Mock drafts effectively prepare for your real draft. You can have all of your rankings and target-players set, but if you don’t know what round they’re projected to fall, you could either lose out or simply reach when you don’t have to. This started when deerayfan072 found 11 Cafe Regulars to participate in this slow mock that began with Alex Rodriguez being taken first overall by sportsguy138 on January 8th. A lot of thought and preparation went into this mock and I’ve taken the time to evaluate each round by making note of any trends or patterns, as well as my favorite and least favorite picks in each round. Many of our “mocksters” weighed in with their own opinions that are included as well. No mock or draft is alike, but the following will give you an idea of what to expect when your draft day comes.
This mock is based on a 12-team, H2H keeper league, using standard 5 x 5 scoring. Lineups consist of C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, OF, OF, UTIL, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, and 6 bench spots. Four players are kept each year with no round penalties. Position eligibility is based on Yahoo! requirements.
|1.||Alex Rodriguez, 3B – NYY||1||Sportsguy|
|2.|| Albert Pujols, 1B – Stl||1||JCobb|
|3.|| Hanley Ramirez, SS – Fla||1||Snakes|
|4.|| Jose Reyes, SS – NYM||1||WaCoug|
|5.|| David Wright, 3B – NYM||1||Guzman|
|6.|| Chase Utley, 2B – Phi||1||Deeray|
|7.|| Matt Holliday, OF – Col||1||ThirdDay|
|8.|| Ryan Howard, 1B – Phi||1||CadensDad|
|9.|| Miguel Cabrera, 3B – Det||1||Jake|
|10.|| Jimmy Rollins, SS – Phi||1||Boomer|
|11.|| Prince Fielder, 1B – Mil||1||Omaha|
|12.|| Carl Crawford, OF – TB||1||Fade|
|13.|| Ryan Braun, 3B – Mil||2||Fade|
|14.|| Alfonso Soriano, OF – ChC||2||Omaha|
|15.|| Grady Sizemore, OF – Cle||2||Boomer|
|16.|| Vladimir Guerrero, OF – LAA||2||Jake|
|17.|| Johan Santana, SP – NYM||2||CadensDad|
|18.|| David Ortiz, 1B – Bos||2||ThirdDay|
|19.|| Carlos Beltran, OF – NYM||2||Deeray|
|20.|| Carlos Lee, OF – Hou||2||Guzman|
|21.|| Jake Peavy, SP – SD||2||WaCoug|
|22.|| Mark Teixeira, 1B – Atl||2||Snakes|
|23.|| Ichiro Suzuki, OF – Sea||2||JCobb|
|24.||Lance Berkman, OF/1B – Hou||2||Sportsguy|
|25.||BJ Upton, 2B/OF – TB||3||Sportsguy|
|26.|| Brandon Phillips, 2B – Cin||3||JCobb|
|27.|| Magglio Ordonez, OF – Det||3||Snakes|
|28.|| Garrett Atkins, 3B – Col||3||WaCoug|
|29.|| Justin Morneau, 1B – Min||3||Guzman|
|30.|| Aramis Ramirez, 3B – ChC||3||Deeray|
|31.|| Curtis Granderson, OF – Det||3||ThirdDay|
|32.|| Derek Jeter, SS – NYY||3||CadensDad|
|33.|| Travis Hafner, 1B – Cle||3||Jake|
|34.|| Victor Martinez, C – Cle||3||Boomer|
|35.|| Alex Rios, OF – Tor||3||Omaha|
|36.|| Brandon Webb, SP – Ari||3||Fade|
|37.|| Manny Ramirez, OF – Bos||4||Fade|
|38.|| CC Sabathia, SP – Cle||4||Omaha|
|39.|| Adam Dunn, OF – Cin||4||Boomer|
|40.|| Corey Hart, OF – Mil||4||Jake|
|41.|| Russell Martin, C – LAD||4||CadensDad|
|42.|| Troy Tulowitzki, SS – Col||4||ThirdDay|
|43.|| Adrian Gonzalez, 1B – SD||4||Deeray|
|44.|| Erik Bedard, SP – Sea||4||Guzman|
|45.|| Nick Markakis, OF – Bal||4||WaCoug|
|46.|| Bobby Abreu, OF – NYY||4||Snakes|
|47.|| Joe Mauer, C – Min||4||JCobb|
|48.||Josh Beckett, SP – Bos||4||Sportsguy|
|49.||Derrek Lee, 1B – ChC||5||Sportsguy|
|50.|| Justin Verlander, SP – Det||5||JCobb|
|51.|| Chone Figgins, 2B/3B/OF – LAA||5||Snakes|
