Mock DraftsMarch 2, 2007

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Mock Draft – Solitaire Style

By Bob Hoyng

With all of the mock drafts out there I thought it might be interesting to pit myself against the average drafter and publish the results as a one-man mock draft. To that end I pulled up the current average draft position (ADP) for a 5×5 roto league from the wonderful people at Mock Draft Central and got down to business.

I decided to set some simple rules for my draft. I drafted based on a standard Yahoo! 12 team 5×5 roto league. I would not look ahead to find out if a player might fall to me. I did however, work my way down through the list in ADP order to make for a more meaningful and interesting draft that closely mimics the players typically taken at each spot in the draft. I could take any player I wanted as long as he was taken at that spot on average or lower in the draft. Finally, I drafted from the eighth position in the draft because that’s the number my wife picked at random.

While some of my late round sleepers may not fall this far to you in your drafts as we approach the regular season and the buzz around them grows, it’s an interesting exercise and gives you an idea of what type of team you might be able to put together in a typical Yahoo! public league.

Pick #8 (1.8) Chase Utley (2B-Phi) ADP Ranking #8
Projected Line: .300/30/111/102/14
This pick was a no-brainer for me. Chase Utley is clearly the best player at a very scarce position this year. The best part is that the top seven guys are good enough that picking eighth does give you a very good chance at Utley.

Pick #17 (2.5) Matt Holiday (OF-Col) ADP Ranking #20
Projected Line: .317/31/107/103/12
Honorable mention here goes to Derek Jeter, but I think this early in the draft you have to go for the numbers unless there’s a special case like Utley where there’s a huge gap in talent. As you’ll see later in our draft there are some very interesting shortstops to be had in your typical Yahoo! league.

Pick #32 (3.8) Derrek Lee (1B-CHN) ADP Ranking #33
Projected Line: .295/31/93/89/18
The injury concerns here are real. So is the talent. Lee is only two years removed from a monster .335/.418/.662 campaign in 2005 that saw him launch 46 home runs, score 120 runs, drive in 107, and swipe 15 bags. I love hitters that come at a discount due to injury concerns, when they’re young enough to bounce back and the injury isn’t likely to be something chronic. Lee definitely meets that criteria.

Pick #41 (4.5) Jake Peavy (SP-SD) ADP Ranking #46
Projected Line: 14 wins, 3.32 era, 1.166 whip, 9.36 k/9
Another one of ‘last year’s bums’, Peavy struggled to the tune of a 4.09 ERA. Don’t let that scare you away. His peripherals were still excellent and suggested an ERA more to the tune of 3.47. If he comes this cheaply in your draft you’ll have locked up a staff ace without paying staff ace prices.

Pick #56 (5.8) Bill Hall (3B, SS, OF-Mil) ADP Ranking #61
Projected Line: .273/30/95/87/11
There are some people that don’t believe Hall’s power was for real. He was only 26 years old last year though, so the step up that he took has a very good chance at being legitimate. Those projected numbers would make him a decent value in the 6th or 7th round as an outfielder. The 5th round wouldn’t even be that terrible to get 30hr/10sb talent. In leagues where he’s shortstop eligible though, those numbers are nothing short of insane.

Pick #65 (6.5) Jeremy Bonderman (SP-Det) ADP Ranking #71
Projected Line: 15 wins, 3.69 era, 1.228 whip, 8.16 k/9
Had Bonderman not faded down the stretch last year, he would be going much earlier. All signs point to the man that Baseball Prospectus sees as 88% likely to improve and 44% likely to break out and put up a great season this year. Just watch out for the Tigers doing something crazy like putting Sheffield at first base on a regular basis – for a ground ball pitcher like Bonderman, that could hurt him quite a bit.

Pick #80 (7.8) Huston Street (RP-Oak) ADP Ranking #80
Projected Line: 4 wins, 39 saves, 2.89 era, 1.085 whip, 8.47 k/9
We have to take them at some point in a roto league, and Street was the first closer whose value was outstripping his draft position, most likely due to his injury concerns from last year.

