Archive for ‘Mock Drafts’

Wednesday: 11.18.2009

2010 Mock Draft: Round 1

As I’ve mentioned before, the baseball season never really ends for me. Sure the playoffs are over, but that just means it is time to put both eyes on 2010. With that in mind, I started a mock draft over at the BaseballHQ.com forums (membership required) with 12 other members. It’s a slow mock at the forum that uses the standard 5×5 categories except eliminating AVG and replacing it with OBP. One thing I asked of the participants was their mindset behind the picks. Mock drafts are great tools on their own, but they are even better when you can see where someone is coming from with their picks, especially if it’s a pick you don’t necessarily agree with. I will share the first round with you now. I’m picking 7th in this draft.

1.01 Albert Pujols 1B, STL
I feel the first pick is a no-brainer heading into next season. As HQ readers know, it’s all about reliability in the early rounds. Pujols is not only the most highly skilled player in the MLB player pool, but he’s also the most reliable one. In reference to Ron’s Portfolio 3 Plan, this is a Tier 1 skill set if there ever was one. From a skills perspective, Pujols is money in the bank for a CT% around 90%, a PX around 160, and a BB% around 15%. From a results perspective, this truly unique skill set should once again translate into a Roto line of roughly 0.330 / 40 / 120 / 10 / 120. Enjoy Albert Pujols, HQ readers; we’re unlikely to ever see a better hitter in our lives.

My thoughts: Duh.

1.02 Hanley Ramirez SS, FLA
Big surprise, huh? There are actually a few warning signs here: While many expected the SB to decline as it did, PX also fell from 148 to 130 (145 1st half and 116 in 2nd half). And the BA boost was largely driven by a high h% (38%) as XBA shows (.289).

Still, that drop-off was meager in comparison to how the other top SS performed in 2009. He’s likely to be the best at a scarce position and contribute to all 5 categories (2 years in a row with a bb% >=10%), so he’s my pick.

My thoughts: Again, duh. Pujols and Ramirez are my easy 1-2. If someone wanted to make a case for a few other players after Pujols, I would listen, but I stand by Ramirez as my choice.

1.3 Utley, Chase (2B) PHI
What hip injury/surgery?? Solid 5-cat producer. Great line-up, great stadium.The number of MI, esp. 2B (Cano, Hill, Alexei, Phillips, Rollins and Polonco further down the scale) who’s roto value is driven (at least partially) by batting average who also have low BB% is noteworthy, so a some-what position scarcity pick,esp. in an OBP league. Also there should be alot of top tier 1B and OF there at the end of the 2nd round. And it is too early for a catcher.

Hopefully Mr. November carries on next year.

My thoughts: These first three played out exactly how I ranked the top three. I think Utley is underrated to a degree, amongst his other superstar brethren. There is more power at 2B than I think most realize, but only Utley has a track record of excelling in all five categories.

1.4 Rodriguez, Alex (3B) NYY
Certainty is at a premium for such an early pick and ARod’s return from significant surgery was above expectations. Slipping in many drafts in 09, he made those who ignored him, pay.

In an OBP league, he’s golden — from August til the end of the season, he soared and showed no signs of fatigue, displaying both power and speed in symbiosis with a great eye, on a consistent basis. In a year where there are doubts about his heir apparent, David Wright, ARod’s like fine wine — Wright’s slippage into a weak-hitting basestealer profile, enhances ARod’s value at the top.

Since ARod was able to post solid numbers in a year where all odds were stacked against him (enhanced media scrutiny, scandal, PEDs, major surgery), there is no reason to doubt that ARod will provide his usual output over the course of 2010.

My thoughts: This is the first pick that diverts from my top 12. That doesn’t make it wrong, of course. For one, my top 12 assumes a standard 5×5 league with batting average. And for two, I think things really jumble up 4-10 with little difference between the seven players within that range. I had Matt Kemp there, but I think A-Rod is a fine pick. A-Rod has had an OBP below .392 once since 2000 and it was .375!