|52.|| Cole Hamels, SP – Phi||5||WaCoug|
|53.|| Brian Roberts, 2B – Bal||5||Guzman|
|54.|| Jason Bay, OF – Pit||5||Deeray|
|55.|| John Lackey, SP – LAA||5||ThirdDay|
|56.|| Robinson Cano, 2B – NYY||5||CadensDad|
|57.|| Scott Kazmir, SP – TB||5||Jake|
|58.|| Roy Oswalt, SP – Hou||5||Boomer|
|59.|| Carlos Guillen, SS – Det||5||Omaha|
|60.|| Jonathon Papelbon, RP – Bos||5||Fade|
|61.|| Ian Kinsler, 2B – Tex||6||Fade|
|62.|| Chris B Young, OF – Ari||6||Omaha|
|63.|| Paul Konerko, 1B – ChW||6||Boomer|
|64.|| Hunter Pence, OF – Hou||6||Jake|
|65.|| Francisco Rodriguez, RP – LAA||6||CadensDad|
|66.|| Eric Byrnes, OF – Ari||6||ThirdDay|
|67.|| Dan Haren, SP – Ari||6||Deeray|
|68.|| Miguel Tejada, SS – Hou||6||Guzman|
|69.|| Torii Hunter, OF – LAA||6||WaCoug|
|70.|| Chris Young, SP – SD||6||Snakes|
|71.|| Aaron Harang, SP – Cin||6||JCobb|
|72.||John Smoltz, SP – Atl||6||Sportsguy|
|73.||Chipper Jones, 3B – Atl||7||Sportsguy|
|74.|| Carlos Pena, 1B – TB||7||JCobb|
|75.|| Tim Lincecum, SP – SF||7||Snakes|
|76.|| JJ Putz, RP – Sea||7||WaCoug|
|77.|| Roy Halladay, SP – Tor||7||Guzman|
|78.|| Carlos Zambrano, SP – ChC||7||Deeray|
|79.|| Nick Swisher, 1B/OF – ChW||7||ThirdDay|
|80.|| Jeff Francoeur, OF – Atl||7||CadensDad|
|81.|| Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP – Bos||7||Jake|
|82.|| Felix Hernandez, SP – Sea||7||Boomer|
|83.|| Brian McCann, C – Atl||7||Omaha|
|84.|| Hideki Matsui, OF – NYY||7||Fade|
|85.|| Ryan Zimmerman, 3B – Was||8||Fade|
|86.|| Joe Nathan, RP – Min||8||Omaha|
|87.|| Gary Sheffield, OF – Det||8||Boomer|
|88.|| Rickie Weeks, 2B – Mil||8||Jake|
|89.|| Andruw Jones, OF – LAD||8||CadensDad|
|90.|| Kelvim Escobar, SP – LAA||8||ThirdDay|
|91.|| Vernon Wells, OF – Tor||8||Deeray|
|92.|| Brad Hawpe, OF – Col||8||Guzman|
|93.|| Dan Uggla, 2B – Fla||8||WaCoug|
|94.|| Matt Cain, SP – SF||8||Snakes|
|95.|| Mariano Rivera, RP – NYY||8||JCobb|
|96.||Billy Wagner, RP – NYM||8||Sportsguy|
|97.||Rafael Furcal, SS – LAD||9||Sportsguy|
|98.|| Mike Lowell, 3B – Bos||9||JCobb|
|99.|| Ben Sheets, SP – Mil||9||Snakes|
|100.|| Jorge Posada, C – NYY||9||WaCoug|
|101.|| Jamie Shields, SP – TB||9||Guzman|
|102.|| Michael Young, 2B – Tex||9||Deeray|
|103.|| Howie Kendrick, 2B – LAA||9||ThirdDay|
|104.|| Fausto Carmona, SP – Cle||9||CadensDad|
|105.|| Edgar Renteria, SS – Det||9||Jake|
|106.|| Matt Kemp, OF – LAD||9||Boomer|
|107.|| Takashi Saito, RP – LAD||9||Omaha|
|108.|| Javier Vazquez, SP – ChW||9||Fade|
|109.|| Yovani Gallardo, SP – Mil||10||Fade|
|110.|| Rich Hill, SP – ChC||10||Omaha|
|111.|| Francisco Cordero, RP – Cin||10||Boomer|
|112.|| Alex Gordon, 1B/3B – KC||10||Jake|
|113.|| Manny Corpas, RP – Col||10||CadensDad|
|114.|| Jose Valverde, RP – Hou||10||ThirdDay|
|115.|| Huston Street, RP – Oak||10||Deeray|
|116.|| Delmon Young, OF – Min||10||Guzman|
|117.|| Juan Pierre, OF – LAD||10||WaCoug|
|118.|| Bobby Jenks, RP – ChW||10||Snakes|
|119.|| Brad Penny, SP – LAD||10||JCobb|
|120.||Jermaine Dye, OF – ChW||10||Sportsguy|
|121.||Johnny Damon, OF – NYY||11||Sportsguy|
|122.|| Pat Burrell, OF – Phi||11||JCobb|
|123.|| Chad Cordero, RP – Was||11||Snakes|
|124.|| Adrian Beltre, 3B – Sea||11||WaCoug|
|125.|| Trevor Hoffman, RP – SD||11||Guzman|
|126.|| Chad Billingsley, SP – LAD||11||Deeray|
|127.|| Kenji Johjima, C – Sea||11||ThirdDay|