Pick #89 (8.5) C.C. Sabathia (SP-Cle) ADP Ranking #91
Projected Line: 15 wins, 3.47 era, 1.203 whip, 7.68 k/9
Don’t sleep this year on Sabathia. An early-season abdominal injury last year, and off-season arthroscopic knee surgery are depressing his value quite a bit, but he should be ready to go and provide solid value to fantasy teams in 2007.

Pick #104 (9.8) Raul Ibanez (OF-Sea) ADP Ranking #114
Projected Line: .283/24/87/92/3
Ibanez is a guy that’s underrated every single year it seems. He doesn’t do anything really well but he’s solid in every category but stolen bases. You can do a lot worse than slotting him into one of your outfield slots, and taking him later in the draft frees you up to take some players at scarcer positions earlier in the draft.

Pick #113 (10.5) Curt Schilling (SP-Bos) ADP Ranking #118
Projected Line: 15 wins, 3.79 era, 1.220 whip, 7.75 k/9
Older players and especially older pitchers tend to come at a discount, and Schilling is no exception. The fact that we’ve taken four starting pitchers and five pitchers overall in our first ten picks, shows how the tendency of teams to focus on hitting may be creating a market inefficiency that allows for profit to be made by taking the right pitchers in the early stages of the draft.

Pick #128 (11.8) Howie Kendrick (1B,2B-LAA) ADP Ranking #136
Projected Line: .301/13/75/77/15
As strange as it turns out the best bat for our utility slot ended up being a light-hitting second baseman. Tons of upside here, as an insane ability to make contact and decent production across the board, makes Kendrick a nice choice in this spot. The position eligibility doesn’t hurt either, and gives us a quality backup second baseman.

Pick #137 (12.5) Pat Burrell (OF-Phi) ADP Ranking #147
Projected Line: .264/29/80/93/1
Once upon a time Pat Burrell was a great up-and-coming prospect that got a huge multi-year deal from the Phillies to be a key part of their championship teams. Fast-forward a few years and now his contract is considered to be an albatross by many in Philly. He’s considered soft, selfish, and a choker due to his problems with runners in scoring position last year. He’s the face that Philly fans have given to the failures of their team. While Burrell probably won’t come near the expected production indicated by his contract, he’s not the pariah that Philly fans have come to believe either, and is in line for a very nice season hitting behind the potent middle of the Phillies line-up.

Pick #152 (13.8) Kenji Johjima (C-Sea) ADP Ranking #157
Projected Line: .292/17/71/76/3
As with our closer, we have to take a catcher at some point. Johjima is solid and the value was right to take him at this point.

Pick #161 (14.5) Adrian Beltre (3B-Sea) ADP Ranking #164
Projected Line: .274/26/89/90/8
Beltre reminds me a lot of Pat Burrell. He’s hated for not living up to his monster contract. Those projected numbers certainly don’t live up to what he’s being paid. However, they outstrip this draft position by quite a bit, and that makes him a great asset for fantasy teams.

Pick #176 (15.8) Jose Valverde (RP-Ari) ADP Ranking #185
Projected Line: 3 wins, 25 saves, 3.73 era, 1.233 whip, 10.90 k/9
Valverde is a closer with question marks surrounding him. That fact makes him perfect for our team. We were able to fill in our entire offensive roster as well as our core of our starting pitching, before taking our second closer. Valverde may make it through the season and he may not. He’s very risky and those that take him should be ready to jump on his replacement if he falters. The value we gain by taking the chance on him far outweigh the risk.

Pick #185 (16.5) Salomon Torres (RP-Pit) ADP Ranking #195
Projected Line: 4 wins, 24 saves, 3.56 era, 1.364 whip, 6.34 k/9
Torres is the front-runner for saves in Pittsburg now that Gonzalez is setting up for Wickman in Atlanta. His skill set isn’t the greatest, but he’s got experience and should hold down the job for the Pirates all year. Age is also a concern, but as with Valverde, taking Torres here allowed us to build a solid team earlier in the draft.

Pick #200 (17.8) Edwin Encarnacion (3B-Cin) ADP Ranking #205
Projected Line: .285/20/72/79/8
Our first bench player, Encarnacion has the upside to be a decent fantasy starter this year. He’s a bit of a post-hype sleeper now as he was a highly touted prospect that didn’t live up to everyone’s expectations in his first few years. As a seventeenth round pick he provides outstanding value.

