Fantasy Baseball: Mock Draft Review (March 5, 2013 – RotoWire Mock Draft Army)

Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft – March 5, 2013

Howard Bender from Rotobuzzguy.com put together an army of fantasy baseball insiders and experts to do a series of mock drafts hosted on Mock Draft Central. The first of these drafts took place on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 with a 12-team standard 5×5 roto league format. I had the 4th overall pick which meant I knew exactly who would be off the board by the time it was my turn. That’s right, the first three picks in almost any draft under any format appear to be a foregone conclusion. In varying order, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Ryan Braun are the consensus top three picks. So if you are drafting from the fourth spot or later, don’t expect to see these guys available.

I went into this draft specifically intending on waiting until at least the 8th or 9th round to take a pitcher. I have tried the mentality in previous real and mock drafts this year, but each time I ended up taking a pitcher early on because I felt obligated to grab an ace. This time, I convinced myself to resist the temptation at all costs. Here is my complete roster with the round I selected each player in parentheses next to his name.

C John Jaso-OAK (21)
C Russell Martin-PIT (23)
1B Adrian Gonzalez-LAD (4)
2B Brandon Phillips-CIN (6)
3B Evan Longoria-TB (2)
SS Erick Aybar-LAA (17)
OF Matt Kemp-LAD (1)
OF Jacoby Ellsbury-BOS (3)
OF Alex Gordon-KC (7)
OF Hunter Pence-SF (8)
OF Ichiro Suzuki-NYY (12)
UT Dexter Fowler-COL (20)
CI Freddie Freeman-ATL (5)
MI Chase Utley-PHI (14)

P Roy Halladay-PHI (9)
P Yovani Gallardo-MIL (10)
P Jake Peavy-CHW (13)
P Jon Lester-BOS (16)
P Andy Pettitte-NYY (22)
P Paul Maholm-ATL (27)
P Rafael Soriano-WAS (11)
P Jonathan Broxton-CIN (15)
P Brandon League-LAD (18)

BN Kevin Youkilis-3B-NYY (25)
BN Justin Morneau-1B-MIN (19)
BN Juan Pierre-OF-MIA (24)
BN Tyler Skaggs-SP-ARZ (26)
BN Brandon Beachy-SP-ATL (28)

Matt Kemp 3Overall I like the balance that this team has. Clearly, Matt Kemp will be the key to my team’s success because he is the only player I have with a legitimate shot of hitting 40 homeruns. He is coming back from an injury-plagued 2012 season which saw him endure hamstring issues and then a severely injured shoulder after crashing into the outfield wall in Denver. If he is fully healthy, he has Triple Crown potential.

In terms of power and run production, Longoria and Freeman are my other two primary sources. But they are also looking to rebound from injuries in 2012. Freeman seems to have corrected his vision issues which is a good sign for the budding superstar now hitting in the middle of a very potent Atlanta lineup. Longoria has had nagging leg injuries which has prevented him from playing a full season in a couple years. Assuming both stay healthy, they each can hit 30 homeruns and drive in 100 runs.

I don’t include Adrian Gonzalez in the power category anymore because his homerun totals have regressed significantly the past couple years. That’s ok because I still expect 15-20 long balls to go along with a .300 batting average and over 100 RBI’s. I filled my offense out with a lot of other players who can hit 15-20 homeruns but also score runs and hit for good average. Players like Alex Gordon, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Phillips should all put up similar yet productive numbers across the board. Plus, Dexter Fowler was a steal in the 20th round because he is at the magical age of 27 and could be in for a breakout season.