|128.|| Jacoby Ellsbury, OF – Bos||11||CadensDad|
|129.|| Adam Wainwright, SP – Stl||11||Jake|
|130.|| John Maine, SP – NYM||11||Boomer|
|131.|| Dustin McGowan, SP – Tor||11||Omaha|
|132.|| Todd Helton, 1B – Col||11||Fade|
|133.|| Joakim Soria, RP – KC||12||Fade|
|134.|| Placido Polanco, 2B – Det||12||Omaha|
|135.|| Matt Capps, RP – Pit||12||Boomer|
|136.|| Eric Gagne, RP – Mil||12||Jake|
|137.|| Philip Hughes, SP – NYY||12||CadensDad|
|138.|| AJ Burnett, SP – Tor||12||ThirdDay|
|139.|| Edwin Encarnacion, 3B – Cin||12||Deeray|
|140.|| Rafael Soriano, RP – Atl||12||Guzman|
|141.|| Brett Myers, SP – Phi||12||WaCoug|
|142.|| Shane Victorino, OF – Phi||12||Snakes|
|143.|| Jason Isringhausen, RP – Stl||12||JCobb|
|144.||Brad Lidge, RP – Phi||12||Sportsguy|
|145.||Clay Buchholz, SP – Bos||13||Sportsguy|
|146.|| Aaron Rowand, OF – SF||13||JCobb|
|147.|| Jim Thome, DH – ChW||13||Snakes|
|148.|| Kevin Gregg, RP – Fla||13||WaCoug|
|149.|| Francisco Liriano, SP – Min||13||Guzman|
|150.|| Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C – Tex||13||Deeray|
|151.|| Joba Chamberlain, SP – NYY||13||ThirdDay|
|152.|| Jeremy Bonderman, SP – Det||13||CadensDad|
|153.|| Carlos Marmol, RP – ChC||13||Jake|
|154.|| Josh Fields, OF – ChW||13||Boomer|
|155.|| Chien-Ming Wang, SP – NYY||13||Omaha|
|156.|| Tim Hudson, SP – Atl||13||Fade|
|157.|| Khalil Greene, SS – SD||14||Fade|
|158.|| Kosuke Fukudome, OF – ChC||14||Omaha|
|159.|| Mark Buehrle, SP – ChW||14||Boomer|
|160.|| Tom Gorzelanny, SP – Pit||14||Jake|
|161.|| Dontrelle Willis, SP – Det||14||CadensDad|
|162.|| James Loney, 1B – LAD||14||ThirdDay|
|163.|| Justin Upton, OF – Ari||14||Deeray|
|164.|| Billy Butler, 1B – KC||14||Guzman|
|165.|| BJ Ryan, RP – Tor||14||WaCoug|
|166.|| Pedro Martinez, SP – NYM||14||Snakes|
|167.|| Oliver Perez, SP – NYM||14||JCobb|
|168.||Ian Snell, SP – Pit||14||Sportsguy|
|169.||Jered Weaver, SP – LAA||15||Sportsguy|
|170.|| Jonathan Broxton, RP – LAD||15||JCobb|
|171.|| Tony Pena, RP – Ari||15||Snakes|
|172.|| Paul Ibanez, OF – Sea||15||WaCoug|
|173.|| Rich Harden, SP – Oak||15||Guzman|
|174.|| Troy Percival, RP – TB||15||Deeray|
|175.|| Kerry Wood, RP – ChC||15||ThirdDay|
|176.|| Hank Blalock, 3B – Tex||15||CadensDad|
|177.|| Andrew Miller, SP – Fla||15||Jake|
|178.|| Jeremy Accardo, RP – Tor||15||Boomer|
|179.|| Evan Longoria, 3B – TB||15||Omaha|
|180.|| JR Towles, C – Hou||15||Fade|
|181.|| Rafael Betancourt, RP – Cle||16||Fade|
|182.|| Jeremy Hermida, OF – Fla||16||Omaha|
|183.|| Brandon Lyon, RP – Ari||16||Boomer|
|184.|| Josh Hamilton, OF – Tex||16||Jake|
|185.|| Troy Glaus, 3B – Stl||16||CadensDad|
|186.|| Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B – Bos||16||ThirdDay|
|187.|| Derek Lowe, SP – LAD||16||Deeray|
|188.|| Ken Griffey Jr, OF – Cin||16||Guzman|
|189.|| Jeff Francis, SP – Col||16||WaCoug|
|190.|| Jeff Kent, 2B – LAD||16||Snakes|
|191.|| Orlando Cabrera, SS – ChW||16||JCobb|
|192.||Joe Borowski, RP – Cle||16||Sportsguy|
|193.||Ted Lilly, SP – ChC||17||Sportsguy|
|194.|| Willy Taveras, OF – Col||17||JCobb|
|195.|| Geovany Soto, C – ChC||17||Snakes|
|196.|| Carlos Delgado, 1B – NYM||17||WaCoug|
|197.|| JJ Hardy, SS – Mil||17||Guzman|
|198.|| Scott Baker, SP – Min||17||Deeray|
|199.|| Cameron Maybin, OF – Fla||17||ThirdDay|
|200.|| Curt Schilling, SP – Bos||17||CadensDad|
