I’m usually pretty good at following through on personal goals, but when it comes to my annual pledge to take a break from fantasy baseball, at least during the postseason, I have a 0% success rate. And the reason is simple: October mock drafts are fun! So, two weeks ago, I organized a 12-team mixed league industry mini-mock (six rounds) to be conducted via e-mail, and asked each of the participants to include a brief comment with their selection. On Friday, Jason Heyward became the 72nd player selected, thus concluding the mini-mock. Head over to the MLB.com Fantasy 411 blog for the complete results and commentary.
Coincidentally, Lord Zola recently conducted his own mini-mock, a rather entertaining two-round, 15-teamer, entertaining because the participants were Lord Zola and 14 Lord Zola clones. In case you missed it, here’s the first round and second round.
What if we compared the MLB.com draft to Todd’s draft in an attempt to identify the players who had the biggest discrepancy in draft position? Well, that’s exactly what I did.
MLB.com draft: Not drafted
Zola draft: Round 2, Pick 3 (18th overall)
Perhaps no player will inspire more debate than Blackmon when it comes to assessing his proper value for next season. After kicking off the 2014 campaign by batting .305 with 14 homers, 52 RBI and a .828 OPS in the first half, the Rockies outfielder managed only a .264 average with five home runs, 20 RBI and a .698 OPS following the All-Star break. The good news is that his stolen base production remained fairly consistent and he will continue to benefit from playing half of his games at Coors Field, where he put up a .331-13-48 line this year. But to me, there’s just too much risk involved in spending a top-20 pick on a guy with such a limited track record who posted a .617 OPS away from Coors. And at 28 years of age, it’s not like he’s a young prospect with loads of upside. If someone else in your league wants to pay top dollar for Blackmon, let them.
MLB.com draft: Round 1, Pick 6 (6th overall)
Zola draft: Round 2, Pick 12 (27th overall)
And who took Brantley 6th overall? Well, of course, it was the Zen Master himself! Lawr has made no secret that he’s a big time Brantley fan, but 6th overall? He could have at least waited until the second round, no? Now look, I believe in Brantley, but I’ll have to side with Todd’s valuation here. Brantley would need to at the very least duplicate his 2014 stat line to earn this price, and I can’t say with a whole lot of confidence that he will.
MLB.com draft: Round 2, Pick 3 (15th overall)
Zola draft: Round 2, Pick 14 (29th overall)
Chances are I won’t be owning Hanley on any teams next year. And it’s not because I plan on avoiding him entirely. Rather, I am simply unwilling to pay the price that it will likely require to roster him. Even if I was in the draft with Todd and his clones, I’d pass on him at 29th overall. But in most leagues, I think he will be taken closer to 15th than 29th. No thanks. Keep in mind that this is a guy who has averaged 107 games played per season over the last two years. Guarantee me an injury-free season and maybe I’ll buy into 25 homers, 20 steals, 85 runs and a useful batting average, a best case scenario line that pretty much equates to 29th overall.
MLB.com draft: Round 2, Pick 12 (24th overall)
Zola draft: Not drafted
After missing a combined 117 games from 2011-2012, Longoria has played in all but three games over the past two seasons, so we can now safely remove the “injury-prone” label. Despite the good health, however, the Rays third baseman posted a career-low .724 OPS in 2014, which is a bit concerning. Plus, his 22 home runs were a far cry from the 32 longballs he belted in 2013. Although Longoria probably deserved to be mentioned in Todd’s “Hey, What About Me?” article, his 2014 numbers aren’t quite deserving of the 24th overall pick, even if we factor in position. Sure, it’s always possible that he can improve upon those numbers and earn second round value, but I’d sooner grab Kyle Seager or Nolan Arenado a few rounds later.
MLB.com draft: Round 1, Pick 5 (5th overall)
Zola draft: Round 2, Pick 7 (22nd overall)
This all comes down to how highly you value starting pitching in fantasy, or more specifically, whether or not you feel comfortable drafting a starting pitcher in the first round. I will never draft a starting pitcher in the first round. Ever. So I guess I’m biased here. Now I’ll admit that from a pure numbers standpoint, Kershaw deserves to be taken in the first round. We’re talking about six straight seasons of a sub-3.00 ERA and two straight seasons of a sub-2.00 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP. He’s also coming off a year in which he registered a career-high 10.85 K/9. But like I said, I will never draft a starting pitcher in the first round, and I’m not about to break that rule, even for Kershaw. And since Clayton will be taken in the first round in roughly 95% of drafts, there’s a 95% chance that I will not be owning him. Well, make it 100%, being that I will never draft a starting pitcher in the first round or the second round. And even if I’m sitting at #22 in the draft with Todd and his clones and Kershaw is still on the board, I’m not about to break that rule either.
Though it would be awfully tempting.