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Saturday 17th Feb 2018

The end of the NFL regular season begins a dull period for us fantasy players. Unless you compete in season-long NBA leagues (which I do, but it is without question my third favorite fantasy sport), there are no teams to manage. For a few weeks, I occupied myself with NBA DFS, playing almost every day, and it was fun for awhile. But eventually, I lost more often than I won, and I'm now at the point where I have drawn the line and will not spend any more money on NBA DFS.

So, almost by default, I'm getting an earlier than usual start on baseball prep, and mock drafting, especially slow mock drafting, helps quite a bit. The MLB.com Fantasy 411 expert slow mock, which I have been running for several years now, is roughly one-third complete, and you can check out the results along with in-depth commentary here.

When studying the player pool, I like to pay particular attention to the more controversial availables. In other words, we're talking about players who carry a wide range of perceived value. These are the guys who I have to research thoroughly. Ultimately, I will need to figure out where I stand, and it's not easy. I might even change my mind multiple times.

On that note, let's review the results of the 12-team mixed MLB.com mock in progress along with the final results of the 13-team mixed FSTA draft from earlier this month and identify some players that exhibited a particularly large discrepancy in draft position.

Xander Bogaerts

MLB.com mock: #24 overall

FSTA draft: #64 overall

After struggling to the tune of a .240 batting average in 2014, Bogaerts broke out last season, rewarding his fantasy owners with a .320 average to go along with seven homers, 81 RBI, 84 runs scored and 10 steals. Although his 35 doubles suggest that there could be further growth in the power department, from looking at his minor league numbers, I get the sense that Bogaerts will end up being one of those guys who is better in real life than in fantasy. From a 5x5 rotisserie league standpoint, batting average is the only category in which he truly stands out. He is only 23, however, so it is entirely possible that he will prove me wrong. Still, I'd be careful about paying a premium price for his services, and #24 overall is certainly a premium price.

Jose Reyes

MLB.com mock: #71 overall

FSTA draft: #111 overall

The wait continues as we have yet to learn if and for how long Reyes will be suspended under baseball's new domestic abuse policy. Depending on the verdict, the 32-year-old could be one of this year's biggest value picks as he heads into his first full season of playing his home games at Coors Field. On the other hand, since when was Reyes a safe bet to stay healthy for a full season? The difference in draft position is understandable as choosing Reyes in a mock draft is a lot easier than adding him to your actual fantasy squad. The wait continues.

Brian Dozier

MLB.com mock: #51 overall

FSTA draft: #80 overall

By now, we know the deal with Dozier. If you want a second baseman who will deliver high-end power to go along with a useful number of stolen bases at the expense of batting average, he's your guy, and there's little reason to expect anything different this coming season. 51st overall sounds about right while 80th overall sounds like a steal.

Prince Fielder

MLB.com mock: #78 overall

FSTA draft: #99 overall

Losing 1B eligibility does put a damper on things, but Fielder remains one of the more reliable run producers in the game. Many owners avoid filling their Utility slot early in a draft, but with such a limited supply consistent power hitters these days, maybe it's time to forget about that rule.

Anthony Rendon

MLB.com mock: #70 overall

FSTA draft: #50 overall

Just 12 months ago, Rendon was a no doubt top-20 pick thanks to his stellar five-category contributions. However, an injury-marred 2015 campaign has lowered his stock to the point where he could actually reward his 2016 owners with a nice profit if he can stay off the DL. But that will be no easy feat for Rendon, who has now played fewer than 100 games in two of his first three big league seasons.

Carlos Gonzalez

MLB.com mock: #64 overall

FSTA draft: #44 overall

Speaking of health woes, Gonzalez has experienced his fair share of them over the course of his career, but last year was an exception. Colorado's star outfielder launched a single-season high 40 home runs and appeared in a single-season high 153 games. The good news about investing in Car-Go this year is that injury risk is still reflected in his price. Even 44th overall is not unreasonable as long as he avoids a prolonged DL stint. But really, how confident can we be that Gonzalez will remain healthy for a second consecutive season? Plus, he doesn't steal bases anymore and batted just .271 last season, this compared to his career .290 average. Even if he's still there for the taking at #64, I will be looking elsewhere.

At least that's where I stand for today.

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