|201.|| Gil Meche, SP – KC||17||Jake|
|202.|| Freddy Sanchez, 2B – Pit||17||Boomer|
|203.|| Joe Blanton, SP – Oak||17||Omaha|
|204.|| Bronson Arroyo, SP – Cin||17||Fade|
|205.|| Michael Cuddyer, RF – Min||18||Fade|
|206.|| Joey Votto, 1B – Cin||18||Omaha|
|207.|| Lastings Milledge, OF – Was||18||Boomer|
|208.|| Ivan Rodriguez, C – Det||18||Jake|
|209.|| Ryan Garko, 1B – Cle||18||CadensDad|
|210.|| Zach Greinke, RP – KC||18||ThirdDay|
|211.|| Stephen Drew, SS – Ari||18||Deeray|
|212.|| Shaun Marcum, SP – Tor||18||Guzman|
|213.|| Jon Lester, SP – Bos||18||WaCoug|
|214.|| Michael Bourn, LF – Hou||18||Snakes|
|215.|| Pat Neshek, RP – Min||18||JCobb|
|216.||Todd Jones, RP – Det||18||Sportsguy|
|217.||Barry Zito, SP – SF||19||Sportsguy|
|218.|| Andy Pettite, SP – NYY||19||JCobb|
|219.|| Randy Johnson, SP – Ari||19||Snakes|
|220.|| Jay Bruce, OF – Cin||19||WaCoug|
|221.|| Rocco Baldelli, OF – TB||19||Guzman|
|222.|| George Sherrill, RP – Bal||19||Deeray|
|223.|| Jhonny Peralta, SS – Cle||19||ThirdDay|
|224.|| Mark Prior, SP – SD||19||CadensDad|
|225.|| Matt Garza, SP – TB||19||Jake|
|226.|| John Danks, SP – ChW||19||Boomer|
|227.|| Bill Hall, OF – Mil||19||Omaha|
|228.|| Kevin Slowey, SP – Min||19||Fade|
|229.|| Matt Wieters, C – Bal||20||Fade|
|230.|| Jose Guillen, OF – KC||20||Omaha|
|231.|| Akinori Iwamura, 3B – TB||20||Boomer|
|232.|| Manny Parra, RP/SP – Mil||20||Jake|
|233.|| Kelly Johnson, 2B – Atl||20||CadensDad|
|234.|| Chris Carpenter, SP – Stl||20||ThirdDay|
|235.|| Scott Olsen, SP – Fla||20||Deeray|
|236.|| Bengie Molina, C – SF||20||Guzman|
|237.|| Richie Sexson, 1B – Sea||20||WaCoug|
|238.|| Homer Bailey, SP – Cin||20||Snakes|
|239.|| Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B – SD||20||JCobb|
|240.||David DeJesus, OF – KC||20||Sportsguy|
|241.||Kazuo Matsui, 2B – Hou||21||Sportsguy|
|242.|| Carlos Villanueva, RP – Mil||21||JCobb|
|243.|| Jeremy Guthrie, SP – Bal||21||Snakes|
|244.|| Joel Zumaya, RP – Det||21||WaCoug|
|245.|| Dustin Pedroia, 2B – Bos||21||Guzman|
|246.|| Hideki Okajima, RP – Bos||21||Deeray|
|247.|| Orlando Hudson, 2B – Ari||21||ThirdDay|
|248.|| Ervin Santana, SP – LAA||21||CadensDad|
|249.|| Scott Shields, RP – LAA||21||Jake|
|250.|| Buddy Carlyle, SP – Atl||21||Boomer|
|251.|| Colby Rasmus, OF – Stl||21||Omaha|
|252.|| Clayton Kershaw, SP – LAD||21||Fade|
|253.|| Heath Bell, RP – SD||22||Fade|
|254.|| Bob Howry, RP – ChC||22||Omaha|
|255.|| Carlos Quentin, OF – ChW||22||Boomer|
|256.|| Andrew Sonnanstine, SP – TB||22||Jake|
|257.|| Jason Giambi, DH – NYY||22||CadensDad|
|258.|| Adam Jones, OF – Bal||22||ThirdDay|
|259.|| Masahide Kobayashi, RP – Bal||22||Deeray|
|260.|| Corey Patterson, OF – Bal||22||Guzman|
|261.|| Jon Rauch, RP – Was||22||WaCoug|
|262.|| Kyle Kendrick, SP – Phi||22||Snakes|
|263.|| Josh Willingham, OF – Fla||22||JCobb|
|264.||Jason Varitek, C – Bos||22||Sportsguy|
Sportsguy = sportsguy138
JCobb = jcobb79
Snakes = Snakes Gould
WaCoug = WaCougMBS
Guzman = Guzman24
Deeray = deerayfan072
ThirdDay = Third Day
CadensDad = CadensDad
Jake = jake_harv88
Boomer = OneLoveBoomer
Omaha = Omaha Red Sox
Fade = Fade2White12
Round Highlights: No real surprises in the first round, but it’s safe to say that most drafters prefer to use this round to draft a stud infielder to build their team around. 10 of the 12 players drafted here are infielders.
