Over the past two weeks, I’ve been spending a great deal of time looking at clocks, an unhealthy amount of time in fact. Before going to bed each night, I’ve been making sure that my alarm is set so that I receive no more than seven and a half hours of sleep. Why? Because I don’t want to miss my next pick as I assemble my NFBC Draft Champions squad. Not that I have anything against the idea of switching to autopick for one round, but as Bartleby often said, “I would prefer not to.” After all, I reserve the right to change my mind at the last minute on who to take, and I’ve done just that a number of times so far, influenced by some of the selections that came right before my turn.
Speaking of changing one’s mind, the neat thing about the NFBC Slow Draft format is that it’s a great teaching tool, as it allows you to cram in an ample amount of research in between your picks, which ideally will help you as you prepare for your later drafts. And while you might go into the NFBC draft planning to either target or avoid a certain player, you’re allowed to change your mind. So, here are a few examples of players who I’ve recently changed my mind about. And of course, I reserve the right to change my mind again.
Back in November, I reluctantly took Cabrera in the ninth round of a 15-team mock that appeared in The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2014 Professional Edition. In the draft recap, I listed him as my least favorite pick, noting that “J.J. Hardy and his consistent power was the far safer shortstop choice at that point.” It was my first mock draft of the season, so I chalked up this mistake to rust. Well, as it turns out, I made Asdrubal my 15th round choice in this DC draft, and I’m thrilled to slot him into my middle infield spot. Aside from the obvious discount, I’ve completely changed my tune on the Indians’ shortstop. Sure, he’s seen his production steadily drop off since his breakout 2011 campaign, but at 28, it’s not like he’s old or anything, and he still offers a fine combination of power and speed. I tend to address the middle infield positions early, so I’m not sure I’d trust Cabrera as my starting SS. But as a MI in the 15th round? Sign me up!
Not too long ago, Granderson was on my “do not draft” list. That is until I was able to grab him in the 11th round of the DC draft, at 159th overall. Yeah, the batting average is a killer, and moving from Yankee Stadium to Citi Field isn’t a good thing for his home run total. But Grandy did average 25 homers per season from 2007 through 2009 while playing half of his games at pitcher-friendly Comerica Park, so there’s no reason why he cannot at least reach that level this season. Throw in around 15 steals and the Mets’ most notable off-season addition could turn out to be a nice bargain on draft day.
Maybe it was because his 5.58 ERA last September ruined my title hopes in my NL-only head-to-head points league, but I was really sick of Samardzija. Despite all of the strikeouts, his overall performance from one outing to the next was simply too inconsistent, and his mediocre 3.3 BB/9 rate was rather uninspiring. But when Samardzija was still there for the taking in the 13th round of the DC draft, I couldn’t hold out any longer. Ultimately, I’m a sucker for the strikeout, and the fact that Samardzija registered a combined 3.53 ERA and 1.24 WHIP from 2011 through 2012 offers some hope that he can bounce back.
Ryu easily exceeded expectations in his rookie season, going 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. The 7.2 K/9 rate was decent but not great, but the Korean import displayed top-notch control (2.3 BB/9) and was extremely consistent, allowing more than three runs in just five of his 30 starts. Originally, I had planned on taking a wait-and-see approach with Ryu, figuring that he is due for some regression in his sophomore season. But the more I looked at his game logs and read about his strong mechanics, the more I started to believe that a 2013 repeat is very possible. With this in mind, Ryu became my 12th round selection in the DC draft as my #3 SP, and I’m pretty pumped up about it.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I try to stay away from drafting one-category specialists, especially speed specialists, as I prefer to balance out my stolen base sources across my entire roster. Outside of Billy Hamilton, Cabrera will be the most popular stolen base guy this year, and the main problem I have with these players is that if you lose them for an extended period of time due to injury or any other reason, you’re in big trouble, as the roster you assembled is likely top heavy in speed. In January, for some reason that I still cannot figure out, I snagged Cabrera in the fifth round of the MLB.com Fantasy 411 mock draft, and it didn’t take long for me to regret taking him that early. While he’s pretty much a lock for 35 steals, last year’s .283 batting average sure seems like an outlier when compared to his career .252 mark, and his power is nonexistent. In the DC draft, Everth went in the seventh round at pick #92, by no means a reach, but he was completely off my radar. And he will remain off my radar.
Though I do reserve the right to change my mind.