This past Sunday night, FB365 hosted a special expert mock draft over at Mock Draft Central. A few of us here at FB365, along with an all-star cast of fantasy baseball writers from across the nation, went 23 rounds of NFBC-style mock drafting: C (2), 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, OF (5), UT, P (9).
Needless to say, it was a blast. We’ll be dishing out some of our analysis here on FB365 and we’ll be sure to link over any analysis from the other participating sites.
1. Charlie Saponara – Fantasy Baseball 365
2. Derek Carty – Baseball Prospectus
3. Josh Shepardson – Fantasy Baseball 365 & The Hardball Times
4. Rob Steingall – SNY Guys
6. Tim Heaney – KFFL
7. R.J. White – Fantasy Baseball Café
8. Jeff Gross – The Hardball Times
9. Matthew McMillen – Fantasy Baseball 365
10. Brad Evans – Yahoo!
11. Justin Green – Rotowire
12. Eno Sarris – FanGraphs
I had the first pick and here’s how my draft went…
R1 P1: Troy Tulowitzki – One could argue for Miguel Cabrera or Matt Kemp here, certainly, but I’m hoping to get Tulow in every draft this year. There are just too many question marks with the bulk of the SS crop this year and if I can avoid that mess, I will.
R2 P24: Mark Teixeira – In most drafts, I’ll be looking to add as much power as I can early on. Tex fits that mold nicely.
R3 P25: Ryan Braun – Who knows if I’d do this in a month, but I’ve read and heard rumblings that his 50-game suspension might actually be lifted. We’ll see.
R4 P48: Pablo Sandoval – I think Panda is being a bit underrated in most drafts. He had a tough 2010, but he certainly seemed to learn his lesson that season. In better shape and even playing through a hand injury in 2011, Sandoval put up huge numbers for a fantasy 3B.
R5 P49: Madison Bumgarner – I LOVE Mad-Bum for 2012 and beyond. His numbers are rock solid in all the right places (K/BB, GB%, HR/9) and he pitches in a great home park for pitchers. There’s a chance he ends up below the 3.00 ERA mark this season.
R6 P72: Shin-Soo Choo – I’ll chalk up Choo’s 2011 to troubles with the law and troubles staying on healthy. He was put up a .300, 22/22 season in 2010.
R7 P73: Rickie Weeks – Same ole story here. When healthy, he rakes. Still, landing him in round seven should equal good value.
R8 P96: Jayson Werth – Werth was one stolen base away from a 20/20 season in 2011, but his AVG plummeted and his R/RBI totals went along with it. That being said, Werth should be more comfortable in 2012 and an adjustment in his BABIP (.286 last season, .324 for his career) would likely bring his AVG up to .260 or above. More than anything, I’m expecting him to score and drive in more runs this season.
R9 P97: Adam Wainwright – I’ll be targeting Wainwright in every draft this season. Pitchers in general have proven very successful after returning from Tommy John surgery. He’s young enough to make a strong return and talented enough to contend for the Cy Young award.
R10 P120: Ryan Madson – Madson is my number one closer target in 2012, so to land him in round ten feels like an absolute steal. He has some of the best swing-and-miss stuff in baseball and great command on top of that.
R11 P121: Chris Young – As I did with both Choo and Werth, I’m targeting outfielders with both speed and power to help with my team’s overall stolen base total. Young dealt with an injury last season and, while he’s not likely going to hit for much AVG, he should once again crack the 20/20 plateau with upside for 30/30.
R12 P144: Jordan Zimmermann – I’m expecting a slight regression from Zimmermann in 2012, but he still has the skills (great K/BB rate, good chase rate) to once again be a solid starter for any fantasy team. Look for the Nats to give him more innings this year as well.
R13 P145: Eric Aybar – I’m looking for a few more steals and a way to fill my MI spot at this point. Aybar fits that bill. With Pujols in place and the possibility of having Kendrys Morales back in the lineup, Aybar could see a nice spike in runs scored.