Best Pick: Miguel Cabrera (1.09). Jake got a steal here with the ninth pick of the draft. Cabrera is only 24 and is now in one of the best lineups in baseball. At the very least, Cabrera should have been taken before Ryan Howard in the eighth spot. At best, he could have gone with the fourth overall pick of the draft.
Worst Pick: Jose Reyes (1.04). Reyes should certainly be a first-round pick, but not before Wright or Holliday. Sure, he is the second best fantasy option at shortstop (behind Hanley Ramirez) but Reyes should be downgraded a few spots in H2H leagues given his primary contribution to fantasy teams is the unreliable stolen base.
Round Highlights: If round one is where you take your infielder, then round two is the spot to take your stud outfielder. Seven of the 12 players taken here were outfielders.
Best Pick: Johan Santana (2.05). At the time of this pick in the mock draft, Santana was still a Minnesota Twin, however the likelihood of a trade to one of the AL East powerhouses or the New York Mets easily warranted an earlier pick for Santana. Since the conclusion of the trade to the Mets, Santana’s value increases (as should his draft position) moving to the pitcher-friendly confines of Shea Stadium with a great offense to give him the run support he has not enjoyed in the past.
Worst Pick: Ichiro Suzuki (2.11). If forced to choose a pick I found questionable, I’d have to go with Ichiro, but only because this is a keeper mock draft and Ichiro will be turning 35 at the end of the 2008 season – an age when players typically begin to steal fewer and fewer bases, one of Ichiro’s strongest stats. Although Seattle Mariners Manager John McLaren stated in December that Ichiro could steal 80 bags this season, I think it is more realistic to expect closer to 30 in the near future.
Round Highlights: Like the first round, the third seems to be good spot to grab another infielder. Half of the picks in this round were infielders, seven if you plan to utilize Victor Martinez’s first base eligibility.
Best Pick: Travis Hafner (3.09). Many fantasy owners who invested an early round pick on Hafner were disappointed by his 2007 season. However, injuries (hand, knee, hamstring) were largely to blame for his poor season. I fully expect the 30-year-old slugger, who has first base eligibility in some formats, to rebound in 2008.
Worst Pick: Derek Jeter (3.08). Despite batting over .320 and getting over 200 hits for the third consecutive season, 2007 was a down year for Jeter. He had only 12 home runs and stole less than half as many bases as he did in 2006. Jeter will be turning 34 in June, and while he can still be considered a top-six shortstop, the third round is too early for him – especially in keeper leagues.
Round Highlights: This round is generally when you start to see second tier starting pitchers go off the board, but I was surprised when only three were taken – CC Sabathia (4.02), Erik Bedard (4.08), and Josh Beckett (4.12). Instead, youth seemed to be the theme of this round as all but two players (Manny Ramirez and Bobby Abreu) were 30 years of age or younger.
Best Pick: Josh Beckett (4.12). Considered by many to be the third best starting pitching option, Beckett was the steal of this round by sportsguy138, when he took the only pitcher to win 20 games in 2007 (and the first since 2005). At only 27 years of age (he turns 28 in May), the runner up for the AL Cy Young has many good years ahead of him.
Worst Pick: Joe Mauer (4.11). While an argument can be made for Corey Hart and Adrian Gonzalez going too early as well, I feel Mauer was the worst pick of this round. Although the 24-year-old catcher could very well rebound in 2008, the questions surrounding his health and the development of power that most scouts expected, still remain. It’s precisely these question marks that should put him closer to Brian McCann’s draft position, 3 rounds later, than in Victor Martinez and Russell Martin territory.
Round Highlights: In this mock, it appears that round five was the round of the second tier starting pitchers, as five of the twelve picks play only every fifth day.
Best Pick: Derrek Lee (5.01). Another good pick, and back to back no less, by sportsguy138. Although Lee hit .317 in 2007, it was considered a down year for him as he hit only 22 home runs and knocked in only 82 RBI. Lee had 16 of those 22 home runs in the second half, however, and another year removed from wrist problems will have Lee bouncing back in 2008.
Worst Pick: Jason Bay (5.06). Bay is certainly a bounce back candidate for 2008, but I think deerayfan072 reached here. Drafted in the second and third rounds last year, Bay disappointed his owners by hitting .247 with only 21 home runs in 2007. This was nearly four rounds too early for this 29-year-old.
Round Highlights: A handful of starting pitchers went in this round as well, four to be exact, and the closers started leaving the board as well.
