The final rounds of any draft can really separate elite teams from the good ones. Hitting on a couple sleepers in this phase can help to put an already strong team over the top. Keep in mind that at least 25% of your team’s starting line-up (probably more) will be acquired via some combination of late picks and free agent pick-ups. Owners here are filling out their last few starting spots and stashing some high upside players on their benches.
In this phase of the draft, I am not concerned much with a bad pick. Late picks for me are all about upside. Missing on a pick in this stage carries a relatively low cost. I don’t give players drafted in this range too long of a leash. Once the season starts, I will not hesitate to cut ties with an underperforming player drafted here in order to snag a free agent who I feel will help my team. Since there is not much downside to late picks, I will not be highlighting any reaches from this phase of the draft.
Hitting on a sleeper with upside, however, can pay huge dividends for your squad. Examples of players drafted in this range from 2013 include Matt Carpenter, Starling Marte, Domonic Brown, Francisco Liriano, and Jean Segura, just to name a few.
Take notes on some of the picks our expert panel liked from this draft. Some of these guys could turn out to be difference makers available late in 2014 drafts. For a look at Ray Guilfoyle’s thoughts on Rounds 7-10, check out his coverage at Fake Teams.
Schwartz- 16.181- Bobby Parnell- 3-0
Finch- 16.182- Michael Brantley- 1-1
Waterman- 16.183- Dan Straily- 2-0
Landseadel- 16.184- Rex Brothers- 3-0
Kelley- 16.185- R.A. Dickey- 2-0
Kanteki- 16.186- Jim Henderson- 1-1
Jebens- 16.187- Leonys Martin- 2-0
Hartman- 16.188- Coco Crisp- 3-0
Guilfoyle- 16.189- Grant Balfour- 1-1
Quinton- 16.190- Tori Hunter- 1-1
Creagh- 16.191- Ubaldo Jimenez- 0-2
Asfar- 16.192- Alexei Ramirez- 1-1
General Analysis: Most of the picks in this round are safe veteran types. Some of these guys fell a little too far (Crisp, Ramirez, Dickey) while others are young players with upside (Martin, Parnell). Only one IF was selected here as owners loaded up on closers and OFs.
Best Values: There were plenty of nice picks here, but my favorite were the Martin and Crisp selections. Martin has pretty strong upside as a 40 SB guy in one of the top line-ups in baseball. Crisp is coming off a 20/20 season and always seems to get under-appreciated. He will likely be closer to 15/25 next year if he can stay healthy.
My Pick: Rex Brothers looked like the safest of the closer options still available. There is a possibility that Brian Wilson or Grant Balfour signs with the Rox, which would be interesting, but for now Brothers looks like a solid closer.
Asfar- 17.193- Will Venable- 1-0
Creagh- 17.194- Neil Walker- 0-1
Quinton- 17.195- Lance Lynn- 1-1
Guilfoyle- 17.196- Mark Teixeira- 2-0
Hartman- 17.197- Aramis Ramirez- 4-0
Jebens- 17.198- Corey Kluber- 3-1
Kanteki- 17.199- Jeff Samardzija- 3-0
Kelley- 17.200- Fernando Rodney- 1-1
Landseadel- 17.201- Alejandro De Aza- 6-0
Waterman- 17.202- Victor Martinez- 3-0
Finch- 17.203- Yovani Gallardo- 1-1
Schwartz- 17.204- Ernesto Frieri- 2-2
General Analysis: There were many grizzled vets selected here along with a couple young players with upside. The best picks in this round were the veterans who fell a little too far. Most of the players here have their issues, but there are a few who offer tons of upside if they can bounce back from a down year in 2013.
Best Values: I love the Aramis Ramirez pick. He will get hurt at some point in 2014, but this guy was a top 30 player in 2012 and his production was not all that far off in 2013 when he actually did play. De Aza and Venable also have the potential to deliver tremendous upside from this draft spot, as does Samardzija.
My Pick: De Aza is a good speed source with 15-20 HR pop. I love rounding out my OF with players like De Aza or Coco Crisp because they can help the team many different ways. De Aza is a virtual lock to outproduce his position as the 201st pick.
