Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to participate in a mock draft hosted by David Kerr of fantasysquads.com. There was an impressive cast of fantasy baseball minds in the draft room. The following people were on hand to take part:
Daniel Kelley (pinch hitting for Ray Guilfoyle) – @danielkelley
Scott Gilroy (pinch hitting for Michael Pichan) – @jintman
Ryan Hodge – @RotoHobo
Chris Meyers – @fantsychillpony
Seth Klein – @fantasytrade411
Alex Kantecki – @rotodealer
Chris McBrien – @cmcbrien
Timothy King – @TKing978
David Kerr – @askROTObaseball
Howard Bender – @rotobuzzguy
Michael Stein – @fantasyjudgment
Tommy Landseadel – @tlandseadel
I had an absolute blast drafting with these guys. It is always an exciting challenge drafting with so many highly knowledgeable people. After doing a quick review of all the rosters from the Fantasy Squads mock draft, I came away impressed with the balance and overall strength of just about every team. In most drafts, it is easy to pick out a couple teams who look strong relative to the rest of the field, but I did not see any that really jumped out here. Every single team has some obvious strengths along with a glaring weakness or two that could derail championship hopes if the league were being playing out.
This piece will highlight my team and then focus on a few good value picks and reaches made by others.
My Team (drafting from the 10 spot, round taken in parentheses):
C- Wilson Ramos (12)
1B- Edwin Encarnacion (2)
2B- Jed Lowrie (11)
SS- Hanley Ramirez (1)
3B- Ryan Zimmerman (5)
CI- Will Middlebrooks (20)
MI- Ian Desmond (3)
OF- Jayson Werth (8)
OF- Carlos Beltran (10)
OF- Christian Yelich (16)
OF- Will Venable (18)
UTIL: David Ortiz (6)
UTIL: Kole Calhoun (23)
B: Todd Frazier (21)
B: Kolten Wong (24)
SP- Max Scherzer (4)
SP- Gerrit Cole (7)
SP- Francisco Liriano (13)
SP- Andrew Cashner (15)
RP- Koji Uehara (9)
RP- David Robertson (14)
P- Danny Farquhar (17)
P- Marco Estrada (19)
B- Ivan Nova (22)
I was very happy with my draft overall. My line-up is littered with power hitters. Every single player has 20 HR potential, with Yelich being the only player (aside from Wong) who isn’t a safe bet to get to 15 in a healthy campaign. This team would finish near the top of both HRs and RBI. Since there are very few BA drainers (looking at you Middlebrooks), my offense could amass a lot of points.
Interestingly enough, I did not notice my reliance on the Nationals until after the draft was over. I don’t typically like owning this many bats from the same team, but the value seemed right for each pick. I guess if you are going to go that route, it is better to lean on a possible 100 game winner than to go all-in on a bad team.
The obvious weakness of this club is its overall speed. There are a few players capable of stealing 20 bags and scoring 90 runs, but SBs and runs scored are clearly not the strength of this offense. The best case scenario for this team without a few tweaks would be a middle of the pack finish in those two categories. There is also legitimate risk of finishing near the bottom in steals.
When I build a pitching staff, I always try to accumulate high K/9 arms who are capable of delivering a neutral or positive WHIP. Scherzer, Cole and Estrada clearly fit the bill here. I don’t think Cashner will ever be the elite strikeout pitcher some predicted last year, but we should see some improvement in 2014 along with solid ERA/WHIP numbers.
The real wild card in this equation is Liriano. Maybe all he needed was a change of scenery and he is now ready to live up to his limitless potential. If he can keep the BBs in check, he is capable of an encore performance. If not, he could transform into a WHIP whale and find himself on fantasy benches and waiver wires. Still though, I think I got pretty good value on the pick since Liriano was the 38th SP off the board.
In the bullpen, I was able to assemble three high K closers, all pitching for possible contenders and all capable of helping my ratios. Rodney’s signing in Seattle throws a monkey wrench in the plans here, but I think Farquhar could have the job before too long. This draft took place two days before the Rodney signing.
All in all, I like this staff, but there is a fair amount of risk. How the pitchers match up to the rest of the league will ultimately determine this team’s fate.
There were a lot of good picks, but here are a few that really jumped out:
- Chris McBrien had 3 steals with Freeman at 3.7, Cliff Lee at 5.7, and Matt Cain at 9.7.
- 4 SPs drafted in round 12 were awesome values (Wacha, Ryu, Gray and Teheran).
- Daniel Kelley’s Belt pick at 13.1 looks really strong.
- David Kerr demonstrated why reaching for catchers is a bad idea with his Wieters selection in round 17.
Values I did not like
I did not like the value on the following 3 picks:
- Timothy King took Kinsler with the first pick of the 4th round. Considering all the ace pitchers and possible hitting studs that were still on the board, this was too soon. Kinsler is more of a solid, unspectacular mid-round selection at this point in his career.
- Seth Klein grabbed Billy Butler with the 10th pick in round 8. I think that is too soon for a UTIL only player with limited power. There should be more than a 2 round gap between Big Papi and Butler.
- Timothy King checks in again with his Samardzija pick at 12.1. Given the other starters that went off the board in the same round, I think he could have done a lot better.