It is never too early to do a mock draft. Player values will certainly fluctuate between now and draft season as free agents sign, the injury bug bites and position battles start to take shape, but reading pieces like this can still give you an idea of what players our panel of experts are highest on. This piece will be the first of 4 installments breaking down an October industry slow mock.
You will find analysis of the early round action (rounds 1-5) right here. Subsequent features will look at middle rounds (6-15), late rounds (16-25), and the final installment will discuss each team’s roster breakdown.
This particular mock is being hosted by Fantasy Assembly contributor Jimi Nix, who is also a site administrator at couchmanagers.com. If you have not checked their site out, they have a really cool set-up allowing for year round fantasy mock drafts for baseball, football and basketball. It is certainly worth your time to check them out.
Before we go any further, we need to discuss the assumed league settings and starting requirements.
This is a 12 team, 25 round 5×5 roto re-draft with the following roster settings:
Our panel of experts include:
Paul Hartman of Fantasy Assembly
Jim Finch of Fantasy Assembly
Kevin Jebens of Fantasy Assembly
Tommy Landseadel of Fantasy Assembly
Peter Waterman of Fantasy Assembly
Ray Guilfoyle from Fake Teams
Nabae Asfar from Fake Teams
Brian Creagh from Fake Teams
Alex Kanteki from Fake Teams
Daniel Kelley from FakeTeams
Daniel Schwartz from Fake Teams
Jeff Quinton from Rotowords
There are many keys to success in drafting a fantasy team. Chief among them are understanding your particular league settings and scoring rules, but it is just as important to know your opposition. In most 2014 drafts you will see pitchers and catchers being selected earlier than they went here. It is also very difficult to get good value on buzzy young players in a draft with this many sharks, so some of the best value picks are the safe vets who fall. My personal approach was to avoid reaching for those buzzy names and to take the values as they came. Whether or not drafters in your leagues share similar philosophies as our expert panel, there are still a ton of takeaways from this exercise. Sit back and enjoy.
Asfar- Mike Trout- 10-0
Creagh- Miguel Cabrera- 10-0
Quinton- Paul Goldschmidt- 10-0
Guilfoyle- Andrew McCutchen- 9-2
Hartman- Robinson Cano- 10-0
Jebens- Adam Jones- 1-5
Kanteki- Carlos Gonzalez- 6-1
Kelley- Troy Tulowitzki- 2-5
Landseadel- Chris Davis- 7-1
Waterman- Hanley Ramirez- 5-1
Finch- Clayton Kershaw- 8-0
Schwartz- Freddie Freeman- 6-3
*The numbers after each pick illustrate the approval rating from the draft room. The first number is a vote for “good” and the second number is a vote for “bad”. Voter abstention assumes a neutral position.
General Analysis: Trout and Cabrera are 1A and 1B on everyone’s list. No surprise there. The next 3 (Goldschmidt, McCutchen, Cano) are clearly a class above the rest of the first round players. After pick 5, things get pretty interesting.
Best Value: Jim Finch’s selection of Kershaw at 11 seems like the best pick of the round here. The top 5 were too easy to earn that distinction.
Biggest Reach: Adam Jones at 6 seems a little high. He is a safe pick for sure, but he should probably be selected closer to the end of round 1. He lacks the upside that some of the players selected after him have.
My Pick: Chris Davis is a great bet to hit 40 HRs with 45-50 as a distinct possibility. There is risk here since he has only posted one elite season, but 2013 looks more like natural progression of an elite young player than fluke. I was happy that Crush fell to me since I would have considered him as high as 6.
Schwartz- Ryan Braun- 4-1
Finch- Edwin Encarnacion- 5-2
Waterman- Jason Kipnis- 2-4
Landseadel- Joey Votto- 7-2
Kelley- Yu Darvish- 6-1
Kanteki- Evan Longoria- 4-1
Jebens- Adrian Beltre- 6-0
Hartman- Prince Fielder- 6-3
Guilfoyle- David Wright- 5-0
Quinton- Jacoby Ellsbury- 3-2
Creagh- Yaisel Puig- 1-5
Asfar- Dustin Pedroia- 7-1
General Analysis: Infielders dominated round 2 representing 8 of 12 selections. Darvish was the only pitcher taken here as the 2nd arm off the board. Darvish going soon after Kershaw should be pretty standard for most category leagues since his K rate is through the roof. The room did not like Waterman’s Kipnis pick, but I thought it was okay considering that we use a middle infield (MI) spot. Most would have rather seen him invest in a big corner infielder (CI).
Best Value: Jebens’ selection of Beltre and Guilfoyle’s Wright picks both look pretty good.
Biggest Reach: Puig in the second round just seems too early with players like Stanton, Harper, Bruce and Gomez still on the board.
My Pick: I was between Votto and Beltre and opted to go with Votto. Despite the fact that they play the same position, Votto complements Davis extremely well. Votto’s incredible line drive producing swing will help counter Davis’ low BA compared to other first rounders.