Schwartz- 18.205- Nolan Arenado- 4-0
Finch- 18.206- Corey Hart- 4-1
Waterman- 18.207- Darin Ruf- 1-3
Landseadel- 18.208- Matt Dominguez- 1-2
Kelley- 18.209- Dexter Fowler- 3-0
Kanteki- 18.210- Howie Kendrick- 5-0
Jebens- 18.211- Chris Johnson- 2-1
Hartman- 18.212- Joaquin Benoit- 1-1
Guilfoyle- 18.213- C.J. Wilson- 5-0
Quinton- 18.214- Ian Nova- 1-2
Creagh- 18.215- Chris Archer- 2-0
Asfar- 18.216- Danny Farquhar- 1-0
General Analysis: The best values in this round were mostly taken from the deep OF and SP positions. A few teams were filling holes at their CI positions, and those did not do quite as well. The Arenado pick was seen as a good value by the room, but I just don’t see it. He is an excellent real life 3B, but he doesn’t do enough in terms of HR/SB to be more than a solid fantasy performer, at least for now. The closers selected here are all risky for different reasons, but certainly make for strong values at this point.
Best Values: Veterans Howie Kendrick and C.J. Wilson are the two picks most likely to produce positive equity at this stage, but there are a couple upside plays that I like a lot in this round. Chris Archer and Corey Hart could be serious values. I like the upside for Fowler as well.
My Pick: I hate the fact that Matt Dominguez is my starting 3B. That being said, every team emerges from draft day with a couple significant weaknesses. I feel pretty good about the fact that this is my biggest one. While Dominguez isn’t going to help anybody in the BA category, he does have 20 HR power in what should be a much improved Astro line-up. If he is able to raise his average by 10-15 points, this pick will end up looking like a steal.
Asfar- 19.217- Huston Street- 2-0
Creagh- 19.218- Matt Garza- 2-1
Quinton- 19.219- Erick Aybar- 2-1
Guilfoyle- 19.220- Martin Perez- 2-0
Hartman- 19.221- Taijuan Walker- 2-0
Jebens- 19.222- Carlos Quentin- 1-0
Kanteki- 19.223- Nick Markakis- 3-0
Kelley- 19.224- Johnny Peralta- 1-0
Landseadel- 19.225- Bartolo Colon- 0-1
Waterman- 19.226- Bruce Rondon- 1-0
Finch- 19.227- Kole Calhoun- 2-0
Schwartz- 19.228- Adam Eaton- 3-0
General Analysis: This is the stage where the draft really starts to get fun. Most of the names taken here are high upside players who could easily find themselves on the waiver wire by the end of April or be locked into line-ups as everyday regulars. Although it isn’t a bad pick in this round, let me just say for the record that I hate guys like Nick Markakis as fantasy options. I am all about the category juice.
Best Values: There were many strong picks made here, but the players I like for possible 2014 breakouts are Walker, Perez, Calhoun and Eaton. All four of these players need to be closely monitored during spring training so that potential owners have a good feel for what their role will be. Taijuan Walker is particularly intriguing to me. I imagine I will own him a few times in 2014.
My Pick: Bartolo Colon is about 84 years old and his K rate leaves much to be desired. That being said, because of his ability to induce weak contact and pitch deep into games, he was the 16th ranked SP in 2013 and he ranked inside the top 60 overall in 5 by 5 leagues. The man just knows how to pitch. Do I think he can match his 2013 numbers in 2014? Probably not, but at this price it is worth a pick to find out. If he turns back into a pumpkin, the drop will be a pretty easy decision.
Schwartz- 20.229- Alex Wood- 2-0
Finch- 20.230- Zach Cozart- 1-1
Waterman- 20.231- Ryan Cook- 3-0
Landseadel- 20.232- A.J. Griffin- 2-0
Kelley- 20.233- Joakim Soria- 1-0
Kanteki- 20.234- Colby Rasmus- 1-0
Jebens- 20.235- Tyson Ross- 1-1
Hartman- 20.236- Jonathan Villar- 1-0
Guilfoyle- 20.237- Alexander Guerrero- 1-1
Quinton- 20.238- John Lackey- 2-0
Creagh- 20.239- C.C. Sabathia- 2-0
Asfar- 20.240- Evan Gattis- 1-0
General Analysis: You see a good mix between vets on their last legs (Sabathia, Lackey) and youngsters with upside (Wood, Villar, Gattis). The relievers taken in this round are far from locks to be opening day closers, but each produce outstanding value if they are able to earn 9th inning gigs.
