Earlier today, I participated in my first mock draft of the new year. Justin Occhionero of SonsOfRoto.com and myself hosted and drafted alongside some other writers and readers.
As an experiment, I decided to “play it blind” meaning I did not have my rankings sheets in front of me. It was an interesting exercise, but I did lose track of position depth at certain points, which left me a bit thin at closer and with some risk in my outfield. As normal, I couldn’t pull the trigger early on pitching and missed out on some of my top targets there. I ended up filling some thin positions early, which in a real league might have me in a favorable position to make one or two pre-season trades.
I drafted tenth out of 12. Positions were: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OF (4), UT, P (9), BN (2). He’s my team’s breakdown…
(You can view the overall results here)
R1: Hanley Ramirez SS – He’ll hold SS and 3B eligibility and should bounce back from an injury plagued 2011 with 20/30 upside.
R2: Jose Reyes SS – I guess I just couldn’t help myself, kind of like the Miami Marlins. I’ve filled my SS and MI spots with two of the top SSs in the game and slashed away at an already thin fantasy position.
R3: Adrian Beltre 3B – With Hanley and Jose representing a strong SB base, I set my sights on power. Adrian Beltre, who also plays a thin fantasy position, was there after my first target, Mike Stanton, went of the board.
R4: Matt Holliday OF – Solid power and a lock in the AVG department. If he stays healthy, he’s a big value here.
R5: Ben Zobrist 2B – 20/20 potential and middle of the order lineup spot should lead to plenty of R/RBI.
R6: Adam Wainwright SP – My first pitcher is one that missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, he was a lock-down ace before the injury and recovery success rate for pitchers coming off of TJS is extremely high.
R7: Kevin Youkilis 3B – Through my first seven rounds I’ve locked up my SS/MI and 3B/CI roster spots. I really don’t want to have to look for players at these positions later on if I don’t have to. Youk comes with injury risk, so I’ll have to keep that in mind when looking at bench options.
R8: Mike Morse 1B – While I do feel that there is risk in his AVG, I believe his power is absolutely legit. With all the high-end 1B options having gone early, and my 1B spot still open, I’m very pleased with Morse here.
R9: Matt Wieters C – You knew this was coming, right? Unlike a couple of years ago, drafting Weiters here carries far less risk. He has improved his BB/K rate for three straight seasons and his power game finally showed up in 2011.
R10: Ryan Madson RP – I’m thinking of rankings him as the number one closer in 2012, so needless to say I’m more than happy to grab him here in round nine.
R11: Carlos Beltran OF – He’s getting older, yes, and there is injury risk involved, yes, but he should provide 20 home runs, and a good AVG. He’s also now in a lineup where his R/RBI totals could flourish.
R12: J.J. Hardy SS – Not tracking my team/rankings hurt me a little here. I should have been looking at a pitcher or another outfielder, but for some reason thought that I still needed to fill my MI spot. As it stands, having Hardy here is not really bad at all. A healthy Hardy would give my team power and more depth at SS/MI.
R13: Hiroki Kuroda SP – Landing in the Bronx could turn Kuroda into an 18 game winner. He may see some regression due to the move to the AL East, but his groundball/command skills should help keep any regression in check for the most part.
R14: Jaime Garcia SP – Another ground-ball specialist to add to my rotation, Garcia has also made strides in his command. There’s quite a bit of upside here, for not a lot of risk.
R15: Jose Tabata OF – A big-time sleeper just a season ago, Tabata just needs to stay healthy. If that happens, he’ll be a cheap source of decent AVG and 30-plus stolen bases.
R16: Clay Buchholz SP – Another health risk, but one that should post a solid ERA with good win potential thanks to a loaded Boston offense.
R17: Addison Reed RP – My money’s on Reed to win the closer’s job for the south siders. If he does, he could easily become a top-ten closer, if not a top-five.
R18: Grady Sizemore OF – The talent is there, but clearly the health hasn’t been. I’ll take a shot in round 18 to see if he can’t play enough to put up 20-plus HR with a good chunk of R/RBI.
R19: Francisco Liriano SP – You know, I just can’t help myself sometimes.
R20: Grant Balfour RP – Seems like a good choice to take over closer duties in Oakland. He’s a right-handed veteran who has put up solid numbers and could become a free agent at season’s end ($4.5M club option). In other words: making him a closer would increase his real-world trade value.
R21: Mark Buehrle SP – As always, there’s nothing flashy about Buehrle, but he seems to find a way to post solid, albeit unspectacular, numbers. He now moves from a tremendous hitter’s park to one that will supposedly play like a good pitchers park. He also heads away from the AL, which could boost his numbers a bit.
R22: Jesse Crain RP – As a handcuff to Reed, Crain is said to have the inside track on the closer’s job for the White Sox. In round 22, saves are saves are saves.
R23: Ben Revere OF – Revere stole 34 bases in 117 games with the Twins last season and 42 overall between Triple-A and the bigs. He goes into the season as the Twins’ starting LF. While his AVG is no lock, he certainly has enough upside to hit .280. Potential for .280/45-plus SB and plenty of runs scored in round 23? Sign me up!
C Matt Wieters
1B Mike Morse
2B Ben Zobrist
SS Hanley Ramirez
3B Adrian Beltre
MI Jose Reyes
CI Kevin Youkilis
OF Matt Holiday
OF Carlos Beltran
OF Jose Tabata
OF Grady Sizemore
UT J.J. Hardy
BN Ben Revere
SP Adam Wainwright
SP Hiroki Kuroda
SP Jaime Garcia
SP Clay Buchholz
SP Francisco Liriano
SP Mark Buehrle
RP Ryan Madson
RP Addison Reed
RP Jesse Crain
RP Grant Balfour