Asfar- Bryce Harper- 7-2
Creagh- Giancarlo Stanton- 7-1
Quinton- Carlos Gomez- 4-2
Guilfoyle- Ian Desmond- 2-5
Hartman- Jose Reyes- 4-2
Jebens- Jean Segura- 2-6
Kanteki- Jay Bruce- 7-0
Kelley- Shin-Soo Choo- 2-5
Landseadel- Max Scherzer- 1-5
Waterman- Matt Kemp- 3-4
Finch- Adam Wainwright- 8-0
Schwartz- Starling Marte- 2-4
General Analysis: There were definitely a few polarizing picks in this round. The mini SS run was fascinating. I did not expect 5 shortstops to be off the board by pick 30, although I do like the fact that Desmond was taken before Reyes and Segura. In most leagues, you will see more SPs and fewer MIs get selected in the top 30, but almost everyone here is waiting on pitching because of the quality depth at the end.
Best Value: The votes say Wainwright is the best value, but my personal favorite was the Stanton pick. Both were good values, but getting the SP who most feel is the 3rd best in the draft toward the end of round 3 is awesome value.
Biggest Reach: Scherzer, Choo, Segura and Desmond all racked up the “bad” votes, but the biggest reach was Marte in my opinion. He could very easily be a top 50 bat in 2014, but given the OF depth, he would have likely still been on the board at the end of round 5. Taking Marte ahead of some of the established names who went later is just too risky, even if the pick does end up hitting in the end.
My Pick: Obviously my Scherzer pick didn’t get a lot of love. This is in part because the room prefers Wainwright, but also because some feel that Mad Max will regress in 2014. I owned Waino in every league I played in last year, getting him in the 4th or 5th round. If I am going to spend a draft pick in the top 3 rounds on an SP though, it will be somebody with truly dominant stuff. I am pretty picky here, but that guy needs to have a K rate above one per inning along with excellent ratios. For me, that means I take Scherzer and the Ks ahead of Wainwright 10 times out of 10.
Schwartz- Wil Myers- 4-2
Finch- Matt Holliday- 5-1
Waterman- Manny Machado- 1-7
Landseadel- Justin Upton- 7-0
Kelley- Jose Bautista- 6-1
Kanteki- Eric Hosmer- 5-0
Jebens- Ian Kinsler- 2-4
Hartman- Jason Heyward- 3-4
Guilfoyle- Alex Rios- 7-1
Quinton- David Ortiz- 0-6
Creagh- Allan Craig- 3-3
Asfar- Felix Hernandez- 4-4
General Analysis: Felix Hernandez was the 5th SP selected with the last pick in the 4th. Everybody is still waiting. There are a lot of good values here, but my favorite pick of the round was Alex Rios. Given their potent line-up and how much the Rangers like to run, Rios could put up some serious numbers in 2014.
Best Value: The voters loved the Upton and Hosmer picks. It is hard to argue with the value on either. Both players have the talent to significantly improve upon already solid 2013 numbers.
Biggest Reach: Two picks stick out here. Machado is certainly a reach at this point of a re-draft. He has yet to produce at an elite level and his health for the early season is very much in question. Ortiz is a reach not because of his production, but due to his lack of a position. Selecting a UTIL only player this early takes away a lot of roster flexibility.
My Pick: Justin Upton is not a guy I plan to target in 2014, but when he is sitting there at pick 40, the price is right. He has been around so long, it is easy to forget Upton won’t turn 27 until August. He has the upside to produce first round value. I wanted to take Rios, but could not pass on this value.
Asfar- Adrian Gonzalez- 3-4
Creagh- Stephen Strasburg- 5-2
Quinton- Buster Posey- 6-3
Guilfoyle- Hunter Pence- 3-3
Hartman- Jose Fernandez- 2-3
Jebens- Chris Sale- 2-4
Kanteki- Madison Bumgarner- 6-1
Kelley- Albert Pujols- 5-2
Landseadel- Cliff Lee- 6-0
Waterman- Mark Trumbo- 0-4
Finch- Craig Kimbrel- 5-1
Schwartz- Matt Carpenter- 5-1
General Analysis: Finally some pitchers! 5 SPs and a closer went off the board here, all at pretty good values. Notable picks include Posey (the first catcher), Kimbrel (the first closer) and SP phenom Jose Fernandez.
Best Value: My selection of Cliff Lee was the only pick of the round to receive unanimous approval. He is too good and too safe to be the 9th SP off the board. The biggest difference between Lee and Wainwright is run support. Bumgarner, Kimbrel, Carpenter and Pujols also look like excellent values here too.
Biggest Reach: The only real reach of the round was Waterman’s Trumbo pick. Trumbo puts up good power numbers, but his putrid OBP (on-base percentage) could eventually cost him ABs. Will that happen in 2014? Probably not, But the risk in this pick is significantly greater than the potential reward.
My Pick: Lee was a no brainer for me. He fits the mold of early round SPs I like to target (high Ks, low WHIP). This pick really sets my team up well for the middle rounds with 3 big bats and 2 legitimate aces.