Best Values: I really like Wood as a potential 2014 breakout. He showed signs of greatness in August before losing steam down the stretch. A Teheran type breakout is not out of the question next year for Alex Wood. Gattis could also end up being a tremendous value. If in fact he ends up being an everyday player for the Braves, he is a great bet to lead all catcher eligible players in HRs.
My Pick: Griffin is a solid SP value here. His K rate is playable and he makes half of his starts in a pitchers park. The fact that the A’s could win 90+ games again next season does not hurt his value either. I love the way my staff looks at this point with 6 SPs (5 of which were top 80 overall last season in 5×5 value) and 3 solid closer options. My team should be in the top half of every pitching category.
Asfar- 21.241- Chris Carter- 1-1
Creagh- 21.242- Carl Crawford- 3-1
Quinton- 21.243- Will Middlebrooks- 1-1
Guilfoyle- 21.244- Ryan Howard- 2-0
Hartman- 21.245- Jason Castro- 3-0
Jebens- 21.246- Wade Miley- 1-0
Kanteki- 21.247- Tim Lincecum- 4-0
Kelley- 21.248- Andre Eithier- 2-0
Landseadel- 21.249- Ben Revere- 3-0
Waterman- 21.250- Brandon Beachy- 6-1
Finch- 21.251- Jake Peavy- 3-0
Schwartz- 21.252- Marco Estrada- 4-0
General Analysis: I do not believe that there are any bad picks this late in a draft, but I do want to highlight two players selected here who will not be on any of my teams, maybe ever. The K’s from Lincecum along with his Cy Young talent make owners want to buy in, but he simply is not the same pitcher that he was 5 years ago. High K rates are not worth the hit you take in WHIP when drafting players like Lincecum or Yovani Gallardo. The value here is fine, but chances are good that the Freak will hurt more than he will help. Marco Estrada is another pitcher that I probably will not invest in. He too closely resembles Ricky Nolasco to me. He will tease you with a few great outings like he did during August and September and he has great peripheral stats too. The thing is, when he gets hit, he gets hit hard. He may be able to become more consistent, but I will be on the sidelines until he can prove to me that he is not in fact Ricky Nolasco Jr.
Best Values: The Brandon Beachy pick made me physically ill. I wanted to snag both Beachy and Revere and I wrongly assumed that Beachy had a better chance of making it back to me in round 22. Beachy should be healthy by the start of training camp and is the type of upside pick that can deliver championships if it hits at this phase of the draft.
My Pick: Ben Revere is the reason you will never see me invest in speed guys like Jacoby Ellsbury early in drafts. Players like Revere and Eric Young are always available later on. If you miss on filling up the power categories early, you might never get another chance to make that up. Revere is a good bet for 40+ SBs and he is capable of hitting near .300. My team now boasts great balance with two big SB players (Revere and Andrus), every other player on the roster is a safe bet for 15 HRs or more, and I have few BA drainers.
Schwartz- 22.253- Kolten Wong- 3-1
Finch- 22.254- Cody Asche- 1-0
Waterman- 22.255- Alexei Ogando- 1-2
Landseadel- 22.256- Avisail Garcia- 3-1
Kelley- 22.257- Cory Luebke- 3-0
Kanteki- 22.258- Pedro Strop- 2-0
Jebens- 22.259- Travis D’Arnaud- 3-0
Hartman- 22.260- Joe Kelly- 1-1
Guilfoyle- 22.261- Ervin Santana- 2-0
Quinton- 22.262- Hiroki Kuroda- 3-0
Creagh- 22.263- Tanner Scheppers- 3-0
Asfar- 22.264- Jarrod Parker- 1-0
General Analysis: Closers taken in this round are going to be from the bottom of the barrel. Note that if you play in daily change leagues, these guys will likely be long gone by this point and more non-closing RPs will get taken in these rounds. When deciding between these low end RPs, I will always take the superior arm talent even if his path to saves is murkier. Remember the Kenley Jansen vs. Brandon League conundrum last year? Even though Scheppers is less likely to open the season as a closer than Strop is, Strop walks too many batters to be an asset to your ratios.
Best Values: There are plenty of potential break-outs here including Luebke, D’Arnaud, Parker and Wong. Although Kuroda lacks game-changing upside, he deserves mention as well as a tremendous round 22 value.
My Pick: When Avisail Garcia was with the Tigers, he earned the nickname Mini Miggy. Granted, part of the reason for the monicker is that his facial features resemble Cabrera’s, but the kid can really play, too. He should be a full time starter on opening day and he offers up a nice combo of speed and power. He makes for a great late-round flier in any format.
