One benefit of targeting pitchers earlier is the ability to gamble more on pitching upside in the later rounds. Severino here, Gausman in the 20th, and Twinnnnnnns (Coors Light anyone?) in the 23rd & 24th all fit the bill.
Pick 17.05 (197th): Starlin Castro, 2B/SS, NYY
Ketel Marte, Matt Duffy, D.J. LeMahieu, and Josh Harrison all went in the 16th round. When Brandon Crawford kicked off the 17th round, I knew it was time to find my second baseman. I opted for Castro over Neil Walker for the higher batting average and stolen bases upside. Moving to the Bronx should be beneficial for Castro, as he’ll get a change of scenery while still playing half his games in a hitter-friendly park.
Pick 18.08 (212th): Drew Storen, RP, TOR
This pick was a bit risky with more established closers like Brad Ziegler and Santiago Casilla still available, but I’d rather take the chance on a better pitcher with the inside track for saves like Storen. Turnover among closers is to be expected, so even if this pick doesn’t work out, I should have the opportunity to find saves on the waiver wire in-season.
Pick 19.05 (221st): Mike Moustakas, 3B, KC
There was no room in my offense for Moustakas at this point in the draft, but he had simply fallen too far. I was compelled by value to take him. This pick also gave my team a lot of depth at third base for potential trades.
Pick 20.08 (236th): Kevin Gausman, SP/RP, BAL
Pick 21.05 (245th): Devon Travis, 2B, TOR
Neither of these two are healthy. Since the draft, it’s been reported that Gausman has shoulder tendinitis. Arm and shoulder problems early in the season are never a good thing for pitchers, so he’s a likely candidate to get cut, but that’s typical of many players drafted in the 20th round and beyond. Travis, on the other, hand, is a player I knew was hurt when I drafted him. The plan would be to stash him on the DL as insurance for Starlin Castro and my eventual middle infield pick.
Pick 22.08 (260th): Wil Myers, 1B/OF, SD
If I’m ever in a league with you and I don’t draft Wil Myers, please have me examined by a physician because it means either I’m very ill, I’ve been replaced by a cyborg/shapeshifter, or I’m under the mind control of a telepath/witch. On the other hand, maybe Wil Myers has me under some sort of spell. Nah, couldn’t be. Wil would never do that to me. This is the year he breaks out, I tell ya!
Pick 23.05 (269th): Kyle Gibson, SP, MIN
Pick 24.08 (284th): Jose Berrios, SP, MIN
See Luis Severino above.
Pick 25.05 (293rd): Cory Spangenberg, 2B/3B, SD
Pick 26.08 (308th): Nick Hundley, C, COL
Spangenberg should keep the middle infield seat warm until Devon Travis is healthy. I like Hundley because he won’t kill me in batting average and he plays home games in Coors. Sidebar: How many mentions of “Coors” do I need to make before the proprietors of the silver bullet sponsor my writing? Tap the Rockies!
C: Nick Hundley
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Starlin Castro
3B: Nolan Arenado
SS: Francisco Lindor
CI: Evan Longoria
MI: Cory Spangenberg
OF: Chris Davis
OF: Lorenzo Cain
OF: Matt Kemp
OF: Billy Burns
Util: Kevin Pilar
SP: Stephen Strasburg
SP: Danny Salazar
RP: Kenley Jansen
RP: A.J. Ramos
P: Drew Storen
P: Carlos Martinez
P: Patrick Corbin
P: Luis Severino
P: Kyle Gibson
Bn: Mike Moustakas
Bn: Wil Myers
Bn: Devon Travis (DL-bound)
Bn: Kevin Gausman
Bn: Jose Berrios
I like this team overall, but the offense feels a little underpowered. Drafting pitchers earlier than normal will do that. On the other hand, assembling a better rotation allowed me to use more bench spots on offense than I typically would. Hopefully, Moustakas and Myers can make up for shortcomings in my starting lineup (namely RBI). Finding enough saves would also be challenging in a sharp league like this, but I’m confident Storen will grab part, if not all of Toronto’s closer role.
Meanwhile, this team should be near the top of the roto standings for runs and batting average, both of which are fairly difficult to chase in-season. My roster doesn’t project to win the home runs and steals categories, but I should finish in the top half of both. If my rotation delivers on its potential, the team should contend for a speculative title. This was only a mock draft, of course.
Now that real drafts are upon us for the 2016 fantasy baseball season, I’ll wrap things up with my up-to-the-minute rankings from FantasyPros. This mock draft breakdown should give you some insight into my process and why certain players are ranked as they are. Good luck in your drafts and during the season.
Greg’s 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings