As I have noted, this time of the year is rife with mock drafts, which do whet the appetite for the real thing. They are also a valuable indicator to me, not so much of ADP, but precieved value.
Since all my mocks have been among "industry" folks, whatever that means, I thought I would share some observations regarding players whose market value within the mocks is less at least than what I think the player's actual value/probable return will be (of course, just by publishing this stuff, a lot of times the players suddenly creep up a few rounds, so I might be slitting my own wrists here).
Anyway, since the objective is to gain a return on our player investments, I think these are all guys who will indeed provide just that, at least based upon where they have gone in those same mocks thus far.
Tim Lincecum (SF, P): Timmy could well be the grand bargain overall as far as gamble crapshoots go in 2013 drafts and auctions. Of course that also means he could sink a team, depending upon how much the investment is, but I have noticed Lincecum going around Round 9 the bulk of the time. In fact, I have been the one who has tried to bag him around that time, and when I have, at least one draft mate has been rankled (always a positive sign). I think Lincecum will bounce back, maybe not with the Cy Young numbers he has posted, but still with some very solid ones, like around 15 wins, a 3.60 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and a strikeout per inning. Removed from the burden of being the stopper every time, he will settle into the #2 or even #3 slot in the rotation, happy as a clam. Delivering accordingly.
Dayan Viciedo (OF, CHW): .255-25-78 last year during his first full-time season in the Majors--which are essentially Bryce Harper numbers--seem to garner very little respect. His splits were remarkably similar over the course of 2012, and since he turns 24 this coming March, Viciedo could really give a nice payoff considering he is being picked around Rounds 14-15. If he just does what he did last year at that spot, payoff city.
Josh Reddick (OF, OAK): Reddick seems to fall along with Viciedo, largely because he did indeed slump second half, hitting .215-12-42 compared to the .268-20-43 the right fielder collected before the break. A lot of that could be attributed though to his .164-4-12 September, for during the rest of the season, Reddick was pretty steady in the .255-5-14 range each month. Meaning a first long season could have zapped him some. Still, as one of the best defenders in the league, coming off a 30-plus homer season, the right fielder will have plenty of rope before playing himself out of the starting lineup. Again, in the mocks, he is a lot like Viciedo, getting taken around the 14th round, several times by me. If he gives numbers like Viciedo again, that is a bargain (50 homers out of the bottom third of the draft is pretty good), in fact I have been able to nab both as back-to-back picks in a couple of drafts.
Howie Kendrick (2B, LAA): It is odd to me that we do talk about the elite second sackers, and then the huge drop-off. Well, Kendrick is among those guys who are considered part of that drop, which is sort of a puzzle. His 162-game mean is .292-12-75 with 39 doubles, and 15 swipes. Kendrick does like to swing the lumber, hence a .328 OBP and .756 OPS over that span. As a means of comparison, Dustin Pedroia's mean is .303-17-77 with 38 doubles and 19 swipes, yet , D-Ped is considered a top selection while Kendrick is being pegged around the 16th-18th rounds. I am guessing the second sacker, who is on a team that should score a lot of runs, still has a monster season in his future.
Erick Aybar (SS, LAA): While we are at it, looking up the middle of the Angels, Aybar is similarly dismissed. Though he has been going a few rounds before his Kendrick counterpart, it is still puzzling, as he has a .278-7-53 mean, with 21 steals over his seven seasons as a major leaguer. In 2012, Aybar did struggle in April and May, hitting .223-0-11, but from then on out it was .324-8-34 with 16 steals. Like Kendrick, I think the 29-year-old, on this team, is still going to take his game up a notch or two.
Matt Wieters (C, BAL): Remember when Wieters was the next big thing? I remember during a mock after his AFL stint, the catcher was drafted in the third round of a standard Scoresheet League (which assumes 13 keepers) and the move was hailed as "brilliant." Well, hard to tell if Wieters was worth freezing these five years since, and though his numbers have steadily increased each of his full seasons the last three years, the .261-21-79 162-game average he has produced has been a disappointment to most (does anyone really know how hard the game, or hitting 20 dingers is?). Wieters has gone below Buster Posey, which I can understand, but also Victor Martinez and Joe Mauer, and I am not so sure about that. Plus, at 26, the backstop is entering his prime on an improving team with a decent manager. I think he will return a lot better than the sixth round he has generally been selected.
Matt Harrison (P, TEX): Over the past two seasons, Harrison is 32-20, 3.33 over 399 innings with 259 whiffs and a 1.269 WHIP. Yet, no one seems to want to take him before Round 14 or so. He is just 26 and on that Rangers team that not only scores runs, but is pretty good at getting the right stuff out of their pitchers. Go figure. I think he is worth a lot more. I am happy to grab him in the tenth round or so.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C, BOS): OK, he is the slowest guy in baseball. Even Billy Butler could cream Salty in a foot race, but Salty can hit with some pop as his .222-25-59 season over 405 at-bats last year suggests. True, he is not a great on-base guy, but if the backstop gets a chance to really play regularly, he should settle down at the plate and increase his on-base totals along with all of his other offensive stats. He is among the last catchers nabbed in most of my mocks, barely rating as a #1 catcher, and he is a lot better than your average #2. I mean, who is better at this point, Saltalamacchia or Derek Norris?
Carlos Quentin (OF, SD): Quentin is almost an afterthought, probably because of injuries the past couple of years, but in the couple of leagues where I got him around Round 18, there were numerous "damns" echoed via chats and emails. Well, though his playing time has been limited the past three years, half of his hits have gone for extra bases. Last year, over 284 at-bats, Quentin assembled a .260-16-46 line, or just 13 fewer RBI over 121 fewer at-bats. He is clearly worth the gamble, as every guy logs a full season every once in a while despite himself. Even Rich Harden. Just make sure to handcuff him to a reserve guy who either plays or has a chance to play as much as possible.