1.05 Ryan Braun OF, MLW
Braun provides strong power/speed combination, is in a good lineup, is still young, and though his relatively low walk rate results in OBP fluctuation, his strong XBA indicates that he is likely to be solid in that category, which may be his weakest.

My thoughts: Back on track with top 12 as I had Braun fifth. How ridiculous has this guy been in his first three seasons? He seems to be getting better, which is absurd given how amazing he was during his rookie season. Another stud that does it in all five categories.

1.06 Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees
This pick is contrary to the position scarcity or difficult category (speed) approach. However, it seemed to me that the best first round choices left were outfielders and first baseman. I chose Teixeria based on his his consistent high performance for the last 5 years. During this time he has excelled in 4 of our 5 categories and has been extremely reliable which I think is essential for a 1st round pick.

I also like the fact that he is the #3 hitter in the Yankee lineup which should result in numerous opportunities to produce runs.

My thoughts: Big Teix has recently crept into my top 12 with Justin Morneau having some uncertainty surrounding him in 2010. Imagine how scary Teixeira’s season will be if he ever starts off hot and then has his usual torrid summer.

1.07 – Matt Kemp, OF – Los Angeles Dodgers
A budding superstar that contributes massively to four of the five categories we’re using. He’s better in batting average leagues, but he’s hardly a liability with his .350ish OBP. It’s not out of bounds to see him as a 40-40 candidate going forward. That would be the 99th percentile of his potential, but it exists. For now, I’d happily take 30-30 with improved plate discipline taking the OBP up above .360.

My thoughts: Well my thoughts are up there already since this was my pick. I love Kemp. As I mentioned earlier, Kemp is #4 in my top 12, but like I said that is for AVG leagues. I wouldn’t have taken Kemp fourth in this OBP league, but I was pleased to get him at #7.

1.08 – Prince Fielder, 1B – Milwakee Brewers
Compare these 2 5X5(w/obp)

Player A .441 / 47 / 124 / 16 / 135
Player B .409 / 46 / 103 / 2 / 141

Player A is Pujols and Player B is Prince Fielder. IMO Pujols at #1 is a no-brainer but at #8 a guy with the skill set of Prince Fielder is absolutely impossible to pass up. Also given the fact that he has hit 50 homers in 2007 and he’s entering his prime years as he doesn’t turn 26 until May. A 16% bb rate, a .080 eye and a 190 PX are hard to ignore.

My thoughts: I think Fielder has two or three more 50-home run seasons in his career, which is quite a feat when you consider the league leader had 47 in 2009. He just set a career-high in walks, and by extension OBP, with 110. I don’t necessarily understand the comparison w/Pujols here, but it was a good pick.

1.09 – Joe Mauer C- Minnesota Twins
Mauer is 26 and is heading into his prime hitting years. I believe he new found power is for real (28 HR in 2009). With this league using OBP over Avg it does’t hurt his value as Mauer lead MLB in OBP at .444. I believe that gap between Mauer and the #2 C is larger then any other #1 vs. #2 at any position. I am targeting him with this slot in a very similar league, so I appreciate all comments

My thoughts: I’m in the small, but growing camp that likes Mauer as a first rounder next year. There are reasons for caution in drafting him too high, but I think the power holds for the most part (around 25 home runs) while his OBP is game-changing. Despite all the talk about how Mauer is “injury-prone”, he’s managed 521 or better at-bats in three of the last four season. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a perfect range for a catcher. I’ll take another 520 out of Mauer in 2010 with a late first round pick.

1.10 Tim Lincecum, SP – San Francisco
Well I def would have taken Mauer and I’m now looking at some players that all have some type of ?. I hate doing this but I’ll take Tim Lincecum. My reason for this is there are a handful of bats available that I tossed around here and I believe at least one of them will still be available when the choice gets back to me. I’m unsure if Tim will be and honestly believe it really isn’t a reach here.

