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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

Our mates at Rotowire held their annual experts mock earlier this week, and with the push of the button, Derek Van Riper hit the randomizer, generating the draft order.

I was actually logged into the site. In fact, I was actively engaged in a chat, so it wasn't until Derek noted that "Lawr should be on too with the first pick," did I realize the refresh of the page had put me in the #1 spot, and that the clock was, and had been ticking.

Not like who I should take was a big puzzle, at least among the top Mock picks going into 2016.

Clearly, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt, with maybe a long-shot to Clayton Kershaw, are the top-tiered best players out there at this moment in time and space.

But, I was on the clock, with about 20 seconds to go, and up until Derek's announcement that I did indeed have the top pick, I truly had not considered who I wanted, or why.

Truth is, I never really know who I will take when in any draft going in. There have been times when I did target a player should he fall to me in rounds or cost. I have played with different rosters and targeted picks during mocks, but most of the time, my teams are built around the first star player who falls my way. And, I tend to build around that guy accordingly, depending upon what is available when, and where I think I can exploit the player pool at the expense of my league mates while boosting my roster and stats.

So, to the conundrum of who to take on short notice.

I admit that I do think Trout is fantastic, as is Harper (I have a foul ball he hit at the Arizona Fall League a few years back), and well, Goldy is indeed golden (note I never considered picking Kershaw in this instance simply because pitching is so deep).

There is not much need in reviewing the numbers of each player as they are all well known, but, I do like looking at the 162-game mean that Baseball Reference includes for each player, so here is the bottom line:

Paul Goldschmidt (27, five years of play): .299-30-107 w/17 steals, 102 runs, and a .930 OPS.

Mike Trout (24, five years of play): .304-35-99 w/28 steals, 112 runs, and a .956 OPS.

Bryce Harper (23, four years of play): .289-31-79 w/12 steals, 104 runs, and a .902 OPS.

Now, I do like Harper, but I quickly dismissed him as a choice mostly because of a combination of less years of play and the fact that he is a young player just coming off a break-out season and as he grows and adjusts--and as pitchers adjust to him--there might be some ups and downs in his stats. And, I do not mean that as a dismissal. Harper is a great pick, but the bottom line is he has not been as productive and consistent day-to-day over his time in The Show from the start, as have his counterparts.

Now, it is true that Trout's initiation to The Show was lumpy. Don't forget that .220-5-16 40-game span in 2011, and those numbers are indeed factored into Trout's 162-game average, but he has been deadly ever since. (Also note that as of right now, both Trout and Goldy have exactly the same number of career walks with 361.)

But, I went with Goldschmidt for these reasons:

1) Goldschmidt does not make the highlight reels like Trout, but he is ever so steady, and somehow, even if the end numbers are the same, steady is more reassuring to me.

2) Goldschmidt is going into his peak years, and though it is hard to imagine him getting better, I am betting there is a 40-homer season in there, and I would not be surprised if it was this season.

3) Goldschmidt is playing on a team that just spent a wad on Zack Greinke, and then mortgaged a chunk of their future to get Shelby Miller. Arizona clearly intends to contend, and that pitching boost should give the team--already pretty good at scoring runs--some incentive and expectation that they will succeed, and Goldy will be at the center of it all.

Meaning, as good as he has been, he could well rise to the occasion and push to that next level and 40 homers and all that goes with it.

So, I took Goldschmidt.

And, even though it is not quite Christmas, if we had the actual draft next week, and I had the first pick, I would do the same thing.

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