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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

Time is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to mock drafts.

Yesterday, Lawr shared some of his thoughts on the ongoing 15-team, 23-round MLB.com Fantasy 411 mock draft. Today, I’ll throw in my own observations, with an added twist.

Back in October, almost the exact same collection of “experts” conducted a five-round mini-mock because, well, we were just in the mood to do a mock draft.

Anyway, since time is such a powerful thing, I figured I’d compare the October draft to the first five rounds of this draft and discuss a few players whose draft position changed significantly with the passage of time.

Justin Verlander

October draft: Round 2, Pick 10

January draft: Round 4, Pick 11

And the funny thing is that Verlander slid to the late-fourth round even before news broke that he had undergone core muscle repair surgery. I never draft pitching as early as the second round, but I really like this pick at 4.11. Verlander’s rehab timetable is roughly six weeks, so although he will enter spring training a little behind the rest of the starting staff, I’m fully expecting him to be ready for Opening Day. I love to buy low on pitchers, and who would’ve thought that Verlander, a consensus first-rounder last spring, would turn out to be a buy-low target for 2014? Look, I’m not expecting a return to MVP status, but I also don’t think that things will get worse than last season, and last season’s stat line was still pretty good. At 56th overall, I’ll take my chances.

Jose Reyes

October draft: Round 3, Pick 8

January draft: Round 2, Pick 5

My plan to select Reyes at 3.9 in the current draft didn’t quite work out, so now I know that third round is probably unrealistic. The injury risk will always be there with Jose, but a freak ankle injury suffered on a stolen base attempt that limited him to 93 games last season doesn’t scare me off one bit. What is scary is the lack of depth at the shortstop position this year. Bank on 12-15 homers to go along with 25-plus steals and a batting average right around .300. I do not at all consider mid-second round a reach.

Yoenis Cespedes

October draft: Round 4, Pick 2

January draft: Round 2, Pick 14

It should come as no surprise that Lawr was the one who grabbed Cespedes in the second round. A fully healthy season could result in 30 homers and 100 RBI, but Cespedes’ increased strikeout rate last year in addition to the regression in batting average and drop in stolen bases is a concern. Yoenis might earn the late-second round investment, but that’s the best case scenario. I just don’t see enough room for profit here.

Hunter Pence

October draft: Round 4, Pick 14

January draft: Round 3, Pick 8

I’ve always been a fan of Pence due to his durability and consistency, but I’m not so sure about taking him at 3.8. Last season’s .283-27-99-91-22 line is more like his ceiling, especially the career-high 22 steals. If Pence can duplicate those numbers in 2014, he would bring back third round value. But like Cespedes, there’s not a whole lot of upside relative to draft position. At 4.14, on the other hand, I might go for it.

Domonic Brown

October draft: Round 4, Pick 12

January draft: Not drafted in first five rounds

Brown will be one of the more intriguing names to watch as the mock draft season progresses. A concussion and later an Achilles injury limited him to 139 games last year, but the 23-homer first half is tough to ignore. On the other hand, there’s the four-homer second half, and even though he played roughly half as many games in the second half, that’s still a dramatic drop-off. I’ll keep an open mind heading into my drafts and consider Brown if the price is right. That said, I don’t trust the 26-year-old quite enough to place him on my target list. I need to see more.

Daniel Murphy

October draft: Round 5, Pick 5

January draft: Not drafted in first five rounds

Second base isn’t nearly as thin as shortstop, but I’m still not enamored with the mid-level options at the position, which is why I’ll be focusing on either Jason Kipnis or Dustin Pedroia when filling my 2B slot. Murphy is one of those mid-level options. Outside of a strong batting average, I just don’t know what to expect from this guy, who is coming off what was by far the finest season of his career. My hunch says that he’s bound to disappoint, but his increased fly-ball rate suggests that another double-digit home run campaign is likely. Of all the mid-tier choices at the position, Murphy stands out as someone who I might gamble on, but I’d rather avoid this situation entirely.

I’m sure Murphy will go off the board soon, but it’s nice to already have Kipnis on my squad.

Too bad it’s only a mock. 

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