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Sunday 26th Mar 2017

There is, in my opinion, a lot of value in mock drafting.

And, while I am not an ADP person, I do understand the value of knowing roughly when a player will or should be selected. However, I prefer to transitively participate in mocks, and literally see where players are picked and fall, so I can see for myself how the draft chips fall. 

But, mocking tells me more than this, especially if when I participate in a mock, I change around strategies from draft-to-draft. For, even though the first few rounds of picks might be similar in all drafts, the development of my team might be radically different were Clayton Kershaw my first pick once, then Manny Machado during a second draft, and then Mike Trout a third time.

Mocking also gives a much better broad feel for the player pool, for though we all have guys we love and guys we loathe, it is indeed hard to remember everyone who might fill a specific hole. But, mocking shows who might slip to the middle rounds and more important. who will fall to the end. 

For, though we can build a foundation of stats with the selections the first six rounds, and ideally help stabilize those totals in rounds seven through 18, it is the jackpots in the late rounds that usually win the first place prize for teams. 

So, while I have been mocking--a lot with the #MockDraftArmy driven by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., whom you should contact should you have an interest--I have been scouring the late rounds for bargains. So, this time, let's look at guys who in 12-team leagues hardly get drafted at all, and in 15-team mocks maybe in the 19th round or later.

These players are lesser known, and some are vets who have been dismissed. But, if you are scrounging for late picks or auction selections that I would guess would carry a price of $5 or less relative to the depth of your league, dollar structure and time nominated, here are some names to consider. Should you be able to control your board with $35 or so remaining in a 15-team auction, I am confident you could walk away with almost all of them.

So, who are these guys?

Odubel Herrera (OF, Phillies): A 24-year-old Venezuelan, Herrera hit .264-4-24 over the first half of last season but then kicked it into gear, going .329-4-17 in the second half, jumping his OBP by almost 100 points from .297 to .394. Herrera, who was a Rule 5 pick from the Rangers in 2014, swiped 16 bases and could actually steal 30 bags (he did it twice in the minors) and with experience could parlay some of his 125 minor league doubles and triples into homers, meaning 15/30 potential. If you play games where defense counts, he will help you there, too.

Aaron Altherr (OF, Phillies): A bad team will force roto players to look elsewhere for production, which can be a mistake, for bad teams do hit homers, score runs and earn saves. The Phillies, who are working through their bad team karma, promoted Altherr, their ninth-round selection in 2009, and the 6'5" flychaser responded accordingly. Altherr was hitting .294-8-38 at Lehigh Valley, then .241-5-22 as a Phil. But, over the last month of 2015, he lifted his OBP by 50 points and the outfielder really does have 20/20 capabilities.

Jose Iglesias (SS, Tigers): Iglesias hit .303 split betwen Boston and Detroit in 2013 and then missed all of 2014 due to injury. But he returned to hit .300 last year over a full season with Detroit. True, he hits a pretty hollow .300 with 52 RBI and 83 runs cumulative over the two seaons and 836 at-bats, but in an AL-only format, you could do a lot worse.

Neil Walker (2B, Mets): A .271-16-71 mean over 162 games per Baseball Reference, and yet Walker rarely gets selected before round 19 it seems. Not sure what Walker did for us to dismiss his skill set, but I would be glad to roster him.

Robinson Chirinos (C, Rangers): Double digit homers two straight years playing part-time, Chirinos did raise his on-base numbers last year by 30 points to .325 despite his average dropping seven points to .232. If he plays full-time, the Ranger will hit a little better I believe, but if the function of a second catcher in fantasy is to contribute without really inflicting pain, Chirinos fits that description.

Marco Estrada (P, Blue Jays): Does give up homers, and sometimes his ERA gets knocked around, but over 722 big league innings, Estrada has a 1.150 WHIP and whiffs eight per nine innings. He never gets picked (except by me as a last starter).

Jason Castro (C, Astros): Castro has battled injuries and streakiness as he has matured with the Astros. But, this is now a team of veterans, and, it generally takes catchers a little longer to master hitting in the Show because catching and calling a game is the primary directive. Castro hit .276-18-56 in 2013 and now has two more years under his belt. Castro, who often is not selected in mocks, is a fine late power source.

Nick Castellanos (3B, Tigers): He hit .255-15-73 last year but struggles to make contact with 293 strikeouts and a .304 OBP over 313 games with Detroit. Castellanos actually turns 24 this week, so let's give him a little time--and I am inclined to like third seasons--to step up, and .270-25-90 totals will be your reward. Swear.

Brandon Phillips (2B, Reds): I have taken Phillips in the last round of two 12-team mocks to serve as my middle infielder. True, he is on the downside of his career, but he is 34 (not dead yet) and hit .294-12-70 with 23 swipes last year. Even with the same totals and half the swipes of 2015, he will be a fine choice in any format for 2016.

Alex Gordon (OF, Royals): Is it that Gordon was hurt a lot of last year, or that it took awhile to re-sign with the Royals or what? But, Gordon seems to be an afterthought, selected in the 23rd round of the #MockDraftArmy 12-team league. Huh? He did have an .809 OPS last year despite the injury, and is still just 32. Go figure.

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