All of us have experienced it, and it’s surely the most frustrating part of snake drafts. You’re all set to take a certain player, and as each pick goes by, you grow more and more confident that you will get your guy. Then all of a sudden, he’s gone, and you’re left scrambling to find an alternative.
We’re only into Round 9 in the MLB.com Fantasy 411 mock draft, and I have already fallen victim to this scenario way too many times. So I thought it would be only fitting to take a look at six of these instances. In every one of them, my top target was snatched away within 11 picks before my next turn.
Selected: Round 3, Pick 7
My next turn: Round 3, Pick 9
In case you haven’t noticed, shortstop is very thin this year, and after snagging Jason Kipnis in the second round, it would have been nice to pair him with another elite power/speed middle infielder. Desmond proved last year that his breakthrough 2012 campaign was no fluke, and I see no reason why he can’t deliver his third straight 20/20 season. Still just 28, he could get even better, especially if he can cut down on the strikeouts. After missing out on Desmond, I opted to go with Jay Bruce and his ultra-safe 30-plus homers but then found myself reaching for the one-dimensional Everth Cabrera in Round 5, a decision that I will not repeat in my real drafts.
Selected: Round 4, Pick 12
My next turn: Round 5, Pick 9
Actually, Andrus was Plan B after Desmond, and I was convinced that he would be there for the taking in Round 5. Apparently, the industry isn’t as down on Andrus as I had thought following a 2013 season that saw his AVG drop by 15 points and his OBP fall by 21 points. Then there’s that little nugget that he swiped a career-high 42 bags and is a virtual lock to steal at least 30 bases to go along with 90-plus runs. And he plays shortstop, which as I mentioned is very thin this year. I have no idea why I thought Andrus would be a bargain.
Selected: Round 6, Pick 1
My next turn: Round 6, Pick 7
Boring but consistent. That’s the "Cliff Notes" version of Derek VanRiper's explanation as to why he opted for Adrian, and I couldn’t agree more. Maybe Gonzalez is no longer a 30-HR guy, but you know you’re getting a strong AVG and around 100 RBIs. And, perhaps his most overlooked skill is his durability, as he’s played in at least 156 games in each of his first eight full big league seasons.
I’m still looking for my starting first baseman.
Selected: Round 6, Pick 13
My next turn: Round 7, Pick 9
Slowly but surely, I’m coming around on Tim Heaney’s strategy of devaluing batting average, and it’s no surprise that Tim was the one who grabbed Alvarez here. 36 homers and 100 RBIs at pick #88 overall? Sounds good to me. At 26 years of age, Alvarez still has time to work on his stroke and make adjustments to the point where he can get his AVG up to the .250 level, and if he can do that in 2014, this pick might turn out to be the biggest steal of the draft. I ended up taking Kyle Seager in Round 7, and I like Seager. Just not as much as Alvarez.
Selected: Round 7, Pick 3
My next turn: Round 7, Pick 9
Another high home run, low batting average guy, but the difference is that Rizzo hit for a high average throughout his minor league career and did bat .285 in 87 games for the Cubs back in 2012. So there’s reason for optimism as the 24-year-old heads into his second full season in the Majors. Make sure to draft Rizzo this year, as there’s a good chance that he will never again be undervalued.
Selected: Round 8, Pick 13
My next turn: Round 9, Pick 9
Here’s a catcher who slugged 20 homers in only 102 games last year and has strung together six consecutive 20-plus home run seasons. Relocate him from Turner Field, a neutral park at best, to Yankee Stadium, a haven for left-handed power hitters, and you’ve got yourself a 30-HR backstop. A handful of appealing catchers remain on the board, which is why I chose to hold off on drafting McCann for one more round, but I’ll be owning him in at least one and hopefully multiple leagues this year.
That is unless he gets taken right before my turn.