Every year at Rotojunkie.com there is a series of mock drafts of varying formats. The one that usually kicks off the bonanza is a 20-team mixer using the standard 5×5 categories. We draft a standard 23-man roster with five reserves with a firm rule that you have to complete the starting roster before getting into reserves. A 15-game qualifier is used for position eligibility. As the draft plays out over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting updates on the draft, specifically my picks and reasoning behind the selections made.
First Round – The Foundation
I pulled the 13th pick overall which didn’t affect me one way or another in terms of being happy. I had the 12th pick last year, so while it might’ve been cool to see how I do from another area of the draft, I’m fine with this spot. It started off as most mocks have so far this season with very little surprise in the picks leading up to mine. Mark Teixeira at 8th isn’t where I’d have gone, but as a huge Big Tex fan, I can’t dog the pick. After my primary target for this spot, Ryan Braun, went 10th, I began to worry that 11 or 12 would take the other guy I really wanted here. Thankfully they both passed on Ian Kinsler and I made the star second baseman my first pick. I still might’ve made him the first 2B taken even if Chase Utley was guaranteed to play Opening Day because I shudder to think what Kinsler can do in a full season. I’m an avid fan of the ultra power-speed combos like Kinsler, throw in the fact that he’s an infielder and I’m ecstatic to land him. Last year was his first 500 at-bat season, but it was barely above so the fragility is of some concern. With a full season, he has .290-120-25-100-25 potential in him.
Second Round – The Budding Star
Since I didn’t get Braun with my 1st pick, I was determined to go with an outfielder in the second round because I wasn’t going to get left without an elite one. Enter Matt Kemp. Another power-speed combo poised for another monster fantasy year. His .290 batting average was propped up by destroying lefties to the tune of .369. There may be a drop in average based on that huge performance vs. lefties, but for his career, he has hit .354 against southpaws in 316 at-bats. With 463 drafts being counted, Kemp’s average draft position is 42nd overall at MockDraftCentral.com making my picking him at 28th look like a reach. My next pick is 53rd so I know he’s not making it back to me. Heck, he probably gets snatched by the guy that eventually took Nate McLouth two picks after I grabbed Kemp. If you want a guy in a 20-team league, you have to go get him even if you feel it might be a round early. I stayed true to myself considering I rated Kemp the 8th best outfielder in my Top 100 list and he was the 10th OF off the board.
Third Round – The Risk
Generally, you don’t want your third round pick coming off of a season with 143 at-bats. There aren’t any good reasons for that kind of at-bat total. Nevertheless, I dove head first into a rebound season by Rafael Furcal in 2009. Even if the bad back prevents a mid-teens HR output, I’m still happy with 35 steals and a .300 average at short. However, that’s near the “worst case scenario” end of the spectrum. If he gives me something circa 2005-06, which is what I’m obviously expecting by making him a third rounder, then I have three $27-30 players to start off my squad.
Fourth Round – The Risk, Part 2
For someone who claims to be a very risk averse fantasy baseballer, I don’t think it’s a great idea to have two risks in the first four picks… but hear me out. I took Victor Martinez with the 68th pick in the draft. The 2008 season was a clearly a throwaway bust on all fronts for Martinez, but I don’t think it’s the beginning of the end for him by any stretch. I expect a return to his usual .300-20-100 line we had grown accustomed to see from him. That alone doesn’t make him a fourth round pick, the bonus is obviously that it comes from a catcher. We already know how sparse it is at catcher in regular 12-teamers that require you to roster two, so how bad do you think it gets when 20 teams are taking two?! It was either go for Martinez now or wait it out and end up with Mike Redmond & Nick Hundley. It’s bad enough when the second catcher is a dead spot you simply hope doesn’t hurt too much, but having TWO holes in your lineup just won’t work. With an ADP of 80, MockDraftCentral says I took Martinez 12 spots too soon. Well there were 12 more picks just before the 4th round finished so he most definitely wasn’t getting back to me in the 5th round.
Five Round – The Breakout
I struggled with this pick. I have a plan I’m trying to adhere to for this league and third base was next on the docket. I stuck to that course of action, but I had a tough time deciding who would man the hot corner for my team. I went with Alex Gordon after much debate involving he, Adrian Beltre and Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman had the highest ADP (97) by a landslide, but I chose the higher ceiling. Gordon showed markedly improved plate patience last year and his distribution of balls in play shifted to more flyballs and line drives, which is always a plus for power. Though he fell flat on his face after shouldering a lofty expectation load, Gordon took steps forward in his sophomore season. I would be thrilled with 25 HR and 10 SB here, but he has the ability for even more if he takes some big steps forward in year three.
1. I.Kinsler, 2B
2. M.Kemp, OF
3. R.Furcal, SS
4. V.Martinez, C
5. A.Gordon, 3B
So that’s where we are right now. You can follow our progress in real-time here:
Mock Draft Central’s ADP Report (member’s get list of 483)