I’ll admit it, placing too much importance on mock drafts is dangerous. Why? Many of the participants, especially the more experienced ones, use the mock draft to test out different strategies, as discussed by Lawr in his article from yesterday. Come to think of it, if you’re conducting a mock with some of the same people who are in your real leagues, this is a rather clever strategy as you would avoid showing your hand.
I rarely take part in mocks with my league mates, so I’m fully comfortable following a different approach. I treat the mock draft as a dress rehearsal of sorts, an opportunity to pretend I’m in a real draft while knowing that if I screw up a pick it’s OK. For me, the main benefit of the mock draft is to get a sense of the perceived value of certain players, which in turn helps me map out a game plan. But even more importantly are the situational decisions. How do I want to construct my team? Draft elite middle infielders and wait on outfielders? Load up on speed early or are there some intriguing late-round options who can fill that need at a cheaper rate? It’s Round X and I need to choose between these two players, both of whom I like. Chances are I’ll be faced with the same decision at some point during my real drafts, so I might as well be prepared.
With all this in mind, I figured I’d run through my first 10 picks in the MLB.com ultra-slow 13-team mock, the same draft that Lawr touched on yesterday. I drew the #2 pick, a spot which I don’t particularly like. I know a lot of owners prefer to be at the ends but I’m not one of them. While picking near the wheel does offer you a fair amount of control over your team, it also forces you to often reach for players a round early just because you’re afraid that they’ll be taken before your next turn. It’s a pretty helpless feeling actually, watching player after player go off the board.
Anyway, here’s my team so far…
1.2 Albert Pujols
Wrestled with Tulo here, as I’m a big position scarcity guy, but ultimately couldn’t resist the surest of things in all of fantasy baseball. He’s coming off a really disappointing year in which he batted .299 with 37 homers and 99 RBIs. Right.
2.12 Mike Stanton
Was hoping McCutchen would fall to me but Todd wisely scooped him up. I always aim for a power/speed balance with my first two picks but oh well. Stanton is a fine consolation prize. I’m expecting 40 homers.
3.2 Matt Holliday
There seems to be a lot of doubt surrounding Holliday this year, whether it be due to injury concerns or the absence of Pujols. But I see early-third as fair value. 2011 was his first real injury-plagued season, and one of his two DL stints was due to an appendectomy, a freak situation. Prorate his stats over a full season and they’re in line with his career averages.
4.12 Michael Bourn
I prefer to avoid one-trick pony types but with my speed virtually nonexistent, desperate times called for desperate measures. Not a bad pick but not my style.
5.2 Alex Rodriguez
A real gamble I know, but with the third base pool very thin and Brett Lawrie, Kevin Youkilis and even Pablo Sandoval gone, the Yankee fan in me took over. Could turn out to be a great pick, could turn out to be a waste. I doubt I’ll be owning him in any of my real leagues though.
6.12 Asdrubal Cabrera
If Rollins were available I would’ve taken him over Asdrubal due to my need for speed, but I’m actually surprised Cabrera lasted this long. Will he hit 25 homers again? Probably not. But 20 homers and 15-plus steals with a solid average is a reasonable expectation. I’ll take it. Keep in mind that he just turned 26!
7.2 Mariano Rivera
Rivera or Papelbon? Rivera or Papelbon? I almost took Papelbon but then remembered that Rivera is still pretty good. A true toss-up.
8.12 David Ortiz
The last true 30-100 (or close to it) guy left. I think he has at least one more productive year left in the tank. The downside is that he clogs up my utility spot but so be it.
9.2 Ian Kennedy
Fearing that there would be a run on starting pitchers and fully aware that I wouldn’t be picking again for awhile, I grabbed my first starter. Counting on Kennedy to repeat his 2011 performance is probably asking for too much, but his exceptional WHIP and stellar K/BB ratio leads me to believe that he’ll be a very good pitcher for a very long time. Not a sure-fire fantasy ace just yet but he’s on his way. In retrospect though, the only problem with this pick was that the run on starters never happened.
10.12 Jemile Weeks
Time to revisit my speed deficit. With fellow young second basemen Dustin Ackley and Jason Kipnis going a few picks earlier, I had a feeling it was only a matter of time before Weeks would follow suit. And I’m happy to have him.
Well, that does it for now, but stay tuned. 20 more rounds to go!