Best Pick: Aaron Harang (6.11). The always undervalued Harang was the 14th starting pitcher selected in this mock, which was a steal for jcobb79. You can expect another 15-plus wins and 200-plus strikeouts for this soon to be 30-year-old.
Worst Pick: Ian Kinsler (6.01). I really like Kinsler and think he could develop into a top five second baseman, possibly as early as 2008, but he barely cracked the .260 mark in 2007 and hit nearly half of his home runs in one month (April). It should also be noted that he only hit .215 away from the hitter friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark. Even in a keeper, round six is too early for Kinsler.
Round Highlights: The smörgåsbord round. Forget trends, this round was messy.
Best Pick: Brian McCann (7.11). Drafted exactly three rounds after Joe Mauer, I expect the seventh-rounder to have a better year than the fourth. At only 24, I think McCann is capable of 25 home runs and 100 RBIs in the very near future.
Worst Pick: Nick Swisher (7.07). Many fantasy owners seem to be enamored with Swisher’s recent trade to the White Sox and while his stats could very well improve in the hitter friendly U.S. Cellular Field, he will likely never hit for a good average (.251 in three plus seasons) and his walk ratio, his bread and butter, dropped nearly 100% in the second half of last season.
Round Highlights: Second-tier closers began going off the board in this round, as three of the twelve picks were well known ninth-inning pitchers.
Best Pick: Joe Nathan (8.02). While 2007 was Nathan’s first season in Minnesota in which he posted a WHIP over one, he is still a top tier closer and should be drafted similarly to the likes of Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz; rather than Mariano Rivera and Billy Wagner.
Worst Pick: Gary Sheffield (8.03). While Sheffield seemed untouchable for three months in 2007, he will be 39 this season and needs to be downgraded in keeper leagues because of this. It should also be noted that Sheffield hasn’t topped 500 at bats in a season since 2005.
Round Highlights: A mix of older and younger players went off the board in this round, as well as another slew of infielders (5).
Best Pick: Rafael Furcal (9.01). Many fantasy owners forget that Furcal was injured early last season and really never quite recovered. He will be healthy for 2008 and will add a nice bit of power and a considerable amount of speed to your roster.
Worst Pick: Ben Sheets (9.03). Sheets has always been a high risk/high reward-type pitcher and this is no less the case here in a keeper. I think the risk is higher than the reward when you pass up young pitchers like Fausto Carmona (9.08) and Yovani Gallardo (10.01).
Round Highlights: This round seemed like a good time for five of our drafters to take a closer. A couple former top prospects left the board in this round as well – Alex Gordon and Delmon Young.
Best Pick: Delmon Young (10.08). One of the better steals in this draft, it’s beyond me how Young slipped to the mid-tenth round. This former top prospect maintained a quality batting average in 2007 and batted in over 90 runners with Tampa Bay. He’s in Minnesota now, a team rebuilding with young talent, and he is an important piece of that puzzle.
Worst Pick: Brad Penny (10.11). Two young pitchers, Yovani Gallardo (10.01) and Rich Hill (10.02) went earlier than Penny in this round, so I can’t give jcobb79 too hard of a time for grabbing a starting pitcher here, but I feel as if he could have continued the young trend instead of taking a pitcher he’ll love for the first three months of the season and then wonder where he went after the All-Star Break.
Round Highlights: Four young pitchers left the board in this round, as well as a handful of older players like Trevor Hoffman (11.05) and Todd Helton (11.12).
Best Pick: Trevor Hoffman (11.05). Yeah, he’s 40, but that’s also how many saves you’re basically guaranteed to get year in and year out. An image of consistency, the only knock on Hoffman in this draft, is his age. While he’s not the flashy closer many of us would like to have on our staff, Guzman24 got a steal in the 11th.
Worst Pick: Chad Cordero (11.03). Keep in mind my vote for best pick in this round and it’ll shed light on why I thought Cordero was the worst pick. The only advantage Cordero has on Hoffman is his age. His ERA and WHIP are going to be higher and his save opportunities will be fewer with the Nationals.
Round Highlights: Another round where closers seemed to be the trend as half of the players picked came from the bullpen.
Best Pick: Edwin Encarnacion (12.07). A great value this late, Encarnacion has improved each season in the majors, and that should continue.
Worst Pick: Placido Polanco (12.02). I like any player in Detroit’s lineup, but I think I took too long to take my second baseman and ended up reaching a bit for Polanco – I could have waited another round.
Round Highlights: Round 13 looked to be a good time to take some risk,s as injury prone players and perennial underachievers went off the board here.
Best Pick: Jim Thome (13.03). Could have gone with Francisco Liriano here too, but both of these players are in the same risk category. If either of these are able to stay healthy and perform even close to what we’ve come to expect in recent years, they will be steals. Snakes Gould might have gotten 40 home runs in the 13th round.
Worst Pick: Joba Chamberlain (13.07). Yes it’s a keeper, and yes Chamberlain is a top prospect on one of the best teams in the league, but his position in the rotation is still up in the air and it appears as if he’ll start the season in the bullpen. This pick may pay off for Third Day when August rolls around, but his value will be very little when he constantly takes the mound in the 8th inning.
