I promised part 2 of the NFL Week 10 Review and catcher rankings today, but I’m a big fat liar. I feel like the page on an NFL week is turned on Wednesday so I passed on part 2. With the revamp of the review, it shouldn’t be 9,000 words every week and it will be easy to digest in one sitting on Monday mornings. As for the catcher rankings, I also threw another changeup. First off, I’m going to start at third base and head around the diamond backwards, but I’m not quite done yet, so please be patient.
In the interim, I’d like to continue sharing the picks and analysis of a great mock draft I’m currently involved in at the BaseballHQ.com (subscription required, but well worth it) forums. I’ve been lurking over there for some time so I knew I was going to be involved in a real battle when I started up the mock draft. It has been a really interesting draft so far (through 4 1/2 rounds thus far) as the 13 of us draft a standard roster for a 5×5 league that uses OBP instead of AVG while keeping everything else the usual. The round 1 analysis in case you missed it yesterday can be found here.
2.1 Troy Tulowitzki, SS COL
Lots of options here, but I decided on Tulo because 1) he could repeat or even improve, 2) he’s a shortstop, and 3) I didn’t have enough time to talk myself out of it.
Rd 1 – Miguel Cabrera, 1B
My thoughts: This is a great pick at a frighteningly scarce position. Tulow’s 2008 was essentially lost to injury so you have to look at his 2007 season to determine how this 2009 fits in. When you look at the two, his 2009 isn’t a surprise at all. He’s showing legitimate growth for a budding superstar and he’s still just 25. The speed (20 SB after seven in ’07) might not stick, but he’s still a four-category ace even if fades back below double-digits.
2.2 Matt Holliday, OF FA
I’m running out of my house to go to work, but I wanted to get this in. Yes, two OF spots. But he’s the best of the last of the high OBP/big slugging types and there won’t be any when my turn comes around again.
Rd 1 – Carl Crawford
My thoughts: I’m a firm believer in building a great outfield (more on that soon), so I love pairing Holliday’s power with Crawford’s speed. And the great thing is that each offers something (Holliday 14 SB, Crawford 15 HR) in the other’s strength. Two very good picks to address all five categories early on.
2.3 Jose Reyes, SS NYM
I’m going out on a limb here. I believe he’ll recuperate 100% for 2010 and if so, he’d be a 1st round pick. Course I could wind up with substantial amounts of egg on my face too.
Rd 1 – Ryan Howard
My thoughts: A more extreme set of complementary players, but if Reyes is healthy enough to notch 50+ SBs, it’s a great combo. There is definitely some risk here, but he isn’t getting back to this draft in the late 3rd round so if he believes in a recovery, he has to take him here.
2.4 Evan Longoria 3B
Happy he lasted this long.
Rd 1 – Tim Lincecum
My thoughts: I’d have like at least some analysis behind this pick, but it’s clear this drafter was concerned that Longoria might not make it to pick 17, so he’s happy to pair him with Lincecum. Third base is rough this year so getting a stud is important.
2.5 Mark Reynolds 3B
I need to power/speed combo and willing to take the OBP hit.
Rd 1 – Joe Mauer
My thoughts: See what I mean re: 3B? Taking Reynolds here is really nice because Mauer makes up for any potential hit in OBP. That said, Reynolds does take some walks and I could see him drawing even more in 2010 if he tears the league as he did in 2009.
2.6 Ian Kinsler 2B Texas Rangers
Proven 30/30 talent in the middle of the 2nd rd? A 24% hit rate last year stunted his obp to .323 even though he went 31/31 with 86 rbis and 101 runs. Even a 28% hit rate should jump that obp up to 340 or .350 and with Prince Fielder anchoring that category I’m not to worried. This guy definently has a chance for a 35/35 season and could end up returning top 5 numbers in 2010.
Rd 1 – Prince Fielder
My thoughts: There is a distinct reason that a 30-30 2B lasts this long: injuries. Kinsler just can’t get through a season. He lasted his longest yet in 2009, but still missed 18 games. Imagine what he can do if ever puts everything together: 2008’s batting average with 2009’s power and speed for 650 ABs. It could be an all-time fantasy baseball season.
2.7 – Grady Sizemore, OF – Cleveland
Here at pick 20, he’s probably 3-5 picks sooner than anyone was looking, but I don’t pick again until 32 so if I want him, I have to get him now. Last year was a washout, without question, but I’m not ready to drop him off the map because of it. His down category, AVG, is erased and turned into a strength with an OBP league as he draws a great deal of walks.
I like a nice bounceback season of .380-112-31-94-27
Rd 1 – Matt Kemp
My thoughts: Thrilled to get two all-around outfielders with my first two picks.
2.8 Jacoby Ellsbury, OF – Red Sox
Needless to say I am taking him for the speed (50 or more steals the last 2 years). He doesn’t hurt you in OBP and should score a ton of runs. I think there are will still be a number of good run producers left when I make my next pick.
Rd 1 – Mark Teixeira
My thoughts: Ellsbury was a consideration for me when I took Sizemore. He’s not an empty base stealer. He can set you up to win that category, but also score a ton of runs and offer a good AVG and useful OBP depending on your league. He definitely earns you enough in SBs to take the virtual zero in the power categories.
2.9 – Joey Votto 1B – Cincinnati
I am sure some will regard this pick as a reach, but the elite OBP here helps balance the possibility of a mediocre OBP from my first-rounder Ryan Braun, and while the 25 HR are rather modest, the 166 PX indicates excellent power skills, so growth in production appears likely as he approaches his prime.
Rd 1 – Ryan Braun
My thoughts: This was the point where I truly realized I had entered a shark tank. I love this pick and don’t see it as a reach at all, especially in an OBP league as the drafter notes. He’s got a run of .400-100-30-100 seasons coming up, starting in 2010.
2.10 – Adrian Gonzalez 1B San Diego.
Power, OBP, age 27, ascending Px trend = [an easy pick]
Rd 1 – Alex Rodriguez
My thoughts: This team’s power and OBP after two picks is insane. Gonzalez gets a healthy boost in OBP leagues because his 119 walks in 2009 weren’t a fluke.
2.11 David Wright 3B NYM
Previous 4 years: 381 to 415 OBA, 26-33 HR, 15-34 SBs – rated #16 after Tulo and Longoria.
Given Wright his consistent power prior to this season, it is almost certain to improve in 2010. I was expecting to have to take another (more) risky player here (Reyes or Sizemore), but couldn’t pass up DW.
Rd 1 – Chase Utley
My thoughts: I still have Wright in my first round so you know I like this pick in the late second round.
2.12 Adam Dunn 1B/OF WAS
A very healthy consistent player, he’s awesome in OBP leagues. Just 30 this season, there’s no reason to expect him to deviate much from his 3 year average of roughly 90 R, 40 HR, 100RBI and a .380+ OBP. The dual-position elegibility is nice, too. I’m going to slot him in at OF for now, but that could change.
Rd 1 – Hanley Ramirez
My thoughts: 100+ walks for six straight seasons and seven of eight make him an OBP-league treasure. Oh and five of six seasons with 40+ home runs helps, too. He fell two short last year, but .398-38-105 is still a studly offering.
2.13 Kevin Youkilis 1B/3B BOS
Safe Tier One player. OBP machine. The 3B eligibility put him over the top for me compared to other players I was considering.
Rd 1 – Albert Pujols
My thoughts: Position scarcity, upgrade with league format including OBP – seems like a great pick to me.
I’ll probably have round 3 up over the weekend.