It wouldn’t be a fantasy baseball draft if I didn’t take some real calculated risks. I tend to take chances on players coming back from injuries with something to prove. Two players that personify that completely are Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Utley. Ellsbury has been riddled with injuries in the seasons sandwiching his historic 2011 campaign. He will be a free agent at the end of this season so he is unquestionably looking to prove himself to secure a lucrative long-term contract. I don’t expect him to come close to his power output from 2011, but if he is healthy he could easily hit over .300 with 110 runs scored and 40+ stolen bases. As for Utley, he is the older 33-year old in baseball. The former All-Star second baseman has had a lot of physical problems the past several years but now seems ready to go. The Phillies will be a much improved team in 2013 and I see no reason why Utley can’t produce a .280 average with 15 homeruns and 85 RBI. Not bad production from a 14th round middle infield option.

True to form, I did not draft a catcher until the back end of the draft. I typically punt the catching position in fantasy baseball because I think it can be a waste of a draft pick to spend on a player who at a position that more injury-prone than any other offensive position and usually doesn’t play more than 135-140 games a year. By waiting until the 21st and 23rd rounds, I still ended up with John Jaso and Russell Martin, respectively. Jaso can hit for a decent average but doesn’t have a lot of pop in his bat. On the other hand, Martin should hit 12-15 homeruns but likely will be an albatross with batting average. At the end of the day, they are starters who will get a bulk of the playing time and are proven major league hitters.

Roy HalladayBy waiting until the 9th round to take a pitcher, I knew my staff would not be overwhelming. That conclusion is even more apparent by the fact my first pitcher taken was Roy Halladay. Last year was a disastrous season for Halladay and the rest of the Phillies. Doc missed eight starts due to an injured shoulder and put up very pedestrian numbers compared to what we are used to from the former multiple time Cy Young award winner. That being said, he appears healthy in spring training and is talented enough to return to his old self despite getting a little long in the tooth.

Besides Yovani Gallardo, the rest of my starters are all question marks too. Gallardo often gets overlooked in fantasy drafts, but he is awfully consistent. He is a lock to win around 15 games with a respectable ERA and WHIP along with 200 strikeouts. Everyone else is a crapshoot from Jon Lester needing to rebound from a horrendous 2012 season, Jake Peavy always being a health risk, and Andy Pettitte and Paul Maholm both being similar pitch to contact, crafty lefties.

As for saves, I feel good about getting Rafael Soriano who is now the closer on the Nationals. He should have no trouble getting 40 saves for a very good team that tends to play close games. After that, it is all or nothing with the combination of Jonathan Broxton and Brandon League. They are both closers on two of the best teams in the National League, but they are equally volatile. Broxton returns to his role as a closer now that the Reds have moved Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation. Broxton once possessed a dominant fastball, but he has lost a few MPH due to age and surgeries. League has been on a rollercoaster this past year going from being the closer on the Mariners to losing his job to getting traded to the Dodgers to be a set-up man to becoming the closer after their incumbent suffers from a heart disorder. League has electric stuff and will need to find a way to harness it in order to keep his job. If all goes well, both Broxton and League should rack up 30-35 saves. If all goes wrong, then I could have some problems.

My bench and reserves are impressive and provide depth. Players such as Kevin Youkilis and Justin Morneau could be valuable trade bait if they remain healthy and produce according to their resumes. Morneau hasn’t been healthy in years, but the former MVP is capable of putting up elite fantasy numbers. If for some reason he is able to, I could turn around and deal him for some pitching help. Youkilis will a very important player for the Yankees due to the injuries they have sustained in their infield. His eligibility at both 1B and 3B gives him increased value, so selecting him in the 25th round is likely a steal.

Speaking of steals, my 24th round pick could easily end up leading the National League in stolen bases. Juan Pierre is a roto darling thanks to his thievery. Now that he is back in Miami, he will be playing almost every day and should have all the opportunities in the world to steal more than 50 bases. Combining him with Ichiro and Ellsbury should keep me competitive in the SB category.

Let me know what you think of this team and if you want to see the entire draft board by posting comments below.  Or, you can send me an email to michael.stein@fantasyjudgment.com, post a comment on Facebook, or send me a message on Twitter.

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