Fantasy Baseball: Mock Draft Review (March 15, 2013 – RotoWire Mock Draft Army)

On March 15, 2013, I participated in my second mock draft as part of the Mock Draft Army assembled by Howard Bender from Rotobuzzguy.com. This time, it was a 15-team mixed AL/NL 5×5 roto league, so rosters are not as loaded as they typically are in 12-team leagues. It was also only 21 rounds so there were no bench players selected.

I had the 12th pick overall, and at the end of the day I am glad that this was only a mock draft. I have had worse drafts than this, but there were a couple instances where the draft room on Mock Draft Central froze and I was stuck with picks that I didn’t necessarily want. See if you can guess which two picks I am talking about.

Here is my full roster with the round each player was taken is in parentheses.

C John Jaso-OAK (17)
C A.J. Ellis-LAD (20)
1B Prince Fielder-DET (1)
2B Kelly Johnson-TB (15)
3B David Freese-STL (8)
SS Derek Jeter-NYY (10)
OF Josh Hamilton-LAA (2)
OF Matt Holliday-STL (3)
OF Dexter Fowler-COL (9)
OF Ichiro Suzuki-NYY (13)
OF Juan Pierre-MIA (16)
UT Cody Ross-ARZ (18)
CI Freddie Freeman-ATL (5)
MI Chris Nelson-COL (21)

P Cliff Lee-PHI (4)
P Madison Bumgarner-SF (6)
P Jonathan Papelbon (7)
P Jake Peavy-CHW (11)
P Rafael Soriano-WAS (12)
P Jarrod Parker-OAK (14)
P Andy Pettitte-NYY (18)
P Hisashi Iwakuma-SEA (19)
P Edinson Volquez-SD (21)

Prince FielderThe first 11 picks were not much of a surprise – Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Joey Votto, Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols, Jose Bautista, Justin Upton, and Carlos Gonzalez all went before it was my turn. At this point, it was a no-brainer to take Prince Fielder who has proven to be one of the most consistent and durable power hitters over the past several years. Besides having the fortune of batting behind Miguel Cabrera, he now has better protection behind him with the return of Victor Martinez. I fully expect another season with a .300 batting average plus 35 homeruns and 110 RBI.

My strategy after that was to take two outfielders because it has become abundantly clear that outfield is not as deep as many people think. I grabbed Josh Hamilton in the second round which is a bit risky given his injury history and the added pressure he may feel in the first year of a mega contract on a new team. But if he can stay healthy, hitting in a lineup with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols could help him produce close to 40 homeruns and 120 RBI with a batting average around .290. I followed that up with Matt Holliday who is extremely consistent and can be counted on for a solid batting average with 20+ homeruns, 90+ RBI, and 90+ runs scored.

In the 5th round, I doubled up on first baseman and selected Freddie Freeman. I did this because I wasn’t enamored with any other infield position option at that moment, and I think Freeman is headed for a breakout season now that his vision issue is corrected. By doing this, I admittedly did sacrifice my infield a bit. David Freese will be fine at third base with his expected .290 average along with 20 homeruns and 90 RBI. But my middle infield could be very weak with Kelly Johnson and Derek Jeter. I had targeted Jeter as a steal in later rounds, but his recent benching due to achiness in his ankle has me concerned. If he is healthy, he’ll help with batting average and runs scored.

My pitching staff is solid with Cliff Lee and Madison Bumgarner leading the way. I expect 15 wins from both with similar slash lines in ERA, WHIP, and K’s. Jake Peavy is a wild card because his health is always a question mark. If he can make 32 starts this year, he should produce 12-15 wins with a sub-4.00 ERA and lots of strikeouts. In terms of saves, I only drafted two closers but they are good ones. Both Jonathan Papelbon and Rafael Soriano should get 40+ saves this year on two of the better National League teams. That may not be enough to win the category, but I will be in the middle of the pack and gain valuable points that way.

Dexter FowlerIn terms of speed, I have that covered with the trio of Dexter Fowler, Ichiro Suzuki and Juan Pierre. Fowler may become more of a power hitter as he matures, so I don’t expect him to steal as much as he has in the past. In fact, I think Fowler is a strong candidate for a big breakout season.  He has shown improvement over the past couple years and could take that next step towards 25 homeruns and 90 RBI to go along with a solid batting average.  Ichiro is a bit long in the tooth, but with the Yankees health problems and serious lack of power, they are going to have to score runs in other ways which includes letting guys like Ichiro steal bases. He thrived in New York late last year and I expect a vintage Ichiro season now with a full year in the Bronx. Pierre is a great value pick because he is going to play every day on a bad Marlins team. He has proven he can still steal bases at his age, so there is no reason not to expect at least 40 swipes from him this year.

Overall this is a respectable team. There is a decent balance of power and speed along with guys who won’t kill my batting average. My pitching isn’t deep but Edinson Volquez could be a sleeper if he continues his trend from the second half of 2012. Perhaps I would feel better about this team had it not been for two snafus with Mock Draft Central freezing on me. But even with the two picks that were made for me, this roster should be competitive and place me in the upper half of the standings.

Feel free to share your comemnts by posting them below.  Or you can send me an email to michael.stein@fantasyjudgment.com, post on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FantasyJudge, or find me on Twitter: @FantasyJudgment.

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