Asfar- 23.265- Roy Halladay- 0-2
Creagh- 23.266- Brian Wilson- 1-1
Quinton- 23.267- Nick Swisher- 2-0
Guilfoyle- 23.268- Eric Young Jr.- 4-1
Hartman- 23.269- Cody Allen- 2-0
Jebens- 23.270- Rajai Davis- 2-0
Kanteki- 23.271- Chris Tillman- 1-0
Kelley- 23.272- Omar Infante- 2-0
Landseadel- 23.273- Miguel Sano- 1-0
Waterman- 23.274- Danny Duffy- 2-0
Finch- 23.275- Jeremy Hellickson- 1-0
Schwartz- 23.276- Oswaldo Arcia- 1-1
General Analysis: Roy Halladay is probably done, but what if he bounces back? Brian Wilson could also be a sneaky pick if he signs in the right place. Young and Davis are more examples of cheap speed. There were many smart gambles with a couple good values mixed into this round.
Best Values: The best values for me were the speed guys. I also like Duffy’s upside. Cody Allen has the skills to be a very useful reliever if he does get the 9th inning next year and Arcia is a player who many people are high on.
My Pick: Miguel Sano has the highest ceiling of anybody taken in this round and he happens to play 3B, which is my weakest position. The downside is that we may not see Sano in a Twins uniform until September. Sano is capable of putting up Pedro Alvarez type numbers right now.
Schwartz- 24.277- Rick Porcello- 2-0
Finch- 24.278- Dustin Ackley- 0-1
Waterman- 24.279- Felix Doubront- 1-0
Landseadel- 24.280- Brandon Morrow- 1-0
Kelley- 24.281- Matt Harrison- 1-0
Kanteki- 24.282- Nate Schierholtz- 1-1
Jebens- 24.283- Adam Lind- 3-0
Hartman- 24.284- Kris Bryant- 0-1
Guilfoyle- 24.285- Denard Span- 1-0
Quinton- 24.286- Kevin Gausman- 3-0
Creagh- 24.287- Erasmo Ramirez- 2-0
Asfar- 24.288- Drew Smyly- 3-0
General Analysis: There are still pretty good pitching values to be had in round 24. This is why smart owners can wait on SPs in most formats. Kris Bryant could be a first round pick at some point, but he is unlikely to see time before September, if at all. Lind makes for a great value pick, but it is unlikely that he performs any better than he did last season.
Best Values: I think Kevin Gausman is the most likely of these players to hit it big. Erasmo Ramirez has a ton of upside, too.
My Pick: Brandon Morrow was on his way to becoming a legit fantasy ace before injuries ruined 2012. He is still young enough to bounce back, so this pick is worth the gamble.
Asfar- 25.289- Nick Franklin- 2-0
Creagh- 25.290- Tony Watson- 1-0
Quinton- 25.291- Emilio Bonifacio- 1-0
Guilfoyle- 25.292- Marlon Byrd- 1-0
Hartman- 25.293- Nick Castellanos- 3-0
Jebens- 25.294- Neftali Feliz- 1-0
Kanteki- 25.295- Junior Lake- 2-0
Kelley- 25.296- Alex Rodriguez- 2-0
Landseadel- 25.297- Khris Davis- 2-0
Waterman- 25.298- Josh Rutledge- 2-0
Finch- 25.299- A.J. Pollock- 1-0
Schwartz- 25.300- Jonathan Niese- 1-0
General Analysis: There was a little bit of everything here in the final round, and there are still valuable players out there in the free agent pool at some positions (OF and SP especially). I think it is pretty funny that ARod got picked, but given how early this draft took place, it is possible that he wins his appeal. Take note of how far Marlon Byrd fell. There are not a lot of believers in this room.
Best Values: Castellanos is a big time prospect and appears to have the inside track to an opening day job. Rutledge is a great bounce back candidate and Nick Franklin has an intriguing combo of power and speed from the MI position.
My Pick: I think Khris Davis would be worth a 10th round pick if he could field his position. Since he can’t, he is likely to open the season as the 4th OF in MIL. The real reason that I made this pick was so that I could bookend my draft with Chris Davises. I really had no other option.
This concludes the pick analysis. Be on the lookout for the roster breakdowns next week.
Check out My Earlier Mock Draft Analysis: