Comparing My Top 24 w/a Mock Draft, The Misses

As I’m wont to do around this time each year, I started a mock draft up over at CouchManagers.com with a group of diehards if for no other reason than to forget about the luck-ridden awfulness that is fantasy football. While I do have severe issues with fantasy football, that isn’t really why I fire up baseball mocks so quickly after the season. A couple reasons are that I like to see how much the previous seasons figures in on 2011 expectations, especially in the early rounds and I am just a baseball junkie so I like to keep it on the brain year-round.

We started the 27 round (1 ea. of 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, COR, MID, UT, 2 C, 5 OF, 9 P, 4 BENCH) draft back on December 14th and surprisingly (given the holidays) we’re at the end of round 21 as of 11pm Sunday night. I’ll be sharing different aspects of the draft with you in this very space in the coming days, but today I wanted to look at how our first two rounds coincided with my top 24 from back in November.

What I wanted to see was who would come out as the biggest “values” in that they went much later than where I rated them in my top two dozen. Of course, I also wanted to see who came out the most overrated by the same measure. There was a subset of guys who I didn’t have on my top 24 that were drafted in the first two rounds of our mock. Let’s look at them first before we delve into how my top 24 fared against the draft.

Prince Fielder (15th overall) – The entire first round fell within my top 24 which isn’t terribly surprising, but I knew things would start to come off the tracks eventually as I only rated two additional first basemen after the Power Three (Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto) and our first two rounds saw four other 1Bs leave the board after the power three. Fielder was the first. I don’t hate the pick, mind you, even after a down 2010. He’s just 27 and I think he’s more likely to top 40 HR again in 2011 than he is to be just over 30 as he was in 2010. On the whole, I think a second round pick is better spent elsewhere especially when Adam Dunn was available 26 picks later.

Ryan Howard (16th overall) – I can get behind Fielder on some level (although his owner had just taken Adrian Gonzalez), but I won’t support Howard in the top 24 let alone 16th. At 31, you can’t bank on the gaudy HR and RBI totals that he needs to set himself apart from that middle tier of first basemen. The offense in Philly struggled last year, is a year older and now missing Jayson Werth. I’m avoiding Howard at his current cost.

Joe Mauer (23rd overall) – I fell hard for Mauer last year up until around March when I was swayed by the contingent screaming that he wasn’t a first round (or even second round, really) pick. I remain in that camp after his 2010 season. He’s a great player and I wouldn’t be totally surprised if he went 2009 on us again this year or sometime soon, but I’m not taking that high-priced risk in my draft.

Dustin Pedroia (24th overall) – This one is essentially semantics since I cut off my list at 24 because it’s two rounds of a standard draft and happens to be my favorite number, but Pedroia is 25th on my “official” list. I don’t think he will have any lingering issues with the foot in 2011 and thus he will be back to his All-Star form. Oh yeah, I also don’t have any issue with this pick because I am the one who made it.

None of the four names are particular surprisingly as they have all been early round staples the last couple of years, but I can’t envision any scenarios where I would take either Howard or Mauer. Maybe I got Carl Crawford or Troy Tulowitzki in the first round, I would come back around with Fielder, but by and large, he is a pass for me too. Pedroia, as I already mentioned, was my second round pick so obviously I can envision a scenario where I would bump him up (that scenario was getting Pujols and not wanting an outfielder in the second round).

Next up, I’ll look my 24 and how they fared in the draft.

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