R14 P168: Joakim Soria – Ever since he arrived on the big league scene, Soria has been one of the best closers in baseball. Then, last season, he loses some feel for his offspeed pitches and contracts gopheritis. I’m betting that 2011 will be an outlier season for his career. His K/BB rate didn’t change much, which is a good indication that a small adjustment is all he needs.
R15 P169: Ben Revere – Looking for a large quantity of stolen bases? Why yes, yes I am. In 149 combined games between Triple-A and the big leagues last season, Revere stole 42 bases and was successful 79 percent of the time. Based on his elite speed and LD/GB batted ball profile, he should post a higher BABIP this season, which gives him a chance to turn into a .285-.295 hitter.
R16 P192: Jhonny Peralta – While Peralta’s AVG is likely to regress a bit (.325 BABIP, 44 percent fly-ball rate), he should still hit 15-20 home runs and drive in over 80 runs.
R17 P193: Jaime Garcia – Garcia improved his command in 2011 and stayed consistent with his already good ground ball and HR/9 rates. At age 25, there’s room for even more improvement.
R18 P216: Geovany Soto – Having missed out on the top-end catchers, I knew I was going to wait until the later rounds to start targeting my two backstops. While Soto saw a huge drop in AVG in 2011, he still hit for power (17 home runs, .183 ISO) and it’s a good bet that he won’t hit as many weak pop-ups as he did last year (14.2 percent pop-up rate in 2011 compared to an 8.6 percent career average).
R19 P217: Edwin Encarnacion – E5 hit .291/.382/.504 with 11 home runs in the second half of 2011. This season, he won’t have to worry about playing third base and hurting his team by kicking the ball around the infield. He’s always had the talent (Solid contact rates, a career strikeout rate under 20 percent and a .193 career ISO) and now he can simply focus on hitting.
R20 P240: Devin Mesoraco – One of the best catching prospects in baseball, Mesoraco should get a good number of at-bats in Cincinnati, as long as Dusty Baker doesn’t go all Dusty Baker on him. His bat is good enough to produce a .270 AVG with 15 or so home runs, with upside for more.
R21 P241: Justin Masterson – Masterson’s ERA is very likely to regress in 2012, but he has made significant strides in his command and home runs allowed over the past three seasons. In 2011, he even took a big step forward in his effectiveness against left-handed batters. In round 21, there is very little risk.
R22 P264: Gavin Floyd – Floyd continues to frustrate fantasy owners that eye his impressive K/BB rates. He now has a three-year streak of posting sub-four xFIPs, which is hard to ignore when searching for late round sleepers. If he could somehow keep his home run damage down, he could see drastic changes in his results.
R23 P265: Jonathon Niese – A strained oblique seemed to affect Niese late in the season last year, which masked his solid first half numbers (3.88 ERA, 92 strikeouts in 111.1 innings). His peripherals suggest that he could break out in 2012 (3.14 K/BB rate, 51.5 ground ball rate).
Overall, I think this would be a solid team to head into the season with. My offense has plenty of power and good speed, but will likely struggle to keep up in the AVG category. Pitching wise, Bumgarner and Wainwright have a chance to become a dynamic 1-2 and the duo of Madson and Soria should be a solid base to which I will likely add to as the season progresses and closers start to turnover.
C Geovany Soto
C Devin Mesoraco
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Rickie Weeks
3B Pablo Sandoval
SS Troy Tulowitzki
MI Jhonny Peralta
CI Edwin Encarnacion
OF Ryan Braun
OF Shin-Soo Choo
OF Jayson Werth
OF Chris Young
OF Ben Revere
UT Eric Aybar
SP Madison Bumgarner
SP Adam Wainwright
SP Jordan Zimmermann
SP Jaime Garcia
SP Justin Masterson
SP Gavin Floyd
SP Jonathon Niese
RP Ryan Madson
RP Joakim Soria