Pick #209 (18.5) Chris B. Young (OF-Ari) ADP Ranking #217
Projected Line: .273/26/92/81/22
If you get Chris B. Young at this point in the draft then either you’re a beginner, or you need to change to a more challenging league. There is absolutely no way this guy should go this late in the draft. I would think that as we approach opening day, his ADP is going to skyrocket. While many people have heard of Alex Gordon, not many seem to be aware of Young, and yet Young will probably provide more fantasy value than Gordon this year unless the Royals decide to call up Gordon immediately. For those of you that don’t know, Young will be the opening day centerfielder and leadoff hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is extremely talented, brings very nice power and speed to the table, decent contact skills and a good eye at the plate. While he certainly could struggle in his big league debut, all of the skills are there to make Young a great player and possibly even an all-star for years to come.

Pick #224 (19.8) Anthony Reyes (SP-StL) ADP Ranking #235
Projected Line: 9 wins, 3.92 era, 1.200 whip, 8.06 k/9
After the wholesale losses to the St. Louis starting rotation this off-season, Reyes is no longer an afterthought and fill-in – he’s written into this rotation in permanent marker. All that’s been missing for Reyes is opportunity and he’ll get his shot this year.

Pick #233 (20.5) Scot Shields (RP-LAA) ADP Ranking #272
Projected Line: 6 wins, 4 saves, 2.98 era, 1.160 whip, 8.75 k/9
Shields may actually have fallen behind Duchscherer and Zumaya now when it comes to superb middle relievers, but I’ll still take Shields’ track record and K-Rod’s fragility over those other two guys for my staff’s quality middle reliever.

Pick #248 (21.8) Akinori Iwamura (2B,3B-TB) ADP Ranking #312
Projected Line: .283/20/82/79/6
This is another guy I don’t expect to drop this far. Iwamura is currently third base eligible, but he may pick up second base eligibility if the D’Rays decide to play him there this year. Once people realize that it’s not just the pitchers from Japan that have value this year, expect Iwamura to slip into the mid-teen rounds.

This entire draft was done to simply take the best player coming up in the next several picks. Without even trying to balance the categories I think I managed to put together a solid team that was only weak in one area – stolen bases. What this really indicates to me is that if you want stolen bases you’re going to need to reach a bit for them as they’re very highly valued now.

Here’s what Rotowire’s projections see in store for this team:
Offense (46 Points / 60 Possible): 881 Runs (9 Points), 264 HR (11), 891 RBI (10), 99 SB (5), 0.293 Average (11)
Pitching (50 Points / 60 Possible): 91 Wins (10), 92 Saves (7), 1186 K (10), 3.51 ERA (11), 1.185 Whip (12)
Total (96 / 120 Possible)

A team scoring 96 points would have a very good shot at a title. If you picked up some saves or stolen bases on the cheap, you could very well run away with this league. One reason is an outstanding pitching staff. One thing that stood out very clearly in this draft is that quality starting pitchers that aren’t quite at the top level or that have injury/consistency concerns like Peavy, are dropping quite a bit as teams stock up on hitters. While hitters are certainly safer, there’s a ton of value to be had if you’re willing to reach for the guys like Peavy, Sabathia and Schilling.

Another point I’d bring up is that third base is exceedingly deep this year. There are a ton of top-notch guys, and then there’s even guys like Beltre who could be in for huge bounce-back years.

Closers unfortunately are going to cost you a bit more than they’re worth. I’d only recommend reaching for one top-notch guy this year and then taking a gamble on 2-3 other guys later in the draft, since the closers seem to go much earlier than their production warrants.

I hope everyone enjoyed our journey through this imaginary draft. While I can’t guarantee you all of these players will drop to you, this mock draft should at least give you an idea of some players to target in each part of your draft. I’d also highly recommend checking out Mock Draft Central. While it does cost a few dollars to get the full ADP reports it’s very nice to go into your draft armed not only with the information of what you think players are worth, but also the knowledge of where your opponents are likely to draft them.

The Loveable Losers (known as Bob in the parlance of those not addicted to fantasy sports) is a computer programmer and numbers junky from New Carlisle, Ohio.
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