Round Highlights: Quite of bit of optimism was displayed in round 14 as young players with loads of potential (but little experience) and players hoping to bounce back in 2008 went off the board.
Best Pick: Ian Snell (14.12). Other than wins, Snell bettered all of his relevant statistics from 2006 to 2007. I see this trend continuing and sportsguy138 got another gem in this 26-year-old.
Worst Pick: Dontrelle Willis (14.05). Willis seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. This once promising prospect and young stud pitcher, achieved highs in ERA and WHIP while tallying career lows in strikeouts and wins last season.
Round Highlights: As in round 14, this became a round of hope and promise, as young players and bounce back candidates dominated.
Best Pick: JR Towles (15.12). I like Towles potential to be a top 6 catcher and I think Fade2White12 made a great pick here to fill that position.
Worst Pick: Jered Weaver (15.01). Weaver needs to show fantasy owners that he can stay healthy before I take a gamble on him in this spot.
Round Highlights: Two young outfielders (Jeremy Hermida and Josh Hamilton) and popular fantasy names (Troy Glaus, Ken Griffey Jr., and Jeff Kent) went off the board in this round.
Best Pick: Jeremy Hermida (16.02). Hermida showed what the hype is about when he ended the 2007 season strong, batting .340 after the All-Star Break with 10 home runs.
Worst Pick: Derek Lowe (16.07). Two pitchers followed deerayfan072’s Lowe pick here, Jeff Francis (16.09) and Ted Lilly (17.01), both of whom will outperform Lowe this season.
Round Highlights: A former ace (Curt Schilling) and a former slugger (Carlos Delgado) found fantasy owners who wanted them in this round.
Best Pick: Ted Lilly (17.01). What’s not to love about 15 wins and a sub-four ERA? Getting Lilly in the 17th was another great grab for sportsguy138.
Worst Pick: Carlos Delgado (17.03). Delgado’s average and power seemed to fall of the table in 2007, posting his worst stats in 11 years.
Round Highlights: Well-known sleepers for 2008 were the trend of the 18th round, as Joey Votto, Zach Greinke, Stephen Drew and Shaun Marcum highlighted the picks in this group.
Best Pick: Stephen Drew (18.07). Drew is just too good to continue to post a poor batting average. If he hits near the top of the order in Arizona, Drew could put up some very good numbers as early as 2008.
Worst Pick: Todd Jones (18.12). Sure, Jones had nearly 40 saves in 2007, but it was absolutely ugly at times. I have to wonder how long Jones will keep his job when Joel Zumaya gets/stays healthy.
Round Highlights: Our drafters seemed intent on filling out their respective rotations in this round, selecting seven pitchers.
Best Pick: George Sherrill (19.06). Sherrill seems to have been given the closer’s job in Baltimore and if he can maintain the strikeout rate that we’ve come to expect, deerayfan072 found a late-round steal.
Worst Pick: Bill Hall (19.11). I’m hoping Hall finds the stroke he had in 2006 when he moves back to the infield this season, but he’s got a long way to climb back from an abysmal 2007.
Round Highlights: This is the time you begin filling out your roster, as these drafters began doing in the 20th.
Best Pick: Bengie Molina (20.08). I like the Kelly Johnson (20.05) pick by CadensDad as well, but I couldn’t ignore a catcher who can belt 20 home runs and drive in 80 in the 20th round.
Worst Pick: Matt Wieters (20.01). I have no doubt that Wieters will be a top catcher in the majors soon, but I don’t see him getting the call this season. In a keeper with no minor league roster, Wieters has very little (if any) value.
Round Highlights: Some lesser known players were taken as the draft draws to a close, and it’s becoming more difficult to find trends as most fantasy owners have filled their rosters and are simply going to take the best players available to fill their remaining bench spots.
Best Pick: Hideki Okajima (21.06). While he won’t give you instant results like your starters and closers will, Okajima will help your team’s ratios over the course of the season, and you’re losing very little by taking him this late.
Worst Pick: Clayton Kershaw (21.12). Kershaw is certainly one of the best pitching prospects in the game today, but in a limited keeper, a fantasy owner will likely never be able to utilize a player who will spend all or most of 2008 in the minors (much like Wieters).
Round Highlights: The final round is where you take a chance on a player no one else has on their radar or a vet everyone else has forgotten about.
Best Pick: Bob Howry (22.02). I’ll go ahead and pat myself on the back in this round. The Cubs closer situation is very unclear, but if Howry is given the role, I got a steal in the final round.
Worst Pick: Jon Rauch (22.09). Tough to pinpoint a worst pick in the final round, but I’ll go with Rauch because his value lies solely on the possibility of him replacing Chad Cordero as closer – which is unlikely.
I though it would be helpful to get a few more opinions from participants of the mock, so below are some comments regarding the best and worst picks, as seen by those who may have made them.