My thoughts: I don’t take pitchers in the first round, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s just my preference to avoid them. Lincecum is the best of the bunch so if you’re going to take one, you might as well grab the best.

1.11 Ryan Howard, 1B PHI
A lot of good choices and fairly equal at this stage of the draft. Locking up a solid HR/RBI contributor seems like a “good idea”. he’s consistent and that lineup around looks solid for another year or two.

My thoughts: He’s a tremendous power producer, but I’d like to see get back to the .425, .392 OBP-levels he had 2006 and 2007 if I’m taking him over a handful of others still on the board.

1.12 Carl Crawford, OF TB
With an “elbow” pick, it’s important not only to see what is available, but see what’s around the corner. I see good HR/RBI guys to be had… but not many rock solid speed options. This is the one.

My thoughts: I love Crawford in 2010. I have him 6th in my top 12. He bounced back from the only down season of his career and I expect more excellence in 2010.

1.13 Miguel Cabrera, 1B DET
The best run-producing option left; one year in the next five, he is going to approach a 10-win season.

My thoughts: I’m not sure how Cabrera lasted this long, but it’s a great pick at 13. I assume the drafter means Wins Above Replacement when he speaks of a 10-win season.

Wednesday: 11.4.2009

NFL: Mock Draft v1.0

As I mentioned a little while back, this is going to be a bit of a hybrid blog during the football season despite the title being Baseball by Paul. Honestly, if I didn’t have a day job I think I could successfully pull off a 4-5 sport blog, but that’s not happening any time soon. What is happening or rather has happened and is about to be posted is my first ever NFL mock draft. I realize it’s absurdly early for something like this, but I’m sure there are draft-focused sites that are on their ninth iteration of next April’s first round. I’m going to start off small. Since we’re so far away from the draft order being anywhere close to set and we have no idea exactly who will declare for the draft, I haven’t put extensive commentary behind these picks. That will come once the season ends and we head into February and March. For those same reasons, I will probably post an updated version every few weeks.

So why did I start so early then? Mainly because I wanted some practice. Plus I got an early jump on analyzing each team’s needs. And who doesn’t like a mock draft? Seriously. You find someone that doesn’t like an NFL mock draft and I say you’ve found yourself a big ol’ dummy! To get my draft order, I merely looked at the ESPN league standings bottom to top and assumed they had sorted out all the tiebreakers, etc… Regardless of how the season plays out, I think there is a definitive group that will be picking in the top 7-10 range and while they may be out of order now, they shouldn’t be too far off so even version 1.0 could nail some picks. I’d love to see some comments on what you think teams will do, prospects you like/don’t like and any other NFL draft-related thoughts you might have in early November.

mock1.0

Tuesday: 01.27.2009

Mock Draft Update 2: 20-Team 5×5 Mixed League

When I last updated my progress on this mock draft, I was through five rounds. We’re nearly 10 rounds further along at this point, so I’ve got plenty to cover on my end as far as who I’ve taken and why. I’ve yet to draft in the 15th round, so let’s look at rounds six through fourteen.

Sixth Round – The Scarcity Pick
I thought long and hard about going with Paul Konerko right here. First off, I think he’s going to rebound quite nicely with something in the 30 HR/90 RBI season, but also that was the last infield position I needed to fill. Enter phase 1 of my game plan: eliminate scarcity. In a league this deep, bottom tier outfielders and first basemen will look a heckuva lot more appetizing than the rubble left up the middle. Therefore I went with Jhonny Peralta here and sealed up the my entire middle infield in just six rounds. At this point, I have a 2B, SS, MI and C in my first four picks. As for Peralta, doesn’t it feel like he has been around forever? He is just 26 years old, but he’s been a very good player for three of his four seasons giving fantasy owners about 20 HR and 80 RBIs year in and year out. His one off year (2006) still produced 13 home runs and 68 RBIs. I would be more than content with a repeat of his $20 season from last year, but improvements aren’t out of the question either.

