Saturday, March 3 – 2:02 PM
I have to admit it. Even I am surprised by the past week’s developments. I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to the tortoise-like pace of our 13-team industry mock draft, but I’m a little embarrassed to say that we got through less than a round over the last seven days. So unfortunately, my Round 30 pick remains a mystery, and since I do not plan to devote any more diary space to this mock draft, my Round 30 pick shall remain a mystery. Oh well. Alright, enough complaining. Here’s my almost final roster:
2B Jemile Weeks
OF Mike Stanton (his name at the time of the selection)
OF Delmon Young
UT David Ortiz
SP Ian Kennedy
SP Gio Gonzalez
SP Shaun Marcum
SP Bud Norris
SP Mike Minor
RP Matt Capps
BN: Jose Tabata, Brandon Allen, Raul Ibanez, Mike Leake, Sergio Romo, Phil Hughes
What I Like
With above average to elite power options at the majority of the starting positions, homers should not be a problem. Pujols and Stanton are definite 40 HR threats while Ortiz, Holliday, a healthy A-Rod (knock on wood) and a healthy Morales (bang on wood) could all approach or exceed 30 home runs. My speed is solid with Bourn as my anchor and Weeks, Jackson and Cabrera complementing him. Rivera and Valverde make for a dynamic 1-2 punch at closer and all of my starting pitchers are high strikeout guys.
What I Don’t Like
This is not the way I usually construct my fantasy rosters. I always try to draft as many power/speed players as possible and I can count on one finger how many potential 20/20 guys reside on this roster. Asdrubal Cabrera. And that’s a stretch. There are simply too many specialists on this team and not enough across the board contributors. Should both Bourn and Stanton miss considerable time due to injury, for instance, I’d be a mediocre squad at best. I’m not sure (or maybe it’s just that I don’t remember) why I took this strategy detour, but this is something that I simply cannot let happen in any of my real drafts. A good learning experience.
OK, I’m tired of talking about my team, so let’s move on. As one would expect in any expert draft, there were plenty of excellent value picks, and there’s no question I’m leaving out a bunch. But here are a few that stand out.
Ricky Romero 11.5 (Flowers)
The fact that Romero pitches in the AL East and in a hitter-friendly park makes his 2011 stats all the more impressive. I’m not saying we should expect another sub-3.00 ERA, but let’s face it. The Jays’ lefty has steadily improved throughout his young big league career and was lights out in the second half last year, going 8-3 with a 2.72 ERA. I prefer to wait as long as possible to draft my first starting pitcher, and Romero is definitely someone I’ll be targeting. If I knew he would still be available in the 11th round, I probably would not have taken Kennedy in the ninth.
Heath Bell 14.5 (Carroll)
I get it, the plummeting strikeout rate is concerning, but Bell has been such a consistent performer over the past several seasons that I’m baffled as to how far he’s falling in drafts. He got taken at 11.10 in the recently conducted Mixed LABR draft, still too late in my opinion. If I have the opportunity to snag Bell as my No. 2 closer in the double-digit rounds, I’m jumping all over it.
Adam Lind 14.7 (Zola)
He burned me back in 2010. I vowed to never draft him again. I’m still not sold on Lind, as he did struggle badly down the stretch last season, but he battled injuries for much of that time, and 26 homers along with 87 RBIs in 125 games is nothing to scoff at, even though it came with a mediocre average. While Lind is not someone I’ll be actively targeting (I’m still bitter over 2010), he’s an intriguing cheap mid-round power source, a worthy gamble by Todd at this point.
Kyle Farnsworth 17.6 (Gardner)
This is crazy. Never did I think I would be grouping the words “Farnsworth” and “underrated” in the same sentence, but there you go. Was last year a fluke? Maybe. Or maybe it was just a case of a 35-year-old pitcher finally figuring out how to handle the ninth inning. After all, he was pretty good in 2010 and has significantly lowered both his walk rate and home run rate in the past few seasons. Now, would I feel comfortable drafting Farnsworth as my No. 2 closer? Not really. But as a No. 3 who can be had in the 17th round, he’s tempting. There’s still plenty of doubt surrounding Farnsworth, enough doubt to create a nice buying opportunity.
Aaron Hill 20.13 (Erickson)
I have no idea what to expect from Hill this year. I have no idea why he went from slugging a combined 62 homers from 2009-2010 to launching only eight last season. I do know that he batted .315 with a .878 OPS following his trade to the Diamondbacks and that there’s at least a chance he can return to being a 20-plus home run middle infielder. And if it doesn’t happen? So what, it’s the 20th round!