-Atkins over Aramis
In the third round, WaCougMBS chose Garrett Atkins over Aramis Ramirez. I find this somewhat puzzling. There hasn’t been as consistent of 3B as ARam over the past few seasons, ARam is virtually the same age, and in 100 less ABs last season Ramirez had very similar numbers to Atkins. Other than his multiple position eligibility, I think that was the wrong pick there.
-Mauer in the 4th
I don’t buy into the “catchers are interchangeable so don’t draft them until the last round” mumbo jumbo. I’ll take a stud C anytime as long as the value is there. However, Mauer in the 4th wasn’t much value.
-Bay in the 5th
I’m a Bay fan and supporter, but Deeray picking him in the 5th was a bit too optimistic for my taste. I expect him to rebound very well from his poor season last year, but he probably would have been available 1, 2, or maybe even more rounds later.
-The New Tiger
With this being a keeper league, I was dumbfounded to watch MCab slip to 9th overall. It’s hard to be critical in the 1st round, but here he was great value. As a Fish, he was deserving of this spot, but as a Tiger in that lineup, I don’t know how this happened.
BJ Upton 2B/OF 3.01 to me this was a steal, Upton is a stud and in a keeper draft his value should go up, how he slipped this far is beyond me.
Miguel Tejada SS 6.08 to me this is a bit too early for a guy who’s HR numbers fell, and AVG fell also for a guy who possibly might end up in jail at some point in the season
Derek Lee 5.01 1B A full year removed from his wrist surgery, a lot of people don’t realize he hit 16 of his 22 home runs came after the all star break where he hit .302 16 hr 40 RBI, his Hits and 2B’s fell some but with the HR total nearly tripling in 50 less at bats leads me to think his power will be back in a big way.
Jason Bay 5.06 He’s one of my sleepers but not at this price .247 21/84/78 isn’t what I want with my 5th round pick, Francoeur went .293/19/105/84 and went 2 rounds later and is 6 years younger.
Least Favorite Pick
Jason Bay in the 5th. Reached for a guy when I did not have to. I think he will have a nice year this year, but he can be had 3-4 rounds later and I could have done better.
D. Young in the 10th. He was by far the best OF left at the time and in a keeper I am not sure how he went that late.
Braun: Even though he’s a good young player that can put up great numbers, the risk over taking him over proven guys such as Soriano/Guerrero/Ortiz/C.Lee, etc. isn’t worth it. He could end up putting good enough number up where he has good value there, but I’d rather not take the risk at 2.01. The most I would reach at him is around round 3, so I probably won’t be owning him this year.
Bay: He’s not the 5 tool stud he once was. He’s lost his speed and after having that brutal year last year I think it’s way too early to gamble on him at 5.06. I’d much rather have a couple young guys such as Pence, C.B.Young, Kinsler, etc.
C. Jones: I’m not just saying this because I made the pick, but it really was great value where I got him. I didn’t mind locking up my UT spot that early at all. Even after missing about 30 games he put up great numbers: 29 HR 102 RBI with an average of .337 and 108 runs. Even though this does kind of take away from his value if you’re in a H2H league, I couldn’t pass him up there.
Rich Hill (pick 110, Omaha Red Sox) – This is a perfect example as to why I do not worry about drafting pitchers early. Hill is a fantastic pitcher with a good ability to strike batters out. While playing for a solid Cubs team this year it would not be totally outrageous to expect 15 wins and 180 Ks. All this from a player outside the top 100 picks.
Delmon Young (pick 116, Guzman24) – Expectations were set pretty high last year for this young outfielder. He finished with respectable numbers in his first full season (13 HRs, 93 RBIs, 10 SBs) but he struggled through much of the first half of the season (.278 AVE pre-All Star break). With a season under his belt and a much needed change of scenery I think you can expect a decent improvement from Young this year. I have ranked along the likes of CB Young and Pence this year yet Young went four rounds later.
Vladimir Guerrero (pick 16, jake_harv88) – I have to pick on myself here. This free swinger continues to put up numbers but appears to be a very “old” 32. It will most likely be worth my while to keep him this year, but after that who knows. Bottom line is in any style of keeper you have to knock him down a few pegs, and this was certainly too early. In hindsight I would have taken Teixeira instead and locked up my corner infield spots.
Chone Figgins (pick 51, Snakes Gould) – Personally I have a hard time drafting a player whose value is solely dependent upon steals in the first 5 rounds. I have Chone as the 8th best at his position, while this pick made him the 4th two-bagger off the board. It will be interesting to see how his off-season wrist surgery affects his numbers, but considering he does not have much power to lose we should not see much change. However, his usual numbers do not warrant a fifth round pick.
Josh Milczski is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Josh in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Omaha Red Sox. Josh would like to thank Bryan Freilich for his contributions as an alternate for this mock and an enormous contributor to this article. You can find him around the Cafe's forums posting under the name of rookies and cream.
Questions or comments for Josh? Post them in the Cafe Forums!
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!