Seventh Round – The Zag
There were 24 picks between me and my next selection and all but seven were pitchers and outfielders. Most teams were filling out the positions requiring the most selections, but I had other plans in store. I targeted Ryan Doumit here and I felt rather certain he’d be on this team. This is a league of sharks, so there’s no doubt they all know plenty about Doumit, but outside of the big Ms going where you would expect, no one appeared to be looking at backstops. Remember when I said this was a league of sharks? Doumit predictably went four picks before I was up. Not to be deterred, I stuck to the plan of zagging when they zig… or whatever the saying. I stayed behind the plate and went with Chris Iannetta. It was pick 133 which felt a little early, but I was happy with it regardless. Then I looked at the ADP list on mockdraftcentral.com and saw he was sitting at 135 and I felt even better. Can you believe his 135 ranking is actually six spots LOWER than Matt Wieters? I wouldn’t feel confident going high on a rookie catcher even with what Geovany Soto did a year ago. That’s the exception, not the rule. Iannetta has the skills for a 20+ home run season with a decent batting average and solid counting numbers. He’s got great plate discipline so as long as he remains healthy, he’ll be quite good in 2009.

Eighth Round – The Reach
With my positional scarcity plan full executed through seven rounds, I now need to begin focusing on the deeper positions before I’m left with nothing I like and my plan is foiled. Outfield is an area I feel strongly about in 2009 after absorbing so much knowledge while writing the Top 100 piece. One player whose stock I purchased plenty of during that process was Shin-Soo Choo. I made him the 148th selection overall which did not compare favorably with the mock drafting masses as he checks in at 264 on the ADP list! Color me unfazed by this development. If I followed the herds in fantasy baseball, it’d be hard to be successful. I don’t know how my leaguemates viewed the pick and if he was in the queue for many of them, but even though I would call it a bit of a reach, there are just too many picks in between to wait on someone you feel could be close to going off of the board. He second half surge wasn’t a fluke that came out of nowhere. He was a highly touted prospect coming up and began paying dividends on his promise during the second half of last year.

Ninth Round – The Mistake
I made my first mistake in terms of executing my plan flawlessly. It’s foolish to punt any category in such a large league and while I generally punt the most puntable stat, saves, I vowed not to in the 20-teamer this year. I wanted to get an ace (a relative term, given how volatile the entire group is) closer that could net me 35+ and then speculate from there. If you speculate out the gate and don’t hit, you’re now competing against 19 other owners (and damn good ones at that) for anything that pops up during the season. The chances of a middle reliever that gets a shot NOT being on a roster already are slim, too. The mistake comes in that I should’ve taken B.J. Ryan or even Matt Capps instead of Choo. As I mentioned, Choo might have made it back to me and then I’d have my closer. Instead, I let them go and they were taken before the eighth round finished. Instead I got newly appointed closer, Heath Bell. Though he struggled mightily during the second half last year, he still struck out over 1/IP to make up for the lack of dominance in the first half. Pitcher friendly park, flamethrower and on a team where most wins should come in close games are reasons to like Bell here. As a rebound from my first “Oh crap!” moment, I’m pleased.

Tenth Round – The Bounceback
Ever since I passed on Konerko, I’ve been eyeballing the first basemen thinking I should take one. I would’ve taken Jason Giambi last round but he was gone so I passed because I wasn’t in love with Plan B: Adam LaRoche. This is one of those picks that if it pays off the way it can, ends up being a season-changer. I started off my rotation with Erik Bedard. I don’t think I ever stopped believing in him last year even when it was clear that 2008 just wasn’t his year. He remained firmly entrenched on my radar again this season and I decided that he would anchor my staff. I am not the kind of guy that drafts pitching early all that often. Even in a league this big, I hold off. Starting pitching will emerge as the season progresses, even some guys that aren’t rostered, even in a 20-team, 5-reserve league. I’ll build my rotation around some upside guys and take it from there. Bedard fits the mold nicely as a return to 2006-2007 levels would give me near-ace level production with pick 188. My other consideration here was WHIP-friendly, Kevin Slowey. That may have been a safer pick, but I wanted to gamble.

Eleventh Round – The Post-Hype
Immediately after picking Bedard, I committed to the idea of building my rotation for the next few rounds and I wrote one name down for the 11th round. The superstitious part of me was reticent to do that, but I wanted this particular skillset. I probably could’ve found a derivation of it somewhere else had he gone, but Johnny Cueto made it back to me and I snagged the post-hype sleeper as my #2. He was a bit wild at times and suffered from a serious case of gopheritis, but he is an absolute flamethrower with room to grow. The giant downside is that he has an idiot for a manger in Dusty Baker meaning his season could be ruined with a four inning middle relief stint at the drop of a hat. Another thing that sold me on Cueto was that his 174-inning workload at the major league level was only a 13 inning jump from his minor league work across three levels in 2007. He could feasibly be the third Cincinnati Reds starter to go after Edinson Volquez and Aaron Harang, but he has a legitimate shot at ending the season as their best.

Twelfth Round – The Favorite
Though I wrote a few more names down to target in the 12th round, anyone that knows me knows that I only wanted one of them. I didn’t even see who else made it to me when I picked because Andrew Sonnanstine was available and he instantly became my #3 starter. The strangest thing about my desire to roster Sonnanstine in every league (including NL-Onlys for some reason) is that I love strikeout guys, almost to a fault. Sonny’s game is at the opposite end of that spectrum. He’s right around that usable level of 6.0 K/9, but it’s his pinpoint control and reluctance to give a free pass I like so much. When he first came up in 2007, he had a completely worthless defense and bullpen supporting him so his numbers were garbage. Now both are assets and he is on his way to becoming a very reliable, very underrated starting pitcher.

Thirteenth Round – The Late Power
The outfield depth dried up on me in a hurry and frankly, it caught me by surprise. I had Jack Cust and Ryan Garko as my top two candidates for this round. Both went, so I knew I wanted to go with my OF3 here in round 13, but I expected a better list of candidates. This late, no one is a sure thing, but the question marks on a lot of these guys are in 72-point font. I went with a somewhat reliable power source in Josh Willingham. He can be a walking WebMD entry at times, too, but he’s a 20+ HR hitter if he gets 500 at-bats. Perhaps he can recapture the magic he had going out of the gate last year and put up that career year he was headed towards.

Fourteenth Round – The Aged Veteran
When Garko was taken last round, I started looking at the likes of Lyle Overbay as my first baseman. That’s when I knew I was in trouble there. Then, someone took him near the end of the 13th and I knew I was dead meat! I may regret not locking up one of my primary power targets (Giambi and Cust) earlier as I now have Todd Helton at 1B. He hasn’t been a top-flight power threat since 2005 and despite the surgery to fix his back issues, 2009 will be no different. Ideally, I just want 450 at-bats because it’ll likely net a .300-something average with 70 runs scored & driven in. If he can toss in 12-15 home runs, great. I continually pushed the envelope of 1B targets I really liked and I paid the price here. Hindsight being 20/15, this is a much greater mistake than skipping Ryan and Capps to get Choo and end up with Bell.

And that catches us up now. Overall, I’m pleased with how my position scarcity plan worked out and I have the beginnings of a nice rotation as far as I’m concerned. Again, the first base debacle haunts me right now, but there is time to correct it and who knows, maybe Helton is ready by early April and gets 500+ at-bats in this year.

Thanks for the patience during the lag in posting. The computer issues I had were nightmarish, but it looks like everything is firmly back on track and even better than a week ago as my sound now works and will facilitate a return to podcasting. If I can finish all of my work in a timely manner, I will have a post AND podcast tomorrow evening.

Thursday: 01.15.2009

Mock Draft Update: 20-Team 5×5 Mixed League

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:

Our Draft

Mock Draft Central’s ADP Report (member’s get list of 483)